Weekly Nutshell

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In a nutshell, here’s how our week went…

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On Tuesday, Marissa participated in a “cupcake wars” youth activity. There were no declared winners, but I think her horse cupcakes were darling.

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Marcus thought they were yummy as well. Only his was a dragon. See the vanilla wafer wing?

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One evening, Marissa and I drove around our neighborhood and took pictures…

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Just for fun, because it was so lovely outside at the time.

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We said hello to our neighbor’s horses.

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I think we live in a pretty area. Lots of open space.

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I started reading one to two chapters of Mary Poppins to the kids each night. I love that my 12, 17 and 19-year olds still enjoy read-alouds.

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On Friday, Marcus made this lantern out of a milk carton.

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His last project for this school year, which is now over.

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Marcus is 12, and has reached some major milestones which affects both of us, since he is my baby. Turning 12 meant he graduated from Primary, which is a program in our Church for children from 18-months until age 12. Sometimes Primary children sing during Sacrament Meeting (our family hour of Church), and last Christmas was Marcus’ last opportunity to sing with the Primary children. Only he wouldn’t go up to the stand with the rest of the children. We were in Peru at the time, and he mistakenly thought the Primary would be singing all of the songs for the Christmas program, and all in Spanish. So he refused to go up, and it turned out to only be one song, sung in English! He missed it and I just started weeping! Later, my baby boy apologized to me and of course, I told him it was alright. I was just being overly emotional. But, it was bittersweet to know my last child was out of Primary. Oh how I ♥ Primary!

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When boys turn 12 in our Church, they can become Deacons. Deacons may pass the Sacrament bread and water. My sweet little boy takes his Priesthood responsibilities very seriously, just as he should.

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And now my baby boy has also graduated from elementary. He was a Liahona Junior Warrior for the past two years, but now he will just be a Liahona Warrior (7th-12th graders). Still cool, but another sign that he’s growing up. Earlier this evening, he and I were at A&W’s having cheese curds and there was a little 3-year old girl dancing behind us. I looked at my son and nearly started to cry. My baby is 12! He’s now in Young Men’s (our Church’s organization for boys ages 12 through 17)  and Boy Scouts. He’s such a little man now. It makes me happy and yet, a little sad at the same time.

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It’s both bitter and sweet to watch my children grow up.

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Our Memorial Weekend

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We spent the weekend as a family at Grandma’s house. (This is my husband’s mother and she lives by herself.) It always feels like a little get-away to travel the five hours to her house and stay for a few days.

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Grandma’s windowsill display of solar flowers.

On Saturday morning, the guys left to go fishing up the canyon, which never happened (fishing) ha ha, because there was too much snow and it was freezing!

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Meanwhile, the girls, Grandma and I visited two cemeteries where we placed flowers on several graves of ancestors.

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Including Grandpa’s.

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Grandma showed the girls some of the names she knows on the veterans’ memorial wall.

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The weather cooperated while we were at the cemeteries. The sun was actually out.

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But changed to cool rain later that afternoon, when we met up with the guys and ventured over to Scandinavian Days.

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Marcus mined for gems, fossils and a geode, which was then cut in half for him.

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Aren’t they beautiful sisters?

On Sunday we started a 500-piece puzzle that we bought from the Dollar Store! Needless to say, we didn’t get much of it done (it’s all jelly beans) and have now brought it home on a cookie sheet because we don’t have one of those cool puzzle keeper mats. I should really buy some of those!

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Now we are home again. It’s been raining here, too. The grass and hills behind my house are nice and green.

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How was your Memorial weekend?

Curriculum Finds- Free Online Resources For Kids

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I’ve arranged these learning websites by subject. We have either used these websites or I’ve looked at them enough to be confident in recommending them, but parents should always preview sites and be aware of what their children are doing online.

A Little of Everything

BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. offers a selection of free videos, games, quizzes and activities that covers different subjects. The rest of the site requires a membership subscription.

Learning Games For Kids features educational games covering multiple subjects, plus some songs and videos.

Art & Music

Classics For Kids introduces kids to composers, instruments and music.

Tricia Hodges offers free art lessons at Hodgepodge.

The Piano Guys and Lindsey Stirling are just…. AMAZING! I’m thinking “music appreciation”. Now, that’s talent.

Foreign Language

Duolingo is somewhat similar to Rosetta Stone’s approach to learning a second language. I’ve used both and while I loved Rosetta Stone, it’s quite expensive. Duolingo is free, fun, easy to use, and works just as well.

Geography & Science

lizardpoint has free geography quizzes and in study mode, offers facts on individual states and countries. Your child can register for free.

National Geographic Kids features games, animal facts, videos, etc. Your child can create a free account.

Switcheroo Zoo lets kids create funny new animals, as well as offering several other educational games and activities, all related to animals.

Science Monster offers free science lessons and games.

MakeMeGenius offers free science lesson videos, categorized by grade level.

The following sites offer free science experiments/labs. All you do is add the supplies, usually common household items or easy-to-find, inexpensive items from the store:

Science Bob features demonstration videos.

Steve Spangler Science also features videos. This website is my son’s favorite.

TOPS Science has free labs for science activities.

History

Have Fun With History features free history videos, timelines and activities. I recommend that parents preview the content on this site before showing it to younger children, but I think this would be great for the middle school range.

Math

Cool Math 4 Kids offers free math lessons and games.

Phonics & Reading

Starfall features phonic activities in four steps to help your preschooler learn how to read.

Storyline Online features videos of storybooks read by celebrities. Very cool!

There are a lot of ways to access free books online. Check out a few of these sites: International Children’s Digital Library, Children’s Storybooks Online and Kids World Fun.

If your family has a favorite free website not listed here, I’d love to hear about it in the comment section.

Book Review- What Would the Founding Fathers Think?

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untitledWhat Would the Founding Fathers Think?: “a young American’s guide to understanding what makes our nation great and how we’ve strayed,” is a little gem that I believe would add value to any homeschooler’s study on the government and our constitution.

The author and illustrator is David Bowman.

This book features founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and George Washington, traveling forward in time to see what America has done with the constitution they worked so hard to establish for our great nation.

I love this book for its delightful illustrations, simple analogies, and basic truths. Our country really has strayed from the principles that our constitution was built upon. I want my teenagers to understand how wise our founding fathers were to put a Republic form of government in place for us, and I want them to realize that our government was meant to have limited powers, given by the people.

One of my favorite analogies from the book-

As Ben Franklin is flying a kite, a young boy suggests,”Why don’t you cut the string and then your kite will fly even higher?” Ben Franklin answers, “An interesting suggestion. Actually, my boy, it is the string that keeps my kite up in the air. It might look like it is restricting it, but the wind pulling against the string is what gives the kite the freedom to fly.”

One of my favorite quotes from the book-

“My young Americans, let it be known that we believed in God. We were dependent on God. We turned to Him for help. Our belief in God was the main reason we settled this land. God and religion was and is the backbone of this nation. It has always been so, despite what critics in your time might say.”

I am so impressed with this book that this year I am giving copies to a few of my teenage nieces and nephews for their birthday presents.

Sweet Mommy Memories

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♥ I was 19-years young, when I first became a mommy. ♥

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♥ A wife and mom, was all I ever truly wanted to be. ♥

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♥ I enjoyed every moment of my first year of mommyhood. ♥

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♥ And it just kept getting better. ♥

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♥ Time for a story- Once upon a time there was a young mommy who took her toddler daughter to a university for a parent-child study. The mommy was instructed to play peek-a-boo with her daughter, first with the words, “peek-a-boo”, and then in silence. The mommy and daughter were led into a room with a child-size table with chairs in the center, and nothing else. They were left alone, but the mommy knew they were being watched and recorded for the purpose of the study. She started playing the verbal version of peek-a-boo with her baby…♥

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♥ The mommy clapped her hands over her eyes, and then she quickly uncovered her eyes, exclaiming, “peek-a-boo!” at the same time. Only her daughter was too busy running around the room to notice. So the mommy began chasing her daughter, enthusiastically playing peek-a-boo with…herself…which promptly ended when she chased her daughter right into the wall! Uninjured, yet dazed, the baby began to wail and the embarrassed mommy carried her out of the room, thus ending their participation in the study. ♥

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♥ A year later,along came my third beautiful child and that’s an exciting story for another trip down memory lane. ♥

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♥ I’ll just say her birth did not take place in the hospital as planned. ♥

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♥ My girls have always been so cute together. ♥

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♥ And when Zach was ten-years old, he finally got his wish for a baby brother. ♥

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♥ So many sweet mommy memories. ♥

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♥ Children grow up, but they will always be their mother’s babies. I love being a mom. ♥

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