Sunday, December 30, 2012

Learning to Let Them Grow Up

Well yesterday was the day. The day I had been dreading for the last four years. I knew it was coming, but continued to live in denial. My baby, my first born, my only son ...... moved out yesterday. He still has to come back and do some cleaning of his old room and move the last little bits of items to his new place, but it is a done deal. He has been talking about it for the past year so you think I would have been totally prepared. He has two really great guys for room mates and he really needs this stand of independence. Of course Grace has wanted his room for eons, it has a private bathroom. Now she will get her wish. Next week starts the gutting process of changing out paint, etc. to change from a boy's room to a girl's room. I will miss my boy but he is a great son and I am very proud of him. Working full time for the past four years, has a really good job, and a good head on his shoulders. Still......what will I do without our daily conversations when he comes home from work? or just knowing he is here. I know he will have a great time living on his own, spreading his wings so to speak. I will continue to pray that God watches over him and keeps him safe.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

After Christmas Giveaway

With the New Year upon us and all the resolutions that are made, I thought I would do a giveaway. I am currently in the mix of losing weight. My exercise of choice is usually Jazzercise or Zumba. I use dvds and youtube videos as well as actually going to Zumba classes. Latin Live by Jazzercise is one of their newest dvds to come out.

To enter the giveaway leave your information in the comments below:

For one entry become a follower of Cabin In The Woods.

For one entry leave a comment to what is your favorite form of exercise.

For another entry share this giveaway on your blog.

Please be sure to leave your information in the comments if you are now following. I have had two recent followers join but no info. This giveaway will end on New Year's Day.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Day 2012

Sorry about the picture overload. My sister surprised the two youngest with Furbys. They are actually very cute and you can download an app to do things with them. 

I cannot believe how old this kid has gotten. Twenty - two years have gone by in a flash.  I am so proud of him. Moving out in under two weeks, it will be so weird not having him in the house.

Mom, dad, sis and me. 

This girl cracks me up.

Even at 13 my baby is growing up too.

The whole gang. This is the first complete family pic we have had in years.

My sister thought this would be a great group photo. 

Hubby, me, Travis and Grace. 

Again, where does the time go.

Christmas Eve

Now that the kids are older we decided to start opening their presents on Christmas Eve. We go to the candlelight service at church then home to hang out, relax, and open gifts. The kids no longer want to be up at the crack of dawn to see what is under the tree and we usually need to be at my parent's house by 11:00. It works out perfectly.

Travis is will be 23 in May and in two weeks is moving out with some room mates. He only asked for items for the apartment for his Christmas. He got lots of good stuff like pots and pans, plates, blender, juicer, sandwich maker, utensils, etc.

Grace is still all things teenager. Her main gift was a iphone docking station. She also collects hats, socks, clothes, and got some really cool boots.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Activities

Yesterday Grace went to a friends house for cookie decorating and gingerbread house constructing. She had a lot of fun. I picked her up and we went straight to the Acts of Faith Christmas party. Spaghetti dinner, Chinese gift exchange, improv games and fellowship. We were very tired after getting home. Last but not least sat down and light the fourth advent candle and read scripture.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Three Day Blur - Preparing for Christmas

Finally we finished all of our new home made ornaments to fill our alternative Christmas tree. This was a lot of fun. I don't think I will go back to a traditional tree for a few years. This was so easy to take care of the none of the animals bothered it.

Hubby and myself made Christmas baskets of home made goodies for our families this year. Above is Moose Turtle Track Pretzels. 

Russian Tea

Oreo Truffles

A finished basket.

Another finished basket. Some items that are included: cross stitched ornaments, crocheted wash clothes, Moose Track Pretzels, dried tomatoes from the garden as well as peppers, fancy flavored coffee, home made greeting cards, and oreo truffles. Let me tell you those oreo truffles are delicious. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

And It Just Keeping Coming.....

I knew over the past few days I just didn't feel right. No real symptoms just tired and a little light headed. I exercised with Grace last night and getting through the last 30 minutes of Zumba was just torture. About one hour after exercising the chills set in. I was running a low grade temp. I don't think it has anything to do with the previous procedure because I do have a scratchy throat and one eye has started running. In our community there are a lot of illnesses floating around which I'm sure I have picked up. Praying for healing asap, I still have lots of Christmas stuff to get together. Everything is getting down to the wire.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Month of Service

The month of December always holds so many opportunities for service. Matter of fact sometimes too many to fit in one schedule. Last week I had to cancel out on wrapping presents for Angel Tree Ministries because of my trip to the emergency room. Any way this week has already had us working on two service projects. Our church prison ministry team has signed on to go to a women's 12 month residential home once a month to cook dinner and fellowship with the women. Such precious women and because they are not still in prison Grace can go with me. Last month we made dinner and sang Christmas carols. Since then they have attended a Christmas Tea at our church and some of the women got to come see The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. This past Monday we prepared dinner again and played Win Lose or Draw. Real bonds are forming between us and these women, we love going and spending time with them. I didn't take any pictures because obviously I want to respect their privacy.

This morning our youth service group got to participate with a local organization to fill 650 Christmas Baskets for needy families that will go out tomorrow. In the above photo you are looking at 1300 grocery bags. These bags are filled with apples, oranges, potatoes, bread, eggs, canned goods, boxed goods, and in the past a ham or turkey (didn't see any today but they may be under refrigeration until tomorrow). All the food is donated from local businesses. We had enough volunteers come out to get this accomplished in under one hour. We live in a great community and this was great for the youth service group to participate. 

Our family as well as our youth service group are very focused in making service to the community a monthly item on our agenda. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago some of the girls in our group are going to a girl's home once a month to fellowship and possibly do some mentoring as well as walking dogs and loving on cats at the local no kill animal shelter. Our next meeting will be in January and we will be planning all sorts of new service projects for the new year as well as fund raising events.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Relaxing Days of Christmas

After my minor surgery on Friday I was forced to sit down and relax. That is very difficult for a type A personality like me. Since I felt well and wasn't in any more pain I used this opportunity to sit at the kitchen table and do a lot of creating with Grace. I asked hubby to bring in some twigs from the woods and I planned on making stars to hang with ribbon in front of my window. When he had them bunched together I found something else to do with them. Me and Grace created and rustic tree or home made ornament. I asked her to draw me some owls which she did, and I hung buttons with twine.

Grace painted some snowmen that we need to hang on our alternative tree. The canning lids will also be turned into Snowmen heads then attached to a bamboo stick and put in my Christmas baskets for decorations.

We did a lot of art journaling over the last few days. Me, Grace and hubby would sit at the kitchen table each night after dinner to create pages. The picture below was drawn by Grace, but it is not an original idea from her. I found the picture on Pinterest and loved it so much I asked her to draw it for me. She is so talented and did such a great job.

Last year we tried our hand at a gingerbread house and it was just too intense. So this year we decided to create something a little easier. Below is our forest of colorful Christmas trees. This was actually a hard activity in another way, we are still sticking with weight watchers through the holidays and all that candy was killing us. It has been so much fun creating things for Christmas. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Review - Elisha Press - The Reunion

I was contacted recently to review a book for Elisha Press. This short novel is The Reunion authored by Rachel McIntire. Ms. McIntire has written several books with The Reunion being her first to be published. What I find interesting is that Ms. McIntire was a home school mom like me and she enjoyed writing stories for her children. The author penned this book back in 1982 with the purpose of giving her children something innocent to read but also to place important principles from God's Word in their hearts.

The Reunion is a small novel coming in at 134 pages. This book will come to you as a softcover edition. This was an easy read that I found myself not wanting to put down until it was finished. The Reunion is a sweet story about redemption, family, and God's unwavering love for us. Clicking on the following link will lead you to an excerpt from the book. I enjoyed the fact that God was present in every aspect of this book. Also the enormity of growing up in a home that centers around God can make such a tremendous difference in a child's life. Often times those children that do not have this grounding or foundation will grow up lost and lonely. I found The Reunion to be a very sweet, uplifting story. I would recommend this book as a family read aloud for all ages and to read independently for 10 years and up. Currently The Reunion can be purchased for $9.99 with free shipping in the United States. Elisha Press is offering a special code for my readers that offers a $2.00 off coupon. When visiting the Elisha Press order page simply enter REVIEW-CABIN as the code for your $2.00 coupon.

Please visit Elisha Press and look into purchasing The Reunion. This would be a great Christmas present.

Disclaimer: Elisha Press sent me a copy of The Reunion at no cost to me for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up - The One With An Emergency Room Visit, Minor Surgery and a Car Accident

With a title like that who wouldn't come and read this post. It has been an interesting week. Even with everything going on we were still able to get some school work done as this was our last week before Christmas Break. I guess I will break this down into categories to best address each topic:

On the Personal Front- As I mentioned in a previous post I have had a lot of female issues over the past 6 weeks and this culminated in an emergency room visit on Monday night and an ablation performed on Friday. On the way home from the procedure a young teen girl pulled right out in front of my mom and we got into a car accident. No one was hurt, but I was cramping so badly that I called my husband to come and get me so I could get home in bed. After about 4 hours of cramping, pain meds weren't really helping, it finally stopped and I can say this morning I am feeling better.

History - Grace has been working on two different units this week, Greek Mythology and World War I. In Greek Mythology she is creating awesome art journaling page to share the information she has learned. The World War I unit has just been started and we are using a lapbook from Hands of a Child. Of course Grace doesn't care anything about cutting and pasting, we just use the information and answer all the questions.
Science - Grace is creating a notebook that has all the major science concepts she should know by the age of 14. This week we made pages about the Earth's layers and the Rock  Cycle. Once we are finished with this book it will be a great resource for studying for any standardized tests in the future to refresh her memory about basic science concepts. She includes all kinds of colorful diagrams and explanations.

Math - Currently we are working through a geometry workbook from Math Essentials. This week was polygons and classifying triangles as well as some review work from previous concepts.

English - Grace attended her weekly essay writing class and turned in her second major essay for the semester about the pilgrims. After class we stayed for a Christmas party until I started feeling bad and had to get us home. Grace finished reading the book Holes a couple of weeks ago and loved it so this week I got the movie from Netflix and she loved it too. Currently she has started reading the new Merlin series and is in book 1. She also did some review exercises in her Language Lessons book: quotations, commas, and semi colons.

Bible - We are working through Journey to Bethlehem which is an advent activity. We have missed a few days due to my problems.

Extras- Monday night was recitals for puppetry arts, tone chimes, choir, and dance. It went really well and all the parents enjoyed watching the kids perform. I was able to go to lunch with my fellow cooperative teachers on Wednesday and ate some really good food and a really festive setting. Tuesday night we ate with the family at my mom's house.

Favorite thing we used this week would probably be Journey to Bethlehem from Bow of Bronze. We love listening to the recommended music while reading the scriptures. This is making the month of December that more special for us.

Please be sure to visit Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see what other families have been up to this week.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Art Journaling for Education

We continue to art journal to record the information that we are learning. Currently we are art journaling with our Greek Mythology Unit. Yesterday Grace read about Persephone and did a great creative page with information. Just wanted to share that when she puts her mind to it she can produce some really great, thoughtful work.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Last Night - Recitals Followed by an Emergency Room Visit

Last night was recitals for our cooperative. Grace performed in Choir and Tone Chimes. All the kids did great. If you have trouble picking out Grace she is in the striped black and grey sweater. I knew as soon as I got to recitals around 6:00 that the night was not going to go well for me physically. I have had trouble for the past 5 weeks with female issues and have a procedure scheduled for this Friday. Well, anyway, I ended up in the emergency room last night to check for anemia. I won't go in to details but it was a bad night. My blood work was fine probably because my doctor had the foresight to up my iron to twice a day until the procedure. In a crazy twist of fate my close friend and co-director of the cooperative had to also take her son to the hospital because of a cut on his finger that became infected and was turning into blood poisoning. So we were both their at that the same time and visited some while waiting for my test results and his IV antibiotics to drip. Now just hoping to last until Friday for my procedure and take it easy the remainder of this week.

Monday, December 10, 2012

She Loves All Things Hat


Random Monday

 Let's see just how random I can be:

  • Tonight is the last of all our performances for December. Last week was two of The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. Very exhausting. Tonight is recitals for choir, puppetry arts, tone chimes and dance. Looking forward to a few weeks away from the cooperative to regroup.
  • Female issues in your 40s is the pits. I will be having a smallish procedure on Friday. Your prayers would be appreciated.
  • Me and Grace cheated a bit this week with food. Still trying to adhere to Weight Watchers as best we can during the month of non stop parties associated with eating. I still lost one pound and Grace stayed the same. 
  • Only one more present to buy, buts lots of stuff that still need to be made for the family Christmas baskets we are giving this year.
  • Loving participating with Journey to Bethlehem from Bow of Bronze. Last night we made cinnamon dough ornaments. The house smells wonderful.
  • Currently baking blondies for the recital tonight and I won't even be able to eat them. That is just torture.
Hope everyone has a great Christmas. God Bless.

Homemade Christmas Decorations

I mentioned in a previous post that as a family we are using Journey to Bethlehem which is an advent packet with scripture, song choices, and activities to follow through the month of December.  Last night our activity was to make cinnamon dough ornaments. This was very easy and it made the house smell wonderful. Once they dry we will have more ornaments for our alternative Christmas tree. The recipe is very simple: 1 cup cinnamon, 1 cup applesauce, and 1 tablespoon of glue. Mix it all together and roll out on a counter or wax paper. We had to add a little more cinnamon so it wasn't too sticky to roll. After rolling and cutting the ornaments will need to dry for 24 hours before hanging. They well be very fragile so store them with care. The cinnamon smell should stay for a while, but when gone can had a drop or two of cinnamon essential oil to liven it back up. We really enjoyed making these last night.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Vision Forum Review - Peril On Providence Island

Vision Forum is a quality company offering many quality products. As I have mentioned in previous posts, Vision Forum is one of my favorite homeschool companies. I really cannot pigeon hole them as a homeschool curriculum company because they offer so much more to all families. Vision Forum is a forerunner in discipleship and educational products for Christian families. This is my third review for Vision Forum and I have been happy with all three products. Their website states,"Helping parents raise strong families for the glory of God by providing family building books, films, cds, toys, and more!" If you haven't yet guessed, I really love and appreciate Vision Forum.

Product imageThis review will concentrate on the second book in The Baker Family Adventure Series, Peril on Providence Island. If you have not read my review of the first book in the series you can find it here. I liked the first book quite a bit, but the second is even better in my opinion. All of the Baker family return in the adventure as well as some of the characters from the first book. Peril on Providence Island has everything needed for a good adventure. Travel, suspense, danger, treasure, thieves, and mystery bring this story to life in merry old England. Character lessons, godliness and Biblical lessons are included in this wonderful series about a Christian homeschooling family that often finds themselves in precarious situations. Always eager to help they find themselves unraveling the mystery of a hidden treasure to help an elderly neighbor of their grandparents. Along the way all sorts of interesting situations and predicaments unfold. The Baker Family Adventures is written by C.R. Hedgecock. This series can be used as a read aloud for the entire family or read independently for 10 and up. Peril on Providence Island retails currently for $8.40, regularly $14.00 and both books in the series can be purchased for $25.00. Please go and visit Vision Forum and check out all the wonderful products they have available.
Also visit here to read a sample chapter of Peril on Providence Island.

Disclaimer: I received Peril on Providence from Vision Forum at no cost to me for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Frugal Homemade Decorations

As I mentioned in a previous post, this will be the first year we haven't put up a Christmas tree. The main reasons are space in our small cabin home, a cat that climbs the tree and wrecks all the ornaments, and a ferret that will do the same when out each night for his exercise. I researched some on pinterest to find alternative trees (which I totally got sucked in to the vortex of Pinterest and wasted lots of time looking at stuff other people had pinned). The above pic is what we came up with. Throughout the month me and Grace are making ornaments to hang on the limbs out of stuff we find in the woods (twigs, pinecones, acorns, etc.) to make the tree look rustic just like our cabin.

Our second frugal homemade decoration is an advent wreath. This will be the first year that we have celebrated advent at home. We are using a free downloadable packet Journey to Bethlehem from Bow of Bronze. We are so enjoying this. The wood on the bottom is from a dresser that belonged to my grandmother. The dresser had not been used for a long time and was taking up too much space in our back shed. Hubby had the bright idea to cut the wood up into pieces and create things for the home for me and my family to keep as a memory of my grandmother. So this is the first item to be used from my grandmother's dresser.

All the items used for the two projects were already around the house and required no spending. 

The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe

After many challenges and a lot of work the first performance of The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe was last night. We had an audience of about 140 and will probably have the same tonight for our 2nd performance. If you are having trouble picking out Grace, she is the unicorn in white.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What a Blessing

Yesterday Acts of Faith (Grace's traveling drama ministry group) had two performances. First off I need to say that I have known this group of kids for the past few years and they are all great. They love each other, love spending time together, and can get very silly. Acts of Faith have been practicing since August on lots of new material. Yesterday was our first performance of the year. In the morning we performed at the leader of the group's church and it went very well. Last night though was the real blessing. The group performed at Victory Home which is a men's alcohol recovery home. The group did great with the performance and the men so enjoyed it and could really identify with all the skits we did. It really energized the group to see how affected the men were from the performances. We hope to go back and perform for them again in a few months with some new material. We all loved being there visiting with the men even hubby was so impressed with the facility and staff that he hopes to go back in January and start serving in some way. Great, great day.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up - The Week of Drama

D'Aulaires' Book of Greek MythsWell not the bad kind of drama. This week consisted of three drama practices for next week's performance of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. All the kid's costumes were great. We still have some tricky moments that with God's help will go okay. This year's drama group is 3/4ths of newbies. Looking forward to some down time after next week. But of course there won't be that much, with Christmas lots still to happen.

Anyway, school was not too bad this week. As I mentioned in a previous post we finished up the Shakespeare study of Twelfth Night and really enjoyed it even though we don't really enjoy Shakespeare. So, explain that. We are still working hard at Weight Watchers and exercise. As of today I have lost 12 pounds and Grace has lost 8. Of course she has done her 8 pounds in 14 days while my 12 took 5 weeks. Grace finished up the book Fever 1793 and loved it. She chose to create a board game for her alternative book report of Fever. Still working on that and will share more when it is finished. Two days ago she started reading Holes and is really like it too. Our favorite items we used this week is The Mark of Athena and D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths. Art journaling the information has bee great for Grace. It gives her something creative to do instead of just writing information, and we all know how much she dislikes writing. I created an advent garland this past week with all kinds of fun stuff for us to do during December. Really looking forward to putting this in to place starting tomorrow. We are ending the week today with a field trip to see The Nutcracker Ballet with some friends. Great way to start off the Christmas season.

Make sure to visit other families blogs and see what they did this week through The Weekly Wrap Up.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A New Rabbit Trail

Last week we finished our three week study of Shakespeare and his play the Twelfth Night. It was a good experience and we know a lot about this particular play now. I told Grace that if we study one of Shakespeare's play a year by the time she graduates she will have a good working knowledge of his works.

We needed a new interest and found it actually in an old interest. Grace and myself have read the entire Percy Jackson Series and The Heroes of Olympus Series as read alouds. I enjoy them as much as she does which is why we read them together. We start off each school day with a chapter. When The Mark of Athena came out we knew we would be reading this one also. We are 200 pages in to it and that is where our rabbit trail started. D'Aularies' Book Of Greek Myths has also been in my possession for a couple of years. Grace looked through it originally but never really paid it much mind. Well, now that we are back into a new Heroes book it seemed like perfect timing to do an in depth study of Greek Mythology.

I have always loved this book. The illustrations are wonderful. I have a very hard time remembering all the names and what they are the god or goddess of, but Grace does a good job of remembering them. What is great about the Rick Riordan books is that most of the gods and goddesses are brought back again and again which helps with recall. So anyway, each day Grace is reading some from the book then creating some journal pages to help remember information.

Day one Grace learned about the Titans and mother earth Gaea. This is a great way to start off the study because Gaea plays a major role in The Heroes of Olympus Series.

Day two she learned about Zeus, Hera and the other gods of Olympus. She decided to print pictures of each god or goddess to help her remember. Most of these we knew pretty well from all the previous books.

Today which was Day three Grace read about Hera. Grace immediately let me know that she didn't care for Hera. She was a very jealous goddess and not too nice. Today Grace chose to draw an illustration of Hera and write a bit of info.

Homeschooling is so great. We get to study items that really interest us. By the time we finish the D'Aulaires; book, Grace should be very proficient in Greek Mythology.