Saturday, August 15, 2009

Under Construction!

Please be patient with me, as I am trying to update the look of the blog. If you happen to be viewing this while it looks a mess, I apologize. Please know that I will NOT leave it looking crazy. Messing with HTML is a learning process. Thank you for your continued support!

The Enchilada Incident & Hangin' at the House

So, here are the final photos from North Carolina. About time already...I know. Let me explain the first set of photos. I'm calling this the "Enchilada Incident", because those watching it totally blew it out of proportion and began snapping photos like crazy. For the two people involved (House Hunter and myself), it was nothing more than a civilized conversation in the different methods of preparing enchiladas. She is a vegetarian, so I planned on making my (very famous) cheese enchiladas. She knows how to make chicken enchiladas.(?) So we were making both to please all the vegetarians and non-vegetarians in the house. The pictures you see are of us trying to assemble the enchiladas. We were merely trying to learn each others methods. For some reason, our husbands and Auntie C., thought we were arguing so they started documenting it. It was really quite entertaining. BTW, both sets of enchiladas were delicious.

The second set of photos are just generic photos of us hanging out at the house. You'll notice in the picture of everyone sitting on the deck, that all the adults have wine glasses! Ha! Are you amazed with our children's flexibility & acrobatic skills? LOL How about that very large & disgusting blister on Chatterbox's shoulder? That was the result of us letting the kids do what promised to be a fun (and expensive!) activity to the Sound, that ended up being a waste of time, money, and bordering on child neglect. Good times. It eventually popped on its own and began to heal. Hmm, well I think that's it!

*If anyone who was on the trip would like me to share anything else, please let me know, and I'd be happy to!

The Enchilada Incident Photos

Hangin' at the House Photos

Friday, August 7, 2009

An Early Birthday Present

Happy Early Birthday to Me!!!! Auntie C. heard my moanings and groanings & bought me Photoshop Elements 7 with Premiere Elements 7 as an early birthday present!!! I am so excited. I've been playing around, and although it isn't much, I wanted to show you my first Photoshop edited picture! Now, I love this photo of Bug from vacation just as it is, but knew it could be better. I followed the step-by-step instructions from Pioneer Woman (link in sidebar) on layering in Photoshop. It honestly took about 1 minute to edit this photo. Saving it the right way so I could share it here? About 20.
Original Photo

Photo edited with 1 layer in Hard Light mode at 43% opacity.

Do you see the difference? Do you like it?
I love it!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Busy Beaz Academy: Grand Opening

*Note: this post is very long, and my 5th for the day, so make sure you keep going to get all of the recent posts. I've been busy trying to catch up!

Now, we are proud to announce the Grand Opening of the Busy Beaz Academy!
We will be starting our inaguaral semester on Monday, August 17th.
This is a decision that we did not come to lightly. We have been in constant discussion and prayer for nearly six months now. Bug & Lil' C both had excellent teachers who tried very hard with them last year. However, there were just so many things that didn't go well, that we started discussing the option of homeschooling. We even asked the kids what they thought. As a family, we finally came to the conclusion that teaching our children at home would be the best option.
I've spent several months finding just the right curriculum. I researched to find the teaching and learning styles that would work best for each of us, and got on many homeschool message boards to ask around, not sure if I could find one curriculum that would fit our Charlotte Mason, Classical & Unit Studies interest. (If you want to know more about these teaching/learning approaches, just do a search & you will find plenty of info!) Amazingly enough, about 90% of fellow homeschoolers recommended Heart of Dakota, which I had never heard of. I finally decided this was the perfect fit for us. Almost. I'm substituting the recommended math program, and supplementing the english program. Here is the bulk of our curriculum:
Here is the math program we will be using, Saxon Math. Heart of Dakota (HOD) recommends Singapore Math, but after doing the placement tests for several different programs, we felt this would be the best for us. Mommy isn't so good with math & this is totally scripted for me. You may be wondering why we have Math 2 & 3 instead of 2 & 4. Despite being quite good at math, Bug just didn't learn multiplication all that well, so we decided to drop back to Math 3 to make sure he really learns that before we move on to division. Don't worry though, most of this will be review for him (and some for Lil' C!), so we will probably do more than one lesson a day & be caught up before next year.
Here are our science books. True to Charlotte Mason teaching, HOD follows the belief that children will learn more from "living" books than textbooks. Textbooks are often written by a committee of people with a political agenda, while living books are usually written by one (sometimes more) person with a passion for the subject. This in turn makes the reader more interested in the subject.
This is the HOD teacher's manual. As you can see, we will be using the "Bigger Hearts for His Glory" program. It works for 7-9 year olds, with extensions for older children. We will be using a few of the extensions with Bug, but otherwise they will be studying everything except math together. This is a life saver for me! All the lessons are laid out in a two-page daily format. No more lesson planning!!
These are the history & geography books. In case you hadn't guessed from the science books, we will be studying American History from 1500-1970. The entire program revolves around the history teachings. When we learn about Columbus, we will also learn about the seashore in science, maps in geography, persistance in Bible study, and related art projects. Thanks to our trip to the Wright Brothers museum, I have an additional 2 books we will be using when we reach that unit.
Here are our music & Bible study books:
This book belongs to me. We've had it a few years, can you tell? LOL I will be using this as our preschool curriculum. Each week we read a book (at least once a day), and do one or more coordinating activities every day. It's the same concept as Five in A Row, but much, much cheaper.
I ordered this Spanish book a few months ago, but am not real sure how I'm going to help them since I don't know the pronounciations. However, just this week, I found a FREE online Spanish course that sounds everything out for you. I can't find the link right now, sorry. Just let me know if you want me to find it for you! So I will be adding that in as well.
Here is our handwriting book. It's beginning Italic cursive, which is easy and looks legible! LOL
This is "Drawn Into the Heart of Reading" which can also be found on the HOD website. It is a multi-level reading program, that helps students explore the 9 genres. Bug will be doing this in full. Depending on how quickly she moves through the Emerging Reader books, Lil' C may use this in an extended version.
These are our Language Arts books. HOD recommends the Rod & Staff "Preparing to Build" book. I wasn't so sure, so I found this other program from Advanced Training Institute. It was expensive, and I was kind of disappointed when it arrived. It has good material & activities, but is really scattered, so I ended up ordering the R&S book as well. We will use both because I love English. Weird, I know.
The kids will also be using several on-line learning sites that we like, including our favorite: Spelling City. We are also making File Folder Games (again just do a search) for fun review. For Christmas, each child recieved a recorder, and if we can find the accompanying books, we will use those as well. We'd really like to get the kids proper music lessons in piano & guitar, but don't really know how much that might cost.
As for activities outside the house, Bug is in football and Lil' C is in cheerleading again. This occupies about 15 hours of our time every week. We will also be joining our local homeschool group when they start up again in September. There are about 30 families who currently belong, so I'm sure the children will have plenty of other kids to play with. I know some of you worry about this, but there's really no need to. We aren't going to "move to a cave, start collecting lint, and only come out on Triple Coupon Thursdays"! (quote by Dave Ramsey)
We are also going to be implementing Sue Patrick's Workbox System for organization. I will write more about that when I get it all set up.
I will do periodic updates of how school is going, so don't forget to check back!


Let me just say that Mountain Man is SO patient! He gave a lesson in how to correctly paddle and other important things to all who were interested in going kayaking. Then the brave man took me, Coffee Queen & House Hunter to the Sound to actually go kayaking. (He was going to take another group the next day, but ended up sick) We basically had no experience, so he had to teach us everything. And we weren't very good students. There was a lot of giggling and silly girl behavior. It's a testament only to Mountain Man's excellent teaching skills that all 3 of us managed to successfully kayak out into the sound and back with no problems. That's not to say that it was easy, though. If you don't hold your arms out correctly when paddling, you wear out your arm strength quickly. Let's just say it was twice as hard to get back into shore than it was to get out. I just couldn't hold my arms the right way for more than a few strokes. I kept trying though, so I should at least get an A for effort, right? It was really cool to see the sound from the water. It's only a few feet deep for about 3 miles out, so we could pretty much always see the bottom. All in all, it was a good workout & a great time. I would like to go kayaking again. Thanks Mountain Man!!

Kayaking Photos

Go Fly a Kite

One of the first things we did was get each of the kids (except Boo Boo Bear) a kite from Kitty Hawk Kites. They each got to pick the ones they wanted, so there was a wide variety. Everyone had fun flying them, and learned a couple of things along the way. Like when you let 500 feet of string run wild it takes a long time to get it all wound back up. Or when you walk underneath everyone else's kite, you're probably going to get all tangled up. But isn't it fun???

The last five pictures are from the Rogallo Kite Festival at Jockey's Ridge State Park. Every year they have a kite festival there, just down the road from the Wright Brothers Museum. We didn't stop since it was on the day we were leaving, but just drove by to look and take pictures.

Kite Photos

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Why the ocean was neglected

Because we had a pool in our backyard, that's why. Those kids were in that pool every single day, at least once a day. Auntie C. was the only one brave enough to get in every day. That water was freezing. No matter how long you stayed in, it was still cold. House Hunter and I went in once. Just once. It took us about an hour to make it all the way into the pool. Auntie C. called us wimps. I'm okay with that. The Chef, Mountain Man, and Daddy were all brave enough to venture in more than once. The kids loved it, and I am so thankful that Auntie C. and the others were there to take them in everyday, because they might not have gone in after that first day if it were up to me! Especially since on that first day, every single one of us got sunburned, even though we were all wearing sunscreen. :( Now, the hot tub on the other hand, is a totally different story. Most of the adults were in there everyday. My only question is, if I was only in the pool for about 3 hours one day, how come there's so many pictures of me in my bathing suit??? And who the heck took them???

*There are a lot of pictures, so please be patient while they all load!! Thank you!

Why the ocean was neglected Pix

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Beaches & Sunsets

Vacationing on the coast would make one think we spent a lot of time at the beach. Interestingly enough, we only went 2 or 3 times. And when I say we, I mean the kids, Auntie C., the Chef, House Hunter & Mountain Man. I don't think anyone else ever went. I'm not big on sand. Love the ocean; hate the sand. Fortunately, the children love the sand and the ocean. Mountain Man helped them learn to boogie board. I'm assuming everyone had a great time! :)

Did I mention that we love sunsets? I think it's a familial thing, because everyone kept taking pictures of the sunset. We hope you enjoy them just as much.

Beach Photos

Sunset Photos


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