Sunday, October 31, 2010


we just got back from a fantastic (although short) trip to Joshua Tree National Park.
we left after our last soccer game yesterday. we camped in "the BLM camping area". sounds odd to me, but it just means that the Bureau of Land Management has designated a section of ground where people can camp. when we finally reached the spot - after following directions that utilized our odometer & landmarks like following a line of telephone poles in the middle of nowhere - it was already dark, and we could see nothing but flat or rutted dirt. in fact we drove for quite a while without even seeing plants! it was completely barren - a salt flat? a dry lake bed? we don't know, but it was a little eerie. eventually we found a small line of soon-to-be-tumbleweeds and decided to set up our tent between the line and our car.
sidenote: I guess i am the opposite of laura ingalls. she loved being out on the open prairie with nothing for miles. for her, being in town was a little scary. i, on the other hand, like to have something near me.
after viewing millions of beautiful stars, we slept soundly in our tent, and woke ready to enjoy a day of bouldering. upon opening up the stove, scott asked if i brought propane. i had assumed it was in the box. oops. no problem, we'll pass a store on the way to the park that sells it. we'll have bananas now and real breakfast in the park.

we packed up, bought some propane, entered the park, and got set up to make breakfast.
"do we have any matches?" oops - again.
after a few minutes i flagged down a lone car passing our spot. they let us borrow a lighter and breakfast was on it's way! eggs with bacon & cheese, juice and hot chocolate. yum!
clean up was quick and getting to climbing was quicker (for the kids at least). they were up a rock as soon as we let them get away.
we saw a variety of plants and wildlife unfamiliar to us. we used their junior ranger guides to familiarize ourselves. one especially fun find was a baby rattlesnake with a lizard for breakfast.
we climbed and hiked and hiked and climbed. it was a fantastic day!
jojo's favorite thing: camping when it was really cold and snuggling with sy
kik's favorite thing: bouldering because it was challenging
ky's favorite thing: going for a hike because there were so much rocks. "i loved it so much!"
sy's favorite thing: tripping on the rocks and climbing and tripping and hot chocolate

Thursday, October 28, 2010

go fly a kite!

my dad came over yesterday and let us know he'd been told to "go fly a kite" a couple times in his life.

then he went with us to the park to fly ours.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


i had a toothache - for almost 2 weeks.

it was sad and painful. if i'd written 2 days ago i could have gone on and on, but somewhat (not a lot - but somewhat) like having a baby and forgetting the pain, i had a root canal done last night and am rejoicing in a lack of pain. hooray!!!

griffith observatory

the most visited observatory in the world has now been visited by the grubb family!

last night we got notice that the soccer fields would not welcome any visitors today because they are wet. (scott always laughs at how so cal natives freak out about a little rain). in any case, since all our games were cancelled and it was our first saturday in months uncommitted to anything, we celebrated with a trip to the observatory.

the little k's learning about moon phases
studying the periodic table - the "ingredients" used in every "recipe" to make everything we can see on our planet! kik asked, "even the ingredients used to make my finger?" i told him yes. he asked if he could make a finger and i said that only God gives life so He uses the some of the ingredients we see here to make the finger and even though we know what the ingredients are (or somebody does), we cannot make fingers because we cannot create life. (i realize we procreate, but that was not what was being addressed here.) then we noticed some buttons labeled "gases", "supernovae", "human body", and so on. when you push the "human body" button, it highlights just the elements that are found in the human body - so we then could see which elements God uses to make fingers. :) how about that?!
hanging out with einstein
hunting through planet facts to find the planet whose day is longer than it's year. (some fact i heard last week somewhere).

we're studying astronomy & physics this year in our CC memory work & experiments well so everything we saw applies to what we've just learned in the past 6 weeks or what's coming up!
how could i leave out the picture of the hollywood sign? just last night, we were watching superman and these letters were falling on the girl scouts? hiking beneath. kik says, "they should have moved up toward them so they wouldn't fall on them." and today we got to see the letters in person, and there was no earthquake so the letters didn't fall. :) (we also, of course, saw krypton in the periodic table exhibit - how timely that we decided randomly to watch that movie last night.)

Saturday, October 23, 2010


we had the opportunity to participate in the LA county junior golf program this week.
the 3 older kids each spent 2 hours a day at the golf course - driving, chipping, and putting. they had the most adorable, perfectly-sized clubs in super-cute bags. the kids had a blast and have decided they love golf. the week ended in an 18-hole putting tournament where kik earned the bronze medal (and jojo was 1-stroke behind him!) (sidenote: the boys decided it was fair that kik received a medal because jojo received a medal at the Bible bee last year. hmmm...)
well, here is our week of golf in pictures...

Monday, October 18, 2010

latch hook kits

we have a break from CC this week and are finally getting started on projects that i meant to start long ago!
in july, i purchased 2 latch hook kits. one each for jojo and kik to work on as presents for the little ones for christmas.
the kits require about 6,500 and 10,000 stitches, so the boys will need to work diligently to complete them in time. hopefully, i will be able to post about the completed projects in december.
we are working on them daily during "rest time with books". ky & sy are in their room with books on their bed, so the older boys and i have been listening to books on tape while working on the latch hook projects. i have been helping each boy for half the time and that seems to motivate them to carry on. next week, i hope they will be working independently. jojo seems to be more ready for the task than kik, but i am hoping kik will see the progress made each day and keep at it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

grammar, spelling, & writing - language arts

i love math and science. they are predictable. there are rules. if you follow the rules, you win, you get a good grade, people like you.
language arts... "good" writing never looks the same. there are no rules. i lose, i get a poor grade, nobody likes me.
along come language arts curriculums that some call complicated because they are full of rules and repitition (aka predictable)... SWR (spell to write and read), IEW (institute for excellence in writing), & FLL (first language lessons - not complicated, but still amazing and completing my language arts category)

***SWR - the english language does follow a set of rules! it is not completely unpredictable and haphazard as i'd always thought. (especially in comparison to easy-to-understand spanish and french, which i learned later.)
***IEW - good writing can be done following a set of rules - a checklist! i don't have to write a 12-page paper and just hope it is good. i can know it is good because there is a standard that i understand!
***FLL - grammar is not complicated! my 5 year old gets it. it just requires a slow and steady building (not a cramming once your already in college, memorize it for a test and forget it, mentality).

Leigh Bortins, the founder of CC, says we're "redeeming 2 generations" - that as i teach my children i am giving myself the education i never received. hooray for educating myself!

Monday, October 11, 2010


we are still reading through the Bible - we started a couple years ago and took breaks both summers as we concentrated on the Bible bee studies. Right now we are about to finish the old testament! only a few chapters left then we will enter matthew and the excitement of Jesus' life on earth. i am still amazed each day at how the Bible speaks to us and is applicable to our daily lives. we read things and that same day have the opportunity to put our new knowledge to use!

we are also going through Leading Little Ones to God. we do those lessons on mondays and thursdays. i really wanted to go through this book before but never made time for it. this year we are not participating in our local CBS (community Bible study) group (due to our schedule and me directing CC), so we are supplementing with LLOTG. it coincides so well with our "First Catechism" too. so the catechism that the kids have already memorized is being explained to them in language they can understand. incredible!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


the reading lesson!
my favorite phonics/teach your child to read curriculum - hands down!
i am actually taking the boys through it right now to increase their reading ability.
ky started with this curriculum (as opposed to the hooked on phonics that i used with the boys).
ky is a very fluid and confident reader, more capable of sounding out words, enjoying chapter books, etc. the boy/girl thing may have something to do with it, but even my friends with boys have had the same results with this method.

another help to my boys' desire to read is my latest find in book series. the boys are currently loving the billy and blaze series by c.w. anderson, written in the 1930's-60's.

hooray for reading!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


we've been using making math meaningful since the beginning.

i am amazed at what all my children know and understand. jojo is in the level 3 book, kik in level 2 and ky in level k.

sometimes we get stuck and we switch to math-u-see for a short bit to supplement.

i noticed recently that although my boys could understand the concepts of math well beyond what i would have thought to teach 7 & 8 year olds, they were lacking in some basic math facts (i.e.- addition & subtraction facts) that would be really helpful to them in doing the more complex computations required. so...

we took a week off of MMM to learn our math facts. we did + facts 3 times a day for less than 10 minutes. i showed them flashcards and whoever said the correct answer first got the card. when i ran out of cards, the child with the most received one m-n-m. after 4-5 rounds everyone received an m-n-m for participation.

after a week, they know their facts and can work much faster in their regular math books. AND they still request the flashcard game - for the m-n-m's of course! hooray!