Thursday, September 24, 2015

Easy as Pie (or so they say)

For some reason, I have always wanted to make an apple pie completely from scratch, but I have never tried. However, our study of apples over the past couple of weeks inspired me to give it a shot. We continued our theme of apples by wrapping up our readings of Johnny Appleseed and moving on to How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World.

In the back of this book is a wonderful and mostly uncomplicated apple pie recipe. I say mostly because I find that there is something a bit daunting about making my own crust from scratch. Homemade dough is sticky, lumpy, and
altogether fussy when being rolled into a perfectly even bed for layers of sugary apple goodness. After what seemed like days of cutting up apples, K and I were finally able to roll out our dough, load it up with the apples, and place it in the oven. It turned out pretty great; so we divided it up and celebrated the end of Summer and the coming of Fall!

As if the apple pie was not enough fun, we could not resist making apple faces, since Halloween is right around the corner. The combination of apples, peanut butter, and marshmallows made these babies quite happy. K also enjoyed going through all of the countries listed in How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World and starring them on her map. We talked about how her Daddy and I traveled to many of these places before she was born, and we hope to take her to see them someday. For now, we venture down to Fort DeSoto to see cannons from the Spanish American War and to the St. Pete Trader Joe's to pick up a few jars of masala simmer sauce for a homebound night of Indian fare.

Meanwhile, K is still learning to read, write, and count. I am particularly enamored with the process of teaching her to read. There are moments of frustration and many moments of triumph. It keeps revealing to me just how complex God has made us. What a gift it is to learn to read, to enjoy the books on houses and animals at Bright Minds every Wednesday, to sit in a rocking chair and share our favorite stories every night, and, of course, to learn more about Jesus in the Bible. I am constantly reminded to not take for granted things that have come so easy to me, but have not been afforded to so many other people in this world.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Pray, Share, and Give

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

An Apple a Day

The second week of school is never as exciting as the first week, but we are still having fun (and happy to not be running out the door in the early hours of the morning). Fortunately, activities and gatherings for the kids are still firing up, and the season of change is in the air. Even though it is still 99 degrees outside, we all know that fall is right around the corner. We are all waiting for that first slightly cooler/I'm-not-going-to-suffocate morning. It comes not terribly long after the first sip of pumpkin spice latte.

Continuing the trend of "firsts," Little L had her very first Kindermusik class with our beloved Miss Kelly. She loved the sounds and stimulation and managed to stay awake almost to the end. But alas, naptime won. K had her first class of a new dance season with Miss Jessica. The brand new reward sticker book was certainly the highlight of the day.

Our main story for the week has been Johnny Appleseed, which is recommended by the Sonlight curriculum. K has enjoyed learning about the parts of the apple and finding new crafts that help illustrate the things she has learned. She loves to paint, draw, cut, glue, and make a craft out of just about anything (especially toilet paper rolls). This week, she also got the pleasure of pulling out her new map, as we pinpointed Massachusetts as the birth state of Johnny Appleseed. We look forward to marking all of the amazing places that reading takes us throughout the year!

We continue to work on counting to 100 and skip counting by 2s and 5s. The kids love getting their groove on to these fantastic videos. I even hear Big L working on subitizing his toys, which warms this nerdy Mommy's heart. My mom says I was never good at math because I got Bs in pre-calculus and graduate level statistics, and becaue I hate accounting. I still beg to differ with her. (Does the classroom version of accounting actually count as math anyway?

K's Bible time piggybacked on her lessons from Sunday School this week. The lesson focused on how God cares for us by using the example of baby Moses being left in a basket on the river. Moses was quickly discovered by Pharoah's daughter, who adopted him and loved him as her own. I enjoy the opportunity to explain Biblical examples of adoption and the importance of understanding God's sovereignty and divine providence. Just as "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," planting daily seeds of Gospel truth keeps us spiritually healthy. That's one of our favorite things about learning at home, growing closer to Jesus -- and each other -- on a daily basis.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Season of Firsts

As we settle into life with our newest little one, we have begun to experience a new wave a firsts in our family. So this seemed like an opportune time to transition our blog from being solely adoption related to more family related. Its primary purposes will be providing family and friends with a more detailed version of life’s happenings and helping us keep a record of all the amazing ways God has blessed us.

T, who just turned 14, started the wave of firsts last week
when he entered his first day of high school. I simply cannot believe that I am old enough to have a child in high school. He is still at Center Academy, where he has remained an honor roll student for quite some time. He’s also pretty excited to be moving forward in Civil Air Patrol, and I am proud at the way he has committed himself to excelling in CAP.

K has started homeschool pre-k (and some early kindergarten). She is continuing to work through Handwriting Without Tears, and, most recently, I started working with her through basic reading lessons. Both K and Big L love to watch videos that teach them to count while they are dancing.

Our other subjects are primarily coming from life experiences and basic unit studies based on the reading lists from Five in a Row and Sonlight. This week, we focused on Who Owns the Sun by Stacy Chbosky. We talked about the purpose of the sun, the four seasons, and the topic of slavery. While the issue of slavery can be a difficult subject to tackle for a young child, I found some beautiful supplementary books such as Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt to expand the topic.

K enjoyed honing her watercolor skills as she painted

illustrations of the sun in various seasons. I have been
emphasizing the importance of filling the entire page, which is often accentuated in the Waldorf style of schooling. Overall, we are having quite a bit of fun learning together and enjoying a relaxed/eclectic/somewhat unschooling homeschool atmosphere as we encourage more whole life learning and less desk time.

Josh starts some mornings speaking to them only in Spanish, or as the kids likes to call it, “Smanish.” For the most part, they remain thoroughly confused, but we are convinced that our version of immersion should have some long-term positive impact. K and Big L were also promoted at Sunday School and Awana. We are always excited to see the eternal impact that solidifying the Word of God in their hearts has on them. K loves memorizing Scripture, and she has continued that trend this week by learning Titus 3:1, “Be ready to do whatever is good” – what a great verse to kick off the new school year!

Big L started his toddler Kindermusik class this week. He loves to hog Miss Kelly’s lap during storytime. Little L is becoming more alert everyday, and she is starting to laugh and even roll over once in a while. We were extremely blessed by her homecoming this past June, and we can’t wait to see the day of her adoption finalization come soon!

Josh started his Doctor of Ministry in Biblical Counseling last month, and I complete my Master of Arts in Crisis and Trauma Counseling next month. Earlier in the summer, we moved Baylight Counseling into a beautiful new office at Calvary Church where we continue to see lives transformed through the power and hope of the Gospel.

We are excited about some great things that God has on the horizon, and we are grateful for the many ways God has blessed us this summer and for fresh new season that lies ahead!