July 31, 2016

July 2016 in Pictures

You definitely do not want to miss the July 2016 update. We were quite busy this month! 
We were welcomed to Bama with a gigantic bonfire!
 Yep, that's all SIX of us on ONE 4-wheeler!
 Church with Dad & MiMi
 On her outing with Aunt Nita & Uncle Bill for "Sky Day!"
 Crazy kiddo! 
 Swimming at Uncle Bennie's
She got a new Build-A-Bear. Meet DJ!

Skylar, Briella, Mom & PawPaw
We are getting all kinds of patriotic up in here these days!
 Watching the Olympic Trials #RoadToRio

15 pounds lost with THM!  
 Picking green beans in our garden!
 Skylar LOVES going to the eye doctor! 
Tour of Nashville Murals 
 We are the best moms ever!
This was one of our favorites! #WhatLiftsYou
 A little stop at the splash pad!
 Our kiddos letting their personalities shine!
On a hike to Foster Falls!  

Caught a glimpse of my Mini Me in the mirror!
 GROW Enrichment Summer Camp
 Love my voting helper! 
 Getting ready to ride the rapids in the creek!
 Thankful for a little R&R weekend with my girl before school starts back! 

July 2016 Update

A lot happened this month, as is typical for us in summer!

For starters, Baron went back to the breeder. This actually proved to be a very difficult choice but he just didn't mesh well with our family, lifestyle, and environment. I hate that it took us so long to come to this conclusion but it really is the best decision for all of us. Knowing his personality, the breeder is working to find a family that will be a much better fit for him. He has a pedigree for a strong working line (his litter mate is a police dog) and what we needed was a laid-back family pet. In the end, I think we all learned a lot from this situation.

Skylar and I spent 4th of July in Birmingham with my Dad as is our usual tradition. A few years ago, he let us off the hook for Thanksgiving and Christmas and asked if July 4th could be his holiday, which I thought was fantastic! We had a blast this year. There was a bonfire to welcome us, several 4-wheeler rides, trips to the creek, lightening bug hunting, fireworks, bubbles, and more! More July pics here.

Skylar stayed the rest of the week for Grandparent Camp and was able to get in some time with my mom, along with aunts, uncles, cousins, and more! I think she would have stayed another week if I would've let her.
While she was away, I completed my CPR and First Aid training! So glad to have that checked off my list. I also hit a weight loss goal this month. I've lost 15 pounds eating the yummiest food ever. And y'all know I only eat good food. The more I eat, the more I loose. Seriously. It's fantastic!

On one of the hottest days in July me and my best travel bestie traipsed our kiddos (and a few other kids too) all around Nashville for a mural tour. It was so much fun and the pics turned out great! I spent so much time and effort making our plan, that I decided to share. Check out the family-friendly Nashville mural map & plan.

After a busy month of travels and work, I was so thankful just to have a day just with my little family. We ventured down to Foster Falls for some hiking and swimming. It was pretty cool! 
Skylar was also able to go to Grow Enrichment camp the last week of July and had a blast. She came home telling me so many fun facts that she learned each day. They really have a great curriculum and method for making the information memorable. 
This weekend we snuck away for a little girl's trip. It was just what we needed to rest and recharge before barreling into August and getting ready to start back to school. We are so thankful for our friends and the time away.
Speaking of school, we are going to ease back in starting August 5th. Check out our 4th grade curriculum selections. I'm so excited!

More July 2016 pics here, and there are a bunch of them!

July 20, 2016

Family Friendly Nashville Mural Tour Plan

Me and my bestie traipsed our brood of children all over Nashville yesterday for some summer fun and a little culture too! Basically, we are awesome.

We had this idea to do a mural tour months ago. We even put it on our #SummerBucketList. I scoured the internet for a "plan" that would take us systematically around Nashville and tell me where to stop, eat, park, ect. Alas, it was not to be found so I put in several hours of research and planning to make my own. I didn't want all that hard work to go to waste so I'm sharing my delightful little plan with you all. 

Items to Note:
  1. We were a party of 10 and eight of our pack were children. 
  2. In light of number one, this plan is flexible. Meaning, if your crew is tuckering out you can skip stops. In fact, we did skip one stop and 2 murals. 
  3. Since we had lots of little people there are special treats thrown in like ice cream along with less expensive food like Subway. 
  4. Little bodies cooped up in the car in the middle of summer need opportunities to cool off and play so I built in a stop at the splash pad. Be sure to take a change of clothes. 
  5. Some murals are in close proximity so there is a little walking involved. 
  6. There are many more murals in Nashville by some fantastic artists. I selected a top 10 based on popularity and the personalities of our group. 

This plan includes 7 stops, 10 murals, and a skyline photo op. A star equals a new stop.

List of Murals:

  • Sunflowers
  • Hillsboro Dragon
  • Hillsboro Village
  • Field of Flowers
  • I Believe in Nashville
  • Draper James
  • What Lifts You
  • Home
  • East Nashville
  • Stay Tuned Nashville

The complete tour including a stop for ice cream, lunch, and spalsh pad would have taken our group about 6 hours. For a smaller group, you could easily get it done in 4-5. If you powered through with no stops for food/play I think you could get it done in 3-4.

I'd love to hear how your tour goes. What was your favorite mural of the day?

July 17, 2016

4th Grade Curriculum Choices

4th grade.  It seems like it's starting to get real now. I still remember limping through our first year thinking "surely I can't screw up 1st grade" and, honestly, you can't. Suddenly I'm a little more concerned and wanting to make sure I'm giving her a good foundation before we move towards middle school. At the moment, we have zero plans to return to public school but I feel a certain amount of pressure regardless.

With that being said, I really am super excited about our curriculum choices for this year.
SCIENCE - I adore Apologia more than I have words to express. We both LOVED the Swimming Creatures study from last year and I'm looking forward to the Astronomy study this year. Even I learned a TON of cool information.

MATH - We are sticking with Christian Light Education. You may remember that we backed up last year and did the 200 series (2nd grade) but we quickly worked our way through and were in the 300 series (3rd grade) by the end of the year. I'm hoping to use this year to catch all the way up. I'm undecided on whether I will continue to the 400 series or make a curriculum switch at that point. I really do love CLE but for a kiddo who is not a huge math fan, she finds it ultra repetitive and I have to agree. However, she has made major progress in math so it definitely works!

HISTORY - I'm looking forward to our first year of BiblioPlan. It overlays Biblical history with traditional history, which I think will be fascinating! I've never learned them simultaneously before. It also incorporates the geography and mapping as well.

LANGUAGE ARTS - Apologia has released a brand new comprehensive curriculum that covers language arts, grammar, spelling, and writing called Writers in Residence. I've been on the hunt for a good LA program since the beginning of our homeschooling journey and I'm hoping we've found it this year! The workbook was enormous and that was a little scary but I broke it apart and turned it into 4 smaller workbooks, which I think is going to work out great!

READING - Thankfully I have a kiddo who likes to read, so I will continue our same approach. She can read whatever she likes, but I'm definitely going to encourage some titles from this awesome list of top 100 children's novels.

BIBLE - We will continue our Action Bible Devotional this year along with some of Kim Sorgius' devotional workbooks. (Note: Visit her blog. She has a ton of amazing freebies!) Of course, there will be a good amount of Bible covered in Biplioplan as well.

HANDWRITING - I loved Pictures in Cursive last year and we will continue that again with Books B &C. The art work is beautiful and such an awesome bonus!

ART - I think we are dropping piano lessons this year. Skylar has lost interest (as did I when I was her age). Instead, I'm planning to use Art for Kids Hub. It's quick and easy art lessons online but the videos are very nicely done. It's FREE and I think she will really enjoy it since she likes arts & crafts so much.

CO-OP - Now that she's a little older we have also decided to do co-op for the first time. I have some friends who rave about Legacy Family Academy so we are going to give it a try. For the first semester, Skylar is signed up for Archery, Sewing, and Astronomy (to supplement our Apologia curriculum). I'm excited for her to have an opportunity to do some extra-curricular things and for us to network with other homeschool families.

OLYMPICS - OMG! I LOVE the Olympics and this is how we are kicking off our school year. In fact, our first day of school will be August 5th (date of the Opening Ceremony) and we plan to spend 2 weeks watching and learning about the Summer Olympics. There are so many neat ways to incorporate it into education. Geography, reading, history, graphs, life lessons, medal count, athlete study, arts, physical activity, and more! Check out my Olympics board on Pinterest for ideas.

Of course our year couldn't even start to begin without my trusty Blue Sky Planner. They are my absolute fave and I was so tickled to find this pattern in my favorite color this year. Between that and our Farm School Umbrella registration we are ready to go!

Happy homeschooling everyone!

 What grade are your kiddos in this year? What curriculum are you using?