Hi! Thank you for stopping by today! My name is Bronwyn. I am a follower of Jesus, wife of a Marine, and mother of 2 autistic boys. We have been a homeschooling family for going on 7 years now and loving it! I also love to read, cook, bake, and walk.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


I hope everyone is having a good weekend.  We are having some nasty weather here.  We were hoping for snow but all we have had so far is rain.
If you have been here before you may have noticed that I have placed a ChipIn! on the side of my blog yesterday.
I have always felt strongly about adoption.  I believe that God commands us to take care of orphans.  We have been involved with Bethany Christian and their adoption ministries for special needs in the past.  I just learned about Reece's Rainbow and their awesome work with adoption ministries for children with Down Syndrome this last year thanks to my blog friend Leslie who has a huge heart for these kids.  Children with special needs around the world face a very bleak future if they are not adopted into a loving home.  Unfortunately the high cost of adoption can make it hard for some families that would love to bring a child into their family.  
I have been reading the Reece's Rainbow website and staring at the precious faces of all the children there that so desperately need homes.  They are all so sweet but one child in particular has really captured my heart.
Meet Ivy

Is that not the most angelic face?  She really needs a family that can love her.  She is 4 years old.  She lives in Eastern Europe and she is nearing an age where if she is not adopted soon she will face a very sad life in an institution.  My hope and prayer this year is that if I can help to increase her adoption fund some family will be able to bring her home and give her the love she needs and deserves.
I have placed the ChipIn! on the side of my blog in hopes that in the next month I can raise $600 to help her. 
Now to help promote my fund raising effort  I have decided to host a drawing for a couple of prizes here.  I will be placing your name once in the drawing for each of the following things:

1.  Each $5 donated.  If you are donating under $10 I would ask that instead of using the ChipIn! you would send in your donations to:
Reece's Rainbow
PO Box 4024
Gaithersburg, MD 20885
You will need to designate on your check that it is for Ivy(31). Paypal takes out their fees for each donation so anything under $10 doesn't end up as much.  If you do send a check please come back here and leave a comment so that I can enter your name.  I would appreciate your honesty. 


2. If you make a donation of $5 or over and you post about this event and link back to here on either your blog, Facebook, or Twitter.  I will give you an extra entry.  You must make a donation first!

On March 2 I will draw three winners.  The first winner will win a $50 gift card from Lakeshore Learning.  The second winner will receive a $30 gift certificate from Music for Little People.  The third winner will receive a beautiful felt color and size sorting toy from the Etsy store Play to Learn.  I have to post a couple of pictures because it is just a beautiful toy.
I will need to have a way to contact you if you win.  If I can't contact a winner within a week I will choose a new winner. 
I really invite you to think about giving to help little Ivy.  I just know there is a family out there for her if we can do something to lessen the adoption expenses.  Thank you for taking the time to read this and consider if you can help.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Quiet time

I just love this time of day.  It is about a half hour before lunch.  Christian is watching Signing Time and Tyler is in his room listening to The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe on CD from Focus on the Family (with headphones on).  I am listening to Vivaldi and enjoying the fragrance from my cinnamon and sugar candle.
We added a half hour of quiet time before lunch a couple of years ago at the suggestion of another mother with special needs children.  It has worked out wonderful!!
Tyler was taking several hours to eat lunch because he was so stressed out from going directly from schoolwork to lunch.  He needs a lot of buffer or transition times during the day.  Christian would often not be able to eat lunch at the same time as Tyler because when Tyler is stressed he is generally loud causing Christian to flee.  I was fighting to get lunch made while still working at school with the boys.  It wasn't good.
Now we stop wherever we are a half hour before lunch.  Christian usually watches a video although sometimes he just prefers to listen to the music on his little MP3 player.  Tyler listens to audio books in his room with a portable CD player and headphones.  It just works!
I did want to share with you a list Tyler has compiled of his favorite audio books.  I am proud of the great choices he makes.

1. Jonathan Park  He has all these CD's and has listened to each many times over.  They have taught him a lot about creation science as well.
2.Jim Weiss story CD's We don't have all these.  There are quite a few!  Even I love to listen to Jim tell a story.  Tyler especially loves Tales From Cultures Near and Far .  It has some funny stories that he can remember almost word for word.
3. Focus on the Family Radio Theater He loves Squanto at Thanksgiving and Traveling Home For Christmas at Christmas time.  We bought the Christmas one for my mom this year and she also enjoyed it on the way home from our house.  Tyler is listening to Chronicles of Narnia now and it is his new favorite.  He got it for Christmas.
4. The Kingdom Series by Chuck Black He doesn't have all of these yet.  A lot like the Chronicles of Narnia they are sort of parable stories relating a lot of biblical lessons.  They also go rather nicely with a medieval study.

I hope you get to enjoy some quiet time today too.  I think everybody needs at least a little.

More postcard writing prompts

I just made 12 more postcard writing prompts and I thought I would share quick before I go to bed.
Postcard Writing Prompts2
I hope you enjoy them.  I want to make one more batch yet this weekend.  Well, off to bed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Postcard Writing Prompts

Tyler has been wanting some new writing prompts in his workboxes.  I will be honest after doing fall pumpkin writing prompts and Christmas ornament writing prompts I felt we should do something not so seasonal.  I tossed around a couple of ideas but then I settled on prompts that focus on different countries.  I thought it would be fun to make them look like postcards and then put one each day in a small mailbox in his workbox.
Oriental Trading Company has some small metal mailboxes for only a few dollars and you can even decorate them.  I like this mailbox so it is the one I am ordering for us to use.  Here is a picture.

I have published the postcard prompts I have made so far on Scribd.  There are 12 countries so far but I will be making more in the next few days also.

Postcard Writing Prompts
These print best if you print them on cardstock and print the fronts first and then flip the paper and print the backs.  I hope you enjoy them and please feel free to comment and let me know any ideas you might have for other countries.

Room to Learn

Hi everyone!  We are still here. :)  I have had an awful cold for almost two weeks now and have been trying desperately to get over it.  I am starting to feel a little better so I thought I would actually post something here.  Nobody fainted  I hope!
We had an off week last week between Tim being off two days and me being sick we didn't accomplish a whole lot of school.  I feel really cheated that there are no substitute teachers here at our little homeschool.  We are back to work kicking and screaming with a bit of transitioning this week. 
We did accomplish one very exciting thing last week even though I was sick.  We decided to transform our walk-in closet into a schoolroom.  Well, at least sort of a schoolroom.  Before I go any farther here and someone thinks I am making my kids sit in a closet all day let me explain that we aren't in there all day and it is a nice size closet with a window that allows for lots of sunshine.  The boys are thrilled by the space as well.  
I will be honest I have long since coveted a homeschool room.  I look at all the pictures on the blogs and weep.  Military housing is not very spacious but we are blessed by what we have and so we have always done our learning at the table or on the couch.  In our last house we were able to divide the living room up so that we could have a separate space but this house isn't set up the same way so it has been more difficult.
Tyler really needs somewhere to do his independent work that he isn't distracted by what I am doing with Christian.  Christian needs a small space that is quiet where he can work with me.  He simply can't focus in a large space and just runs back and forth.
Fortunately when they remodeled this house they put in a nice walk-in closet off of our bedroom.  Thankfully they also left the original closet in there as well.  When we moved in I took the smaller closet over for all of our homeschool supplies.  This last week we decided to do a switch and the small closet is now Tim's and I pushed my clothes to one side of the walk-in closet and made the rest into a homeschool area.  It really isn't fancy and there is a lot crammed in there but it is working nicely so far.  Tyler thinks it is his office.  I have to remind him that we are all sharing the space.  I did have to leave his workboxes out in the dining room because there isn't enough room in the closet but that is okay because he still does all his work with mom stuff out here.  Christian is just thrilled with the space and is even sitting at the table in there without any prompting from me.

This our desk area and whiteboard. 

It's amazing just how much we have fit in there!

 And seeing Christian content to sit and look at books makes for a very happy mom!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Little Rascals

We have waited patiently today.  We heard the birds outside mid-morning but none have come to eat from our pine cones yet.  By chance this afternoon I peered out the front window and I saw someone was finally enjoying our little bird seed banquet.

What a rascal!

Yes, I mean you!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Busy day

We had a really busy day here!  I feel good about the fact that we accomplished a lot but boy am I tired.
We are continuing to learn about winter here.  Today we read about birds during winter which was kind of interesting in a way because the book we were reading from pertains mostly to Canada and the Northern United States and well, yeah, I forgot to check that when I was getting our lesson ready so it was a little off for us here in the south.  It still worked out okay though. :)  After our reading we made pine cone bird feeders because unlike the book we read we have lots of birds here.

We gathered a basketful of pine cones from our yard.  We tied each one with a string so that we could hang them from the trees.

Next, we poured a bag of birdseed into a pan and spread peanut butter over each of our pine cones.

Then we rolled the pine cones in the pan of birdseed until they were covered.

We made a large bunch of them and put them all back in the basket to take outside and ...

hang on the trees!

We can't wait to see if we get some bird visitors tomorrow (probably some squirrels too).
Christian had some winter fun today too.  I was so thrilled to actually get some pictures too.  Usually I am the one that is helping him with things during the day and so I can't take pictures at the same time.  Tonight he decided to do his winter sensory box with his dad and so I was able to get some pictures.  Yippee!  Tyler made him this box for Christmas and he really enjoys it.

He was happy to hang with his dad for awhile and find all the hidden things esp. the snowflake beads.
Tonight Tim and I decorated cookies I had baked earlier today.  It was a good time.  We started off just icing and sprinkling them and then we got more creative.  Parents can have fun too!

Tim is definitely better at cookie decorating than I am.  Mine are mostly the ones to the right.
My favorites are the one he made look like the earth and the one that looks like a game spinner.
It was a silly good time.
We did a lot more than this today but like I said before I am tired so I am off to fill the workboxes and read and hopefully get some sleep.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Printables

Tyler has started reading Hans Brinker this last week and is studying The Netherlands along with the book.  I have created a couple of worksheets for him so far and I thought I would post them here just in case anybody might be interested.  They are all research based.  I like him to search out the information.  We mostly use the encyclopedia and assorted other good books to locate the answers.
The first one is about windmills.  He did this one on Friday and really enjoyed it.  We are also going to make a windmill this week.  A good link for that is http://www.creative-science.org.uk/paperwindmills.html.
Windmills Worksheet
The next worksheet is about the canals of Amsterdam.  We did this one with the second chapter of Hans Brinker because it talks about the children skating on the canals.  A couple of good links to go with this worksheet are:
Canals of Amsterdam Worksheet
The last worksheet is about ice skating which is popular in the Netherlands but I made it mostly to go with Hans Brinker.
Ice Skating Worksheet
That's all I have so far but then again we are only on the third chapter so I am sure there will be more in the future.  We are really loving Hans Brinker and the Netherlands so far.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Back to work and back to school

Tim had to go back to work this week after being on vacation for the last couple of weeks and so we jumped back into school as well.
Christian was not too happy that his dad had to go back to work.  He made this quite clear to me all week!  He knows who his buddy is.  He is feeling a little better this week though which I am thankful for.  He had been under the weather since Christmas.  Because he had been feeling not so well he had also been in the house for the last couple of weeks so on Tuesday I decided to take him outside for awhile.  Christian has a hard time going out when he has been inside for a long period.  He gave me quite the fight over putting on his shoes and jacket but once I finally got him out and on the trampoline he did pretty well.  We were also able to get to the park this week.  It is nice to get some fresh air again.

Here he is at the park listening to the MP3 player he got for Christmas.  He loves being able to carry around his own music.  It has been holding up rather well too and believe me he likes to put things to the durability test.
I have been trying to interest him in a board game we have had for a long time.  It is called The Snowman Game.  One of my goals for him this year is that he would sit down with us and play a simple game with assistance.  This one is really simple and doesn't require any reading.  It has little wooden snowmen that you build and so I am first trying just to teach him to put the snowmen together and then we will work it into the context of the game.

We have been spending some time studying winter this week.  I purchased Amanda Bennett's Winter Wonders unit study and we have been using that a bit plus some other things.

We were really hoping for some snow to go along with our study but it never came.  We did make some fun winter snacks though.
We made these Sweet Tortilla Snowflakes from Family Fun magazine.  They were fun and fast to make and tasted yummy.

And it just wouldn't be winter without Smores!

Tyler had fun making Smores and actually enjoyed eating them too!  He has sensory issues about messy foods but he is definitely trying more and becoming more tolerant.
Tyler started reading Hans Brinker this week.  Along with the book he is studying the Netherlands.

This is our prayer center for this week.  Tyler was a bit taken back after we read in Operation World that the Netherlands has such a high average income and literacy rate and yet there are so many prayer points.  This was a bit of an unplanned lesson in the fact that money and education don't always bring happiness.  He has been enjoying learning about the canals in Amsterdam and windmills and energy from wind power.  He has also been getting so much better at his mapping skills.  I can now give him a map and a list of places or things I want him to label, shade, or outline and he does it independently.  This has been a hard skill for him to grasp but with some fading of assistance he is now doing great.

I decided to do something new this week.  I purchased Tyler a sketchbook to journal his learning.  I am trying to help him to keep a record of what he learns in a way that he will remember it.  He has gotten better at summarizing in his own words what he has learned and I want him to not only be able to do that but to draw or take photos to go along with what he has written.  He owns the knowledge when he does this and I think it makes him much more confident in his learning.

Today we talked about Wilson Bentley and snowflakes and then I had him record what he learned.  The child who could only answer true/false and multiple choice questions a couple of years ago has come so far.
Other than school we have had a pretty relaxing week around here.  We have played some boardgames and watched the BCS championship game.  Tomorrow I am going to the store to finally buy some fabric and try out my new sewing machine.  I hope it goes well as I am scared of sewing and would like to keep my confidence level up.
I had set a couple of personal goals for myself this year and so far I feel like I am doing well at them.  I really want to spend more time outside.  It is good for the kids and for myself.  We have been outside for at least a little time almost every day this week so I am pleased about that.  The other goal was to spend less time on the computer.  I have only been on this week first thing in the morning and at night after the kids are in bed.  I have been turning it off in between because it is just a huge temptation for me.  I found this video tonight as I am sitting here and it really hit home.

I really love reading emails and blogs but before I know it I have been on way too long.  I am hoping to do better about keeping it limited.
I am going to bed now so I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Absentee Blogger

I know I haven't been here much lately.  I feel guilty about that but we started back at school this week and Tim went back to work so I am just trying hard to get the new year off on the right foot with school and I am determined to have us spend more time outside.  We have been very busy and there is a lot I want to share but for now I am just going to share some pictures from today and I promise to be back to tomorrow to share all we are doing in school right now.

We had a cold but beautiful day here today.  This was our flag this morning.  I just thought it was really pretty with the sun shining behind it.

We have so many squirrels running around lately.  I thought this little guy was rather cute.  The cold weather doesn't seem to bother them at all!

This is Christian at the park today.  I like how contemplative he looks.  He just quietly observes the world. 

Tyler is always happy to be outside.  He still loves to swing and probably could swing for hours.

We ended the day here with a beautiful sunset.  Tonight we are supposed to get a little snow.
We don't usually get any so we are rather excited!
Hope y'all have had a great week so far!  I will be back tomorrow.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Years!

Happy 2010!  I didn't take any pictures of New Years here.  Sorry! :(  What kind of blogger have I become!?
We did have a fun New Years Eve here.  This is the first year that our whole family has stayed up until the new year so that was exciting.  We made homemade pizzas and played Blokus together.  I think it is now our favorite family game.  After that we watched a Star Wars movie until around 11:30 pm.  I should really say that everyone except me watched Star Wars because I only watched a small part of it.  I know it is an immensely popular movie but it seems to me that if they got rid of about half of the fighting scenes they could tell the story in about 1/4 of the time.  But that's just me and the male part of this household really enjoyed it.  After that we caught the 15 minutes before midnight of the Dick Clark New Years.  I didn't realize he was still on so I was really thrilled to see him as I always watched him on New Years as a child.  When the ball dropped at midnight we decided to ring in the new year with a good tickle.  It was lots of fun!
We started the New Year yesterday morning with cinnamon rolls and the Tournament of Roses parade.  New Years Day has become all about football here and we were really excited this year because our favorite team (the Buckeyes) were playing in the Rose Bowl.  Both of the boys and I had our Rose Bowl shirts on (I really should have gotten a picture!) and Lucy had on her Ohio State collar.  The whole family except Tim, who refuses to jump on the Buckeye bandwagon, was ready to cheer on our team.  Since the Rose Bowl doesn't come on until the evening here we watched the Capital One Bowl first while I made turkey and we worked on taking down the Christmas decorations.  We didn't get all the decorations down until today but we did make good progress at least.  I miss the homey feel of Christmas but it is nice to have the house back to normal too.  Anyways, last night we watched the Buckeyes win!   It was a good game and we had a blast cheering them on.  Then last night after we got the kids in bed Tim and I spent some time looking at couches on the internet.  We need a new couch but I have been dreading looking at them because we don't always see eye to eye on furniture.  Surprisingly we actually found one we liked.  It is going to have to wait a couple of months but at least we know what we want.
We can't afford a whole new living room set so I am hoping this will fit in.  I will show you our living room so you can tell me what you think.
The ottoman in the middle is no longer there nor is the bench behind the couch.  I can change the pillows on the chair too.  I am a little sick of so much blue so I kind of like the brown.  What do you think?
Well, I'm not much for New Years resolutions but I am hoping to get more organized this year, spend more time outside, and (hopefully) learn how to use my new sewing machine (without losing my mind). 
I hope everyone has a blessed 2010!
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