Classical Conversations, Basketball, Busy Bags, and Other Mom Stuff

Caleb carved this shark in the coral reef onto foam board. Then he painted it and stamped it onto paper. This photo is of the foam board after using it to stamp the paper with the picture.

Caleb carved this shark in the coral reef on foam board. Then he painted it and stamped it onto paper. 

These are the kinds of fun things we get to do in Classical Conversations, our home school tutoring service and curriculum. Look closely at his picture to see if you can find the eel coming out of the coral. (Hint: middle-left, It’s a profile with an eye.)

Classical Conversations is a rigorous way to approach home schooling, but it is also fun. It has definitely raised the educational bar for us.


If you felt like you were reading the blog of a pitiful, dying woman in January and February, then I have good news for you!

I’m feeling better!

Going gluten free was my first step towards wellness. Now I’m also doing this Purification 21 day cleanse, which I’ll tell you more about soon, and I’m feeling even better. I haven’t lost a single pound, though. Ah, well. Go figure.

Plenty of happy things have been happening lately in school and sports and life in general, and of course you know I’m here to share all that.

First, let’s talk about home school.

I’m well aware that I have not been much of a home school blogger this year, so let me show ya a tad bit of what we’ve been up to lately without upsetting my big boys with over-share, of course…

home schooling with classical conversations

because sitting down is overrated, apparently

home school with classical conversations

Voluntarily reading the Bible! This kid knows how to make his momma smile!!

home school with CC

With our CC curriculum, the boys learn 5 new geographical locations to map out every week, which we practice everyday.

Last year we mostly traced a dry erase map, but actually drawing out the map locations every day has helped them learn it better. This particular map went along with our history lesson on the advanced (native) civilizations of Mesoamerica.

preschool homeschool

Dan and JD aren’t in CC yet. They are sorting colors and letters in their egg crates. (Thank you, Amy!)

The boys have an aunt who is crafty and extremely teacher oriented. She makes these off-the-chain busy bags, and THEN she ever so kindly shares them with us!! So exciting! She puts these kits together, complete with instructions and personalized details, and sends them to us in the mail!

Thank you, Amy!!!

homeschool with CC

We’re memorizing all of the helping verbs as well as all of the prepositions this year in grammar for CC.

home school with classical conversations

See! They do sit and work sometimes!

home school with classical conversations

Super proud mom moment. I took the boys to the park, and Caleb brought along a book to read. It was one of those unusually perfect days, in which the boys played and shared and helped each other out so perfectly (In public!!!) that I got to look like Mom of the year. Thank you, boys.


home school with classical conversations

We’re in earth science for this part of Cycle 1. (I liked life science better, but it all must be covered.)

home school with classical conversations

I got especially excited about this one because he beat the timer.

home school with classical conversations

This is another one of Amy’s incredible busy bags. Um, hello? They even have our pictures on them, and of course, they are laminated.

No, she doesn’t sell them, but if she ever decides to open shop, you can bet I will sell them for her right here.

But you know we are not just academic here. Allow me to share this winter’s big passion:

home school with classical conversations

Yes. This is my basketball necklace.


Did you know that Alan coached a team this year, a team that both Joshua and Caleb got to play on? And did you also know that we won almost all of our games?

home school with classical conversations

That’s Joshua with the ball.

Most importantly, both boys had a blast, made new friends, learned a great deal about basketball and how to play it, got tons of exercise, and grew in confidence!! (I was most excited about that last part!)

Joshua, passing to Caleb

Joshua scored so many times, and Caleb made a few baskets as well. They were both energized and highly involved, and it was such a pleasure to watch them play.


Caleb, keeping it high


Coach Dads

Alan is that unusually experienced and exciting coach that every parent or kid would want to have, unless having snack is important to you. Alan’s stance on snack: “If someone wants to organize snacks, that’s fine. I’m not going to, but feel free.” And you know what? No one did, and I don’t think anyone missed snacks.  Fun season!



Of course, now it’s time to move on to baseball, but don’t worry. I already have two baseball charms ready for my necklace and my bracelet.


Hope everyone has a fabulous week, whether we like the election results or not!

When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.” C. S. Lewis

Our Pack of Wolves

cub scouts.jpgscouts

Ferocious looking, aren’t they?  ; )

The difference between these boys from the beginning of 1st grade as “Tiger Cubs” to right now, 3/4 of the way through their “wolf” year is amazing.  We really are seeing them grow up right before our eyes.  Tigers are like sweet, frisky little puppies compared to these guys.  Wolves are on a whole other level.  I’m so proud of everything they are accomplishing.

Cub Scouts is an organization that does a lot of great things.  We’d like to think that even without it we’d be sure to teach our boys to organize road side clean up, build things with wood, operate a flag pole, and participate in races and such, but let’s face it, that just doesn’t always happen.  Being involved in cub scouts ensures that we follow through!

The boys love it because so many of their friends are involved.  We love it for the learning opportunities.

I also love how involved the dads are!!!  Many of my girl friends and I LOVE having at least ONE activity that our husbands handle with the kids, rather than us having to do everything.  Of course, we all pitch in when necessary, as Courtney had to do this weekend, but it’s so nice when you don’t have to.

We owe a BIG THANK YOU to our leaders!!!  Mark and Eddie do an outstanding job with this Wolf den.  They both put in a lot of work to set our boys up with exciting activities. I about fell over when I saw how well Mark had them all seated around a table at their first meeting this year.  Amazing!!!  It takes a lot of work to lead a den this size, and we are all so thankful ya’ll are taking that on for us!

 I don’t have any Tiger photos in this post, but I want to thank Alec and Larry as well.  That job is like herding cats, and our leaders are doing such a great job and have managed it with an incredible amount of patience. Caleb is enjoying it so much.  We really appreciate all you are doing.

  This Saturday, Alan took his camera to Joshua’s den meeting.  They got a LOT done this weekend.


First, they learned about caring for and raising the flag and actually got to take turns doing it!!

flagraising joshuaflag

That’s our Joshua, in the camouflage jacket, getting a turn at the flag pole.


Uh-oh.  Dad’s got the camera again…


After a very well planned and executed flag raising tutorial, Mark taught the boys all about different tools and then they got to actually use the tools when they all made their own bird houses.

building carson workingscouts goggles alanjoshua IMG_2705 IMG_2707

After the boys built their bird houses, they had to prove they met stringent local area building standards!  Ha!


The boys nervously await their turn for inspection….


Oh, yeah, guess who else got to tag along?  Daniel.  Since he brought Pringles with him, he was quite popular.


Joshua, with his finished product! …Oh yeah, we’ve been working on our ‘picture smile,’ but don’t coach him at go-time, or the results will be disastrous.



Once the bird houses were complete, the den did some road side litter removal.  Thanks, wolves!!!


They even had the proper safety gear, as any good scout would. (Thanks again, leaders!!!)

goodscouts IMG_2727

Check out the smiles on their faces.  Alan said they actually cracked up pretty hard because one of them found a DIAPER.  bleh.

laughing IMG_2729 leader cleanup wolves dan plans

They even covered house plans.  Today:  bird feeders.  Tomorrow:  high rise apartment buildings.  ; )

learning dadgroup

They might not admit it, but I think scouting is fun for the dads too.



Joshua happily came home and answered all of Caleb’s questions about it.  It was really sweet to behold the older brother, passing on the lessons he’d learned that day to his younger brother.  Joshua has always seen it as his responsibility to guide his little brothers right along with him on the path to manhood.

Cub scouts truly are great men in training, and I’m so thankful my boys have gotten to be a part of such a great pack.  We will miss you all so much when we move!

Little boys are great men in training.

What?  Doesn’t everyone scribble on their bed with purple marker?
Bet you can’t guess who did that…yep, it was him.  I was sitting right next to him when he did it too.   Oh well, a person only has so many eyeballs.  Perhaps the marker will wash out.

Oh, and guess what!  He finally has a tooth poking through.  Now he’s teething on everything like crazy, and of course, waking up at night.
  There’s a reason I’m always a little grumpy and sleep deprived.  Give me a year, and hopefully I’ll be a smiley person again.

play time with brothers

Never knock the whole “involved modern dad” thing.  It is WONDERFUL.  You hear all the stories of how our granddads came home and read their paper.  I guess the iPad is the new “paper”, so if you look at it that way, modern dads do that too…….but so do I.
Actually, we run our ship in a pretty traditional fashion since I am a stay-at-home mom (and aspiring writer, too..)  It works for us this way.  Each family has their own circumstances.
  The great thing about Alan is that he’s not afraid to pile every single kid that wants to go with him in the car to go get groceries. (Goodness knows I don’t want to go out in the 15 degree weather).  He often fixes breakfast for the boys, and my favorite thing—he almost ALWAYS cleans up supper!!!
   ….all in addition to working long hours at the office.  God bless him!!
  Alan also always ends up being the “coach” of sports teams and such.  He’s that guy.  Part of this is my fault.  You’re filling out the sign up form, and it requires you to sign up for a volunteer position.  If you DON’T volunteer, you get charged a fee!!
  I take a deep breath, click the assistant coach bubble, and Alan has yet to complain.
  He’s done the head coach position before too.  Turns out that that actually does require a lot more work!
  When Alan is head coach, he’s less available when I need him, plus it provides more stress, so that’s really punishing myself, so I click “assistant coach.”
  Somehow one of the moms always gets stuck coaching, whether they really want to or not.  What does that say about us really?  Come on dads!
Say whatever you want, but the fact is that the boys love having a male coach.  They rarely have male teachers, not at school nor at church.  Everywhere they go, they are surrounded by women leaders.  They YEARN for the leadership of men.
  Little boys aren’t training to be great women.  They’re training to be great men, and so they need lots of examples.
  Thank you, Alan, for being one of those.

I wonder if they know how lucky they are to have Alan.  I try to remember to tell them from time to time.

You know, if we lived on a farm, which I doubt we ever will, that’s just not who we are, the boys would get to do a lot more of that outdoor stuff that they so long to do.
  As it is, they are lucky to get to bag leaves and shovel snow.  Most of the time, they go from being stuck indoors all day (real recess is over with the winter weather), sitting in desks (which, as it turns out, really isn’t a little boy’s forte),  and then they go home to do more homework.
  They need the opportunities to get outside and flex that super-active component that God gave them and learn by experimenting.  I’ve noticed that boys love that.
  I’m always looking for ways to squeeze in outdoor time.  This week we had only one day that the temperatures got up to 50 degrees.  I bundled up the babies, plopped them in the jogger, and walked to the school to get the “big” boys.  (None of them are really big).  Then we all went to the park.  The babies stayed inside the stroller, but Joshua and Caleb never seemed to notice the cold.  They were all over that park with the sticks and what snow remained.
  I finally had to leave because Dan was so cold, and JD was starting to fuss, and Joshua and Caleb were so reluctant to leave.
  That’s one thing I’m excited about with our move to the west.  We will be in a warmer area than here, so they should get to play outdoors more.
I had to wake them up from their naps.  JD was fine with it, but Dan wanted to go back to bed.
Meanwhile, you can’t say I’m not teaching them to do chores:

Wash those dishes, boy!  : )

2 most popular toys ever for little boys:  the stick (not pictured) and the ball.  JD is so jealous of Dan’s little basketball.  He just begged and begged Dan for it, and Dan would try to roll it to him for a while, but Dan wasn’t about to give up that basketball.

I was tidying up the basement yesterday, I do this every day now that I have it fixed the way I like it, and I found this fort set up with these words on the easel:
Knowing Joshua, that was probably his team name, his team being he, Drake, and Caleb
……and of course, they had a plan of some sort..

See, this boy knows all about cooking and cleaning.  Now he just needs Daddy to teach him about basketball, mending fences, and changing tires!

We have to sub sun-butter for peanut butter, which I think is disgusting.  Thankfully, Dan is a big fan.

He really is my best helper ever.

No bake cookies!
recipe to come soon!  This is the perfect thing to make with kids.

keeping Dan busy…

…..because this is what happens when he’s not busy….
In the winter, there are few opportunities to climb rocks, so boys must find ways to do what they do best….gotta keep ’em busy!!!

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