Thursday, January 31, 2008

Friday update

From Elizabeth
The weeks keep going by, and grade two is half done. How did this happen? Here's our progress so far:

We are 1/3 of the way through our math book, but she's doing great at it. she regularly gets 100% on her tests, and only occasionaly misses one question. I love math-u-see. This week we finished lesson 10 on dollars, counting money and writing with decimals.

In reading she is really taking off. Yesterday she read an entire magic treehouse book in one day. wow!! Ten chapters. She still reads to me each afternoon for 20 min or so. Her expression is wonderful and comprehension is spot on.

Spelling is also moving along well. We finished lesson 17/36 this week and she has an amazing memory for words. Phonics has also paid off, as she is getting good at applying rules to spelling. (sometimes not the right rules, but english is so complicated that she's doing great). Her cursive (which she uses in spelling) is becoming very neat and well-formed.

Religion: We did another week of our first confession preparation and she is internalizing everything deeply. She is a very thoughtful child and has a strong sense of justice (knowing right from wrong).

Grammar: We are learning about different types of sentences: Statements, commands and questions. We are just about done the grade one grammar course and will quickly move onto the grade 2 course in a week or so. We are using First Language for the Well Trained Mind. This is a lovely course as it includes poetry memorization, grammar, copywork, narration, dictation... and most of it is oral and only takes about 10 min per lesson. Here is a sweet story that she wrote for me this week:

History: We have been working hard on finishing lapbooks for egypt and are just about done. Pictures forthcoming. E is at the point where she can start to write things herself, and has composed and written all of the information for her lapbook by herself. Her writing skills are really taking off.

Art and music: both choirs are still going strong, and she was excited this week because her teacher Ms. Lee told everyone to watch how E held her mouth when she sang. Apparently she shapes her mouth just right for different vowels like 'o' and 'e' etc...

She has also been drawing up a storm this week with pictures ranging from the characters of the movie 'Cars', 'Mr. Incredible, 'veggie tales' and 'Angelina Ballerina'. She also just completed a beautiful painting of a princess and a prince dancing. She informed me the other day that she just draws what she sees in her head, and if she's drawing something from a movie, then she just watches the movie in her head and pauses it when she gets to the part she wants to draw... and apparently she can fastforward and rewind too. Hmm, I want some of that brain power over here! I can't even remember the ending to the second Pirates of the Carribean Movie, which I only just recently watched. urgh!!
From Elizabeth

Science is on hold until egypt is done, and we didn't really get to south america this week, but next week we will try to finish up and move on to africa.

don't look if you're scared of pirates...

If you are brave, click on over to my crafting blog, another crafty mom, and you can see harry the pirate all decked out. He has left my craft room and now lives in the room of sir Z the resident 4 year old.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I have a reader!! A true and bonafide reader :-) Tonight, I couldn't get E to go to bed... in fact she wouldn't even get up off the couch to finish her apple, because her nose was buried in a book. The Magic Treehouse book on the Olympics (bought for .99 at the goodwill). I'm so happy she's reading and enjoying it now.

Oh what a painful journey it was to get here, but I'm so happy she's acutally reading.

phew! now I can work on her brother.

not quite what I was looking for

When asked to write a statement using the two words kneel and church:
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the joys of an old house

I love my house. It truly is a gift straight from the hand of God. It has provided room for our growing family, ample space for homeschooling, a comfortable home for hosting family events, and a close walk to church. It's a dream come true.

It has also taught us (well mostly my husband) many things about plumbing, drywall, and electricity.. and I'm sure many more learning opportunities await.

The winter time is an especially good time for learning about handy work around the house. In fact this week has been an especially good time. For starters, the temperature outside has taken a nosedive, and we are all hibernating inside due to minus 30 degree weather.

Good thing we just had our garage door replaced the week before (it would shake like it was about to fall off every time you opened and closed it. and there were gaps the size of a very large mouse throughout). That was costly, but worth it. Daddy was smart enough to hire someone to install it for him. After the plumbing issues a few months ago with the sewer drain leaking down into the basement (due to a nail being pulled out of the wall that was unbeknownst to us actually nailed into the drain), and the ensuing cutting and later fixing of the wall, I suppose he was weary of doing it himself.

The babies obviously wanted to play handyman too, as last week while I was enjoying a moment of quiet in the kitchen, I heard the happy noises of the twins suddenly cease in the baby monitor.

Beeep Beeep Beeep.

Hmmmm, isn't that the sound of the baby monitor being unplugged?

Why I didn't go investigate immediately is beyond me. A lesson I needed to learn I guess. Anyhow, later in the day, monitor forgotten, my 2 year old comes to me crying because she can't use the potty in the bathroom. Upon investigating her problem, I discover the forgotten baby monitor, taking a bath in the toilet. Clever.

Last night, daddy had finally dried it off enough to try it out and it still works, thank god. Toddler twins without baby monitors are bad news... they could get into all sorts of trouble and you'd never know.. like tossing electrical things in toilets.

Last night handyman dad was also required to move the twins mattresses down to the bottom level of their cribs. I knew it was time, when I went to get JP from his afternoon nap and he stood up, reached his arms out to me over the crib rail and flipped over headfirst into my arms.
Peter of course was watching carefully, no doubt planning his own escape later that night while we were sleeping.

Now while daddy was taking two cribs apart and putting them back together, I remembered that the toilet in the kids bathroom had stopped working that day... oh and the washing machine wasn't working either. Then, while he was thinking about those 2 new projects, I discovered that the toilet in master bathroom wasn't working either.

Daddy, being the smart handyman that he is, began to put two and two together (after he put the cribs back together, that is) and realized that freezing cold + 3 sources of water that don't seem to be working = pipes frozen.

You'd think, being in Alberta Canada, where it's not a rare occurrence to have minus 40 degree weather, with even colder wind chills, that a house would be built with pipes properly insulated. This shouldn't happen here should it??

Anyways, thank goodness for Rob, the old neighbour friend of daddy. He came over that very night with his trusty blowtorch, and drywall saw, and together, they solved the mystery and unfroze the pipes before they burst. Now I am free to do all the laundry I want..

that is except for the fact that they broke the dryer while trying to fix the washer. But that's another story....

Friday, January 25, 2008

weekly report

Well it's been a few months since I said I wanted to do a weekly report each Friday... but I'm no perfectionist!! I can try again.

Here's what we've done this week:
In geography we are studying South America. This week we learned about the native animals there and drew some pictures on our map. (map drawn by E). This tour of the continents we are doing is from Catholic Heritage Curriculum's grade two lesson plans. Next week we will move onto the next continent which I don't' know off the top of my head.
In math: We finished lesson 9 which was all about dimes, skip counting by 10s and adding 2 digit numbers. E picked it up very fast so we also moved through lesson 10 which is about Dollars, decimals and the hundreds place. We practiced a lot with play money,and the math blocks. She seemed to enjoy this real life application of math.

spelling: We are still moving along, now on lesson 16. She has the most amazing visual memory and is therefore a wonderful speller. I have found the best program for creating her spelling review sheets. You can make your own lists in cursive or manuscript, and in varying sizes. It is just what I needed, as we have started to focus on cursive writing in spelling to get the letters formed properly. If you want cursive, you have to choose at least grade 2.

Religion: We are in the thick of preparing for First Reconciliation (confession) and have been enjoying the stories provided in the CHC's First Holy Communion preparation supplement (from the grade 2 lesson plans). I am finally learning the Act of Contrition myself, as is E, and we are learning quite intensely about examining our day before we go to bed to see where we might have done wrong, being sorry for what we have done, and trying to make up for what we have done. It is a good lesson for all of us, and I am benefiting just as much as she is. Lent is fast approaching and then Easter, so we gotta get a move on preparing her for her first communion as well!!

Grammar: We have finished memorizing a few more poems. This week we learned ' Good Morning Merry Sunshine' which is our first 4 stanza poem. She copied out the first 2 stanzas and illustrated them in her book. Next week she'll copy the rest. We also learned how to address an envelope, and how to write dates correctly.

Reading: We are finally done our phonics program, and I'm not into any more workbooks than we need, so we are done phonics for awhile. She's reading so much better now and has wonderful comprehension and expression. This week she read to me a story about Moses, one about a new baby, and a book about a bird learning to fly. They are all easy reader grade 1-2 books, but she is doing so well. At night she has been reading to herself. She finished the first book in the Magic Treehouse series, and is in the middle of the 2nd one. She is also reading a book called "In Aunt Lucy's Kitchen' by Cynthia Bryant, and she really likes this one too. At night, daddy is reading Mr. Popper's Penguins again because we just finished a bird unit in science.

Science: We are just starting a new unit on the Seashore. We read the first 3 pages of our book, but haven't done much beyond that this week.

History: We are finishing up Egypt (still! Urgh!). A lapbook is in process, and we added (finally) some items to our wall timeline. The most interesting part of the timeline, was looking at the whole long strip of paper, putting her birthday right near the end, and asking her where she thought we should place her grandparent's birthdays. She was very surprised to see that they were only about 1 inch away from hers. Guess we aren't that old afterall :-)

Arts: She started up her new art class this week (same teacher as the fall), and she's excited because she gets to walk home from her class with her dear friend Kateri each week like a big girl. This week they learned to draw faces, placing the eyes and nose and mouth in proper placement, discussing how baby faces are different, and drawing the eyes in detail with the reflection of light in the pupil, and the detail of the iris. This is all beyond me, and she was teaching me things I didn't know when she got home.

Music: the Girls choir started up last week and she is enjoying that immensely. Her teacher is so good with the girls and it is a true teaching choir where they learn many things about music. Her church choir is always going each week as well, and she is so sweet singing in the front row with her face buried in the song book trying to read the words fast enough to sing with the choir. This will improve as she gets older I'm sure.

February will bring many things, including ash Wednesday, Lent, and the start of new piano lessons. We found a great piano teacher who lives just a block or so behind us and will come to our house each week to teach lessons to E, and when she's older like maybe next year, she can walk to her lessons at her house by herself.

So, that's my long update for the week. Looking forward to the weekend where daddy will be home all day, we will watch the Pirates who don't do anything, and relax a bit.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's time to branch out...

... from veggie tales, that is. The kids have all these fun new friends in the neighborhood we moved into, and a favorite game seems to be 'star wars'. Can you believe kids still play this? I used to play starwars with the boy across the street when I was in grade 2 myself :-)

The problem is, the kids have never seen starwars, and are at a slight disadvantage in the games, as little Z keeps getting assigned the role of JarJar. Poor kid doesn't even know who JarJar is LOL.

So hold your breath, we are diving into popular culture for a bit. Who knows where it will take us?

Monday, January 21, 2008

reading time

It's never too early to start teaching kids to read.
While I was out with E at choir tonight, daddy was starting the twins and heather out on good solid literature.

And here is him in action trying to round up his little preschool class.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Just Another Crafty Mom

Well since I've got bit by the crafting bug over christmas, I have decided to start up a new blog that can keep track of my crafting progress. It's called Another Crafty Mom. Feel free to go check out my work, but don't you all rush to buy my creations at the same time.. they aren't for sale :-)
Actually, I don't really have time for crafting anyways, but I do like to get a bit in now and then to keep me sane. One can only color so many coloring books, and make so many ancient egyptian creations without wanting to do some creative things of her own creation.
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Ancient Egypt

we are just about done our unit on Ancient Egypt, and these are some of the crafts that we have done. We also made some Lego pyramids, but they were destroyed by some tomb robbers, so unfortunately, I can't show those to you.

This is an ancient Egyptian throwing stick. The young boys used them to practice hunting, and would throw them at small animals and play games by trying to knock down things they set up. It's painted like a serpent's head.

This is an Ancient Egyptian bed, complete with a headrest. They didn't have pillows, they slept with their heads on these 'headrests'. Doesn't look too comfortable to me.

These are our Ancient Egyptian Paddle dolls. They are made out of wood, and are painted. The hair has been tied onto a hole that I drilled with daddy's drill. (shhh! don't' tell him I'm teaching woodworking without him LOL). Z insisted that his boy doll was not supposed to wear a shirt, so he repainted the top of his skin color and gave him some nipples and a bellybutton. Very nice :-) I did the little one in the middle and E did the girl on the left.
Here they are sleeping on their beds.
I think we'll finish up the unit with a lapbook, and then move on across the Red Sea with Moses and the Israelite gang into Canaan.
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Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Family has been in town for the whole weekend, and the kids are newly emerged from being the centre of attention for three days, and feeling rather bored with mom. Poor little kids.
So we did schoolwork :-)
math: counting by 10, learning about dimes. Word problems like: If dan worked 6 days and made $10 a day, how much money did he earn? She doesn't even realize she's learning multiplication :-) I love this math program (math-u-see)
Religion: learning more about listening to our conscience and examening our actions at the end of the day. We read a story of a little girl who snuck a piece of bubblegum from the cupboard and chewed it in her bed at night. She woke up with spidery webs of pink bubblegum all over her hair and face. The kids thought that was funny.

Spelling: Review of lessons 1-14. E is a natural speller and has a very good memory for the words she is learning. I am amazed at the leaps and bounds she is making in both spelling and reading this past month.

Grammar: finished memorizing a poem "Bird Talk" by Aileen Fisher. Copied the poem into her poem book and illustrated it. This was the first longish poem she's learned (it has 4 stanzas as oppposed to 1 or 2).

On the Gluten front, we are still waiting on an appointment at the children's hospital GI clinic. This could take days or months.. I have no idea. In the meantime we are not supposed to go on a Gluten Free (GF) diet because it could mess up the test results. This is a little unsettling, because we would like for her to start growing and getting healthy!! The more research that I have done into Celiac, the more I do think that she has it, and has had it for some time.

I did try some gluten free bread today... hmmm. not the best stuff in the world. Looks like I'm going to have to start experimenting with baking my own once we get started down this path. We have basically decided to take the whole family on a GF diet to minimize contamination with the 'safe' foods, and to help elizabeth not feel 'strange' or 'deprived'. This, however, puts a lot on mommy's shoulders, to come up with a whole new menu plan of edible snacks and meals for everyone.

No problem! I'm all on it baby! I've been sitting around the afternoons with my feet up wondering what new projects I should tackle with all this free time I have :-)

Hope you are all having a lovely day. I am actually quite happy today. A bit tired from all the family functions over the weekend, but happy.

The pictures: 1) a cardinal, 2) some birds feeding their babies, 3) the princess and the pea.

The other swan

This is Z's swan. He has a trumpet hanging from his neck, just like in the story.
He's getting good at drawing too.. he's 4 right now.
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Trumpet of the swan

The kids have been reading Trumpet of the Swan by EB White this week with daddy before bed. Yesterday I asked E to draw me a picture from the book. This is what she came up with. This is cropped from the original, as it wouldn't fit in my scanner. It's pencil and watercolors. She's enjoying a new set of watercolors she got for Christmas from her Aunt Rae. I watched her draw this, and I was amazed by how quickly she drew the reflections in the water, getting everything reversed perfectly. I would have had to turn it upside down to draw the reflections, thinking hard the whole time about how to get it right. She just did it quickly and perfectly :-)
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Friday, January 11, 2008

Here we go again...

One day at a time is how I think God really wants me to live.

Yesterday, I was told by Elizabeth's pediatrition that she likely has Celiac Disease. This isn't life threatening, but can cause many problems if not properly managaed. It is essentially an allergy or intolerance to gluten. Gluten is in just about everything that we commonly eat in north america, so this can only mean many interesting meals and snacks in my future.

Say a quick prayer for my little girl that she doesn't actually have this disease. We have been referred to the Children's hospital for further testing sometime in the next month or so.

In the meantime, we are living joyfully day by day here. Not much can shake me since the suprise of the twins last year. I just know God will take care of us. He already is.

Actually, a grace-filled moment filled me with peace shortly after I found out. My mind flashed back to my morning prayer time (the first time in months I have been able to have a morning prayer time). I opened my bible (actually my husband's bible because I hadn't prayed for so long in the morning, I had nothing spiritual to read beside my bed), and this is what my eyes were drawn to :

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?

Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?

Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?' All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.

Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.

Friday, January 04, 2008

What a difference a year makes

The babies in 2006

The babies now:

Next year??

I doubt I'll even be able to get them in a picture together since they will both be 2!

Ancient egypt

We have been enjoying school work this week again after a 2 week break. It feels good to get back into some routines.

Yesterday we did:

Fast math (2min drill)
Math test chapter 6
2 more pages in her prayer book
2 stories read to me out of Little Angel reader
spelling: page two of unit 13

and we spent a good chunck of time on history:
we read:
Ms Frizzles' Egyptian adventures
Ancient Egypt voyage book
Old Testament Days

and we did some fun crafts:
an ancient egyptian paddle doll (pictures to come when I get new batteries) and
an ancient egyptian throwing stick

Today, we have accomplished our fair share of school work again:

math: fast math
Religion: chapter 6 in Faith and Life on the Holy Family, and a chapter in our other religion book on baptism.
Spelling: quiz on lesson 13
Grammar: abbreviations and titles of respect, review poem memorization

and we are doing history again today:

E just read to me a book about King Tut, and we are going to start on an Egypt lapbook, make a pyramid out of blocks, and maybe sew an egyptian head covering hat thingy. Pictures to follow soon. :-)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Christmas 2007 in photos

Dec 23: We decorated our xmas tree, ate cookies and drank egg nog.

Dec 24: Xmas eve mass with Sean's parents and his brother and sister-in-law. Light supper of tortiere and chocolate fondue. Presents!! Lay out our stockings, read the xmas story, off to bed!

Dec 25: Put Baby Jesus in the manger, stockings, presents, breakfast by daddy, cook the turkey, my family comes over with more stockings and presents, Sean's parents come over with the final touches for dinner and we eat a feast! Later on we sing carols by the piano and play with the kids.

Dec 29th: Sean's parents house for dinner with his aunt and uncle, cousins, and grandma lorraine. More presents and goodies.

Dec 31: New years eve supper and games with friends, kids to bed, we watch an episode of Planet earth and go to bed at 10:30 LOL

New Years: To mass with my family, E in the choir, brunch at my mom's house.

Jan 2: daddy back to work and life starts anew.

All in all, the best Christmas I have had yet. I love my new house, my family, my friends and most especially my husband. We are truly blessed


E's painting of the nativity this year. She loves drawing this scene, and this one was for Grandpa Jack's Christmas Card. Isn't it lovely?

It's drawn with Pencil and watercolor pencils. She's 7 years 2 months old.
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back to work

Happy new years everyone!

We had a lovely christmas break, and I will try to write about it later, and I intend to get a post done about the best of 2007 (can you believe it's already gone by??), but for now I'm going to start trying to update our day to day homeschooling a bit more regularily.


Fast math (2 min math fact drill)

MUS review of skipcounting by 2, rounding, addition

Religion: First Holy Communion preparation- more pages for her home made prayer book, read a story out of devotional stories for little folks.

Grammar: Lesson 77 and 78 in First Language Lessons (working on abbreviations)

Spelling: Page one of lesson 13 (long O)

Reading: 2 page story read to me out of LIttle Angel reader D. learning -ph, -ng.

Later on today:

History... I am determined to get past Ancient Egypt this month :-) we've been doing it for a year now. It always seems to get pushed by the wayside. Poor pharoh!

Doctors... Pray we don't get any bugs at the drs office that require yet another dr's visit.

Right now:

The babies are making messes (think puzzle pieces all over the floor), the older 3 kids are fighting over cars, and I am going to get dressed soon. Then I"m going to clean up messes, make lunch, change diapers, put 3 kids down for a nap, plan supper, clean up kitchen from lunch and get ready to go to the doctors office.

Maybe later on, I will do some crafting. (More on this later... i have to show you my latest creative burst of activity over christmas).