Thursday, May 31, 2012

Top 10 "Must Have" Homeschool Items

The following items are in no particular order except for God and the Bible ... that will remain first forever and always.

1.) Faith and Trust in God
I must trust our Heavenly Father and have faith in Him at all times. The Bible is our ultimate homeschool resource.  The choice to homeschool was answered after many days and nights praying upon the subject.  I feel I am doing what is best for Alyssa and that God guided in this direction for a reason.

2.) Computer with Internet Access
Our computer has become an absolute essential homeschool item used on a daily basis.  Alyssa uses the computer for researching topics of interest such as birds, animals, holidays, etc.  She also has several interactive, online learning programs for both reading and math.  I use the computer and Pinterest for researching homeschool ideas.  Google books is a great resource to find FREE e-books worth reading aloud to your children or books for your free reading time. Internet access and the computer has given me the opportunity to read many outstanding blogs written by amazing women that I follow ... stalk on a regular basis.  These virtual friends help support our homeschool.  I also wouldn't be able to access Amazon or Ebay for reasonably priced homeschool items without a computer readily available.  

3.) Camera
I love photographing our homeschool journey and teaching ideas. We also use the camera to record field trip events that we want to remember and cherish forever.  We have several cameras in the house and Alyssa has shown quite an interest in photographing the many things that God has created.

4.) Xyron Creative Station
Many people mention their laminator.  I love my Xyron and was very thankful when I received it as a Christmas gift one year.  It is capable of laminating, making stickers, and magnetic sheets without heat.  If there is an item that we plan on using for more than one lesson - we laminate it for durability.  I changed Alyssa's All About Spelling progress chart into sticker pieces so that she can work on fine motor skills.  We cut out each lesson completed and she peels off the sticker backing to cover the lesson number once completed.

5.) MP 610 Printer/Scanner/Copier
We received this free years ago with purchase of our computer.  I use my copier for printing or making copies of homeschool assignments and activities every single day.  It is very convenient not having to run into town or to the library just to print or make copies of a single item.  I recently found our ink extremely cheap on Amazon - this was after a recommendation I read by a fellow blogger!!!  I receive two of each color for the price that I would have spent on one cartridge.  We tend to go through ink in this house so every penny saved helps.  A stash of card stock and regular paper must also be on hand!  

6.) Library
We are members of three libraries which helps us gain access to a variety of resources.  Our local library provides services such as ILL and Mango Languages that we utilizes as often as possible.  These two resources are free to us.  We are limited to ten ILL items per card per month.  But, we make it work since each family member has a library card.  We are allowed 12 books out per card and 50 on another card for a different library.  Alyssa and I love reading and researching to gain knowledge from books so this is a definite must have for our homeschooling needs.  Mango Languages gives us access to studies several languages at once.  There are so many languages to choose from and we haven't done much with this yet, but plan on taking advantage of this resource in the near future to study spanish and greek.  I may even take on a third language myself while reviewing spanish.  Our library is also known for hosting an awesome reading program.  Last year, Alyssa was blessed and won a bike for her reading accomplishments.  The best thing about it was that most of the books read were ones she read independently rather than ones I read aloud so the accomplishment meant more to her in the end.  We also participate in story time as often as possible. Alyssa has enjoyed reading to Bailey the dog when free Saturday mornings allow for this to occur.            

7.) Magnetic Board and Dry Erase Markers
We use our magnetic board at least three times a week for All About Spelling lessons - we BOTH love this curriculum and will continue using it.  I just purchased Level 2 today.  We also use the dry erase board for phonics, spelling, writing, math, and science lessons.  I purchase dry eraser makers in a variety of colors.  We use the colors to show spelling rules, phonogram sounds, etc.  I have also been know to write Alyssa's morning message on the dry erase board.  I believe we bought our magnetic board at Walmart.  I also have a handful of mini dry erase boards that my husband asked either Lowe's or Home Depot to cut into pieces from refrigerator backing.  Each child in my class had a board.    

8.) Workbox System
Alyssa's workbox system keeps our day running smoothly.   There are 12 boxes full of curriculum lessons.  I use the last one for specials such as PE, Music, and Art.  We have been more organized in regards to what is accomplished on a daily basis using this system. We tend to get more done in less time which is an added bonus. This system holds Alyssa and I both accountable for what we do in a day. There are many ways to use this system with larger families so research it and see how you can make it work for you ... that is if it sounds like something you are interested in trying.

9.) Sheet Protectors
I use heavy duty sheet protectors for printable math games and curriculum workbook pages including Math U See, Horizons, and Explode the Code.  I am not sure whether we will have another child so I want to protect the pages in hopes to reuse them later.  Sheet protectors are very handy!

10.) Calendar
Alyssa and I LOVE our calendar time.  We do calendar time in both spanish and english just at different times of the day.  She learns so many math concepts in a single sitting.  She keeps a math binder to record her daily activities.  I used to do this in my 2nd grade classroom and it works wonders.  LOVE LOVE IT!!!!!  I hope to post more on this later.     

What do you feel is your ultimate, favorite resource needed for a successful homeschool year?

I am linking this post up at Many Little Blessing's Top Ten Tuesday which is coordinated with iHomeschool Networks 10 in 10 Blog Hop.
Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

Monday, May 28, 2012

That Resource Site

Today I am featuring a website called That Resource Site.  Some of you may have heard of it before while others it will be a newfound website to explore during the wee hours as I have done many times. It has a ton of outstanding resources for homeschooling families and teachers.  Please consider a donation if this resource is beneficial to your homeschooling needs.  It is not required at this time but would help maintain the website and free access.  

Here are just a few printables worth looking at:
1.) Literature-Based Montessori Cards for the Burgess Bird Book and Aesop's Fables
We have been using these for quite some time now.  We originally started using the Aesop Fable Cards while reading Aesop's Fables by Milo Winters.  It was a supplemental resource I used during an Epi Kardia curriculum review.  Alyssa matches the moral of the story to the illustration.  I plan on using the Burgess Bird Book cards and other resources as supplements mentioned on the website for our nature study and science lessons this year to compliment our Apologia Flying Creatures book.  They also have dinosaur, plant, and art Montessori Cards.

2.) Spelling Worksheets and Yummy Daily Spelling Lessons - We use the spelling assessment sheet quite often and Alyssa corrects her spelling paper. They also have word art spelling and spelling detective sheets.  The Yummy Daily Spelling Lessons are meant for grades K-3.  There are spelling and phonics lessons including passports, stickers, flashcards, word strips, game cards, and so forth.

3.) Copywork Pages for writing the morals for Aesop Fables and Burgess Bird Book quotes in cursive and print.

4.) Timelines - We used the Timeline of Old Testament with the Epi Kardia curriculum.  It can be used with other Bible-based curriculums.  I removed any cards that I did not want to use with Alyssa.

5.) Learning Cards - They have cute flashcards for math, language arts, literary genres, and cards for animal classification.

6.) Language Arts Posters - We stored these posters in Alyssa's Language Arts binder and review when necessary during copywork or lessons.

7.) Chores Charts and Heath Charts for Water Consumption - We tracked how much water we drank as a family.

8.) Virtue Lessons - I will be using some of these pages this year during character study or habit formation lessons.

9.) Big Books of Narration Nature Study and Classic Literature Titles
Progress Sheets for Parables from Nature, Mother Goose in Prose, and Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare

10.) Lapbook Templates - A Handful of templates to satisfy your lapbooking or notebooking needs.

11.) Flashcard Games - Hexaflash Addition and Subtraction looks like fun fact family practice!

12.) Addition and Subtraction Games - We really liked the Handy Carpenter game.  I made this game long time ago but we did not have a label or a name for the game.  This year, when we read about Mary and Joseph at Christmas time we played this game and printed the label for our container.    

There is so much more to see and read on this website but this will get you started.  I should warn you that some links on the website currently not working properly ... I tried to link to several other items without luck.  I have checked the ones mentioned in this post. Navigation can be hard at times.  Have fun exploring!  Please leave a comment and let me know what you think about the resources and how you might use them.  What was your favorite resource?  

Thank you,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A "Cat"astrope ... well not exactly

We decided to drive into town to stock up on groceries Tuesday night.  We ran inside Polly's Pet Store so Alyssa could adore all of the cute animals.  We left the store and a few minutes later we heard a man in the street calling out to several teenagers.  He was asking the teenagers to help him catch a kitten in the busy parking lot.  I pointed the kitten out to my hubby and he jumped out to help.  He crawled underneath a truck and held her close to his chest.  She was filthy, hungry, thirsty, and shaking with fear.  The day before it rained extremely hard so of course she was covered in dry mud.  The gentlemen said thank you and walked away.  My husband asked, "What about your kitten?"  He said, "It's not mine ... I just didn't want it to get run over."  My husband knows that I am a cat lover so he hesitated for a moment before coming over to the vehicle.  He carried the adorable black and white kitten to our vehicle and asked me what to do.  I had know idea what to say but I wanted to say let's keep it but we recently had to put a dog to rest and had to find a home for our other dog who was extremely depressed and lonely after Jade's death.  We gave the kitten some water and milk.  Oops ... apparently you are not supposed to give kittens human milk.  As we drove down to the Polly's Pet Store - only to find out that they do not take stray cats.  They willing shared information on how to care for the kitten.  It has been years since Jeff and I had a kitten in the house.  They told us that she was about 6 1/2 weeks old and unfortunately, she was covered in fleas.  My husband did not want another animal a couple weeks ago but this sweet kitten found a special place in his heart.  He saw how happy she made Alyssa and I so he ended up buying a cat box, litter, and food.  She ate a ton of food and drank what seemed like a gallon of water.  We set-up the kitty litter box and put it on the floorboard by my feet ... I am so lucky.  LOL!  She actually figured out the kitty litter box quickly.  On the way home, she fell asleep in my lap as I stroked her belly.  It was hilarious!  Her mouth was wide open, tongue sticking out, and she purred so loud that Alyssa heard her in the back.  She was exhausted and most likely glad to have a safe place to sleep after a fulfilling meal.  Our home will be her temporary home for now until we decide whether or not we'll be able to keep her.  The first night we were told to give her a bath in BLUE Dawn to help kill the fleas.  It was a very interesting family affair.  The kitten did pretty well considering the circumstances.  She immediately calmed down when I talked to her and held her head.  She even let us blow dry her fur without scratching us to pieces.  I clipped her nails and she played hard with Alyssa ALL night.  Alyssa could not focus on anything else the next day - the kitten was a huge distraction during school time.  She is a very active, playful kitten.  She's full of spunk and oh ... what a great climber - smart too.  So, that is what is new around here.  I am just curious ... what would YOU name this kitten.  We are thinking about naming her Oreo.  Isn't she adorable?


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

5 Days of ... Blog Hop Announcement

I was recently selected to be part of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew ...  God has answered yet another one of my prayers.  I can't tell you how excited I am about joining this team of prestigious women.  Okay ... I AM SO SO EXCITED!  There I did it!  I will have the opportunity along with other Crew members to review homeschool curriculum and resources.  Go to the TOS blog to see a list of vendors on board this year.  I can't wait to find out what Alyssa and I will be reviewing first.  I just wanted to send a special thank you out to Kate and Marcy from the bottom of my heart.  I REALLY appreciate this opportunity!  I look forward to a wonderful year of reviewing products and building new friendships while sharing ideas.

Big Announcement!
The 5 Days of ... Blog Hop started yesterday!!!!  Sixty-five TOS reviewers will write every single day on their blog for five days about a particular theme or topic.  Some of  the topics covered include organization, living math, living history, classical education, living books, math games, and so much more.  I am sure that you won't want to miss this event and you will most likely find something worth reading.  Unfortunately, since I was recently added to the team I missed the deadline to participate.  It sounds like so much fun and something to consider for the future if TOS decides to do it again.  Just because I missed the opportunity to write for the 5 Days Blog Hop doesn't mean I can't read all of the wonderful posts written by these lovely ladies.  I have already been to several blogs reading topics of interest.  This event will continue until May 18th.  You have got to check it out!  Please click on the above TOS Crew blog link to see the post where all the blog links are available.

Friday, May 11, 2012

L is for ... Lapbooking

Lapbook Templates You Can Type On
Do you have a reluctant writer yet still enjoy the lapbooking experience?  Do you like lapbooking projects but are eager to try something a little new or different?  Or ... Do you just LOOOVE lapbook templates, then you might want to check out the Homeschool Share blog for more information.  I recently came across this blog offer in one of my late night searches.  The blog owners were offering FREE lapbook templates that you can actually type on.  Sounds interesting - doesn't it?  Click on the link provided, Homeschool Share, and subscribe via e-mail to their blog.  Your templates will arrive in your first e-mail possibly a day or two later.  Don't forget to verify or confirm your e-mail address.  We hope to include more lapbooking projects this year so I already signed up.     

I am linking up at Marcy's ABC Blogging through the Alphabet.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Skip Counting, Area, and Multiplication Oh My

Alyssa is 4 1/2 years old now!  Wow ... I still can't believe my baby girl is not a baby anymore.  Feel free to use the ideas posted on my blog.  Photos may not be used without my permission.  If you have found something useful here, please send a link back to my blog.  

I love creating activities or games for Alyssa as supplements to her curriculum.  I can get a bit carried away so I have to watch myself. As she completed one of her MUS Primer lessons titled, Skip Counting to Find Area, I was immediately reminded of a hands-on multiplication activity that I used to do in my classroom. Then, my brain started spinning with other ideas but I had to limit the number of activities for the day so that math didn't end up lasting a whole day even though it is so much fun!

Color Tile Area
Materials Needed
1"Color Tiles (or paper squares)
1" Graph Paper Grid - This is the one I found during a quick search
Marker and Pencil

What We Did
I printed the 1" graph paper.  I drew several rectangles on the paper with a black marker.  Her job was to find the area of the rectangle. Alyssa used the color tiles to cover the rectangle and skip counted to find the area.  I set-up the work so that it looked exactly like her MUS sheets but added in the tiles to make it a bit more hands-on.  The MUS curriculum has the child skip count by rows.  I asked her write the numbers as she skip counted to the right of the row.  She has mastered skip counting by 2's, 5's, 10's, 100's, and 1000's.  She wrote the answer (the area) inside the rectangle.  I forgot that we haven't worked much on skip counting by 3's yet so we discussed ways for her to find the answer without having to count all of the tiles individually. If she needed to count them individually then I would absolutely allow it.        
I didn't realize she had a death grip on her pencil.  
 Comparing Area Arrays    
Materials Needed
Four Dice
1" Color Tiles
Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
Green craft sticks
Google eye
Mat (optional) I used it so that colors would stand out better and so she'd have a work area

What We Did
The terminology and game directions used during this activity was actually inspired by Alyssa's multiplication bead board and the Montessori methods which is different than the method above.  I looked over at the bead board while Alyssa worked on the activity above and realized how to connect the two lessons.  I asked Alyssa to visualize her multiplication bead board.  I wanted her to visualize the numbers 1-10 across the top and the numbers down the left side. If she had trouble doing this I was prepared to show her the board.  

The first die roll represents the number on the left side also known as the multiplicand (the first number of the equation).  The second roll represents the number across the top telling her where to stop.  It is known as the multiplier.  If this does not make sense please refer to the photograph.  I realize several of my readers haven't ever used Montessori materials or methods before and I am definitely not an expert.  You could also visit The Moveable Alphabet or the Montessori Print Shop for better explanations of this bead board. Montessori educators see multiplication as the same number taken many times.  Alyssa would say the multiplication equation aloud such as, " ____ taken ____ times" in order to find the product or in our case the area of the rectangle.  She then proceeded to count the color tiles in columns (vertically).  For example, if she rolled a five first and then a two.  She would count out five color tiles in the first column and then five more in the second column to create her array.    

I rolled the dice and built my array with color tiles in the same manner.  It was time for Alyssa to compare the two areas.  I explained that she could either skip count, use addition strategies, or count all of the tiles in order to find the area for her rectangle.  I would always ask her to help me so that she had extra problems to work on.  We wrote the multiplication equations on white boards and what the area was for each person's array.  I neglected to photograph our written scratch work. We sang the Alligator Comparison Chant from Littlest Scholars. Check out her blog freebie on comparing single digit numbers using alligator symbols! Alyssa determined who had the greatest area and actually made the alligator eat the largest area array ... the tiles were scattered all over the table.  What a messy eater!  

Popsicle Stick Alligator
I found the cute alligator craft at One Extra Degree.  I believe this is the blog that motivated me to do this activity.  Then, I put a little Montessori twist on it.  Our alligator is also toothless ... I will eventually add white foam teeth. We usually use pipecleaners or Wikki Sticks when comparing numbers.  I wanted to use something different for a change.  I hot glued a google eye on a green popsicle stick and used Velcro on both ends so that they could be connected to make either the greater than or less than symbol.  I reminded Alyssa that the alligator always wants to eat the greatest number. On one occasion, we had the same area so we took the gator apart to make an equal sign.  She thought the alligator craft was the cutest thing EVER!  She even said, "He broke his tooth when he bit down on an animal bone."   

Oh ... how neat is this!  I tend to multi-task and as I was searching for a My Father's World printable to use with Alyssa next week and I came across Mama Jenn's Multiplication Grid Game.  So ... I thought I'd mention it here so that you can see another way to play while learning multiplication and skip counting.  I only wish I had found it sooner - it would have saved me time searching for 1" grid paper and dice in my disorganized house.  At least we will have another activity we can do as review tomorrow or in the future.  I think I may need to zip back over to her blog and read her math game series.  

I will be linking up at the following blogs:
Tot SchoolMontessori Monday

I love to hear from my readers so please comment to let me know what your think and that you stopped by. 

What hands-on multiplication games do you play?  Any fun activities? 

Thank you for visiting, 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Guadalupe River State Park Field Trip

As many of you know, my family visited us from New York and recently left town.  It is not often that I get to see my relatives so this was definitely a moment for us to remember.

We had the opportunity to go on several amazing field trips last month but I haven't had the chance to blog about them.  One of the spontaneous field trips we took was to the Guadalupe River State Park.  My brother-in-law, Hans Storsberg, enjoys photography as a hobby and we wanted him to see and experience the beauty of the park.  Please check out his music while visiting his page.  He is also a singer, songwriter, and guitarist.  All photos are credited to him and may NOT be used without his permission.  He was gracious and gave me a copy of the photos taken during his trip.  Thank goodness because I did not have my camera with me that day.

Since we didn't plan on going there we also did not have a bathing suit for Alyssa.  She was able to ... for the first time ever ... wear her clothes in the river.  She was thrilled! Uncle Hans shot photographs of her playing and enjoying the moment.  She explored the rocks and threw a few in the water.  She danced, frolicked, posed, and enjoyed splashing us.  She loved feeling the rocks between her toes and finding shells in the water with her Aunt Sammie.  We walked along the river's edge admiring the geology exposed and the natural beauty surrounding the rugged limestone cliffs. There was a gentle breeze and the river seemed very docile.

Hans took a wonderful black and white photograph of Alyssa with her daddy, but Jeff would kill me if I posted it because his shirt is off. LOL!  We are planning on another field trip to this location for a guided tour in hopes to see and hear about the Honey Creek State Natural Area.  I already started planning our discussion topics for the next trip which will hopefully be this summer.    

Chestnut Grove Academy Field Trip Friday Blog Hop

Friday, May 4, 2012

Delightful Notebooking

Have you ever tried to incorporate notebooking into your lesson plans?  Do you enjoy notebooking?  Do you think it might be something your child will find interesting?  Alyssa and I have implemented notebooking into our weekly lesson plans for different subjects and topics using a variety of curriculums.  I am already creating plans to continue the use of notebooking for next year.  A great notebooking resource can be found at Notebooking Pages. This is the direct link to their FREE resources page.  Please take the time to check it out tonight because Debra is also having a great giveaway you won't want to miss.  It ends soon!  Notebooking is a way to solidify and record your child's learning.  It can be for one specific subject or you can compile all the subjects into one binder. So ... what are you waiting for?  Head to the freebie section (you must create a free account), print out a notebooking page for tomorrow, and try something new.  I know it is the end of the year, but this can be a refreshing change for your child or children that will add some additional fun to the day.  Please stop back by and let me know what you think.  Read about her BIG news this week!!! 
Thank you, 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Story of the World Resources

I was visiting with a friend a couple months ago and we chatted about homeschool curriculum ... a subject I LOVE to discuss on a daily basis.  She showed me her Story of the World Volume 1 Ancient Times curriculum written by Susan Wise Bauer.  I remembered reading several reviews about this curriculum on the internet so I started saving resources in my bookmark folder.  I shared this list with her months ago and I thought it might be useful to other homeschooling families.  I like to think about curriculum and my long-term choices.  Story of the World is one of the history curriculums I might consider using in the future.    

The first is a blog that I adore called Satori Smiles written by Angela.  She is an amazing homeschooling mom!  Be careful when visiting her blog because you might get lost spending hours exploring the contents of her blog.  I always check out what she is doing because she is so thorough.  The link will take you to her blog posts about the Story of the World curriculum, this link is for supplemental resources, and here is a link to Mary's, Lizards and Ladybugs blog, on how she made and posted FREE timeline cards cards for the Ancient Times.  This is such a great resource ... I couldn't wait to download it to my computer!  I also like Angela's suggestion about reducing the size of the timeline cards so that four cards can fit on one page.      

Run of the Mill Family or "The Chronicle of the Earth" blog created a lapbook, printable card game, and review activities for the entire Story of the World curriculum.

Braden Bryce posted online multiple-choice quizzes and review for the first volume.

Homeschool Helper Online has Story of the World Notebooking Pages to add to your lesson plans.  A popular way to solidify learning or knowledge about a subject.

Our Story of the World Journey blogs about her experiences using the curriculum and links to MANY resources and activities to compliment the first volume 1.

Here is a link to for FREE workbook pages that can be used with older students.

Laura's new blog, Walnut Homeschool is currently documenting her experiences with this curriculum and it might be a helpful resource in your journey with the curriculum.

Paula's Archives is a great resource that correlates popular history curriculum readings to Story of the World.  She has many interesting resources available on her website worth checking out including timeline resources.

This is a FREE history curriculum (Early Ancient Civilizations for Elementary Grades Students) from Bringing Up Learners Myths, Maps, and Marvels Learning Guide which utilizes Story of the World.  Be sure to check the website for updates and corrections to the curriculum.  She also has timeline resources.  Here is the resource list mentioned that coordinates with her lesson plans covering a full year.

I just found The Homeschool Blogger website today.  She writes about what she has done with Story of the World and Sonlight B curriculum.  You'll have to explore her previous posts but here is the link starting with What is History?  She summarizes her week using the two curriculums and adds resources used to help guide you through the lessons.  Several of the resources mentioned I have already posted about but there were a few extra I wanted you to see.

What's your favorite world history curriculum?
A.) Diana Waring's Ancient Civilizations and the Bible
B.) Mystery of History Volume 1
C.) Story of the World Volume 1
D.) A Child's History of the World
E.) Other - Please let us know what is is and why you like it.

Do you know of a blog or website with information that may assist users of Story of the World?  If so, please comment and share your resources or those that you find on the internet with us all.  

I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to comment below.  

Thank you, 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

We're Baaack!

Wow!  Is it really May already???  You are probably wondering why I haven't been blogging lately.  Did she get lost searching blogs and websites again?  Did she finally see a doctor about her weird sleeping habits?  

Let me just fill you in on our busy month + schedule.  My husband took the Captain's test for the SAFD and he passed with flying colors (96).  Great job sweetie!  We are all so proud of you.  We knew you could do it!  We are hoping he'll get promoted this year so if it is meant to be then God will answer our prayers and make it happen. If not, His plans will be revealed.  Shortly after that, my husband had surgery and an oversized vein was removed.  It is currently sitting on our bar counter like a centerpiece.  For real!    

We started off traveling to Houston mid-March to visit relatives and to take a field trip in order to view the King Tut exhibit at the museum before it was sent back.  Alyssa had just finished studying Ancient Egypt so it was perfect timing for us.  My brother and sister-in-law announced that they were six months pregnant during that visit.  Let the celebrations begin!

Then, we began spring cleaning and organizing ... this really just makes our house messier due to unfinished projects.  LOL!  Our plan was to put the house back on the market possibly in June but we'll see what happens.  We still have a few projects that we want to complete.

We attended our friend's wedding and enjoyed spending a few days celebrating their union.  They had a neat after party the next day with delicious food and refreshments.  The brisket and to die for and i can't tell you how many stuffed jalapenos I ate that day.  It's confidential information.

Then, we went on a weeklong camping trip to Inks Lake State Park and we detoured to the Long Horn Cavern State Park for yet another wonderful field trip.  Let me just say it was AMAZING!  Upon our arrival home, my friend's beautiful baby shower awaited our attendance.  We started making up Alyssa's extracurricular classes that were missed due to travels and tried to fit in as much school as we could.  We just finished up the last make-up extracurricular class today!  Yah!!!

After celebrating Easter with family and going on several egg hunts in the community we quickly found ourselves traveling yet again on the wide open road.  I recently won a family registration to one of the Great Homeschool Conferences from the Homeschool Giveaways and Freebies blog. We decided to take a road trip to Memphis, TN to attend the Mid-South Homeschool Conference. Thank you sooooo much Homeschool Giveaways and Freebies!!! This trip was definitely a HUGE blessing for our family in MANY ways!  More on that hopefully later.

We finally arrived home only to have three days to unpack and clean house before my sister's arrival ... or shall I say de-clutter ... the house was NOT ready in time.  My older sister and her hubby traveled from New York to Texas to spend a week with us.  I don't think they were bothered by my mess.  During their visit we went on several field trips and celebrated my husband's and sister's birthday at the same time.  We went to the San Antonio Zoo to see the butterfly exhibit, played in the water at the Guadalupe River State Park, and we shopped and picnicked in Wimberley.  Lastly, we visited the Alamo in San Antonio and learned about our family history.  We also squeezed in a visit to a nearby neighbor's house ... mainly to take photos of his back yard.  I am not sure how to explain what it is ... I guess it is a miniature western town.  It was an out of this world experience for my sister's husband ... a fellow photography junkie. He is a great photographer so I relied on his photos during their visit.
My family left Saturday morning and we hopped back in the car and traveled to Kerrville on Sunday for a much needed visit to see Great Grandma Mae and Great Aunt Jeanette.  We also had a lovely visit with Jeff's cousin Anna!  The last time we saw them was around Christmas so we wanted to touch base with them before anything else happened.

Well, I think that's about it ... I am sure I missed something.  But, at least now you know why I neglected my blog for so long.  I almost forgot somewhere in that time we realized that our daughter outgrew everything and we were in dire need of new clothes so we spent a day at the outlet mall shopping trying NOT to spend money.  My daughter is a shopping DIVA ... not sure where she gets it from.  No, seriously?  I am not a shopper.    

God blessed our lives with the opportunity to do so much in such a short amount of time!  We took more field trips this month than most schools offer in a year.  Blogging was obviously set aside until we were at a stopping point especially since I don't have a laptop or way to blog while gone.  I hope to blog about several of the field trips as soon as I download, organize, and borrow family photos.  Although, I don't remember taking too many photos.  My daughter was such a ham posing for Uncle Hans during the visit so I know he has some shots.  

Today was a great day!  I had the opportunity to start up my workout routine, do chores, blog, e-mail, network, and eat well.  It has been way too long and my healthy eating habits have been lost for quite some time now.  I hope I can get back on track soon.  Alyssa was well behaved and very helpful with chores.  She begged for school this morning and we had a very successful school day. She went to a make-up dance class and saw one of her favorite peeps (Ms. Jenny). We are trying to catch up on lost sleep and get back on track!!!!  I am ready to take on new projects and to start the summer off with new adventures.

I also realized that while I was busy and not blogging, Blogger had changed formats.  So, I just wasted time trying to figure out how to update my blog.  Does anyone know what happened?  Am I the only one that experienced this problem or issue?
Tell me ... What has your month been like?  Any new projects? Good news? Relatives in town?  Interesting field trips?  I love reading comments and networking with bloggers so please comment or just say hello. Be sure to leave your blog address so I can visit you.    

Thank you,