Friday, December 8, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up - Nutcracker and Basketball

The girls and I went to see the Nutcracker over the weekend.  It's the first time we've gone since they quit dancing, and it was a wonderful performance.   I enjoyed this one more than usual, because I didn't have to endure the stress of stage week, the fear of costume failure (one I'd worked on) or pray my girls didn't have a major error while dancing. 

Monday we plowed through school work and actually finished up a bit early.   Olivia had her first JV basketball game, and Lindsey had sewing class at the same time.  I had to drop Lindsey off with a friend to catch a ride, then we went to Olivia's game, then reversed to pick Lindsey back up.   The team won the game and was a great confidence booster.  I don't know what the athletic director was thinking when he ordered uniforms, but here she is...shudder.  
Tuesday was gray and dreary all day.   I spent the afternoon locked in the basement wrapping Christmas gifts while the girls worked on lessons.   I enjoy wrapping gifts, I just wish I could figure out how to make those big fluffy bows.  Once I was done wrapping, I took inventory and made a shopping list for the remainder of items.   After dinner, I had to take Olivia to basketball from 8-9pm.

Wednesday was St. Nicholas Day, so I snuck out early to put a gift at Ms. Kay's doorway.   I love surprising her each year.   This year I found authentic ginger cookies from Luxembourg and boxed those up in a nice little box with some tea.   She squeals little a little girl when she sees her gift. My husband took a personal day off from work and he and I went Christmas shopping together while the girls stayed home and worked on their school work.     In the evening we had to drop Lindsey off at an extra sewing class, then head to church for our evening classes.  Lindsey had to catch a ride with friends from sewing to church since both my husband and I are teaching classes at church and couldn't leave to pick her up.
Thursday was another full day of schoolwork, more gift wrapping and Olivia's first away basketball game of the season.   I had to drop her off at the school by 3pm to catch the activity bus.  The bus got stuck in traffic going to the venue, which made the first game late and bumped all the other games out.  It was 11pm before the bus pulled back in at the school, she was exhausted.

Friday (today) was supposed to be our Christmas decorations craft day.  However, my brother is supposed to work on ornaments with us and wasn't feeling well so we bumped craft day out to next Friday in hopes that he'll be able to join us.   Olivia slept in a bit, and rightly so.  We knocked out another full day of lessons and hit the road once again to basketball practice.

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up.
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Friday, December 1, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up - Welcome December

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  For those of you who weren't around last week, I did do a Thanksgiving Week Wrap Up, and I also shared about Interest Led Learning - Quilting.   Take a moment to check those out if you have time.

On Saturday, my best friend Donna and her husband Mike drove our from the city to spend the day with us.   We have an amazing downtown area, that Mike said is "Like walking through a Hallmark movie."    Here's a photo of the husbands sitting at an outdoor cafe, waiting patiently for the return of the shoppers,.  The black and white makes it look a bit grainy, but it's a good depiction of "walking through a Hallmark movie".

This was our first full 5-day school week since breaking from co-op for the holidays.  It was good to have that full day back to knock out extra work (especially in Algebra 2).  Monday evening was our towns Christmas parade and also Olivia's basketball practice.  Tom and Lindsey went to the parade, I took Olivia to the parade.  It's the first time she and I have missed the parade since we've lived here.  Growing up is hard in many ways.

Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty typical days with school work during the day and basketball/church in the evening.

Thursday, Lindsey finished up her book study of The Hobbit, and had her final exam.   She found out that she really liked Tolkien a great deal more that she'd expected.   She's  using this book as her literature project for co-op.  She'll be working on a display to present in January, I'll update you when she's done.    Olivia had basketball practice from 8pm-9pm.   I'm not a fan of these really late practice schedules at this age.

Friday (today) we'll plow through some extra school work (yippie for 5 full days), then head out to get groceries, home for dinner and then back out to basketball at 5pm.

Lastly, as a part of the TOS Review Crew this year, I've had the opportunity to review some amazing products.   In addition to reviewing, we also get to vote for our favorites, and The 2017 Homeschool Review Crew Blue Ribbon Awards winners were announced recently, so click on the link to check out who won what.

Have a great weekend!

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up, Homeschool Highlights and a few other places.

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up - Thanksgiving Week

My husband was on vacation all week, so we've not had school either.   It's been a pretty low key week.    We spent time raking leaves, purging clutter and making a Goodwill run early in the week.  Olivia has has basketball practice a few evenings, and the rest have been spent at home.   We slowly started working on putting up the Christmas decorations as well.

On Thanksgiving day we made the trek out to my Momma's.   She's 90 and has dementia, so she really doesn't know who we are, or why we're there but she enjoys the company and the meal that we all prepare at her house.

Today, Olivia has basketball from 2-4pm, which to be honest annoys me.   I don't go Black Friday shopping, but if I did, I'd really not be happy about the mid-day practice.  

This week on the blog, I shared a review of a new advent book, Unwrapping the Names of Jesus.  I think we're adding this to our holiday celebration this year.    Also on the blog, I shared a post about Interest Led Learning-Quilting, sharing the process for Lindsey's project.

I hope you've all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.   Thanks for stopping by today, and I'll "see" you next week!

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Interest Led Learning - Quilting

If you had to put a label on us, I'd say we're eclectic homeschoolers.   We use textbooks, study Latin, do unit studies and try to leave room for interest led learning as well.   Lindsey has taken an interesting in sewing (I don't like to sew), but I'm officially facilitating that interest by providing a sewing machine, supplies, sewing books and a 4-H club that focuses on sewing.

She's made several projects so far.   A pillow, head bands, cinch sack, a flannel pillowcase and now she's moved on to bigger things.  She's been working on a lap quilt, so I'll give you a pictorial tour through her work.

I bought her a pre-cut pack of quilt squares and she worked out what pattern she liked.   Then she used post-it notes to label the rows.
 She sewed each row in a long strip (keeping the row labeled).
 The next day she worked on ironing all the seams on the back of her strips.
 Next she pinned rows 1 and 2 together.
 Lindsey then began sewing the strips together (with good sides facing each other).
Here's the final view of the top of her quilt.
After all the strips were sewn together, the numbered labels were removed and she then ironed all the back seam flat.
Next came the assembly of all the parts.  First she ironed her back piece (this kid loves to iron).
 Then she got her top, batting and back laid out together and smoothed out.
Once she got everything trimmed out, she sent through and pinned all three pieces together, measuring the edges to make sure she had a one inch binding around each side.
Then it was on to the final step of assembling.  She ran into a little problem here because the stitches were fine on top, but horrible on the back.  She went over to ask our neighbor for some insight, since she was a professional seamstress.  She instantly knew the thread was too weak/cheap and gave her some better thread that matched perfectly and she was back in business.

Instead of quilting across each block, she ran heavy thread/floss through the center of the patches and tied each in a knot.

Here is her final product.  She's super proud of it, and it really turned out great.
Someone said they were glad to see that I'd passed on my love of sewing to Lindsey.   That couldn't be further from the truth.  I hate to sew.  This is one of those things where she had a desire to learn, I facilitated by making sure she had the needed items and the rest was on her.   True learning right there!

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Unwrapping the Names of Jesus (Book Review)

If you're looking for a way for you and/or your family to focus on Jesus this coming Christmas season, then Unwrapping the Names of Jesus, and Advent Devotional may be the little jump start that helps you to refocus.   Today I'll be sharing my thoughts after reviewing this little book.

The book itself is hardback (or at least the one I reviewed), and only 5x7 in size with only 112 pages.  It's not a bit overwhelming to think of adding this into your busy holiday schedule.  The print is a warm burgundy and gold, with small embellishments strewn throughout.  It's a pretty little book, very warm and inviting.

Unwrapping the Names of Jesus opens with author, Asheritah Ciuciu, explaining her lack of understanding of Advent in her childhood, followed by her search for understanding in her early college days.   She briefly explains about the four weeks of Advent and what each represents (hope, preparation, joy and love).

Each week starts on Sunday, with a short, 2 page scripted devotional, discussion questions, scripture reading and a suggested carol to sing, and of course the lighting of the candle .  Each day, Monday-Friday then has a short teaching on one of the names of Jesus, followed by a challenge, a prayer and several scriptures for further study.  Then when you arrive at Saturday there is a list of suggested activities for you to do either individually or as a family to demonstrate that weeks teaching.  For example you might choose to bake cookies for your mail man one week, or set up a mobile hot cocoa bar in you vehicle and travel around town giving out hot cocoa to the homeless.     There's also a link to download free printable activity sheets.

The devotional of course wraps up on Christmas day with another quick devotional that follows the same layout as the other daily readings.   There's also a little "Next Steps" section and the end of the book encouraging the reader to continue learning more about Jesus.

Like Asheritah, I didn't grow up observing or understanding Advent, and that hasn't changed as an adult.  However, we'll be incorporating this little devotional into our Christmas preparations this year to better connect with Jesus, the reason for the season.

About the author:
Asheritah Ciuciu is a writer, speaker, and founder of One Thing Alone Ministries–an online community of women who find joy in Jesus through creative spiritual disciplines. She's also the author of Full: Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction (Moody, January 2017) and Unwrapping the Names of Jesus (Moody, October 2017). 

Asheritah grew up in Romania as a missionary kid and lives with her high school sweetheart and spunky children in northeast Ohio. Her passion is leading busy women deeper with Jesus in the midst of their everyday lives both in her local church and online at

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