Thursday, August 27, 2015

Halloween Scrap Table Runner

Recently, I was given the opportunity to become a pattern tester for Jen over at Faith and Fabric. If you haven't visited Jen's blog, I encourage you to do so. She blogs about her Catholic faith, quilting,  and crafts of course! A lot of her crafting follows the liturgical year, so I know you'll find some wonderful themed ideas to do.

For my first pattern, I received the Halloween Scrap Table Runner pattern. 

It's a wonderful pattern for beginners. I have been sewing for 25+ years, but I have never quilted anything before. It just seemed too daunting. Maybe it was all the exact measurements & angles. I never liked geometry. 
I know, I sounds crazy. I can sew historical gowns, wedding gowns, and First Holy Communion gowns, but sewing a quilt intimidated me! 
This was my chance to step out of my comfort zone. After receiving the pattern, I checked my stash of fabric. I had 2 scraps that would orange and a ghost pattern. While searching, I did find a ton of Autumn inspired scraps. I may make a table runner with the same pattern but with fall fabric.
So off to the fabric store we went. Therese and I picked out the fabrics together. 

I cut out my strips and began setting the patterns of the blocks. Cutting out the strips seemed to take the longest. I'm sure it was just because I was anxious to get started sewing! Sewing the blocks was very easy. A newbie at sewing could do it. I promise. After making the blocks, you trimmed them to fit together in the quilt. This is where it got tricky. You have to be very accurate. I was missing my rolling cutter, so I had to use old fashioned scissors. I do think the rolling cutter would make it a lot easier.

My finished project isn't perfect. I already have more cut out to make another one. Hopefully it will be better than the first. If you look closely, you will see that my black pieces do not line up. I was going to fix it, but then it kind of grew on me. It looked kind of wacky, like Halloween!

I'm proud of it and myself. I overcame a fear of quilting! I can't wait for the next project!

Don't forget to check out Jen's blog!

You can also visit her shops at


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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

With a Chick Chick Here and a Chick Chick There.....

We have 6 more baby chicks in our flock of growing chickens.

With two mama hens, no one is going to mess with these fuzzy little babies!

We have 2 black chicks, Skunk and Satin.
There are 4 golden chicks, Peanut, Lilly, Rosebud, and Daisy.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Saving a Hummingbird

This past week, Michael found a small hummingbird that was near death. So we made up some sugar water and fed him with a spoon. He drank and rested for about 20 minutes. Then off he flew!

We saved him!

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Saturday, August 15, 2015

All I Need to Know I Learned While Homeschooling

All I Really Need To Know I Learned While Homeschooling

Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned while homeschooling.
Patience was not at the top
Of this homeschooling mamas list
But it was there at the table while doing math.

These are the things I learned while homeschooling:

Share everything even your pencils and erasures.
Pencils will get lost.
Play fair.
Don't hit people or kick them under the table.
Keep your books on your side of the table.
Put things back where you found them or your school room will be a disaster.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Don't put drinks on the school table. They will get get knocked over.
Say you're sorry when you spill water on your brother's paper.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Stop petting the dog and cat.
The cat will always lay down on the page you are working on.
Warm cookies and hot chocolate are good for snowy days.
Skip school and play on the first warm day of spring.
Searching for the lost book will take some time.
Live a balanced life - Head outdoors!
Learn some, think some, and do some.
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work everyday some.
Take a walk every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.

Written by me but inspired from All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.
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Friday, August 14, 2015

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop Day 5 ~ 5 Tips for New Homeschoolers

Are you thinking of homeschooling? Is this your first year homeschooling? Are millions of emotions running through your mind?    Scared? Nervous? Excited? Eager? Hopeful? Confused? Happy?
If you're like me you have researched and researched until you feel like your brain can't hold anymore! You've pored over books and read numerous blogs to hear real life experiences. Even after all that "studying" you still have questions and doubts.

Jumping into the crazy world of homeschooling is scary, but very rewarding. When we started homeschooling, I thought it was going to be this amazing journey. My kids were going to love it! They were going to be eager little beavers ready for school all the time. They were going to love learning and LOVE doing their schoolwork. This was going to be fantastic!!!!

Then I woke up from my nice little dream.  Nine years later, I have some advice for you newbies. I have to admit that there are times I still feel like a newbie. I can't believe I am considered a veteran in the homeschooling world. That just seem crazy. Over the last few years, I have learned a lot. Most of it has been through trail and error. We have had success and we have had failure. Homeschooling isn't just about the kids learning. Mamas learn too!

O.K. back to the advice...

#1~ Nothing Goes As Planned!
We all start out with rose colored glasses on. We picture our kids sitting at a table working diligently on their schoolwork with smiles on their faces. Unfortunately, that isn't how it always is. Homeschooling will change just like the seasons. In your homeschooling journey, your life will go through numerous changes. Some will be good, while others will not be. You may have a new baby join your family, a death of a family member, kids make get sick, friends may move, co-ops may end. The list is endless. We all know that life changes day to day. Nothing is constant except God's love. We need to remember that change is good. It's O.K. if your schedule gets mixed up a little (or a lot). Maybe you don't get through the entire spelling workbook no problem. Be flexible. Go with the flow. Children don't just learn through books. They learn from every day life too. For many of us, who went to the brick and mortar schools, this can be a difficult thing to do. Trust me!

#2~ Don't Do School at Home
By this I mean don't get stuck in the traditional idea of school. Learning just doesn't take place at a desk. Learning can happen all around. Family vacations, like my friend Chris @ Campfire and Cleats. Their family takes some amazing vacations and her boys have learned so much! Field trips, baking, games, and just living life! Don't worry if they don't finish everything. Learning is not a race. Work at their own pace.The great thing about homeschooling is you can spend time going over topics and subjects until they get it. Teaching children how to read and encouraging their love of learning is much more important than memorizing useless facts. I always tell my kids, if you can read, the world is limitless!

#3~ Be Willing to Make Some Changes
This is a big one. Just because a friend recommended it and you bought doesn't mean it will work for your kids. Please don't make your kids (or yourself) miserable by sticking with a curriculum that brings out the worst in everyone. It's never fun to homeschool when you are stressed out and everyone is on the verge of tears or are already crying. Trust me, it does happen! Just Let it go! I bet you just sung the song from Frozen didn't's O.K. I did too.
Another point just because it worked for one kid doesn't mean it will work for the next one. Try to figure out how your child learns and work with that. 

Here is a great website that gives an overview of the different styles. I'm sure your library has some excellent resources for you to read.
Remember, education isn't one size fits all.

#4 Don't Compare Yourself (or homeschool) to Others
Falling into this trap is easy and harmful. We have friends that seem to do it all. We see other moms on blogs who have the perfect kids, the most beautiful school rooms, endless field trips, and lots of wonderful curriculum. We need to remember that not everything is always as it seems. The mom who seems so put together and so amazing, may have a room where she hides dirty clothes, dishes, and clutter. The mom with the amazing school room may have kids who cry and fight when they sit down to do schoolwork. God blessed us all with certain qualities and abilities. Our kids are different. Our home life varies from family to family. We need to be our best for our family. We need to find what works for our kids, not what works for someone else's. God made us all special. If we focus on what works well for us and our families, we will succeed. In the end it isn't about the big fancy school room. It's about the love of learning we are able to pour into our kids. For me, it's about raising little saints.

#5~ The Kids Will Not Want to Do School 
Kids are human! We have bad days, they have bad days. Math gets hard. Kids get frustrated. It's nice outside and the kids are fidgeting in their seats. When the day isn't going well, the best thing to do is find something else to. Watch an educational video, take a field trip, or take a walk and learn about nature. Find something fun to do. Play a board game, bake some cookies, or just head out for a play date. All of these things are learning too! 

Don't miss the posts from the other ladies joining in on the Blog Hop!

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop~ Day 4~ To Be or Not To Be in a Homeschool Co-ops

Deciding to join homeschool co-ops or support groups can be a tricky decision. Many new homeschoolers join to find other homeschooling families and of course to "socialize" their kids. Homeschool groups can be a blessing or a nightmare. They can be a wonderful experience full of enrichment but they can also add stress. Families need to find the balance and what works best for their situation.

When we started homescooling a few years ago, we joined the only group I found in the area. It was  agroup that focused on fun activities, parties, and field trips. They met one to two times a week. The group was a good start for us. My kids made a few friends and had fun at the activities. I learned from the homeschooling mothers that were seasoned veterans at that point. I soaked in all their knowledge. Sadly after a few years, the group changed, it no longer worked for us, and we left. Actually we were kicked out. After helping plan events for the group and growing the groups numbers, a few of the other moms wanted to grow the group in a different direction. Things happened, things were said, and we felt like we could no longer be a part of the group. They were turning the group into a Christian group and we were no longer welcome. We were sad at first, but we remained friends with the families we wanted to and planned our own events. God had a plan for us. The next year we found a wonderful co-op geared for younger kids and we discovered a neighboring Catholic church had a homeschool group. So we joined both groups. It was great for the first 2 years, but then we became too busy. We eventually scaled back, left the co-op, and just focused on the Catholic group.
The last three years we were part of a Classically Catholic Memory co-op. We joined in on the first year and loved it. The 2nd and 3rd year, I helped run the group. We made lifelong friends and my kids learned a lot. Sadly, we had to end the group to families moving away. We didn't have enough moms for teachers, the costs of rent and insurance was too much for the remaining families to continue. 

This is our first year not part of a co-op in 5 years! We are still a member of the Catholic homeschool group. A few of the moms there are doing book clubs, a saint & virtue club, a home-ec club, and fun field trips will be planned. I think we will be O.K. Now that my kids are older and have made good friends, they bug to hang out with their friends.

So how do you find support groups?

Many state's homeschool websites have links to homeschool groups in the area. The only problem I have found is that many are outdated and groups have changed or no longer exist. A google search may turn up a few. I found word of mouth to be the best way to find groups. Talking to other homeschool moms is a great way to find out about other homeschool classes, field trips, etc. too!

What do homeschool groups and co-ops provide?

Anything and everything! They other classes for the kids, field trips, parties for holidays, filed days, book clubs, science labs, mom's night out, etc. Groups will vary depending what they are offering. Some groups are more fun based....parties and field trips. Other groups, like Classical Conversations or Classically Catholic Memory, are more focused on education. Before joining a group, it would be a good idea to figure out what you are looking for in a group.

How often do they meet?

This will vary for all groups. Some meet once a week, twice a week, once a month, or twice a month. I have found if it is an education/class co-op they tend to meet once or twice a week. If it's more of a support group, they will be 1 to 4 times a month. Co-ops are more structured since the kids are doing classes.

Things to keep in mind!

Before joining and getting too involved make sure to look at your schedule. Do you have other commitments...sports, drama, church groups, choir, piano lessons, scouts, etc. It's very easy to get over scheduled and stressed out. There was one year we belonged to 3 homeschool groups, had sports, violin lessons, choir, and scouts. It was too much time away from home. We were having a hard time getting school work in. It was crazy!

Don't be afraid to quit if it isn't the right fit for you and your family. Some moms won't click and not all kids will click. Not everyone will parent they way you do. We have belonged to coops where kids were well behaved on field trips, but other groups where kids were horrible and not leaving a great impression of homeschoolers. Don't be afraid to pick and choose who you hang with. We had one co-op that was heavy in girls, so we had to search for friends for my son. Things will work out. God will open a new door for you!

As kids get older, the homeschool group dynamics will change. As the mama, you'll be able to step back and the kids will begin to make their own friends. They'll find kids that they click with. Kids that share their own interests. We still belong to our Catholic homeschool group, but we now pick and choose what we attend,since we have "playdates" with the kid's close friends. We use the co-op for some fun classes and of course field trips! 

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop~ Day 3~ Our Curriculum

A few weeks ago, I posted our curriculum. You can read about it here. Today, I'm going to share more about our curriculum and how we use it doing our homeschooling! Lesson planning is a big deal for me. I take a little bit from here and there to make up our curriculum for the year. Once I figure out what we will be studying for the upcoming year, I get down to work. 

First, I pick out the books and materials I want to use. 
Second, I start a simple outline. I break up our curriculum into 32-36 weeks. It depends on the subject. Once I have the schedule outline done, I get to work planning each week.

Here is what we cover each week.

The basic are covered every day. Religion, Latin, English, and Math are the basics in our house. Spelling, Geography, and Poetry are covered 4 days of the week. Science and U.S. History alternate during the week. Each one is covered 2 days. Friday is our fun day. We do art while listening to music. The other subjects covered are the things the kids want to learn about. This year, they wanted to learn more about trees and birds which is prefect for our nature study. We will continue our U.S. State study again this year.

Religion~ Faith and Life 6, Gospel of Mark, Gospel of Luke, Baltimore Catechism, and Classically Catholic Memory Delta Year

English~ Voyages in English 5, Voyages in English 6, Editor in Chief, Diagramming Sentences, Catechism in Rhyme (handwriting)

Math~ Horizons Math 4, Saxon Math 65

Poetry~ The Harp and the Laurel Wreath, Classically Catholic Memory Delta Year

Geography~ Classically Catholic Memory Delta Year, Online Resources

U.S. History~ Classically Catholic Memory Delta Year, Pioneers and Patriots, History Study Time Travelers The Early 19th Century, History Study Time Travelers The Civil War

U.S. State Study~ Library, Online Resources, Notebooking Pages

Bird Study~ Memoria Press What's that Bird?, Peterson Field Guide Birds, Peterson Field Guide Color in book, All About Birds website

Art~ 9 week study of various artists.... George Seurat, John James Audubon, Georgia O'Keeffe, Grandma Moses 

            Music from the different time periods we will be covering in history   
                 ex. Civil War, Pioneer Days, War World I & War World II

Stop by and see what the other ladies are sharing!

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