The Sunshine Award

Tina over at Being Made New commented on one of my posts last week to let me know that she had gifted me with the Sunshine Award. The Sunshine Award is gifted from one blogger to another that she feels "inspires others and shows positivity and creativity."

It's so exciting and uplifting to open up my blog and see that someone has left me a surprise like this! I am honored to be included with the other wonderful ladies that inspire others through their blogs.

One of the guidelines for the award states I must pass the award on to 10 fellow bloggers. So (drum roll, please) here are the nominees:

  1. Heather at A Glimpse into Our Home-Centered Life-A lovely blog-her devotion to the family shines.

  2. Candace at His Mercy is New-Very inspirational lady.

  3. Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler -She fits the creativity category to a "T". I love the name of her blog and I confess I wish I had a preschooler to use all her wonderful ideas on!

  4. Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations-Another wonderfully creative mom!

  5. Honey at Sunflower Schoolhouse-She spends a lot of time pulling together free homeschool curriculum and ideas for her readers.

  6. Cori at Wonder in the Woods-Love her outdoor posts and CM style teaching.

  7. Carol at the Sizzle Bop blog-She blogs about her "sizzler" child. I find her posts funny and inspiring, because I, myself, have a "sizzler"

  8. The Front Porch team at Homestead Blogger-They blog about the simple life, have some very creative & inspiring ideas.

  9. Quinn at On Just a Couple of Acres-I enjoy reading about her daily goals. She is a hard working lady, who inspires me to do better!

  10. Leslie at Joyful Mother of 6 Children-Another creative and inspiring mom.
Congratulations, ladies!

Here are the rules to the award:

1. Put the Sunshine Award logo on your blog and/or in a new post;
2. Pass the award onto 10 fellow bloggers;
3. Link the nominees within your post;
4. Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blogs;
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

And thank you, Tina, for the award!

Random Ramblings

I realized I haven't posted in a few days, but I've just felt somewhat off-kilter this week. My days have been full, and by the time evening rolls around I just want to kick back with a good book. Which, by the way, right now, is fiction work by Jodi Picoult that I checked out at the library, Plain Truth. It's a very hard book to put down. And I've found myself reading it way too late. So I've been neglecting my blog.

So here I sit this evening waiting for an E-book to download and I decided to pop on and post a quick update.

I recently posted that I was moving away from workboxes. They were just taking up too much of my time and energy. It was a lot to correct work and then sit and refill boxes, even if I had preplanned them. Most of the time the kids didn't want to do the fun stuff I put in. They would rather go off and do their own thing. So in the spirit of simplifying, I cleared the shelves of shoeboxes. The boys have now found all kinds of ways to sort Legos, Playmobiles, army men, etc. in all these boxes.

We're practicing the Charlotte Mason method more and more. The kids are getting pretty good at narrating, and I think Lulu will start written narration pretty soon. Her narrations are detailed, while the boys tend to pick out one thing in particular to tell about.

We're enjoying the artist and poet study, and still trying to get into the swing of hymn and composer study. Last week we listened to our chosen hymn and the history of it at the Center for Church Music website. They have a neat little five minute history segment for each hymn with the hymn incorporated in it. We also read a short biography of Bach, but have yet to listen to his music. I don't have a CD of his recordings, so I need to pull something up on the computer. We'll probably tackle that tomorrow.

Conman is studying plants and soil, so we've planted some basil and parsley to watch grow. He also has a bean seed experiment going. He's almost finished with his nature reader, and we'll just keep working slowly along with everything else. I also started a gentle form of spelling with him that is loosely based on prepared dictation. He tends to spell better orally than on paper, so after looking at a short sentence, I then ask him to spell a couple of the words in the sentence. This week he had trouble with January, so we spent the week mastering it. He had it down pat this morning!

Blakester is moving right along and will most likely complete his current science next week. He is also almost finished with his nature reader and I plan on having him start on a book called Science in Your Own Back Yard that I had on our bookshelf. It was a thrift store find, but very much a living book. He'll read Christian Liberty Press' Nature Reader 5 next year.

Lulu started on her study of government and the Constitution this week, so she'll be somewhat ahead for next year. She's using The Land of Fair Play from Christian Liberty Press. She's basically just reading the text and answering questions. I'll probably have her narrate some to me also.

So that's our status update. We'll continue to school through the end of July, with some subjects running their course before that, and some will take that entire length of time. August will be our off month, as we are planning for our move to Texas to come to fruition then! In September, we will start back up using the Simply Charlotte Mason plan, Year 1, full force. I am really looking forward to getting everyone together and on the same page for several subjects. So, as I am slowly introducing the different areas of CM study, the kiddos should be well adjusted to them by that time.

I will be back with my normal schedule soon. I promise.


California History Field Trip

Tonya at Live the Adventure hosts this fun meme on her blog, and since we took a field trip today, I went ahead and linked up.

The weather was absolutely beautiful today and everyone was feeling fine, so off we went on an impromptu trip to the California State Mining and and Mineral Museum and the Mariposa History Museum. This was a nice follow-up to our California gold rush study. And in Conman's science this week we also talked about rocks and minerals, so it was a double-duty trip!

First stop was the Mineral Museum, where we were able to tag-along behind another school group that was receiving a guided tour through a 175 ft. replica of a mine tunnel. Visitors can through the mine tunnel on their own; however, our timing enabled us to get the narrated version.

One section of the museum houses gems and minerals that were found and donated to the museum from all over the world. Here is Conman by a large piece of Quartz crystal, which was actually found in California.

The kids were able to use a computer-type device to click on different regions and counties of California to view a list of the minerals and gems found in those areas. Then they could click on the mineral and view a picture and read about it. Conman, my electronic dude, took right to this one.

Blakester and Lulu tried their hands at identifying a variety of minerals at this large display. A chunk of the mineral was attached to a board with some information and the answer was displayed once the flap was lifted.

We were also able to view a Smilidon, other wise known as a saber-tooth, skull fossil that was found in the La Brea tar pits. Did you know this is the California state fossil? No? Neither did I.

This large piece of slate was shaped into the State of California.

In the vault we were able to view all sorts of rare and valuable gemstones, including the largest surviving original vein of gold from the gold rush-1850. It weighs in at 13 pounds. Sorry, somehow I missed a picture of this.

The other half of the museum houses information strictly on gold rush activities. On display are the miner's tools, assayer's tools, ore carts, gold samples and maps of the gold mine areas. There was also a photo of John C. Fremont, along with some information on him and a large map showing the area he claimed as his.

I'd say that's a pretty straight-forward warning.

This working replica of a stamp mill is 100 years old. It allows the kids to see how the ore was taken to the top, dumped and went through the process of breaking the gold from the rocks.

We perused the gift shop for a while and came away with a bag of candy that looked like rocks but tasted like jelly beans. Blakester picked up a pencil and some shark teeth, and Lulu chose a ring made of Dalmatian jasper.

After a quick lunch, we headed over the the Mariposa History Museum. Photos weren't allowed inside, so we checked out the mining equipment outside first. Blakester and Conman hammed it up with the cradle. It was really great that they could see these items first-hand while the story was still fresh in their mind and able to make connections.

A peek inside a Miwok hut. On the other side were large rocks with the holes in them for grinding corn.

Also outside was an actual stamp mill, ore carts, logging wagons and other various tools.

Inside the museum was filled with all sorts of interesting items.

A true-to-life general store greets you as you enter. The store fixtures and supplies came from an actual general store which closed after the owner, Miss Jenny, passed away at the age of 91.

There are examples of Miwok handiwork, barbed-wire and cattle brands, a one-room schoolhouse, a doctor's office, a miner's cabin, an old-time kitchen, Chinese mining supplies, a sheriff's office and a saloon. Old photos, quilts and letters are displayed. There is a section on John C. Fremont and one on Joaquin Murrietta. My kids were really interested in this one, since he was a bandit.

What a wonderful way to cement this time in history firmly in the kiddo's brains, while showing them some of the extremely beautiful creations from our God.

This was a very informative, relaxing and enjoyable way to spend the day. Especially since we ended it with some ice cream and visit with an old friend of mine, whom I haven't seen in quite a while!



My First Award!

I recieved the Prolific Blogger Award from my new friend, Jo, over at Jo's Health Corner. This is my first blogging award.

The Prolific Blogger Award is given to bloggers who:

"read voraciously, blog tirelessly and have made the blogging community such a vibrant place. This award is in recognition of their achievements and their enthusiasm. They are the people who keep me going! "

The rules state that I must pass this on to seven more bloggers. So here are my awardees:
  1. Katey at Crazy Homeschool Mamma
  2. Cheryl at Adventures of a Somewhat Crunchy Mama
  3. Jenny at Home is Where You Start From
  4. Cori at Wonder In the Woods
  5. Amy at Raising Arrows
  6. Robyn at Our Homeschool Home
  7. Hope at 4 Boys and a Girl

Congrats, everyone! Hop over to Advance Booking to claim your award!


The Ultimate Blog 2010 After-Party

The Ultimate Blog Party 2010 is over. It was definitely fun while it lasted.

Lucky for us, 5 Minutes for Mom also hosts an after-party!

This was my first year participating and although I didn't manage to visit as many new blogs as I would have liked to, I did "make" several new blogging friends.

Here are a few of many that caught my eye and I'll be sure to keep following:

The great thing is, the links stay up on the UBP 2010 post. So, anytime I want to make some more new friends, I just have to hop on over there!

Thanks to all those who came to my party and left comments. I received many new followers and subscribers and am so excited to be able to contribute to the blogging world!

The Simple Womans Daybook

FOR TODAY... April 20, 2010

Outside my window...dusk. Breeze is picking up. Hummingbirds are at the feeder.

I am thinking...that I'm glad I'm feeling somewhat better.

I am thankful....for the flexibility that homeschooling has to offer.

I am wearing...black workout pants, tennies and a green t-shirt that says "One Tough Cookie"

I am remembering...when I was more full of joy.

I am going...to stay home for most of this week again. Try and get my energy back. This sinus infection has knocked me for a loop!

Some plans for the rest of the week...not much. Since we didn't make our field trips last week, I'd like to plan something for this Friday if all goes well. I'm thinking of a rock and mineral museum about 40 minutes from our house that will tie in nicely with our California gold rush study.

I am currently reading... Laying Down the Rails by Sonya Shafer, The Bible, The Original Homeschooling Series, Setting Limits With Your Stong-Willed Child.

I am hoping... that my cough will go completely away-soon!

On my mind...some lists I need to put down on paper. School planning for next year, packing items, new items to buy, giveaway items....

From the learning room...."How Doth the Little Crocodile" for our weekly poem. Fairly smooth day today. Doing away with workboxes. They took way too much time for me to fill and plan. Goes along with my simplifying.

Noticing that...I lost a blog follower. I wonder what happened to her?

Pondering these words...Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Psalms 68:19.

I am creating...a clean house. A simple homeschool. A more peaceful environment for us.

I am hearing...the boys laughing and splashing in the bathtub.

From the kitchen...homemade lasagna, french bread and salad.

Around the house...cleaning. Laundry. Need to keep evaluating stuff for our move. (Which we have set a date for.)

One of my favorite things...my James Avery ring.

From my picture journal... I snapped this photo yesterday as I was getting ready to throw some laundry in the basket....

Have a wonderful day!


Book Review of "Kaleidoscope"

Patsy Clairmont, Woman of Faith speaker and author, delivers some well-chosen proverbial advice in her latest book, Kaleidoscope

With her usual charming wit, Patsy summarizes 32 main topic proverbs, using personal stories to give life to her examples. Each chapter is followed by some "bits and pieces" questions to reflect upon and additional scriptures for reference.

This is an enjoyable, easy-to-read introduction to applying proverbs to your everyday life. I've had the opportunity to see Patsy live at several Woman of Faith conferences and her huge personality and love of God comes out fully in this book.

I would definitely recommend this book to others who are looking for an uplifting read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Weekly Wrap Up #5

Due to the creepy-crud taking over our house this last week, my wrap-up will consist of things we did and didn't get to do. You can head over to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see what others have been up to.

First of all, we didn't get to participate in planned field trips to an aquarium, a Civil War days reenactment or a zoo trip with family. I did get to visit my doctor who prescribed some antibiotics, nasal spray and sinus medicine. Fun stuff.

I did decide to get serious about my weight loss and in just following a 7 day Biggest Loser menu from a magazine, I've lost 2 pounds since Monday. Just diet, no exercise, due to being under the weather. I've been considering starting a blog on this subject. Maybe it would keep me motivated.

I won the book Chop, Chop from an Ultimate Blog Party giveaway at Teen Lit Review. Their site reviews pre-teen and teen Christian literature.

We did flounder our way through school this week. I had to forgo any read-alouds, though, due to major coughing fits.

We had fun reading about Lewis Carroll, and his poem Jabberwocky.

For our artist study, we chose Mary Cassatt. We read a short bio about her and the kids watched a nice slide show of her paintings set to music. Our painting for this week was entitled "The Bath."

I found some coloring pages which depicted some of her paintings, so the kids worked on those also. Lulu's was done quite well.

Lulu has a very artistic spirit. She worked on her 4-h quilt this week, stuffing it with batting, and will start quilting it after her next meeting. I'll post pics when it's complete. She also pulled out her watercolors and tried some free hand painting.

Conman learned about the water cycle this week. We read The Cloud Book, The Water Cycle and A Rainy Day. These were not recommended in 106 Days of Creation, we just picked them up at the library. I had ordered some Moody science videos to supplement his science and he and his brother seemed to enjoy the one they watched this week-Water, Water Everywhere.

We did not get into our hymn or composer study. There's always next week.

Have a great weekend!


A New Addition to Our Family

This morning as I was attempting to not wake from a very deep sleep, I hear this little voice saying, "Mom, you have to boil more lettuce. I think the tadpoles are dead."

I think it was about 6:30 a.m.

Now, I've been suffering from this nasty cold/cough/sore throat thing for almost a week, so my sleep has been very important to me lately.

So I say, "They're not dead." And I roll back over.

"They're not moving, they need more lettuce."

No, I did not get up just then and boil lettuce for the apparently starving tadpoles. However, I checked up on them later and they were all still very much alive. Maybe a little hungry, but alive.

If you haven't already guessed, the newest addition to our little family is a mason jar full of tadpoles. Blakester brought them home after collecting them with a friend last week.

I really don't mind. I think it will be a great nature study opportunity for the kids. They'll get to view the life cycle of a frog. We've done butterflies and ants. We have Bob the lizard. The good thing about Bob is I just have to make a weekly run to the pet store for crickets. I actually have to cook for the tadpoles.


I Licked the Cat

I'll explain my title in a moment.

I've decided that trying to read blogs and work on the computer while my kiddos are flitting around is akin to taking all of them to the grocery store at one time-I usually come home not knowing what I bought.

I think that's why I'd like a laptop. Maybe I could hide in the bathroom to blog. It might allow me a few moments of peace. But then again, maybe not.

Ok-on to my explanation.

I shared this with my friends on Facebook, so I thought I'd share it with my blogging friends, also.

Conman, who is my "sizzler", really keeps me on my toes. Yesterday, he came into the kitchen saying, "Yuk." He also had his tongue sticking out. So, being the concerned mom that I am, I asked him, "What's the matter?" His reply was, "Mom, you know how the cat likes to lick my hair? Well, I tried licking hers."

Oh my. I don't think that's very sanitary.


The Simple Womans Daybook

FOR TODAY... April 13, 2010

Outside my window...overcast, dreary, little breeze.

I am thinking...that the only good thing about being sick is staying in my pj's and taking naps.

I am thankful....that I don't have to rise at the crack of dawn to get my kids ready for school!

I am wearing...pj pants, t-shirt, slipper socks & slippers. What a slug I am:)

I am remembering...not much. My minds pretty much full of mush right now.

I am going...to take it easy this week. Pay our taxes, which came back better than we'd expected.

Some plans for the rest of the week...not much. Rest, reading. Maybe a field trip on Friday to Civil War days, if the weather cooperates and everyone feels better.

I am currently reading... Laying Down the Rails by Sonya Shafer, The Bible, The Original Homeschooling Series, Kaleidoscope by Patsy Clairmont, Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. I really need to get through a couple of these.

I am hoping... that those fruits of the spirit will start growing.

On my mind...again, not much!

From the learning room....back to school, but taking it slow. Our new artist for the next six weeks is Mary Cassatt. Our poet is Lewis Carroll. I'm also adding in hymn study & composer study-Bach.

Noticing that...the roses were blooming prettily, and then the rain & wind kind of smashed them.
Pondering these words...a word fitly spoken....Prov. 25:11a

I am creating...nothing new this week. My goal is to complete a couple of those books 0n my list!

I am hearing...the crackle of the fire, Lulu coughing-poor girl, and cartoons on t.v.

From the kitchen...ah-for me, turkey burger, broccoli & cauliflower, mixed rice & spinach salad-from a Biggest Loser meal plan article in a magazine. For everyone else, probably chicken and potatoes w/the veggies & salad.

Around the house...the bathrooms need to be cleaned and some light bulbs need to be changed.

One of my favorite things...the back of a baby's neck.

From my picture journal... these are 8 of the ten cousins that were here last week. Aren't they adorable?

Have a wonderful day!


Words from the (almost) Wise

Conman has been frustrated with me lately. And I with him.

At some point last week I told him he needed to work more on paying attention, listening and being obedient. This has been my mantra with him.

His reply?

"Well, Mom, you need to work on your patience. And your self-control. Actually, you need to work on all the fruits of the spirit."

Did I mention he's only seven?

What do you say to that? I'm just glad he knows what the fruits of the spirit are.


Weekly Wrap Up #4

Here's our week in a nutshell. You can head over to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see what others have been up to.

We were officially on Easter break this week and had company visiting from San Diego. We had a total of ten cousins (including my kids), ages 2-20 that spent all or part of their break here with us. The weather cooperated so nicely that the kids were able to spent a lot of time outside playing.

We visited the flea market, some thrift stores and the library's used bookstore. We took a drive back to the olive oil plant and stocked up on some goodies. We spent some time just sitting around and reading. We ate an awful lot. I came down with a sore throat and a cold. And it was all good!

We read a new (to us) Dr. Seuss book, Happy Birthday to You. That produced some giggles.

Blakester spent several hours creating an elaborate spaceship out of Legos.

Lulu spent an afternoon making a ton of strawberry freezer jam with Grandma and others.

I spent some time at the Ultimate Blog Party 2010 partying with other bloggers. That was a lot of fun!

I prepared our next couple weeks of schoolwork. We'll be back to the grindstone on Monday.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


The Blog Party is Here!!!!

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Ok, it's here! The Ultimate Blog Party 2010 over at 5 Minutes for Mom!

This is my first year participating and I am sooo excited to get to blog-hop over to the other party-goers blogs and check them out. What a neat way to get to know more of the blogging community. And there are some really wonderful bloggers out there to get to know!

Allow me to introduce myself.

I'm Shannon, 37 (yes, I'll admit my age online), a Christian, homeschooling mom of three, from California. Laina (Lulu) is 13 and in 7th grade, Blake (Blakester) is 9 and in 4th grade, and Connor (Conman) is 7 and in 2nd grade. The other little girl in the pic is my 7 yr old niece Delaney who gets to hang out with us on her school breaks.

We are in our 3rd year of homeschooling and very glad we made the decision to do so. I use an eclectic, Charlotte Mason approach to teaching the kiddos. We really enjoy field trips and nature walks.
I've been married to my wonderful husband, Robert for almost 18 years. If you ask him what his role in our homeschool is, he will tell you, "I stay out of her way."

When I have free time, that is, not planning schoolwork, I absolutely love to read. I usually have about 3 or 4 books going at one time. A fiction novel, something biblical, something schoolish and something parenting or marriage related. I also enjoy reading aloud to the kids. My opinion is you can never read enough.

I scrapbook, and I am currently working on an album of our visits to Texas, where we also have a home. We are planning on making our move there this summer.

I don't watch a lot of t.v., but when I do, my favorites are The Biggest Loser, Hoarders, CSI and Supernanny.

Country and Christian music are my tunes of choice. Kenny Chesney and Chris Tomlin are my favorite artists. I like attending concerts and inspirational/motivational presentations, such as Women of Faith.

I tend to cook a lot of our food from scratch, as we try to follow the Feingold diet for Conman.

Disneyland is my favorite place to visit with my family. I'm not a big fan of leisure shopping, I enjoy White Chocolate Peppermint mocha's from Starbucks, and I have a huge sweet tooth.

All around, I'm an organizing, budgeting, blog-addicted, mom and wife, who follows the principles of Dave Ramsey and Flylady, who loves Christ and her family, and who does her best to make it through each day in this never dull household, usually by grace!

I hope you'll leave a comment and introduce yourself. I'd love to hear from you.


Cheap Finds of the Week

Some of my company and I decided to hit the flea market and a couple of thrift shops this week to see what we could find. Let me tell you, if you haven't ventured through a crowded flea market on a spring break day, herding six children, then you have not lived! It doesn't get much more exciting than that! I'm just kidding-the kids were wonderful and we did find some great deals-so here we go. Allow me to apologize in advance for the lack of photos this week.

Books I found for a quarter each:

  • Marvelous Math-A Book of Poems
  • Calico Bush
  • Horton Hatches the Egg
  • The Snowy Day

I also found Magic Math Multiplication and Subtraction/Addition learning aids. One was $2.00 and the other $1.50. I had actually looked at these for Conman at a school supply store, only they cost much more.

Blakester came away with a pair of Old Navy denim shorts for $2.00, and I found two shirts for $1.50 each. One for Lulu and one for myself.

The last item was a cute red platter with chickens along the rim for $1.00. It goes perfect with my kitchen. This one I should have taken a picture of to share with you.

Til tomorrow~


The Ultimate Blog Party 2010 is Coming....

Just another quick note.

On my right sidebar I've placed a button that links to the 5 Minutes for Mom post that details the Ultimate Blog Party 2010. This will be my first time partying with them and it sounds like a lot of fun!

Don't wait-hop on over to her blog and find out how you can join us at the party. Posting starts on April 9.

Wednesday Nature Study

The weather was beautiful today, so the kids, some of the cousins and I journeyed out on a nature walk along the canal bank. It turned out to be very interesting.

The younger ones were searching for things to sell in their nature stores to earn a little money.

They came home with baggies full of pine cones, shells, sticks, rocks, flowers, leaves and even a bleached-out crawdad claw. They proceeded to sort them and post signs listing their asking prices:

Very enterprising, they are.

We spotted a couple of ducks that live along the canal, but before I could get a shot of them, the kids scared them off with too much noise. Oh, well.

We did find this fish along the way. The girls somehow managed to convince me to take a picture of it. All I can say is "Yuk."

These pretty little wind poppies were growing in bunches along the canal bank.

The highlight of the afternoon was when we returned home and the kids discovered Dallas playing with a gopher. This provided quite a few minutes of entertainment.

Here's a close-up of the little guy. Check out those teeth.

What a great way to spend an afternoon!


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