Friday, September 19, 2014

Things That Make Me Smile 9/19/14

Jake (8½), Alyssa (6), Zac (4½), Tyler (2)

Happy Friday! Last week I talked about Tyler and his not taking naps. This week, I got him to nap 2 days! (Hey, it's a big deal, haha.) Also, he got to take a turn spending the night with Gramma and Papa all by himself for the very time. He was so excited. Leighton set up 2 new big bookcases in the basement, so the other 3 kids and I spent the day organizing. So much fun! Lots of reasons to Smile.

1. Zac: "Remember when Ty gave me a bloody nose?'
Alyssa: "I remember it like it was yesterday."
Me: "It was yesterday."

2. Alyssa, looking at a loaf of pumpkin bread that I made: "That is a work of art."

3. Zac: "Mmm, dinner smells good."
Me: "Thank you, but I've barely started cooking yet."
Zac: "It smells cold."


5. Zac, playing the Wii: "Jake, you're the best boxer in the whole wide world!"
Alyssa: "Other than God."
Zac: "Mmhmm."

6. Jake, telling me about a book he was reading: ". . . And it's getting really exciting!"

7. Zac:"Where's Ty?"
Me: "At Gramma's."
Zac: "I miss him." 

8. Alyssa: "Mine has double much."
Jake: "Double much? Now you're talking like Zac."


10. Jake: "I've never seen somebody take a better picture than Grandma."

11. Alyssa, because Zac was being silly: "Oh, brother."
Zac: "I'm not your brother."

12. Zac: "Is that Spanish?"
Jake: "No, it's English."
Zac: "What's English?"

13. Zac: "We have everything except some things."

What made you Smile this week?

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Things That Make Me Smile 9/12/14

Jake (8½), Alyssa (6), Zac (4½), Tyler (2)

Happy Friday! It's hard to believe another week has passed so quickly. We're two weeks into our new school year. Things have been going well. Tyler has conveniently decided the last two weeks that he no longer needs naps, so it's been . . . interesting, trying to juggle schooling while keeping up with him. Never a dull moment.

I hope you've had a fun, smile-filled week! 

1. Zac: "Mom, I love you! I just spotted lightning!"
Me: "I love you, too. Lightning reminds you that you love me?"
Zac: "Yep."

2. Alyssa: "I think I just heard a bee."
Zac: "Oh, that was just my tummy."

3. Jake: "I want to marry a princess."
Me: "And why's that?"
Jake: "I want to be king!"

4. We moved Tyler out of the crib and into the toddler bed. 

5. Watching Leighton sitting on the couch playing a racing game on his iPad with all 4 children crowding around and cheering him on.  

6. Every time Tyler says "excuse me" it sounds more like "goose me." I always feel obliged to honor his request.

7. Jake, proudly: "My socks stink! Wanna smell them?"
Me: "Ewe, no."
Jake: "Hey, Ty-Ty, my socks stink. Wanna smell them?"
Tyler smells the socks.

8. Leighton surprised me with some presents.

9. Alyssa: "What's a throw pillow?"
Jake: "It's a pillow someone throws so if someone else is falling or something they have some place safe to land."

10. Jake: "We come from a very important family. Our ancestors were Vikings."
Alyssa: "One of our ancestors was a grandma."

What made you Smile this week?
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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Under Drake's Flag

Do your children like adventure, pirates, and audio books? Do you appreciate captivating entertainment with strong Christian morals? Then this review is for you!

Our family loves read-alouds. I've mentioned dozens of times how the kiddos will sit and listen to various novels for hours on end. I love reading them quality literature and sharing that time with them. Not only does it teach them life lessons, it also introduces them to new vocabulary. The only problem is that I don't always have the time to spend the day reading. (Sometimes life just isn't fair, ha.) We love to incorporate audio books and dramas into our days. Whether we're folding clothes, driving in the van, or just needing some downtime, audio books are perfect. This one from Heirloom Audio Productions is no exception.

I made sure to pack Under Drake's Flag when we went on vacation a couple weeks ago. Audio books are perfect for passing the time on long road trips, especially with 4 young kids in tow. We decided to head to the Smithsonian National Zoo with Leighton's sister and her family while were were in the area. That morning drive was the perfect time to listen to the approximately 2-hour production.
Under Drake's Flag is a theater-quality production based on the novel with the same name, written by G.A.Henty. As soon as the CD started playing, the kids asked to drop down the TVs in the van. Between the music, the quality of the actors reading the lines, and the background sounds (wind blowing, waves crashing, guns firing, birds chirping, etc.), it sounds like a movie production, and a good one at that. It's easy to visualize the scenes: pirates swabbing the deck, fierce storms raging, men fighting for their lives. We were immediately pulled into the story. 

Ned Hawkshaw is easily someone that would make little boys jealous. He embarks on a great adventure on the ship of Sir Francis Drake. Along the way, he fights off a shark attack, saves a woman from drowning, survives a shipwreck, engages in fierce battles, and gets caught up in the Spanish Inquisition. He also learns firsthand of the faith of Captain Drake and discovers what it means to truly trust in God. Ned grows from a boy into a man, from a servant into a leader. His faith is tested, but he remains strong. Set in the time of the great naval battles between the English fleet and the Spanish Armada, there is plenty of adventure along the way.

Under Drake's Flag costs $29.95 (+$6.95 shipping and handling). The 2-CD set comes with a convenient study guide pamphlet filled with review questions, ideas to get you thinking deeper, and vocabulary words. Along with the set, you'll also receive 4 free bonuses: MP3 download of the story, the complete e-study guide (much more in depth than the pamphlet), the MP3 soundtrack (contains all original music by Emmy-winning composer John Campbell, who also composed the score for The Chronicles of Narnia), and a beautiful printable copy of Drake's Prayer.   

The audio production is ideal for ages 6-adult, but our entire family enjoyed listening to it. Of course, the little ones didn't quite understand everything, I'm sure, but it's never too early to introduce quality literature. This will be a story that we reference throughout the years.

If you'd like to see what other homeschool families thought of this production, you can read more reviews at the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

Crew Disclaimer
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Friday, September 5, 2014

Things That Make Me Smile 9/5/14

 Jake (8½), Alyssa (6), Zac (4½), Tyler (2)

Happy Friday! We went on vacation last week and had a wonderful time. We spent some time with distant family, visited Washington, D.C., enjoyed swimming in the pools, and even got to relax a little. Most importantly, we made many memories as a family and had multiple reasons to Smile.

One thing that doesn't make me smile this week is that I was having trouble with the internet and lost a few of my Smiles for this week. I had typed them, thought the post saved, and discovered today that they're gone. Of course, I can't remember them now. It just proves to me again how important it is to write things down, to keep a log. And it makes me grateful for the lists I do have. 

Now, let's Smile!


1. Zac: "I hope the spider doesn't poisonous us."

2. Alyssa, while being tucked into bed: "I love being homeschooled. It's so much fun."

3. Zac, while watching a cricket and accidentally stepping on it: "I guess my shoes are faster than it!" 


5. Alyssa, after listening to Leighton read about how cottontails visit their litters only twice a day and nurse for just 5 minutes: "That is not a very good mother."

6. Zac: "If Santa was real, he'd be one of my biggest heroes."

7. Zac: "That's the stinkiest horse I ever met."

8. Me: "I want someone to help you with that, Ty-Ty."
Tyler: "No, Ty-Ty help Ty-Ty."

9. Zac, looking at a Lego magazine: "You know which Lego sets I want? That one, and that one, and that one, and that one, and that one, and that one, and that one,and that one. And that one. And this one. And all of these."
Me: "Is there a Lego set you don't want?"
Zac: "Ummm . . . uh . . . uhh . . . nope."


11. Jake: "In my dream, I pulled out my tooth, and it looked like a Lego."

12. Leighton: "Hey, who took my spot?"
Zac, sitting in Leighton's seat: "Ask Alyssa."

What made you Smile this week?

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