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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

DIY water table

Step 1: drool over water tables online.

Step 2: post on freecycle looking for one, get a response from a friend that she has one, get super busy and keep forgetting to pick it up...{sorry Shirley}

Step 3: get desperate one morning for something for your three year old to do while you teach the others.

Step 4: look around your house and yard and find stuff you previously complained about lying around looking messy.
Step 5: recruit your 10 year old to help you haul cement blocks
Step 6: fill with water and step back and enjoy watching said 3 year old have fun.


Step 7: hurry up and go teach the others while you have a few uninterrupted minutes!

Ready... Set... Your turn! 

Island Mama

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Reflections

Tonight I sat and reflected on this past year.  If I could summarize 2013 with one word it would be...


While it was a difficult year in many ways, it was also a year of tremendous blessings. Many lessons were learned, many tears were shed, but there was joy and laughter throughout the year, in the midst of the pain.  God's love and faithfulness was evident every step of the way.

Here is a summary of our 2013. The ups,
                                                           the downs,
                                                                     the in betweens... 

January: Joe resigned from his job at BAMZ after being there for 6 years. God opened the door for full time ministry which we had been praying about for sometime. It's sometimes scary to step out in faith but we knew God was moving us in this direction and looked forward to embarking on this new journey.  

February: We took a monthlong family trip to Sri Lanka which was amazing! I got to celebrate my 40th birthday there. We spent precious time with my mom and dad, making memories, not knowing for sure  how much longer Ma would be with us.  

March: Joe began work at Cornerstone Bible Fellowship. 

April: We announced that Baby Furbert #5 was on the way and we started raising chickens!

May: Joe was ordained and officially took on the role as Associate Pastor at Cornerstone.  Eden turned 6. Joe completed his first half marathon.

June: My mom went home to be with The Lord. She passed on peacefully at home with Joe , my dad and I at her side.  Two days later, Marcus turned 3.

July & August: The summer went by quickly with VBS, Cornerstone kids camp, swimming, fishing, spending time with cousins and celebrating Eli's 8th birthday.

September: we began our 5th year of homeschooling. 

October: Isaiah Jordan made is entrance into the world.  

November: We celebrated Ma's life by planting a cedar tree, our 12th wedding anniversary and Micaiah's 10th birthday.  

December: This month was a blur with Christmas preparation and activities. Some highlights for me were making mince pies which was something my mom did every year, watching the kids perform at Grotto Bay hotel on Christmas Eve, and spending Christmas Day with our parents, being entertained by the kids with a show they put together.  

Definitely a roller coaster of a year but one that God used to strengthen my faith and draw me closer to him.  I don't know what 2014 has in store but I'm looking forward to whatever it brings... This year has taught me that whatever I am faced with, God will see me through :)

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

School's in!

On Friday we finished our second week of school and we are slowly getting into a new routine. After a year of many disruptions, I am enjoying a little bit of normalcy... well, enoying it while I can any way!  Sometime in the next few weeks we will welcome baby #5 and who knows what life will look like then!

This year I have a preschooler, 1st grader, 3rd grader and 5th grader.  As you can probably imagine our days are quite busy.

We are doing things a bit differently this year. During our past four years of homeschooling we have been quite eclectic in our approach to learning, not depending on one curriculum or method of teaching, but incorporating many different resources.  The benefits of this is you can meet the individual needs and interests of the learners.  We have had a very relaxed approach to learning as I attempt to develop in each child a love for learning.  My philosophy is once they love learning you can teach them almost anything and in many cases, they will learn on their own.

The down side of this approach for me is that it is very time consuming to pull all of these resources together, especially having so many different levels to focus on.  I also have a firstborn who loves routine and structure almost to a fault. This type of learning was not really fitting in with his style.  His desire to keep on a schedule was being hindered by a mom who's ability to think beyond a day at time especially the last 4 months of the school year, was lacking (think morning sickness, no energy, watching my mom slip away... not a good combination for being an organized homeschooler!!)

But this is the beauty of homeschooling... you find what works for your child and make it happen!  This year we are making more use of specific curricula.  Micaiah's is very structured and rigorous (traditional school at home) while the rest are a little more relaxed, but most of the planning is done for me.  And so far, 2 weeks in it seems to be working.

Micaiah (Grade 5/ Primary 6) is enrolled at A Beka Academy.  Video streamed classes with text books, reading materials, and testing materials for the entire year all sent to us.  All I do for him is supervise his learning, grade his work and be available to answer questions he may have.  He is really enjoying it so far, staying on top of his assignments and taking ownership of his schedule.  He loves to check off what he has finished and he enjoys watching the classes on line. 

Eli (grade 3/ Primary 4) and Eden (grade 1/ Primary 2) are using the same curricula,  learning a lot together and enjoying it.  Even through they are 2 grade levels apart the main curriculum covers ages 6 to 8 so it is a perfect fit for us.  I do  math, spelling/ reading separately for them but the rest is worked on together.

We are using Moving Beyond the Page which is a comprehensive homeschool curriculum that covers science, social studies, and language arts. It is a unit based curriculum which encourages hands on learning, and focuses on developing critical and creative thinking.  The first 2 weeks have been a lot of fun as we are learning about communities around the world.

For math, we are using RightStart Math which uses visual, auditory, and kinesthetic approaches to teaching mathematics.  Both are using the same program but Eli is moving at a faster pace as much of it is review for him and it is new learning for Eden.  So far I like the program but I will have to do a proper review after we have used it for a few months.

We are continuing to use All About Spelling which I used in the past for Micaiah and Eli.  It is new to Eden this year and I am combining it with All About Reading for her.  Again a kinesthetic, visual and auditory approach... do you notice a theme here??  I have 2 very hands on learners that I think will thrive with these programs.  The best part for me is that there is very little planning for all of them.  Most lessons I have to simply open the teachers manual and go to it.  There are some lessons that require some advance planning like having supplies ready, gathering books from the library etc. which I think I can handle!!

It was apparent in the spring/ early summer that Marcus would need a more structured preschool program. I was going to wait until he was 4 and just continue this year with learning though guided play and lots of free play as we had been doing.  He catches on to lots by listening in on everyone's lessons so I decided to do something a little more formal with him.  I found  ABC Jesus Loves Me which is a free curriculum plan.  These past two weeks we learned about Creation, counting using "5 Little Ducks" and the sense of hearing using "Mr. Brown can Moo, Can You?"  Each week there is a different bible story, book, number, colour and letter to focus on as well as ideas for fine motor and gross motor development.  Marcus also has bible verses to learn each week and he now proudly says Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  I'll have to post a video of him reciting it if he cooperates with me!

School's in for Mommy to... I am currently in the hardest season I have ever been in in my life but God is teaching me many lessons.  Prayerfully I'll have a good report card at the end of it all!  I will share these lessons with you in hopes that they will be an encouragement to someone else.

Lesson #1: to put my own ideas aside and be open to change.  Micaiah's program is not one I would have chosen or at first felt would fit into our style but I had to put my own agenda aside.  I depended on God to give me peace about it and he made it clear in my heart that this was the right route.

Lesson #2:  I HAVE to start each day with the LORD.  The days that I haven't tend to be disastrous.   The kids attitudes and behavours overwhelm me more on those days, I am more tired and cranky and have far less patience.  God truly sustains me. His power is always available for me... I just have to partake!

Lesson #3 I am currently reading Kingdom Woman by Tony Evans and Chrystal Evans Hurst (highly recommended).  Here is a quote that has really encouraged and kept me going over the past couple weeks.

"If you are going to live in excellence, you have to forget yesterday. Whether it was good, bad, or ugly, if it’s yesterday, you need to let it go. When you carry yesterday further than you ought to, you ruin today. If you ruin today, then you spoil tomorrow."

I will leave you with that and pray that it is an encouragement to you.  Whether you are a homeschool mom, single person, teenager, dad... whoever, it is true for you too!

Until next time,

Friday, August 9, 2013

Five Minute Friday {LONELY}

Five Minute Friday
 In an attempt to begin writing again and get those creative juices flowing,  I decided to join up with 5 minute Friday this week.
You are given a one word prompt... then put 5 minutes on the clock and just write.  Don't edit, don't over think, just WRITE!

Today's word is  LONELY.  Hmmm  ok 3...2..1... GO!

pain. grief. burdened
feeling ALONE
but am I?
Not alone. 
sympathy. empathy. blessings 
a hug
an email
a call
a card
a hand written note

all reminders that He will never leave you alone.

sometimes feeling LONELY but not ALONE.

These are all ways I have been touched over the last 6 weeks.  I have so much to be thankful for.  My prayer is that my eyes and heart will be open to the needs of those around me... those who are hurting, broken and lonely... that they also will know they are not truly alone.

My first 5 minute Friday! Want to join in?  take a look here for more info.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

In Search of a New Normal

Taking a look back at my blog I realized it is nearly a year since my last entry...

 And what a year it has been...

Ecclesiastes 3: 1- 8 says:

There is a time for everything...
        and a season for every activity under the heavens:
              a time to be born and a time to die,
                      a time to plant and a time to uproot,   
                                   a time to kill and a time to heal,
                                           a time to tear down and a time to build,     
                                                           a time to weep and a time to laugh,
            a time to mourn and a time to dance,  
                             a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
                                     a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,     
                                                                         a time to search and a time to give up,
                                              a time to keep and a time to throw away, 
                              a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,   
 a time to love and a time to hate,
                            a time for war and a time for peace.

I think there has been a time for all of that in my life this year. 

I started this blog to have a place to record memories. A place I could go back to in years to come to remember...

For this past year I couldn't blog. The time was not there.  The desire was not there.  The words would not flow....

         I don't need a blog to remember this year... the events of this year are forever etched
                                                   in my heart and mind...

Our family trip of a lifetime.

Turning 40.

Becoming a pastor's wife (no I didn't find a new husband, my husband became a pastor :)

Cheering on with admiration as my husband completed his first half-marathon.

Ending another year of homeschooling.

Watching my mother fight valiantly against breast cancer.
Watching her take her last breath.
Experiencing heartache like never before and beyond anything I could have ever imagined.

Saying goodbye to 2 friends who left the island.

Saying goodbye a month later as another dear friend and mentor moved away. (thankful for Facebook)

Preparing my heart and our home for our fifth child (due in about 10 weeks.)
Being blessed beyond measure as we prepare for this unexpected gift from God.

Being spiritually stretched and broken.
Experiencing mountains, valleys and everything in between.

This year, I have felt defeated,
                           I have doubted,
                                    I have been stubborn,
                                                         I have failed...

but over and over , and over and over...

I've been reminded of God's sovereignty.
                                    His faithfulness.
                                    His goodness.
                                    His mercy
                             and His grace.

So a new page, a new chapter, a new beginning...

I now need this blog to help me move on. 

To help me to stop and appreciate the little things
 I have overlooked in the whirlwind of last year.

To help me pause and reflect on the work 
God is doing in my life and in my family. 

To give me evidence of the bright days 
on those days that the sun is hidden behind the clouds. 

This will be a bittersweet year. 
The first with our new little one...
The first without my mom... Gods grace I will get through it and prayerfully, 
                                                             this time next year, 
                                                                              as I look back, 
                                                                                           there will be evidences of