Science is not my thing, but thankfully my husband loves to tinker and experiment. He has spent a good amount of time recently with my daughter, using a pen-size microscope to analyze anything from hair to feathers to wires to skin to paper. Truly fascinating to see these items close up! 

I'm also thankful that our homeschool curriculum provides fun science projects which my daughter enjoys. Recently we learned about Light and Color. One project involved making jello molds of concave, convex and flat lenses - then using those lenses to see how they affect what you see (you can read here about a similar experiment). Both my kids really enjoyed this science fun.

We have now begun a study about Magnetism. Again, I'm thankful that our curriculum (Sonlight) provides almost everything we need to do these fun hands-on activities to teach my kids basic science concepts, such as the magnetic properties of "like" and "opposite" poles. 

I also love that my 5-year-old son jumps in and learns alongside my 4th grade girl. Homeschooling is truly a family affair that involves each one of us!

Thankful to be a homeschooler, 
Mrs. R

Our First Passover


A few days ago we hosted our first-ever Passover seder in our home

God has been teaching us more about our Jewish roots in recent months. Not in a legalistic way, but a freedom-in-Christ way, we have been celebrating the Sabbath each week. And now the Jewish "spring feasts" have begun - Passover, Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits. So we're learning as we go and observing these in some way. 

For our Passover seder, we invited a few friends in the faith who also celebrate Passover each year. We went all out - eating foods that are traditionally served for Passover, such as leg of lamb, potato kugel and macaroons. 

My favorite part of celebrating Passover may not have been the seder itself, but what happened beforehand. My daughter (age 9) was helping me prepare for the seder, making lists of items we needed to buy, and reading through the "haggadah" (the reading that is done during the seder, which explains the symbolism of the elements, and explains the biblical account of the exodus and the first passover). She asked some great questions about what it all means and we had an opportunity for dialog. Part of the point of Passover is to pass on to the next generation the story of what God has done. I saw a light click on in her head as I explained some elements. Passover was truly meaningful to her, which blessed my heart.

What did we learned from this first experience? 
We learned that it is not necessary to go all-out. We did not have to eat lamb or the traditional foods, though it was fun to try it. Next time, we'll have chicken. Next time, we'll also find a shorter haggadah. There are many Christian versions of the reading. The one we used was 21 pages long and took us about 2 hours to go through (not including the eating of the meal itself). It got too long for the children to sit through, so next time around we'll find a shorter version that still includes the main points. 

But most importantly, we celebrated the work of Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the passover. 

1 Corinthians 5:7 says "Christ, our passover lamb, has been sacrificed." It is finished. He paid the price once and for all. And because of that, we are free! Praise Him! 

To learn more about this topic, go here

Family Photo Friday


It's Friday again. Yeah! 
Here are a few pictures from our week. 

We have a new nephew - Traeson (rhymes with Jason) - who was born late last week. This is my youngest brother Brett with his family. Traeson was born with spina bifida and remains in the hospital until his condition is improved enough to go home. 

We obtained this game "What's in Ned's Head?" for free this week. It's a very gross game, which is great for young boys. Plays pull things out of Ned's head - things like dirty diapers, fake vomit, a waxy q-tip, etc. We gave it a test run as a family game. Even though it's gross, it was fun. 

Here's my boy working on writing his letters. 

And here he is again, with Daddy, read to read a favorite Dr. Seuss book.

And my girl being a crazy rock star. 

Happy weekend, y'all!   

A Unique Birthday Present


Long-time readers will recall that we have a neighbor named Sarah who has become a good friend to our family. Recently she turned 15. 

I recalled that many months ago she and I had been talking when she mentioned that she would like to someday get a pie smashed in her face. She's very fun and playful, so this didn't surprise me. 

I told her my story - that I used to work at Christian camp where counselors and staff sometimes got pies in the face as a fun part of a carnival-type party. So, I have indeed had the privilege.  (I'm in the pink shirt in the above picture, from 1997, just seconds before the pie landed on my face)

I also made a mental note to someday surprise Sarah with a pie in the face. 

The day has arrived. For her 15th birthday, we gave her a few small gifts. Then I asked her to close her eyes while I got another gift that was a surprise. When she opened her eyes, Wham-o!

What fun! She loved it. I loved doing it. 

Good Reads


I haven't been a faithful blogger lately. Part of that is because I've been doing a lot more reading lately. 

I have been reading my Bible faithfully and working at memorizing scripture in addition to my daily study. Right now I'm working through a study on Psalm 37, through Doorposts. I did a similar study last fall in Colossians and really enjoyed it - the 5-minute daily assignment is emailed to me, so I read it via email and then do it later in the day when I have my Bible study time (which for me lately has been during my daily time on the treadmill).

Here are a few of the books I've enjoyed in recent weeks. Many of them were found because I had read other books by these authors. Many of them are intended for a tween-teen audience, but I've really enjoyed them. They are historical fiction, which I've grown to love through our homeschooling curriculum Sonlight

 Amos Fortune: Free Man by Elizabeth Yates is a great reader for those interested in the treatment of slaves and black free man around the time of the Revolutionary War. Amos has a beautifully biblical response to difficulties in his life and he is rewarded by God for his faithfulness. Based on a true story, this book would be a great introduction to the idea of slavery, how slaves were brought to the Americas from Africa, and the notion of earning or buying one's freedom from slavery. 

Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray is an engaging tale of an 11-year-old boy Adam who works with his father as a traveling minstrel in medieval times. He "comes of age" as he and his father are separated on the road and Adam must fend for himself as a traveling minstrel no longer in his father's shadow. A great glimpse into the life of a young person at that time in history.  

Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare is set in New England during the French and Indian War. The main character is a young woman named Miriam Williard who is captured by Indians and sold as a slave in Canada. Based on a true story, this book helps the reader understand the many dynamics at play during war time with the clash of cultures, religions, and values.

After reading Calico Captive, I wanted to read more by the same author. I found The Bronze Bow, also by Elizabeth George Speare. Unlike the author's other works, this one is not set in historic America, but back in the time of Jesus. Daniel is a young Jewish man who is an anti-Roman zealot. Eventually Daniel meets the Jewish carpenter and sees life very differently. A suspenseful story with themes of friendship, loyalty and community, this was my favorite book by this author.

The Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell is a very unique tale. Based on a true story from the 1800s, a young lady is left to fend for herself on a deserted island. In the same vein as Robinson Crusoe or Swiss Family Robinson, this young gal spends 18 years alone, waiting for a rescue boat. She crafts weapons and clothes, forages for food, and finds friends and pets among the creatures of the island. A very inspiring tale full of loss and learning and addresses interesting topics of culture and resources. 

The more I delve into great books, the more I find that are added to my wish list. There are so many great stories out there to inspire and encourage us. Have you read any great ones lately?    

Family Photo Friday

 Friday? Yes, please! I am glad to welcome the weekend again. Friday means that I post a few photos from our week. 

We have an impromptu game night about once a week. Dad and daughter played Mastermind (a code breaking game) while my son and I played Tumble.

My son with one of our preschool projects, from the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. The focus was on the difference between uppercase and lowercase letters. 

My hubby and daughter with one of their magnetic stix creations.

We had a good snowfall this week. Here you can see my husband with the snowblower out near the road and both my kids with shovels in the driveway. March usually means spring but here it still looks very much like winter!

Happy Friday to you! 

Goals for 2013


I know, it's March. 
And yes, I'm just now listing out a few of my goals for 2013

Discipline has already been key in a few areas of life. 

One of my goals for this year is to exercise regularly. That has translated into 30 minutes of exercise 6 days a week since the year began. I'm still at it and have been very faithful with it now that it's become a habit and a regular part of each day. It'd be nice to shed a few extra pounds, but my goal is to simply be healthier (which means to see my cholesterol come back down to a normal level). 

Another goal has been to memorize more Scripture. My friend Leah hopped on board with this and we've set a very large challenge for this year: memorize all of Romans 1, 8 and 15. We're 4 weeks into this challenge and so far so good. My 9-year-old daughter is doing this along with me, so we review and practice daily.  

Discipline. I'm seeing the need for it every day. I'm seeing my lack of it and how it has affected my past. So it's a new year, with new goals. Putting the past behind, I'm pressing on to new things.