Thursday, December 6, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Photo Card
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"New Math"




This dock is where John and I had our wedding photos taken over 9 years ago.

The beautiful pond as you look out from the dock.

The one and only flower still blooming around the house.

The Westlake House, which is where John and I had our reception,
and the path leading up to it.

Blossoms from a crepe myrtle that had landed in the grass along the driveway.

A spiderweb full of prey.

Another flower growing along our driveway.

I've had a passion for photography for years, or at least since Steven was born. I used to set he and Margaret up once a month for their monthly photo shoot. I would use props, backdrops, etc. to make them more interesting. But I was always very limited by my standard point-and-shoot camera. Well, I finally talked John into getting me a dSLR camera for Mother's Day/My Birthday/Christmas and I love it so much. As you can see, I've been devouring books about exposure and and I'm just beginning to scratch the surface. As I learn more about ISO, aperture, shutter speed and composition I hope to be able to improve my photo quality 10-fold. I'm going to start taking a few photography classes in the next couple of weeks and I can't wait to share the results. I love my camera!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Summer School

While everyone else is finished with school and gearing up for the summer, we are still finishing up 1st grade curriculum. I decided that a year-around approached works better for our family because we like to take LOTS of breaks during the year. I think, after two years of homeschooling, that I've finally come up with the best schedule for our family: year-around with 3 weeks on and 1 week off, with that week off being whenever we need it to be. The hardest part to homeschooling is probably breaking out of the public school mold and realizing that we don't have to follow their schedule... so we aren't! During the summer, there will still be lots of time for play. But when it's too hot outside to do anything and we would just be inside anyway, we'll be here, having school.

Here are just a few of the projects that we've done so far this year, mostly in history class:

Sugar-Cube Pyramids

The Nile River: we built a channel down the middle and lined it with foil. Then we spread grass seed all over the surrounding dirt. Instead of watering the seeds directly, we only watered the river until it flooded all over the dirt. This was the result.

This was a math project when we were studying the different times of day.

These are our Anansi spiders when we were studying ancient African legends.

Here are the kids in their homemade beards, which we made when we were studying Queen Hatshepsut.

Here is a sticker project that we did with Moses and the Ten Plagues. The best part about homeschool is that we have the opportunity to include religious historical events right where they belong in world history. It has really opened my eyes when it comes to reading the Old Testament.

These are the Greek sculptures that we made out of bars of soap. The top two are more of a bas relief while the bottom is an actual sculpture. The top one is a fish, the middle is Egyptian hyroglyphics (yes, it is a greek sculpture of egyptian hyroglyphics), and the bottom one is a turtle.
Well, those are just a few of the fun things that we've had the opportunity to do this year! I can't wait to do more... school is just as much fun for me as it is for the kids.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Steven Turns 7

Steven turned 7 in the middle of last month, and he was finally able to have his birthday party last Saturday. He chose to have a Lego Ninjago birthday party this year. Unfortunately, there aren't many Lego Ninjago party decorations aren't there, so I was forced to get creative this year. This is where PAINT.NET (a free photo software for those of us who can't afford Adobe Photoshop) became my best friend. I created my own set of Ninja eyes, as well as cupcake toppers and images for the bunting. I think that everything turned out really well and, most importantly, Steven and his friends and cousins had a blast!

Steven sporting the Birthday shirt that I made for him. The other side has a "7".

Here's a close-up of the bunting that I made.

And the entire bunting, which is made from scrapbook paper.

I made a stand out of Sensei Wu and then placed it around the balloon weight.

The handmade cupcake toppers that I'm pretty proud of.

And again.

The goodie bags with my handmade eyes (also seen on the bunting above and the balloons below.)

Steven put these little guys out to decorate the table.

Ninjago balloons!

The table.

My handsome son. :)
 This was, by far, the easiest birthday party that I've ever done. After presents, I sent the kids outside to play in the water and then we eventually broke for cake and ice cream. Easy-peasy. I don't know how many times I've tried to have a water party for this guy and it inevitably gets rained out. This year, I guess lady luck was on our side!

My handsome guy.

Gearing up to shoot some unsuspecting someone.


Margaret eating her cupcake.

Joshua being himself!
Happy Birthday, Steven! We all love you so much and I am so grateful to you for making me a mother. This family just wouldn't be the same without you. - Love, Mom