Our Homeschool Year Comes to an End

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The day has officially arrived! This day marks the end of our school year! I must admit, it was the toughest homeschool year I ever had. It had nothing to do with my teaching my kids at home, but it was the outside commitments that had me running hard this school year. So, I am feeling considerable relief from the stress that has been lifted from my shoulders.

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Don’t get me wrong, it was a good school year. The challenge was I decided to write my own California History curriculum for our campus day class. So I took information from various California history books and married them together as unit studies. Covering everything from California’s geography and Native Indians to Modern day California. I even included live books to read and even wrote my own study guides to go along with them. It was a ton of work, but it was work that I enjoyed, because I love history. Now, that the school year is done, I will go back and make adjustments to my California history units and refine them. That way they are ready to go the next time I teach California history.

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All in all, I think the biggest challenge and joy was putting together a slide show for each unit. As I began to stockpile old photos, I continued to dig deeper into that part of history reading learning more and more. But, I would need to stop and refocus my attention to what I was suppose to be doing.

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And then there was sewing class. A fun class with 7th grade girls all the way to 11th grade. I worried over picking out projects they would like and wear. I wondered if they would even like my ideas! You know what! They did! They loved the projects, and loved my ideas. I adored each moment I was able to inspire them! I loved hearing from moms, sharing that their daughters made all their Christmas presents on their sewing machine and thanking me for giving them the confidence and the excitement to create something with their machines. I am humbled to know that I was able to do that. What a gift the Lord has given me to share, just a portion of his great creative skills.

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All this to say, that I was not as present as I should have been for my children. Life this school year was busy, too busy to really enjoy my children and teach them the way I like to teach. It is long past the time for me to slow down. Remembering to pray before I make a commitment. As I was reminded by my pastor Carl Fletcher two weeks ago on one of his sermons. I need to be sure I am doing what God wants me to be doing. The top items on that list is serving my husband and my children. I must remember that it is okay to say “no”, and say “yes” to more time with my kids.

All in all, it was a blessed school year. Plus, I now will have a ton to share. After all, I have started 19 post that need to be finished!

In Christ,

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Sketches of my Treasures

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There are a few things in this world that I greatly treasure. My three kids are some of those treasures. So, when my son had a birthday recently, my heart stopped when I opened the cover of a sketchbook gift. It was a gift from one of my son’s friends and his mom, my Artist friend Kerstin Fletcher.

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oh, my heart! There is just something amazing when someone captures your little love, in simple perfection. I was amazed to receive such an amazing gift. Because to me, this held more value than any expensive gift. I mean, yes it was a simple gift, but it was my son.

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So, of course, I had to ask her if she would sketch my other children individually so I can frame them as add them to my wall.

What do you think? Amazing right!? I absolutely LOVE it! She captured Peanuts sparkle and her sweet little cheeks.

Kerstin has been truly blessed by God to have a fraction of his creative genius.

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Here is Mia Moo! The photo was taken just before her baptism. One of the only photos were she is not blinking!

I just love how they all turned out! I will have to show you the next sketch she does of all three of them together being silly. That sketch will have a lot more detail.

Kerstin Fletcher is truly blessed by God in her fine arts skills. If you would like her to draw, sketch or even paint your family’s portrait she is available. As you can see, all she needs is a photo. Her prices are posted on her blog and feel free to email her with any questions you may have. Check out her page at Art By Kasteen.

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“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8

 

 

Feeling Blessed

 

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It is morning in my house, and everybody is sleeping. While I am relishing in the fact that my home is quiet and I still have 20 minutes to myself before the kids wake up, and the day begins to sing its tune. So I decide to get up and pour myself another cup of coffee, or should I shift to tea. After all, my girls love hot tea in the morning. I decide on tea and get ready to continue with some quiet reading, when this feeling just comes over me. It’s like a blanket of contentment. An understanding that I am living a life of privilege just covers me.

I stand there in awe. I am privileged. Not because I hold on to any wealth, because I don’t. Or because I hold a high status of any kind, because I am a nobody. I don’t get to travel the world on a whim, but that would be amazing! The reality is, I am privileged to stand in my kitchen with a cup of coffee or tea, while my little ones sleep. The fact is they will soon wake up, and I will get to feed them food the Lord has provided. That they will get to stay in their pajamas this rainy day as we get to settle into homeschooling, together, and jump into the adventure of learning what the Lord has in store for us.

We as a family are blessed that my husband has a great job that affords me to be home with our children, to train them up to be Godly people in this world. What a blessing this truly is! I get the strength from the Lord and wisdom, His patience, His joy, His everything to be a teacher and watch His little people grow and learn. Its truly a life of privilege that I have, because honestly, even on our worst day. I would not change a thing!

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Kids Paper Plate Santa Craft

Here is a revisit of one of our family favorite Christmas crafts.

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Here we are in the month of December. An time of the year that is filled with treats, families, traditions and all things holiday! It is no different here. In our home we do invite Santa to join in our festivities. Now,I know all families are different and for us, this craft is a holiday tradition. We also have plenty of AMAZING Christian traditions we do to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus. But today I will share our Santa plate craft.

So here is a list of supplies you will need per child:

1 paper plate
1 red construction paper
1 white construction paper
1 glue stick
1 bag of cotton balls (to share of course)
1 black marker
1 scissor
1 of each color; red, blue, peach (for skin color) and pink

 

I did make a template for the hat and beard for you to use as a pattern if you would like to print it. Just in case makes your life easier mom.
So here are your pattern pieces. The top is obviously for the hat, so you will trace it on the red construction paper for the hat.
The bottom is the beard, so you will trace that on the white construction paper.
Then cut out the shapes and you are ready to begin!
We begin by drawing smily eyes and nose with the black marker for Santa’s face. Either your child can draw this or you can mom. In my case, my kids wanted me to do it. You can draw a round nose to look more like a cherry nose if you like.
It is fun to watch them get creative with their Santa faces.

 

Then color in your faces to give them some life.

 

Adding special details.

 

That is one happy Santa!
Once the face is drawn you can use the glue stick to add the beard and hat.
Now it is time to glue on the cotton!!!!
Sometimes, they one one piece glued at a time and that is okay.

 

 

The Santa’s are really starting to take shape!!!
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Now everybody has their own unique santa.

 

Another fun Christmas craft under the belt!
Yes, this is what a normal shot usually looks like.

 

I love my little hams!
Thanks for letting me share one of our families traditions.
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Family Favorite Book for November

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Here is a quick little hello, and a little book recommendation.

As I am sure you may have guessed, our family reads a lot. We each have our own books we read independently and we have books we read-out-loud together. From this month family read-out-louds collection we have a number one favorite; The School Story by Andrew Clements. It was a book my kids begged me to read just one more chapter. They absolutely LOVED the idea of two sixth graders scheming to get Natalie’s first story published as a book under the pen name Cassandra Day. What an adventure it was for them. So if you have any 8 to 12 year olds and have not read this book I highly recommend it. My kids had a blast listening to this book. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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DIY: Staircase Makeover

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Here is a little project my husband and I tackled during our Christmas break. With all the rain and busy weekdays, it ended up taking a lot longer that we had hoped. But,that’s the case with DIY projects right?!

So like a lot of homes built 20 years ago, you have those wonderful orange color stained cabinets and staircase. We, like many people who adore this orange color so much, decided to update our look. So we took one of our weekend days to sand our orange color banisters down.

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Sanding alone made a huge improvement on the look of the banister. But you will notice we didn’t get to sand in all the little crevasses.

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Not to worry, we are using a stain gel for the hand rail. Since it is not a penetrating stain, we don’t need to put in so much elbow grease. Which makes me so happy.

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Next I take the time to tape all the spindles and the base of of the spindles. Painting the spindles all the way up to the hand rail will be hard enough.

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We will eventually replace the carpet. So we took advantage of this time and decided to do the staircase now.

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Now we get ready to stain!

We used General Finishes Java Gel Stain, and it was super easy to use. First, my husband put on latex gloves. Then he put an old clean sock over it. Then he dipped his hand in the stain gel and started spreading it on the wood.

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Here goes our first coat!

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It is actually pretty easy to spread.

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First coat done! Now to wait at least 24 hours to spread the next coat.

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We ended up doing 3 coats to get good coverage and a deep rich color.

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Now we are ready for polyurethane! We decided to use Minwax brand Polyurethane and cautiously brushed on 1 coat. No sanding! It will make it cloudy. You want to have the gloss finish.

After this, we took off the tape on the top of the spindles and got ready to paint them white. That too took 3 coats to get a nice bright white.

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Here is our first coat of white paint. Notice how we kept the tape at the base of the spindles. (sorry for the poor phone picture)

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Here she is complete!

Not bad for a couple DIY project!

I hope this inspires you to start a home improvement project. I know it takes time and energy, but there is something to be said about the bonding of husband and wife on a project like this.

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“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men”Colossians 3:23

Guest Bath DIY: My Current Crazy

Let me introduce you to the current crazy in my life. It started 2 weeks ago when I went to Costco after church. I noticed before I left home that my husband laid some tools on the downstairs bathroom floor by the shower stall. I know he was curious to see how much water damage had occurred from the previous owners. It was obviously soft to the touch in the left corner. So, I went shopping.

After a couple hours of being gone, I came home and unloaded a ton of massive quantities of food and pulled out my Tetris skills to put the food away. Then, I turned to my husband with hands on my hips and asked, “Okay, so what did you do?” “Nothing!” came his simple reply. So I walked over to the downstairs bathroom and opened the door. Yup, he was busy while I was gone.

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Well, I guess we have a new project underway. The entire shower was gone. I was surprised how “clean” it looked since it was a stock tile shower. He told me it just came off easily on the hardibacker. Which was great.

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Over the next few days he has worked on removing the toilet and the sink that could not be described other than hidious.

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     He also worked the following weekend removing the door and door frame.

     Since our laundry room is directly across the downstairs bathroom we decided we needed to rip the floor out of there so we can have seamless new flooring. So that happend next.

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So once the washer and dryer were out, we discovered that the builders did a cheap job of venting the dryer. So the 2 1/2 years we have been living in the house our dryer has been venting into the insulation and making the sheetrock soft and moist. We also discovered mold under the baseboards. Yuck!

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Since we really didn’t like having the washer and dryer in the house, we decided to put the washer and dryer into the garage and remove this cabinet. This room will now become a mud room! I am super excited about that!

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Here is the back of the laundry room in our garage. It was a simple task of emptying my kids craft cabinet and tearing it down. Then switching the electrical and plumbing to go out through the fire wall. So after a week of not being able to do any laundry. Our washer and dryer were hooked up yesterday evening and we are washing insurmountable piles of laundry.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about our current home improvement project. I will post better pictures when it is all done!

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“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:2-3