Saturday, April 23, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Counting Down the Days

We are in our last two weeks of the 2015-2016 school year, and it has been a great one! Really, I don't think I can think of one thing I would have changed about this school year. That makes planning for the next one super simple because we will just continue doing what we are doing. We will shift our literature, history, and science focus to our new topics and move up a level in math. Otherwise, we will stay the course which is very exciting and a huge relief!

Since we completed our WWII curriculum from the World War II for Kids book a couple of weeks ago, we are just concentrating on wrapping up a few things.

We finished The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne M. Frank and the kids were faced with the realization that Anne and the majority of her family and others hiding with them did not, in fact, make it through the holocaust alive. It was actually devastating for them to learn. Brynne, in particular, had become very close to Anne, and it took her a couple of days to deal with the news. I am not sure she has completely.

Anne Frank inspired Brynne to be a writer. She has been working on a novel called "The Life of Grace" for the past month or so. She told me this week that she has decided to set the era during the civil rights movement and have Grace's best friend be an African-American girl. I cannot wait to see where this story takes her. She has even told me that she needs to do some research to make sure she gets it right.

Do not ever underestimate your investment in educating your children. When it clicks, it clicks big.

We also focused somewhat on the Tuskegee Airmen of WWII because the National WWII Museum in New Orleans has completed a project of restoring a P51 Mustang flown by this group of African-American airmen and moved it to the museum this week with a dedication service along with two living Tuskegee Airmen. On Thursday we participated in a webinar with these two men. It was astonishing to hear about their contributions to the end of segregation in the military. This next week we plan to watch the documentary "Double Victory" by George Lucas and the movie "Red Tails".

At our enrichment class we made shrinky dinks of WWII naval instruments of war and WWII planes (including the P51 Mustang). Next week we will be preparing May Day baskets that we will deliver to the residents at the local nursery home early on the morning of May 1st. The kids have participated in a penny war to raise the money for that project. They plan to donate the remainder of the money to the Gary Sinise Foundation: Serving Honor and Need. He recently took a group of WWII veterans to the museum in New Orleans and the foundation's mission is to "serve our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need."

We were back into a regular routine this week completing daily lessons in spelling, grammar, math, watching CNN Student News (hi Carl!), and getting in some reading time out of our personal books. Brynne continues to read out of the Warrior Cats series and Eli has moved onto Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins.

We only have one more week before we are on our scheduled May break.

When I was telling Brynne that at the end of next week we would be a few hours shy of our 1,000 required hours, but that I wasn't worried about it because I always include their state bowling tournament hours that we will earn in May, she said, "I think we should be able to count all hours because our life is learning."

Ahhhh .... this homeschooling thing is worth it!

2015-2016 Hours Logged - 972.5 hours out of 1,000 required hours (287 3/4 hours outside home)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tuesday Coffee Chat

Spring Clean! What do you do to prepare for the new Season?

What a timely post after the weekend we just had. Almost four years ago, when we moved to Missouri, we absolutely did not have the energy to sort through all of the boxes we had in storage at our house there before we moved to our house here. Those boxes have been sitting in our garage since our move. Our garage is detached and leaky. It's had neighborhood cats taking up residency there so it stinks. So to say that we have been putting off purging and cleaning out the garage would be an extreme understatement.

Our small town has a city-wide clean up week twice per year where you can haul pretty much anything to provided dumpsters. We decided it was time to tackle the garage so we can utilize this free service.

We made it through half the garage this past weekend resulting in about 10 boxes/tubs of items to donate to the Historical Society garage sale and a huge pile of garbage bags of trash for the dump day. We plan to finish the other half in two weeks.

It's not fun, but it does feel good to have some of that junk gone!

Otherwise it's just been regular cleaning happening around here. I had already switched out all of our winter and summer clothes a few weeks ago in preparation for our recent vacation down south.

I have been doing a little exterior sprucing up, though. After enjoying the outside space at my parents' house in Florida, I decided I needed a space at my own house where I could enjoy my mornings. So I cleaned off our worn wicker patio furniture chairs and table, added new cushions and a rug, planted some flowers, and added a neat little arrangement I bought at a garage sale this past weekend.

I love this space! And so do the dogs. I've been sitting in my space in the mornings doing my crossword puzzle or reading and enjoying my coffee. I have really enjoyed it so far!

I also did a bit of rearranging and spruced up my garden entrance.

I still have tons of flowers to plant, mulch to spread, a house to power wash, and a garden to plant. I will be working on that over the next few weeks.

For me it's not all about sprucing up the house, but is also a time for me to begin to spruce up myself. I always feel reenergized in the Spring to get into a good morning routine (lazy winters always seem to get the best of my good intentions), to have my quiet time, to eat healthier, and to get back into a regular exercise routine.

I have been getting out of bed about an hour and a half before the kids to accomplish those things, and have started doing 21 Day Fix again. I have also dusted off my MyFitnessPal app (my user name is NicoleTaulman so you can add me as a friend if you'd like) to start keeping track of my eating and exercise. Rick and I are going to Puerto Vallarta at the end of May and I need to do a tad bit of work before I put on a bikini.

Spring is definitely in the air.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Where in the World is the Taulman Family?

It's been a while, huh?

That's because Journey Homeschool hit the road a couple of weeks ago for some learning, fun, and relaxation. We put in a full week before we left primarily wrapping up some World War II studies in anticipation of our trip. We had books to read and videos to watch to get us ready. In addition to that we put in one final week of reading, english, and math.

So where have we been?

We hit 9 states in 9 days with our Oklahoma friends Megan, Paige, and Maggie. First we travelled to Atlanta. We spent the first evening enjoying dinner at the Gladys Knight and Ron Winan's Chicken and Waffle Restaurant indulging in some authentic chicken and waffles and then enjoying the water show and blooming azaleas at Centennial Olympic Park.

The next day the  dreams of my kids came true ... they got to meet Carl Azuz from CNN Student News on the CNN Student News tour. It was such a great opportunity! Carl is exactly the same in person as he is on his daily broadcast. The thing that impressed me the most was his obvious love for educating children through his show. Spectacular!

After the tour we drove by Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, childhood home and toured his church Ebenezer Baptist Church.

On the drive from Atlanta to Pensacola, Florida, we took a detour to Selma, Alabama, to follow in the footsteps of Martin Luther King, Jr., across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Then we drove through Live Oak Cemetery and Brown Chapel A.M.E. church where MLK, Jr., spoke and where the bombing occurred that killed the little girls.

Then it was finally time to get to Pensacola for some relaxation.

That relaxation included:

Watching the Blue Angels practice ...

Playing on the rope swing on the bay ...

Climbing the Pensacola Lighthouse ...

Going to the National Naval Aviation Museum ...

Touring Fort Pickens ...

Taking a nice walk through the Palafox Pier and Yacht Harbor Marina and Historic Pensacola Village to celebrate Megan's 40th birthday ...

Visiting Joe Patti's to buy fresh shrimp, look at the fishing boats, and eat some beignets ...

And of course we hit the beach ...

At the end of our trip we drove through New Orleans to go to the National WWII Museum. Our entire school year of learning about WWII was in anticipation of this trip to the museum.

Afterward we walked around Jackson Square and the French Quarter and had more beignets at Cafe Du Monde.

We collapsed at our hotel room after dinner and then got up super early the next morning for the drive back to Oklahoma to drop off our friends and then drive on home to Missouri.

We spent the last few days of the week resting and recuperating.

It was an amazing, busy, whirlwind trip with lots of learning and even more fun!

2015-2016 Hours Logged - 944 hours out of 1,000 required hours (283 3/4 hours outside home)

We will have our 1,000 required hours complete by the end of April. Then we will take off the month of May and start our new school year and summer hours in June.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

No Foolin' Here ... We are Having a Grandson!

Last night was such a special night for us!

On Tuesday Kyndal had a gender ultrasound, but didn't peek at the results. The tech put them in a sealed envelope that Kyndal delivered to her friend Cassidy. And Cassidy took care of the rest.

The theme for the reveal party was "Bows or Arrows".

We held the party at our city park. We somehow dodged a rain storm and the wind died down just in time for the party to start. That was a blessing.

Family and close friends gathered to watch Collin shoot his bow and arrow into a paint-filled balloon mounted on a painted canvas.

Although we would have been thrilled with either a boy or a girl, I think my expression reflects how I really felt about the baby being a boy. I really, really wanted a grandson!

Collin hit the target on the first shot.

This photo shows how he and Kyndal felt about it. I love his little fist pump. He wanted a boy so bad, and we are all so happy for him (and her).

The little guy is due in September and we cannot wait to meet him!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

What are two or three expectations you have of yourself?

Esse Quam Videri - To be, rather than to seem, in all I do, and to be the best wife and mom (and grandma) I can be.

In what way does your outdoor space need sprucing up this spring?

New grass seed in the bare spots in the yard, new mulch, pulling weeds, new gravel in the driveway,flowers in the pots, power washing the house, etc., etc., etc.

According to Roadtrippers, six of North America's most wondrous waterfalls are Webster's Falls in Ontario, Upper Whitewater Falls in North Carolina, Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon, Multnomah Falls in Oregon, The Lower Yellowstone Falls, and Niagara. Have you seen any on this list? Which one on the list would you most like to visit? Prettiest waterfall not on the list that you've seen in person?

The only one on the list I have seen is the Lower Yellowstone Falls. They were pretty. But my favorite place to see waterfalls has been on the Big Island in Hawaii. Rainbow Falls was nice but Akaka Falls was really beautiful!

Looking back, what's something you wish you'd done as a teenager?

Been true to myself. In my defense I thought I was doing what I was supposed to do, trying to fit in. But I spent all my time doing that instead of exploring the things that made me happy. I didn't know at the time that I was an introvert. Of course I see that now, and I wish someone could have seen that in me and navigated me through those feelings. My favorite time was in junior high when my best friend and I would hang out together, watch old black and white movies, bake in her kitchen, listen to music, and just have fun. That was before boyfriends and all the junk of high school. I certainly would have been easier to get along with had I had enough courage to just be myself.

Ham ... yes please or no thank you? If you said 'yes please' which of the following do you like best ... baked hame with all the trimmings, a ham and cheese sandwich, prosciutto with melon, a ham biscuit, a bowl of split pea and ham soup, or a slice of pizza topped with ham and pineapple?

Ham doesn't thrill me. Prosciutto and melon is not something I have ever tried, but it sounds intriguing.

Are you typical of your generation? How so?

I would say no. I don't want the same things my generation seems to want. I don't strive for more. I don't want bigger or better things. I just want a simple and quiet life.

April rolls in at the end of the week, and in keeping with that theme ... 'act the fool', 'nobody's fool', 'a fool's errand', 'could have fooled me' ... which foolish idiom most recently applies to you? Explain.

Tonight I will be saying 'could have fooled me' that Kyndal and Collin's baby was a girl/boy. Yesterday Kyndal had a gender ultrasound and the tech sealed the results in an envelope that she delivered to her friend. Tonight at 6:00 p.m. Collin will shoot an arrow into a black balloon filled with paint and attached to a canvas. That balloon will pop and will splatter blue or pink paint onto the canvas to tell us whether we will be having a grandson or a granddaughter. I really have no idea what sex the baby is. I am thinking girl but hoping boy (only because we haven't had a baby boy in the family since Eli and he's 12 years old). Really all we want is a healthy grandbaby. It will definitely be a surprise!

Insert your own random thought here.

Enough days have passed by that I can finally talk about this without crying. Derek Morgan left Criminal Minds. I really thought it was a teaser, or a joke, or that he was only taking a short hiatus. But, no, Shemar Moore has moved onto other endeavors after 11 years. He is Criminal Minds. Devastated is all I can say!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday Coffee Chat ~ Easter

Happy Easter! Tell me about the best chocolate ever. Or, if you are the religious sort, share some special thoughts on this day.

I am not a connoisseur of chocolate. I like chocolate. But, really, any ol' chocolate will do. I prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate and definitely the two of them over white chocolate (a bad white chocolate covered pretzel + alcohol incident from my past). Brynne received a cookies 'n cream bunny in her basket this year and she declared it to be the best!

I guess I am of the religious sort, but I really just don't have any special thoughts on this day to share. It is an important day for all Christians, celebrating the day our Savior conquered death that could not hold Him, raising Himself to sit at the right hand of God to begin the intercession for me with my Father and secure my place in Heaven. I do not take that for granted and try to celebrate that fact every day, not just on Easter.

This Easter Kyndal and Collin spent the weekend at his parents', Dawson spent the weekend in Oklahoma with his girlfriend, and Rick stayed in Oklahoma to rest up from the exhausting couple of weeks due to the passing of his mother and some changes at work.

So, it was just Eli, Brynne and myself on Easter.

We decorated eggs on Friday night.

Brynne went to the park to hunt eggs in the town's hunt on Saturday.

On Sunday morning they dove into their Easter baskets.

Then we went to Sunday school where we introduced the class to our Resurrection Eggs, helped hide eggs for the younger classes, and took a few photos.

We hunted our own Easter eggs after Sunday school. It was about 40 degrees outside and raining, so it was a quick hunt.

The kids played in the afternoon while I took a nap and did laundry. I also went over to watch my nieces color their eggs.

After a visit with my parents and some long-time friends of theirs, I took Eli and Brynne to Applebee's for dinner.

We had a nice day.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Big and Loud

We are one week away from our Spring Break, not that I am counting the days or anything (8 days, if you are wondering).

I can always tell when we are getting close because we tend to start just a tad bit later in the day and do just a tad bit less than I have planned. In other words, we are just sick of school and ready for the beach.

But we did put in a full week of learning this week despite our desire to just throw our books in the air and start our break early. No. We can't do that. We have to persevere.

We did current events. We did spelling. We did grammar. We did math. We read out of our personal books. We read out loud from McGuffey's. We did copywork. We read a chapter out of The Silver Chair each day. We read about 20 pages from the Diary of a Young Girl each day.

We learned about tidal bulges by watching Explain It: How do the tides work? and Tides and the Moon. We did this little demonstration about them.

Did you know that the highest point on earth is not Mount Everest? It's actually Mount Chimborazo. Read about it.

We learned about the ear canal and how sound waves pass to the brain. Scholastic has a nice little worksheet called Inside the Ear and we watched Ear Anatomy 3D. Then we did a little demonstration. Demonstrations are always a great way to wrap-up learning.

And we watched a video about Auschwitz. Again, difficult stuff to watch, but necessary in our studies on the Holocaust. We have finished up that part of WWII by reading about the liberation from WWII for Kids and are now going to spend a week on the Pacific Theater to prepare for our upcoming trip to the National WWII Museum. I think we tend to associate WWII with Pearl Harbor and then the Holocaust and forget that the war continued after that in the Pacific.

Brynne had Girls on the Run class and Eli had speech therapy. We skipped our enrichment class this week because of a visit with family we had scheduled.

One more week. One more week. We can do it!

2015-2016 Hours Logged - 803 1/4 hours out of 1,000 required hours (250 1/5 hours outside home)
Plus 83 Summer Hours