Charity is 6!

Yesterday was Charity’s sixth birthday! We celebrated on Saturday with a spaghetti dinner (her favorite) and cupcakes!

She wanted purple frosting, and I found this Wilton cupcake decorating kit on Amazon!The birthday girl after blowing out her candle!

Then on Sunday, we had lunch at Nana’s. Charity got to blow out more candles!

Here is the present we got for her!

It is called Fort Magic and comes with different size rods that fit together to make really cool forts! 

She also got this mini cleaning set from Papa and Nana because she wanted to help sweep and mop more. 

And my parents got her several fun craft projects that I can’t wait to do with her!

I can’t believe that we have had our sweet girl for six years now! I feel like this birthday is a milestone for her as she grows from a little kid to a young lady. Happy birthday Charity! We love you!

Weekly Highlights: Strawberries and Playing at the Park 

Last week, Charity discovered wild strawberries in our backyard! She was so excited!

She has been picking them herself almost every day and enjoying them for a snack. I don’t think they are very sweet, but she thinks they are the best! 

We went to a park that we had never gone to before. It had the cutest little wooden buildings for small kids and cool swings and slides!

John making a silly face 😆

Micaiah had fun too, but he didn’t want to smile for pictures.

My big girl, Charity! I can’t believe she’s almost six!

I found more things at Goodwill to sell on eBay, as usual!

These sandals are Privo by Clarks.

And here’s my weekly recipe! We all probably have our own sloppy joe recipe, but here is the one we like to use! 

Manwich Copycat Recipe 

INGREDIENTS

SAUCE:

8 oz can tomato sauce

1 cup low sugar ketchup

1 tablespoon dried minced onion

1 tablespoon green pepper, diced fine

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:

1 pound ground beef

6 hamburger buns

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine all sauce ingredients in a medium bowl.

Brown 1 pound ground beef, drain the fat. Add the sauce to the meat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with toasted hamburger buns.

Enjoy and have a great week!

Weekly Highlights: Tractors and Hair Cuts

Last week, we went to the John Deere store to get some tractor parts. John loves going there and seeing all the tractors!

He was ready to drive!

Charity got her hair cut! Five inches!

It looks so pretty and healthy now.

We’re enjoying the warm weather! We made a trip to the park last week and have been playing outside every day.

This is my favorite Goodwill find this week!

This dress is by Tahari and is really great quality!

I’m sharing another dessert recipe today. This one is very easy and great for chocolate lovers like me!

Fudgy Chocolate Oatmeal Bars
Enjoy and have a great week!

Weekly Highlights: Gopher Buddy Graduation ï»¿

Last week, Charity graduated from Gopher Buddies, her Wednesday night Bible class at church!

She got a gold medal! 

Here she is with the rest of her class. I get to help teach this class too, and they are all such fun!

A sweet friend of ours gave Charity this book! She has been loving folding these airplanes. 

This was her first one.

And our friend gave me a beautiful wall hanging that she made!


Charity also made these little puppets last week.

And the boys are up to their usual mischief! Love them so much!

Here is my find of the week! These are Clarks shoes size 8.


And today I am sharing a recipe for banana pudding! It is such a yummy dessert for warm days!

Banana Pudding

1 box vanilla pudding mix 

2 cups whole milk 

1 can sweetened condensed milk 

8 oz. cool whip 

4 bananas, sliced

Vanilla wafers

Mix with mixer the pudding, milk. Fold in the cool whip. Layer this with bananas and vanilla wafers. Chill for at least an hour.

Enjoy!

How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum 

One of the first challenges that comes with homeschooling is choosing a curriculum. In this post, I am going to outline the process that I went through to pick a curriculum. I hope it is helpful to someone else too!


1. Decide on a style of homeschooling.

It is important to decide what type of homeschool you are going to have before you begin looking at curriculum. Doing this will help you narrow down your options and make the process less overwhelming. I found this article to be helpful in describing the styles of homeschooling. Basically, there are five types: Charlotte Mason, Classical, Eclectic, Unit Studies, and Unschooling. I’m sure other types could be added to this, but it is a good place to start. Think about your children’s personalities and yours when deciding this. We decided on a classical approach to homeschooling, and that led us to the next step.

2. Find a few Curriculums that fit your style.

Once you have decided on a type of homeschooling, you can limit your search to the curriculums that fit in that style. For example, if you picked unit studies, you won’t need to spend a lot of time looking at boxed sets of curriculum. Instead, you would want to find plans and lists of resources for putting together the studies for each grade. And, of course, a Google search is an easy way to find your options. Also, you can ask friends and family for recommendations. My search for classical options turned up two that I was really interested in. These were Memoria Press and Veritas Press.


3. Gather information about your chosen options.

When I had narrowed down the options to just two, I requested catalogs from both. These really helped me see what they had to offer for all grades and subjects! Also, on many websites, there are sample pages that you can look at. Another very helpful thing you can do at this point is to read reviews. Cathy Duffy reviews are very helpful and are available for many different books! 


4. Choose the most practical option for you.

After all this research, you are almost ready to make a decision! Think about the options you are interested in and think about your life. Consider the demands on your time that are already in place. Do you have time for a curriculum that is very challenging, or would a more relaxed one be better? 

Think about your strengths as well. Are you good at making a plan and executing it on time? Maybe a less structured option would work well for you! Or do you work better when the steps are laid out for you and you just have to follow instructions? Then maybe an option with lesson plans and a schedule would be helpful. And remember that you can switch if you end up not liking what you choose!

When I reached this point, I was strongly leaning towards using Veritas Press. However, when the time came to purchase the books, I was in a busy season of life. And their program is pretty demanding! I didn’t see myself becoming less busy any time soon so I reconsidered Memoria Press. Their program is much simpler. And I liked that I could still add in materials according to our interests and ability as time went on! I have been very happy using their books so far! 

I hope this is helpful to anyone thinking about homeschooling! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!

And linking up today!

Book Recommendation: Child of Mine by Beverly Lewis


Beverly Lewis has been one of my favorite authors for a while now. Last week, I was looking for a new book to read, and I saw this one for only $1.99 on Kindle! I loved it. If you enjoy Christian fiction, I would highly recommend this book. It is very clean. The Christian parts are woven into the story so they don’t feel forced. And the plot is very engaging, with likable characters! Also, it is not very easy to predict what is going to happen. I love it when books keep me guessing! 

The story is centered around a mother searching for her little girl and a little girl who is longing for a mother. Sounds pretty straightforward? That’s what I thought too, but it isn’t as obvious as it seems! 

If you do read it, let me know how you liked it!

Weekly Highlights: Landscaping and Fun with Water Guns

On Monday, Matt got rocks for our front flower bed! We’re planning to put a couple flower planters in there too. 

I found a submarine shirt for Micaiah! We love submarines around here because Matt was a submariner.

Tuesday was a hot day! We finally got to try out the water guns that John got for his birthday!

Charity was the most eager to get wet!

John liked it too.

And here is a random cute picture of Micaiah. I love his silly face to match his silly personality!

My favorite Goodwill find of the week is this pretty Kate Spade silk top!

And here is my recipe for the week! Per request, (Hi, Traci!) I am sharing the recipe for these Peanut Butter Energy Bites! I made these for snacks for Charity’s Wednesday night class at church. Judging from the kids’ reactions though, I would caution that these might not be super kid friendly. 😬 I thought they were a good snack though and I hope you enjoy them too! 

Thanks for reading!
Note: I am using affiliate links in my posts. I receive a small compensation for any purchase made through these links.

Three Things I Learned From My First Two Years of Homeschooling

I love homeschooling! After two years, here are three things that I have found to be important.

1. Have a Routine 

Routine is so important! It doesn’t have to be complicated; it just needs to be predictable. Have a place and a time for school to be done every day. This helps the child know what to expect and discourages procrastination. This last year, we did school at the kitchen table during the little ones’ nap every day.

2. Believe in your Student!

When I started teaching Charity, I wondered sometimes if she was actually going to retain the information or if I was expecting too much from her. Each time I was surprised at how well she did! I think children can accomplish more than we think sometimes! Certainly, if your student is confused or not grasping the concept, they will struggle. But if we are diligent to keep presenting the information in different ways, they will eventually understand. We need to have confidence in their ability and patience during the process.

3. Enjoy it!

This is so important! It is hard to teach something that we are not interested in ourselves. Try to find material that you are excited about and enjoy teaching. If we approach each lesson as a fun and new challenge, chances are the student will too!

These three things have been helpful to me so far! I would love to hear advice from other homeschool moms as well! Leave a comment sharing your most important element of homeschooling!

Linking up today with this blog and Homeschool Blog and Tell!

Weekly Highlights: I Started A Facebook Page

I started a Facebook page! If you enjoy reading my posts, please follow the link and like that page. That is where new posts will be shared on Facebook from now on!

Last week was a fun week! We enjoyed playing outside a few times.

On Friday morning, we went to the Potawatomi Zoo. The kids always enjoy that!

On Friday evening, I went with a couple friends to see Singin’ in the Rain at the Lerner Theatre! Growing up, I enjoyed the movie, and the play was very entertaining as well! I especially loved the costumes. It was very well done!

On Saturday, we went to a cook out at a friend’s house and had a great time! I played bocce ball for the first time and ate some very yummy food. 

And I’m still selling on eBay! Here is my favorite Goodwill find of the week! It is a J Crew blouse, 100% silk.

And for this week’s recipe, I am sharing another easy dinner idea! These Tuna Patties are really good, and we enjoy them as sandwiches with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese.

Thanks for reading!

Note: I am using affiliate links in my posts. I receive a small compensation for any purchase made through these links.

Memoria Press Kindergarten Review

Charity has officially finished Kindergarten! This was our second year using Memoria Press, and we continue to be very impressed with it. In this post, I will describe the parts of the curriculum and share my thoughts about the books included in the Kindergarten set!


In Kindergarten, there are five divisions of study: Bible, Phonics, Math, Copywork, Recitation, and Enrichment. Each day’s assigned work is clearly lined out in the teacher’s manual which is so helpful!

For Bible, the lessons are a short reading from the Bible story book. 

This story Bible has beautiful illustrations!

For Phonics, the lessons are taken primarily from a set of books called First Start Reading along with Core Skill Phonics books K and 1. Each lesson usually consisted of a couple writing pages and some reading practice.

Here is the very first lesson of the year.

And the last lesson! So fun to see how much she learned in a year!


For Math, we used Rod and Staff Mathematics 1. In Kindergarten, we completed the first half of this book. In First Grade, we will work through the second half. Each lesson is two pages long and includes review of past concepts while slowly introducing new ones.

And again, here is the first lesson.

And the last! Such a big difference!


In Copywork, the student copies a Bible verse or short poem. This emphasizes learning to write neatly and carefully.


Recitation is the part of the day where the student memorizes and recites facts. Each week, a new fact is learned and added to the recitation. Charity learned so much from this, including the continents, months, planets, and more!


Enrichment includes a read aloud literature book and corresponding craft every week, a music selection, and an art flash card to learn about! The literature books can be purchased as a set through Memoria. Or, like we did, you can buy them individually on Amazon. Most are probably even available at a local library! This section is somewhat optional, depending on the time available.

Also included for part of the year are readings from this book. We really enjoyed learning about different animals!

My impression of Memoria Press is that it is a very thorough curriculum without a lot of frills. It primarily uses reading and writing as the mode of learning, versus hands on activities or visuals. Their books are interesting, but they are not extremely colorful or entertaining. This works for me because the amount of work is not overwhelming, and I can supplement with other more exciting materials where I want to. It provides an excellent backbone for my curriculum which I can flesh out on my own. We are planning to continue using Memoria Press for First Grade!

Linking up with another homeschool blog today and to Homeschool Blog and Tell!