Friday, August 28, 2009

Our first week of school...

completed! We finished our first week of school and it was a good week.

We learned about maps and globes this week. We are using a combination of MFW Kindergarten and Exploring Countries and Cultures and just for fun we are throwing in books from Winterpromise Children Around the World and Animal Worlds.

This was J's first week of school and he was a champ. We spent this week doing assessments and reviewing different skills. The first two weeks of My Father's World K studies the story of Creation so that is what we focused on in our Bible time. We learned what God made on the first four days of Creation.

For language arts, J started using Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading. I have used this with both G and E and love the systematic approach to reading and phonics. J learned the first four lines in the "The Five Vowels" this week

A is the first vowel we will say.
/a/ is the short-vowel sound of a.
E is the next vowel, don't you see?
/e/ is the short-vowel sound of e.
I is the third vowel that goes by.
/i/ is the short-vowel sound of i.
O is the fourth vowel that I know.
/o/ is the short-vowel sound of o.

For ECC we all read There's a Map in My Lap, People, Maps and Mapping, Geography A to Z and Maps and Globes. G and E both made vocabulary cards using the map and geography books and they copied different writing styles from the book People. These will go in a lapbook that we are going to make next week about our intro to geography.

Today we did a fun experiment with an orange to see why it is hard to make a flat map of the earth.

Drawing the continents on an orange.

Trying to make the orange peel a "flat" map.

Snack time.

A car wash to end the week.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Our first day of school with school pictures.

We started school today. Here is J hard at work on drawing his Creation picture and writing his name.

E working on phonics/spelling.

G and W playing with the tot book games I made for Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you see?

This is something new I am trying this year. I have found two sites that have lots of fun activities that work with different children's books. W loves Brown Bear, Brown Bear Tot Books has lots of cute ideas on making "tot books" which are a spin off of lapbooks. I modified this so that I made the individual parts of the "tot book" but decided to just keep them stored in library pockets for now. I may change my mind in the future and actually make a "tot book" but it worked better today for me to be able to give W an individual activity rather than all of them at once.

These are the individual games that I made for the books. As you can see, W wasn't the only one that enjoyed these activities.

J was playing with the "head and tail matching game" and came up with making funny animals, like a "cat fish" and a "flying fish". He has a vivid imagination!

Another site I love is Making Learning Fun I downloaded the M&M Sorting mat and also made the "I Spy" bottle for Brown Bear, Brown Bear. W wasn't as impressed with the "I Spy" bottle and we haven't used the M&M mat because I forgot to pick up M&M's at the store.

Overall we had a good first day of school. The boys did great and I figured out I have to do a better job of planning when they will do certain things since I had several incidents of all of them needing my help at the same time. I spent some time this afternoon working on a schedule so hopefully they will be able to rotate working with me and working independently. We will see how that works out tomorrow.

I am hoping to post there "school" pictures Grammy took later this week and also to post pictures of my Craigslist couch score that I am giving a makeover. Lots of fun things going on at our house right now.

A Makeover

We scored a couch and love seat off Craigslist. We needed extra seating in our living area so when I saw these for the right price, we grabbed them.

I didn't care for the pattern on the pillows and starting looking online for covers for them. The cheapest ones I could find were $25/each. I just couldn't see spending more on the covers than I did on the set. As I searched the web for a solution I came across this site.

A Soft Place to Land

I really like the idea of "no sew" since my machine hasn't seen the light of day in over 10 years (except when my parents come and my dad does routine maintenance on it). I stopped at Hobby Lobby and bought material and got it home and realized that I miscalculated the yardage. I didn't have enough to do the pillow with the "fringe". Then I decided OK how hard can it be to sew a square? I finished the first one and worst part was finishing the last seam.

I bought more fabric and then I found this site

Cottage Magpie

I thought this would be a little easier and I like that the cover will be removable. (You never no when or why you will have to wash something around here.)

So I made my second pillow, It actually looks a lot better than the first (which I am not redoing). I also found this dragonfly print and decided to cover the accent pillows with it.

Before photo of the love seat...

And after...

I love the way it looks and I am enjoying the extra seating in our living room now. I have five more cushions to cover and digging through my sewing supplies unearth fabric for a quilt that I bought years ago. I am putting the pieces together for it also. It will look great in our school room on our reading chair in there.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Barnabas Experience - A Wife's Perspective

Ministry can be a lonely experience. There are days, weeks and even months that can fly by when you feel like no one understands (or dare I even say, cares) what you are living through.

This weekend Ron and Teddi Sylvia, Church @ the Springs and their staff proved that we don’t stand alone during this journey. In June, Tim received an email invite to a Barnabas Experience Weekend. We discussed it and decided pretty quickly that this was something we wanted to be involved in.

We arrived in Ocala, Florida on Friday night and were met by our host family and unpacked for the beginning of this weekend. On the trip down we discussed what we thought would happen during this weekend experience. Even though I am a natural extrovert, I told Tim that I didn’t want to have to share/discuss much this weekend. This past year has been difficult and there are lots of emotions that ride close to the surface and sharing those emotions, fears and doubts are hard.

We met together Friday night at Ron and Teddi’s house with twelve couples and staff from Church @ the Springs. We ate and visited with other couples and began to unpack what this weekend would look like and what we would experience.

Saturday morning we got up and met together. Ron started that day by sharing his vision and purpose behind hosting this event. It became clear that he has poured his heart into this event. He shared that there were over 160 applicants for this weekend experience from around the world. As we sat around the table with 11 other couples, my first thought was “Why us?” My second thought was how honored we were to be invited to this weekend. As we went around the table and shared it was apparent that while our stories were all different, the one thing that each couple brought to this weekend was the need for encouragement. We were all in different aspects of ministry. Our churches were at different growth levels. We had been in ministry for different lengths of time and we represented different age demographics. Everyone sitting at the table had faced some type of struggle; personal, ministerial, or spiritual (and some of us had faced all three).

We sat that morning and began to see Ron’s heart and we began to share our hearts. There were hearts that were broken and bruised and tears began to flow as God began to minister in our lives. As our stories came out it was apparent that we had shared stories in many ways. We had all struggled with issues that whether they were related to our ministries or not affected our ministries. As you looked around and the room it was filled with broken people who had a heart for God and the work that He is doing.

As we continued through the weekend it wasn’t about what we were learning (although we did learn a lot), it was about realizing that we don’t stand alone in our lives or our ministry. There are people who care about what we are doing and maybe most importantly “how” we are doing. I heard people speak into our life in a way that will continue to positively impact our ministry for years to come. I walked away knowing that God is moving and that we are privileged to be apart of that movement.

If you want to see a small part of what we got to experience this weekend check out, if you are a church planter and on twitter follow Ron Sylvia, if you are given the opportunity to attend a Barnabas Experience, book your flight, get a baby sitter, make all the necessary arrangements because it will change you. I know that we will never be the same. We will never again be alone on this journey.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

He Still Calls Me Beautiful

A couple of years ago we were at the church and I was working on something and Tim called across the room “Beautiful, I have the boy’s coats.” I turned and answered him and it was later when I realized that I didn’t question who was calling or that he was talking to me. I realized that he calls me Beautiful a lot.

Tim and I have been married nineteen years today. In the past nineteen years we have lived in ten states. We have helped start three churches. We have four boys here and two in heaven. We have been through a lot together. We have both grown and changed. I am different than I was nineteen years ago.

But through all of this the man I love and chose to commit my life to nineteen years ago STILL calls me Beautiful. I am blessed. I can’t wait to see what the next nineteen years hold. I love you, Tibs.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

New School Room

This year G and E will be studying My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures. We are all excited about this great program and the year we will have learning about different countries,cultures and missionaries.

J will be doing My Father's World Kindy and we are both excited about this. This is the first time I am using a formal K program. In the past I have put together my own K program and I must say that this looks to be a very fun year.

One of the things that I love about My Father's World is the way they integrate the Bible into every core program they offer. Another thing we love is the mission emphasis. This company truly has a heart for missions. A portion of every direct sale goes to support Bible translation. It is hard to imagine not having a Bible in my own language. I mean really how many Bibles do you have in your house? We have Bibles in several different translations. What would it be like to not have a Bible you could read in your own native language? My Father's World supports God's Word for the nations and you can even directly support certain translation projects. Bible Translation

So you can see we are really excited about our year. I finally decided to convert our guest room into a school room. I have been cleaning and organizing it so that we will be able to start school at the end of August. Here is where we will be doing most of our work.

We moved a table in and we added our world map. I have a couple of things for J that will go up behind the door (calendar, letter chart and number chart).

On the other side of the room, we have our TV and Wii. One bookcase holds DVDs and videos and the other one holds school books for this year.

The closet is our storage area. I am working on having more "centers" available for different things. On the left is a multi drawer cart where I am keeping supplies. In the basket on top of the cart is a writing center. I have mini chalk boards, chalk, aqua doodle, dry erase boards and markers. All of this is mainly for J and W to practice handwriting. I am hoping we can use this during times when I need to be working one on one with the older boys. On the top shelf I am keeping all our markers, colored pencils, color wonder makers and crayons. The next shelf has a box for each boy to keep any of their private stuff in. There are two boxes with various types of card games and then there is our box of construction/colored paper.

The next shelf has math centers. One is our box of MUS blocks. The other box has our clock, flash cards and coin counting books. There is also a file box with different file folder games for all the boys.

The bottom shelf has a science box which is pretty sad right now (has our supplies for planting in it). I want to put together a couple of individual boxes one with magnifying glasses and things to look at. Then a second with measuring tools and things to measure. The red box has our Leap Frog fridge phonics set. The rest is our phonics/handwriting manipulative's. We have textured letters in a little chalkboard box, Handwriting Without Tears wooden pieces, alphabet bingo, flashcards, letter blocks, and a box of games that go with Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching

Beside this is my file box which has each a folder for each of the themes for both K and ECC. This is where I am putting everything that we will be using during the year. I also have a resource box that I hope to be able to use with all of them for fun extra things to do. I especially tried to put together things for J and W to do while I was working with the older boys individually. I have been printing and putting together different file folder games and I think this will make it an especially fun year.

This is quickly becoming my favorite room in the house. I am on the hunt for a comfy chair because I know we are going to do lots of fun reading this year. This was already our international room. We have things from all over the world in it. The batik behind the TV is from West Africa, baskets from Africa and Peru, knights from Poland, boomerang from Australia, turtle from Morocco, and water bottle from Israel. So I am anticipating a fun year exploring the world and learning more about God and His mission as well as missionaries on the journey.