Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Can you eat a donut without using your hands?

This year, our friends got together and had a Halloweenie Party. We had hot dogs (hence the name “halloweenie”), chili, and lots of yummy chips, snacks, cake and candy. In addition to bringing food, each family was to bring a game to the party.


So for food…Jace was responisble for the chili. He really loves to cook, so he made a homemade chili, and I thought it was yummy. (I don’t love chili or hotdogs, so I’m not the best judge, but I liked it a lot! He’s an amazing cook!!).


Cohen and I made spider oreos…






These are super easy!!


Spider Oreos:



Pretzel Sticks

Chocolate Frosting

M&M Candies

I did not get the double stuffed oreos, so we had to open them to put the pretzels in them. So step 1: Open oreo, break 4 pretzel sticks in half, place on the white filling in the oreo, put a small bit of chocolate frosting (as glue to hold the oreo together), close oreo. Put a small bit of chocolate frosting on top and 2 M&M candies for eyes.


And white chocolate popcorn…




Halloween Popcorn


Popcorn (2 bags)

Almond Bark

Recees Candies

Candy Corn

Halloween colored sprinkles

Pop the popcorn according to package directions. Melt almond bark according to package directions. In a large bowl, combine popcorn, recees, and candy corn. Pour almond bark on top, stir well. Add sprinkles. Stir again. Put popcorn mixture on a sheet of wax paper to harden (I left mine about 30 min). Break popcorn apart into bite size pieces and place in bowl. Enjoy!


Ready for the party!




Now for our game!


I searched pinterest for something really cute, and I found this blog about donuts in a tree. I decided to give it a try.



So here is our attempt at the game “Donuts in a Tree.”








I love this picture!! I’m pretty sure Lyons is yelling “don’t use your hands!”




Here are a few pictures of all the families that joined us.


The Safley Family (plus a Goldman)



The winners for longest drive home…The Pourciau Family. Super excited they joined us.



Our hosts for the evening…the Millet Family!




Best costume goes to Michelle and her Snuggie!! Love it! The Courville Family!



And last but certainly not least, the Raney Family!



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Do you know the 7 wonders of the ancient world?

Earlier this month, I posted a video of Cohen reciting some of his memory work for Classical Conversations. We are 7 weeks into the program now, and I finally got him to do his History memory work on video. Each week we memorize a sentence/list and we use that as our theme to study for the week. We read books, do crafts, and take field trips based on these History topic. This may be my favorite subject I’m teaching right now. If you know me, you know my love for all things math and science, but this stuff is just so interesting! I’ve never studied Ancient Rome, Egypt, India or China. Have you?

He’s not super loud or articulate in this video, so good luck understanding what he has to say. I’ll give you a brief summary:
10 Commandments
Greek/Roman Gods
7 Wonders of the Ancient World
Split of the Roman Empire
Fall of Rome

If you are interested in teaching your kids some of these topics, I’d suggest you go to your local library and check out The Kingfisher Book of The Ancient World: From the Ice Age to the Fall of Rome. We have been using this one and we love it. It has pictures and short stories to go with most of our history sentences. Now, this is WAY over my 4 year old’s head, but he can look at the pictures and I can give him an educated summary of what happened during that time in history.

Let’s use this as proof that these kids can memorize ANYTHING!! Come on folks…get your kids memorizing stuff. If you don’t want to memorize history sentences, start with the 10 Commandments, Books of the Bible, memory verses, Presidents, famous speeches, poems, nursery rhymes, etc. I could go on for days. Get your kids brains working now! They really can do it!!

I should also mention that our “school room” is a constant work in progress. I’m trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Please excuse the mess. Eventually the bulletin board and white board will be hung on the wall. They work well on the floor too though.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Did your house flood?

It’s been almost 2 months since Isaac devastated LaPlace, so I thought it was about time to write my story.


My family and I live in LaPlace, Louisiana. This city is located between Lake Maurepaus, Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River. There are areas of LaPlace that have flooded before, but most neighborhoods never see water in the street, much less in their homes. Hurricane Katrina did nothing more than blow some shingles off roofs, knock out power, and tear up a few trees. Hurricane Isaac was a different story.


In the past, I have evacuated for Hurricanes mostly because I needed an excuse to visit my family. This time, the storm was not big, it was not supposed to hang around long, and our parish had not even issued a voluntary evacuation. So we decided to stay.


Well here's the story.


The storm actually come on land Tuesday, August 28. We slept through most of it. When we woke up, our fence was down, but other than that, we were good.


We were watching the water level in the street and listening to our battery operated radio. No warnings. No news about anything happening in LaPlace. They were talking about Orleans Parish and Jefferson Parish, not St. John the Baptist Parish.


Around 1:30pm on Wednesday, Aug. 29, we got a call from some good friends who live in Summerlin Lakes off Hwy 51, that they had received news that their neighborhood was being evacuated. It had been a little while since we checked the water level on our street so we looked out the window and realized the water was filling the street. In about 30 minutes, the water was up over the street and rising. We knew there was no way we could get a car out.


Around an hour later, the water was rising, but slower, so we figured that maybe it was leveling off. But no, it just kept raining. Isaac did not move. He just sat there, for hours, dumping water on us.


Here are a few pictures of the front yard. I chose to stay on the door step, so this is a picture of my neighbor’s house.


In this picture, the water is not in our neighbor’s house yet. They got 8-10 inches in their house. The water came up to my flower beds.




Here is a picture of Jace standing in the street. The water is over his knees.




Obviously you can see, there is no driving out of our neighborhood at this point. The water was actually getting uncomfortably high on the Civic, so we moved both cars to the front yard. We parked them where you see grass in this picture.


We watched our neighbors houses fill with water and we started wondering what we were going to do. When the water started coming up to where we had moved the cars, we made the decision to run. Over the next few minutes, we unplugged everything important and stored it in the attic, on top of the kitchen cabinets, on top of the bed, etc. There was a bus a few yards away, so we packed a bag, put a life jacket on my 4 year old, put leashes on the dogs, and started wading out into deep water to get to the bus. I wish I had picture of this, but to be honest, I was in a state of shock. I could not believe what was happening. When we finally left the water was inches from coming in the house. It was on the front door step. I just knew our house was going to get water in it.


When I saw all those people doing this same thing during Katrina, I kept saying, “How could they not know? How were they not prepared?” We became those people!


On the way to the bus, we convinced our neighbors to come with us. A group of 6 adults, 6 children, and 5 dogs loaded busses to go to the shelter.


We rode a bus from our neighborhood to a local church, about 2 miles away. It took us about 20 min to make that drive. Once we got to the shelter, there were HUNDREDS, no maybe THOUSANDS of people there. It was absolute chaos. We waited on our bus (in our soaking wet clothes) for about 20 minutes before we made it to the unloading zone.  


One family had a ride waiting for them once we arrived at the shelter. The rest of us began trying to figure out what we were going to do. We knew we could not stay at that shelter and they were busy loading buses of people to take them to Shreveport. No way were we going to Shreveport. 


Now I should jump back and mention, the friends that were lucky enough to have someone in their neighborhood tell them to leave, were at Jace’s parents house. When they called us, we told them to go there and we would get there when we could. I should also mention that they made that drive from LaPlace to Baton Rouge in the middle of the hurricane.


At 6:30pm we realized our only hope was to have someone come get us. We were reluctant to have people on the road during such bad weather, but we had no hope of making it the night at the shelter. We called Jace’s parents to come get us. We waited under the awning of the Fred's in LaPlace in the rain until they could get to us. It was cold and wet but we survived.


At 8:30pm, 6 adults, 3 kids, and 4 dogs loaded into a ford explorer and headed to baton rouge. You do the math...there were no car seats, no third row, not everyone was in a seat belt, but we didn't care!


We arrived at Jace’s parents house around 10pm. We were wet, tired and hungry, but we were safe. The very first thing I did when it got there was bathe my son. After wading through who knows what in that water in the street in Laplace, he needed a bath.


Shortly after all of us getting cleaned up, we ate. The last time any of us had eaten anything was about 11am, and that was just a peanut butter sandwich. Nothing fancy.


That night, ALL of the Raney’s stayed with Jace’s parents (Mr.. Jerry, Mrs. Jan, Jace, Cohen, Adam, Tricia, Brue, and me). We also had all of our pets (4 dogs and a cat). In addition to the Raney’s, we brought our LaPlace friends, the Safleys (2 adults, 3 kids, 1 dog, and 1 cat) and the Courvilles (2 adults, 2 kids, and 2 dogs). So add it up folks, 1 house, 5 families, 10 adults, 7 children, 7 dogs, and 2 cats. Isaac really caught us all off guard.


Adam and Tricia got power the next day, so they went back to their home, but the rest of us stayed another 2 nights, until the flood waters went down enough for us to get into our homes.


That first night was awful. None of us Laplace families knew whether or not the water got in our homes. We also were not able to contact many of our friends because of poor cell phone service.


The next morning, the Courvilles and us found out from our neighbors that the water did not go in our homes. Praise God! The Safleys were still unsure as to what they would return to, but they had wonderful spirits. I have to be honest, I didn’t take the neighbors word as truth. I needed someone to go in my house and tell me for sure that we were dry.


A couple days after the storm, Jace, Matt Safley, Katie Safley, and Mark Courville went back to LaPlace to check on the damage. I had the privilege of hanging out with the kids! I adore each one of these kids, so it was a real treat.




We were so tired of being in the house, so I let all the kids just play outside ALL MORNING!



Playing in the mud puddles was probably not the best decision on my part. We really didn’t have loads of clean clothes. Oh well.








We found out that ALL of our homes were DRY! Praise God!! There are about 200 homes in my neighborhood, and about 10 were dry, and ours was one of them.


I didn’t actually return to LaPlace until Sunday. Our Pastor and his family evacuated to Arkansas, and because of the destruction, they were not able to make it to church on Sunday. He asked Jace to fill in for him, so we had to be at church bright and early Sunday morning. It was surreal talking with our church family and hearing how the storm affected their lives. Many homes flooded. Many had roof damage, fences down, debris in their yards, but we were there to worship a God who promises to care for us during any type of storm.


And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28


I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. –Psalm 121:1-2


We ended up getting water in our garage and had to toss some things we really didn’t need anyway.


I considered not writing this story at all, but I decided to tell my story. To take this opportunity to remind my blog readers that LaPlace is still very much in need of prayers. Most of the homes in my neighborhood are still uninhabitable. Many have moved back, but there is still so much work to be done.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Have you been to the Pumpkin Patch?


Yes! We had another wonderful trip to Mrs. Heather’s Pumpkin patch!! This is our THIRD year to go to this pumpkin patch and we have thoroughly enjoyed every year. Click here and here to see pictures from the last two years.


This year was super special because we got to join Brue on her first trip to the Pumpkin Patch. That girl is too cute!!





We had lots of fun this year! I’m finding that as this kid gets older it is becoming more difficult to get him to stop and take good pictures, so I have LOTS of action shots.


2012 10 10_0036_edited-1


2012 10 10_0037_edited-1


2012 10 10_0057


And when I do get him to sit still, this is what I get. I love this kid!!




But when he’s working hard, he gets very serious.


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And then silly again!!




And for good behavior at the Pumpkin patch, he got a smoothie and a sucker. He was super excited.




Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Do you know what a preposition is?

Whew. I feel like the last few weeks have flown by so fast! Between school, vacations, and life in general, I haven’t stopped long enough to post anything.

I want to give you a little taste of what we have been learning the last few weeks. As I mentioned before, we are doing Classical Conversations this year. This particular curriculum is very heavy in memorization. Cohen is required to memorize a sentence or list for each of the following subjects: History, Science, English, Latin, Math, and Geography. He's also learning a Timeline that covers Creation to Current Events.

Last week was week 5 for this curriculum (we had to take a week off for the hurricane, so we are a little behind), but I wanted to share what he has memorized so far.

In English, we are learning our prepositions, so the video starts off with him explaining what a preposition is, then he lists the ones we have learned so far. The next thing on the video is Science. We have learned the Classification of Living Things, the 5 Kingdoms of Living Things, Parts of a Plant and Animal Cell, and the Major groups of Invertebrates.

Now, before you watch the video and think “how can he really know all this stuff” I want to remind you that it is memorization. Yes, you can teach a 4 year old to memorize just about anything! They memorize nursery rhymes, songs, memory verses in Awana, so yes, they can memorize History, Science and Math facts! Now if you ask him to use a preposition in a sentence, or to explain how the kingdoms are divided, he can’t answer that. We’ve read books about the different Science and History facts we are learning, but he is not old enough to understand what they really mean. I know this. This is how we teach Classically. I’m not requiring that he understand everything he’s memorizing. One day he will understand it, and isn’t it great that when he begins to really understand how to classify living things, he’s not trying to memorize the different kingdoms?

If you want more information about the Classical style of learning, please check out The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (Third Edition) by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. This is an excellent resource!

Now for the video…

Maybe next week I can get him saying his History or Timeline information. It really is very impressive how much a kid can remember if you just challenge them to do the work! And I must say, it is equally impressive how much this Momma is learning from teaching her little boy!