Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Awana Awards

Well April was the culmination of a year’s hard work for my little Awana people.  Bethanne and Hannah finished their books and Christian is half way through his.  I’ll be teaching T&T next year and I’ll have both my girls in my class, Christian is still a Spark.


Christian getting his award from the Spark leader.


Bethanne getting her award from the Spark leader.


Hannah and two other T&T’ers who received their book awards. The middle girl completed all 4 books for T&T!


Up close shot of Hannah with her Book 2 award. Isn’t it pretty?


We are looking forward to next year’s Awana – can’t wait to begin being a leader.


Our trip to Indianapolis

On March 26th we made a spontaneous trip with my mom to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum.  We surprised the children and their faces were priceless when we showed up.  In all it was about a two hour trip there and back which wasn’t bad for the great time we had.  My mom also bought us a pass since it was cheaper to do it that way than to pay admission for one day – the nice man at the counter also gave us the military discount even though I did not have my discharge papers on me.


These are extinct pterodactyls (sp?) flying overhead.


The giant alligator that is supposed to be 'millions' of years old. My children laugh at this concept.


Christian in the dig pit.


Bethanne in the dig pit.


Dinosaur egg cache.


Bethanneosaurus protecting her eggs. (sorry if it's still sideways)


Christianronomus stealing eggs. (sorry if it's still sideways, it's not letting me edit them like I want.)


Miniature of what downtown Indy looked like.


Underside of the glass tower.


Bethanne and Christian posing as the Terra Cotta Warriors from China.


Hannah designing a dragon.


A lego ship in the Lego exhibit.


Bethanne and Christian visiting the tent maker in Egypt.


Christian and Bethanne on an alligator on the Nile River.


The huge transformer robot that was actually used in the movie. Christian thought it was really cool.


This museum is awesome and we still have a ton of things we never got to see!  There is 4 main floors and a lower level.  I have many more pictures but I can’t include them all here.  I can’t wait to go back!







TOS Crew Review: Amazing Animals by Design by Debra Haagen

Name of ProductAmazing Animals by Design

Price:   paperback $8.99; PDF (e-book):$5.99

Age Range: pre-K to 3rd grade

I’ve had the pleasure of reading Debra Haagen’s debut children’s book called Amazing Animals by Design – and as a neat little side note, Debra is also a fellow Crewbie on her first year cruise!  If you’re looking for a book about design from a Creationist point of view then this is a great one to have and the PDF loads great on the Kindle Fire and is very easy to read.  Here is what the book is about from the site:

“Why is a giraffe’s neck so tall? Why do zebras have stripes? Did all of these things happen by accident? When John and Sarah visit the zoo, they ask these questions and many more. Their parents and the zookeepers keep using the word design, but what does that mean? With its relevant message and exciting presentation, this is the perfect book to help introduce children to intelligent design. Come find out in Amazing Animals by Design by Debra Haagen!”

While the age or grade level says pre-K to 3rd my Kindergarten age child didn’t sit still long enough for me to read it all in one sitting, although he did enjoy the beautiful illustrations.  My older two did enjoy it even though my oldest is going into 5th grade.  I enjoyed the way it’s all tied together at the end with mom and dad both discussing how God made us to serve a purpose with the abilities He gave us.

The full page illustrations are so colorful and really make the book come alive with the life-like animals.  It’s enjoyable to have a book that doesn’t think that every child needs a cartoon to enjoy a book and that they can actually comprehend a more life like picture.  Whether you buy a copy for your E-reader, to read on your computer or to have a hard copy in your hand this book is one that will give every child a good basic understanding of intelligent design from the Creator of all!

**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

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Fun with math

One of my favorite things in regards to children’s museums are the rotating exhibits.  Sometimes we don’t get to them but other months it’s a definite, must go to see exhibit.  The newest one is called Math Midway and it’s all about fun ways to integrate math.

Christian on the bike with square wheels. Once he got it going he was happy.

Christian again.

The girls on the bikes.

The girls again.


Christian using the high powered microscope to examine items found in the house.

Bethanne being a plumber in the water exhibit.


It was a fun trip, I got to meet a new lady, who I’m praying will be a great new friend.  Her 7 year old son got along very well with Christian.  Hannah was somewhat bored as this is the museum that she has outgrown – although the Math Midway did keep her interest.  You can read Hannah’s account of our trip at her blog, Hannah Rambles on

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Why I don’t do grades

That’s right I don’t do grades.

I’ve been asked and I’m going to go ahead and tell you my opinion.

Grades are for the birds.  They are stupid (I don’t use this word lightly).  I don’t think they show a good representation of what the child knows.

Now, I know a lot of people put a lot of stock in grades.  My parents did when I was in school.  My inlaws did with my husband and his siblings.  Public and private school teachers feel they are the be all and end all of a school career.

I’m not talking grade level (that is a whole other story with lots of opinions as well) I’m talking grades like in tests, quizzes, homework, writing assignments, etc.

My children do take tests and quizzes however they ARE NOT graded – I may do it just to see but they in no way dictate our school, because they don’t show what the children are retaining and learning.  Grades stink!  I lived in fear of test grades, quiz grades, project grades and the worst – report cards.  Fear.  I was not a good student – I learned – but when it came to tests I was terrible, but I managed to squeeze by.  I didn’t want my children to experience this same fear of grades and missed questions.  I’m not running my home school like a mini-public or private school, my school is a place to nurture and bring children up first and foremost for the Lord – not for academic achievement.  They will know their 3 R’s but if they never do calculus or physics that’s okay with me as long as they have obtained a living and working relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Do I check their work?  Yes.  Do we correct missed problems?  Yes.  If they miss a math problem we go over it, and over it, and over it (most days).  If they take a test and almost all the problems are wrong – I know their weakness and what we need to work on – if they get the majority of them all right, then stupendous!  Do I tell them “hey, you failed!” or “hey, you passed!”  No.  My children are like me and for whatever reason if they feel like they’ve failed they will do a lot of bad self talk – “I’m stupid”, “I’m dumb”, etc the same thing I did while in school.  So either way grades are pointless.  My oldest will be going into, if she were in school, the 5th grade for the 2012-2013 school year – so the years of no grades are coming to end for her.  I’ll have to start tracking soon so she can get high school credits and graduate eventually, will it be the everything in our school?  Definitely not.

I’m considering this year to have her take a standardized test at the local private school.  While some would turn these scores into their school district, I’m not.  The testing is for me.  So I know what we need to focus on in primarily, math.  Her reading is above her peers so I’m not worried about that and since we are studying our own science I’m not worried either – if I could have her take just the math portion I would.  Even if the test showed she was a genius the school district still wouldn’t get the results.

I’ve come up with a final review/exam for our science.  There are 50 questions, so 2 points per question for a score of 100 or an A.  I’m not doing it to say whether they know everything or not, mainly to see if we need to back track and review more material or if we can go ahead in good conscience to our next science come June.  Will there be a grade?  Only if one of them request it.  Otherwise, they’ll chose their answers, we’ll go over it together and be done.


So there you have it.  Why I don’t do grades.

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The Homeschool Mother’s Journal

The Homeschool Mother's Journal


In My Life This Week:

I’ve been playing catch up.  Last week my husband, two of my three children and myself came down with strep.  On Friday I found out the reason I’ve been having foot pain for the last four months was because it’s fractured.  On Saturday I started feeling not good, Sunday I went to the emergency room with dehydration due to vomiting (we actually thought it was my appendix).  Sunday night two of the children got sick and thankfully hubby was able to hold down the fort because I was three sheets to the wind.  Monday night the oldest started getting sick and then Tuesday we ended up at the children’s ER with her due to her dehydration. Hubby got a little upset belly on Thursday but it didn’t seem to have him in it’s full grip.

Thankfully we are all on the mend!  Praise the Lord!  It was rough going but we made it through and I’m glad that we have insurance otherwise I can’t imagine what my daughter and I would have done.

In Our Homeschool This Week:

Absolutely nothing.

Places We Are Going and People We Are Seeing:

We saw two ER doctors and numerous nurses.  My son did manage to get to one karate class this week.

My Favorite Thing This Week Was:

Feeling human again.

I’m Reading:

The Holy Bible CEB

I’ve read A Darkly Hidden Truth by Donna Fletcher Crow

Satan, you Can’t Have My Marriage by Iris Delgado

52 Things Wives Need From Their Husbands by Jay Payleitner

And there are several to be read

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

In case you've ever wondered what those bowls are really for that you find in ER rooms......


Pictures from Hannah’s birthday

I had some extra pictures I wanted to post from Hannah’s birthday.  These are some pictures she drew using her new presents from Grandpa and Grandma Hays:

Snapdragons using her new colored pencils and sketch pad.


Hannah's super girl that she drew.


Hannah opening her presents early on her birthday morning 2/12/12


Chocolate lava cake flowers for her birthday cake.


Fitting 10 birthday candles in the lava cakes was no easy feat!


Random picture of Christian being quiet AND still watching a cartoon on my iPod via Netflix.


So there you have it, hopefully I’ll be back to regular posting now that everyone seems to be getting back to healthy.

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Awana Award Night

Last Wednesday was AWANA Award Night (which I didn’t know until like two hours before!)  Awana has been going great my oldest only has 1 1/2 sections to go before completing her T&T book and my middle only has two sections to go before she completes her Sparky book.  My son is taking a little longer which is okay.


They all received some book awards and Hannah received T&T of the Quarter for the 3rd and 4th graders.

Hannah accepting her clubber of the quarter and book awards.


Christian accepting his book awards.


Bethanne accepting her book awards.


We’ve been at Awana for 7 years – that’s a long time and a great accomplishment.  We are considering making a change next year and going to a church closer to our home – right now it’s about a 15 to 20 minute drive and that is one that is about 5 minutes.  There are other things as well, but it would be nice, for me, who has trouble driving at night to be closer to home.  Hopefully they will also allow me to stay as I’m not a drop and leave parent 🙂

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The Creative Mind

My children are creative.

Yes, I’m partial to my children and I have the smartest children even (yes, yes, I know so does every parent on the face of the earth)

A few weeks ago, like back at the beginning of January my children surprised me with the B***** Art Gallery.  With all their works of art that day.

In our city there is a rock garden.  A man spent years turning his back yard into a rock garden.  There are many religious themes as well as Mount Vernon, and other pieces of Americana made out of rocks.

We went the other day, hace frio (Spanish for it was freezing!)

Mount Vernon

Castle, one of my DH's favorites

Noah's Ark


So we left but not without planting the imagination in our children.  When we returned home they created their very own…….

Block garden

Thankfully the Rock Garden is free which makes it nice and we can return again when it’s warmer outside.  I’m thinking I may even schedule a field trip for a small group.


More Science Fun!

On the 3rd we went to another local (if you consider a 40 minute drive local) children’s science museum.  This one holds my children’s interest more and has much more things for my oldest to do – although it’s bigger so she can’t roam like she can at the other one.

Here are some pictures from our time there with our friends.

Christian participating in the electron show. He was so excited.


My two, plus some friends and other children from the audience participating in the show to see how many could feel the spark.


Another of all of them participating.


Christian playing in the water area, even after I said to not get wet. Boys!


Hannah finally being able to do the high wire unicycle. She'd be waiting so long to be tall enough and she was this time.


Hannah further out on the unicycle, she managed to make it all the way back without the attendant calling for help. Way to go Hannah!


The boys (minus my friend's youngest son) in a carriage. My friend and I couldn't manage to get all 3 looking at us at once.


The girls (minus my friend's baby, if you're counting she has 5 blessings **insert smiley**) in a carriage.


My girls trying to make the manual engine work. They almost got it - it's very hard.

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