A is for Armadillo

a is for armadillo sbh

A friend of mine (Marcy at Ben and Me) has done a “Blogging Through the Alphabet” series several times now, and I’ve never remembered to start when she’s back at “A.” She’s since decided not to do the series, but I think it’s a great idea, so I’m going to give it a go. Alphabet posts will happen once a week in addition to anything else I have to write about that particular week and may or may not relate to each other. Some will be about our homeschooling journey, some will be recipes, and some will simply my thoughts for the week. Enjoy!

So . . . A is for Armadillo. Pretty random, no? Not for our home this week. We just started a unit study on Wild Animals: Small Mammals (from the set of My First Reports by Hewitt Homeschooling) in our homeschool, and the first animal we’re studying is armadillos.

Here’s what’s on tap for this week of our study. Continue reading

Homeschool Curriculum Review: Middlebury Interactive Languages

Middlebury Interactive Languages ReviewIf you’ve been reading these pages for very long at all, you know that I’m a sucker for foreign languages, especially French. For over a year now I’ve been searching for “the perfect foreign language curriculum.” The conclusion I’m coming to is that it just doesn’t exist. However, Middlebury Interactive Languages comes pretty close. For the purposes of this review, we received a six-month subscription to their Elementary French 1 (Grades 3-5). As the product title suggests, this is designed for upper elementary students – roughly grades 3 through 5.

For this review, we were given several options of Middlebury courses – French, German, Spanish, or Chinese, each available in a variety of levels. It was a really tough call for me whether to start the boys with¬†Elementary French 1 (which has no prerequisites) or Elementary French 2, which has the prerequisite of French 1 or equivalent. You know, of course, that we’ve been doing French off and on for a long time with the boys. But I wasn’t sure if the stuff they’d learned up to this point would be enough to qualify as “or equivalent,” so we went ahead and did Level 1. Continue reading

Reading List – October 2014

Inspired by The Unlikely Homeschool, I’ve decided to do a post each month of what’s on our reading list. It’s a little late in the month to be doing October’s, but that’s okay; we’re still reading these books, and likely will be throughout the rest of the month.

Read-aloud – Everyone

wayside school

We have two. First, we’re reading¬†Sideways Stories from Wayside School. This is a classic from my childhood; it was my brother’s favorite book as an elementary school student. My kids haven’t had the pleasure of hearing or reading it, so I thought it would be a fun one. Plus, it’s a quick read which makes everyone feel like we’ve accomplished something in very short order.

We started earlier this week, and are already about 10 chapters in. The kids love it! And honestly, what’s not to love? Louis the yard teacher . . . Mrs. Gorf, the teacher who turns her students into apples . . . Mrs. Jewls, the teacher who thinks her students are monkeys . . . Maurecia, the girl who keeps ice cream in her desk. Good times. Continue reading

Book Review: The iWitness series by Apologia

Apologia Review
We are fascinated by things like Biblical archaeology in my house. Get us (especially Will and Seahawk) going on the subject, and an hours-long conversation is sure to ensue. So when I heard that members from the Schoolhouse Review Crew would have the opportunity to review the new iWitness series from Apologia Educational Ministries, I was definitely intrigued. They asked us to review the following books:

Written by Doug Powell, each of these books takes the reader on an in-depth search of different aspects important to the Christian faith. The books aren’t a boring tome, though. Each one is designed to look like a stack of documents, using different graphics and fonts, to introduce you to the evidence that has been discovered over the years. They follow a logical progression, but the goal is not to just tell you, “This is how it is, so you have to believe it.” Instead, the idea is to push you to do your own research and (ideally) come to the conclusions that “Yeah, this is probably really true” on your own. The books are good for a variety of ages (we read them aloud with all three boys), but the reading level is roughly 11 and up. Continue reading

Gone Girl: an {unsponsored} review of the book and movie

I mentioned last week that I was reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and that I hoped to finish it over the weekend to be able to see the movie on “$5 Tuesday” at the local (and by “local” I mean “only one town over”) Regal Cinema.

I almost made it. I finished Monday evening.

So now I’m going to try to focus my thoughts on the story into a blog post – without giving too much away. Because I’d hate it if you read this post and then didn’t feel the need to read the book because of it.

Let me start by giving what’s become my general feedback about this story to anyone I know who’s considering or planning to read it. The book is written in three parts. Part one is a quick jog. From the final paragraph of Part 1 clear up until the last word of the last sentence of Part 3 is a full on sprint. There’s no break in the action. Just when you think there should be some falling action, and it feels like you might be entering some, you find out that you’re wrong. You can see on the cover of the book (in the image above), that it’s been called “Thriller of the Year.” I think that’s a pretty great description. This book was a wonderful read. Outside of sponsored book reviews and read-alouds with the boys, it’s the first book I’ve finished in a long time. I like reading, but I’ve been having trouble finding something “worth” reading recently, so I think my finishing this book is pretty high praise.

Continue reading

Wednesday Chat #13


There’s still no new questions from Patrice, so I’m going to answer questions from her “Farmhouse Chat #153,” which I didn’t do when it posted new.

What are you most looking forward to in the remaining months of 2014?

Well, I love the cooler temperatures of Fall, but what I love the most about the last few months of the year are the holidays. I positively adore Thanksgiving and Christmas. I would like to try some new home decor this year, but I don’t know if that will happen or not.

Tell us the last movie you saw, or book you read. Continue reading

Simplicity: To Top it All Off . . .

simplicity copy

My wardrobe post from this past spring is my most-read post of all time, so I thought I’d take a day this week to discuss changes we’ve made to our current clothing selections.

We each have a few more clothes than we did in May, but certainly nothing approaching “normal” American levels of attire. You’ll remember from last week that we all now own rain boots. These are in addition to our regular shoes. Also, I purchased a pair of sneakers for myself earlier this summer because we like to play tennis; doing so in sandals is, while not impossible, not practical. Munchkin recently had a birthday, and he received as gifts new undergarments, two pairs of jeans (so the old ones went away – they were really ratty), two shirts, and a pair of shoes (slip-on sneakers). Earlier this week, Will traded his sandals out for a pair of black sneaker-esque shoes. His goal was shoes that would be comfortable for walking and go with both jeans and more dressy attire. He’s very happy with his choice. Seahawk is the only one currently still only in sandals and boots. His birthday is later this month (can you believe it’s already October?!!), so I’m sure he’ll end up with new shoes then, if not before.


This is not the skirt in the description, but is one I got for right around $7 from Goodwill last year. It’s my cold-weather staple because it’s ankle length and the fabric is pretty thick.

The dresses I got back in the spring were stretch knit, so they didn’t do so well in the dryer. I should’ve known better and hung them up to dry, but I didn’t, so they’re a bit shorter than they were when I first got them. They’re still wearable, but I’m really self-conscious in them now, so I don’t wear them often. Our local Fred Meyer had a clearance sale in August and I picked up a really cute skirt for 70% off (I think that made around $7). That’s my current go-to; it goes with pretty much all of my tops, whether the simple black cami or my pink or black turtleneck. As the weather continues to cool, I’ll be back in tights and/or leggings, so that will allow me to comfortably wear those now-too-short-dresses again, since the tights will do the heavy-lifting on my modesty.

A lot of the clothes Small Fry got for Christmas still fit him (everyone bought big, so I’m very thankful for that!). We’ve added a few pairs of pants to the mix and taken out the items that he’s outgrown. Many of those he wore for well over a year, and we’ll likely donate some of them to our new nephew, even though he won’t be able to wear them for a while (he’s only 3 months old). He still has his 15 cloth diapers, as well as two pairs of Crocs – one is almost too small, one is just a bit too big still – and of course, his boots for the rainy season. The extra pants are becoming more necessary as he begins his potty training journey. I’m not pushing him too hard yet (I kind of think he needs to be able to talk to fully potty train, and he doesn’t really talk at all yet), but he is learning to take the cues from his body. About 90% of the time, he’ll “number two” in the toilet instead of his diaper these days. He tugs on my arm or shirt or skirt and points to his bottom. That’s how I know to put him on the potty. He has no control over the “number one” yet though. (My apologies if that was a bit TMI!)

The last big piece we added to each of our wardrobes was a jacket/coat. Our neighbor went to an estate sale and picked up some vintage Seattle Mariners windbreakers for the boys for only a dollar apiece. Combined with long johns (which we’ll get them in a few weeks) and their regular clothes, that should be warm enough. It doesn’t typically get too cold here. Will and Small Fry still have good jackets from last year. Mine was 4 years old and in very poor repair, so I got a new one this week. It’s a wonderfully warm, faux-wool pea coat. I love it.


My new hat

Will and I also got our staple accessory: a hat (hence the title of this post). I had one that I loved, but I lost it a few months ago (I’m pretty sure I left it at a restaurant by mistake). I’ve been searching for the “perfect hat” ever since. I finally found it when we were out getting my coat. It’s really just a copy of my old one, just in a new color scheme. The old one was brown, the new one is black and red. I guess I know what I like! Will had a wonderful hat that he loved. He picked it up from a vintage clothing store for about $12 a couple of years ago, but then I ruined it several months ago. It got put in the washer by accident (it was buried in a pile of clothes), and being real wool, it shrunk so that it was too small to wear. So he replaced his hat as well. The new one is a similar style (though not the same – it turns out that hats like the one he bought for $12 usually go for well over $100), and just a solid gray.

Our clothing choices are sparse, but we all pretty much love every single piece we own.

What’s your favorite item from your wardrobe?




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