Monday, November 30, 2009

Perspective on Trials

Wow, how did almost 2 weeks go by without me posting again?!? I guess it is silent commentary on how busy we have been lately.

On our way home from a long Thanksgiving weekend, Dan and I listened to a sermon on trials by Mark Driscoll. It seemed an appropriate subject since many of our closest friends are experiencing great trials. But the preacher reminded us that all believers experience trials, some are trials of blessing and abundance, and others are trials of loss and want. Either way, trials are to be expected in life.

The entire message was excellent, but the phrase I've been mulling over all day is when he said (loose quotation here) "As a believer, this life of trials is the closest you will ever come to hell." It's making me think a lot about Christ's sacrifice, which is an appropriate meditation around Christmas, don't you think?

The sermon can be found here and you can get the other sermons in the series at

Let me know if you listen and what you think of it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Cozy Corner

The first book we read aloud at the start of our school year was The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner.I admit, I was a bit skeptical at first. This book has 13 chapters, 154 pages, with only a few, small, black and white pictures in each chapter. Up until this point we had read only picture books, or short stories that didn't have pictures, but were quick to read. I didn't think either of the kids would like this book.

But since I bought the book, and the curriculum told me to read it to my kindergartner, then I felt I had no choice but to try. We started reading, and although Elijah balked at first, he really did start to enjoy the story of 3 homeless, orphaned children who live in an abandoned boxcar. They survive using some ingenious ideas to meet their daily needs and rely on each other to help make their life fulfilling.

What helped make this book age appropriate for my 5.5 year old is the simple language used. Written in 1942 (yes, Elijah, older than Grandpa!) the sentences are not complex, and made it easier for Elijah to follow along. There were very few words I had to define for him to understand what happened in each chapter. And as always, after we finished reading, I would ask him comprehension questions and was always surprised by how much he understood and retained. We even talked through some of the "why's" of the children's behavior.

Apparently this is a series, but I think we'll stop while we are ahead, and maybe read some more of the Boxcar Children this summer.

Verdict: read this to your kids and be prepared for them to play "Boxcar Children" for weeks to come.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cozy Corner

I have been homeschooling for exactly 12 weeks now. So, as you can assume, I am officially an expert on the subject. And since I know you are dying to hear my intellectual arguments for why we do what we do in our little academy, I decided to start a series on this blog to highlight the books we read and my little genius' reaction to them all.

Okay, now that I have successfully caused you to lose your lunch, let me explain what I'm really doing:

I am 12 weeks into an educational experiment with my children, specifically my 5.75 year old. Now I know all those die-hard home school moms out there are screaming after they read that sentence, but hear me out. In no way do I think homeschooling is any less desirable than public or private instruction, nor do I think it ranks as the "only" way to teach your children. All I'm saying is that I'm 12 weeks in to this and I have no idea if it's the right way or not. I think it depends a lot on the individual child, even more on the desire and ability of the parents and truthfully, I really don't think there is a "right" or "wrong" way to educate a child. It is just the option we have chosen for our family for this moment in time.

Whew. Glad that's out of the way.

Now, let's get to the real reason for this post. After 12 weeks of reading aloud a lot of books to my kindergartner (and his 3.5 year old sister, when she decides she will sit still) I decided it might be fun and maybe even a little helpful if I blogged about the books we are reading and how the kids have responded to them. I'm no expert book reviewer, but I know which books my kids love and respond to and which ones have them snoring on the couch as I drone on. I'm calling this series "The Cozy Corner" because even when the books are boring, we all enjoy cuddling on the couch or bed while I read.

So stay tuned over the coming weeks to read my personal reviews of the books we read, specifically the books from our schooling curriculum, Sonlight. It should be interesting, and maybe it will even cause me to update this blog more regularly!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Happy Halloween (a few days late)

Our family, which consists of a baseball player, bee, cat and clone trooper hope you all had a sugar-filled Halloween!
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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Custon Quilt

Me and my sis-in-law, Noelle, have tossed around the idea of a custom quilt for her for almost a year now. So I was super pumped this last September when she came for a visit completely prepared to pick out fabric and finalize the details for her queen sized quilt. We visited my favorite quilt store and had a blast picking fabrics and deciding what color scheme best suited her.

Noelle has an awesome, funky, colorful style, and we wanted to choose fabrics that really reflected an eclectic look. She picked out all the fabric, and I just helped group and get rid of or add a few others. I think she did a fantastic job!

We decided on a vertical stripe quilt pattern. We didn't want anything too traditional, and the vertical stripes really helped the fabric pop.

Mounted on the frame, ready to quilt. Noelle specifically asked for pictures of the process.

It's finished being quilted here. Now I have to trim the edges and sew on the binding.

All done! I finished in time to bring it on our last visit a few weeks ago. I think she loved it!