Friday, January 30, 2015


Well, it actually is Friday now!  The real Friday, the one with Saturday following close behind.  Not only that, but the Friday that precedes the weekend that includes the Super Bowl and then the start of our our mini-vacation.  THAT FRIDAY!!!   Once Bryce finishes up his Pre-Algebra our mini break begins.

Mini-vacation you say?!  Yep....we have not taken a real break for over a year.  Our weekends are filled with church doings, hospital visits, sermon prepping, car fixing, but no break and we, actually, my husband, needs ....I mean...he really needs a break!  So, we are taking off....running away....turning off the phones and disappearing for a few days. All of us except Bonnie.  She can't afford to miss any class time so she will stay here.

I feel awkward doing this during the school week, but experience has told us that it won't really hurt Brian's grades.  In fact, he has already completed all of his geometry assignments that his teacher gave him.  Everything else will be made up at school.  Bryce and I worked hard the past two days getting all of his co-op assignments completed so that he doesn't have to do anything over our mini-vaca but have fun.  And we intend to have lots of fun and relaxation.

So....let the break begin...hurry up, Bryce, and get your work done!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Youth Group Fun

I found a cool activity for youth group on Pinterest the other day.  Isn't Pinterest great?!   I love it.  Anyway, the activity is gather up all kinds of candy/treats....I got a bunch of Valentine candy....some heavy duty plastic packaging wrap (not Saran), packaging tape, bubble wrap, and a jingle bell toy.   First, you take the jingle bell toy, and wrap it up with bubble wrap creating a ball.   The jingle bell makes the ball sound cool while your working with it.  (I just wrapped up some jingle bells and they don't jingle so well anymore so I would get a ball with a jingle bell inside it).  Next, place a piece of candy on the bubble wrap and secure it with the packaging plastic wrap.  Don't cut the plastic, just keep wrapping and adding candy.  Periodically, secure the wrap with packaging tape.  Not because it needs it but you want to make it harder to unwrap.  I wrapped the ball several times before adding the next piece of candy.  Eventually, you will end up with a large, basketball size of candy.  

Now here is the game.  Have the kids sit in a circle.  Give one person the ball, and the person next to them a pair of dice.  When you say "go" the person with the ball tries to tear through the plastic to reach the candy, at the same time, the person with the dice is rolling the dice as fast as they can trying to get a pair of numbers (2's or 6' get the idea).  As soon as the dice roller gets a pair the ball ripper has to pass the ball to the next person and the dice roller passes the dice to the next person and so on.  The ball ripper gets to keep whatever candy they unearthed.  To make the activity even more challenging you can have the ball ripper wear gloves.  It sounds like fun...we will find out tonight if it really is.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesdays Have Become Our Fridays

Tuesday is becoming our "D Day" around here as it is the day before co-op when we have to finalize all of our papers and make sure we are ready for class.  Bryce had two papers to complete, as well as finish up all of his questions and answer sheet and prep for his Civics quiz.  Bryce likes Wednesdays not only because he likes going to class, but I don't require him to do a whole work load.  I figure after attending his Literature, Civics and Wilderness classes he has completed enough.  Besides that, his Lit. teacher does have work scheduled for Wednesday so after lunch he completes his daily lesson to round out the day, but he doesn't have to do math or science. 

This past week was one of our first normal weeks in a while.  The last two weeks we have had several interruptions that made it hard to get everything done school wise.  I actually feel good about how our week is going so far.  We have hit all of the academic bases.  We have even added gym time back into our schedule.  We aren't going at five in the morning though.  I just can't get motivated to get out of bed right now, so we have decided that no matter what, we hit the gym at two in the afternoon and then finish up any schooling we still have after our gym time.  I am sooooo out of shape right now.  My legs feel like dead weights when I step on to the elliptical but when my time is up I feel good.  The big thing I notice is that I get a second wind for the rest of the day when before I was ready for a nap.

So, tomorrow we finish up our school week, and start a "new" week on Thursday.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

State of the Union

For the first time ever, I actually sat and watched the State of the Union address.  I also made Bryce watch it with me since he is studying how our government works.  The big thing I wanted to accomplish was for him to train his ear to hear those "red flags", key phrases, and false information that may or may not be presented.  

It was interesting because we had just read an article earlier in the day about what the true role of our government is, and it is NOT to set up programs to meet everyone's special interest.  Our federal money is not to be used for every little program but it is to be used to protect us.  For so long our politicians and president strove to remind congress of that, but with the passing of the federal income tax and Roosevelt's New Deal we have lost sight of our governments role.   Today, government is stepping further and further into our private lives and taking over so many of our individual freedoms.  I cringed as I heard Communistic doctrine presented to the Congress and they stood and cheered.  I cringed as I heard how the government was stepping in to provide child care for our babies and preschooler praying that they don't try to mandate it for my grand babies.  I don't believe at all in the statics that were presented to support climate change, that our economy is doing better, etc.  I would like to ask of all the jobs that have been created how many our full time with benefits, as Obamacare has made it so that employers are offering more part time jobs instead of full.  

My heart is heavy.  I feel oppressed by my country.  As we venture to build a house this summer, there are so many regulations forced upon us and I am not talking about housing codes, but where and how we landscape our property.  There are so many people watching every minute thing you do and are quick to report every minor infraction whether or not you even know those regulations exist.  You think I am making this stuff up?  Someone reported that we were burning wood in our woodstove last winter during a "suggested no burn" time.  Mind you, if you don't watch the news or read the paper you would not even know about the no burn.  But here is the other point, it was a suggestion, not a requirement, and yet, we got a notice in the mail that we were harming the environment.  Or how about the woman who came on the property and ripped out my in -laws pump because she assumed it was harmful to the fish,  or the woman who reported on the major who was removing rocks that slid into the creek and thought he was disrupting the habitat of the fish....I could give you more....what does this have to do with our Presidents speech.   Our Presidents speech was full of more and more government involvement, more regulations, more infringements on my freedom.   



Sunday, January 18, 2015

Snow and Ice

 It's Ice Fest weekend here, and unlike last year, we actually have snow and ice.   Lots of snow.  About a foot of snow.  It's awesome.
 The boys and I headed downtown to check out the activities which include ice sculpting, snow sculpting,

 and snow tricks by the Stevens Pass skiers and snowboarders.

Today, the Ice Fest continued with more festivities, mainly watching the Seahawks game at various venues, a chili cook off and finally fireworks. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

I know I have already posted today but I have a free hour or two so I thought I would jot down a few more thoughts.  This is my afternoon to do home health care for a couple in our church.  I come in for a few hours twice a month to give the husband a chance to get out of the house and run errands or go to doctors appointments.   The wife is in her 80's, and while she is physically fine, she checked out of life after her daughter and granddaughter died in a car accident.  For the most part, she just sits in her chair and stares at the paper or magazine.  I try to talk with her but she only responds to yes or no questions, so generally, I just ramble on about my kids, the weather, or my dreams.  I keep myself busy by cleaning the house, fixing her dinner, and then just read or blog, like now.  Oh, I also keeping busy answering game show questions since the Game Show Network is always on. Ha...ha...  It is nothing glamorous and it makes me appreciate my parents health and energy all the more.  I know that with the house we plan to build, we hope to include a space for my in-laws to live in so that we can take care of them in their frail years.  I hope my experiences here will make me a better care giver.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Blackout Night

It was Blackout Night in AWANA last night.  Bryce and I had a lot of fun getting ready for it.  Generally, Blackout Night is a night when most of the lights are off in the church and the kids get around by flashlight and such.  Over the past few years, I have tried to add more to it.  Generally, I get all of the clubbers glow in the dark necklaces and coordinate them to their color team.  I have had glow in the dark balls and batons to use during game time as well.  This year we added Black Lights to the mix.  Bryce and I took out all the light bulbs in the front lobby and replaced them with black lights.  We also  covered up all of the windows and doors making the room really cool.  Everything white or neon glowed and gave off a cool affect when the kids showed up to check in.  I also purchased a Party Light for the game room.  You know, one of those balls covered in different colors of light that rotates and puts colors of light all over the ceiling and wall.  The kids seemed to really like it.  We had fun too.  Our next theme night is Trauma Night.  The kids get to dress up like they have had some sort of know....head injury...broken arm or leg....crutches ....slings...bandages.....ok, you get the picture.  Can't wait!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


It's co-op day.   I have been in a few co-ops during my homeschooling career and this is by far the most organized.  Everyone and I mean everyone plays a role.  My job duties this quarter are hall monitor, teacher assistant, and room tear down.  Last quarter they had me supervise the study hall for an hour.  Best study hall I ever sat in.  The students were quiet and studying, not one peep from anyone.  I got a lot of reading done in there.  Hall monitor is even more uneventful.  Everyone here is on their best behavior, knows where they are to be, what they are to do, and no one tries to "buck" the system.  I wish I had joined up earlier, but unlike my other co-ops where there wasn't a charge this one does require a participation fee and a teacher fee, which is manageable for one but not affordable for three.  In reality, Bonnie and Brian have done fine without being in an organized classroom, but of my three Bryce (and I) need this the most.  I anxious to hear how today goes for Bryce.  

Happy Schooling Everyone!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


We have finally reached the end of our school day.  Bryce is ending the day with his Pre-Algebra lesson.  Fortunately, he has a good grasp of what he is doing and doesn't need much help.  I wish I could say that about his other subjects earlier today.  The past two days actually have been very challenging.  While it seems most homeschool moms talk about the challenges and tears over teaching math, for us, the challenges and tears center around writing.  Bryce had two papers to write for co-op.  For literature, he needed to write a biography on C.S. Lewis.  We spent Friday and Monday, reading sources on Lewis, taking notes, and then writing his rough draft.  Today wasn't too hard as he went back over his rough draft and added "dress ups" as his teacher calls them to make his paper more enjoyable to read.  For Civics, Bryce had to write an essay on how our American Presidents embody American ideals and how they have failed them.  A good portion today was focused on how to respond to an essay question...ANY essay question.   It was not an easy lesson.  I am afraid I lost my cool a couple of times.  ....sigh...... Yet,  this is EXACTLY  why we joined this class.....why we are continuing with this co-op.  I am thrilled with the challenges, no matter how hard they are, and I have faith that by the end of this year we will see tremendous growth in Bryce as a student and me as a teacher.  

Friday, January 9, 2015

Another Week Done

Our first school week after break has come to an end!  It wasn't that bad.  In fact, it was a great week for everyone.  Bonnie returned to the college for her second quarter.  She is taking Physics II, Personal Wellness (i.e. Health), American Sign Language, and CAD (Computer Animated Drawing) which is an Engineering course.  Her CAD course is probably the one that she is most intimidated by and yet, excited about.  Architecture is what she wants to major in so this will let her know if she has what it takes.  

Brian is finishing up his first semester at the high school.  Exams should be next week or the week after.  We looked up his grades the other night and he has A's and B's.

What I really want to tell you about is Bryce's new classes:  Civics and Wilderness.  For Civics his class is working their way through Ray Notgrass' Exploring Government and We Hold These Truths.
This week we have read about the 22nd and 27th Amendments and how they detail who steps in as President if our elected President dies, is incapacitated, or becomes unfit (insane).  We also learned about his salary, and the oath the office.  We also studied the factors behind declaring war, or deploying our military, etc.  I am pretty excited.  Every week Bryce has to write an essay based on the topic of study as well as answer his daily questions.  We are going to learn a lot.

The Wilderness class doesn't have a text or homework, which is nice.  It is a course taught by the Red Cross about survival in the Wilderness.  On Wednesday, the students learned what to do if they encountered someone who was injured in the woods...basic first responder protocol.  Next week, the teacher is bringing in mannequins for the students to practice CPR on.  I am really excited about this class.   

All in all, a good week, but I am ready for the weekend. last thought.  Like most people, at the first of the year, Todd and I decided to take control of our eating habits and we are eating according to Prism Phase One plan i.e. no breads, no pasta, no potatoes, no sugar, no "snacks".  Before Christmas I was 5 lbs.  above where I want to be on the scale.  During Christmas week I gained an additional 5 lbs.  As of today, Todd and I have stuck with the eating plan and I have lost 5 1/2 lbs.  Just 4 1/2 more to go!   I am pretty excited and feel empowered again when it comes to food.  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Back to Normalcy

We are finally back to a "normal" schedule around here.  Today, Bryce and I headed off to co-op.  He is resuming his English Literature class and starting two new classes, Civics and Wilderness.  I am anxious to hear how his new classes go.  I feel like Bryce and I are testing the waters.  Slowly, we are seeing how he performs in classes and judging what the future holds for him academically.  Bryce is my "challenge" child.  Bonnie was my ambitious go getter, Brian was my multi-talented, "I-can-do-whatever-you-give-me" kid, but Bryce, well, Bryce is still a mystery.  He does things differently.  He is not as detailed.  Although I was comfortable for the other two to go to the public high school, I don't have peace about that for Bryce. I do have peace about him going to the Christian school in town if we choose not to home-school.  It is smaller, and he will have more one on one interactions with the teachers.  Also, the students will not be so rude or mean as they are at the high school.  However, there is a cost.  A cost we can't afford unless I get a second job.  Oh....another positive for the Christian school is that Bryce's best friend attends there.  So here we are back to our normal schedules, but always looking towards the future praying for God's direction in our lives.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Back to school

Everyone is back to school today. Bryce and I worked hard at church at completing his school assignments. The newest addition to our studies is the Rosetta Stone Spanish course. I'm excited for us to learn a new language this year. Later this week Bryce will head off to his co-op where he will continue his English literature course and begin two new classes, one in civics the other will be a wilderness class. They should be a lot of fun.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


The kids and I went out to the property today after church to help clear the land of all the fallen trees that Todd cut down yesterday.  After our work was done we had to try out our own sledding hill.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

While you were watching the Big Ball drop, or setting off fireworks, or smooching your spouse, my daughter and I rang in the new year huddled around the computer figuring out our 2014 taxes, and filling out her federal student aid form.  Why?  Well, here in Washington you can begin the process of applying for student aid the first of the year, in other words, midnight.  So that's what we did, crossing our fingers and praying that our early filing will increase her chances on receiving grant money to help pay for college.   

Other than that, today we said goodbye to our friends the Harpers.  It was great spending another New Year with conversations....sweet memories.  

I am excited to see what this new year holds.  Possibly our own home, maybe a new addition or two to the family (dog &/or cat), college, trip back east,  and more .....

Happy New Year!