Search This Blog

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Serenity-prequel to Our Story

I posted once already for the blog hop but felt compelled to write again. Actually, this is the one that was on my heart after already linking the other. The elusive subject of Serenity. Something we search for often yet rarely find in our ultra busy society. Now is the time to reflect back on a time when things were out of control (still are many days), yet God worked through it all. Romans 8:28, right?

Many of you have followed my blog posts about Our Story. It is still a work in progress. This is more of a prequel and short synopsis of that time period. I do plan to finish it, almost feel an urgency to as a matter of fact. Until then, here we go. You can check out the rest in the Our Story section.

The years of 2008-2009 held a lot of ups and downs for us. Towards the end of summer we found out that we would be expecting baby #4! Complete, but welcome surprise. As I made my way to my OB appointment alone, (over 60 miles away-I was considered high risk through my last two pregnancies due to health issues), I was excited. I knew due to my history that I would be getting an ultrasound even though I wasn't very far along. While laying on the table, I noticed something. Hmm...two sacs? Could that mean? YES! It did mean two babies. However, one of the babies sacs (I was approximately 4 or 5 weeks) was way smaller than the other. I got scared. As the tech sent me to the waiting room, I called my husband. We had three children at home at the time ages 14 months, 8 years and 10 years old. Plus I worked long night shifts as a nurse and oh, yeah, had just taken a second job in another ER 20 minutes away. We lived in a 2 bedroom home. How could I care for TWO babies plus my others plus....well, you get the picture. I went home that day being told that it was a strong possibility that I could loose one and maybe both of them. I was to be monitored closely. Fast forward, at office visit for 9 week check-up, I saw both babies and they were able to detect heartbeats! I was amazed but still scared and still unsure what to do. Baby 2 was not growing at the rate of baby 1, but I took it a good sign that the baby had a heartbeat. I was told not to get my hopes up because this baby wasn't growing like it should. My regular OB was out so I saw her partner. She said if it was up to her I would be on bed rest. Even so, the odds were not good.

I went back to work, lighter duty for a while and kind of  'separated' myself from the situation. I had always believed in the Lord growing up and even went to church every now and again but I sure didn't have a personal relationship with Him. Two weeks later I went back and discovered that Baby 2 was 'gone'. Vanishing twin syndrome they called it. I had not even felt the loss in my body.

March came and I kept rushing to the hospital thinking I was in labor. The baby wasn't due until April. At my last stay, I was told that my uterus was hyperactive, but the contractions were not regular. I had worked OB before, that was scary. I was also told that because it was two days before my 37th week, my insurance wouldn't allow them to induce me. I was sent home with my doctor's personal cell number to call when things got started "hopefully this weekend". I went home and my mom stayed with me 'just in case'. Two days later, I had a stomach cramp and out came a huge gush of blood. I was so scared. I was calling everyone, including the doctor. My mama came to the door and said "What can I do?". Through gritted teeth, I said "Call my grandma and tell her to pray. NOW!!" My grandma was the spiritual  mother of the family. We all thought she had a direct line to God. I went to the hospital I work at, where we DO NOT deliver babies, and was in pain. One ambulance was out on a call and another one was unusable or something like that. I had to wait for the other one to get back. I was so far dilated, I would NEVER make it 60 miles so I was being routed to the other hospital I worked at 20 miles away. The deputy's even laughed that they would load me in the back of the cruiser and drive me because I was so adamant about going the 60 miles.

I got there literally just in time. The doctor said I wasn't dilated as far as they thought and that I would be fine. Surgery was going so I couldn't receive an epidural. Everything would be fine. A little over an hour later, I knew it wouldn't. I kept feeling the urge to push and tried to fight it. I was SO scared, but I wouldn't call out to God myself. My mom came to my bedside and whispered in my ear, "Mamaw is here". I knew everything would be ok then because in my eyes, that meant God came with her. He was there now. I began to relax.

Needless to say, my sweet daughter Ava was born. Quickly. The doctor didn't even have time to put on gloves. Guess I showed him. This was baby 4. I KNEW she was coming!

Not long after that, I knew I had to give my life to the Lord. I knew HE was in control of an uncontrollable situation. I went to the altar when she was very young. God called me. And, for what was to come, I am glad He did. Baby developed a severe bowel impaction and a hemangioma on her hand. I developed post-partum anxiety, panic, thyroid storm and more heart problems than I already had. God healed us both.

6 months later is when 'Our Story' began. ALL of this happened in a year. God was in control and once I recognized that, the peace that passes all understanding would guide me through what has been the toughest 4 years of my life. He became my best friend, my protector and my shield and strength.

Jennifer Newsom,
OBS Leadership Team

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Be Joyful! Be Prayerful! Be Thankful!

On Wednesday, we were issued a 48 hour challenge over at Melissa Taylor's Online Bible Studies surrounding this verse:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18~ Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (NLT).

She asked us to be intentional on being joyful, praying a lot (even when you don't feel like it), and remember to be thankful (regardless of our circumstances).

I am about ten hours into this challenge and I already see an amazing difference in my day. Did my circumstances change? NO. Only my response did. This has been a long, weary couple of weeks in our house. Illness of myself and 2 of the 4 children, another child in the ER, and just battles in general. I was so weary. A good friend noted and messaged that she felt I was 'down in spirit'. Right on! I have been seeking God lately on some big issues, and feel like I am in a tug of war. Flesh vs. Spirit. Some things I feel He has told me to do. To step out of my comfort zone. To remember some things from a few years back and prayerfully consider. I have been like a disobedient child. I have been feeling a lot like Moses and Jeremiah both. "Lord, not me. Send someone else. I don't know what to say or do.", or as Jeremiah, "I am too young." (spiritually speaking here). "I don't have the credentials."

Today, I purposed to look up instead of looking around. I chose to look at the One who controls the storm, rather than looking at the storm. When I first started my walk with Christ, I almost worried I talked His head off. I spoke to Him all day. I listened too. I sang and praised Him. He was my best friend. Lately, I have been too busy looking around and not looking up.

Today, I spoke with Him many times. I thanked Him for even the little things. I thanked Him just to say thank you. I had a song in my heart. And joy came! I began looking at the sky differently (like I did in the beginning). Everything was beautiful-it was like someone had traded my dirty glasses for a shiny pair. Perspective came. Little blessings came that I didn't expect nor ask for.

Today should have been hard. We were awaiting test results and an email from my son's neurologist. Did they come? No. The office was closed. Did I panic? No. The peace that passes all understanding was upon me. The same peace that was with me those many years ago when my son first got sick. JOY was here. Something I haven't experienced for a while. Perspective came. Even though I feel what He is slowly revealing to me to do will totally take me out of my comfort zone, I choose today to thank Him that He never gave up on me. That He died a criminal's death, cursed on a tree for me. That it is IN Him and THROUGH Him, I exist. That I owe my very existence to Him. Today, I choose to be more thankful and aware of His presence.

Galatians 2:20- I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (NKJV)

Psalms 30:5 (b)~ Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. (NKJV)

Philippinas 4:6-7~ Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (NKJV)

I LOVE this song!!

I pray that our Lord Jesus blesses you with His peace and His joy today and always!

Jennifer Newsom,
OBS Leadership Team

Friday, February 22, 2013

Confessions of a Homeschooler Free Blog Planner Review

Ever feel like you would like to blog but just don't have it 'all together'? Have you ever came up with fantastic ideas then forgot them an hour later? For many of us, that is called 'mommy brain syndrome'. With so much to do in a given amount of time, certain things fall by the wayside. Maybe you would like to blog consistently or want to remember blog posts past. 

Enter My Blog Planner 2013 from Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler. This fantastic item is offered for FREE!! I enjoy many of the items at her site, and have utilized some of her free printables in my own homeschool. In addition to the free printables, she offers paid (not expensive!) curriculum such as: the Letter of the Week Preschool Curriculum, K4 Pre-Kindergarten Curriculum, Road Trip USA Geography and History, and Expedition Earth: A Journey Through God's World. This review, however, is limited to the Free Blog Planner.

This is a streamlined, no-nonsense blog planner with gorgeous colors and designs! My kind of planner. Too many bells and whistles and I tend to organize what I have organized if you know what I mean. This was just perfect for me- I am one who tends to get bogged down by clutter. However, that said, I am a tweaker by nature and I did tweak a few things to fit my needs and what I used the planner for.

Two options are offered for download: a Calendar Style Post Layout (the 'planner' page is in calendar form) or the Lined Format Post Planner. The Calendar Style offers: a Year at a Glance page, a calendar planning page and a blog notes page. The last two are for every month of the year (or two pages per month). The Lined Format, (which is the one I reviewed), also offers the Year at a Glance page and blog notes page, however the difference is in the planning page. It is lined with each individual date going down the page, versus a calendar look. Once again, the last two are offered for each month of the year for a total of two pages per month.

This is the 'finished' product. The planner is available for immediate download and printed on your own printer. She offers suggestions and tips for printing, binding and organizing. I did print the cover and last page on cardstock for durability. Then, used my comb binder to put it all together. On the first page, you are greeted with a Year at a Glance Calendar. Depending upon which option you choose, the Calendar or Lined Layout, determines what you see next.

The next page will be the blog planning page for January (I used this more in the month of February, hence the picture not showing January). Again, this is the Lined Format. At the top, she has sections titled: Post Date, Title, Scheduled, Review/Giveaway/Winner (labeled R,G,W with boxes to check off), and Social Media. For this last section, the media listed are: fb, t, P, g+. Already, you can see where I 'tweaked'. I changed the P to a B for Blogger. This reminds me that I need to publish something ON my blog. I also wrote Group 33 above the g+. This reminds me that I need to post something for a small group on Facebook that I lead for Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies with Melissa Taylor.

In the section titled Scheduled, I wrote HS for something I want to publish, or have already scheduled to be published, on HootSuite. I also list the time, above the title, that I have it scheduled to post. I place a check beside it when I schedule it. 

Out to the side, I wrote in Views. This allows me to track views on each blog post. At the very bottom, I will write the total blog views for the month.

The final page for the month is the page to write down what Reviews/Giveaways you have scheduled for the month. It has a place to write the date due, the vendor, product and price. The second section is your 'brainstorming' area. Topics that you would like to write about.

Overall, I absolutely love this item and plan to use it for a long time to come. It has really helped me to get organized and keep everything in one place where I can see it. The colors are different each month. The designs are beautiful. I know Confessions of a Homeschooler has many wonderful items and this one is here to stay! 
The only thing I would consider a 'con' is the small areas to write in, but this is only a con for those who write bigger. In keeping it streamlined, I don't see any way to make this area bigger. That said, it works perfectly for me! 

*Disclaimer--I received this item at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Domestic Diva

Proverbs 31:27~She watches over the activities of her household. (HCSB)

This beautiful pin was created by amazingly talented Veronica Herzing.

As a homeschooling mama of 4, I get WAY too many opportunities to micromanage every moment of the blessed day. Over at Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies with Melissa Taylor we are currently working through Karen Ehman's book Let.It.Go.. The assigned chapters for this week deal with micromanaging AND hovering mamas. (cough cough). This verse from Proverbs is one of our assigned reflection verses.

She WATCHES over the activities of her household. Watches, ladies--not manages every department. On page 118, Karen shares this: "If we're supposed to watch over the affairs of our households......then we must have some plans and routines in place." 

We need to plan for and have our family and children help out. Nowhere does it advocate that we do it all, or that we bark orders to get it all done. Actually, Proverbs 27:15-16 also tells us: 
A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day. Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or trying to hold something with greased hands. (NLT). Oh, ouch....that hurts.

In the KJV, the Scripture is translated as: She looketh well to the ways of her household...
In Hebrew, to 'looketh' means to peer into the distance or to observe. (The New Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible). Hmm...observe. Peer into the distance. This in no way advocates being a Tin-Pot Dictator, does it? Throughout this week's study I have been convicted multiple times over my parenting style, or lack of one so to speak. God's word is full of Scripture on taming the tongue, self-control, gentleness and motherhood. As a matter of fact, we are told in 1 Peter 3 that a gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth in God's sight.

Oh, how I long for and pray for that gentle and quiet spirit. Amazingly enough, my older boys mentioned that they had noticed a difference in me this week. They said I was much 'gentler'. While studying these chapters, I dug deep into a lot of Scriptures. This was something that the Lord had been laying on my heart since early winter. GENTLENESS. At this time, I was constantly barking orders, looking over everyone's shoulders and micromanaging everything--right down to the handwriting on their schoolwork. I am so ashamed to admit this. However, I am so thankful for the Word of God that is sharper than any two-edged sword. I am so thankful that Karen shared her heart and wrote this book letting us all know that we are not alone. Finally, I am so thankful that I am only to 'watch' over the affairs over my household. Not control them. I am to point my family to Jesus in my words and deeds. When you study the Gospels and look at Jesus as Leader, nowhere do we see Him barking orders at those closest to Him. There are rebukes here and there, but He is also very loving and patient with them. He takes the time to teach them. He spends time with them. May we all be like Jesus to our very own families. May we agree with James when he says:

James 1:19~My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

(Live Like That by Sidewalk Prophets)

May we watch and not hover. May we help but not micromanage. Most of all, may we show Jesus to the least of these. Especially those in our own families.

Jennifer Newsom,
OBS Leadership Team

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Our Story part 5

By day two of this hospital stay, we were surrounded by the Neurosurgery Team. They would be taking over his care from here on out. He was no longer a candidate for therapy by medication alone, he was being diagnosed with Medically Refractory Epilepsy. The seizures were sapping my boy of strength, energy and the ability to do anything on his own. The surgery we fought so hard now looked to be the 'only way'. The head of the department and Neurosurgery stopped almost all of his meds. Pretty much cold turkey.

We didn't see the seizures worsen, rather we saw the old Bryce coming back, but still seizing. After a few days he was finally able to walk around and take care of himself again. We were thankful. We were also scared because we knew the surgery that we had fought so hard against, was being scheduled. They were calling him an emergency case and threatened that the longer it took to get him 'on the table', the worse the brain damage and paralysis could be. I was so scared. Deep in my heart I knew God could turn this around, but maybe surgery was the path we had to walk. I called out to Him often, "God-you can stop these surgeries at any time with only a word. If this is the wrong thing for my son, please stop this. Please stop them. I don't know what to do. I'm scared."

Meetings were called with Neurology and Neurosurgery. Opinions from other Neurologists were presented. They were working with a case that they had never seen, nor could find any medical literature about. Specialists were called for advice all over. No one knew what to do. As we sat in that meeting going over scans, test results, and models of the brain and surgical techniques, I was scared but still believing that at any moment, God could turn this around. A sense of peace enveloped me. Everyone had an opinion as to what was wrong with him and what therapies to try. It didn't help that a key test we needed, could not properly be performed as Bryce was seizing far too often to sit still long enough to get the test done. They would proceed by using the other tests that 'gave them an idea' of where the problem area was. We were assured by the head doctor that he knew WITHOUT A DOUBT what was wrong and that they could 'fix' it. Our soon to be primary Neurologist disagreed. She was a research doctor and wasn't as inclined to label him with what they were labeling him with. We asked for another test. The head Neurologist was very angry and said that all we would do is hurt Bryce by performing this test and that if it was his child, he wouldn't do it. He KNEW what was wrong and he was sure they could get to it. Our primary Neurologist agreed to let us try one more treatment, in conjunction with a treatment an earlier Neurologist had performed.

About this time, flu season hit. The Neurosurgeon wanted Bryce out of the hospital for fear of him catching something--he was on meds that weakened his immune system and ONE cold would stop surgery. They had already rushed scheduling him in, bumping him in front of many others and said that if they could, they would bump more or put him in place of a cancellation. We had two weeks to take him home and keep him well. We were given masks and told to limit visits and him leaving the home. We were return for an official Neurosurgery consult. Home we went.

We attended that Neurosurgery consult. Bryce was so snowed with all of the medicines that he slept through most of it and to this day, all he remembers is being on a high floor and looking down. The news wasn't good. They weren't able to 100% isolate the trouble spot and this treatment 'may' provide up to an 85% cure rate. Or, it could cause permanent damage to his brain. He also informed us that he could take out healthy tissue instead of just the trouble spot. This surgeon was the best of the best. He had performed EVERY brain surgery at this hospital, except two, in the last three years there. He would have a two part surgery, one on Monday to place electrodes directly on his brain, then the final on Friday to 'remove' the trouble spot-the lesion that kept showing up on MRI but was tricky to isolate. He would be in ICU for a couple days, then off to the Neuro monitoring unit. The length of stay would depend upon how he did in surgery and what to do if any damage did occur--physical/occupational/speech therapy. This area was in a bad spot--right around both motor and speech areas. He could permanently loose his speech. Still, I said the same prayer to God again, "You can stop this with just a word. Please, I am so scared."

We took Bryce home, preparing for the worst but hoping for the best. He was still constantly seizing. One night, (his dad worked night shift and often the 4 kiddos crashed in our room while we watched rented movies), we were watching a movie. Miley Cyrus' "The Climb" came on and I notice Bryce raising his weak, almost paralyzed arm in the air singing. I noticed him sitting up watching the movie. Could it be? I glanced at the clock--it had been 6 hours since I 'observed' a seizure!! How did I not notice that?!? The next day, the same thing. I immediately called the Neurology nurse and informed her what I saw. I DID NOT want Bryce going into surgery until they could perform that final MRI that they needed to properly isolate the spot. I was hopeful....very hopeful.........

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


This is a beautiful pin, created by Veronica Herzing, found here.

Over at Melissa Taylor's Online Bible Studies, we are currently studying the book Let.It.Go. by Karen Ehman- an amazing, challenging, and many times hilarious book! This week, our Reflection Verse was Proverbs 19:21 and we were challenged with a question about this verse-"Have you ever made plans only to have God completely redirect them?" Umm...yes. Many times but I will only share one here. 

Proverbs 19:21~Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. (NIV 11).

This verse impacted me hard this week. You see, God has been whispering the word 'persevere' into my heart a lot lately. I have been hit on all sides, so to speak. I have had a lot of moments of doubt, fear and insecurity over the last several months. Not doubting God, mind you, but doubting His purpose for my life. What is of me and what is of Him? And just *how* do you know the difference?

This was never more real for me than about a month or so ago. As one of my OBS sisters teases me-I had a 'Jonah' moment. To me, it was an Elisha's servant moment too (for those of you who read Greater with us). I was too busy looking at the size of the enemy, and not enough time looking at the size of my God OR his army. So--I fled. Gave up. Turned in my notice. But in that moment, a handful of amazing, Jesus loving OBS women surrounded me with encouragement, prayer, and just plain love. I felt surrounded. Hemmed in. Trapped. So, I went to God with it. In that moment, He spoke into my heart that it was Him who had opened these doors and that the enemy was watching me as well. I needed to focus on Him. HIS purpose was going to prevail in my life. HE was going to lead me and guide me. I was never alone--He was always with me. 

I just needed to focus. To focus on the gifts and talents He has given me. To STOP comparing myself to others. Melissa suggested we listen to an awesome sermon by Pastor Steven Furtick. It's called, "It's Not a Competition, It's a Calling". Actually, the WHOLE series is worth listening to. Perspective started to come back. I spent some time speaking with wise friends and praying much. I am still in the seeking phase, but I see the plan a little more clearly now. I am taking it day. by. day.

Proverbs 3:5-6:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (NKJV)

Ultimately--HIS purpose IS prevailing and I am trying to get out of His way.

(Empty Me by Jeremy Camp)

Learning to Let. It. Go. right beside all of you! 
Jennifer Newsom,
OBS Leadership Team

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Walking My Talk

Colossians 3:23~Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. (NIV 84).

As I look at the verse in context-at the verses surrounding this one-I see ways to apply this in my life. For example, verses 22 & 23 tells me to not only DO whatever it is I am doing for the Lord, but to NOT only do this when people's eyes are upon me to win their favor. For me to be sincere (truly mean it) and to revere (deeply respect) the Lord. Ultimately it is HIM I am working for no matter what I do. How convicting!! How many times do we start out doing something with a pure heart and pure motives, only to be blindsided either by FEAR of man or to be noticed BY man?

The WHATEVER here is key. That doesn't just mean what we think of as 'work' for the Lord-those are good things too, but in this context it is anything. Waiting in the carpool lane, picking up the house for the 20th time, washing yet ANOTHER load of laundry, or meeting a deadline for our boss. My WHATEVER may look different than yours. I am a homeschooling mama to 4 blessings, working with this beautiful team of OBS sisters, doing reviews with the Mosaic Review Team, and taking care of my house and my precious husband. Everything we do is ultimately for God.

Jesus gives us lessons on this in Matthew. In 6:3-6 and 6:16-18, He is teaching us how to do all things in sincerity. Without worrying about whose eyes are upon us-as the Pharisees did. They wanted to be seen by men. Revered. Respected. Admired and praised. Not so for us! Peek over at Matthew 5:14-16:

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV84)

Whoa!! Do these two chapters contradict? NO!! It is always a HEART issue with Jesus. The 'religious elite' did what they did to be seen by others-NOT out of love and respect for God. Here He is telling us WHY we should do what we do. To bring glory to GOD. So others will see Jesus in us. To use the gifts and talents He has given us to magnify and point to Him.

Can I always say I 'do what I do' just for God? No, and this hurts my heart. I default to the flesh more often than I like. I become 'nicer mommy' in front of others at times. I exude more patience for others than my own family sometimes. YUCK.

This verse comes to mind:
Philippians 2:14-Do everything without complaining or arguing, (NIV 84).

Here is my prayer as I was reflecting on this verse:

Lord, help me in this area. Open my eyes to the areas that I tend to seek man's approval over Yours. Help me to overcome my desire to be useful and instead to give up control to You to place me where YOU will be glorified. To realize I am only a branch-YOU are the vine. That I need my roots grown down deep in You and that only You, the Living Water, will cause them to grow and be strong. May the talents and gifts You have given me always be used with sincerity and respect and may they always point to You alone Father. In Jesus name, Amen.

Bless you ladies as we Let. It. Go. together,
Jennifer Newsom
OBS Leadership Team

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Day in the Life: Pre-K and K

As we are gearing up over at Mosaic Reviews for the upcoming year, I am posting a series of 'peeks' into our homeschool days. Today will be a glimpse into the day of a 3 (soon to be 4!!) year old pre-k and 5 year old K'er.
The programs we have chose to use this year are:

  1. My Father's World K--this covers Bible, Science, some phonics, some math, some penmanship classical music and read-alouds so far.. This program is pretty hands-on and the girls have enjoyed it. Each 'week' is broken up into 'Units'. For each unit is a letter, Bible concept and according assignments that particularly link with the Science. We bought two packs of the Student sheets, so each girl gets their own 'binder'.
  2. Explode the Code 1 1/2. This is for my 5 year old. She finished ETC 1 in pre-k 4. She also finished Level 2 Bob Books this year, so we are just having her read from other books and yesterday, she read a passage out of the Bible to us.
  3. Cursive Practice book. She (5 year old) began writing EARLY and begged to learn cursive this year. I don't push it, but let her practice as she wants. She can write her name legibly in cursive, although not 'typical' cursive, but hey! It looks good and she is excited. My 3 year old can write her name in print and we just buy her workbooks to further practice her printing skills, along with what MFW offers.
  4. Kumon workbooks. We use them for many things for both girls. Simple addition, writing, cut and paste, tracing, and numbers. These books are very colorful and available at my local Barnes and Noble.
  5. Math U See practice worksheets website. We print off practice Alpha sheets from the website for the oldest girl to do. She LOVES sitting beside her brother (6th grade who is in Epsilon) and 'doing' Math.
  6. Last year we did a lot of Lapbooks. We haven't done any as of yet this year, but hopefully soon.
  7. The girls have been sitting in with the older boys on Bible time and have either been reading along, or 'telling' us a Bible story as we go. It has worked wonderful!
I cannot believe how big my girls are getting! Many days, my 5 year old wants to know if she can 'move' to first grade. Probably, but not yet sweetie. Actually, she doesn't realize that a lot of her extra work IS first grade work. ;)

Here are some pictures from our days:

Mid year I decided we needed a better way to get organized. Enter the workbox system. This is more for mom this year than the girls. At the top, it has the Teaching Manual's I need, pencils, dry erase markers, Abeka Blend Book and anything else I need. Then, each day is labeled accordingly and all the 'supplemental' worksheets and/or books needed are placed by day. When the day starts, we need only open the drawer and off we go! No more hunting all over for stuff.

This week, we learned a lot about cows. Well, they 'reviewed' about cows. Their Pap, Granny, and Uncle have lots of cows. One of the assignments in MFW was to make homemade butter and taste it. It was really good and really easy to make! Just shake up one pint of whipping cream for 20 minutes and you are done! ALL of the kids got in on the shaking action.

Overall, we have had a pretty good year but will be switching things up a little next year!! 

Stay tuned as the reviews start soon!!!!