Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cézanne Art Lesson

We pulled the plug on our internet around the start of summer and though I had thought at the time I could just as easily post to my blog using my iPhone, it has proven not an enjoyable task. At all. I miss my keyboard and being able to see the whole screen at the same time! Needless to say, I am a bit backed up on the things I've been wanting to post. Hopefully, I will be patient enough the next few days to get them posted without doing any permanent harm to my phone. Hopefully.

We took a break from our art lessons over the summer, but I am looking forward to resuming them in September. We have invited two of our homeschool buddies to join us and I'm excited to have more art pieces to post.

Our last lesson was about Cézanne. I actually found a great lesson from a blog for this one! Thanks, Chumley Art Room!
Check it out {HERE}

My mom has given me tons of art books over the years, so we already had a great Cézanne book

We've also enjoyed using this Discovering Great Artists book. It covers a wide range of artists and has great activities for elementary aged kids! 

I found a colorful piece of scrap fabric to use with our apples. I know we could have just used one of Cézanne's paintings, but this setup allowed me the opportunity to teach them a bit about painting still life as well. As you can see I painted an example for them too. I've found it easier to give an example since I have a visual learner. 

Though I have them the opportunity to try and paint the fabric, I wasn't insistent on it. My son chose to make his own background. 

I wasn't smart enough at the time to take pictures of the other boy's paintings, but they did a great job! I will remember next time...hopefully! 

This was a fun lesson using watercolors! I'm looking forward to posting more lessons in September when we resume classes. 


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Making a Prayer Journal and Bible Notebook

A few years ago my best friend made me a prayer journal for my birthday. It has seriously been one of my most favorite gifts I've ever received!

This past week in our KONOS Inquisitiveness unit, Xander was instructed to make his very own prayer journal. I was more than happy to show him mine and help him make his own!

My prayer journal

I love that she organized verses into topics for easy reference and even added a few poems and hymns. She even put my favorite verse on the front! 

We used a small photo album we purchased at the dollar store and simply turned the decorative cover sheet over so we'd have a nice white background. I wrote out his favorite verse and put it on thop of the cover which he then decorated with stickers.

 Back cover

Front cover

On the inside I wrote out some of his favorite verses. He's already in the habit of highlighting verses he finds that he really enjoys, so I am encouraging him to write them out and add them to his journal too. 

Here's one he's already added

I also gave him 4 index cards all with different prayer topics so he could list the names of those he felt led to pray for. He has a card for friends, family, unbelievers, and healing. He may want to add more in the future, but I thought that was a good start! If he was younger, I would have had him put pictures of the friends and family he's praying for instead of having him write their names. I still may suggest it!

I have a separate journal I use for studying the bible and taking notes. However, I decided just to add a small notebook to the middle of his prayer journal for any questions or thoughts he may have while praying/reading.  

I just put the front cover of the notebook under the plastic to secure it. 

This little notebook/journal has already come in very handy, and I think it's helping lead him into a deeper level of study and prayer. I hope it gets as worn out as mine!

Clay Minecraft Art Project

It has been super hot out this week, so today we decided to find some indoor activities for our lazy Sunday afternoon.

Side note: I am so ready for October!

My husband often plays Minecraft with Xander and today they enjoyed building a  house with a massive treehouse together. After completing their designs, they decided to use clay and make a minecraft picture. 

They used a piece of construction paper as a background. While using a small set of square cutters I purchased at a craft store they cut out different sized squares and arranged them on their paper, then pressed down lightly to attach them. This was a great opportunity to reinforce fractions, as they had to divide the squares into halves and even quarters to get the right sizes.

This was a really quick, fun activity! I think  it would be cute to use a small shoebox instead of paper so you could make your creation in 3D! We may have to try that ourselves!

Now, on to Uno! 


Monday, August 18, 2014

How To Save A Life

This post isn't about homeschooling, but I do believe it relates to having a servant's heart. The church that we have been visiting started a series a few weeks ago entitled "How To Save A Life" which has focused a lot on witnessing and making deciples. Tragically, we were given a famous example of our need to BE the gospel this past week.

Depression is a serious thing and I'm not trying to say that Christians never struggle with illness, but I am saying that we need to show people the hope that we have found in Jesus. There's nothing more tragic than someone, anyone, losing their life without that hope. This is really a time to reflect on the hurt in this world instead of trying to shield ourselves and ignore it. I may not be in the position to be heard by the masses, but God never asked me to change the world. He has, however, given me friends, family and acquaintances who need to know that God loves them and has a plan for their lives.  

If you don't know that hope, if you don't feel that peace that passes all understanding, I would love to pray for you. Please leave me a comment or send me an email


I added a link {HERE} to the sermon we had on Sunday, it's entitled Lost Puppy. All of it was good, but I loved his response to a Facebook post he read aloud for us. It's around the 21 minute mark. I pray it blesses you!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tabernacle Study: Breastplate Cookie Craft

We are currently 5 weeks into our KONOS unit study on honor. One of our topics for the next few weeks is the Jewish Tabernacle. We have already learned about the building itself and are now studying the laws and practices of the levitical priests. Since the book of Leviticus can be a bit intimidating for a 9 year old ( and his mama ) we are doing as many hands-on projects as possible!

Yesterday, my oldest son needed candy for a DNA project he's working on for school - And since we all know that you can't buy candy for one child and not the other, no matter the circumstances, I decided we would make a cookie model of the Jewish High Priest's breastplate. I wanted to use jelly beans but was quickly shot down by both boys. Apparently there are kids that don't like Jelly Bellys! Who knew?! It was decided M&Ms were the way to go - which suits me just fine :)

First, we rolled out our sugar cookie dough. Next, we used a tiny square cookie cutter ( bought for a Minecraft project ) to cut out our squares. Then, Xander put an M&M face down on each cookie. 

Next, I rolled out a bigger piece of dough, cut it into a large square and had Xander place 12 of the small squares ( gems ) on top of it in 3 rows of 4. 

After watching it like a hawk for about 10 minutes it was done. . .  and only slightly crisp on the edges. Nothing a little stroke of the knife won't fix! 

If I were to do this again I would bake the cookie pieces individually ( duh! ) and put them together with frosting. I'm still happy with how this turned out though. . . .

. . . and I think Xander is too!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sculptor Studies: Alexander Calder

I believe Alexander Calder has been Xander's favorite artist/sculptor we have studied so far! He was really fascinated with his mobiles and circus characters.

We read a brief biography online (HERE) and looked up some of his most famous works.

We watched a video of his famous mobile at the National Gallery of Art. . . youtube has a bunch of Calder videos!

Then we watched some videos of his circus which Xander found hilarious. (as with everything else, I suggest viewing the video first to decide if it's appropriate for little eyes. There were a couple scenes I skipped when sharing it with my son)

I also found this awesome video showing how to make a mobile from cardboard. I must confess, this has been MY favorite project so far!


First, we made a simple level using push pins as instructed in the video

Next I let my son draw the shapes on cardboard as instructed by the video and I cut them out using an exacto knife. Then I used paper clips to link the shapes together. 

After linking all the shapes, we decided to paint our mobile. 

Our finished project. . .

This was a really fun piece that was pretty easy to make and ended up looking really nice! We used oil paint, but you may want to use something a bit less messy. However, I think oil is Xander's favorite medium just because of said messiness!  Haha, such a boy ;)

You can see other ideas for KONOS on my Pinterest boards!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sculptor Studies: Henry Moore

We have been using KONOS volume one this year and are currently on the Honor unit. Part of this study is on famous sculptors. This goes along with the notion that we are created and molded by God.

We have looked at a lot of famous sculptures and statues these past few weeks, including The Discus Thrower, The Thinker, The Statue of Liberty, and many others. So, I thought I would share some of his favorites over the next few days. 

Today's sculptor is Henry Moore. 

We read a biography from our local library and made our own Moore inspired art piece using foil.

First we made our design out of pipe cleaners

They totally look like race cars, right?! ;)

Then we simply wrapped our design with recycled foil....and done!



He really enjoyed this craft...I liked how simple (and cheap) it was ;)

You can find more KONOS ideas on my Pinterest boards! 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

An Epiphany on Emotions

I get it. After a stressful, emotional week, I get it!

We have been groomed in our society to express our emotions, to embrace and act on them. We are constantly bombarded with images that play on our emotional responses. From commercials for chocolate promising a moment of pleasure to TV shows glorifying outrageous, shocking behavior to keep us invested in their emotional roller coaster dramas. We are a society run by emotions! Not that I'm saying all emotions are bad, just that we shouldn't let our emotions control us! Even love can be expressed in a way that hinders a person, i.e. spoiled children turn into spoiled adults. If we put our emotions first, no matter the situation, I'm not sure how helpful we would be to others.

My revelation for the week: Emotion is another word for self

Emotion is how we responded to situations. How we feel it affects us.

Google defines emotion as: "a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others" 

Though the Bible doesn't use the word "emotion" (in the translations I've seen) there are countless verses imploring us to control ourselves (James 3) and yield to the Holy Spirit. 

When Christ freed us from sin He broke all of our bonds. We are no longer slaves to thoughts and feelings. In fact, we have been called to rise above them in all situations.(Philippians 4)

This may be nothing profound to anyone else, but it left me speechless to realize that most of our sins stem from emotions; Anger, envy, gluttony = emotions.  mind = blown!

So what does this revelation mean for me? change! . . . I hope ;)

As a wife, I am praying to honor my husband more. . . even when I don't feel like it. . . even when I think he's wrong. . . even when we face consequences to a bad decision he's made. I want to be solid, unshakable, able to be a comfort to him when he needs it, and strong enough to share any burden he's carrying. I can't be a pillar for him if my responses change with my moods. I'm not saying we won't disagree, but I don't want to respond out of my emotions to defeat him when conflict does arise. I want him to feel safe and secure with me.

As a mother, I am praying to not react out of emotion when my kids screw up -And- not to take it out on them when I get overwhelmed and angry. I want to love them selflessly. I want to be able to help them when they need me, not condemn them for doing something wrong. . . we can correct without condemning!

Finally, as a child of God, I am praying to be fully surrendered to the Holy Spirit through Christ. I want to focus on His love for me and others and I want to walk in that love, even when people purposely anger or hurt me. We are told that we wrestle with spirits, not with flesh and blood(people) Ephesians 6:11-13 so why are we so impatient and unwilling to pray for those who buffet us? I have come to the conclusion that only through prayer and studying God's word can we even begin to understand what Christ has done for us. Through the Holy Spirit, He has given us the power to resist acting out through our emotions. To be sober minded and see truth instead of spending our lives justifying our bad behaviors. To see who we really are at the heart level, the good and the bad. When we get THAT revelation, when we see how undeserving we were of His love yet how fervently He pursued us, how He still cleanses us and draws us to Himself, THEN can we start to get over our emotional hang ups and pet peeves to reach out to someone else, just as undeserving, yet just as loved. Because we get it, finally!



Sunday, February 23, 2014

An Introvert's Plea

A couple of months ago, my husband and I left our church. As with any change in life it was a bit difficult and sad. However, I really had a peace about it and felt God was calling us toward something else. So we began visiting different churches as we tried to find God's will for us in this area.

As you may have assumed from the title, my husband and I are both introverts. Since I feel most of us that "suffer" from introvertism  (pretty sure that's a word) are completely misunderstood, I will take a moment here and lay out some of the qualities and handicaps of being an introvert.

  • Energized by time alone
  • Private
  • Keeps to self
  • Quiet
  • Deliberate
  • Internally aware
  • Fewer friends
  • Prefer smaller groups
  • Independent
  • Not socially inclined
  • Enjoys solitude
  • Thinks before speaking

  • I would add (just my opinion) that introverts may even have heightened senses, almost to the point of not being able to function correctly when surrounded by chaos. It may not seem chaotic to others, but most concerts, shows, sports, and even large family gatherings can be overwhelming. Of course, that could just be me.

    I know that I crave peace and quiet. I need time to myself and get irritable if I go too long without it.

    Now, I do have some close friends that would snicker at the thought of me being an introvert. But they are MY people and I feel comfortable opening up to them. I'm still not good with hugging though.
    - Respect the bubble -

    HERE is a list of comparison I found interesting .... Anyone else an INFJ??

    Having said these things I have a slight criticism - plea - to the church. Sometimes, the way we go all out to seem all inclusive can come across as overbearing and do exactly the opposite of what I know we're trying to do!

    I tried to write about this months ago, but never published it. I went back and read it today and you can just feel the frustration I had! Here's a small excerpt:

    As I visit our local churches, I am really disappointed. I have been welcome-wagoned to death! I do appreciate the nice mugs, flashlight key-chains, and cool stickers, but the emails, cards, MULTIPLE phones calls and such are just not for me. Neither is the big fuss and applause appreciated. I'm not trying to be rude, but some churches go way overboard with their "join our club" culture. I don't remember the guys in the book of Acts pasting on clown-worthy smiles and blocking the exit until you fill out their "guest" card. Can I just say, ugh...just ugh!

    *I'm almost ashamed to post this. I think I was being too critical, but I just wanted to share the feeling, even if it wasn't expressed in the most admonishing way.*

    I'm not asking the church to come around to my liking. I'm just hoping to shed some light on an issue I've seen. Introverts are not likely to be comfortable with you grabbing their hand and asking them tons of questions. We are processors! Analyzers! Please give us time to take it all in. If you are preaching the Gospel, let IT be what makes people feel welcome and loved. And when you do approach someone, even extroverts, be sincere. You'd be amazed how obvious it is when we aren't. Let us ALL walk in love and we will point people to Christ, at church and else where, whether we are introverted or extroverted.

    Oh, and if you're wondering, we have found a church and have seen God's hand directing us through this change. I now believe even more that we were obedient to His voice when we decided to leave. My heart is full of thankfulness when I think about our journey in Christ so far. I praise Him for His guidance and provision for us. His love truly IS amazing!


    Tuesday, February 11, 2014

    A Homeschool Mama's Sin

    I'm a (wanna be) writer at heart. I work through my problems by praying and writing. This means that I will have a seemingly random post from time to time. 

    Warning: This may be one of those posts. 

    My hope is that in sharing this is if anyone is struggling with what I am, it will be of some help. . .

    This homeschool year has been so "off" for us!

    - and it's only our second! -

    We've already been dealing with the extreme cut in pay for me to be home, but it's been more than that. It's been stressful. Unorganized. Frustrating!

    There are plenty of places I could put blame for my new go to emotion, Panic.
    • I could blame my house for being so tiny yet so full.
    • I could detest my husband's job for changing his schedule so that he's here while we are learning (try keeping a 9yo boy's attention when his HERO is in the next room! Impossible).
    • I could whine about the lack of funds for field trips and got-to-have resources.
    • I could also have a bad attitude and LOATHE going to work. . . . I'm still working on that one.

    Yet, I know homeschooling is God's will for us. I can't explain it but this IS what I am called to do. It. just. is. 

    So, why isn't it working?!

    It's about the heart. EVERYTHING with God is about the heart. 

    This week, while whining praying my signature "why isn't it working!" prayer in my bathroom as I readied myself (reluctantly) for work, He answered. Gently, yet clearly. . .


    It seems my focus had shifted from training my son's heart, to thinking, worrying, OBSESSING over what I was teaching and whether it was good enough when I compared it to all the homeschoolers I knew. 

    ~ Yes. I made it about me. Again. ~

    I am thankful for homeschool friends and all the advice and opinions that are so readily available through social media, BUT, we mamas need to remind ourselves that God called US ~ as we are ~ to be mom/teacher of our children. 

    Each of our children has a God ordained purpose in life. A calling. Our main concern ~ MY main concern ~ should be submitting ourselves to the Holy Spirit. Not only in homeschooling, but in everything! How else will We prepare them to do the same?!

    We truly screw up when we compare ourselves to others. I'm afraid we homeschoolers may even struggle a bit more than others in this area. It's so easy to be impressed by pictures that fill our news feed with happy kids doing awesome, genius, things. 

    But, they are just pictures. 

    Just a split second glance into that families homeschool life. 

    I believe God wants ME to focus on my son's character and heart, so that's what I'm gonna do. Every decision will be placed in His hands, where it belongs. 

    My child is not your child. Your child may be meant for scientific genius while mine may be called to be a missionary. Both callings are great. Both can be used to glorify God. The scientist shouldn't look down on the missionary because he doesn't have a Ph D, yet the missionary  shouldn't exalt himself for the sacrifices and works he's given to the ministry. Both can be humble servants of the King. 

    We could even continue on this train of thought for our judgment of the method of schooling used by others.  . . . even those choosing to send their kids to * gasp! * public school! Dun dun DUNN!

    * I might add that I know this first hand as my oldest is in 7th grade at our local public school. Admittedly, this isn't my ideal plan for his life. However, I know God has a plan for Austin and I trust Him. I have and will continue to pray for him as God leads me, but I will not be fearful for his future simply because I can't have my way. *

    So, back to homeschooling:
    I will encourage my son to spend quality time with his dad instead of interrupting them and forcing him to complete his math sheet. I will let him compose his own songs on his piano instead of nagging him to stick to his sheet music every time. I will pray that God show me how to prepare this still tender heart for whatever He has planned for it. Above all, I will pray for my focus to stay on Christ, because I know that's God's ultimate will for me. 

    Lord, help me to focus on You and always yield to Your Spirit in all I do. Amen.  


    Friday, February 7, 2014

    Making a Cardboard Puppet Theatre

    This week Xander wrote/ directed/ and starred in this very first popcicle stick puppet show. We made his theater out of a huge cardboard box, paper towel rolls, and old paint we had lying around. His play was about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I have video footage, but I thought I'd spare you . . .this time

    The bottom piece is just a regular box with a door cut out in the back.
    My husband decided to get fancy and make the top an triangle, but a smaller box flipped upside down would be perfect to!
    While Xander drew a background on posterboard, I assembled the card boar pieces with hot glue. Then we both painted it together. He decided on the stickers!

    He had a GREAT time writing and performing!

    You can get these puppet cut outs HERE
    You can use THESE Bible character puppet cut outs I found this morning!
     ~ You may be seeing more of these! ~

    We baked cupcakes. Yum!
    We learned about woodworking with my super talented friend, Lisa, and her boys.

     Yeah, I know his sweatshirt is backwards. He thought he could use the hood as a mask. Ha!


    I thought it was so cute I stole it and put it on my nightstand. Mamas can do that. 

    We are in week 2 of our KONOS Honor study. This week we are learning about the attributes of God, pottery and sculpture, and hymns. Xander has asked to learn about the names of God so we are adding that to the agenda as well. I will post more about that later. You can check out my KONOS: Honor board on Pinterest  HERE
    We are also about half way through Grammar-Land by M. L. Nesbitt. Xander has found it very entertaining and helpful. . . though we're all book worms here ;)

    You can find Grammar-land in Public Domain. I found notebooking pages, worksheets, and other great resources HERE and an audio recording HERE.

    If your kids hate textbooks as much as mine, I'd highly suggest Grammar-Land!

    Whew! Now . . . who's ready for NEXT week?!

    Gina <3


    Thursday, February 6, 2014

    Homeschool Baking!

    Xander has become VERY interested in cooking.

    Before deciding on KONOS, I read a bunch of different books about homeschooling and learning methods. One of these books was The Well Trained Mind.

    Though I didn't completely LOVE the approach or all of the ideas {at least not for us} I did love how she would take her kids to the library, give them specific topics or genres and let them pick out books they found interesting. We did this for a month or so exclusively and now he's just kind of programmed to look for certain things every time we venture to the library.

    One of those things is always a cookbook of some sort. So, it was decided that cooking and baking just HAD to be added to our homeschool agenda.

    We even found these cookbooks in the 10¢ bin! *Score!*
    I know, they're "girl" books, but they were too good to pass on. Can we get some American Boy books too though. . . just sayin'

    I've mentioned it before, but I'm a Pinterest addict! {Follow me here
    I love, love, LOVE finding new recipes and trying them out! Now that we will be incorporating cooking into our schooling, I feel I am now justified in my pinning addictions. . . . mostly ;)

    Here we are making my favorite Pinterest recipe yet, cinnamon rolls!! {Here's the recipe pin}

    And yeah, we bake in our jammies. . . doesn't everyone?!

    Huh, who knew dental floss was the perfect cutting tool?!

    Mmm...they were sooo good! 

    I'm always looking for new awesome recipes! {Especially kid friendly!} If you have a favorite, feel free to leave it in the comments! 

    Gina <3

    Monday, February 3, 2014

    My Prayer For Austin

    I can't BELIEVE my sweet baby boy will be {GASP!} 13 this month! Where has the time gone?! There's SO much I still want to teach him and show him about life and, well, everything!

    I've put together just some of the thoughts I have towards him in hopes of reminding myself encouraging others that are just embarking on their parenting journey or those venturing with me into the teenage years...


    The next 5 years are your most important so far and will set the stage for your adult life and all the responsibilities that will entail. I pray you weigh every decision before you move, even the seemingly small ones. Also, that you understand how incapable we are of knowing our futures and even our own hearts without God revealing them to us.

    I pray you find Jesus and lose religion. Man isn't your teacher, the Holy Spirit is.

    I pray you have the discernment to see the flaws in those who council you but have the grace to love them in spite of those things.

    Realize you could never earn a loves as great as the love God freely gives. That you are already accepted by Him and your works could never make him love you more. But that you give your life to works for that very reason. 

    Never be so hurt that you allow yourself to become cynical and bitter. Find joy in the simple things. Cherish the good in life and try not to linger too long on the bad. 

    Love selflessly. I pray you see through the brokenness of your own childhood the consequences of selfish love. Cling to your wife and the family God blesses you with.

    Have the wisdom to separate yourself from your feelings to assess properly which actions or inaction are best for you and your family...after fervent prayer of course.

     After arguments and disagreements, I pray you always look to God and in yourself to see if any fault is yours. If it is, I pray that you have the humility to admit your errors and ask for forgiveness.

    And in conversation, that you think more than you speak (preferably before you open your mouth).

    See that it's always easier to DO what's right than LIVE with the consequences of doing what's wrong.

    Above all, I hope and pray that I have been a blessing in your life. That I have loved you the way you've needed me to and encouraged you to do the things God has called you to do. AND that you know how very, very much I love you and thank God for you <3


    Downton and KONOS

    I can't believe I didn't make ONE SINGLE POST the whole month of January!! I'm gonna blame it on the return of Downton Abbey (woohoo!) and the recent subscription to Amazon Prime my mom so graciously blessed us with.

    We've been fervently feeding our BBC addictions *sigh*

    Back to homeschooling...

    We have decided to go back to unit studies using KONOS vol 1 as an outline. We've tried other approaches and curriculums and although KONOS is very parent driven, I think (NOW) that may be exactly what I love about it! 

    For instance, we were already beginning to learn about the attributes of God when Xander (encouraged by the sermon heard Sunday) decided he'd like to learn about the NAMES of God as well. So we will take a bit more time and learn BOTH at once. I've been researching this and am getting super excited about it myself! I will post about it as we get further along. 

    I love the freedom unit studies give us to further explore his interests! Add that to the BLARING fact that he's an anesthetic learner and you can see why I'm so excited to get back to KONOS! 

    Follow me on Pinterest for KONOS ideas and helps. I have multiple KONOS unit study boards on and am sure to be adding to them!

    Gina <3