Hi, my name is Melissa. Pour yourself a cup of tea and stay a while. I'm completely devoted to my Savior, madly in love with my husband, and joyously raising my daughters. I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you enjoy your time here!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Field Trip: Charlotte, NC

We took a day trip to Charlotte, NC to take a look at a few fun things! 

Our first stop was on the way. We located the original Cheerwine Factory! We did not realize the next day was going to be the Cheerwine Festival. There is a chance we may make a little trip again next year to participate! If you are from NC, you have probably already heard of Cheerwine. While it is beginning to travel across the country, it is a lesser known softdrink that I absolutely adore! While I typically do not care for cherry flavored treats, Cheerwine is the absolute exception. I bought a few souvenirs and we took a couple of pictures before heading on our way. 

Our next stop was The Billy Graham Library. My husband and Rose made a stop here earlier this year when they attended a basketball game and he really wanted the rest of us to experience it. It was such a neat experience and some of the memorabilia there was so much fun to see. It was interesting to learn more about his life and family and see how God used him over so many years in so many different countries. I was especially fascinated by his trips to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The girls' favorite part was the fun talking cow we saw first thing! 

I was disappointed his childhood home was closed for renovations, but we may return so we can see that part sometime.

Our final stop was to Joe Gibbs Racing! Being a Washington Redskins fan from birth means he grew up watching Coach Gibbs. When he became involved in racing, my husband began to follow NASCAR. This was our first chance to see the facilities and even though there wasn't much happening because of the race the following day, we had a great time! The staff who were there were so very friendly and welcoming. If we return to Charlotte I have no doubt we will make another stop here! 

We had a fun day getting away and seeing some unique places! What is the last field trip you went on?

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Week in Review: May 14-18 (Off Routine)

This past week has been catch up for me! I came down sick with a pretty awful cold right before my recital last week and ended up spending much of that week recovering. We had made plans to take a day-trip to Charlotte, NC, but since I wasn't feel my best we postponed it until this week. Monday-Thursday we did light school meaning we didn't do all of our HOD studies. We also spent massive amounts of time reorganizing and cleaning out all sorts of things! It is wonderful and freeing! Our schoolroom has undergone another make-over. Here are the results...

The girls desks are now facing our beautiful front window. They don't do a lot of work there, but they are all three excited for this new view! The desk is one our church was getting rid of. When no one wanted to take it I started brain storming just how I could make that happen. I adore having a desk that is big and open. My husband does too. He likes doing our bills here rather than the kitchen table now. 

Here are some other happenings from the week...
 Last year we planed cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers in these beds. We had hardly anything produce except cucumbers. It's really too shaded for those particular plants, so this year I tried peas, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, and corn. Wow! These plants LOVE this part of our yard! Behind Grace is the beginnings of my herb garden. It too is flourishing. 

In our giant clean-out I came across several things stuck on the shelf that were fun add-ons handed down to us by other families, but we had never gotten around to using! This is one of those. It teaching about map-making and reading in fun interactive way. On this page Grace learned about ocean currents and how ships have to navigate them to travel where they want. It was much harder before ships with engines! 

Beth is working through her Life of Fred here. The girls use Life of Fred several times a week as a fun supplement to our regular math lessons. It's a great way to lighten up the tone while still teaching deep concepts. 

There is nothing quite like finding a science lesson in your own front yard! We watched as a mommy and daddy cardinal encouraged their three babies to leave the nest and then helped teach them how to fly. It was incredible! We sat on our front porch and watched for several hours. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Kids Email Safe Email for Kids from Kids Email: A TOS Crew Review

Kids Email
 I remember when I was in Middle School and we had internet for the first time. My mom worked at a local college and they gave us access at home. It was dial up, of course, and we had one e-mail address for the family, but boy did I have fun e-mailing! I didn't e-mail my friends because I was the only who had an address. Besides that, we just had the one for the entire household! Things have changed dramatically over the years. I had my first e-mail address that was all my own when I was in high school and getting ready to go to college. We decided to let our girls have e-mail so ythey could stay in contact with family when they were much, much younger! We used a kid e-mail program that had some email filter options, but I was excited to try a one-year subscription to Kids Email Safe Email for Kids from Kids Email. I had heard great things about this company and I was not disappointed!
Kids Email
 This is essentially a subscription based e-mail system for children which allows parents to have complete control over what they send and receive as well as prevent spam and ads from unintentionally crossing their paths. My husband and I realized we need to allow access to technology so our children can learn under our watchful eye how to navigate it all. It is a scary, dangerous world out there with numerous evils attempting to prey on our precious kids. It is difficult to know the best way to walk our children through this mine field of harmful material, but we must. I love the peace of mind Kids Email gives me as a part of this. 

I am able to have a copy sent of every email they send and receive directly to my inbox. I can personally allow or deny certain addresses from having access to their e-mail. I may allow or deny internet links, images, attachments, and even bad language. These filters give me complete control over their email usage which is perfect alongside frequent discussions about internet safety. The interface is super user-friendly and fast.

So you know as a parent this is fantastic! But what do the kids think about it? 

They love it! All of us love that it is available as an app they can use on their tablets. I like that they don't have to access the internet to email. They also have the ability to stay in closer contact with their grandparents and cousins. We generally do not allow them to e-mail those who are not in our family, but we lift that rule in special circumstances. For instance, we had a wonderful family stay with us who are serving in ministry in Jordan. They have 4 daughters in the same age range as our girls and digital communication is really the only viable option for them to stay in touch. They don't yet have e-mail, but I would be happy to give them our girls' addresses because of the content control I have. We also have some other friends who are serving in other parts of the country in ministry and this is a great way to stay connected with them as well.We also have a dear friend in our church who is not able to be out of her home during the day due to a rare illness. My daughters adore her and she is a wonderful mentor to them. Email is a fantastic way for them to connect with her. 

Overall I'm very pleased and recommend this for anyone looking for a subscription based e-mail program for their kids. 

Check out what my Crewmates have to say! 

Safe Email for Kids {Kids Email Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Friday, May 11, 2018

Preserving Memories: Week of May 6

 These were made a while ago...before life got so busy and crazy! I haven't scrapped in a few weeks actually. Thankfully as work calms down I'll have more time to do this and scan more family photos! I'm sooooo happy for summer!


Week in Review: May 7-11 (Off Routine)

Post-recital flowers from Daddy!
This week has been off our regular routine. My piano recital was Tuesday night and I have learned from experience not to try and do "full school" as my girls label it. We focused on math, literature, and biographies. It's a good thing this was the plan because I came down with a cold a couple of days before the recital, pushed hard to get through and then crashed Tuesday night! I'm currently communicating in whispers and hand gestures. This seems to be a rather consistent thing when I get a cold now and I seem to get colds very often around my recital time! I'm not sure if  it is the stress leading into this or not, but I can count on one hand the number of times I've been fully healthy at a recital. 

These are most of my students! I have 7 more not pictured. One could not come, two are adults I can't quite convince to play, and the last 4 are my nieces and nephews who live about 3 hours away. Their lessons are weekly via Skype. 

I love all of my students so very much, but I have a special place for these three...
 Grace: So Long, Farewell from The Sound of Music
Beth: Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah

 Rose: Ashokan Farewell

Our theme was The Sun Moon and Stars. If you have never read the lyrics to Ashokan Farewell it fits beautifully and is one of my favorites! 

Anyway, the girls have worked hard while I rested, although no pictures to prove that! We've also played some games like Mad-Libs, thanks to my Blackboard from Boogie Board, and watched some television...way more than is typical. Which is exactly why I'm okay with it. The girls have been really sweet and often ask if I need anything. It's been a special reminder leading into Mother's Day of how blessed I am. 

Take a look at what my Crewmates were up to this week!
Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up