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, September 28, 2014

School Days–Our 2nd Month

Today y’all are getting the abbreviated version of our weekly school update.  Truth is, since our return from Disney, it’s been difficult for me to get back into the swing of things.  Don’t get me wrong.  We are keeping up with our studies, but when it comes to planning extra activities and documenting weekly highlights, I’ve dropped the ball.  If you’ve ever been to Disney World you know where I’m coming from.  Everyone really should have an additional week of vacation just to recover from all that magic.

Back to the topic of school…

In science the monkeys have been studying the respiratory system.  The highlight of this chapter for the kids was definitely our discussion on snot mucus.  Why are kids so weird??  During our science time each day I read to the kids from our textbook.  Then Ty and Lucy each work activities in their own science journals.  Lucy’s work usually involves, tracing, coloring, or copywork, and Ty’s assignments include things like crossword puzzles, short answer questions, and diagrams.  In addition, Ty also has the task of jotting down important facts he’s learned during each lesson.

I’ve been so impressed with Ty’s note taking lately.  He’s getting good at selecting what information he should write down, and his sentence structure is improving too.  I’m really pleased that he is taking his time and taking pride is in work.  He’s really come a long way since last year.

The best days for me as mom/teacher are definitely those days that I notice my monkeys making improvements in areas where they previously struggled.  I’m proud of their efforts and love to see their growth, but their improvements are also a confirmation to me.  Not a day goes by that I don’t worry that maybe I’m not doing this school thing correctly.  I’m no professional.  What if I screw up my kids?  But when I see the light bulbs over my kids’ heads or see them working independently when they previously needed my help, I know I’ve got to be doing something right.

In history these past few weeks, we have been jumping all over the globe.  We’ve studied Hammurabi and the Babylonians, discussed the Shang Dynasty in China, and moved with the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, through their wanderings in the desert, and finally into the Promised Land.  Whew!  That’s a full two weeks.

Somehow I did manage to plan a couple of projects to go along with a few of our history lessons.

This first project, Sharpie tie-dyed t-shirts, was our version of Joseph’s  coat of many colors.

First, the kids drew simple designs on a white t-shirt with Sharpie markers. 

IMG_3469 - Copy (533x800)

IMG_3471 - Copy (533x800)

Then we dropped rubbing alcohol onto the designs and watched the colors spread.

IMG_3482 - Copy (533x800)

The entire process was super easy, and the results were impressive.  The finished product really did look like tie-dying.  However, Lucy was so proud of her initial Sharpie drawings, that I could not coax her apply the tie-dye effect.

IMG_3529 - Copy (534x800)

What a fun activity to remind of us one of the great heroes of faith!

Next, for the lesson on Rahab and the Battle of Jericho, the monkeys made red cord bracelets.  First they sculpted beads from air-dry clay.  After the beads were dry, I strung a red cord through them.

IMG_3526 - Copy (533x800)

The red cord is to remind the kids of the signal Rahab used to save her household during the Battle of Jericho.  The bracelet is also a reminder of the faith of Rahab, and how even though she wasn’t perfect, God still used her in a mighty way.  Lucy’s bead is inscribed with the words “Believe” and “Trust.”  Ty wrote “I  Red heart ” on one side of his bead and “God” on the other.

IMG_3528 - Copy (800x533)

As usual we close out each week of history lessons by adding a few more figures to our timeline.  Here’s Lucy showing off her glittery, gold Ark of the Covenant.

IMG_3485 - Copy (800x533)

It was all we could do to keep Tacy Mae from ripping every single figure off the timeline last week.  She wanted to be right in the middle of all the action.

A quick note on Tacy… She is officially bipedal now, and there is no stopping her!  That’s right.  She’s walking on her own.  Not only did Tacy start walking a couple of weeks ago, but she started climbing too.  Heaven help me!  The degree of difficulty of teaching school just increased by about 100 times.  All of this new found mobility means Tacy is in to everything.  Dog food, kitchen cabinets, school drawers, pantry shelves, trash cans, sewing supplies.  You name it.  She’s in it!  Lucky for her, she’s cute.  It’s hard to get on to something that cute!

IMG_3474 - Copy (533x800)

That’s really all the pictures I have to share from the last four weeks.  Told ya’ I haven’t been doing my job lately.  I’ll try to do better!

Next week should be full of fun around here, as we will be celebrating Tacy’s first birthday.  I can hardly believe it was a whole year ago that we welcomed this precious girl to our family.  Y’all be sure to check back for some party pics later next week.


Friday, September 19, 2014

The Name Game

I’m not a dummy.

I’ve seen the blank stares, the jaw drops, the raised eyebrows…

I’ve heard half-hearted, “Oh”s.

I know what, “That’s unique,” really means.

It means that there are some folks out there who think the Tool Man and I are nutty for naming our baby girl, Tacy Mae.

IMG_4378 (600x800)

Oh, well.

I love her name, and the Tool Man does too!  It was carefully selected for several reasons, and I thought I’d take a moment to share them with y’all.

First of all, for some inane reason, the Tool Man and I have gotten ourselves into the little conundrum of naming our children with either “T” or “L” names – just like Mom and Dad.  I don’t think we started this intentionally, but the Tool Man insisted we continue the trend with our third child.

So after eliminating 92% of name possibilities, we began the hunt.  I knew exactly what I would name a boy but had no good candidates for girl names.

It so happens that about the same time we discovered that we’d be needing a girl’s name, I was reading my favorite childhood book to Ty and Lucy.

The book?

Betsy-Tacy, by Maud Hart Lovelace.

(Let me say here that if you have a daughter, you need to get her this book!  It’s actually a series of books that follows the life of Betsy Ray and her friend Tacy, and eventually Tib, from 5 years old to adulthood.  The three best friends have many wonderful, innocent, adventures growing up in the early 1900’s in Minnesota.  It’s such a sweet story, and I highly recommend it.)

Anyway, Ty and Lucy were actually the first ones who thought to name our baby Tacy.  I wasn’t sold on the idea at first, but after a few weeks, the name grew on me.

IMG_3441 - Copy (800x533)

I’m one of those people who thinks that the meaning of a name is just as important as the name itself.  Ty’s name, Tymothy, means, “Honoring God,”  and Lucy means, “light,” reminding her to let her light shine.

I had no idea what Tacy meant. Honestly, I’d never heard the name outside of the Betsy-Tacy books.  I searched for the meaning of Tacy on several name websites with little or no luck.  Finally, I remembered that the Betsy-Tacy book mentions Tacy as being short for Anastasia.  So I decided to look up the meaning of Anastasia.  Guess what it is.


Wonderful!  What better name than one that calls to mind the single most important event in the history of mankind.  I knew immediately that this baby girl would bear the name Tacy.

IMG_4300 - Copy (599x800)

For her middle name, we chose Mae, my grandmother’s middle name.  (Because my grandmother’s first name, Zula, was out of the question for obvious reasons.)

So Tacy Mae it is!  Has a nice southern ring to it, doesn’t it?  Especially when Lucy says it.  I’m amazed at how she can draw it out into 4-5 syllables.

I absolutely love my little girl’s name, and I know of no other person who shares it.  I know plenty of Stacy’s, Tracy’s, Casey’s, Lacy’s, Macy’s, and even a Jacey.  But not one other Tacy!

IMG_3318 - Copy (800x533)

Sweet Tacy Mae, you truly are one of a kind!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

School Days–Week 5

I’m little behind (like 2 weeks) in posting this weekly update of our homeschool, so I hope y’all’ll forgive me.  (Sorry, but I just couldn’t stop myself from using the double contraction “y’all’ll.”  For any of you who may live outside the South, that’s Southern for “you all will.”  Lol.)  Our little trip to Disney World severely interrupted my blogging schedule.

First, let’s talk science.  Our family is really loving our new Apologia science curriculum.  We are studying human anatomy and physiology.  I am especially pleased with the way the book continually refers to the Creator of life and His wisdom in designing the human body.  It seems the more I learn about science, the more I appreciate the miracle of creation.  How dare someone try to explain it all away with some “big bang” or other ridiculous notion!  But I digress.

The kids finally finished up their chapter on the digestive system.  To help them keep all the organs straight, I drew the digestive tract on an apron and had them color it in as we discussed each organ.

IMG_3422 - Copy (683x1024)

Ty and Lucy enjoyed this little project more than you might think, although they did do their fair share of arguing.  Ty was terribly worried that Lucy was going to color outside the lines, and she was totally repulsed by the idea of having to use any color other than pink or purple. 

IMG_3425 - Copy (683x1024)

In the end I think the project turned out nicely, and it is a handy way to review everything the kids have learned.

IMG_3424 - Copy (682x1024)

In history this week we studied the Israelite patriarchs:  Abraham & Isaac, Jacob & Esau, and Joseph & his brothers.  I have to brag on Ty and Lucy here.  They already knew this material backwards and forwards.  I’m ashamed to admit that they actually knew more details than I did.

Since we were on the subject of Father Abraham this week, I decided to do a camping theme for Lucy this week.  It wasn’t exactly the same kind of camping as Abraham’s, but you get the idea, right?  Anyway, I let the kids camp out on the living room floor one night, which they think is the greatest thing ever.

I also made a lot of camping themed worksheets to keep Lucy busy throughout the week.  For free time, Lucy had a camping themed sensory bin to play in – complete with rocks, moss, miniature forest animals, and a tiny tent.  For phonics time, I cut out some cardstock marshmallows and graham crackers, labeled them with letters, and let Lucy build word s’mores to read.  She loved this activity.

Lucy continues to advance in her cursive writing.  So far she has learned the letters a, e, i, o, u, t, l, c, b, and w.  She is also working hard at learning to write her name in cursive.  The only letter Lucy can’t do on her own yet is the capital “L.”

In arithmetic Lucy is working on telling time to the nearest hour, counting to 100, recognizing and writing numbers up to 80, before and after numbers, greater than and less than, counting pennies, and addition.  This week, at her request, I started Lucy on addition flash cards, and she loves them.  She sure didn’t get that from her big brother!

Back to history…

In addition to our Abraham activities I also prepared a pot of lentil soup for supper one night to remind us of Jacob and his trickery.  Actually I was a little worried that the kids wouldn’t touch this soup with a ten-foot pole, but, surprise, surprise!  They gobbled it up.

IMG_3430 - Copy (1024x682)

The soup was delicious – a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs dish!  I don’t think I’d ever eaten a lentil prior to this, but this recipe has definitely made my go-to list.  Hopefully I can share the recipe with y’all one day soon.  It’d make a great meal on a crisp fall evening.

IMG_3432 - Copy (1024x683)

Slowly but surely our history timeline is taking shape.  Once a week we pull out our board the kids add figures to represent each lesson.

IMG_3429 - Copy (681x1024)

Ty and Lucy take great pride in decorating their figures.  They really impress me with the amount of detail they include in their drawings.  Lucy is particularly concerned about what color hair each figure has, and Ty is a pro at adding personality to these paper people with unique facial expressions.  I’m really proud of their hard work.

IMG_3428 - Copy (1024x683)

I suppose this makes a good stopping place for today.  I really should be in there prepping today’s lessons instead of blogging now anyway.  Hope “y’all’ll” stop by again soon to visit!


Friday, September 12, 2014

Tacy Mae–11 months

Hello, all!  I know it seems like I’ve abandoned my blog lately, but I promise I have a terrific excuse.  Last week we took a trip to the Grand Poobah of all vacation destinations….Disney World!

More on the topic of Disney later.  Today is all about Miss Tacy Mae – her last monthly update before the big one-year celebration.  Thank goodness!  It’s nearly impossible to get a picture of her now in this pose.  Tacy absolutely hates to lie on her back.  You can only imagine how difficult this makes diaper changes.  She arches and turns and screams and kicks.  A regular ring-tailed tooter!

IMG_3450 (2) (1024x681)

I enlisted the Tool Man to help me take Tacy’s picture this month, but even with his assistance, the entire photo session was a bust.  In the end I was proud just to get one shot in which I could see Tacy’s face and read the text.

Now that I’ve complained about her attitude a bit, let me be sure I make something clear.  Tacy is the best baby.  Ever.  I repeat.  She is a mother’s dream.  The 30 second diaper-changing tantrums are the only times that she fusses.  The rest of the day she is a calm, quiet, little girl who entertains herself by wrinkling paper and charms the world with her smile.

The biggest advancement Tacy has made this month is in her journey toward walking.  She can stand now, without holding onto anything, and she has even taken as many as 4-5 steps on her own.  But still, she’d much rather crawl.  The Tool Man is determined to get Tacy walking soon, coaching her every chance he gets.  I, on the other hand, know that she’ll walk soon enough, and it’s easier on me if she’s not walking.  So I figure, what’s the rush?  She’ll walk when she walks.

Just because she’s not walking yet, doesn’t mean that Tacy doesn’t get around.  Believe me.  She gets around.  She’s even gotten around to going up the stairs.  She made it to the 10th step one day before I realized it!  Bad mama, I know, but she was so fast and quiet about it, that I had no idea what she was up to.  Now I’m extra, extra careful about keeping her away from those stairs.

Earlier this month I thought that I would have to report that Tacy’s appetite was declining.  But these past couple of weeks she’s been eating as much as ever.  Growth spurt!  She nurses 3 times a day – for breakfast, before her afternoon nap, and before bed.  In between those times she’s munching on baby foods, fruit, cereal, and various soft table food.  Tacy’s favorite breakfast foods include waffles, Cheerios, and cantaloupe.  For lunch and supper, Tacy still prefers jarred baby food to most table food.  However, I think it’s simply a texture thing.  She’ll eat pretty much anything as long as it’s been pulverized to mush.  I also should mention here that Tacy has now joined her brother and sister as a lover of pizza.  Of course, in order to chow down on pizza one needs teeth, and teeth Tacy has!  She made the leap from 2 teeth to 8 teeth lickety split – four pearly whites on top and a matching set on bottom. 

IMG_3451 (2) (1024x683)

Tacy’s got a few new tricks up her sleeve this month.  One of her cutest antics is shaking her head, “no.”  She’ll shake it back and forth whenever she doesn’t want to eat something or when she hears the word, “No.”  This head-shaking trick may not be so cute when she’s two years old, but for now, it is absolutely adorable!

Something else Tacy recently learned was that she could pull out her hair bows.  Shoot!  I was hoping to avoid this one.  She has the perfect headful of hair to adorn with ribbons and bows, and now she yanks them out as soon as I put them in.  I’ve learned, however, that if I can distract her while I’m putting a bow in her hair, she usually leaves it alone.  I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before she wises up to my trickery, though.

And speaking of hair, I broke down and gave Tacy a trim this month.  I just can’t stand to see a little girl with hair hanging down in her eyes, so I whipped out the scissors and snipped Tacy’s bangs a bit.  Here are her before and after shots.

IMG_3355 - Copy (682x1024)IMG_3362 - Copy (682x1024)

Much better!

One last area I’d like to touch on is Tacy’s language development.  I have to say that I don’t know of any new words Tacy has spoken this month.  This is not too surprising.  With all the racket her big brother and sister make, it’d be hard for Tacy to get a word in edgewise.  Even though she’s not speaking a lot, I do feel that Tacy is understanding more and more language every day, as she now responds to some simple commands and questions directed to her.

I think that just about covers all the highlights from Tacy’s 11 month.  I can’t believe my baby will be one in just a couple of weeks.  My, how time flies! I suppose next week I will be in full party-prepping mode. (I like to give myself a good two weeks to prepare.)  I’ve already begun working on invitations and favors, and mentally, I’ve started decorating the tables.  I smell a trip to Hobby Lobby in my immediate future.  Ha ha.  (I can always think of a good excuse to go to Hobby Lobby.)

I’ll leave y’all with a picture of Tacy actually smiling.  You can see how her attitude changed immediately the moment she sat upright.  Little stinker! 

IMG_3458 (2) (1024x683)