Category Archives: Ms. Lovebug

Homeschool Classroom ~Christian Studies

One area of our older kids’ high school curriculum is their Christian Studies.

Some of what Christian Studies includes studying is God’s word and taking opportunities to serve in our community.  I have previously shared one of their assignments, and you can check it out here.  Today, I want to share one of my absolutely favorite assignments for this class.

Once a month each one of our oldest four students presents a teaching (aka sermon) on a topic they choose.  This gives them a different method of studying God’s word than the verse by verse method we use for our morning Bible study.

The requirements for this assignment:

  • minimum of 5 minutes in length
  • must contain 3 different verse references
  • 1 Greek definition
  • 1 Hebrew definition
  • 1 story to illustrate the teaching

How I score this assignment:

  • time length of teaching- 10 points
  • 3 verses- 5 points each
  • definitions- 5 points each
  • story- 10 points
  • overall presentation- 5 points
  • = 50 point assignment.

Though this is a part of our high school curriculum, Emily Grace (13- 8th grade) and Hannah (11- 6th grade) also participate to expand their knowledge of God’s word and be better prepared for the more difficult topics and higher expectations of their high school years.

Each of them get to choose their own topic, but they have to clear it with me before they get started.  Sometimes the topics they choose can be too broad and need to be a little more focused.

A few of the chosen topics so far:

  • Biblical Courtship vs. Worldly Dating
  • Drawing Strength from God
  • Intentionally Be An Encouraging Person
  • Having a Thankful Heart

I greatly enjoy listening to their presentations and hearing what they have discovered.

What are some other topics do you suggest?

All for God’s glory,


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In the homeschool classroom- scavenger hunt!

Our family’s favorite classroom:  God’s great big world!

Today we took advantage of the gorgeous weather and headed outside with our science.  The scavenger hunt assignment in Hannah’s (10) Exploring Creation with Zoology 1:  Flying Creatures by Apologia was the perfect activity.  I had Emily Grace (13) join in.  It really accents her science studies, Botany by Apologia.

First find:  a huge bird’s nest.  Now, normally we would not collect a bird’s nest, but this one was in one of my feed buckets that is stored with our tools and equipment used on our homestead.

We took our little adventure down to the pond.  We passed a gnarly looking tree that offered up one of the other items on the list, a hole in the trunk of a tree.  As you can see, Emily Grace was fully prepared for any surprise attacks from whatever could be lurking in there.  I was so tempted to scream and run just to freak her out.  I didn’t.  This time.

Another item on the list was to find a bird, other than a duck or goose, around the water.  What did we find?  Our chickens.  That works!  Often we will find cranes, but there were none today.

How cool is this prickly looking caterpillar?!  Another item marked off the list!

We spent about half an hour trekking around our property to find everything that we could.  We will continue the hunt after the sun has retired for the day, so that we may have the opportunity to spot a few other items on the list, like bats.  🙂

Being a part of their education is far more than book work.  It is also the joy of getting them out and encouraging them to be hands-on.  Listening to their conversations and bad jokes while on the scavenger hunt was all gravy!

Next up on the science front: bird watching 101.

What is happening in your classroom?

All for God’s glory,


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Middle Girl’s Room Makeover

Decorating a room to incorporate the likes, favorite color, toys, and personalities  of four girls ranging in age from four to ten is no easy feat, but I think I got!

The previous residents attempted a “tuscany” feel to several areas of the downstairs by using the stucco method and somewhat painting it with earthy colors.  The white you see is where there is no paint.  They didn’t quite hit the nail on the head.

I chose to cover up the orange flat paint with a very warm and soothing green eggshell.   Green is a color that is the common thread in each of the girls’ quilts.

It took me an entire afternoon to paint this large room.  What seemed to take up the biggest amount of time was moving all of the furniture and toys out of the way.  *grin*

I am still toying with the idea of building a shelf around the pole seen in the picture.  I found an example on Pinterest I really like.

Now we are ready to purge, build, and decorate!

Mark exceeded my expectations building bases for each of the girls’ bed frames.  After hanging the curtains and putting their beds together, I hung their name signs over each of their beds.  I want to sew a couple of throw pillows for each of the girls in their favorite colors to match their name signs and quilts.  That will happen as I find the material I am looking for on clearance.

Here is a view of the kitchen play area I created, as well as little Layla’s (4) bed.  She is not yet big enough for a twin sized mattress.

I created the “EAT” and “Say Grace” signs out of a couple of scraps of wood and some extra ribbon from my craft tub.  The chalkboard menu lists the specials of the day.  You can also see the footprint butterflies we made with each of the girls.

I gave away most of our plastic toy bins and containers and opted for this shelf and matching baskets.   I put a lot of time into searching and finding the right containers for the girls to organize their toys in.  I could spend a WHOLE LOT of money to buy bins that look good and will stand the test of time or something cute but cheap enough not to get all worked up about if it was torn up.  Considering I don’t have $300.00 to spend on the first option, I chose to go with cute and not heartbreaking if they didn’t last too long.  These baskets were less than $5 each at Old Time Pottery, and after almost three months… not one has been torn up or even nicked!  Booyah!

When Mark finally brought home the pallets I have been whining longing for, I made each of the girls a little place of their own to display their masterpieces.

In the corner opposite of their little cafe spot I created a place for their dollhouses and put some books on the wall.  I am keeping my oh so frugal eyes open for a chair or two to put here so they can snuggle up and read their books.

While I may have the bulk of their makeover completed, I have a few projects left up my sleeve.  I am on the hunt for little bedside tables to set next to each of their beds.

I am also looking for a great rug to put in the middle of the room.  It has to be an incredible price and incorporate the colors of the room:  green, blue, pink, brown, orange, and yellow.  I am sure the perfect rug is out there…somewhere.

Finally, I am going to paint one of their doors with chalkboard paint to give them a spot to let their inner Picasso and Van Gogh out.

Granted, it took me about 4 months to get their room to this state of completion, but I have done it all for less than $100.00.  Thank you Pinterest for so much frugal inspiration!!

All for the glory of God,


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Sometimes the world really does stop.

It is time for an update on the happenings around our little homestead.  From the heart-stopping to the every day comings and goings of a family of ten, we have it all!  *grin*

Let’s start with heart-stopping, shall we?

Our family, which rarely gets sick, was struck down by the crud.  You know the crud.  That nasty stuff where sinus drainage likes to try to stick in your chest, it gives you that tickle spot in your throat, and you walk around hacking like a 90-year-old man with emphysema.

While most of us responded well to our tried-and-true home remedies, one of us did not.

When I arrived home from Emily Grace’s practice Thursday evening, I found that Hannah (10) was sleeping the entire time I was gone.  By the time she made it up the stairs she was out of breath, and 5 minutes later, she still couldn’t catch her breath.

Daddy carried her to the car, and we headed to the emergency room.  Apparently, in the two days after her doctor appointment, something went very wrong.  That “wrong” brought about an ambulance ride and an almost 4 day stay at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham.

The official diagnosis:  atypical pneumonia.  Sometimes the world really does stop, and my world did just that.  I am so grateful for family (Granny and Cousin A) who came and kept our household running while I stayed at the hospital with Hannah.  Daddy did double duty between taking care of the rest of the children and spending time with Hannah.

It is a horrible feeling being completely helpless to make your child well again.  Every little noise and movement has you wide awake and watching them carefully.  The first night, or what was left of it, I slept sitting in a chair next to her bed with my head resting next to her feet.  I may have totaled 2 hours of sleep in the first 36 hours.

I know that in the grand scheme of things I have little to no control in what happens in life, but it is going through things like this that make it all to in-your-face apparent.

I am thankful to you all for your prayers and uplifting thoughts, and I am most grateful to God for answering those prayers.

Hannah has been home for a few days now and improving by leaps and bounds.  The crud is leaving our family, and we are all FINALLY getting back to our own version of normal.  *grin*

On the homestead front, our chickens have finally made the move to the chicken house!  It was perfect timing.  The temperatures have dropped and we have had some seriously dangerous storms come through over the past week.  They are much safer and warmer in the chicken house as opposed to the brooder box.

Today, I put an entire bale of fresh hay in the chicken house and one in the run.  We learned some time ago that chickens are spectacular at creating healthy compost.  We fill our chicken run with appropriate kitchen scraps, leaves, some grains, and hay, and our chickens will scratch, peck, eat, digest, and finally poop all in the run.  We keep adding fresh “ingredients”, and they keep composting it all.  Every couple of months we clean it all out, add it to the gardens, and start over.

Today is also the day I have started on my great grain sprouting experiment for the chickens.  Here is the original pin:

I am taking pictures and keeping notes!

Next, I have to prepare a piece of charcoal to put in there.

Here is that pin:

I have just a couple of details to finish on the chicken house and I will finally get to share it with you.  Why yes, I have been taking a whole lotta pictures!

I will have to tell you about my garden progress later, or this post will be far too long!

God bless!


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Ahhhh, the smell of an apple orchard in the fall.

What screams homeschooling in the fall better than a field trip to an apple orchard?  Nothing, I tell you, nothing!  *Warning*  I have lots of pictures to share!

Aren’t the Arkansas Black apples beautiful?  They become almost black with a hint of deep red when they are ready to be eaten and enjoyed.

Our fantastically fall field trip (say that five times fast) took us to Mountain View Orchards where we were warmly greeted by a father/ son team.  They were extremely knowledgable, very capable in sharing that information with kids of a wide variety of ages, and they were wonderfully generous with their apples and their time.

Did I mention they were brave?  They let us loose on their apple orchard!  *grin*  Well, actually, the kids were well behaved.  The adults, on the other hand… just kidding.  We had a great time!

It is not always easy to find a field trip that will appeal to Littles, Middles, and Bigs.  Sometimes, if the field trip is fitting for the older kids, then the information  that is being shared is over the heads of the Littles.

Then there are times that whatever adventure we are on fits the younger children, but it is completely boring for the older ones.  Not so with an apple orchard!  Be still my homeschooling heart!

The bouncing bumpy tractor ride back to area of the orchard where we picked wasn’t too long and gave the kids an opportunity to plan their apple-picking strategies with their friends.

The question/ answer period gave a lot of new information and knowledge to our older children, yet wasn’t so long that our Littles grew restless.  The time and energy we spent picking and enjoying the apple orchard took just long enough for the bigger kids to get hands-on with some of their new knowledge, but it didn’t tire the Littles out to the point of whininess.  *love*

The children were paired up, I prefer to pair a bigger kid or two with a little one, and given a box to fill with apples.  That day we filled multiple boxes with Golden Delicious, that is, whatever apples the children didn’t eat while picking.  I told you, the father/ son team was generous!

My favorite shot of the day?  This one.

This is Renee’s sweet, sweet friend, Arianna, as she toted Israel’s not-so-light tush around the apple orchard.  My little man had an apple in each hand.  He would take a bite of one apple and then switch his attention to the second one.  He consumed every bit of both apples.

We even brought in grandparent reinforcements for those apples that were way up there in the trees.  Reach!

Everyone, wave to Paige and her sweet little guy, Gabriel.  Israel and Gabriel hang out together every Sunday at church.  The cuteness is almost unbearable.

Our bounty from the day was enough to fill my counter and keep me busy canning, dehydrating, and freezing fruit for days!

There was much making of pear sauce and Foo.  Emily Grace was my right hand girl.

Our pantry has added many quarts of pear sauce, 6 pints of Foo, and 6 quarts of dehydrated apples.  These will be yummy and a reminder of warm weather and the sweet smell of the apple orchard when we are in the midst of winter.


I shared with you earlier this week that our family’s schedule is becoming a little overfilled and things will be a little crazier than usual.  In addition to my fill sensor going on out my washing machine (which means no washer for about 3 days), we are moving!  We have been extraordinarily blessed to have found a different house to rent for the time being.  There will be more details and pictures coming soon.  Until then, I am up to my eyeballs with packing and cleaning and preparing to move in a week and a half.  Wow!

It is a good thing we school year round and are so far ahead.  Taking a couple of weeks off to get moved isn’t a big deal at all.   Getting a family of ten packed and ready in about ten days, that, my friends, is a big deal.  Pray for me!  *wink*

God bless,


You Capture! ~Play~

With a house full of Littles, Middles, and TWO new puppies, there is a whole lotta play going on in here!

We are working diligently to make sure our Little Man, Israel, knows his way around a kitchen!  One day, his future bride will thank me for this.  *wink*

One of the many pleasures of homeschooling is the ability to get the kids outside periodically to stretch their legs and have a little fun before hitting the books again.

There is nothing quite like the sweet giggles from Israel and Susannah as she chases him in his swing.  Every time she would almost “catch” him, he would swing out of reach and she would have to chase him back the other way.

There are rare moments in the day when one of the children isn’t playing with our newest furry family members, Ezekiel and Judah.  I am ever so grateful that when they feel like chewing on something, they chew on each other.  They will stalk and romp and play as the kids watch with delight on their faces.

Noah takes great care to ensure the puppies are tired out and completely ready for nap time.

It does this Momma’s heart well to watch as the children play, catch butterflies, and enjoy their time together outside.  Sometimes I wish I could freeze these moments and keep them in my pocket.

God bless,


Why not join up and check out the other links to I Should Be Folding Laundry’s weekly photo challenge, You Capture!.

You Capture! ~Chocolate~

When I saw that Beth was challenging us with “chocolate” for this week’s You Capture!, I said to myself, “Ooo, with my love of chocolate, this will be easy!”.  Little did I know that my stash had been depleted, and I had nothing left to photograph.

Children to the rescue!

I have been working on taking the kids’ spring pictures, and just in time for this week’s You Capture! came Hannah (9) and Israel (13 mo).  Both of them wore chocolate brown outfits.  Yay!  They looked absolutely scrumptious, if I do say so myself.  Nah!  There is no bias here!  *wink*

First, we stopped at a very old country church that I pass.  I have been wanting to stop and take some shots there for some time now.

Next, we drove into Hoover to visit the Aldridge Botanical Gardens and took a lot of pictures.  I loved every minute of following these two around, snapping shots, and soaking up their cuteness.

I am amazed when I look at the photos I took of Hannah.  She is growing up so quickly.

Israel was fascinated by a little pinecone he found.

Two of these shots you will soon find on my wall.  I have 3 more of our 8 kids to photograph and my new project will begin.  Of course there will be a post telling and showing you exactly what I am up to!

Did you capture?

All for God’s glory,


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Oh, the gorgeousness and a little You Capture fun

I have a field trip list that has been in my head for the almost 2 years we have been back in Alabama.  Finally, I am able to cross one of those field trips off.

If you have any reason for traveling through the Birmingham area, I highly recommend that you stop and walk through the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.  Oh, the gorgeousness is almost overwhelming.  Seriously.  To top it off, the parking and admission are free!  We are talking a day that included three of my favorite words:  free, fabulous, and FUN!

We spent 4 1/2 hours there, and while we did get to every garden, we did not get to explore every winding trail, hidden nook, and tucked-away treasure in all of them.  I guess we will just have to go back!  *grin*

The rose garden is breathtaking.

My favorite flower, a yellow rose.

I just love the texture of the old vines on this tree.

Everywhere you look the azaleas are in their full glory.  So many colors…

Olivia (7) and Hannah (9) and their silly selves.

There are trickling steams and gurgling waterfalls all through the fern gardens.  All that was missing was a hammock strung loosely between two trees.

Every turn holds a new view of yet another stunning azalea.

Each garden has some variety of water feature.  This little pond is hidden at a point where two trails meet in the middle of a woodland.  Can you spot the giant pinecone?

Hannah (9), Olivia (7), Emily Grace (11), Susannah (5), and Layla (2).

This is just one of the ponds in the Japanese gardens.

Our little Ms. Dimples is always stylin’.

The talon-like thorns on this tree are both beautiful and menacing.  You cannot help but touch it.

Statues, waves of blooms, and little ponds…

The spring flowers put on a beautiful show.

I am already planning a trip back to see the summer flowers when they make their grand entrance.  I noticed lily plants popping up everywhere!

All for God’s glory,


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Everybody Limbo!

Renee’s 15th birthday luau was a blast, and I owe a gigantic “THANK YOU” to everyone for your ideas!

The whole family worked together and had a lot of fun choosing, cutting up, and preparing the food.

We had fruit kabobs.  Simply cut fruits into large bite sizes, slide them on a skewer, and drizzle them with a little baker’s dark chocolate.  They were a huge hit!

Mark was in charge of the grill for the weekend, and he made a fabulous honey-dijon chicken that was absolutely lip-smacking good!

We also grilled some fruit and veggie kabobs.  I went all out and bought 3 different colors of bell peppers.  I know!

In addition to the grilled chicken and kabobs, and the chocolate fruit kabobs, we had pineapple bake (thank you, Granny), the avocado dip I found on Pinterest and chips, and fresh sliced raw veggies and pineapple.  There is just no comparison between fresh sliced pineapple and canned pineapple.  Heavenly!

Renee and I decorated the tables with flip-flop tablecloths (a steal from Old Time Pottery), luau hats and mini sand toys (picked up from the Dollar Tree), and little Mason jars with sand in the bottom and fake flickering candles.

What is a luau without leis?  Leis for everyone!

We made little flower clips for the ladies of all ages…

We also had luau hats for all of the studly little men and the studly grown men.  Look how adorable our dear friend Gabriel is.

Tiki torches and sand castles are must-haves!

One of my favorite foods at the party…cake!  Mark made a homemade vanilla sponge cake.  I iced it with homemade whipped cream, and put a generous amount of sliced fresh strawberries between the layers.  A little colored sugar for the top and adorable drink umbrellas to top it off.  It was DE-LI-CIOUS!

What is a birthday luau without a limbo game?  No where near as hilarious, that’s what!  Yes, I limboed as well, and I surprised myself.  I did not land flat on my back!  Score one for mom.  🙂  Hannah (9) pictured below, and Emily Grace (11) were the best at it.

At one point we brought Emily Grace’s (11) beam out of the garage.  I am not sure why, but I am oh so glad we did.  The kids were cute.  The parents were hilarious!

Every gathering is a perfect chance for a game of football.  Out of nowhere 7 year old Olivia streaks by, snatches the ball from the unsuspecting guys, and runs it back for the touchdown.  The crowd goes wild!

At the end of the evening you have a very happy 15 year old and a worn out but happy mom.


All for God’s glory,


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You Capture! ~Peaches

I look forward to the weekly You Capture! photography challenges from Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry with great anticipation.

Sadly, our schedule has been so full, and she has been having host issues, so I have not been able to grab my camera and join in for several weeks now.

Not this week!  I was determined to “capture” and “capture” I did.

While Hannah (9) and I were at Publix picking up a few things, I found the perfect opportunity in fruit and vegetable department.

I completely ignored the stares of my fellow shoppers and clicked away.

My favorite shots are:

Can you tell I enjoy playing with the pictures?  I am extremely disappointed that Picnik is closing.  They are my favorite to use, and their effects rock.  Now, I am being forced to find somewhere else to indulge in effects and watermarking my photos.  Sigh.  Any suggestions?

Why not visit, and maybe join up, with You Capture!?