Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The best holiday cards!

Hi fam and friends! I have been on a little hiatus just enjoying my people, settling in, and keeping up with all of their naturally caffeinated selves. ;) I've been posting a lot of our everyday adventures on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook but I hope to get back to more regular blogging soon too!

But I had to pop on to tell you about where to get your holiday cards if you haven't gotten them already!

Shutterfly!!

Why?? :)

They not only have cute, pretty, and fun cards but they also have fantastic customer service. We have been long time customers and have enjoyed creating and giving so many gifts that everyone has LOVED annnd every single time (except maybe two or three... see I'm being honest) I have called customer service for one reason or another, they have been so kind and just wonderful to work with.

And you know I love a good deal and they always have discounts and you can stack coupons to get great deals!

They have SO many cards to choose from, including Happy New Year cards if you need more time. :) Here are some of my favorites this year!

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So go check out all of the 2013 Holiday Cards!!

Right now you can get up to 50% off with the code HOLIDAY and free shipping over $49 with the code SHIP49.

Happy Shopping!! And thank you for reading!! And clicking! :)


*Disclosure: I received a credit to use for our holiday cards but every little opinion is completely my own. They seriously have the best customer service (and great products)!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

August Fun in Pics

Starting where the previous, We're Home!, post left off, we've just been spending as much time together as possible. Doing fun things, lots of new things, just hangin' things, together things.

These first two were within the first few days we were home in July :)

Fun going to church together!

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Coloring fun :)

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Bounce house fun

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Supporting Newest Edition's first doctor appointment at home fun!

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Walking/Running fun through our neighborhood :)

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Mr Potato head fun ;)

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Puzzle fun!

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More neighborhood walking fun!

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Hiking fun! (Also partly known as, make mommy nervous fun ;) PS Hubby is up their with the boys ;))
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Biking fun! And lots of it! We found this great track (and a couple playgrounds) and rode all the time! Hubby and I ran sometimes while they were riding, it was awesome!

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Family fun :)

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Backyard squirt gun fun ;) I have another picture somewhere my mom took of all of us playing another time too :)
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More bike riding taking a quick break fun!

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Fun with playdough :)
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Reading with Daddy fun ;) I love that pile of boys! :-)

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Fun running around and playing tag and soccer in the front yard :)
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Super big breakfast fun :) (I LOVE big breakfasts ;))

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Trampoline and baseball in the backyard fun! I can't find the pic but we had a real deal baseball game going one evening! It was so much fun!

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Fun going to a farmer's market after church AND seeing a fire truck!

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We had LOTS of pool fun, until the day it closed!

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National Day out at our community pool and a local shopping center seeing a fire truck, ambulance, military swat vehicle, and helicopter (even take off!), and more, fun!

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That was just some of the fun the first half of August ;) 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Homeschooling Schedule and Curriculum Debriefing

So... forever ago ;) I was going to tell you how I liked our schedule from last year and if we kept it up the whole year. And curriculum as well. I think just about everybody across the states has started back to school, except for us. ;) We are going to take just a little bit longer to settle in (we've only been back for just over a month a half!) and then jump in. :)

Things were so crazy before we left I also wasn't able to get everything ordered and even researched. But I'll get back to that after our debrief. Here is my post last year about our schedule and curriculum from 2012!

Let's talk about schedule first! (And I'd love to hear from you on some questions at the end of the post! :))

I didn't include in the schedule that I posted that in between each of BabyBoy's subjects I worked with Little in the same subjects and worked with Littlest too. At their age I do more learning through playing (through puzzles, blocks, flash cards, etc.) so they don't even realize they're learning. It's just fun! And I want to keep it as fun as possible with the others too.

We did not follow this schedule exactly the whole school year. We did not begin school at the exact same time every day. It is awesome if you can do that. We didn't. ;) Some days it would take us a little longer to get started and some days we were able to start earlier. I also did not end up doing Handwriting during naptime each day. It ended up being easy to just get it done at the end, didn't take long and I could have him correct things that needed to be corrected right then. That way he (and I :)) didn't have to worry about it later after naptime/quiet time each day. Some days, if he missed more math problems than I liked, then I would make up another worksheet for him to do or write something. Or he would rest or read.

Ok... curriculum! A tough subject. Ha ;) Get it? Curriculum. Subject. Pun. So many out there makes it hard to decide. Nevermind ;-)

1. Reading/Spelling
    All About Spelling*

I will continue All About Spelling for BabyBoy and All About Reading for Little and also start with Newest Edition. I had been teaching phonics and reading to our little people before we started these but I like how they teach the phonograms and concepts. It has been great to build their foundation and teach more "whys" and "hows."

2. Math
    Math U See - Alpha

I will continue Math U See for all the littles. I will start Primer with Little and do some of both Primer and Alpha with Newest Edition and continue Alpha with BabyBoy. I really like how you start off with a fun way of teaching place value which makes it an easy and not so daunting concept. I got a little concerned that BabyBoy was going to get too used to using the manipulatives and wouldn't be able to complete problems without them - even though I was told they eventually memorize and do not need them - so I started teaching him how to do problems without the blocks. We also made flashcards, which worked really well (I was a flashcarder all the way through school ;)). (I had to write new cards without the answers on the backs of the cards because he was getting them correct so quickly, I thought he could see the answer behind them! ;))

3. Handwriting
    A Reason for Handwriting

I like it and we will continue for next year. It is nicely laid out, they get good practice on each letter with each letter made fully out of dots and then just the starting dot. As I checked them, I would erase the ones that weren't quite there ;) and we talked about making sure he carefully made sure he was doing each one well. I am looking forward to Bible verses being the copy work in the next book and starting the rest of the littles on it too. :) 

4. Bible
    1. Book borrowed from a friend that has chronological Bible stories and while you tell the story the littles           draw pictures or build playdough to remind them what the stories are about.
    2. Memory Verses
    3. Devotional

I am in the market for a new Bible curriculum book. I've heard of another book where the littles draw pictures as you read but am not sure I found the one yet. I liked the other one I had borrowed as it showed in the book how the littles could draw each picture - what shapes made up each drawing. We didn't do the stories that used dough though we read many of them and made up our own pictures for some. We used and loved ABC memory verse cards that my dear friend Jill's sister made and posted about. Then BabyBoy started AWANA and we switched to learning those verses.

5. Geography
    Galloping The Globe
    Eat Your Way Around The World

I did not love Galloping the Globe. I liked the intro pages but it was just too much work for me ;) to get all of the supplemental reading/etc. together. I love the idea of reading books either based in, written by, or stories about the particular country we would study though I would like a curriculum that has everything laid out and included. As much as I would love to go to the library every week to check out all of the supplemental material it was just too much for me. I would rather purchase a curriculum that has a library with it, we will get plenty of use out of it! ;)

6. Science
    Discovering God's Creation
        (goes along with Galloping The Globe) (I purchased teacher's manual and student workbook from      
        Christianbook dot com for $24.95 but doesn't appear to be available at many retailers right now.)

I did not love this either. It can be connected with Galloping the Globe; as you do lessons it corresponds to Discovering God's Creation lessons. It just seemed a little busy for me. Too much text, a little jumbled on the student worksheets/etc. Maybe I didn't give it a fair amount of time. The few lessons that we did were neat, though it still felt like too much text and we didn't complete the entire lesson. I would love a curriculum that is succinct, easy to follow, lessons easily laid out, and connected to the Bible as much as possible. 

7. Reading Time
    We choose random books that we already have in our little library.

I would love to use books/literature connected to their other lessons. 

And the most important thing is aside from academics. I've mentioned before that I have always been big on academics but the most important thing is teaching Biblical/Godly characteristics. The academics will come and maybe easier too. The most important thing to us is teaching and fostering solid character, morals, and philosophy they need to live and love and spread the good news with servants' hearts. They can have both!

Now here is my question for you. Please don't leave yet! I have things in mind and things that I've heard and would love to hear from you!

What did you do for Language Arts in 1st Grade? And I am on the fence for curricula for Bible, Science, History/Geography. I have heard about Apologia for Bible and Science with notebooking kit, Story of the World, and Biblio Plan. It sounded like some are used together? It seems as though Geography would be integrated into History? Side question: How do you think those compare with The Mystery of History? I also heard of a Bible stories curriculum where they draw as you read each day, does that sound familiar, or have you found one you love?

Thank you!!

*I would love and appreciate if you used our affiliate link for the All About Learning series! It will just allow us to buy more curriculum! ;) Thank you!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

NCF... Party of... SIX!!!

Hi everybody! I hope y'all are doing great! We have now been home for longer than we were across the world but still hard to believe we've only been back for a month and a half! We tried as hard as we could to enjoy and soak up our time there but we are SO glad to be home together as a whole family! And now we can excitedly say...

NCF Family... party of... SIX!!!

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These are our FOUR little people!! Two sixes, a four, and a two! We cannot help smiling and getting a lil' emotional looking at these lil' faces God has blessed our family with!

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Here is our first pic together when all the babies got to meet for the first time!! Not in a hospital... but at the airport, right when we flew home!! We were finally together!!! (First family pic, sleepy and all! :) We had been up for days!)

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And when we came home, our incredible friend set up for friends and family to line our street as we drove to our house. They were holding welcome home signs (including one with words from friends from across the states), balloons, screaming and clapping. It was so so special for our newest sweet guy to see how loved he is (and for us!). Everyone was a little overwhelmed :)

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We have just been lying pretty low since we got home spending as much time together as possible as a family of SIX!! Doing fun things, and new things, exploring things, and just hangin' things. (And trying to catch up on much... much lost sleep :))

We have so many pictures to share! And some homeschooling things to post about too! Soon I hope! ;) I hope you have a WONDERFUL day!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

We're Home!!!

Helllloooo!! Thank you sweet friends who have been checking in on us, I'm so sorry we haven't posted yet! I didn't realize until after I posted the final picture before we got on the plane that I wouldn't be able to post anything else on Instagram/Twitter until we got home! Thank you so much for being so sweet!!

We are HOME!! And we are so excited to introduce you to our NEW SON!!! 

This pic was taken after court in Uganda. :)

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Oh my goodness, we have quite a story. Filled with so many miracles. And we look forward to sharing it soon. :) But for now, we will just say that God is faithful, full of grace, and love, and can use any situation for good!

We can't even begin to thank each of you that has so faithfully prayed for us, our family, our process, and for your love and support!! Immeasurable blessings to us!! We do not feel like have enough space to effectively thank you!

We hope y'all are doing great and can't wait to catch up with you and your sweet selves! And share more pictures and happenings :-)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Daddy's Day 2013

This Daddy...

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Best. Daddy. Ever!!!

We are beyond blessed by his leadership, wisdom, love, silliness, compassion, sensitivity, hard work, priorities, and the full on, hands on Daddy that he is (and I'm pretty confident... positive... he has changed even more of our little peoples' diapers than I have! :))!

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{Notice HM poking BabyBoy! ;-)}

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{"Happy Daddy's Day, Daddy!"}

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{Kisses for Daddy! Oh the tiptoes! I love it :)}

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We had a low key day and went to some sweet friends' house for dinner. And I made a cake to bring along. I was trying some more new things and knew they wouldn't mind being experimented on. :-)

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Here is what the babies gave Hubby for Daddy's Day this year. It is so neat! He LOVED it!

Mug
View the entire collection of cards.
(you can put your cursor over the mug and move it to see the whole mug! Isn't that neat?!)

And because Daddy keeps us silly!

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{Most everyone decided jumping was silly :) Love them!}

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New York for a Night

A couple months ago my sister played at Carnegie Hall in New York and Hubby and I drove up to support her and watch her play.

My Dad flew in and we tried to pack as much time together as we could in about 24 hours! My mom was so sweet and amazing and took time off of work to be with the babies. And she is so amazing with them!

We ate, walked, performanced, and then on my birthday!, Hubby and I got standby tickets for Jimmy Fallon!!  You can see us in the audience many times! ;) We'll sign autographs anytime.

We were initially going to leave in the morning but with my Lucy-like scheming, Hubby agreed to try to get tickets. :) He is so good to me!

We were first in the standby line and got standby tickets #1 and 2! The guest was Bill Cosby!! We had to try! Then we had to come back later that afternoon to see if they had seats. So we watched around, went back, waited and waited, and got in!

It was such a fun experience! And a fun birthday together!

Now I will shower you with New York for a Night pics ;)

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{First order of business - lunch :) At Katz's Deli!}

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{We visited the 9/11 memorial. Incredible to see. Will never forget.}

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{Dressed and ready to see my sister play at Carnegie Hall!}

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{Doesn't everybody dress up to ride the subway? ;)}

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{Hot Hubby riding the subway :)}

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{Ready for her big performance!}

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{You better believe we were first in line!! ;-)}

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{#1 and 2, baby!}

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{Breakfast with everybody before everyone headed out. From left to right: Sister's mom and her husband, sister's husband, me and Hubby, and my Dad}

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{We got tickets!! ;)}

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We can't find the full episode anymore, we were going to pause it and take pics of us in the audience..dorks. ;)

It was a great quick trip to see my sister and watch her perform, have some hang time with my Dad, and get to spend a little time with just the two us.

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