Thursday, April 28, 2016

First foods

A few weeks ago this chunk took a taste of his first food-rice cereal! As you can see, it was sort of a mess...
Welp, that was fun. 
After trying to feed him a bit of rice cereal at dinnertime on and off for about two weeks, the verdict is in. He does not like rice cereal! Part of the huge mess is him spitting it out or going to chew on his hand instead. I will say he did get some down when smashing his bib up to his face and licking it off that way lol. He's a stinker.
I decided from there I could either stop all together and give him some more time before introducing foods, or move on to something more exciting. Given his insatiable appetite, I went for the something more exciting.

Enter avocados! Pics to come, but I'll just say he loves them! I admit it's still a bit of a mess but I'm happy to report he does open his mouth for the spoon and actually swallows them. Win!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Now We Are Six

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six
now and forever.
-A.A Milne
It's insane to think this first born boy of ours is now six years old. Big kid status! Five is comfortable enough, but I feel like six is the beginning of the climb to the big 10. Evan has grown up so much in this last year. He even looks different! He's gotten a good bit taller, has two less teeth, and dropped most of sweet baby fat-though I will always remember those enormous chipmunk cheeks he was born with! In honor of his sixth birthday, here are 6 things to describe our Evan Matthew...

1. He is a fish! He loves the water and has done really well in his swimming class. So far, swimming is definitely his sport of choice. As an aside, swimming is an excellent vascular exercise for kids with asthma and a great help to lung capacity/development. I can't wait to see his little fins take off this summer! 
2. He is artistic-not only has he come into a love of drawing over these past years, but he has a great eye for photography and capturing everyday life. He notices beautiful things, like the way the back of a cd casts a rainbow on a car window, and pretty girls with red hair. ;-)

3. He has an awesome memory. Maybe all kids have great memories, but I have particularly noticed this kid's booming brain and am determined to fill it with good things! So far in our kindergarten year I have had him review and store up the US presidents, 50 states, NT books, several psalms, poems and more. On a school note, I have to squeeze in that I'm so proud of how well he has done in our first year homeschooling. This kid is so smart I tell you. Now just to reign in that crazy short 6 year old boy attention span and wiggly!

4. He is sensitive. This has always been a blessing and a curse to us lol! I always said I could more easily deal with a child with a temper over a child who whined...God has a sense of humor! I love that my Evan is sensitive and tender hearted, and pray it grows him into a kind and compassionate young man. In the meantime, a sensitive six year old often makes for easily hurt feelings and difficulty bouncing back from everyday bumps and bruises. I thank God for Bennett, who daily toughens him up and encourages his gentle spirit. They truly do soften each other's edges!  

5. He is a perfectionist. Already I can see in his schoolwork that he is his own worst critic, and daily battles with his rubbery arch nemesis, the eraser! Some days I wish erasers were never invented so we would just have to deal with our mistakes and move on. It's a hard line because in the world of tests you do want to shoot for a perfect score, but at present I'm happy to row in the boat of "trying your best with a good attitude." No sour lemonade here! In any case, I know this bent towards perfection, rightly steered, will serve him well in life. I can easily see him in some very detail oriented, precise engineering type of work. Currently he says he wants to be a "builder" when he grows up. :-)

6. He is a comedian. Evan loves his knock knock jokes and just being overall silly with his friends. As it stands in our house he holds the best record for making baby Asher laugh-and is proud of it! 
Happy birthday little man, we love you!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Field trip fun

Last Friday we went with our homeschool group CHOW on a field trip to the Neuseway Nature Park and Planetarium. I have to say I would have never thought to explore this place on our own, but I'm glad we did because it is quite the hidden gem! 
This spacesuit was displayed in the Smithsonian before arriving in this neck of the woods!
Bennett-always the star of his own show. :-)
The park features a smallish but very nice health and science museum and planetarium, awesome park, train ride, animal conservatory building and more. Plus it's set on the beautiful neuse river and a perfect place to picnic. The planetarium is old school in the best way, and you can tell the people working there and giving the presentations really know their stuff and enjoy the job of sharing it.
This is probably a top 3 park in my book. Though Kinston is a decent drive from us, it is a good halfway point to the beach so I can definitely see us stopping by again!
The fossil dig was a highlight for Evan!
Koi fish are endlessly fascinating...
I took this picture below in our driveway after we pulled in. It says it all, we were plum wiped out. Sunny days spent outside with friends are refreshing, and I am so thankful for them!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Homeschool Copywork-A Review

We recently had an opportunity to review a lifetime membership to Homeschool Copywork.  This product features copywork pages to print for all ages inspired by great composers from Bach to Beethoven, poets like Lewis Carroll and Emily Dickinson, infamous inventors, artists and more. Homeschool Copywork is an excellent resource if you teach through a classical lens or in the style of Charlotte Mason, and for us a perfect help to handwriting practice and more.

Homeschool Copywork Review
What is Copywork?
Copywork is so much more than penmanship practice, especially when the content is as thoughtful and engaging as Homeschool Copywork presents it. There are so many benefits to practicing copywork at a young age. Over time copywork has the ability to improve spelling and grammar as well as reading and writing skills. Just as practicing dance and choreography gets movement into the body, copying good and beautiful passages of writing from great writers and thinkers helps to get into a child's "motor memory" the flow of a correctly composed sentence. Good spelling, spacing and punctuation in-good spelling, spacing and punctation out! Even in our short time reviewing this product with Evan I can see that it has noticeably ironed out his knack for goofy spacing between words.

Another hidden gem to practicing copywork is the opportunity to discuss with your growing thinker the material being copied, which is often a springboard to search out even more. I really enjoyed using Homeschool Copywork for it's vast variety of quality and thought provoking content. Right off the Wright brothers pages caught my eye since we currently have their biography checked out from the library-what a great opportunity to share!

How we used Homeschool Copywork:
We primarily worked with the Early Elementary copywork pages, which feature shorter sentences in a variation of fonts with fun images to color. We jumped in with two feet and started with the Wright Brothers pages. The Wilber and Orville Wright book contains a mammoth 177 pages. On these pages you will find quotes from both inventors in five line styles and with flight oriented graphics, like airplanes and eagles.
Homeschool Copywork Review
Here's a sample of a page Evan worked on...
And here's an example of a cursive page...
Another fast favorite of mine is the artist studies, featuring famous artists such as Monet, Da Vinci and Van Gogh. We chose to start with the Van Gogh pages. Each book in this series opens with a short biographical sketch of the artist and contains 5-7 beautiful images with quotes in a variety of prints-regular print, lined cursive and d'nealian manuscript. Psstt..don't feel terrible if you have to google "d'nealian"-I did! :-) 

All of the downloads available are well done and print very neatly. All together, there is a wonderful variety of content available with the lifetime membership.

Practically, I like to use copywork in our homeschool because it is easy to implement and encourages independent work. Plus, it's portable! Whether your'e at your school desk, at an appointment, or waiting in the preschool carline, you can do copywork anywhere. I easily printed off a variety of pages from Homeschool Copywork to keep on a clipboard slated especially for "on the go" work.

Product Details:
A lifetime membership is $45.00 and includes access to all products available on site plus any bonuses for as long as Homeschool Copywork exists.

At the heart of it copywork really is just that-imitation. If you believe like me that it's good to imitate good things, than Homeschool Copywork is an excellent resource to explore.

To see what the rest of the crew has to say, read more reviews by clicking the banner below.

Social Media Links:

Twitter:  @AmyBlevins

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Another one bites the dust

Soon after Evan lost his first tooth, the one beside it started to wobble. Sure enough, just two and half months later we had another visit from the tooth fairy. Actually, it was a near miss since this pearly white fell out while brushing his teeth last night and quickly snuck down the sink. Evan was devastated, sure that the tooth fairy would not know where to find his tooth. Daddy even put on his plumbers hat and got under the sink to look in the pipes! We did not find the tooth, but resolved instead to write a note to the tooth fairy explaining its whereabouts. Thankfully, Evan was happy with that. :-)

Pssssttt....fellow mamas and tooth fairy assistants all over-check out the most adorable "Tooth Fairy Receipt" printables FREE at JeniRo Designs. :-)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


It's been a busy season of life(as always!), so here's a little catch up...

On the homefront, we're MOVING!
That's right, from Wilson to Raleigh we go. But first, we have a house to sell. We've loved this place of ours on Dover Street for the last four years-and calling Wilson home for the last almost six years, but are eager to be closer to Chris' new workplace. Did you catch that "new?" In December Chris accepted a position with a pharmaceutical health company in Raleigh, and is happily at work now coloring the world of visual data science. We are so thankful for all the years spent with BB&T and are really excited about our future with PRA Health Sciences. For the time being it's not big deal to commute as many people do, but we are eager to reclaim that extra 2 hours a day as a family and get back to our Raleigh roots. Big changes all around.

And so, for the last few months we've been hard at work cleaning house-fixing this, painting that, and so on.  It's been an undertaking, and somehow our list of home improvements has this magical ability to expand rather than get shorter! We've swap and shopped, de-cluttered our attic, cleared out the outdoor storage building, rebuilt our porch railing and painted, painted, and painted some more. I purposed early on for myself not to get overwhelmed or anxious about the process and transition, and so far my "day by day" plan is working for me. Especially when thrown crazy curveballs! We would have liked the house to be listed by now but are currently dealing with an unexpected issue turned yet another delay. But, I know that the Lord is at word behind the scenes and we're trusting his perfect timing.

In the meantime, life goes on. Bennett is back at school this week after a week long Spring break(over which the pollen invaded and left Evan a sniffling mess), and soccer season is right around the corner. Evan recently wrote his numbers 1-100, which is a pretty fun Kindergarten milestone. He will be finishing up his Swim America program soon, and we are all gearing up for a fun field trip with our homeschool group at the end of this week. 

We have spent a lot of time outside lately with the warmer weather and Chris's belated Christmas Kayak. Both boys love the water, but true to Bennett's outdoors-y nature he is for sure the biggest fan of the boat. 

Asher is our chubby cherub and is growing much too fast. He is getting stronger and learning new tricks everyday-dare I say we've entered the "supported sitter" stage and will likely start some oatmeal cereal soon. He is finding his voice, drooling up a storm and rolling from belly to back.
 I've gotten pretty tangled up with the house projects, school, the diapers and well the everyday "adulting" lately, but do plan on getting back to blogging more frequently. Until next time, here's a simple snapshot of daily life I don't want to blur over...presenting the classic peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwich. It's all the rave around here come lunchtime. :-)
Cheers to presently...