Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The kids still love Awana each Wednesday night~
and this week Payne helped present colors for the Awana flag.
He was very proud to help Ms. Jennifer!

Wild Explorer Club~

We have jumped on the Wild Explorers Club bandwagon~
 I am at a point of homeschooling where I need some things to be easy and planned for me~
 Wild Explorers is an online program that allows families to complete fun assignments and earn nature badges.
We get a video and assignment dropped into our inbox each week~
 Our first week we were to pack an explorer backpack (Done)
and this week explore nature around you~
 We of course slipped into our rain boots and headed down the path to the lake
where we found a receding shoreline, arrowheads, and caterpillars!
When our snacks were gone and everyone was hot,
we headed inside to watercolor our outing~
 I printed our welcome letter, assignments, and a photo of our fun then created a notebook~
It will take us two years to make it through the whole thing.
Wonder if we will make it that long?
The kids LOVE it for now and so do I!

Happy 55th Birthday Scotty~

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Today was Scott's birthday and we celebrated with steaks on the grill~
Brownies with ice cream!
CA LOVES a birthday party and blowing out the candles.
Big party to come on Saturday although WHEN is it not a big party around here?
Love you honey!!!

The Little Gardener~

Scott found a little evergreen growing and wanted to transplant to another area.
He dug it up, replanted, and mentioned it needed to be watered every day~
We gave the job to Evie, so she fills her OJ jug each day and waters away.
It is thriving and so is she!!!

Give them a job (responsibility), and it will fuel a lifetime of integrity.

New Math Game~

Monday, August 29, 2016

With the beginning of a new year, I am reading all my favorite school books
and watching video series.
My favorites are by Carole Joy Seid and happened to watch the math and science one.
She said if there was ONE thing above everything else to buy it would be Pre Math-It and Math-It~
SO I immediately ordered Pre Math-It (even though EK&SJ are past this level)
and we began playing it today.
They loved it even though we were only matching numbers today.
This is one way the older ones help teach the younger ones while creating a team spirit within our family.

Want your kids to be friends and play together?
Pick a game and just sit it out on the coffee table and walk away.
They will come, they will play, and they will have fun!

(Except when they lose and then we have another character building moment!)

SJ's Forever Day~

Today we have loved SJ forever for 6 years~
We met SJ in one of the hottest places in China we've ever been in the dead of summer in Fuzhou, China.
We walked into a conference room in the hotel
and she was sitting in a big black chair wondering what in the world was going on.
She didn't come to us happy and safe.
She cried deep terrified sobs and didn't want us at all.
It wasn't long before EK and I had her smiling with bubbles and a beach ball.
Forever Day was one of the worst days of SJ's life and never would I wish any child to endure it
but we are SO thankful God chose us to love her through the hard days
and bring her to forever love~
She has smiles for days now, and we give every bit of that glory to God!
He chose her, He redeemed her, and He loaned her to us for time on earth.
She is His daughter and we will all be together in heaven one day!
THAT is the reason for all of this!

"There is no growth without change.
There is no change without loss.
There is no loss without pain."
~Rick Warren

Such is the story of Jesus' love for us!
SO thankful for this beautiful girl and the gift to be her mom!!!
Happy Forever SJ!!!

New Podcast Live Today~ #9: Homeschool Harmony

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Visit Southern Joy Podcast to listen and come back to comment!
Homeschooling Harmony

Calla's Dental Surgery~

When we met Calla in China, we discovered she had extensive dental decay
and would need a specialist to help her mouth heal.
Soon after we were home, we took her to a pediatric surgeon, and she was put on a very long waiting list.
Our cardiologist said that was not acceptable and was successful moving her up the list.
We still waited over a month and a half for surgery day on Friday.

We live at least two hours from the hospital so it was a very early departure for an 8am appointment.
I downloaded Barney and she watched it on the way.
We colored, watched more Barney, and played games while we waited for her surgery time.
She drank her sleepy juice and didn't even know when they wheeled her to OR~

 We received a call from the surgeon early on to tell us surgery would take longer than expected.
She would have 7 extractions, 4 crowns, and every single tooth had a cavity needing a filling.
We waited 3 hours for our baby to roll back into the room.
She was the perfect patient!
A really sweet thing to note...
{in recovery the nurse asked if she was ready to see her mommy, and she pulled back the covers to come find me}...
THAT is proof of attachment and bonding!
We received all her sweet little teeth, ate a couple of popsicles, and were released to head home~
 We got home about 5ish and dinner was waiting for us!
All the other kids stayed home with Aunt Susan and were so glad to see their little CaaCaa~
She ate some yogurt and applesauce then requested some outside time.
Memommy sent her pink and purple Magnaforms, and she loved them.
Yesterday we spent the day trying to be quiet and calm.
We did everything we could think of including dot painting.

Today she has felt great, eating well, and playing.
I think she is healing and on the mend!!!
Thankful to have this behind us
and will move forward to another possible heart surgery to correct the way her incision healed.
God knows and has it all under control!


Friday, August 26, 2016

We were SO happy to have daddy join us for Bible @ Breakfast this week~

One morning while I worked with the boys, SJ helped the little girls do their book work.
She decided they needed an emergent reader so she wrote two identical ones
and taught them to read them~
 She decided they should be published and earned the Caldecott Medal as well~

Here's a little video of the teacher in action~

New Maps~

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

School is pretty much back in full swing around here
and Calla is right in the middle of it doing her own amazing thing~

I saw these cool Map Pops on a friend's wall and ordered them for our room~
 It was fun to hang them then stand back and hear the conversation of what they knew.

We are actually trying out a new learning tool this week~
Bigger Heart for His Glory {Heart of Dakota}
and I LOVE how music/singing is incorporated into the plans~
I pulled out a favorite Sing to Learn & our Steve Green scripture CDs
and loaded them into my Itunes account.
It was awesome to see Evie and Calla's face light especially when I turned on the music.
It is definitely their love language/learning style!!!
The others loved it too and all know their memory verse even better because of it!

CallaAnne~ {3 Months}

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

3 Months ago today on May 23rd we held Calla for the first time~

If you have followed me very long, you know the progression and growth in my children is very important to document...

Are you ready to see the change LOVE makes?
 I'm amazed so I know you are!

In three months she now...
Understands most everything we say to her.
She can answer with one to two words phrases.
 She names her family and knows HOME when pull back into the driveway.
She is so very loving always wanting us to hug and kiss each other.
{She pulls two people's heads together so they will love on each other}
 She's funny, loves to sing/music {new favorite song is Jingle Bells... always wears her bell}
and she had begun singing lots of songs in English!
She follows her sibs around babbling long phrases after they say something and smiles SO big!
She has a big surgery this Friday to repair the issues in her mouth.
We've been through this with SJ so we know the drill
BUT it is never easy to let them be put under for any procedure.
I know it will only add to the continued improved health in our TOF heart girl!

CallaAnne is a true gift to us and perfect example of God's blessing of obedience.
She, as well as her sisters and brothers, take our breath away daily!

There is no higher calling then loving a child.
Please pray about bringing home one of the millions waiting for a family!

Dogs drawn by SJ&EK~

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Weekend Memories~

We saw a beautiful rainbow Saturday night. and it just so happened I shot this pic with daddy under it~
Amelia was gone for the weekend so her dog assistant took care of Cabot. :)
Afternoons and evenings are spent outside around our house,
and I had the kiddos line up so I could freeze this moment forever.
{Look at SJ on tiptoes not wanting the boys to be taller than her since it was her idea to line up in age order:}

Block Love~

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Every child should have a set of blocks in their home!
I don't care if they seem babyish or old fashioned.
Our kids LOVE them and build amazing things every day.
Up until today they have been thrown in a big box.
I asked Evie is she would like to help me organize them and she said YES!~
 We traced the blocks in the colors of the rainbow and taped them to the shelf~
 The structures they have built since organizing are amazing.
EK used all of them to create this wall around Calla~
 And Payne created this cathedral~
There is much learning going on with this cabinet of blocks~ maybe even raising a few engineers.
A little effort can go a long way in building greatness!
{Mama, tell Ms. Gay we are still using a shelf Mr. Glen made you long ago!}

Fun Friday: {Beautiful Feet Geography & Nature Study}~

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday's enrichment is nature and we throw in a little Beautiful Feet Geography too.
Today we pulled out our maps and colored while listening to Tree in the Trail~
 Even Calla has her own map and does her own thing.

Because Tree in the Trail is very nature oriented, we headed outside to find something God made~
 I'm amazed daily how much Calla understands and gets what we are doing.
She walked behind everyone else and picked up what they chose.
We taped our treasures to an index card then headed in to label and add to nature journals~
 One last thing we have loved doing on Fridays for about three weeks now is
Brave Writer's Free Write Frenzy where I time them for 5 min
and they must write the whole time without picking up their pencils~
The first time Payne and Will just wrote their names over and over and over
but this time they actually wrote words!
It has become a contest with themselves... they want to write more words each time~
Calla is very good at scribbling which is a step in the writing process too~
A Fun Friday for sure!!!

Why I Love FIAR!~

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

On Wednesdays our enrichment is SCM Art Study and we are enjoying Monet.
As we read about him and looked at one of his paintings,
they learned he lived in Paris and this sparked their interest to read Madeline again.

THAT is Why I love FIAR {Five in a Row}...
there is always a connection to a beloved book that the kids want to read.
We of course chose Madeline's Rescue and even found 'Monet' painting by the bridge~

Everyone grabbed paint and brushes to create their own masterpiece.
This was the first time Calla had shown an interest in painting so watching Evie, she learned to watercolor~

EK & SJ~

PC & WP~

EC, HM, & CA~

We found the movie on YouTube and watched it as well~
We chose one activity to do with Madeline for three days and everyone loved it!

Odds and Ends~

Calla is learning SO much by watching her siblings especially Evie~
 Our Magformers are by FAR one of the favorite toys around our house!
Our wooden blocks are super popular too and after Evie made this amazing castle~
She asked me to take photos so she could make a book.
It turned out cute especially since SJ let her borrow these awesome Gel Pens!

Two Kitchen Things~

Up until just this week we have been making pancakes two at a time in an iron skillet.
Scott ran to Walmart and bought this amazing griddle which makes 8 at a time~
AND I made a huge discovery while making dinner this week.
I had put my frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot at lunch and when it was time to shred them up for poppyseed chicken,
it dawned on me to use my 1986 (wedding gift original) to shred RIGHT IN THE CROCKPOT!!!
Add the cream of chicken and sour cream too, then mix with mixer!!!
Is that not brilliant? and easy? and faster? and less to wash?
I made this yummy recipe in half the time and look forward to using this new method in lots of my dinner plans!

Poppyseed Chicken
Cook 10-12 chicken breasts in the crockpot with can of chicken broth.
Once done, pour off most of broth and shred with hand mixer.
Preheat oven 350.

Add in 1-2 cans of cream of chicken and 1 8oz sour cream. Mix.
Add 1 tsp poppyseeds.
Add to glass dish (I can get two pans from this recipe)
Crush 2 sleeves of Ritz crackers for each pan and sprinkle over chicken mixture.
Melt 1 stick of butter and pour over first pan. Repeat for second.

Bake 20-25 min until bubbling and crackers are golden brown.
Serve over jasmine rice with a side of black eyed peas. Add a roll and you have a delish dinner served!!!

You're welcome!

Calla's Preop~

Monday, August 15, 2016

Today was a long day for Calla'a preop appt for dental surgery coming up next week~
These sweet siblings were champs!
They endured three hours of waiting, talking, and more waiting.
Calla will go under next Friday for extensive dental surgery.
She came to us with a mouth full of sick teeth due to bottle rot so many will come out.
Not sure what else will be done but we've been through this before and praying for the best!

We of course ate lunch at Steak-n-Shake then headed home for an evening of this~
I seriously don't know what we do without a pool!
Such a great way to decompress and burn off energy.
Calla has no idea what is ahead but thankful God does, and we totally believe He will heal her sweet little mouth.