16 January 2015

Staying in touch

I think I have mentioned in the past that technology is a wonderful thing.  In particular, technology helps me to be able to keep up with my 4 married children and their little ones on a regular basis and see how they are all growing both physically and spiritually.  I love checking in on Facebook and seeing new posts they submit to their blogs.  As we all know blogging comes on a regular basis at times and sometimes it takes a back seat.  Either way, the updated posts they each make are a joy to see when you live 100's of miles away.  So as you may have guessed, this post is about thanking technology and on sharing the blogs of my kiddos.  JULI is a photographer and I love seeing the latest posts and updates of her darling kids.  HEATHER (daughter in law) is also a photographer and I love seeing her precious kiddos as well and keeping current with their lives.  Christie hasn't come around to the world of blogging yet but at least I get to see her and her little on Facebook!!  ROBYN is the newest of our family to enter the blogging world and she does well updating too.  (unlike her mother)  She loves to write and share all about her life with husband Luke and beautiful new baby daughter Charlotte.  

As I have said, this is a post about sharing and loving technology.  That said, (again) I invite you to share in the musings, sighs, events, photos, ups, downs, and all the simple and complicated things that motherhood can bring to us all, including now, the lives of my girls.   Click the names below the pics to check out their latest blog post!!!

Oh, and speaking of technology AGAIN......
We got these little gems on Amazon (did I ever say how much I love amazon?) for Christmas.  We use them all the time.  Who would have thought?  Trips to the Y, when the girls take the dog on a walk, when running around the park, or wherever or whenever we need to stay somewhat connected. They are way cheaper to run than cell phones and have up to a 30 mile radius.  They were so worth buying.  We've decided that we need to at least purchase on more pair and by putting them all on the same frequency keeping up with the locations of our kids will be even easier.  Like next week we plan to spend a week at Wisconsin Dells and I am sure these will come in handy more than ever!!

Click the pic to read more about these awesome little "toys"

A note about E-readers

E-readers are not new as we all know.  They are simple to use and relatively cheap.  But the rewards are incredible.  The opportunity to be able to store hundreds of books in a place that takes up the space of a book.  We currently own 3 nooks and trust me, they are used often.  I would like to share our favorite sites for ebooks.  I only have a few, but I'm sure there are many, many places in which one can find a great book in electronic form.

Yesterday's Classics is most likely my favorite.  THIS package of books is a great deal and the book titles are amazing.  And HERE is their main page with lots of free titles you can read online.
Good ole Project Gutenberg.  This site is massive.  And did I say free?
Of course Amazon.  My favorite.  
Others include Christian books Distributers and Barnes and Noble.  Okay, that's pretty much all I know.  If you have a favorite ebook site please contact me and share!!

What's been happening....

 Here is a small, (I think) synopsis of what's been happening in our lives as of lately.  As always life is full, crazy busy, exciting, relaxing, and joyful.

The 6 girls are keeping me hopping and happy.  It has been great having big sister Kim around.  The 6 of them enjoy together working out, watching movies, shopping, eating, chatting, and sleep overs.  The younger girls LOVE the constant flow of surprises she always has for them like new clothes, jewelry, cologne, and all things girly.  My boys are out for a few months.  Aaron is on the tail end of a mission with only a few months left until he comes home.  And Gregg just last week flew out to Christie's house in Idaho to help tend her new little baby Jordan a couple hours a day until she finishes up her last semester of school.  It will be GREAT having both boys home soon!!!

Janai is our latest 12 year old and turning 12 is an exciting age.  She is officially a "young'' woman.  Here she is displaying her "purity ring" daddy gave her.  The inscription reads "True Love Waits" and of course along with her ring she was given a full explanation on the importance of being a pure, virtuous young lady.  (they grow too fast)  For school she is working hard on her Saxon math, latin, french, scripture & poems copy book, learning journal, drawings, artist and composer study, and lots and lots of reading wonderful books.  She is taking a ballet class at the Y and doing very well.  She is finishing up her 5th year of piano and is doing a great job.

The twins just had a birthday this month. Two 17 year olds living in the same house!  Yes, that's a good thing.  Academically they are coming along beautifully.  Both are doing Sonlight in addition to math, latin, and Apologia science.  They are staying extra busy lately taking a ballet class, zumba 3x a week, and piano.  I should mention here that they both are wonderful cooks as well.  Emma is top in making wonderful breads, and Kaydee is always dazzling us with special treats for dessert.  

They love each other
And who doesn't love the potato heads.  Even mom has fun dressing them up.

Our first snow of the season and Mary decided to practice some "snowga"

Let's not forget about our many birthdays from December to January.  Including, grandma Gilbert, Mary, Robyn, Aubryn, Heather, G'emma/twins on the same day and Ambreigh.  Nine birthday joys!!

Oh my silly girls.  Did I mention we found these awesome full on full bunks last year on Amazon?  Along with them we also have a matching twin set of bunk beds.  Amazon has the best!  If amazon doesn't have it then I don't need it!

Christmas Eve (much excitement)

Makenzie took a year off Sonlight to travel on a slightly different curriculum road.  She is keeping academically busy with, Famous Men of Rome, poetry, math, latin, french, and study of animals.  Her literature as of late has been Black Ships Before Troy, Pilgrims Progress, Foxe's Book of Martyrs, and The Wondering of Odyssus.

She can be so serious sometimes!

I found a fun book at the library called Will It Waffle.  Our first recipe we tried were cheesy chicken tortillas.  We spread each tortilla with coconut oil.  Place one tortilla on the iron and add ingredients, then place the second tortilla over it and close the lid for 2-3 minutes.  Perfect.

The girls got this fun tent for Christmas and love sleeping in it every night and during the day they can be found hiding out with their favorite books!

Here is a snippet from Mary's penmanship book.  I love copy books from Memoria Press and have been using them for years.  

This is what our table looks like once lunch time rolls around.  A few piles of stacked up books shoved aside to make room.  Seems math was the subject of the moment of most of them according to the photo.

For Mary's academics at this time she is doing A LOT of reading.  Added to that she is doing math, latin, copy work, keeping a learning journal, Charlotte Mason grammar, (as are all the girls) poetry, composer and artist study and drawing.  She LOVES taking baton classes at the Y each week along with swimming and racquetball with her sisters.

01 January 2015

Thoughts on Christmas and Gifts-Our Terrific Twelve

Many words come to mind when I think of Christmas.  Gifts are one of them.  While not the first thing I think about, it is, as we all know part of the package of Christmas.  And for me, I would just like to say that when I think of gifts I think of the 12 best gifts I have ever received.  I have listed them below in the form of pictures.  To be sure, these gifts can NEVER, EVER be replaced and they qualify for the worlds BEST ever presents one can receive.  I love you all for now and for always.  You are constantly in my thoughts each and every day.  Thank you so much for being my children.
I'm not at all known as being a poet.  But no matter, this little made up poem at least gets my point across!  The title ~ OUR TERRIFIC TWELVE

Juli my first born

I thank you for the good times
For all the joy you bring
Being the first in line
You've taught us many things
From the second you were born
Instantly my love came about
I knew that I would love you
Without a shadow of a doubt
Now that you have grown
With a family of your own
You never cease to amaze me
With the beautiful seeds you've sown!


You have grown into a man
And with each passing day
You never fail to show
Your loving caring ways
When at first I saw your face
Instantly I knew
That each and everyday
I'd thank Heaven for you 
I'm sure your wife and children will agree
After all, they can clearly see that
You are strong, and brave, and true
And not a moment can go by
That I don't think of you!


By the time that you arrived
I had a clue or two
On how much mom's can love
And it stayed true with you.
You are my little angel
For me you left your wings
And now each day with you
Love and Happiness brings
Wonderful thoughts, and not just a few
You are so good and kind
And each and everyday I find
That I love each day I get to see
Your beautiful smiling face
As with 1 and 2
I love you and you and you!

Robyn dear is four

And while most would say what - MORE?
I had to say that yes
Because more is more than less
And four or more is best.
The moment that you came into my world
I knew totally for sure, that you would be my world
Now you a mama are
With your precious little star
I thank you for your self
And all the gifts you gave
Some are hidden in a box
And some, inside my heart are saved.


Seventeen months later
Another gift bestowed
And trusted to our family
Our thanks to Heaven owed.
You've blessed me so I have to say
I'd never have it any other way
God showed me that he loved me
Through His abundant grace
I knew that very well, when I looked upon your face
To her as well, a gift
Straight from Heaven fell
 Into her loving arms
Which bade HER heart to swell.

Aaron and Gregg

 With joyful hearts
And very full hands
Our precious boys, Aaron and Gregg
Stole a chunk of both our hearts
And tired out both our legs

Aaron is my rumble and tumble
Boy of 6 feet tall
Let's not forget he's humble
And a blessing to us all.
You are oh so strong and bold
My love for you be told
Each day I have you near
To you my love will always be here.
He's faithful good and true.
No matter what, I'll always love you!

When you both came into my heart
I knew right then, we never could part.

Our boy Gregg, a comedian he is
Keeps those smiles coming
On our faces and on HIS
His heart is huge as ever
And despite his funny jokes
I love him for forever
Because he is such good folk!
You have a lovely freckled nose
A smile that will dazzle
And dash away my woes.
From my head down to my toes
My love for you never will frazzle!


As if life wasn't crazy enough for you know who

In bounced twin one and twin two
Emma so bold with her thick dark hair
Kaydee - much lighter and much more fair

Emma my funny, lovely little star
I love you tons, just the way you are
Do you know what you mean to me?
I'll show each day, so you can see
You're growing up right under my heart
My love for you, never will part.

Kaydee my love that came from above
My heart for you is full of love
I thank you for who you are
So bright and kind is the way you are
You brighten up my days
With your sweet and loving ways.

Truly you are such a special little pair
Two sweet girls left in my care
God had decided that me He would ask
To undertake such a ginormous task
Two precious babies in love did I fall
With the most beautiful babies I ever had saw!  (eeks, I ever "had saw!")


Heaven decided that two at a time
While awesome and great 
This time there's going to be one
A sure sign from heaven that we were not done
Makenize is funny, loving, and bright
We all will admit, number 10 was just right
By now this momma has to admit
That having these babies is a perfect fit!
You brighten up my day
From morning until night
You have a special way
Of bringing in the light.


On the morn of her birth was one of great joy
All the children were present, boy oh boy!
With her cry she did wake all of the house
Brothers and sisters did come to take in the joy,
Of the baby sister, NOT quiet as a mouse.
Quiet or not, no matter at all
She is very much loved by everyone that she saw!
To mom she was perfect
Perfect as can be
The love in my heart is as large as the sea.
You are a joy, lovely, full of grace
It's wonderful to know, that I'm in the right place.

And Miss Mary makes 12

Whew! Look at that.
Just when we thought we were done.
Heaven sends yet another
To add to our fun.
Wait, did I say fun?
Yes, that and much more.
Mary Nowelle - 
Our pre-Christmas gift
Born in December I will tell
She gave my heart a wonderful lift.
From her first cry my joy had begun
And once again, all was just
Here under the sun!

I heard more than once -
You've got your hands full.
So much on your plate!

Oh yes I would say. Full? Yes they are.
But nothing, oh nothing, could be better by far.  


16 September 2014

Introducing Jordan Jeffery Chandler

This post reminds me that I am NOT keeping by blog updated.  Jordan Jeffrey Chandler joined daughter Christie and husband Jeff on July 25,2014.  He is beautiful and we love him like crazy. We've been blessed with 2 babies this year and our hearts are overflowing! Our family continues to grow and absolutely NOTHING is better than adding new ones to shower with love.

Saturday mornings = great book

as opposed to say, cartoons or other such "twaddle" as Charlotte Mason would say.  Imagine my delight when going into the girls' room to find them like this.  It only furthers the truth that I have known for a long time that a good book is something difficult to put down.  I'm also thankful that at a young age they were given much opportunity to get "sucked in" if you will to the wonderful world of literature.  Per their own desires they decided to add a few things they learned about George Washington to their learning journals.  I decided to throw in some vocabulary by having them learn what the underlined and circled words mean.  (it's a mom/teacher thing)

More information 

Journal page by Mary 
Journal page by Mary 

03 June 2014

What is the Charlotte Mason Method? - Simply Charlotte Mason

There is so much information in this article that rings true.  I just had to share it.  I hope it blesses your homeschool life as it has mine.

What is the Charlotte Mason Method?

The Charlotte Mason method is based on Charlotte's firm belief that the child is a person and we must educate that whole person, not just his mind. So a Charlotte Mason education is three-pronged: in her words, "Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life."

An Atmosphere, A Discipline, A Life

By "Atmosphere," Charlotte meant the surroundings in which the child grows up. A child absorbs a lot from his home environment. Charlotte believed that the ideas that rule your life as the parent make up one-third of your child's education.
By "Discipline," Charlotte meant the discipline of good habits—and specifically habits of character. Cultivating good habits in your child's life make up another third of his education.
The other third of education, "Life," applies to academics. Charlotte believed that we should give children living thoughts and ideas, not just dry facts. So all of her methods for teaching the various school subjects are built around that concept.

Living Methods

For example, Charlotte's students used living books rather than dry textbooks. Living books are usually written in narrative or story form by one author who has a passion for his topic. A living book makes the subject "come alive."
And the students were required to tell back, or narrate in their own words what was read in the living book, in order to secure it in their minds. No fill-in-the-blank or multiple-choice for them; they practiced using rich language as they pointed out the ideas they gleaned from the reading and any mental connections they made between it and other ideas already residing in their growing minds and hearts.
She taught handwriting and s
pelling  by using passages from great books that communicate great ideas rather than using just a list of words.
She encouraged spending time outdoors, interacting with God's creation firsthand and learning the living ways of nature.
She introduced the work of great artists and composers to her students and let them spend time with each, getting to know their works personally.
She spread before her students a feast of ideas from a wide variety of sources—from Shakespeare to knitting to Bible to tramping through field and stream to algebra to singing to foreign languages. And woven throughout it all, she emphasized the habits of full attention, best effort, and learning for the sake of learning.
All designed to help the child grow; for we learn to grow.
It's no wonder that many homeschoolers have adopted her philosophy and methods as they seek to educate the whole child!
Take a look at this chart to see the variety of subjects included in a Charlotte Mason education along with the methods she used to teach each one. (Be sure to click the links for more details.)

Why I Chose the Charlotte Mason Method

In this video, Sonya Shafer explains why she chose to homeschool with the Charlotte Mason method.

Does the Charlotte Mason method sound like the approach you would like to use in your home school? Here's how to get started.

What They Don't Know - Simply Charlotte Mason

What They Don't Know

When More Is Less Calendar JournalI remember pulling some all-nighters during my high school and college years. A test was scheduled for the next day, and there were so many random facts and pieces of information to be recalled for it that every moment counted. Another hour and another memory trick might just secure a few more bits of information until the test. And the more I could stuff into my head, the better my chance at receiving a good grade.
It's funny, but I don't recall a single one of those facts now. Those cramming sessions had one goal in mind: to remember until the test. Once the test was over, my memory no longer needed to entertain those facts, and they were dismissed.
So the good grade, which was supposed to represent how much I knew about the subject, was only a testament to how much I could cram for the short term. I didn't really know.

They Cram But Don't Know

Cramming does not equal knowing.
In fact, the more information we throw at our students, the more they have to resort to cramming methods just to keep up. Once the test or assignment is over, their minds jettison most of those facts to make room for the next batch. How can we call this futile process "education"?
It's no wonder students who go through a perpetual cycle of cramming, testing, emptying, and cramming again lose their natural desire for knowledge. They have been schooled in a shallow counterfeit and develop an aversion to anything remotely like it. Thus, we end up with adults who stop reading; who stop wanting to know; who stop asking questions to satisfy their curiosity about things; indeed, who stop being curious at all; and as a result, who stop growing.
Cramming is not a modern technique. Charlotte Mason recognized its futility and the harm it can do:
"We all want knowledge just as much as we want bread. We know it is possible to cure the latter appetite by giving more stimulating food; and the worst of using other spurs to learning is that a natural love of knowledge which should carry us through eager school-days, and give a spice of adventure to the duller days of mature life, is effectually choked; and boys and girls 'Cram to pass but not to know; they do pass but they don't know.' The divine curiosity which should have been an equipment for life hardly survives early schooldays" (Vol. 6, p. 57).
What if, instead of filling and emptying and filling and emptying our children's minds in a futile endeavor to pass, we gave them less to know but expected them to really know it?
The simple truth is that we can't teach our children all about everything. It's impossible. No brain can hold that much information. As they are trying to keep up with today's information, so much more is being generated that they can't help but continue to fall behind. It's a mathematical fact in this information age.
We must make choices. We must select where our focus will be. If we have the courage, we can give our children a deeply meaningful education—one that esteems how well they know more than how much. And in doing so, we will also preserve for them the love of learning that will guarantee their continuing to learn all throughout their lives.

When More Is Less: New Calendar Journal

The article above was taken from our new calendar journal, When More Is Less. The new calendar was designed to help you discover the richness that simplicity can bring to your schedule, your home, and your children's education.
This handy school-year edition will walk you from July 2014 through June 2015 with encouraging articles like the one above, inspiring Charlotte Mason quotes, and plenty of room to write your personal notes.
The year-at-a-glance calendar, monthly calendars, looking-ahead thumbnail calendars, monthly divider tabs, and two-page spread each week will help you stay organized. Plus, special touches—like areas to jot down gentle reminders, prayer requests, and books you are reading—will combine to help you create a keepsake journal of your year. All with a gentle Charlotte Mason touch.
The When More Is Less calendar journal, 2014-15 School Year Edition, is available at a special introductory price through May 1.
Reduce the stress and enjoy the simplicity that Charlotte Mason's ideas can bring!

Seeing Aaron off on his mission

Seeing Aaron off on his mission
We all love and miss you Aaron. We pray you will have a great and accomplished mission. You have chosen well.