Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How We Tried to Make the Best of Hurricane Irene

I am just amazed at all the damage that Hurricane Irene caused through NC and northward into NJ and NY!! It breaks my heart at the destruction to beautiful landscapes, major roads, towns, homes and even lives :/ Even just driving through a busy city this week, we were just in awe at the damage ... so local!

And it reminds me how fortunate we were and grateful we should be... that we were soo spared! The biggest "problems" we faced was a BIG limb in the backyard

a tin carport roof ripped off it's bolts and brought down (a foot or two) on the post
and thankfully Brian's intuition made him move our van!

and loss of electricity for a few days.

Honestly, the electricity part was the hardest!! It effected our routine soo much and made simple tasks of "life" a bigger challenge! But in each challenge there was a do-able solution:) All our needs were met and we were able to be thankful in the midst of the "hard times"!

The obvious effect was keeping fresh food at the right storage temperatures and fixing meals!! Thankfully there was a cooler of ice that we were able to use and a generator at a neighbors where we could store our frozen goods. I had stocked up on a couple of simple meals... lunch meat for sandwiches, cereal and even freshly made banana bread:) And our grill.... what a life saver;)


Brian cooks up a MEAN sausage, bacon, eggs and toasted bagels on a grill!! In fact the kids asked if he'd cook breakfast on the grill again next weekend;) And neighbors brought over some delicious pork chops that they had grilled one afternoon;)

HOT showers!! That was one of my biggest hesitations on missions trips.... would I get a hot shower.... I know, so superficial!! I've lost WAY more hot showers as a mom :) Anyway, we had warm water almost 2 days... being super careful! The kids played in freezing tub water for a bath. Finally when the warm water gave out.... neighbors with a gas water tank invited me over... so nice!!

What do you with no power and kids??? first kudos to friends who are just getting their power back in these last few hours... one has 10 kids, the other has 4 and is very preggo with #5!!

Saturday with the really bad weather was the hardest day... so I broke out the books... yep, we schooled through Irene:) And then after they napped the storm had a "lull" so we let them out to play in their dress-ups... gotta love Chris in his uncle's soccer shirt and a belt... truly styling:)


Sunday and Monday we were all outside pretty early... grilling breakfast, riding bikes through the neighborhood, picking up tree limbs and just being OUTSIDE! And then Monday after being outside most of the morning we did some errands in a fully - lit town.

The hardest part with the kids was night time!!! All our kids are used to fans, a cool sleeping breeze and their nightlights!! So we all crashed in the living room... floors, couches and even a pack-n-play full... with windows open! There was still a little fussing... but we reminded them of all the things they should be thankful for versus complaining.... a solid roof, a comfortable house, no bugs/mosquitos coming into the house, full bellies, clean bedding, etc! It worked... we obviously were still warm, but definitely attempting to make it work!

And I have to say it was nice to see and be a part of neighbors coming together! Helping one another! Checking on each other! Makes me soo thankful to be a part of this community! We made it through these last few days (and many years) with them... they are soo precious to us!


Yes and one of the GREATEST things about the hurricane was keeping Brian with us!!! You all will understand more when I get to blog about it.... but we have some changes happening around here and Brian's schedule is about to change in a BIG way soon....

soooo it was very nice to have him home with us all day Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday... sure he worked on a sermon (or two), some class prep, visiting 2 different hospitals to see church members and his online class... but he was with us;)

I have already asked the kids what their favorite part of Hurricane Irene was:

Chris (5 years): Having candles and flashlights at night!
Lydia (4 years) : Sleeping in the living room :)
Anna (7 yrs) : learning to play the "cup game" with Daddy:)

Pics of peace...

during the storm...
IMG_8501 - Copy

and seeing this after... drying out!


More Wordless Wednesday at
NapTime MomTog,

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ahhhh... nice to see you again!!

Thanks soo much for the thoughts and prayers....

Hurricane Irene brought a TON of wind and rain... downed trees, limbs and power lines... but thankfully not much else!!

The power crews have been out for days and finally we can turn on the TV and computer... oh, and not try to find ice for the refrigerator or hunt for a hot shower!!

I'm catching up with friends and laundry... until then, just one or two pics from the storm!

Playing out in the rain puddles Saturday night after the heaviest of the storms had left!

Chris biking through a mess

oh, so glad to have power again!

And praying for those who are still feeling the effects of Irene!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

SOOC: King of the Table & Irene's Wind

Nate is soo quick right now. We often catch him on the table! He even moves chairs away from the table so he can get up and down:) And his motivation are the "goodies" he finds... like Momma's cell...


This one is very blurry, but that is the face we see often:) Accompanied by "eeee!" Usually after we ask him to give it to us :)

And we have lots of wind and rain from Hurricane Irene. The wind is soo strong and rattles some of our inside doors!


We've heard news of a couple of tornadoes and a LOT of rain!! And it looks like Irene is going to be around for most of the day:/

SOOC Saturday

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up: 1st week back at work

Our "big" start date was Monday!

So Monday morning we all rose and attempted to follow the new routine.... much grace and patience was given because it was NEW to all of us;) And we started with a fussy toddler and two kiddos complaining with headaches :( It was a reminder to me that it's a routine and NOT a strict schedule... we do what we can.

Tuesday and Thursday we spent most of our mornings doing errands... groceries, library, getting stocked with water, bread and milk since we have a hurricane coming. We spent Tuesday afternoon driving (more to share about this) so the kids brought schoolwork with them and we read ALL of our history in a parking lot while Brian was visiting at the hospital! Thursday after a quick shop and picking up a neighbor from the doctors, I knew I was sick and attempted to rest after I got the kids down for early naps.... not sure what is going on with me :(

So what did we get done???

We started our mornings with Psalms at breakfast:)

Inspired by the book we used in Bible study with our homeschooling group we have started to look for things we know about God from Psalms. It's hard for them, but I think it's better than just reading through it and checking it off a "to do" list!

We have a pretty long prayer list and the kids were volunteering to pray for each request, but it was getting hard to remember everything. Then Chris and Anna decided to do prayer cards... index cards with the dated request on the back... my kids are soo wise! Anyway, they LOVED it and were thinking of other people to pray for (and make cards for). Very sweet and too simple!!

Anna praying from the cards

And then we tackled our "book work"!

Anna did mostly reviewing this week. Her books finally came in Wednesday:) But it was just better to stick with the reviewing while Lydia and Chris started getting settled into their books;)

Anna reviewed subtraction facts and subtracting with borrowing! It was a great refresher;) She did start on her first Saxon 3 lesson, too!! She was eager to get into her new math workbook;)

Chris did 3 math lessons! He rocks at math! I was a little hesitant with giving him an "assessment" on the 2nd day because we hadn't reviewed some of the concepts all summer... but I was pleasantly surprised that he had retained soo much;)


Lydia begged to start math! She was ready LAST week and she carried around her workbook Monday until we finally came to her "math time" ! She has done a lovely job finishing 4 lessons!

Language Arts
I've spoiled Anna (and probably all of them) this summer by letting them read only what they wanted. So this week I"d had to push them to read books from our historical topics/time periods! I've definitely been met with resistance! Anna also worked on giving words endings (like y, ed & ing) and grammar (thanks Miss Sue sue!!) terms as a review before starting Spelling Power. She took her 1st placement test on Friday:)

Chris is working on a list of 1st grade sight words for his Spelling words. We read over the 4 the words he has and he wrote them a few times!

Lydia is working on her color words! Kids learn to identify colors, but often to teach them the color words gets neglected (like by me!!). So Lydia is doing color words worksheets.... she thinks it's "baby work" :)

On the first day we did an "About Me" on the first day! And I let the younger two trace most of it... an easy first day:)


Lydia and Chris have done 2 Grammar lessons together! I KNOW Chris is ready, but Lydia is a little hesitant to participate :( So we'll see if she continues to do it with us, I'm going to give it a couple more weeks!

We read about how Queen Elizabeth began queen and what kind of queen she was. We colored, did the map and quizzed each other about Henry VIII wives and children;) There are some fun books about Queen Elizabeth... one is a journal format similar to the American Girls books (Anna liked that one). I like Ten Queens which contains a chapter about Queen Elizabeth.

Anna started on our first week of Chemistry alone :/ She was excited to start, so she did her Definitions page with a couple of questions about how to word the entries.

On Thursday while we were out and waiting in the car I read some of the book Drop of Water. It was a fun and beautiful introduction to water, molecules and phases of water;) Beautiful pictures... beautiful:)

Friday we did our first two experiments:) I planned only to do one ... a drop of food coloring into a jar of water...


and watched it disperse!

but then I got caught up in the simple experiment and we did it with heated water, ice water and tap water:) And watched how quickly the coloring moved in the hot water tan the others!

As I read to them from our science book, I saw blank stares as I read about atoms, neutrons, protons, electrons and a nucleus:) So I drew them one and they made their own to put into their science notebooks.


While in the car this week, we've been listening to music from Handel. One CD was a biography of Handel focusing on "The Water Music" and a CD Brian picked up at Dollar Tree YEARS ago;) I'm hoping to play these for a while and learn a little more about Handel the next few weeks and then move on to someone else;) Trying to sneak in some music appreciation;)

We have been watching the news following the path of Irene and the events in Tripoli this week! We're ready for some rain.... but hoping Irene stays off the coast! We're ready though with flashlights and water!

We were hoping to go to a Splash Pad for our annual homeschool back-to-school gathering on Friday night. Unfortunately Hurricane Irene has postponed our plans :( Just praying that everyone has prepared and is ready!

I realized this week.... that with the school year officially started now SCHOOL is going to have to be our priority again! I have a couple of different things that are pulling on me... but i have to stay focused! On the right priorities!

Picture of the Week
Nate's 1st day of School

Nate was soo "off" and fussy Monday while Anna tried to keep him during her time with him!! She worked her little tail off those 15 minutes!

Linking up to Weekly Wrap-Up !!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

No More Floaties:)

We have all sorts of things going on in the family, with us, with the kids....

But I have been wanting to share about Anna and Chris in the pool:) Chris is my adventurous one... so he's been asking all summer to go without arm floaties. When I have another adult with me (so it's not 4kids and one momma) he gets that chance;)

After attending a birthday party at a local pool and my kids seeing kids their ages (and younger) without floaties, they wanted to try too:) Gotta love positive peer pressure!

So they approached the deep end with caution (wise to have some fear of the water!!) and then swam to their Daddy:) Seriously by a few minutes the floaties weren't even asked for again:) And they were EVERYWHERE!!



awe... the floaties just sitting there;)

Here they are in action... my little fish:)

And Anna's new trick!! ( Chris "showed" her!!!)

More Wordless Wednesday at

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Our Homeschool Schedule with 4

It's schedule week.... I LIKE having a schedule, but I'm just not the type of person that really is the "schedule" type!!

I like schedules because they can give our day order and routine (if that is possible)! And I really think we work best when we all know what is next and what we have left.


But I rarely completely FOLLOW a schedule!! I mean, I try:) But there is always something that comes up... a phone call that needs to be taken, a grocery/library run that needs to happen, sickness, extra tasks... etc!

I love this chart... the Super Mom vs the Abiding Mom! And the different views on schedules is beautiful!!

The Super mom is controlled by an agenda [curriculum, schedule, etc].
The Abiding Mom is controlled by the Holy Spirit [Uses the curriculum & schedules as tools for orderliness so she is more free to follow the Spirit]

So this is the schedule that will help us maintain orderliness and give us the freedom to spend lots of time together learning;) And hopefully get some work completed;) LOL!!

I have purposefully left out numerous "times"... I'm a task-oriented person! So I have some target times... like starting school before 9am and eating lunch around 12:30... those are flexible goals to help us maintain order... LOL!! :)

Our Homeschooling Schedule 2011

A couple of notes;) History and Science are alternating... we usually won't do both! And I'm also trying to find a place to sneak in some Art and Music;) Just a few minutes for each:!

By the way, I'm posting this because I'm hoping it will work;) We haven't started our school year yet so it hasn't been "tested out"! And I already see where I left out Anna's Grammer time :( But I really think it's going to be a good "fit" for us! If not... we'll tweak it;)

The kids have already seen it and really LOVE that they each get a little time with Nate;) And honestly... I like that they WANT to spend time with him! He's going to be super smart if they "teach" him while they play with him:) Very precious;)

I made several copies of the schedule. I am giving one copy to each of the kids with their column highlighted and placed it out the outside of their language binder! I have one displayed in the schoolroom and one in the kitchen:)

It's amazing how much more prepared I feel for starting school while having our schedule in front of us;) It's just NOT like our very laid back summer days.... so we might have to do a practice day on Monday... kind of good to ease back into school and because Anna's stuff is still in the mail :/

I'm looking forward to all the other ways people organize their days at Heart of the Matter!!

i heart faces: Pet Week

I'm sharing this picture of Lydia with Macy.

Lydia and Macy

Their story is here.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

SOOC : all of this....

because I put on his shirt!!



I don't often share fussy kids...
but it DOES happen plenty around here
especially with my very opinionated little guy!!

SOOC Saturday

Friday, August 19, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up: Last Visits, Lydia reading & Getting Ready

This has been a CRAZY week... I think I say that every week, but this week I MEAN it :) LOL!!

  • friends moving and trying to spend time with them,
  • Brian's new semester at the college starting,
  • his online classes starting, too
  • VBS at night and driving the 15 passenger with some Awesome kids... whoo hooo !!
  • waiting around for some news for us,
  • getting ready for our new semester,
  • holding down the fort,
  • praying for my dad's two procedures this week, and
  • three church members (or extended family) with major medical needs...
we got a bit of summer schooling done!

Monday we read through our history for the week. It was featuring Copernicus and Gallileo both guys that we studied in the spring. The kids enjoyed trying to remember all the planets in order they did that well;) They also did the coloring sheets and map:) I seriously felt like a week of history in ONE day:)

For lunch we met up with the Woods.... thinking it might be our last visit with them!!

Monday evening we started attending a VBS at a friend's church. She had asked some very sweet and outgoing girls from our town to help at her VBS:) The girls happily agreed and learned how to drive our church's 15 passenger van:) LOL!!! We had a great week with the girls and at VBS!

Tuesday we reviewed the 10 Commandments and Psalm 19;) The kids did well with both... Anna has an amazing memory! She can almost recite both perfectly !! We also tried to copy Gallileo's experiment with dropping objects of different weights to explain gravity pulling all objects at the same rate:)



**when I did it, they almost hit at the same time:)

Wednesday I was asked if I would PLEASE!! go to the grocery store for GROCERIES:) So we headed there but thought we'd stop by the Woods to see if they had left yet. I know they had hoped to leave earlier....

but it was sure nice to see them again... and attempt to help!! The kids played and then watched a movie on Andrea's MAC:) I attempted to contain the babies and help where I could! We had a picnic on the empty kitchen floor watching the babies squirt sauce all over themselves ... yuck! LOL!!

We finally got to the grocery store around 2ish... groceries, binders for school.... not the quickest shop but everyone got some SONIC slushies... half priced during Happy Hours;)

Thursday was an "off" day!! I slept in, the kids fussed, played outside and we spent Nate's sleeping time organizing our new binders! Anna did work a little bit to finish up some "loose ends"with some math last year that I found in cleaning up the school room!! It actually was a great review:)


Friday morning we had another "off" morning! We did chores, cleaned up the kitchen, talked on the phone with Grandma and threw bean bags at each other (ok... I didn't do that, they did while I was on the phone!) After Nate went down for his nap we did some math facts and Chris and Lydia attempted some reading;) Anna did her normal summer school tasks:)

I did a video of Lydia reading! At the start of the summer I was really frustrated that I wasn't giving Lydia enough opportunities to learn to read. It wasn't that we didn't have the right stuff as much as I wasn't making time! She's been reading in the afternoons while everyone else is falling asleep and I've already seen a HUGE improvement... just a matter of giving the gal time! She's doing an awesome job!

**We are using the Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading! And yes, this what our reading time normally looks and sounds like.

I've also been trying to read books about some of the Renaissance astronomers... they have been bucking it all week :( I think because it seems like we JUST studied them AND because we're all a little distracted this week... MOmma included!!

And this is soo weird that school will be starting Monday! The kids are ready... but I am soo NOT!! There is a list of things I'd like to have ready including all sorts of home/chores organization things. And since i was soo late ordering our books, we might have to delay a bit, or have Anna delayed a bit...

I'm thinking it's a blessing in disguise!

I'm hoping to link up to the Weekly Wrap UP with Kris;)

Watch out....

he's armed!!!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ordinary Summer Morning Moments


Beth's challenge this week was Ordinary Moments. I hate to say that my first thought... who wants to see those? And then I realize you all ALWAYS see my ordinary moments... schooling, baby pics:)

And then I started thinking about all the simple ordinary things that happen each day that probably get overlooked because they are soo ordinary.... things I see constantly right now!!

In a few years though, these sweet normal moments will be just memories... especially with our school schedule starting next week??? I'm soo NOT ready!

It's a challenge to capture the ordinary things! And to be THERE (mentally & physically) for them.... enjoying them, taking part in them and capturing them! Enjoy:)







rock tasting... just so you know he didn't fall:)


A fun morning:) Nice to relax and not rush through all the activity, but enjoy it and capture it;)