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Little House Coloring BOOK!

Look what I found! I'm so excited but it will have to wait until after CHRISTmas for me to get it 😍
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20 Years and Counting

20 years, 1 week, & 1 day married to the love of my life! 

 These are pictures of pictures 😃
 Having fun at a company picnic.
 The picture below is the only pic that I'm not pregnant in. It was before we were married.
 Lupe, me, Josh and I'm prego with Annette. We are at another company picnic. When FedEx was Kinkos back in the day 😊
Not sure who I'm prego with in this picture.

I Can't Eat Anymore :)

The kids made this funny video. An after Thanksgiving video 😊

Actor: Lance
Music: music chosen by ~Musicl.ly app
Director: Brent
Camera Man: Caleb

Beautiful Thankgiving

This year I kept Thanksgiving super simple. Last year we ate at Cracker Barrel things were a bit daunting and I really just wanted to sit and enjoy my Thanksgiving dinner with the kids. Normally I don't get to. By the time I sit down most everyone is done and I'm so hot from the eat of the stove (we have a small kitchen). Plus, I always cook for an army when I don't need to.
Our plates from Hobby Lobby

Soooo, this year I decided only bake 3 pies: 2 sweet potato and 1 pumpkin. Only a few sides instead of gazillions: mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, yams, and cranberry sauce. That was it.

I also didn't spend days cooking in the kitchen because there wasn't so much to cook! I loved it AND I sat down with the kiddos and hubby of course. I wasn't over heated (haha) and I enjoyed my Thanksgiving dinner with my family (this is not to say I didn't enjoy other Thanksgiving dinners).
It was just a really nice day. Annette helped in the kitchen which I absolutely LOVED! Normally she's with her dad fixing something. It was nice chatting with her. She made a cranberry salad.
This is one of the recipes that her Auntie Cynthia taught her how to make.
 Lupe made the Turkey. I'm not sure why our butter ball turkey looks so round. usually they don't look like this. It was tasty though.
 I made sugar free Cranberry Sauce. It was so yummy! I added some blueberries this year.
 Green bean casserole. I didn't take a picture of the mash potatoes.
 I made two sides of sweet potatoes. One had a yummy pecan crumble type topping and the other had a marshmallow topping. The kids prefer the marshmallow and Lupe and I love the pecan.
Um, yeah, the kids decided that it needed more marshmallows.

Even though I only baked three pies there was still a lot of yummy desserts! Josh made an apple pie and a chocolate pudding pie from scratch too! And Annette made lots of cream puffs. It was her first time. She made three different fillings: Nutella, Vanilla, and Pumpkin. She also made Rice Crispy Treats!

Annette's Cream Puffs
Nutella Cream Puffs
 A plate for my dad to take home. They may not look too pretty but they were tasty. We need to work on our presentation ~ hehe.😜

 Joshua's apple and chocolate pies. They were so good! Yes I age carbs and sugar this year.
 Not sure what happened to Joshua's cookies but they were delish as well.
It was a relaxing day of fun and being with my wonderful family. Lupe helped me clean up. I love him 😍💗

Of course I had a nice cup of java ☕ while watching the football game with hubby. Yes, we watched a football came. I'm not a football fan but it was for the hubby. Lupe's not a watch-every-football game type of guy but he enjoys a game now-and-then.

Thank you Lord for a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with my family .

Quiet Time

Quiet time at the cabin. Just hubby and me. It gave me time to ponder what I'm thankful for.
Thinking Tree Journal
It was a nice weekend getaway celebrating our 20th Anniversary. Hard to believe we've been married for 20 amazing and wonderful years.

Of course I brought more of my Thinking Tree journals. 
Thinking Tree Journals

Thinking Tree Journals

First Selfies

My hubby and I are not good at taking selfies together but we try. I think this is one of the first ones. I'm sure we must have taken one before.

 We took a 20th Anniversary weekend getaway and thought we'd try out hand at selfies. I think we need a selfie stick, bwahahaha
 We discovered that our phone will snap a picture if we say, "cheese", so I'm saying cheese while keeping my smile. My hubby on the other hand is saying it in Spanish and the picture snapped as he was saying the 'o' sound in queso.
 We tried again. This time with just me saying cheese. We stayed in a one room cabin with a gorgeous view from every window.
This picture was funny. I said, "Hey, Dear, let's take one here."

His reply, "It's just wood, you want us to take a picture in front of wood?" and as I'm typing this I'm laughing to myself because it was funny but you had to be there. And yes my love of my life is saying, "Queso" :)

I said, "It's the cabin wood though."

We keep looking in different directions. We were not sure where we should look while taking the selfies. We tried looking at different spots but his eyes and mine are still looking in different directions. Any tips!?!?

Anyway it was fun taking some selfies with my Sweets.

Update on Our 8th Grade Year with Using The Thinking Tree

Ethan my 8th grade son has been using The Thinking Tree full time for a while. I need to gather all his journals and write about it in more detail.

Library Based Journal for Boys by The Thinking Tree
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure.
Ethan my 8th grade son has been using The Thinking Tree full time for a while. I need to gather all his journals and write about it in more detail.

He's currently using:
The Library Based Journal for Boys
How to Make Money
Timeline of World History
Are You a Math Genius
Word Hunt
And he'll probably start United States Geography soon as well.

Here is a page from his Library Based Journal. The lines on the copywork pages are too far apart for Ethan so we added some more.
Library Based Journal for Boys by The Thinking Tree
My 8th grade plans that I wrote back in June and it has changed a bit from in October too. Mostly the writing. I really need to buckle down and stick with a writing program with him. Yikes, crazy me. My two oldest were more natural writers than my younger ones.

For the month of November Ethan has used mainly The Thinking Tree for history, spelling, and some social studies too. He continues to use CTC Math along with Are You a Math Genius and Bible Games.

The Thinking Tree
I am going to have Ethan start Climbing to Good English and see how that goes with writing. I'll continue to add copywork. I have some Spelling You See copywork books that I might pull out for him later in the year.

We haven't been doing science: Let the Rocks Cry Out regularly but plan to starting in January. I am actually going to see if I can use one of The Thinking Tree journals for that and keep my science book clean for Lance to use next year but we'll see. It all depends if the journal is completed by then.

So, as of today this is what we are using with Ethan.

Just SLOWing Down

Just taking time to SLOW down.
 We decorated our gingerbread houses. Of course mine was a Coffee House.
I'll share more soon. One of my SLOW goals is to stay off the computer during the holidays. And I'm so proud of myself. Through the Thanksgiving week I've been very careful NOT to jump on the computer.
Which means we actually decorated our gingerbread houses early this year.
Normally we don't get to them until New Years Eve.
 When I pulled out all the gingerbread houses Lance said, "But it's our tradition to decorate them when we stay up all night", which translates to New Years Eve, hah, He made me laugh.
I guess I might have to buy some more for our "tradition" (me laughing and smiling).

Flip to Fun-Schooling for High School using the Thinking Tree!!!

I'm so excited my daughter Annette is flipping to Fun-Schooling using the Thinking Tree journals and books.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.
She has picked some of the more supplemental journals to use with Heart of Dakota. Right now she's still finishing some subjects from Hearts Through Him High School: World History. Once done which she estimates around CHRISTmas time she'll move onto U.S. History 1 also from Heart of Dakota.

Annette has picked out several but for this post I'll concentrate with the one she's using most right now. Once she starts U.S. History 1 she might not use the 10 Subject Portfolio very much. The reason she picked it for now is she LOVES the history pages. We are praying that Sarah will create the History Handbook and Portfolio which will be similar to the Science Handbook and Portfolio by the time she starts U.S. History 1.
10 Subject Portfolio by The Thinking Tree
What she is doing is loosely using the Heart of Dakota schedule. She reads the through People, Places, & Events World History text and because Annette is a what I call "digger" because she loves to dig deeper in her studies she reads from, From Adam to Us or the Mystery of History series. Now my younger boys, they (at their ages now, 16, 15, 13, & 12) just read the text, hurry and write something and move on (sad I know, sniff, sniff).
10 Subject Portfolio by The Thinking Tree
In fact I originally purchased the Portfolios for my boys but because they are "hurry-ers" ~ meaning they just want to get it done they work better using the Curriculum Journals.

Hey, that picture of the lady below looks familiar, bwahahaha. Funny. I looked at it and thought, hey, that looks like Hillary Clinton. I think it's great that Annette was listening to what Mrs. Hillary, President Obama, and President Elect Donald Trump were saying after the election and recorded it in her portfolio.
10 Subject Portfolio by The Thinking Tree
Annette loves the Who? What? When? Where? pages and has almost completed all the History pages in this portfolio so she may use the pages from the Business & Technology section or another section within the portfolio to complete the rest of her World History studies.
10 Subject Portfolio by The Thinking Tree
 She is also using the Literature section. Sometimes she'll do a character study or a character comparison. Other times she'll write a written narration. Then again she'll answer questions from her Heart of Dakota program but answer in written format instead of directly answering the question.
10 Subject Portfolio by The Thinking Tree
 I love how she has really made this work for her. She takes her time writing and illustrating what she has learned.
10 Subject Portfolio by The Thinking Tree
This is one way we are using the Thinking Tree's 10 Subject Portfolio with a high schooler. The 10 Subject Portfolio was originally created for the younger students (but all ages/grades can use it). Annette chose this one over the 12 Subject Portfolio because she noticed it has more History pages.

Blast Off to Reading (Review)

Blast of to Reading by Reading Specialist of Long Island uses 50 Orton-Gillingham based lessons for struggling readers and those with dyslexia.
The recommended age is 7-13. This is in full color. If you have an older child you may want to try this one. It has less color for a more "mature" look. I have a video at the bottom of this review comparing the two.

This phonics program is meant for the parent to be involved and work with the child. It is not a hand-to-your child to complete on their own type workbook.
Blast of to Reading lessons consist of 2-4 pages sometimes 5 depending on the lesson. Each lesson usually consist of a new topic. Your child will review a list of words and sentences and then complete some exercises.

Starting with lesson three at the end of the lesson you are instructed to do dictation. All the dictation passages can be downloaded and printed at the Reading Specialist of Long Island website. What's neat is it's all on audio as well, so you can simply hit play!
Although it is suggested to work at your child's pace for 30-45 minutes, the lesson is not meant to be completed in one sitting. With that said, if your child is older like mine (12 years) it is okay and will happen. Especially with the short two page lessons. You know your child and know what's best the main thing is to work at their pace.
Not all of the 30-40 minutes will be in the book. You are encouraged to play games with your child all provided for free at Blast off to Reading or you may purchase physical games as well. Choose online games or download for print-at-home games like the Monster Phonics card game.

Flash cards are free too! You can purchase a set as well but there are more in the FREE version. I myself prefer to purchase and did so.
This is a complete reading program for your child so again, go at your child's pace. If he needs to spend time parked at a lesson that's okay. Play the fun games and let him enjoy the process of learning to read.

The Blast off to Reading book includes the instructions at the beginning of the book. This program is meant for a variety of ages, if you have an older student there are more word lists in the back of the book.

Several features that I would love to see is an answer key and if the book used the Dyslexie Font. The Answer Key can be found on their website which you can download.

Take a peek at the video below to compare the two books and see the pages. The Blast off to Reading website has a lot of sample pages as well.

My Final thoughts: A great value for what you receive and the company is very generous with offering free online games. Usually you need a code to access the extras or have to pay for them so I thought it was just super that you don't need to pay extra for those.

The pages are fun but not overwhelming. I know some kids get distracted with colorful pages, so this program has the right mix. Fun but yet it doesn't take over the pages.