Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Jesus our HERO, Santa is ZERO!

Listen to this 6 minutes of Gospel-centered truth especially parents of young children! 

My favorite quote from the talk - 

"I cannot see why a parent, if they know and love Jesus, if they have found Jesus to be the greatest treasure in the world, why they would bring Jesus out of the celebration and Santa into the celebration at all - I mean, he is just IRRELEVANT.  He has nothing to do with it.  He is ZERO!"
~John Piper 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Two Things We ♥ About Delaware

You may not hear much about the second smallest state.  However, Delaware, the 1st state to adopt the U.S. Constitution, reminds us of two of our favorite things - Ladybugs and Uncle Curt!

Interesting Fact: The ladybug was adopted as the official state bug of Delaware in 1974 due to the efforts of a 2nd grade teacher and her class.  More info here.

Delaware Unit
Carysse completed a Ladybug life cycle and a parts of a ladybug worksheet.

I found a ladybug mat printable for her to practice addition facts.

She drew this ladybug on the iPad.

She got this ladybug game for her birthday a couple of years ago.
We had lots of fun playing it!

The ladybug puppet that Kalia is holding is a super easy craft that I found here.
Books Read - Welcome to the USA: DelawareWatch It Grow Ladybug, Spotted Beetles: Ladybugs in Your Backyard, and a family favorite - Ten Little Ladybugs.

My only sibling, Curtis Eugene Gilbert, was born in Delaware while my parents were stationed at Dover Air Force Base.  He has always been dear to my heart (other than when we fought as kids:-).  I would like to celebrate him today on his 36th Birthday!

In January, I posted a video of his testimony.
Since then, the Lord has called him to be the Lead Pastor at The Journey Church.
Shortly after he started as pastor, they did a full length version of his testimony.

Dear Curt, I thank God for the day you were born.  But most of all, I praise Him for your rebirth into the body of Christ!  May the Lord continue to do a mighty work in your life!  I Love You!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

From "C" to Shining "C"

We just completed the "C" states!  It's been so fun learning interesting facts about each state.  We can't come close to studying all there is to know about the states.  I try to choose 2 facts per state to highlight and I draw our lessons from those facts.

California Facts
1. In 1954, Alex Doumak invented and patented the extrusion process of manufacturing marshmallows in Los Angeles, CA. 
2.  The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA is one of the world's longest suspension bridges. 

We combined those two facts and did an activity where we tried to create our own versions of the Golden Gate Bridge out of marshmallows! :-) 
The Process

The Products

The girls wanted to wear their Princess/Fairy dress-up clothes after learning that the Disney Company and Movies started in CA. 
Books Read - Welcome to the USA: California and some of our bear books because the CA flag has a bear on it (Zootles: Bears, Alphabears, & Little Bear)

Colorado Facts
1.  The U.S. Air Force Academy is located in Colorado Springs, CO.
As we recognize Veterans this month, I would like to honor my parents who both retired from the Air Force after 20 years of serving our country.  

2.  There is a U.S. Mint Center in Denver, CO.
What a good opportunity to study money! 
Here are some activities/resources we used - mini booklets, worksheet, & poster

3.  There is a town in CO named Dinosaur.  The Dinosaur National Monument is located there.  
We tried to make Dinosaur Fossil Cookies.

 As you can see, they didn't turn out as planned, but they sure were yummy! 

CO is the Centennial State - It became a state in the Centennial year of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.  

Connecticut Facts
1. Noah Webster, the author of the first dictionary, was born in  West Hartford, CT.  
Carysse enjoyed looking up words & meanings in the Children's Dictionary.

2.  The Hartford Courant is the oldest newspaper in the U.S. still in circulation.
Carysse did a Newspaper "In the Spotlight" section - we glued the printable that we found here to the front cover of our Sunday paper. I also made a Newspaper Scavenger Hunt for her.  

3.  My heart was filled with sadness again as we remembered and prayed for the families & friends of the victims in the Connecticut Elementary School Shooting last December.  As Carysse looked at these pictures and read the description of each child, she was also saddened especially since the victims were her age and in the 1st grade.  Our hearts are broken, but our hope is in the Lord! Come Quickly Lord Jesus!

4.  Eli Terry was an inventor and clockmaker in CT.  He received a United States patent for a shelf clock mechanism. The American Clock & Watch Museum is located in CT. 

What a good opportunity to study time! 
I really like how this workbook introduces the concept of Time.  I got it for $2 at a Jbf Sale
I don't have a "Judy Clock" but any teaching analog clock will do! 

Thank you for taking the time to check out Carysse & Kalia Cruising the Country! 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Why Grace Moments?

My blog was previously named Defining Moments.  I have been blogging for 5 years under that title.  Recently, God has been doing a new thing in my heart.  I am realizing that all of my defining moments (the good, the bad, & the ugly) have nonetheless been grace moments.  Therefore, I thought it would be a good time to upgrade my blog...that's the short answer.  Continue reading for the more elaborate explanation.

The ultimate Grace gift that I have received is Salvation through Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ blood has forever cleansed me from all my filthy sins in the past, present, & future.  I have been set free of the guilt of sin and shame.  I am alive in Christ!  I have been justified by grace and I am being sanctified by grace.  That’s why I love the lyrics to the hymn – Grace Greater Than Our Sin!

Grace is a word that has captured my thoughts over the past year.  Here are excerpts from three books that I have read on the topic of grace. 

*Susan Hunt in her book, The Legacy of Biblical Womanhood, explained the essentials of being a receiver of grace and in turn a giver of grace.  “As our hope in God’s sovereign love grows, we will become beautiful pillars of grace.  We will carry on the legacy of daughters of the covenant who have given support and comfort to God’s people” (p. 62).  “Deeds of grace are proof of grace.  The grace of gratitude is the right and reasonable response to sovereign grace” (p. 103).

*Ann Voskamp in her book, One Thousand Gifts, enlightened my mind to the endless grace gifts constantly around me and to see God through the mundane and ordinary. “This act of naming grace moment, this list of God’s gifts, moves beyond the shopping list of variety of prayer and into the other side.  The other side of prayer, the interior of His throne room, the inner walls of His powerful, love-beating heart…It really is a dare to name all the ways that God loves me…To move into His presence and listen to His love unending and know the grace uncontainable” (p. 59).

*Elyse Fitzpatrick in her book, Give Them Grace, elaborated on God’s amazing grace to His children and His sovereign grace over parenting. “Our ultimate joy as parents is not dependent on our ability to parent well.  God’s smile on us is not contingent upon anything other than the record of the beloved Son.  It is based on our belief that Jesus has already done it all perfectly for us.  Grace simply means resting in Jesus’s blood and righteousness” (p. 162). 

God owes me nothing!  I like these lines to a song by Misty Edwards – “You owe me nothing.  I deserve hell.  You owe me nothing, but you’ve given me mercy.”  As I recall the mercy that I have received, I desire to live my life as a thanks offering to God for all the Grace Moments that I am constantly given. 

Thank you for visiting my journey of grace!  May you be inspired to rejoice in the Lord for all the Grace Moments in your life!

Thank you, Tricia, for once again gracing me with a beautiful blog header!

All is Grace,

Monday, November 4, 2013

The "A" States

We just completed all of states that begin with the letter A.  I've been enjoying this USA unit as much as the girls because we're learning lots of interesting facts together.  Here are the highlights from our study. 

Rosa Parks was born in AL so Carysse did a project on her.  
First, we completed this graphic organizer.  
Next, she made fact cards.

Then, she made her project display.  I got this idea here.  

Final piece!  
We dedicated this project to her grandparents who were born in AL and grew up during the
Civil Rights Movement.  

We talked about the miraculous story of Helen Keller who was also born in AL.
Carysse wanted to see what it was like to write without seeing.  

Books read - Welcome to the USA: AlabamaMoonshot (for The US Space & Rocket Center in AL), Journey to Freedom: Rosa Parks, & Helen Keller

The Alaskan Blanket Toss takes place each year at the Whaling Festival.  The girls liked demonstrating by tossing their baby dolls.:-) 

Carysse's Northern Lights Scene.  I found the bear silhouette here

We read the book The Three Snow Bears.  This book is a fun spin off from Goldilocks and the 3 bears.Then, Kalia did a sorting & ordering activity using my un-artistic cut-outs for the boots, bowls, and blankets from the story. 

 Did you know that Arizona is one of only four citrus-producing states in the country?  Texas, Florida, & California are the other states.  So, we did several citrus fruit activities. Kalia is ordering a lime, lemon, orange, & grapefruit from smallest to largest.  

Citrus fruit printing

Citrus fruit tasting - Carysse's lemon pucker was hilarious. 

They creating a desert scene using real sand from our sandbox on wheels.
I found the desert cutouts here

Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas is the only diamond-producing site in the world open to the public.  Also, Arkansas grows the most rice than any other state in the country.  Therefore, we combined those two facts and did our own "diamond" digging.  First, we talked about Proverbs 2:4 how we should search for wisdom & truth through God's Word - The Bible.  

Fun cheap activity using rice & clear jewels that
I found at JoAnns for $1.80.

We displayed Carysse's Words to Remember Jewel sheet from kindergarten.
Books read - Welcome to USA: ArkansasToads (for the world famous Toad Race held in AR) & What's it like to be a Bee? (Arkansas' state insect)

We Praise our Amazing & Awesome God for blessing us with these fun learning experiences! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Why a USA Unit study?

I decided that it would be a good idea to do a USA Study Unit after two funny conversations I had with my 6 yr old.  The first conversation occurred late spring when she asked how far her friend lived from us.  I told her about 35 mins and then she said, "Wow, is that still in America?"  The next one was this summer when we stopped at a gas station in Iowa while travelling to Illinois.  When we walked into the gas station, she looked around in amazement and said, "They have the same foods as we have!  Do they speak English in Iowa?"  Hence the study of the USA!:-) 

We started our unit by reading, Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney.  This is a great book for teaching kids where they are "on the map".  The girl in the book goes from her room, to talking about her house, street, town, city, state, and so forth.  After reading the book, Carysse completed her own Me on the Map booklet that I found at Currclick.

When I saw this idea, I just had to use it! It's a great visual for the kids!

God has been so faithful to provide all that we need.  That's a BIG blessing because we homeschool families have to pay for everything out of pocket.  I can't tell you how many times I've needed a particular item and then walked into a store and immediately saw what I needed!  I get most of our activities from online.  However, here are other inexpensive resources that I found for this unit: 

Flashcards - Target $1

Workbook - Target $1

Activity Book with dry erase marker - TJ Maxx $3

Book of many fun activities - I got this from a Veteran homeschool friend for FREE! 

We plan to study one state per week.  After we finish each state, we complete that state's coloring sheet & write it on our big map (found at Target $2.50).   Also, I printed a map in color and a map in black & white and then cut the states from the map with color so the girls can place each completed state on the black & white map.

I look forward to sharing our completed states: Alabama, Alaska, & Arizona...Yes, we're going in alphabetical order!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Second time's a charm...

Not quite!   
We've been in our 2nd year of homeschooling for a month now.  It's still pretty crazy juggling it all but I'm excited about this year!   Here's our general plan for the year:

Bible - MFW Bible Reader and Bible Notebook and Review each child's Sunday School Lesson.
Prayer - Kids Praying for Kids Prayer Journal and Pray for our church's missionaries.
Character Building - My ABC Bible Verses - Hiding God's Word in Little Hearts
Reading & Handwriting - Funnix Program
Math - Singapore Math
Daily Journals - Word of the Day & Number of the Day
Literature - I read aloud various chapter book classics.  We started with Charlotte's Web.
Art, PE, & Science - Homeschool Co-op
Life Skill - Swimming lessons
Geography/History - I'm creating our own USA Unit study called "Carysse & Kalia Cruising the Country"! I can't wait to share all our activities with you!
I do everything with both girls, but Carysse does the Bible Reader/Notebook, Reading and Math lessons/journals on her own.

September Recap

My big boy's in the 5th grade - unbelievable! 

My favorite first grader! 

My pretty preschooler! 

My busy baby bear! 

All lined up & ready for a good year! 

I created these daily journals for Carysse to do each morning while I'm busy getting the 2 littles ready for the day.  

I made this pig puzzle to go along with our read aloud.  After we read a chapter, Carysse finds the puzzle piece & Kalia glues it on.  After we finish the book and the pig puzzle is complete, the girls want to watch the Charlotte's Web movie.  

Preschool Activity - put the colored dot on the matching circle

Tiny Tot Activity - Blocks at the table to keep him confined in sight.  

Carysse is starting the school year off  "right" as she exclaimed,
"I'm eating the 10 Commandments toast!":-)