Friday, April 19, 2013

God even cares about the small stuff (which is still sometimes the big stuff)

So last night, I couldn't sleep.  I was reading the articles, watching a little bit of the news (when the kids weren't around), and it's just too much to take in sometimes.  So instead of sleep, I prayed.  I prayed specifically for the safety and protection of our family.  Here is what happened today:

(First of all, yes it's snowing here, on April 19th in Wisconsin.) My truck broke down!  Here is the amazing thing about it.  The kids and I headed out to the store to buy some meatballs, because it's Max's night to cook and he picked meatballs.  I had a $10 off coupon for this meat and cheese warehouse (they have those kind of things in WI) :) and I thought it would make Friday night dinner, so much more easy.   So we went, purchased the meatballs, and headed home.  On the way (we are in the country this whole time), we drive by this consignment shop and I notice there is a bike out for sale.  I kept on driving.  I then made a sudden stop, and turned around to go check out this bike, I just knew this was going to be a good deal.  We went into the shop, rode the bike around the parking lot and ended up buying the bike, plus another one and I was very pleased with my find.  When we got back into the car it wouldn't start.!  My truck was broke.  After a friendly customer tried to give me a jump start, he then determined it was my alternator (as did my husband who I was on the phone with).  Wow, it could have died anywhere....  while I was driving, stranding me along a country road, or much worse, when I was traveling by myself with the kids back to Illinois (on the interstate).  But, we were safe, IN a parking lot, waiting for my husband to come pick us up and make an action plan.  Then something even more amazing happened.  The owner of the store came out and said he would fix my truck for free, as long as Brent brought him the part!  What!!??  Why??  Is there a catch??  I stood there, for a second staring at him and he said, "I fix race cars on the side and can have it done in no time".  Again, what!! Why??  I called and told Brent to stop at the auto parts store and bring an alternator. Brent's response was the same as mine "what, why??"...  Brent showed up, and by then, this nice guy had already taken out the old one and was ready to install the new one, and in about 10 minutes, it was done!  WHAT A BLESSING!!  When I asked for God's protection, I didn't have the smaller things in mind, but this clearly was awesome.  And God put us in the right place at the right time, because HE is AWESOME like that! 
♥  Shannon

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A School Year in Review


Our second year of homeschool, is coming to an end, or maybe I should say, I can see the end in sight. This year brought many challenges as we were uprooted shortly after the school year began, and we have been traveling back and forth between Illinois and Wisconsin with my husband, for his job. Our number one priority (besides God) is family, and so this was the obvious choice.

I added a few extras this year, and I am more then happy with them. We did Song School Spanish and Typing Instructor. 4 of my kids, have received a certificate for successfully completing typing instructor and they are doing very well with this skill. Spanish has been very fun, and something I work on, with the younger kids 2-3 times a week. It's from Classical Academy and incorporates music with each lesson, so naturally my kids were drawn to this. I also had each child read as many of the classical books as they could fit in, such as: Charlotte's Web, Where the Red Fern Grows, Little Women, The Wizard of Oz, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Farmer Boy. The kids also read Helen Keller, Abraham Lincoln, Clara Barton and Harriet Tubman.  (Along with a few other books thrown in for fun)  

For my youngest in Kindergarten we are doing Hooked on Phonics.  He will repeat Kindergarten next year as well and we will continue with this.  I really do like the program, but wish he was more interested in it.  We haven't progressed as much as I would like, but I knew I would need to take it slow with him.   He doesn't love school and probably never will, so we will do everything we can to make it fun!

My absolute favorite online site that I use is Last year, this website was free, and this year I had to purchase a subscription for one year, but it was totally worth it. I print extra practice worksheets almost daily for my Kindergartner, 2nd and 3rd grader. I also bought a membership to and my two youngest use this daily as well. I am finding that these online sites are very educational and very fun for the kids and it introduces them to the computer as well.

Our family loves music. 4 of the kids play the violin, 2 play guitar, 3 play the piano,  most of us sing and we all love to sing and perform in church. Since we travel back and forth it makes music lessons hard right now. Maddie is giving guitar lessons to Menter and Molly has started giving violin lessons to the younger kids.  She has been taking lessons since she was 3 and enjoys it very much.

I still primarily use Bob Jones for my kids. I don't see any need to mess up a good thing, and so I will most likely stick with this curriculum as we have had success with it.

We also do many family projects.  My husband loves to build and the boys especially love to help him.  This year they built a shed, and a dog house.  These are life long skills they are learning at home and precious memories of working along side their dad.

Arts and Crafts are always a part of our day. 

The girls have been learning how to crochet for the past two years, and this year, they were very successful.  They made many scarves and a few hats.

Here is a look at our school room in Wisconsin:

I have to say, the funnest thing about this past year, was the fact that our home in Wisconsin is right across the street, from a ski mountain. We took full advantage of this, and purchased a family season pass. All 5 kids took lessons and learned how to snowboard. It was great fun, and a good way to get exercise.

It's been a great year, and I am so excited that we have (almost) made it through our second year!

♥  Shannon

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Family Performance

What a refreshing weekend.  We covered 3 states (Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa), in two days and yet we came back refreshed, relaxed and feeling ever so blessed!  We traveled to Iowa over the weekend to perform as a family at Riverview Conference Center in Cedar Falls.  They were so kind to invite us to be part of the showcase.  My mom had a cabin for us to stay in, and Brent's parents came down for the day.  We are so fortunate that ALL our family lives in the same area, and in one trip we can see all the grandparents, a few cousins and Aunts and Uncles.  Wow, did our moms take such good care of us!  I didn't lift a finger all weekend.  At first I felt a little guilty, like I should be doing something, but quickly realized they wanted to help us out in this way.  I was busy enough practicing and getting everyone ready for the showcase.  I told my kids "Even a mom, likes to be taken care of by her mother every once in a while" :)  It was wonderful!  Here are a few pictures of us before, and during our performance.

In the Greenroom, waiting to go on stage.

The performance.

Everyone was much more relaxed, when it was over!

It was a great weekend, with lots of memories made.  We were so blessed this weekend, to be able to share and perform our talents with others.  We are hoping this is a ministry we can continue as a family.  This was our first performance outside of church, a nursing home, or a recital, and hopefully not our last!  I love what God is doing in our family and he deserves all the praise! 
Here is video of our performance:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Happy Birthdays!

What does every six year old boy want for his birthday?  A dirt cake!  Menter celebrated his birthday a few weeks ago.  I can't believe my baby is 6.  It was a beautiful, sunny weekend and we had a great time celebrating this boy, who brings so much life, laughter, entertainment and love to this family. 

What else does every six year old boy want, but a nerf bow and arrow!  Max has a real bow and arrow and Menter is always wanting to try it out.  I thought this was the safer route to go.  It was a special weekend, celebrating a very special boy!
Since his birthday, he has graduated to a big boy bike, and we have officially retired the training wheels in our house forever!
Yesterday was my birthday and my family made it very special.  The kids started my day with cards and chocolates and we ended the day with Brent coming home from work early and we all went out for dinner. We went out for Taco Tuesday, my request.  When I was growing up, every year my mom would ask me what I wanted for my birthday dinner, and I always picked taco's, so it was fitting.  We have a tradition in our house, that during your birthday dinner, everyone goes around the table and says something special about you.  Their words were so kind and filled with love.  I am one very blessed wife and mother.  The kids and I went shopping yesterday afternoon and they wanted to stop at dunkin donuts for a special treat, they would pay, and I was in!  Here are a few instagram pictures we snapped on my day out with the kids. 
And tonight, I am very proud of Marykate who finished the last of 3 books and graduated from Sparks in AWANA.  She worked very hard and memorized MANY Bible verses.  It's something she will take with her the rest of her life, to have those verses hidden in her heart!
It's been a blessed day!
♥  Shannon

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter Weekend

What a beautiful, blessed Easter we had as a family this year.  The kids and I drove back to Illinois very early Saturday morning.  I had a music practice at church with the Blues Brethern,  and my girls had to practice as well.

 We then spent the rest of Saturday preparing for Easter Sunday.  I prepared a ham, homemade bread, deviled eggs (from our dyed eggs), and potatoes, and Maddie made a lamb cake.  We decided to have our Easter dinner, Saturday evening when Brent arrived in Illinois.  It was his first day off in 3 weeks, and we were all so glad to have a whole day with him.  When Brent finally arrived home, we headed over to church for a quick practice of our song (that our whole family would be performing together) and then back home to enjoy our meal.  Unfortunately our battery died on our video camera shortly after arriving at church, and we didn't get our song recorded, but we are performing it again in two weeks for another event, so I am hoping to video tape it then. 

Sunday morning my youngest woke me up by telling me he wasn't feeling well, and had an ear ache.  So between hurrying around to get everyone ready and taking care of him, we didn't get any Easter pictures either.  I'm kind of disappointed about that, but that is not what is important. We had a lovely breakfast and service at church, where many people were able to perform and share their musical talents.  Easter is always such a wonderful time of hope and worship.  There is such joy in knowing we serve a Risen Savior!

After church my baby was feeling better and thankfully he made it through our song, so we stayed for an egg hunt and fellowship with our church family.  We have only been going to this church for two years, and yet these people are like family to us.  We love to spend time with them and they are all such a blessing and encouragement to us.  I am so thankful to God for leading us to this church!

We enjoyed our lunch of leftovers from Saturday night and spent the rest of the day, together as a family, mostly outdoors.

  We enjoyed a nice relaxing afternoon and took a walk in the woods.  I was finally able to hang some clothes out on the line and the kids played some basketball. 

Yes, I am the only one wearing big ugly boots :)  Guess who didn't have to come home and wash their shoes. I suggested they all wear old boots, but no one listened ;)

The night ended with Molly and Maddie at youth group, and Menter in bed early because he wasn't feeling well.   Brent, Myself, Max and Marykate, made some popcorn and talked about the day.  It's funny how quiet the house can feel when you are without 3 extra kids!

I have so many blessings in my life, and I am so thankful for each day with my precious family.

♥  Shannon