Saturday, August 30, 2014

Week in Review - August 29, 2014

It is hard to believe it is the end of August. August has been cool at the point of being some of the lowest recorded temperatures for our area. This is our third week back to school. 

J came to breakfast the other day with his deck of cards. So we decided to play Concentration 10. I pulled all the kings, queens, jokers, jacks, and 10's. I also matched to make sure that we had sets that would equal 10 only because I wasn't sure we were working with a full deck. We then shuffled and placed the cards on the table. The idea was to get two cards that equaled 10. I lost.

I decided to extend the learning fun and reached my Mega-Fun Card-game Math book and found another game called Sum 20. We played that. I lost. That is okay the goal was to have fun and use some math. 

The kids got in the therapy box and this is one of our favourite things to play with. I really need to get a therapy schedule so that we are regularly doing things.

We spent two days reading about Columbus or as Mystery of History calls him Christobal Colon. It was total last minute pull out the Interactive 3-D Maps: American History.

The one for Columbus included the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria that you put through a slit and could sail along the ocean blue.

A treat this week was to head to a local restaurant that recently opened. It is a hot dog place. J got a Sloppy Joe dog. He said it would give him enough meat.

I think I have found a schedule that is working with Miss K. I rotate through things a bit with her and that seems to be helping. We are going between Math-U-See and Saxon. I have found that gives a nice balance.

It is interesting to observe how the kids are adjusting and blending the culture into our lives. J has begun to use the £ symbol for money problems even though his math book has the $.

The other day J was writing and asked if he should write colour American or British. I told him I didn't care as long as he is consistent. He then asks me how to spell it British. So that conversation was happening at the school table.

My husband was heading out and says, "I am going for a walk."

I respond to J, "o-u-r".

My husband hears that and says, "Yes, I am."

We all got a good laugh about that when we realised what was happening.

That wraps up our week.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

R is for Random Facts

It is Friday and I have had a difficult time coming up with a topic for R. You would not really think that R would be that difficult. I asked the children for suggestions and they gave me words like radio, roller skating, roller blading, race car which was really not much help. Then this morning I came up with a topic, random facts. So here are some random facts about me.

1. My parents have had the same phone number all my life. They moved once but kept the same phone number.  Okay, the area code changed but the number is still the same.

2. Phonology was the one grad school class that I really did not enjoy. It is probably the one course that I use the most now as I work with my daughter and speech.

3. I have a pearl lady in Hong Kong -- Sandra at the Jade Market is where I buy my pearls and other jewellery. I have a necklace that recently broke. I saved all the beads dreaming of when I can go back and get it repaired.

4. Of the five apartments in Asia only 1 had the refrigerator in the kitchen. The rest it was in the dining room.

5. I have never been south of the equator. Maybe I should check and make sure the place I went to in Indonesia was north of the equator.

6. I have been through a number of earthquakes in Taiwan. The 9-21 earthquake was the biggest.

7. I still have a baby tooth. There is no permanent tooth so the baby tooth has stayed there.

8. I won a prize for growing the most unusual shaped pumpkin when I was in elementary school. I grew it is a frame. That was from the FFA - Future Farmers of America. That makes me laugh as now I would much rather live in the city.

9. Along the line of prizes I won -- I won a speech contest in high school for humorous speech, 2nd place that time.

10. I once sang at the Ritz in Taipei. Okay, so it was karaoke and as I was a foreigner they wanted me to do it. The things they get foreigners to do.

That is about all the random thoughts I have. I need to go and clean the house and cook dinner.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Praying for the Heart - A Courageous Heart

Pray for a Courageous Heart

Heroes are often courageous. Sometimes a hero is someone who steps in and does what no one else is doing. Courage is the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fears, or difficulty. The origin of the word comes from Old French corage meaning heart, innermost feelings, temper. Courage comes from within.

The spies were told to be courageous. They were facing a future full of unknowns, and they felt fear as went to spy out the Promised Land. They needed courage. The charge to Joshua as he was beginning the task of leading the people of Israel included “Be strong and courageous” as well as a promise that “the Lord is with you.”  (Joshua 1:9)

So a courageous heart is courageous in the things that God has called us to do. A courageous heart does not turn back because of fear, but follows God’s calling.

At times it takes courage to do hard things, to go against the crowd, to do what is right. Joseph of Arimathea took courage and asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Daniel’s request to the king took courage. Esther needed courage to approach Ahasuerus asking to spare the lives of the Jews. Nehemiah had the courage to ask the king for time to go and help in rebuilding the walls. John the Baptist was preaching a message of repentance and called even the religious leaders to repent—and that took courage.

We need courage to obey God and go, to share the truth, to do what is right. The courage comes from the strength that God gives.

A courageous heart knows what God is asking him to do and trusts God for the strength to do it.

What are the hard things that God is asking you to do? We need courage for both big and little things.

The others in this series:

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Back to School Giveaway - UK Residents

I have been reading blogs and seeing all the back to school giveaways. I  look and think how fun it would be to win and dream of how I would use the things in the giveaway but then I see the two little words, US Residents.

Well, I decided that those of us in the UK needed to have a fun back to school giveaway.

I love school supplies. Crayons with points, sharpened pencils ready for math, and fresh notebooks. I pulled a few school supplies to include in the giveaway.

Some crayons, coloured pencils, markers, some bookmarks, a little notebook, some washi tape, and an oilcloth pouch.

We go on some outings and one of the things that we use are our sandwich wraps. These are so easy to use, just put the sandwich on the cloth and then wrap it up and close with the velcro. I have included two sandwich wraps that I made in the giveaway.

The sandwich wraps are large and small. There is no plastic, just use and wash and use again.

So this giveaway is open to UK residents. Leave me a comment telling me about some place educational, historical, or just fun that you enjoy taking your children to for an outing. I need some ideas of fun places to go.

Comments will be open until Thursday evening 7:00 pm. I will then draw a random number for the giveaway.

This is now closed. The winner is comment #8, Sarah.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014


We decided to go on a hike today. My children enjoy doing new things and places but I have also learned that they like the familiar. When J and I looked at the map to decided where to hike he picked the area where we had stayed in May.

We have a very detailed map of the park that includes the public footpaths. A hike to J means going straight up a mountain. His family is not always able to hike that way. He found a path that went up a mountain. We decided to try it.

There are footpaths all around. There are gates and steps to get over. These are designed to keep the farm animals from wandering from one field to another.

Last night Miss K did not want to go. She kept asking if she could stay home or stay in the car. Then this morning on the way she said, "I love hiking." I did say I was going to remember that. She did ask for a piggyback ride but did quite a bit of hiking as well. Here she is climbing over the fence. She enjoyed that climbing.

The weather has been cool and a bit rainy but today was beautiful. It was warm and didn't rain. The feels were so green.

It was a hike up the hill but it was gradual enough that we didn't notice that we were going up the hill.

We walked along amid the sheep in the fields. Miss K greeted them as we passed, "hello, Shaun".  I think she might have watched too many episodes of Shaun the Sheep.

Miss K did get a bit of a piggyback ride. Her brother does love her and will give her a ride as long as she doesn't hold on too tight.

We saw a number of fields of heather. It took Miss K a bit of time to understand that Heather can be a person and it can be a flower.

It was a nice hike. We didn't quite make it to the top but that was fine. We did get a nice view of the valley and get some good exercise.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Week in Review - August 22, 2014

The week the kids did sports camps.

We started back to school last week. We had a break which I think we all needed but we were ready to get back to school and that routine.

I love my new planner. There are no coffee spills (generally the rule is coffee is to be in a travel mug if it is near books) and the pages are not wrinkled. It is still my favourite planner.

This year we are using Mystery of History Volume III. We started with the War of the Roses and today we read about Portuguese explorers Bartolomeeu Dias and Vasco da Gama.

J is doing First Form Latin. I can't decide if he likes it or just puts up with it. He did tell me this week that I should review his vocabulary words with him throughout the day.

I am switching back and forth for Miss K's math. I feel like Saxon has somethings that I think would benefit her but I also like Math-U-See. Hopefully this will work for her.

This Tuesday to Thursday the kids did a sports camp. Miss K did football (soccer) and enjoyed it though she had a bit of a cold. She just stayed for the morning which was enough for her.

J decided that he wanted to try something new, gymnastics. I was proud of him for trying something new. I had originally signed him up for a half day but he didn't want to come home as he was enjoying it so he did the full day program.

The kids had a short performance on Thursday showing some of the things that they had learned.

J has been a climber. Usually he is climbing trees but found something new to climb, the ropes. He made it halfway up only using his arms.

Today was back to school or maybe I should say back to routine and the book learning. This is what the table looked like when we paused for lunch -- Saxon Math, Latin, Miss K's Frozen watercolour book, my planner and some other things all crowded the table.

That wraps up our week here. We are enjoying getting back to the books.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Q is for Quilts

Q is for quilt. 

I enjoy piecing quilts -- finding fabrics that match, planning the pattern, and then putting it all together for a quilt top. I have done some hand quilting and have learned to machine quilt but my favourite part is the piecing.

I remember cutting up scraps of fabric and sewing them together. It has a bit of an old fashioned feel because I look at it and remember that was a skirt or that was a dress. I don't think that ever got finished as a quilt.

One of the first quilts I made and finished was a baby quilt for a friend. I actually bought a McCall's or Simplicity pattern. The things that I have learned since that quilt.

I took a quilting class with my mom and a friend. We made sampler quilts which is just a quilt with various blocks and you are learn how to make the different blocks. It was in that class that I learned to use a rotary cutter and that has totally changed my quilting. My grandmother had an Amish friend,  Anna, who did the quilting on a number of my early quilts. My grandmother would then sew the binding on for me. I was spoiled.

One of the easy or maybe I should say easier ways to make a quilt is using charm packs which are five inch squares pre-cut in coordinating fabrics. You can use a few packs and make a quilt or even with just one pack you can make a nice lap quilt if you add some extra fabric.

Buying a fat quarter pack gives you a number of fabrics that coordinate and again it is amazing what you can do with just a fat quarter pack. I think this fabric was called California Dreaming. I love the bright colours in this quilt. I still have some scraps from that so maybe I need to make something else with that fabric.

This is one of my husband's favourite quilts. It is in our living room. He told me yesterday that he wants to adopt that quilt. I think he likes the coffee theme as well as the colours. That was just a simple square with rectangles around the edges. I had someone machine quilt it for me. 

I have a box of fabric for more quilts. Sometimes the hard part is deciding what pattern to use for the fabric and then that first cut as you are committing to that pattern. It is hard to visualise what it is going to look like. I recently made a quilt top and didn't like it that much until I saw a photo of it.

Quilting is my creative outlet.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Our School Space

We don't have a room that is school only. Thankfully we have a large dining room and so we use that for school.

There is a nice wall as you walk into the room the other walls have the radiator and are split to smaller walls where the fireplace would have been. We have a shelf from Ikea there. I like having the side of the bookcase for our memory verse for the week.

The apples have some of our goals for this school year. I am not sure why the turkey got up there but he is staying there for now.

There is the shelf full of books. I have the books somewhat organised. The baskets on top hold my supplies, some extra supplies for the kids and some activities.

We have a nice cabinet that has some of the larger books that we are using this year as well as storage space below. In there I have some of the things I use for Miss K's therapy, a few puzzles, and other manipulatives (manipulatives sounds so much better than saying junk or stuff). I love having he CD/iPod player right here where we can play a CD when we need to or just have some classical music in the background.

We have two bookshelves in the living room that are filled with books.

This little cart sits just inside the door and holds our study buddies, timeline cards, and brain breaks. The drawer has extra pencils. J sits near this so the shelf has some of his books. We continue to use our LL Beans bags for books.

We have our nature shelf on the window sill. The weather has been cool and it doesn't feel much like beach weather. Maybe it is time to change it.

Our walls are all an off-white. We discovered it is difficult to hang things We needed some colour and so I made a banner from an old book. I might start making banners so I can change the look.

That is our school area. It works and gives us space for learning.

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sew a Needle Pulling Thread

A sewing box just for Miss K

Often when I get my sewing machine out, Miss K wants to sew as well. I love the fact that she wants to do it both for learning the skill and also for just her desire to try things. She doesn't find much that she isn't willing to try.The challenge is often how to adapt it so that she can do it. I need to put it on her level, something that she is able to do. 

I saw a few ideas online and decided that I needed to create a sewing box for her. I filled it with things that I thought she would enjoy and also be able to use.

An embroidery hoop gives the stability to the fabric which reduces one thing that she needs to do. 

I gave her some counted cross stitch fabric that I am not using. The holes in that make it a bit easier to poke. We used embroidery thread as well. The counted cross stitch needles are a bit bigger so it makes it easier for her little fingers.

Cutting fabric or ribbon seems to be one of her favourite things to do it. I included some scissors and both ribbon and old fabric that she can just cut up as much as she wants. I get the Hoover out when she is done.

She was working to sew a button on and then did some free sewing as well.  I think she did a great job.

The basket includes
an embroidery hoop
counted cross stitch fabric
embroidery thread and needles
a zipper just to play with

This has given Miss K an opportunity to sew and work on building her sewing skills.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

P is for Parents

2 people
4 children + 2 spouses
11 grandchildren


My parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this week. That is worth celebrating. I remember parties for both my grandparents' 50th anniversaries. My parents didn't want a party. My mom had mentioned it would be nice to have all four children together but she knew that would not happen (two live nearby and one lives in TN and then there is me). What she didn't know was my brothers and I had been talking and planning. I feel in the same time my brother from TN came to visit. I knew they would be home. It was a surprise. The family that was local stopped calling my parents a day or two before I came so they didn't spill the beans.

My mom stood there speechless when I got out of the car. She didn't know what to say. She did ask my dad if he knew anything. No, we didn't even them him.

We had a family picnic and of course cake. We took some photos. My parents still have the knife they used to cut their wedding cake. We used it for years to cut bread and so it is the "bread knife."

I am thankful for their love for each other, their love for their family and their example in so many ways. I love you, dad and mom, happy anniversary.



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