Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Join in the wordless fun!!!
Head over to Wordless Wednesday for more!

TreeHouse SchoolHouse Accountability Update!

We struggled through math today while our snack was cooking. Oh the sweet smell of cresent rolls to a 5th graders nose!
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Our homeschool update, which keeps me accountable.

Math has been going good. Plugging away at our Saxon math. I've added multiplication quizzes to Night Owls schedule and realized we have missed the last 2 tests for Early Bird... oops?!

Still reading, reading, reading. Reading has been big huge GIGANTIC for us this year. We've mostly read about the history of Asia and Africa. Did you know the Chinese kept silk a secret for over 3,000 years! Tradition says that it was an Empress who discovered silk while strolling through the mulberry bushes. A silk worm cocoon fell into her hot tea and began to unravel, ta-dah the birth of silk! The boys are each reading a chapter book, and we will start a 30/30 challenge on March 1st. read for 30 minutes a day for 30 days and receive a prize. Hey I am not against bribery in this situation.

Bible. Well this week I have nothing on the books. Yikes! Not good for someone who's original homeschool goal for each day was to simply do Bible. I need to get back into our study of the prophets, that'll be my goal for next week. I'm thinking for now we'll pull out our conflict resolution book and move on in that. Check it out it's called The Young Peacemaker.

Writing. Night Owl is still plugging away at bringing his writing down to a smaller size and using the English alphabet and not some made up one between him and his buddies. Early Bird has inherited his father's beautifully scary writing style and will be writing a letter to Mimi in New Hampshire this week. How precious that has been. He never liked writing worksheets, or any worksheet for that matter, so he has written letters for "writing" since kindergarten. He and hubby's mom have developed a neat relationship via the good old snail mail.

So that wraps up reading/writing/arithmetic for TreeHouse SchoolHouse this week. I'll report back next week.

Until then remember what Mark Twain said "I never let me schooling interfere with my education."

Monday, February 26, 2007

What Words Do I Have?

My original post for today was going to be about the wonderful Beth Moore simulcast I attended on Saturday but a recent e-mail kind of changed my thoughts.

A close friend of ours died this past Saturday. We just got news of it today via e-mail from his wife. Vince was 38 years old and was Steve's mentor in teaching. So today I dedicate this blog to Vince:

Nothing like the sweet sound of the disc hitting the basket
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Our favorite snowman
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No one could lay on in the basket like you.
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We'll miss your game face Vince, here's a little reminder.
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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wired For God

I'm a lifeguard at our churches Wednesday night Middle School Youth Group. We called out Wednesday night group WIRED! Not only are they a wired up bunch of kids but also we truly want them to be wired to God. We're in a series on prayer and after spending and hour as one group we break off into smaller groups. I have a group of 7th grade girls.

Here's part of an e-mail I sent out talking about last night at Wired.

Also small group time keeps getting better.
All the girls participated in the conversation. They ALL prayed! That rocked! Also I brought in my stack of index size cards that have Bible verses written on them. Last week and this week they asked why they never heard from God. I explained some different ways that God speaks but they just weren't getting it- until tonight. As soon as I put the cards out I saw the girls going like crazy digging through them and reading them. Each one had something to say. Like "Oh I need this one!" or "Yep this is for me" I also heard a "Look Ms Michelle, it's what you've been telling me, "be kind and compassionate" " They each took 2-3 cards. I will admit I sat there panicked for a moment because I was watching my beloved verses get snatched away, then I remembered my girls were taking home Bible verses, my girls we taking home Bible verses, I'm not sure anyone heard MY GIRLS ARE TAKING HOME BIBLE VERSES!!.....

I them sat them down and said "See you all just heard from God!"

I just love how God works. I love to see Him begin to work a young girls heart. To open her eyes to His ways and to things in her life that are not pleasing to God. I love the fact that one girl had a "spiritual" question and her peer could answer in a way that lines up with God's Word. I've seen my group of girls do all of the above, I've watched them grow over the past 2 years and it's truly amazing. I continue to lift them up and place them in God's hands, they battle daily in a world that wants nothing more than to snatch them into it's dark pit. I pray that God would capture their hearts, that they would have hearts after the things of God. I'll also continue to feed them lots of junk food at way to late an hour on school nights. I listen when they call to cry over some boy or yell about a friendship gone wrong. For some crazy reason I'll continue to take them places as a group in public and hope we don't get kicked out for laughing too loud or having too much fun!

God rocks and I'm so glad He's given me this opportunity to share in the lives of His children!

The pictures of the kids making banners of God's attributes. We're going to sew them all together into a quilt/wallhanging.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Someone Take My Temperature

I love my boys. I just do. They rock!

I love the fact that I still go on their word about household things without checking it out. For instance I was instructed about a week and a half ago that we were out of plain white paper. You know, printer paper, the kind kids love to draw on and moms use for their Bible Study and homeschool. I made it about 3 days on scrounging up crinkled paper stuck in drawers, or in notebooks, some missing a corner, others with a shoe print on them. Then I went to lined paper, you know the college ruled or wide ruled kind; our houses posseses both kinds, at cheap, cheap during back to school days- we buy a ton.
So finally I decide it's time. The time has come for us to go to Wal-mart, a store we visit like as little as possible, unless of course a new shipment of Bionicles has come in. So before I head out I decide that it's also time for me to check for any more NEW paper in the house. SO I go to the office supply dresser, which is not only an old dresser but also it is in the Lego room while the computer is in the office. So I make it to the paper drawer, open it and VIOLA! ONE BRAND NEW PACKAGE OF PAPER AND A HALF EMPTY OPENED ONE!!!!!

I just love that! The guys in my house can't find things. No matter what it is or who's it is, they are not good at looking for things. I also find it hilarious that I believe them. For whatever, strange messed up reason I believe them.

mom, from her office: "does anyone see my phone on the bar?"
boys: "no"
mom: "can you look?"
they look for a few minutes, mom hears some commotion out there

boys: "we don't see it anywhere."
mom leaves office walks to bar, lift up one thing and finds her phone.

It's situations like that, that remind me how special it is to live with all guys!

My friends with all girls just can't imagine it.

Extreme Days videos. That's another thing I love about my boys. I'm not sure if I should enjoy these or not. See for yourself and tell me, would you be nervous. After all one day they'll figure out to pull a wheely while going off the jump, or that our roof really isn't hat hard to get on, or that the grocery cart will go faster on the tar road 60 feet away. I don't know? Something about the genius/creativity of the boys making a video, cut and paste, music. something screams homeschool* - computer lesson!! So yes that's what these videos are,

a Treehouse SchoolHouse

* this would be an example of how we live our homeschool

Friday, February 16, 2007

And I Thought a Trip to Best Buy Would Be Quick

So we decided to go to Best Buy last night. Steve needed to look at laptops and when he said he was going I asked if we could go with! We load up, grabed a bit to eat and headed to Daytonie.

So there we are tootling along when I look at the sidewalk and see a couple, decked out in something Nascar, walking by the Waffle House. Now the Waffle House is far from the speedway so it caught my attention. Then I see a family walking, also dressed in all one color- the give away for race fan! Next another family, then a whole herd of people, then we came to a stop. A dead stop. The light was green but there was no where to go so we sat and sat and sat. The it hit me.... it's race week and the Best Buy closest to our home is in DAYTONA!!! There's an unspoken rule in this neck of the woods and it goes something like this: If a race is going on avoid Daytona Beach at all costs. We of course do not follow racing and find ourselves visiting the speedway area every time there's a race there!

Not that waiting in traffic was enough, we then decided to take a short-cut around. Bad, bad, bad. The short cut was even worse, we sat still for 25 minutes, 25 minutes of going NOWHERE!! We turned around and eventually made it to Best Buy where the parking lot was packed and like 6 people were in the store!

Our trip home was fairly uneventful as we took the alternate route that had been revealed to me when I worked the races a few years back. Yes we have ways around all you tourists who flock to Florida each year, it's a local secret, so please come and continue to dump millions upon millions of dollars into our economy.

Not that that was enough but today I had told the boys and their friends that we could visit the flea market. I told them this BEFORE I realised it was race week. Craziness, people it was craziness up there! The flea market is big and when these type of events come they expand the whole thing with tents and trailers and cars and trucks, we had to park in like Georgia just to get in. We made out way to Video Dungeon, the best gaming store on the east coast I might add, where the boys traded games, sold games and dickered with the vendors trying to get a deal on something. I could hear all their pockets screaming "give me a deal on anything, just let me spend all my money here!!"

So that was the last few days around here. Next time I decide to go to Daytona I'm going to check, is there a race going on? Oh wait a minute I'm going again tonight, for dinner, and yes there is a race. I need some help.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Our Current State of School

Homeschooling a tweenager and a teenager has certainly posted it's challenges. First of all I still can't believe I have kids this old, not that they're old but you know what I mean.

After last year, which was perhaps the worst homeschool year of ALL TIMES!! We have gotten into a grove this year and it's been great! OK, OK, so I'm getting over a bit of burnout, but I just love how God takes my memories and sugarcoats them with His grace.

Here's what we've found that works. Early Bird is doing Switched on Schoolhouse for his language arts, history, science. He's using Saxon math and the D.I.V.E. CD's. Bible is taught by yours truly and writing comes from his language arts curriculum and writing to his grandparents in lands afar! If you've known me for any time you know I was always leery of computer based school programs. I just felt like I wasn't homeschooling if they sat in front of a computer all day; I have always liked the time spent. Anyway this is a new thing this year and it rocks! Early Bird is able to work at his own pace and get his work done early. He likes to get up with dad at 5:30am, sit at the dinning table and have devotions with dad before starting his schoolwork and laying back down for a nap from about 7-9am. He then wakes up around 9am and finishes his schoolwork by lunch! It is so sweet because he's learning to be self-sufficient, self-paced and he's getting it done! Not to say I don't get the occasional weekly monthly occasional plea for a day off or a "can I skip math today?". Overall God's really put a neat sense of git 'er done in that boy.

The there's my tween, good ol' Night Owl. Night Owl burns the wick at night that's for sure. Since bedtime is 9pm for him he has found this time works for his reading and writing. Currently he's reading the book of 1 Samuel and writing down everything that David did. I am always touched by David's faith and trust in God, looking at a huge giant, David, a boy, knew that his God was bigger than anything that came against him. He fought Goliath knowing he'd win, very inspiring as I run this race of life. Anyway, back to Night Owl who is busy writing down everything he can possibly find on the events of David's life. The next day we write the list on a newer, cleaner piece of paper in our "best" handwriting. For Night Owl it's Saxon math , only I teach it to him. For Science and history we are reading History of the World, adding new events to our TreeHouse SchoolHouse timeline weekly. He is also participating, half heartedly, in a computer programing class online. I find I'm enjoying it more than him right now.

So that's a brief summary of what's going on in our little homeschool neck of the woods. I'd love to hear about your homeschool adventure. Leave a comment and I'll check it out.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Bloggity Book Club

I am so excited about this! Go over to BooMama's for more info on this new book club!
The first book is
I bought it with my Christmas money this year! I am almost finished and am looking forward to discussing it on March 9th. I hope you all can join in too! Also head over to Robin's site, as she will be the first host.
Happy Reading!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

TreeHouse SchoolHouse

Train yourselves to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
1Timothy 4:7b-8

Homeschool. The word brings out emotions and thoughts of all different kinds. For some it's a good thing, the best thing, something they wish they "could" do or did do, but for others it's the impossible, it's what crazy people do, for us it's our life. It's how we live day to day. It's how we've lived for the past 9 years.

I have a few friends who are teetering on the edge of homeschooling. Part of me wants to shake them and say "Yes, home school, get your kids out of that public school, bring them home close to you and enjoy them, enjoy them, do you hear me ENJOY THEM!!" Then the other part of me slows down and remembers not to push my thoughts onto my friends, after all I've worked like 32 years to get friends and I don't want to mess it up now!

So with having a lot of homeschool questions thrown at me, and struggling with a bit of homeschool burnout myself, I've stepped back at looked at our homeschool, the whys and the what's about it and I'm brought back to a few truths the Lord gave me several years ago.

The first is why I homeschool. This is what I tell my friends, know why you want to homeschool. Your why is important, it's what has brought me through dead spots in our schooling before and it's what will bring me through now. I believe it's perhaps the most important aspect of homeschooling outside of Christ. I revisited my why this past week and I realized where I was at on our journey was a lot closer to where I wanted to be than where I had perceived we were at. I believe I was called by God to homeschool my children so verses like Hebrews 10:35-36 and Psalm 138:8 encourage me to continue on each day.

The second is a matter of trusting God. "Trust me child", he so often whispers to me. I can often get caught up in the big picture of educating my kids and begin to feel inadequate or a failure; then I am reminded to "not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" Matthew 6:34. If I stick to the task at hand today then tomorrow will work out fine, next year, fine, in 5 years, things will be fine. Trust God with my today, be diligent in my work for Christ, do not shrink back and be destroyed, but believe and be saved (from Hebrews 10:39).

The third thing the Lord has shown me when it comes to homeschooling is don't be afraid of change. If somethings not working, a curriculum, a schedule, an anything then it's OK to change. Just because I thought something would work out doesn't mean it will and that's OK. We've ditched curriculum's, extra-curricular activities, park days, enrichment days, you name it, we've tried it and most likely we've gotten rid it! I had a hard time with this at first because there was a sense of failure attached to "quitting", then it hit me one day, it's not failure and I have to do what's best for my homeschool! My children are uniquely made by God and so our weeks reflect that uniqueness.

With high school 2 years away and our personal decision around here to send our boys "out" to public school, I find myself reflecting on my why in homeschool a lot. When I was a teenager, just 16, I really felt called to homeschool up until high school. When I met hubs he too felt the same way. As those years get closer I begin to doubt that, I begin to look at the world and I want to keep my children home, with me where they are safe. I visit my why often reminding myself what I believe the Lord called me to do and then I'm reminded it is not I who keep them safe, but God, it is not I who will speak truth into their lives when faced with a tough decision, it is the Holy Spirit, it is not I who died to save my children, but Christ. So it it to God that I give my boys, and with them in Christ's hands I can be at peace.

FYI: TreeHouse SchoolHouse is our homeschool name and 1 Timothy 4:7-8 is our school verse and motto.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

6 Beach Bums and a Lifeguard

This afternoon I took my 6 girls from Wednesday night youth group "Wired" to the boardwalk! It was a blast! It was also a story on how we got there- our first choice had been rollerskating only to find the rink isn't open on Wednesdays. next was ice skating only to learn the rink was still under construction and ot openein til Friday! So we hit the Boardwalk and was a God thing!

The girls had a chance to have free time withone another. They broke into 2 groups of 3, the "Mean Girls" group and the "I'm just glad to be here group". Although very different, they all have two things that bring them together, one good, one not-so-good. The first is Jesus, He brings these girls to His house each Wednesday night and then blesses me with the opportunity to hang with them. They think I'm old! I love it, I'm only 32 and they say "Ms Michelle, you're so ... old!!!"- I just love it!! Plus- all my life I hear how I look much younger than I am so it's kinda fun being the "old" one!

The other thing that brings them together is their music. I let them listen to their music this time. My rule: no radio, CD's and MP3's only. If I don't like the song I move on, but for the most part I listen; I like to see what their world is like; interesting it is, but really it's not that much different than when I was a kid, or when any of us were kids. It's about sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. So my new mission, should I choose to accept it, is to help these girls switch over to Christian music. After listening today I'll start with T-Bone. He was our cross-over musician. After seeing T-Bone in The Rock Opera Hero, with Michael Tait and Rebecca St. James, we bought one of his CD's and then it was Toby Mac and KJ52, LA Symphony (not a real symphony Aunt B, I know you were somewhat excited to think I would listen to some good music *hehe*). Anyway, my point, I'm going to give them each a Christian CD and challenge them to listen to it, once a day or week- still not sure of that.

I remember what my mother always said "Garbage in, garbage out"- Oh how I hated it, but how things have changed, I like it now, I totally get it! So that it what I pray will be a factor for Christ in these girls lives, new information getting feed to their minds.

I'm claping little claps to myself because I am so excited to see God work in these girls lives. Jesus Rocks!

Matthew 13:15 For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.

Lord, may You begin to rub away these girls calloused lives. That they would hear You and see You O' Lord, may they know Your glory! Amen
And one more music I'm really into Ginny Owens (she's not hip hop or rap), check her out!
I think we do the peace sign 'cause we think we gangstas?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

50 FREE Dates!

Shalee over at Shalee's Diner has this great idea today! Go over for yourself and check itout!

We are the King and Queen of Cheap Dates Around Here, when you marry as teenagers, have kids and put yourself through college you kind of have to be, so here goes:
Babysitting, first of all if you have a child old enough- jump on that train and let them babysit for free-
Grandparents are the next free babysitters and of course swapping with a friend for free sitting is another great way.

With that aside now on to the date!
Our favorite has always been a bookstore- not Barnes and Noble but a used bookstore, where we sit on the floor and read tons of books and if you live near this one you may get to hear Mr. J.D. Salinger come in and complain about the high price of a used copy of Catcher in the Rye. But we've been instructed not to list bookstore dates so here we go, again.

We're all for daytime dates!

1. We visit local historic sites, if you see a brown sign- pull over!

2. Hike- we loved hiking ski mountains in the summer and riverwalks where they exist!

3. Walk the beach

4. Geocaching

5. Drives through the countryside, with a picnic lunch and the top down window open and no destination in mind

6. Sadly we've listened to time share to get free tickets to a theme park, packed a lunch and visited Universal Islands of Adventure for FREE

7. I've helped the kids set a table in our living room with candles and tablecloth and helped them make and serve dinner to us, feed the kids first and then they get to watch movies and play video games in the next room for as long as they wanted to give us quiet time (this is my favorite)

8. Lay out on the roof or front yard, or on the trampoline and star gaze

9. Last weekend we got together with 3 other couples, locked our kids in the basement and enjoyed a couples game night! We enjoyed it so much we are planning to make it a monthly thing.

10. Museums are fun! Check to see if they charge a flat fee or have a suggested fee. When we were in NYC we would visit the Museum of Natural History for whatever cash we could afford, how's $2.50 for 2 people sound?!

11. Dessert and coffee

12. Dollar movies

13. Send kids to grandparents and enjoy a night in, order out or on the cheap eat leftovers or fast food

14. Create a scavenger hunt and take a picture at each spot, creating a memory book to remember your date- keep your pictures on the computer for a cheap scrapbook! Include places close to your heart as a couple or a scavenger hunt around Wal-mart stopping at items that have meaning.

15. State parks or county parks for strolling, hiking or finding a nice rock or bench to just sit on.
16. Matinee movie
17. Early Bird dinner's or coupons for dinner
18. Lastly, but certainly not least Hub's favorite- Disc Golf with the dog and me!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Date Night At Our House

So last night was date night. The boys and I had done some pre-Mimi's shopping earlier in the day, they made the shopping list it looked something like this:

(for those who can't make it out it says:

Ice Cream, Chips, Cookie Doug, Movie- spelling intended)

The kids were staying up all night happily at my mom's and I had time to freshen up before hubby came home from work. You better believe I enjoyed every minute of being in my bathroom alone! But are we getting old? After dinner, which was paid for with a gift card, we went to the mall, a place so foreign to me I was mesmerized by the Winne Dixie banner hanging in the halls- does Winne Dixie really advertise in the mall and is the area between the stores actually called a hall? Anyway after my excitement over grocery store advertisement, and mental notes on what I needed to add to the grocery list, we hit two stores: Penney's and American Eagle. I tried on several things before realizing I can't dress from the juniors department anymore and found a great shirt that I just loved and hubby didn't, I bought it anyway. We then closed out American Eagle where I bought an over-priced pair of capri's, but hey I'll be saving money on our upcoming dates so I can spend the extra on pants, right Boomama!

We made it back to the sports car mini van only to find the dog had eaten all my leftovers. Don't ask why the dog was with us. Home by 9:30pm and it was all we could do to stay awake. We feel asleep with the TV on and the kids woke us up at 8:40 this morning knocking on our window!

Fun times around here, I'm telling you fun times!

Hey, I'm A Cheap Date!

I'm so excited about this

Click the picture to find out more!

Friday, February 02, 2007

I Love a Good Contest

There's a contest going on over at 5 Minutes for Mom.
So check it out and don't forget about the upcoming blog party!
Also check out Sarah'a blog over at In The Midst of It, she speaks of mothering beautifully inthis post.


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