So Here's the Deal

September 28, 2009 at 8:21 am (Uncategorized)

A month ago we had our first homeschool meeting of the year for our new parent support ministry at church.   As I stood up and talked to the group for the first time I vividly remember thinking "This school year is going to be so uncomplicated!"  It felt SO good to be going into a new school year without some major life change looming!  Over the last 8 years it has seemed that every school year has opened up with some major thing coming.  In the last 8 years we have lived in 4 houses in 3 different States. (Plus two temporary places for 3 months each while we were in transit.) We have added 2 new babies to the family, suffered 2 major job losses which of course were accompanied by periods of unemployment and uncertainty.  It’s been kinda cRaZy!  But, this year as I was looking forward I had a strange feeling of being settled.   We are unpacked from our major move 16 months ago, we are not planning on any more babies (I’m 44 for goodness sake!  LOL) and my husbands job is going really well!  Praise the Lord!!!! Then the phone call came….

Just a couple days after that first meeting we got a voicemail from the company we have been renting our house from for the last 16 months.  They have always been shifty and unreliable BUT, we didn’t see this coming!  The message said that they just noticed that we are "still" paying them rent.  They wanted to let us know that they sold our house "several month ago"  and they won’t be accepting anymore rent from us.  We need to pay the "new owner" (Who has never contacted us!) and not to contact them anymore.  Sigh…. It’s hard to pay someone when you don’t know who they are and they seem to not want to be found.

We honestly don’t know exactly what is going on.  But, we have reason to believe that the new "mystery owner" is not paying the mortgage. I think we were just really fortunate that we got the heads up on this a little in advance and didn’t just get evicted when the bank takes back the house.  So much for my high hopes for a uncomplicated school year!  LOL

The one thing I have learned over the years is that the only thing that is certain is uncertainty!

I have spent the better part of the last month house hunting!  I am pleased to report we have found a LOVELY new home and will be starting to move a THIS FRIDAY!  Once again God has used difficulties in our lives to bless us! As much as I am not looking forward to going through ANOTHER move we have found an absolutely AMAZING house!  It is 3000 square feet, which is (this is almost unreal to me…) 1100 square feet BIGGER than where we are now.  The neighborhood is lovely and quiet.  It’s a 4 bedroom so my darling daughters life long dream of having her own room is about to be realized!  (Although I suspect she and her little brother will take turns sleeping in each others rooms for years to come!  hehehe) 

Here it is….

Here is the living room, which will be our schoolroom.

And the family room.

The kitchen and eating area.

The MAMMOTH master bedroom!
Which will otherwise know as the upstairs family room!  LOL

The master vanity.
2 sinks = marital harmony!  LOL (There is also a wonderful, deep soaking tub and a shower that is SO BIG that it has dual shower heads!)

MY closet! 
(Yep, this one is all mine because the master bedroom has 2 walk in closets! Please don’t pinch me because if I am dreaming I don’t want to wake up! hehehe)

I cannot even tell you how blessed we feel to be moving into this house!  I would say it’s the house of our dreams, but honestly I never dreamed of living in anything this big!  LOL  God is SO awesome to give us more than we would ever even ask for!

Now back to the title of this post…So here’s the deal….Needless to say I am overwhelmed with things to do.  Cutting back is essential and my blog is one place I will be cutting back.  I will be making myself scarce around here for the time being.  We still have 4 weeks of Josefina to do for American Girl Club and I plan to post about those.  I know there are people who are following along and I don’t want to leave anyone in a lurch!  But, after Josefina we will be taking a break from American Girl Club until January.  If I remember I will try to post my Freebie Friday posts here too.  Other than that I probably won’t post on a very regular basis for the next few months.  Once we are moved in and have made it through the holidays I hope to get back to my daily posts.  But for now, I have to find the time and energy to get us from point A to our new point B. 

If you want to be notified when I post you might want to subscribe to my blog.  Otherwise feel free to check back for my occasional post.

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Prayers for a easy transition and the ability to somehow still keep school on track would be greatly appreciated!

I’ll see you soon from our all new location!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Tim Hawkins – A Homeschool Family

September 26, 2009 at 9:26 am (Uncategorized)

These makes me laugh!

If you are reading this via email and can’t see the videos CLICK HERE.

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Freebie Friday Sept. 25, 2009 File Folder Fun and A Few Suprises!

September 26, 2009 at 8:51 am (Uncategorized)

Welcome to Freebie Friday!

Since my kids ages are spread out all over the map I get a lot of questions about how to keep the little ones busy while I work with my older son.  One tool I use with my littles are file folder games.  I came across these last year at the Library and was thrilled to find that there are lots of great free ones online!  So this week I am bringing you free File Folder Games and a few other surprises I hope you enjoy!

File Folder Fun offers free file folders for preschool through second grade.  You will find file folders for Science, Language Arts, Math and more!  You can browse by subject or grade level.  The more you click the more you find at this website!

Looking for phonics games?  Check these out!

Adding and rhyming?  Click here.

Simple Addition, telling time and counting money. Click here.

For Preschool File Folders click here. (There are 22 to chose from on the yellow side bar on the left.)

For more preschool file folder games click here.  You will find them mixed in with a lot of other free printables for little ones. 

Now for those surprises I promised!

This Summer I bought the game SET for my family and everyone LOVES it!  Recently I came across a Free Daily SET puzzle online!  Be careful though, it’s addictive!

Next be sure to stop by Barbara Frank Online.  She now has all her great freebies in one place!  You will find her awesome Car Purchase Project for teens, Special Reports, Ecourses and more!

I also wanted to share with you a great homeschool blog I have been enjoying lately.  Fivejs.com is the blog of a homeschool mama who is full of great ideas!  I especially like her Teaching the Months of the Year post which includes free printable worksheets.  She also a great post on Techniques for Studying Spelling Words.  
Understanding Centuries is another great post which also includes free worksheets.  I m telling you there are a ton of wonderful, unique resources at this blog!  I recommend you start with the Most Popular Posts listed on the right hand side bar.

I hope you enjoy this week’s freebies!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

Freebie Finder
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine
www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com

While every effort is made to ensure that the recommended sites are family friendly, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and it’s writers do not own the sites recommended.  Content and advertising can change without notice.  Please exercise caution when viewing websites.  Please check out the websites before allowing your children to view them.


This article is from this weeks issue of Freebie Friday.  If you are interested in getting the Freebie Friday Newsletter you can subscribe for free HERE.  I will pass along FREE goodies for your homeschool each week.

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American Girl Club – Josefina – Week 2

September 23, 2009 at 7:31 am (Uncategorized)

Here is what we did for week 2 of Josefina…

  1. Discussed questions from book 2 – Josefina Learns a Lesson.
  2. Read about the clothing of the time in the In Josefina’s World Book
  3. Played a game with Spanish words.  (See below for more info.)
  4. Made our waist pouches
  5. Started working on cardboard loom weaving projects.
  6. Had Goat Cheese and tortillas for snack.


Here is what we did for the game we played.  I typed up 10 words that have to do with clothing in English.  (Since we have 20 girls) Then I looked the same words up in Spanish.  I printed them on card stock and then cut them all out to be the same size.  Once I cut them out I used my scrapbooking scissors to cut each one apart with a different blade.  (If you don’t have 10 different ones you could use regular scissors and just cut them distinctly so they have a match.)


Then I passed the half pieces out to all the girls and they had to go around the room and find their match.  Once they found their match they sat together on the floor.  Then we went around and the girls had to tell their word in English and Spanish.  It was a fun little mixer and gave the girls a chance pair up with a new friend.

Here are some pictures from the evening…

My daughter working on her pouch.

One of the mom’s working with her daughter on her pouch.

One of the mom’s wore a serapa to showe the girls!
One of the other mom’s also brought a huge bunch of peppers she got from her garden.  So the girls all got to take some home so share with their families!

My daughter trying out goat cheese wrapped in tortillas.  (She wasn’t a fan!  LOL)

One of the girls wearing her completed waist pouch.

My daughter working writing her name on her weaving project.

Several of the girls this week used their rebozons to sling their babies.  This of course stole my heart!

One of the girls working on her weaving.

So that was night two of Josefina!  As you can see we had a lot of fun!!!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

Here are all my other posts on Josefina so far.

American Girl Club – Josefina Week #1

Josefina!
Josefina Weaving
Josefina – Pouch Craft

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American Girl Club – Josefina – Pouch Craft

September 22, 2009 at 8:13 am (Uncategorized)

Here is our craft for week two of Josefina.


This is similar to the waist pouch that Josefina wears in the American Girl stories.  In book one Josefina picks primrose flowers and carries them in her pouch. 

Here is how we will be making ours.

Cut tan leather or vinyl into 16 inch X 6 inch rectangles.  Then cut one end to a point. (I measured down 3 inches on each side and drew a line to the middle of the center of the short end.) 

Then you need to punch holes like this.
You will be punching a total of 19 holes.  In this picture I have punched 11 and marked the other 8.  You need to punch the bottom 8 and then fold it up and mark where to punch the other 8 so they line up exactly.  The 2 that are punched a little further in is where the cord will go through to wear it around your waist. This is the point I will be giving the project to the girls.  They can punch the final holes and finish the pouch from here.

So once you have all the holes punched you can fold it over and use twine to sew up the sides.  Then you can add your belt.  We are going to use heavy beige yarn to make the belts.  (I hadn’t been to the store to buy the yarn yet when I made the sample and I used a piece of leather I had left over from when we made Kaya dresses.)  Then you can loop a small piece of twine through the hole at the point and add beads.  This will not only decorate it, but the weight of the beads will help keep it closed.

I am looking forward to making these with the girls tonight!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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New Notebooks

September 21, 2009 at 8:34 am (Uncategorized)

I found these really cool notebooks at Target last week.  They look exactly like composition notebooks except inside they have the paper that is lined at the bottom and white at the top so you can draw a picture.  I bought them for my littles. 

Here are their first entries.

My 5 year old dictated this to me.
I promise I did not tell him to write about me!  LOL  He’s SO sweet!

Here is my 8 year old daughters.
:^)

A friend was just saying the other day that her kids started out writing all about their families, then they moved on to themselves and then to their friends.  I thought it was interesting that my youngest wrote about me and my daughter wrote about herself.  I think my friend is right!  These are just natural stages of a child’s world expanding. 

I just love these notebooks because they can work on them a little bit at a time and at the end of the year we will have a neat collection of their stories and art all nicely bound in one place. 

They were cheap too!  Only $3.99 each!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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She Did It Again!

September 18, 2009 at 8:03 am (Uncategorized)

So yesterday I saw my daughter drawing this….


It totally made me think of Mondrian!  So we had our second spontaneous art lesson of the year!  We especially enjoyed looking at the Mondrian images we found doing a Google Search.  They Mondrian inspired car and building were our favorites!

My favorite part of our discussion was when she pointed out that her picture was done in much more pastel colors and his were all primaries.  She also thought it was interesting when we read that his older works didn’t have black lines, but the newer ones did.  Then she went on to draw a half dozen other pictures that included the black lines.  :^)

So now we have covered Escher and Mondrian for art this year.  I wonder who she will accidentally imitate next?  I am telling you my daughter is a walking Art Curriculum!  LOL

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

P.S.  I absolutely LOVE how she included the cross and the fish in her artwork!

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Freebie Friday Sept. 18, 2009 Lapbooking

September 18, 2009 at 7:04 am (Uncategorized)

Welcome to Freebie Friday!

I can’t start a new school year without bringing you some Lapbooking freebies!  My family started lapbooking almost 3 years ago and we all LOVE it!  Lapbooking has been such a great addition to our homeschooling.  There are so many things I like about it.  The first being that it is great for any topic and any age.  My oldest to youngest are 10 years apart and they both enjoy lapbooking!  We have done them on everything from the ABC’s   to Shakespeare ! Another thing I love about Lapbooks is that you can find so many of them for FREE!  There are a ton of free lapbooks out there!  I hope you enjoy this weeks freebies and that lapbooking is as fun for your family as it is for mine.

First off if you are wondering "What is a lapbook"  be sure to check out the Lapbooking Squidoo site You will find an amazing collection of pictures, instructions, videos and links to answer all your questions.  You can also check out my How To Begin Lapbooking post and find links so to over 30 Lapbooks my children have made on the sidebar at this link.

Homeschoolshare.com is an amazing source of free lapbooks.  Just this one website could keep your children lapbooking for years!  My kids have done quite a few of the free lapbooks from this website which now boast over 300 free lapbooks!  I was really excited to see that they now offer Lapbooks for all the Little House on the Prairie Books!  Some of the ones I am hoping my kids can make this year are the All about Me Lapbook  for my 5 year old, the Cooking Lapbook for my 8 year old daughter and the Chemistry one for my oldest.
Another wonderful resource at Homeschoolshare.com is that they offer well over 100 blank lapbook templates too!   So if you can’t find a pre-made lapbook you need you can easily make your own!

Homeschool Helper Online is another site with a lot of great free lapbooks. 
I am thinking my 2 little ones would enjoy making the Money Lapbook this year. 
There United States Flag Lapbook   and Fire Safety Lapbook   are also high on my list of lapbooks I am hoping the kids do soon!  You will find a great collection of blank templates at this site to.

Lapbook Lessons also offers a great selection of free lapbooks! They have their free lapbooks split into 12 categories including Bible, Character, Book Reports, Animals, Holidays, and Science.  This site is growing all the time so be sure to stop by often!  They also offer some neat unique items like Mini Offices you can create that will help your children with their frequently asked questions!

I hope you enjoy this week’s great freebies!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

Freebie Finder
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine
www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com

While every effort is made to ensure that the recommended sites are family friendly, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and it’s writers do not own the sites recommended.  Content and advertising can change without notice.  Please exercise caution when viewing websites.  Please check out the websites before allowing your children to view them.


This article is from this weeks issue of Freebie Friday.  If you are interested in getting the Freebie Friday Newsletter you can subscribe for free HERE.  I will pass along FREE goodies for your homeschool each week.

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American Girl Club – Josefina – Week 1

September 17, 2009 at 8:31 am (Uncategorized)

Here is a recap of what we did at for Josefina – week #1.

First off we all introduced or re-introduced ourselves.  This year we are blessed to be able to have American Girl Club at our church.  In the past I have limited the number of girls to 12.  That seems to be the maximum number that is comfortable to have space wise when we are meeting in homes.  Now that we are at the church I raised the number to 20.  (+ their mom’s which means we have 35 people in total.)  It’s a lot better at the church because there are no toys to distract us or places to sneak off and play. ;^) Plus the mom’s don’t have to host so many people in their homes. I did it once last year and it was a little hair raising! I really, really liked having it at the church last night! 

After introductions we had our chapter questions.  I always write down 3 or 4 questions about each chapter as my daughter and I read.  When I can I use this time to bring things to show them that apply to what they read.  So for example this week one of the questions was "What is a rebozo?"  and then I showed them the rebozo I was wearing and we talked about all it’s uses. I also took a sheepskin we just happen to have left over from when my littles were babies.  One of the questions was "What does Josefina sleep on?"  The answer was sheepskins.  So we were able to pass it around and they could all consider whether they would like that to be their bed! We also talked about warp and weft during this time and I showed them how that applied to the craft we would be doing.

Next we looked at a picture of a weaving loom, looked at pictures of New Mexico and looked at an overview of the house Josefina lived in.  All the pictures are in the book "In Josefina’s World"  I LOVE these books and we go over a few pages each week.

Then we learned some dance steps!  I found these in a book called The American Girl Club Handbook.  One of the mom’s bought it for me last year at a used bookstore.  It’s AWESOME!  It doesn’t cover all the girls, but it has the first 6 girls they introduced.  (It is out of print, but you can buy used copies online.)

Here is my daughter and a friend practicing the dance they learned.

Then it was time for our craft!  Making Rebozo’s was a super simple craft, although it was a tad bit pricey.  Each of the girls needed a loosely woven piece of fabric 2 1/2 yards by 2 feet wide.  Finding this much of this specific type of fabric wasn’t easy!  (It has to have the actual pattern woven into the fabric.  So you need fabric that is the same on both sides.) I ended up getting it all at JoAnn’s, but I had to go to 3 JoAnn’s to get enough!  (And I had to do a lot of math in my head to get enough 2 1/2 yard by 2 feet sections for 20 girls!) I spent almost half of the budget for the entire 6 weeks on this one project!  But, it’s fine because I knew I would do it when I chose all the crafts for the 6 weeks.  All the girls had to do was use a straight pin to remove the weft thread on the bottom edges of their fabric.  This created fringe that they can braid and knot into any design they like. The girls really loved making and wearing their rebozos.I know they will play with them for a long time to come.  

Here are some pictures of the girls working on thier rebozo’s:

My daughter

Here is a good shot of the overall room.  In the back you can see one of the mom’s wearing my rebozo.  :^)
You might notice all the little trash cans on the tables in this picture.  I about these at IKEA last year for AG Club and the Preschool Class I taught last year.  They are awesome!  Not only do they help with the mess, but they help teach the kids to keep things neat and tidy while they work. 

For snack we made corn tortillas!  I must confess I had never made a tortilla until Tuesday!  That is the good thing about me teaching this!  I have to learn new things too so I can teach the girls.  I bought a bag of Instant Ground Masa in the grocery section of Target.  All we had to do was add water and salt.  Then I made it into little balls. (Directions are on the package.)  Two of the mom’s brought electric griddles for us to use.  While the girls were working on their rebozos we  pulled them over 2 at a time to make their tortilla.  They got to put the ball in a piece of folded wax paper and roll it out.  Then I cooked each one on the grills.  They seemed to really like it!

Here is my daughter pressing out her tortilla.

Here is a (not very round!) tortilla cooking on the grill. :^)

And here is one of the finished tortillas!

That was pretty much it for our first night of club this year.  Tune in next week and I will let you know what we are up to next!

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

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Josefina – Weaving Project

September 16, 2009 at 8:34 am (Uncategorized)

One of the projects we will be working on at American Girl Club for Josefina is weaving.  I searched around online and found THIS neat website with lots of great ideas on teaching kids to weave.  The one I chose to do with the girls is weaving on a cardboard loom. 

Here is one of my finished sample pieces.

How this works is that you take a 6X6 inch square of cardboard with small slits on the top and bottom.  (I made 12 slits on each end.)  Then you wrap your yarn around the cardboard and into the slits to get the warp threads.  Once you have all the warp threads (up and down ones) you can start weaving the weft threads. (Years ago I was taught that the "weft threads" go "right and weft".  I remember it to this day!)

Here is a sample that is in progress. 
You can see that my warp is a light purple and my weft is dark purple.  I also did samples of other items you can weave in.  The top one is a strip of denim with a bead on it.  The next one is a piece of chunky beige thread with a bead on it. And the last one is????  Any guesses????  DRYER LINT!  LOL  (Yes, I have all the AG mom’s saving their "pretty" dryer lint! hehehe)

My plan for these is to have the girls work on them a little each night after the other projects are done.  This way they can all sit around and talk, but still be learning and focusing on Josefina. The final night we will remove them from the looms and put them on a stick so they can hang them up at home. 

He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them master craftsmen and designers.
Exodus 35:35


Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

P.S.  I just had to share this picture of my daughter with her American Girl doll!


I was busy Tuesday getting everything ready for the first night of American Girl  Club.  My daughter asked me if she could have a scrap of the fabric from the skirt I made her.  Pretty soon she comes in and is showing me the outfit she put together for her doll! She had used the green skirt from Felicity’s Riding outfit, a white Onesie (She uses on her Bitty Babies that was left over from when her brother was a baby), the moccasins we made at AG Club for Kaya and she had made a Rebozo from the piece of fabric I gave her! I was going on and on about how creative she is….She looked at me dead serious and said "Mom, I am related to you, what do you expect?"  ROFL!!!  I love that girl!

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