Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Arrow Academy–Week in Review, 4

As bad as I hate to admit it, nothing too interesting happened around here this week.  We are sort of getting into the groove of things.  I’m just hoping the groove doesn’t turn into a rut.

Once again, we’ve been talking about ponds.  I wanted to show you some of the fact cards I made for Ty.  They’re just bits of information I selected from a few of the books we checked out.  I typed them up and printed them out on cardstock.  I threw them all into a bucket and Ty selects one a day to read.  Then we do a quick review of previous cards.  I’m amazed at how much Ty enjoys this little exercise, not to mention how much he has learned.  I am definitely gonna try to make up a batch of fact cards for our next theme.

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Here’s Ty reading one of his cards.  I’m guessing this one was about frogs, since that seems to be the position he’s in.

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Since we were all sick half of last week, Lucy did a rerun of rectangles, the color yellow, the number two, and the letter “T.”  Something new that we added, though, were the Powerpoint presentations that I downloaded from 1+1+1=1.  Although the slideshows were designed more for preschoolers than toddlers, Lucy still enjoyed them and did very well with them.  If you want to see an example of one of the slideshows you can check it out here. (It’s actually the same Powerpoint that we used this week – letter T.)

Here’s Lucy’s pocket chart filled with flashcards covering the letter T and the color yellow.  Typically, I show her a card, she names it, then she slips the card into the chart.  Once she gets all the cards up I ask her to find a certain one.  She absolutely loves the pocket chart activities.

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I finally had enough of sweeping green rice up off the floor, so I changed out our sensory bin this week.  Out with the pond, in with the yellow!  And since the macaroni was already the perfect color, there was no dying involved.  The monkeys love to dip and pour this stuff.  Who knew dry pasta could be so fun?

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Lucy is still liking her Do-a-Dot Paints.  I can usually buy myself some time to focus on Ty if I can get Lucy started on a paint project.  Here she is with a frog picture she was working on.

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Well, that’s all for this week.  Short and sweet, huh?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to School in Good Taste

Here are the pictures of the Back-to-School cupcakes that I promised. Aren’t they cute? I think Cassie really liked them. And that’s all the matters, right?

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I took a few close-ups of the decorations so y’all could see the details. I sculpted all of the toppers out of fondant.

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Ty’s favorite decorations were the pencils.

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I’ve been receiving quite a few new calls for cakes recently. Thanks to all of you who have been spreading the word about my cakes and my blog. Y’all are great, even if some of you are “stalking” me. Ha! Ha!

Linking to:

House of Hepworth’s

Strut Your Stuff @ Somewhat Simple

Weekend Wrap-up @ Tatertots & Jello

Inspiration Friday @ The Picket Fence

Monday, August 22, 2011

Not Your Average School Supplies

No.  This is not a post about crayons and rulers.

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Although I could be very convincing…….

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These are just a few of the decorations I’ve been working on for an order of cupcakes I’m making this week.  Cassie T. is excited about the new school year and asked me to make her some cupcakes to share with her friends.

I’m working on 6 different toppers for the cupcakes.

Can anyone guess what these are gonna be?

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Here’s an easy one.

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Hopefully I’ll be able to share all the completed confections with y’all Wednesday night.

And, yes, I do realize that these rulers are technically flawed.  For those of you who didn’t notice, they begin with a one instead of zero.  Oops!  I guess I could remake them, but I really doubt that a class of Kindergarteners is going to mind.Smile

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Arrow Academy–Week in Review, 3

Welcome to our weekly homeschool report!  This week we were scrambling to stay on track thanks, in part, to all the illness around here.  Lucy and I have slowly overcome our colds, but Ty was lucky enough to get a relapse of walking pneumonia.  Ugh!  Back on breathing treatments again for at least the next three months.

This week’s overview:

  • Theme – Ponds
  • Verse – Exodus 20:15
  • Letter – T
  • Color – Yellow
  • Shape – Rectangle

One of Ty’s finer moments this week was when he had just completed this cursive writing paper.

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Ty made the Tool Man, Lucy, and I all gather in one room so he could reveal his “prettiest paper ever” to us.  He was soooooooooo proud.  “I love writing papers,” he said.  “I want one whole day when all I do is writing, writing, writing.”  OK.  Who are you, and what have you done with my son?

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During arithmetic this week we’ve been talking a lot about halves.  Half of an object, half of a group, half of a number, half of a dollar, half of an hour… You get the picture.

Here’s Ty showing off one of his math papers.  Don’t ask me what’s with the goofy look on his face.

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Ty’s also been working on memorizing those blasted addition facts.  Dear me!  It just doesn’t seem to click for him.  He can memorize a poem in a day.  He knows dozens of Bible verses by heart.  He can quote the entire movie Milo and Otis, but he just can’t (or won’t) commit those facts to memory.  What’s a mom to do?

Here we are playing a leap frog bird game trying to have some fun while working on those facts.  Things were going well until Lucy came through and scattered the lily pads all over the room.

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Even the homeschooler gets a chance to write on the board.  I haven’t exactly made up my mind where I want to hang the white board, so I’m just using the easel for now.

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As I mentioned earlier, Miss Lucy concentrated on yellow, rectangles and the letter “T” this week at Tot school.  I plan to repeat this material again next week since we were forced to skip several things due to illness this week.

On her Tot Trays this week were:  yellow lacing beads, wooden knob puzzles, a yellow alphabet school bus, a tray of yellow manipulatives, a shape sorter bucket, and various two-piece puzzles focusing on yellow, “T”, and 2.

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This puzzle was a breeze for her, but she still enjoyed it.

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The monkeys made these letter “L” lions last week, but I left them up since they were yellow.  Ty designed and created the bottom lion there all on his own.  I  was impressed by the way he used L’s to make the lion’s arms and legs.

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Our Raising Rock Stars’ verse of the week:

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Both monkeys had this verse memorized in no time!  This week we talked about the Ten Commandments, so I came up with a Ten Commandment craft for Ty to make.

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First Ty cut some tablet shapes from poster board.  Then he faux-finished them to look like stone.  I made him a painting tool out of a wadded up plastic grocery bag.  Then he dipped it in a mixture of black and white paint and dabbed it on the the tablets.

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I asked Ty to hold up his painting tool so I could get a good picture of it, and this is what I he did.  Crazy kid!

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While the paint dried I had Ty copy the Ten Commandments onto paper.  Then he cut them into strips.  Once the tablets were dry, he glued the strips into place.

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We’re still talking about ponds here at Arrow Academy, so this week I found some frog videos on National Geographic’s website for the monkeys to watch.  Although they both look like they are enjoying themselves here, Lucy was not at all interested in the videos.  Oh well, at least Ty loved it.

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And here’s the pond sensory bin I told you about last week. It’s full of green rice and frogs and fish.

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Looks like I got one more frog in that box than I bargained for.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Arrow Academy – Week in Review, 2

First of all I have to admit it was only a 4 day week for us here at Arrow Academy.  Lucy, Ty, and I have nasty sinus infections.  We spent two days this week in various doctor’s offices, and all three of us are now taking the same antibiotic.  Hopefully, we’ll get this junk knocked out soon, and, hopefully, Daddy will stay well.

I have to apologize for not having many pictures to share this week, but I still wanted to let you in on what we covered at school.

We’re still going with the pond theme and will be for about 4 more weeks.  Ty seems to be really enjoying this unit.  I made a collection of Pond Fact cards for Ty to draw from each day.  I keep them in a small bucket, and every morning during calendar time Ty gets to pull a card out for us to talk about.  Then we add the card to his pocket chart, and we review the cards from previous days.  He’s really learned quite a lot of neat facts through this little exercise. (So have I. Ha!)

All of Ty’s work has still been review.  In phonics, he’s been practicing consonant-vowel blends, and he’s just started working on his special phonics sounds again.  I know that I mentioned he’s a little slow with his reading, but Ty really has made some improvement from last year until now.  His attitude has probably contributed to this.  I can really tell he’s grown up a bit over the last few months.  And his attention span, all be it still short, has improved remarkably since first grade.

This week Ty began working on the first spelling list of the year, focusing on words that end in either –ck or –ke.  You might want to send up a little prayer for Ty regarding the subject of spelling.  He has a lot of genes to overcome in this department.Winking smile

One of Ty’s strongest subjects is poetry.  He is excellent at memorization!  It usually only takes hearing a poem 4 or 5 times before he can recite most of it on his own.  Last week I introduced his first poem, “A Thank You Prayer,” and already he has it down pat.

Ty’s arithmetic lessons have been review of simple addition, counting pennies, dimes, $1, & $10, counting forward and backward by two’s, even & odd numbers, before & after numbers, telling time to the hour, and greatest and least.

And I just have to tell you what a wonderful job Ty is doing with his writing this year.  He learned his cursive alphabet in first grade, so this year he’ll just be honing his skills.  So far he’s done excellent!  Abeka incorporates a lot of penmanship practice into their curriculum – at least 4 pages of copy work a day!  I almost feel guilty about giving him all those papers to complete, but so far, Ty has not complained about it one bit.  He actually completes them in a reasonable amount of time, and his writing has been beautiful!

Now for our Tot School update.

We started with the letter L last week, but I decided to go one more week with it while we get into the swing of things.  Wow! Is Lucy catching on to this or what?!  By the end of this week she was actually tracing the letter L all by herself, saying her directions aloud, “Down. Across.”  I gave her this box of magnetic letters to play with and I spelled her name on the back of this cookie sheet for her.  Guess what!  She picked up the first letter and said, “L.”  Wahoo!!

Here she is picking all of the “lellow” letters out of the box.  We’ve still been working on the color green, but she’s been consistently calling it blue.  Oh, well.  It’ll come.

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Lucy has continued to enjoy the semi-circle matching mat that I made for her. (You can see her working on it in this post.) As it turns out, she is very good at recognizing all her shapes.  I printed out a shape mat from the letter “L” printables on 1+1+1=1 website.  It has 10 shapes on it, and Lucy can point to all of them when I ask her to.  She can even tell me the names of the shapes when I point to them!  Lucy has also begun to circle the shapes that I ask her to with her crayon.  She loves to draw circles.

Here’s Lucy working on some fine motor skills with a lacing leaf.  I thought this activity might have been a little too difficult for her, but she actually did pretty well. 

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Lucy did get a little frustrated with the activity at one point and said, “Mama, doot.”  I was happy to help.  Once we got the entire leaf laced up, I showed her how to pull the string out.  She thought this was fun.  Lucy loved sticking her hand under the loops and pulling them out.

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The highlight of the week for us was beginning our ABC Bible Verse book.


I’m going through the book as suggested by Carissa at 1+1+1=1.  A homeschooling mom herself, she has graciously designed and shared lessons based on this book.  She calls her Bible Study time Raising Rock Stars, a name she drew from these two verses:

Philippians 2:15

so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.

Matthew 7:34

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

How perfect is this last verse for us?  (It’s the header for my blog, in case you were wondering.)

We began our study with the letter “L,” of course.  Each day we read the letter “L” verse and the story that went along with it.  While I was reading to them, the monkeys worked on coloring or other quiet activities.

Matthew 5:16

Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.

Since we were talking about shining lights, I thought it might be fun to hang a string of white Christmas lights in our classroom.  The monkeys (and Mom) liked the idea so much that I’m thinking about leaving the lights in the room.

To help Ty understand what it means to shine your light, I printed out pictures of different light bulbs.  Each day Ty cut out a couple of bulbs and wrote on them ways our lights can shine.  Then he hung the bulbs on the bulletin board to review throughout the week.  A few of the ideas Ty came up with were:  prayer, helping others, telling others about Jesus, obeying God, and following the Golden Rule.  Good ideas, Ty!

Well, that about sums it up for the week.  I’ll try to take a few more pictures next week for y’all.  I just got so busy actually doing school, that I didn’t have time to stop and take picture of school.  Plus, Lucy has recently started telling me, “No pictures!”  She stops doing whatever it is that she is doing when she sees me pick up the camera, so I’ll have to get sneaky if I want to get good pictures of her.  Anyway, it’s about time I took some pictures of Ty, don’t ya think?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Baby Shower Cupcakes

For my latest baking adventure, I did something a little bit out of the ordinary for me….

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I usually get requests for cakes, so I welcomed the opportunity to try something a bit different.

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The decorations were inspired by the shower invitation – a sweet little bird theme in pink, teal, and orange.

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I made 36 of these miniature beauties for the ladies to enjoy.

Six each of six different styles.

Here are some close-ups of a few of my favorite designs.

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Cupcakes seem to be the new “thing” these days. I can certainly see why. They’re so little and cute and easy. I really enjoyed making these. Hopefully I’ll get to try my hand at more cupcakes in the future.

Linking to:

Weekend Wrap-up @ Tatertots and Jello, Sundae Scoop @ I Heart Naptime, Muffin Mondays

Monday, August 8, 2011

Arrow Academy–Week in Review, 1

Here’s a little wrap-up of all the action that went on during our first week of school.  I think the monkeys are enjoying themselves so far.  Ty told me he was really starting to get back into the “school groove,” and he’s actually been doing his work with minimal complaining.  I know it’s only the the first week, but I sure he keeps up the positive attitude.

First, I’ll give you a tour of our classroom.  I’m not 100% finished with all the decorating details (Surprise, surprise!) but I’ve got all the furniture in place, and so far the set up is working for us.  I still want to give the desk a coat of fresh white paint, and I’ve got to make some curtains for the windows.

This is the desk where Ty does most of his work.  Above it I hung corkboard tiles to display the monkeys’ artwork and things.

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To the left of the desk I set up Ty’s workboxes, one for each subject.  The three boxes on top contain “fun” activities Ty can do when he finishes all of his work.  The cubbies to the right hold Lucy’s tot trays.  In her tot trays last week were 1) green lacing beads, 2) simple puzzles, 3) a big bowl of various green objects, 4) green Play-Doh, 5) Oscar the Grouch green K’nex, and 6) a deck of Big Fish Little Fish playing cards.

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Opposite the corkboard wall is where I hung our pocket charts.  I hung one for Ty, one for Lucy, and in the middle, I hung our place value pocket chart.  To avoid punching a bunch of holes in my newly painted walls, I decided to hang everything using Command Adhesive Strips.  You know, the stuff where you just pull on the tabs and the the hooks come off the wall cleanly.  I love these things!

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In the small space beside the door I hung our calendar.  Each morning it’s Ty’s job to set up our calendar for the day.  Then he practices saying the date correctly, and we review things like yesterday & tomorrow, before & after, days of the week, months, and ordinal numbers.  It’s a good warm-up to our school day.  I use the basket below the calendar to collect books and toys that go along with our theme.

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We began our school year with a pond theme.  At the library, we checked out books about frogs, alligators, and pond life.  I pulled out all of the frog, lizard, alligator, fish, and snake toys I could find around our house.  I also made the kids a pond theme sensory bin (sorry, I don’t have a picture of this yet) filled with rice which I dyed green, rocks, and rubber lizards, fish, and frogs.  Lucy loves dipping and pouring the rice.

In addition to ponds, Lucy’s been working on the color green this week too.  Here she is stamping away with a green, foam, frog stamp.

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And digging around in her bowl full of green…

She loves using tongs to move things from the big bowl to the coffee canister.

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Stacking and counting green cubes…

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Here’s my little second grader practicing his reading.  Don’t let his smiling face fool you.  This is not a subject that Ty enjoys.  I think this is going to be the area where Ty will need the most work this year.  He still struggles a bit with reading.  Ty knows his phonics rules and sounds, but he does have some trouble putting it all together sometimes.  It may be more a matter of patience than ability though.  Ty’s not one to want to sit still and do quiet things.  And let’s face it, that’s what reading is all about.  I’m trying to get him more interested in reading this year.  We’ve been making regular visits to the library, and this week I’m taking him to get his very own library card.  If any of you teachers have any more advice on the subject, I’d love to hear it!

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All of the work scheduled for Ty this week was review.  In phonics we started back with vowels and their sounds.  Arithmetic began with counting, adding 1 and 0, and pennies & dollars.  Ty learned how to write the entire cursive alphabet last year, so this he’ll just be mastering his penmanship. And spelling won’t begin until next week.  It’s probably a good idea that they’re easing him gently back into school!

Lucy’s first letter of the year is “L.”  I downloaded several worksheets from 1plus1plus1equals1 and Lucy has really enjoyed coloring and painting them this week.  Here she is tracing lines from capital L’s to lower case L’s.  I slip the worksheets into sheet protectors and let Lucy use dry erase crayons to write on the protectors.  That way, I can just wipe them clean when she’s done, and the worksheets are ready to use again.  It’s a great way to save on paper and ink!

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Here’s Lucy working on name recognition.  She’s matching letter cards to her name strip.  She was having trouble getting the cards to stick on the wall so we moved the activity to her pocket chart.

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Lucy loves the pocket chart.  I found some simple two-part puzzle cards at the Dollar Tree and she really enjoys putting them in the charts.  She’s always dragging me by the hand over to the chart, “Come on, Mama.  Puzzles!”

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We also focused on semi-circles this week.  I made this semi-circle matching mat on the computer.  I printed out two copies, cut one of them up, and let Lucy match the pieces to the right pictures.  She really enjoys this activity.

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The monkeys’ favorite fun activity this week has definitely been Play-doh.  I’ve been challenging Ty to sculpt various pond animals, and being the little artist that he is, he has really impressed me with his work.

A frog…

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A turtle basking on a log…

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Lucy asked me to make an alligator for her.  I did, and when I gave it to her, she quickly cut off his tail and legs!

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Daddy even got in on the action one day.  The monkeys loved having him in there doing “school.”

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Ty worked very hard on his sculptures.  I think he can see the figures in his mind before he makes them.

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I loved the snail Ty made.

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Ty made an origami frog this week, and he showed Daddy how to make it hop across the table.

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The monkeys also got Daddy to read a book to them.

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I am so thankful to be able to homeschool my children.  It is such a blessing to be able to spend this precious time with them.