Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Learning those pesky math facts

  So here is a "Day in the Life" kind of story.  Imagine if you will 3 of my 5 kids with dry erase boards and dice ready to play the game SNAKE.  At the time of this event my children are:  Miss A - age 16, Mr. C- age 12, Miss J- age 10, Baby A- 15 months.  Buddy C is at his grandmother's house.  We start the Snake game and Baby A is in charge of throwing the dice.  In fact she is sitting on the counter.  In my world, it isn't great to sit on counters, but it is infinitely better than her being on the loose to play in toilets and draw on herself or eat cat food.  Not that she has every done ANY of those things.  Miss A begins with a typical teen comment of "this is stupid" (translate that into, I have Chemistry and other subjects to do that take hours, why do I have to play math games?)  Mr. C is fiercely competitive.  He shouts at the top of his lungs every time he scores points.  He also throws things and stomps when he loses points, which delays the game as I correct these attitudes.   I really can't imagine where my kids get their competitive nature. (Hint: it ain't me, but it might be Daddy C).  So as a bonus, this math game has character training too!  SWEET!  Who doesn't need more character???   Miss J is just thrilled that EVERYONE is playing her game with her and totally oblivious that to a stranger our "day in the life" looks a lot like chaos. 

   As the game progresses, Baby A gets a bit wild with the dice and it turns into part search for the missing dice and part all three running to make sure the dice finder doesn't tell a fib and call SNAKE EYES.  ;-)  I could have videoed this, but I will be honest.  I don't need that kind of evidence to prove my real mom skills.  It's enough that I write it down.  Maybe I should reconsider "sharing" so much.  If you are super organized, then just this image of baby on the counter is enough to mortify you.  However, if you are a mom with 5 or so kids (who happens not to be Type A) and you are struggling to fit it all in each day, then this may encourage you. (There is a house even more crazy than mine!)  You may never have considered having a toddler throw dice in order to add excitement to the game (keeping them out of the potty and eating cat food is just another BONUS).  The kids are learning their multiplication facts and the older kids are learning things like the squares and cubes.  For example, if I roll the dice, Miss J will add or multiply, but Miss A will have to find the square or cube of just one die.  It's my attempt at the one room school house.  In the end, all of the kids are having fun.  Good review and preview has been had by all.  Now if I keep this up, I'm hoping the last two will just know those facts cold by about 1st or 2nd grade from simply hearing them said aloud so many times every single week.  I'll have to let you know how that turns out.  It might just be wishful thinking.  Either way, below I have linked my favorite resources for family math  games.  I can't say enough how much kids LOVE the buzzers.  Beware though, they will drive you insane, so you may want to also purchase a lock box to store them in between games.  Have fun with your kids playing games and learning math facts.  

Mrs. P

Monday, December 1, 2014

Simply Classical Advent

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
Isaiah 11:1-2
     Advent has come.  Last night my family and another family lit the first candle of HOPE and read the verses above.  My older children explained the advent candles to the visiting family.  My youngest smiled and listened carefully too.  The classical model was playing out in my humble kitchen.  My kitchen, with floors and windows in need of a mopping and shining was a classroom.  My kitchen table, that was too small for everyone to sit down was a classroom.  My kitchen, filled with warmth and love and hot chocolate, was a classroom.  Leigh Bortins says in training for CC, all you need is a stick and sand to teach.  It is so true with the classical model.  This is probably the 6th or so year that we have celebrated Christmas with the Advent candles and the Jesse Tree, so my oldest are familiar with the 4 candles lit for 4 Sundays before Christmas and my paper ornaments that I downloaded from Ann Voskamp's website years ago.  They know that the Jesse tree always starts with the creation of the world and reading of the root of Jesse.  Just like in our memorizing of the timeline in Foundations classes, we visit the Jesse tree each year and each year my kids become more dialectic and rhetorical about Christmas through the simple daily activities.  We hang up the ornaments, read the short devotional and they hear and learn the timeline of Jesus.  I love to see the 4-6 year old group take an ornament and tell a younger sibling about it.  I love seeing the one room school house even when some of the children are too little to sit still and listen, others want to boss everyone else, and others might think they are too old.  In reality, it is just those times that the one room school house works.  The too littles are gleaning more than you know, the bossys are practicing review work and grappling with being dialectic while teaching everyone else the "right" way to tell the Jesse tree story.  Even the bigs that think they might be too big?  They get in on the review in a dialectic and/or rhetorical level as they are sure to jump in and correct a bossy, or explain it once again to a too little in words or actions that they can understand. 

       It is the same way with our Foundations and Essentials work.  As a family, we all work through the weekly memory work.  There are too bigs, too littles, and bossys in every home.  Even an only child can exhibit all of those personalities and sometimes, all in one day.  When you think that this thing called home school isn't working, remind yourself that it is working exactly as it should. When I directed Challenge, I had a saying that it was a safe place for messy conversations.  Our home school is a safe place for the students to work through the memory work from the grammar stage to the rhetorical stage.  We see them daily go from grammar level to dialect and back to grammar as they take the information and make it their own.  Some days we are proud of our school day and how it went off without a hitch.  Other days we want to crawl back in bed wondering what were we thinking.  It is likely that on those days, the messy days, that our students are gaining the most with their learning as they wrestle and make the learning their own.  We are just providing the information and the place for learning.  We can trust that we are bearing fruit in our schools, because of the Branch that first bore fruit and guides us in our homes.  

Many blessings in your home school or after school because we all home school to some extent, even if it's only in the after hours when we help with with their home work.  Moms and Dads at home make all of the difference in the world in the lives of their children.

Mrs. P  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

seeking wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
James 1:5

Good morning!  I hope you are all finding your Saturday to be full of sunshine and time with your family.   This semester has really flown by.  Our homeschool on the farm has just finished week 12 of our main curriculum and this week begins the "birthday season."  In addition to that we are nearing the busiest season of all with our kids and their livestock and 4-H projects.  Our  next month or two of weekends will mainly consist of showing goats and lambs.  In the moments between (and they are few) we will work together on fair projects and sewing projects.  On top of the normal things, it is already time for me to begin my school planning for 2015-2016.  My daughter will be a senior.  I can't even believe that is possible!  So this week has me pondering life.  I chose the Bible verse above for inspiration because this week has been a week of questions in my small circle of friends.  Where ever I go people are seeking wisdom.  For one mom it is wisdom on filling out college applications and sending her son into the world.  For my church it is on how to find a new pastor and rebuild a church one day at a time. For one family member it is how to deal with current health issues and waiting patiently for a healing surgery.  When I have a few moments of spare time, I like to read books.  This week the book Love the Journey has me  also seeking wisdom in how to "keep a quiet home."  This is intriguing to a mom of 5 kids ranging from almost 17 to 18 months.  ;-)  I know others have things in which they seek wisdom.  No matter the depth of the wisdom we seek, God gives generously if only we ask.  So I want to encourage you to ask God for the wisdom that you seek as you make decisions about your future.  No matter how big or small the wisdom you seek, God has promised to give generously to all.  

Mrs. P

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

garlands of grace

Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching.  They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.Proverbs 1:8-9

I found the verse above this morning.  I really love it.  I think when I am teaching my children, I might just start saying to the children that I'm giving them garlands to grace their head!  I'm sure they won't think that is weird at ALL.  :-)  Seriously, I had not really thought of all that a mother teaches in that way.  It gives me such a pretty visual of all of the daily work we as moms do.  Reminding your son that he needs to wear deodorant...a garland of grace.  Training a toddler to not stick her finger in an electric socket...a garland of grace.  Helping a teenager navigate interpersonal relationships with other teens...a garland of grace.  Serving uneaten green vegetables to grumpy children...a garland of grace.  Teaching kids to wash and fold their own laundry...a garland of grace.  Copying Essentials Charts A-F and drilling vocabulary and spelling rules....yep, that too is a garland of grace.  I think today while I'm working with my children and teaching them all of the millions of things I teach each day, I will look at them and think about the garlands that will one day grace their head and adorn their necks.  I will remember that a soft answer turns away wrath and I will pray for extra measures of wisdom from God in this job that we call motherhood.  I don't know about you, but I just really needed to see my work as something beautiful today.  This is the time frame in the school year where we can get bogged down.  We are on our 3rd schedule and it still doesn't work without flaws.  We are lagging behind in a subject or two or we have a student or two really pushing back at our selection of curriculum, book, or even pencils (anyone else have kids who only like ONE pencil, that is perpetually lost???).  So I hope that this morning, this verse brings joy to you and encouragement like it did to me.  Many blessings to you and your students this week. 

Mrs. P

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Toddler size videos

  Karyn Henley is an oldie, but a goodie.  I took my oldest to one of her concerts at our church when Miss A was just 2 years old.  Children love her music.  My youngest loves her so much that I need to purchase one of her videos or CD's so that she can listen in the car.  I'm sure my teens will be thrilled to add her to the car playlist.  It's about time we listened to something besides Frozen these days.  

Monday, November 17, 2014

A mom of not one, but TWO teens!

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give  you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

This evening my girls, Colton and I are anxiously waiting for the big boys to come home from a hunting trip.  Tomorrow morning, Connor will be 13 years old and we are decorating the house to welcome he and his dad home and celebrate his 13 years of life.  We are hanging ribbons, laying the table with camouflage partyware, wrapping presents and trying our best to make the house festive for Curtis and Connor when they get home.   I even wrote a birthday wish on the school chalkboard, and then for fun I diagrammed it!  It was a S-Vt-DO, imperative, simple sentence, in case you were wondering. ;-) As excited as we are about our plans for the return of our big boys from a weekend trip, it is nothing compared to the plans the Lord has for us!  The Lord is planning even greater things!!!  He loves us even more than I love my great big ol' 13 year old son and my husband that I have missed all weekend.  I hope that you will take that message with you this week as you teach and love your own children.  Remind yourself of what the Lord declares in Jeremiah 29:11.  I think it will bless you as we near the end of our first semester of schooling and the beginning of the holiday season.  

Many blessings,
Mrs. P

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

And the little ones were climbing the walls...

So this year, I have made some changes in our homeschool at the farm.  What I have found is that a toddling cutie pie AND a busy 4 year  old are adding new challenges to the school year.  I daily remind myself that many years ago I had a toddler and preschooler while homeschooling.  The difference?  Well that would be that I was only schooling one child and she was in 1st grade.  And as much as I never would have believed it at the time, 1st grade with one student is a BREEZE compared to herding the littles while attempting to teach a classical curriculum to a 5th, 7th, and 11th grader...oh and also leading bi-monthly online literature discussions and weekly tutoring of CC Essentials.  

I started the year all hopeful and giddy.  I do love to start a new school year after all!  I filled my diffuser with Young Living Essential Oils and we started out.  By mid morning, the diffuser had been spilled, I had pulled a toddler off at least half a dozen places of considerable height (she gets her climbing from her older sister!), and had spent more time dealing with temper tantrums than I care to confess.  Had I realized just how humbling my first week of school was going to be, I would have baptized myself and the children all in JOY!

We are now into Week 11 of Tapestry of Grace and I'm still struggling with a daily routine that gives all of the children time with me in addition to time for me to do the regulars, like keeping house, doing laundry, preparing meals, and preparing for my weekly classes.  So in the midst of all my busy busy, I was encouraged to stop and read Love the Journey.  I will admit that I skipped ahead straight to the scheduling sections, but I still was blessed beyond belief.  I was grounded in things I already know, but needed reminding.  I was encouraged that everyone who homeschools has similar challenges with large families.  I was reminded to make my priorities God honoring.  I was filled as I read and am continuing to read this book.  I can't recommend it enough for the new homeschool mom or the seasoned homeschool mom who just needs a refresher.  She bases her advice and words straight from scripture and it really is a fantastic book for the homeschool mom.

In addition, I'm also going to link some other toddler/preschool specific training articles that I have found helpful over the years.  Part of my issue is that I was so busy when my 4 year old was a toddler, that I neglected a lot of training that is essential to peaceful preschool years.  He is an absolute delight, don't get me wrong.  However, because of that it is at least twice as hard to train him in those childhood skills of attentiveness, obedience, and gentleness than it would have been  had I trained him as a toddler. below are the links.  And, I know this post is very random.  However, I was just so excited as I read Love the Journey that I had to share it on my blog for those 2 or 3 who may still read it.  ;-)

Raising Godly Tomatoes  
A very clear and concise plan for how to gain first time obedience.  You can read a lot of good information on the website or purchase her book to have it all in one place.  The basic idea is that you keep your children close by to train them, rather than punish them.  They must be close to you at all times in order to train them and prevent them from developing bad habits.

Tips to Build Attentiveness in Preschoolers
This is a new blog I have found.  It uses the premises of Charlotte Mason, to train the character traits you desire.  I adore the Charlotte Mason way of education and that is part of why I have switched to Tapestry of Grace.  It has a Charlotte Mason "feel" to it and incorporates handicrafts and living books.  I also love that this author encourages game playing to train these skill of attentiveness.  I have yet to find a child of any age that doesn't love to learn through playing games.

So now I guess I will get back to my morning and focusing on loving my journey in the homeschool life.  I hope that if you find this post, it brings encouragement and joy to your homeschool day.

Mrs. P

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Planning the Home School Year

Home School Planet

Planning.  It's where I fall short.  One of many areas I fall short, but probably the biggest area that I need to correct.  With as many schedules and grades as I currently have in my house, not to mention laundry, meals, barn chores, and 4-H, I finally had to come up with something that would work for the whole family.  We started with purchasing a 4 month whiteboard calendar.  Seeing 4 months at a time has helped us to know what is happening and when.  Next, I started using the whiteboard menu planner on the fridge and that helped with meal preparations.  That still left home school lesson plans.  I purchased the free trial of Home School Planet last spring and after having used it for several months, I can say it is well worth the subscription price.  I can input school, 4-H, chores and whatever else needs to be done.  I can assign one or more people to complete tasks.  I can print out checklists, or the kids can log in  and check off their lists online.  It automatically keeps a transcript and grade book that I can custom weight.  To me it pretty much handles all I need.  It even allows me to move lessons around when the stomach flu strikes and we need to move the entire year forward a day or two. There is a lot of chatter on the internet forums about online planners.  This is the planner I am using* and that we find works very well for our crazy, busy household.

In addition to this, I adore the Confident Mom's FREE Weekly Household Binder.
It's very cute!  She has all of the household chores broken down in to manageable chunks so you can clean a little a day.  She also has reminders to drink water, exercise, etc and even a space for menu planning.  I am sure hoping that she will have the 2015 year available for free later this year, because I have really loved the 2014.  I just put it on a flash drive or email it to Office Max and in less than 15 minutes they have it printed in color or black and white and spiral bound.  And I must say that I really <3 and="" as="" ast="" be="" bound="" by="" bypass="" can="" card="" center.="" counter="" directly="" email="" frequent="" gave="" her="" i="" just="" lady="" max="" me="" much="" my="" nbsp="" o="" of="" office="" online="" p="" printing="" said="" seen="" services.="" spiral="" stuff="" the="" there="" things="" think="" to="" too="" upload="" use="" week="" who="" whole="" works="" you="">
Happy planning,
Mrs. P

 *Note:  I still have a paper calendar (spiral bound, of course) to take with me to meetings as does my oldest daughter and we try our best to keep them all synced.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Latin is for everyone

I got on board the Latin Ship late in my home school career.  I read about the importance of Latin to a classical education early on and I sort of skipped over it and jumped ahead to chapters on writing and literature which are infinitely more fun.  When we started CC Foundations, we reviewed all of the memory work, EXCEPT the Latin.  I was lazy.  I didn't know how to pronounce the words.  I had a Spanish background and felt that one extra language was enough.  I didn't really want to learn a new language as an adult.  Somehow though, I have gone from avoiding Latin to teaching Latin.  When my oldest started Latin in Challenge A, I found that I had to finally face Latin head on.  I still didn't put much effort forward, but I at least confronted my fear of learning a new language in my late 30's.  Soon, I found myself directing the Challenge 1 (and later Challenge 2) class and tutoring a half dozen or so kids in Latin weekly.  That year, I sat down and began to work my way through the Henle First Year text.  And I learned!  I began to see Latin everywhere.  I began to understand English better because of my Latin studies.  I began to recognize derivatives and to decline nouns.  I drank the Kool-Aid!  While I am still no Latin genius, I do feel confident to teach my own children Latin at home and I am a firm believer that truly anyone can teach Latin if they will only jump in and work through a Latin text.

Above is "An Ideal Latin Sequence" that I pulled from the Memoria Press website.  I have learned all of my Latin through the Memoria Press curriculum and and guides.  There may be better resources, however this is what was affordable, easy to find, and easy to use.  I had a toddler and new baby on the way when I began to learn Latin, so I was working around sleep deprivation among other things.  There are other programs and you might find that others work better for you.  Now my own children are NOT at this level or pace with their Latin.  Currently, I have a 6th grader finishing up Prima Latina and moving into Latina Christiana I, a 7th grader starting Henle I for the first time, and an 11th grader going through Henle 1 again with him for a thorough review (She has had 3 years of Latin through the Challenge program and has met her high school foreign language credits).  My 4th and 5th born will be the first children that I can attempt to try the above scope and sequence with in Latin.  To me that sequence is very rigorous and I'm not sure I even will attempt it.  However, if they can do it, then I'm willing to lead them down the path.  Only the future will tell what Latin will look like in my house 10 years from now.

Here are some additional resources  (other than those listed above) that I have found very helpful in my own study of Latin.  I hope it is helpful for others learning Latin as they teach it, like I have been doing.

English Grammar for Students of Latin

Wheelock's Latin

Latin Tutorial on YouTube

Cassell's Latin Dictionary

Quizlet Henle 1 Online Flash Cards

Articles by Classical Conversations on Latin in the Challenge Program.  Lots of great reading here.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Milk: The Nutrient Power House

Image from Midwest Dairy Association

Miss A had to present a 30 minute workshop on Making Butter at our local 4-H Chef Day Camp.  Making a bit of butter for a group of kids takes about 10 minutes.  So she took the extra time to enrich her Making Butter class with nutrition facts and a tasty recipe for ice cream.  The above graphic really puts the nutrition in milk in perspective.  Sadly, milk has had a bad rap for years and butter has fared even worse.  Let's just say that when I began to research I couldn't find any mainstream research that cast butter in a favorable light.  So here is her schedule of events.  This is a great workshop for a beginning 4-H member to present for leadership experience.

9:00-  Mix up ice cream recipe, while pointing out that the milk is a liquid state of matter.   To cut down on mess, she chose to use my electric ice cream maker.  Alternatively you can have the kids make the ice cream in ziplocks with ice, rock salt, etc.  See directions here
9:10-  Add whipping cream to mason jars and pass around for the students to shake.  Again, point out the liquid state of matter.  While the students shake the jar, teach the students the above 6 nutrients that are in milk.  Quiz frequently to see if they remember the nutrients.
9:20- Serve up butter (not a solid matter) on saltines and ice cream (also now a solid) in dixie cups.  Continue to quiz the facts or let them color taught while they snack.
9:30 Clean up and dismiss.

Dairy Coloring Sheets
Dairy Facts and Information
Ag in the Classroom Phase Change: Butter
Ag in the Classroom Phase Change:  Ice Cream

Friday, August 15, 2014

chores for children

What age can children do chores?  I've seen a lot of cute charts on pinterest.  Today I realized that 4 year olds are great at mopping.  Yes, mopping.  I walked into the kitchen to find my 4 year old son happily mopping the kitchen floor.  He was grinning from ear to ear. And barefoot.  Of course, I pointed out that I usually mop in shoes.  I quickly realized the floor was wet and asked him where he got water.  He points to a nice glass from the cabinet. The blue ones that match and I use for company.  They are in a high cabinet. Luckily, he is a good climber!  He can reach the water on the fridge, so now my kitchen floor is mopped with chilled, filtered water.  The best part was when he looked around and said, "OH NO!  I'm trapped!"  He is quite spunky though and he immediately slipped under the table in the center of the room, runs to the other room and comes back with his mud boots on.  Why have I never thought of this?  Mud boots are PERFECT for mopping.  And now at least a portion of my kitchen is mopped and I have a very happy 4 year old that is "a happy helper."

Now, maybe I can put all of the kids in mud boots and give them all a mop.  The downstairs will be sparkling in no time!

Mrs. P

Thursday, August 14, 2014

2014-2015 School Year

This year marks my 11th year as a home school teacher.  This is also the first year that I have had FOUR kids to teach academics.  Even though the youngest is 4, we are still planning on giving him a K4 year because he is so ready to start school.  Below, is the main plan for my family.  The 4 year old will focus on his CC Memory Work and Phonics with a lot of hands on crafts.  He will tag along with the olders in the other subjects.

Subject Area:  Bible & Character
Curriculum:  Veritas Press Genesis through Joshua,  AWANA (for littles)

Subject Areas:  History,Geography, Worldview, Church History, Fine Arts, and Literature
Curriculum: Tapestry of Grace Year 3  The 19th Century

Subject Area:  English Grammar, Writing, Spelling and Phonics
Curriculum:  Essentials of the English Language, Our Mother Tongue, Phonics Pathways, Recipe for Reading

Subject Area: Foundational Memory Work in Latin, Science, English Grammar, History, Geography, Timeline, Weekly Fine Arts and Science Experiment

Subject Area:  Math
Curriculum:  Math U See, Abeka, Xtra Math online, Khan Academy

Subject Area:  Science
Curriculum:  Apologia Chemistry, Nature Studies, Challenge A, Foundations

Electives:  Home Economics, 4-H, Latin
Curriculum:  Training Daughters to Be Keepers at Home, Home Ec for Home Schoolers level 2, Henle Latin 1, Prima Latina

Sunday, May 25, 2014

My Menu Board

This past year I purchased cheap dry erase boards for my Classical Conversations class.  I had an extra board and realized that with the magnets on the back, it would stick to my fridge as a nice sized post-it note of sorts.  I have used it in various ways throughout the year, mostly to leave notes or list chores.  Yesterday, when I arrived home from the grocery store, I was jotting down what meals I could make from my shopping.  I realized that if I made a chart, I might be able to help the children learn about meal planning.  So I divided my board into 4 sections: Snacks, Lunches, Breakfasts, Dinners.  Now we will see if the kids can figure this out.  Ideally, a hungry child would walk up to the board and then know what there is to snack on, go ahead and start a lunch, or even possibly in a dream world, add ingredients to the crockpot and get dinner going on their night to have kitchen duty.  I have more lunch and breakfast options, if I am cooking from scratch and have plenty of time.  This is just the listing of things that my kids can easily do for themselves.

Here are the ideas I wrote down from my Aldi Shopping Trip yesterday.

raisins, cheese sticks, graham crackers, peanut butter crackers, popcorn, apples, carrots

cold cereal, yogurt/granola, fruit, waffles, pb toast, bagels, eggs/bacon

turkey sandwiches, mac/cheese, nachos, leftovers, pb&j sandwiches, smoothies, bean burritos, canned soup

Teriyaki chicken w/egg rolls, pizza, hungry jack casserole, chicken enchiladas, spaghetti w/salad and bread, oversized meatballs, bbq chicken, crustless quiche

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Day Book

Daybook: May 24, 2014

outside my window . . .
green grass, overcast skies, mud from the rain last night, dancing lambs
listening to . . . 
whirring fans, keurig filling my cuppa, sleeping babies

wearing . . .
t-shirt and flannel pj bottoms 

pondering . . . 
classical and Charlotte Mason style education; how best to blend CC with Tapestry of Grace

reading . . . 
The Core by Leigh Bortins, The Rifle (with Connor) by Gary Paulsen, Lassie (with Jessalyn) 

creating . . .
2014-2015 School Year notebooks

around the house . . . 
clipping coupons, scrubbing neglected floors, walls, etc

from the kitchen . . . 
roast, bread, crispy nuts

real education in our home . . .  
printing and mailing Classical Conversation registration papers

beauty in our home . . . 
my rose bush in the front

faith in our home . . .   
Bible Study morning basket has been a hit with the children.

one of my favorite things . . . 
my new favorite coffee cup.  It is red and holds at least 3 cups worth of coffee.

recent milestones . . . 
completing my CC Challenge 2 Contract

the week ahead . . . 
a relaxing Memorial Day and an amazingly free calendar all week

picture thoughts . . .
Avery Grace and her first experience with sand