Suzie's Bear Encounter

Suzie has been really lucky all summer with not getting attacked by the bears. She's been having a ball barking like crazy and chasing them off. Well, today she wasn't so lucky. This bear fought back and Suzie got a little too close. Now she has a gaping slash above her eye. This picture was taken after I cleaned it all up, put antibiotic ointment on it and super-glued it back together. It was pretty big before that. Poor thing. Too bad the nearest Vet is like 4 hours away. Hopefully I got it cleaned out good enough and her body's able to handle the rest.

She was such a good patient. She didn't fuss or jerk away from me the whole time. She just looked at me with those big brown eyes and trusted me to take care of it. It was really sweet. She's resting at my feet now and getting lots of loves from the girls.

I thought for sure I was going to have to send Alexis outside while I took care of the wound. She got pretty hysterical about the whole thing and was just sure Suzie was going to whine. She told me she couldn't listen if Suzie started to whine. She had worked herself up into an absolute frenzy before I had even started. I sent her to her bed and she covered her ears. I was finished with the whole thing before she even realized I had started. I wonder what those emotions are going to be like when she's a teenager. Yikes.

Bike Riding

Kaitlyn says, "Take a picture of me for Grandma. She can see me on my bike." As if Grandma had never seen her on her bike before. Kids are so funny :)

Yesterday was the first day in almost two weeks that is wasn't raining. We escaped our travel trailer and took a much-needed bike ride around Hyder. Besides the fact that it was really cold, and we ended up pulling our hands into our sleeves while we rode, it was a pleasant ride. We visited a few friends and stopped to take a picture of one of our favorite houses here in Hyder.

We love the way this looks. How cute is that hen house? Don't mess with the rooster though. He's pretty scary, seriously.

We're all getting really excited at the thought of going home soon. Anthony's job is wrapping up here and should be done by the end of the month. And, I've officially caught the end-of-seasonitis. At least, that's what the guys here call it :). Hyder's gorgeous and the people are great, but I definitely miss home (and it's getting way too cold).

Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2012-2013

Part of the Cornerstone Confessions Titus 2 Tuesday Linky Party
and the Parent 'Hood link up.

This post may seem a little past due, but for us year-round homeschoolers, it's right on schedule. The way we do our schooling is we take each subject at the pace each of the girls needs. So, for Alexis, who HATES math, we go slower in that subject than we do in Bible, which she LOVES. Although, even at the slower pace, we're still ahead of where she would be if she were in traditional school. We're coming upon the time that we're starting to order new curriculum in the areas where she's finishing up her 2nd grade work.  We'll be transitioning over the next 3 months. By the time January hits, we will be into her 3rd grade studies in all her subjects. Woot, woot! In traditional school, she would have just started 2nd grade last month.

Of course, Kailtyn not wanting to be outdone has done a great job on her preschool work and is now ready to start her Kindergarten material (a year early). Woot, woot! Katie!

So, without further are our curriculum choices for Kindergarten and 3rd grade:


We chose the Explorer's Bible Study - Beginnings because we loved the curriculum so much with Alexis. This one is great for little ones who can't read on their own yet. Rated for ages 2-5. It's so good that Alexis has asked me if she can read the lessons to Kaitlyn. She does a wonderful job playing teacher, and Kaitlyn gets most of the answers correct when it's Mommy's turn to see how well Alexis taught and Kaitlyn listened. It is great!


We chose the Saxon Math K, Home Study Kit because we have not been very happy with the Horizon Math Curriculum and thought we'd give this one a try. We also got the Manipulatives Kit to go with it.
I am really hoping we have more luck with this curriculum than the Horizon's. We'll test it out for awhile and then maybe I'll do a write-up on it.


We're going to give these a try this year for Kaitlyn's Kindergarten Language Arts. I have not used them before but have heard wonderful things about them from some other homeschooling moms. 

This will be our 3rd time using Handwriting Without Tears. It is fantastic! Both the girls have done well with it, so I'm just ordering Kaitlyn the next level of it. She's so excited.
3rd Grade


Again, we LOVE-LOVE Explorer's Bible Study. Alexis is so excited to start her new study that she can barely stand it.


I have two homeschooling friends who have used Teaching Textbooks for their children and they could not say enough good things about it. One of them had a student that was great at math and one that hated math - it worked very well for both of them. The one that hated math came to not hate it and did quite well. We're going to give it a try because the Horizons Math is complete drudgery for Alexis. She HATES it. Poor thing. I was also told that it is advisable to have the student do the placement test first because the program seems to be a year behind - so Alexis may place in the 4th grade math program instead of the 3rd. Hence- the two different pictures above :)


Again, this curriculum came highly recommended by a friend who uses it with two of her daughters. They just LOVE it. Alexis is really excited that the first book she gets to read for this program is about a horse. She's practically over the moon :)


Alexis has been wanting to do the states and capitals for a while now so I promised her that when we were done with our current geography study we would do that. Of course, you have to have some mapping, graphing, and all that good stuff as well :)


We are really enjoying Volume I of this curriculum series. Both girls like listening to the lessons, doing the activities, and working on the timeline poster. We can't wait to start Volume II.


Everyone I've talked to about Apologia has told me it is an excellent science curriculum. I can't even find a bad review of it either. So, we will be starting Zoology 1 for 3rd grade.


We will be continuing our study of Spanish using ¡El Español Fácil! It teaches kids the language through conversation, activities, and songs. The girls seem to enjoy it and Alexis does really well at memorizing the vocabulary.


For 3rd grade we're going to be doing two different things for computers. Of course we'll be continuing to learn keyboarding/typing (whichever you like to call it). But, we're adding some computer programming this year as well. In this day and age, it's going to be essential for the girls to know a bit about computer programming. As always, it's easier if you get them started early.


Anthony and I discussed it and we've come to the decision that it would be best for the girls to having a working knowledge of Latin. I think Dorothy Sayers says it best when she said, 
"I will say at once, quite firmly, that the best grounding for education is the Latin grammar. I say this not because Latin is traditional and medieval, but simply because even a rudimentary knowledge of Latin cuts down the labor and pains of learning almost any other subject by at least 50 percent."


I Can Do All Things art program is what we've chosen for this year's art study. It includes drawing lessons, color, penmanship, art appreciation, rules, measurements, painting, academia, and creativity. I really think both the girls are going to enjoy it.


That's the rundown for what we'll be using next in our homeschooling adventure. You can feel the excitement and anticipation in the air as the girls get closer and closer in each of their subjects to moving on to the next level. I love that they reach new levels at different times in each of their subjects. It's easier on the pocketbook and the excitement lasts longer :)

The One That Survived

Before we left Juneau in June, the girls and I stopped at Fred Meyer to stock up on some things that we thought would be nice for our "trip" to Hyder. One of those items was an envelope of flower seeds. For anyone who knows me, this might sound strange because I tend to have a black thumb. It's so bad that I even managed to kill our "wedding" fern that we were given at my bridal shower (you know, the kind that are supposed to symbolize your marriage - Ya, that one). It only took me 6 months and that thing was a crunchy corpse {ooops}. Needless to say, I don't have the best track record with being able to grow viable plants. Regardless, when you're standing in front of the "kazillion-gamillion" (Katie's words) packets of beautifully colored and artfully arranged flower seeds, it doesn't matter if you're the Grim Reaper of plants, you just have to get a packet (or 12) in hopes that maybe just one will SURVIVE your "efforts". So, that's exactly what we did. We bought a few packets of pretty, multicolored flowers to take with us.

When we first arrived here in Hyder and set up our travel trailer, I found one of the packets (Yes, you read that right.....ONE...not sure what happened to the others). The girls were so excited about the flowers that we planted them right away. We put some seeds in a pot and scattered the rest on the outskirts of our gravel pad. And, as is typical for 4- and 7-year old little girls, they checked on the seeds' progress every 5 minutes or so for the first hour and complained loudly that they weren't EVER going to grow. As the days past they started forgetting all about them, then a few weeks ago Alexis came to me all sad and deflated. She said, "Mommy, come look. There is something wrong with the flowers." Truthfully, I had forgotten all about them as well (thank goodness for all the rain). When we walked over to the little pot, what we saw did NOT look like flowers at all. It looked more like weedy, tall grass. I thought, "Great! They filled the flower seed packets with weed seeds - figures I'd only be able to grow weeds." We decided to just let them grow anyway since it was the only thing green I'd managed to keep alive (thank goodness I had completely ignored the plant, otherwise I might have succeeded in killing it).

Three days ago we found that our "weeds" had sprouted flowers.
 NO WAY!! 

Isn't it beautiful? We were so proud of it {smile}.

Of course, not knowing anything about flowers beyond what a rose, daffodil, tulip, and daisy are, AND not having saved the packet, we have no idea what kind of flower this is, but we love it anyways. As for the seeds we had scattered, nothing ever popped up - surprise, surprise {sarcastically, with an eye roll}.

Lesson Plan for "Letter I Day"

First off, I have to tell you that I am in no way an authority on preschool education. I am simply a homeschooling mother with a Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Washington that strives to find an interesting/effective way to teach my preschooler the basic foundation of what she'll need to build her future education on. And, being a blogger as well, I get to share this journey of ours with you {smile}. Having one already in 2nd grade (homeschooling as well), I'm already aware of the things that DON'T work well. Been there, done that.

I've found that introducing the letters in a specific order really helps my preschooler chunk the sounds together and read small words a lot easier than if we had just gone straight through the alphabet. 

We have already gone through the letters: A, N, T, and E (lesson plans for those to come soon). 

Today, I introduced the letter "I". So, if you're looking for an interesting and fun lesson plan for the letter "I" then keep reading:

Of course we start off each morning with this wonderful "Good Morning" song. Both girls love it.

Devotion Time:

Today's devotion was on Genesis 1:1 - "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." We talked about how, if you had watched God create our world, you would not need sunglasses in the beginning because everything was dark. Then on the 1st day of creation, God separated the light from the dark and called the light, "day" and the dark, "night". You can have your little one close their eyes and then open them again to see how light and dark can be separated. Have them try to put into words what they see when their eyes are closed, and what they see when their eyes are open. If their attention span allows, you can then start talking about what God created on the other days. We got through day 3 before Katie was maxed out on her devotion time. Have your little one memorize Genesis 1:1 and review it every day for a week. You could even make a little poster of the verse to hang up if you have the space.

Introduce Letter of the Day:

If you have a subscription to Scholastic Printables, you can print out the letter "I" clipart on cardstock and laminate it for a nice visual. I used contact paper on ours because I do not have a laminator yet {sad face}. It works just as well though. If you do NOT have a subscription, I would highly recommend one if you are putting curricula together yourself (or supplementing).

Even though the letter "I" can make three different sounds, we just stuck with the short and long sounds for now. I will introduce the long "e" sound that it can make later when she gets more into blending and reading harder words.

Letter "I" Videos:

Katie enjoyed these videos very much and requested that she be able to watch the Storybots video again (5 times, actually). 

Letter Formation/Recognition:

We then headed into learning how to write the letter (both uppercase and lowercase) properly. If you have a membership with Starfall (which I highly recommend), you can print out letter "I" worksheets here. If you do not, then some other fun worksheets can be found here and here. Either way, it is VERY, VERY important that you make sure your preschooler understands the correct way of forming the letter. It will make writing a whole lot easier for them in the long run. Pay attention to how they're forming it and their tendency to either do it backwards or not. 

"Where do you start your letters? AT THE TOP!" 
(from Handwriting without Tears). 

There are many sites online that offer additional worksheets, such as letter searches, matching, etc. to help familiarize the student with the letter and the sound. If your child doesn't mind sitting and doing those then it can be quite beneficial. However, most preschoolers aren't that interested in sitting down to a worksheet (or more than 1 worksheet anyways). Instead, have them search through magazines for the letter "I". Name some objects and ask them if they can hear the short or long sound of the letter "I" in it. You can make it an all-day activity of pointing out things that have the letter "I" (signs, movie titles, the ice cream container when you dish up a small snack {smile}). Your preschooler will more than likely find a gazillion, million I's on his/her own as well that he/she will shriek about and need to show you - so be prepared for the onslaught of I's.

Letter I Craft:

And, of course, what would a day of preschooling be without some good crafty fun. An easy and fun letter "I" craft that we really enjoyed was the ice cream cone craft. 

Doesn't it look "delicious"? My little one LOVES pom poms and any excuse to finger them, squeeze them, roll them, throw them, etc. is just fine with her. And, of course, tiny bead "sprinkles" are delightful as well. You'll want to make sure you do this on a cookie sheet (with a lip), or something similar, to keep all the bits and pieces in one area. How many scoops can you fit on your cone?

Of course, these are just a few of the many options out there for exploring the letter "I". However, I found that it really kept Katie's attention and she had a great time with it. In fact, she asked if we could do letter "I" again tomorrow {smile}. So, just have fun with it and if something isn't working for your little one, don't push it. Just move on to the next thing....keep it light....keep it enjoyable. We want to instill a love of learning, not make it drudgery.

Found on Cornerstone Confessions: Titus 2 Tuesday Linky Party
and Uncommonly Yours Link Party

School Time

It's SORT OF the first day of school for us here. We took a few weeks off for the nice weather here in Alaska and are now picking back up where we left off in our curriculum we started in June.

Do you like our homeschool logo? We love eagles and one of the biggest reasons we're homeschooling is due to our Christian faith.......hence the design for our logo. We love it and will be ordering hooded sweatshirts with the logo in the near future. GO TEAM TRAIL!! {smile}

Our days are filled with 2nd grade fun and Preschool fun. The girls are doing really well in their work and have already made lots of progress. 

Either tomorrow or Friday I will post about all the resources we are using for each grade.

Monday's Pin-It Madness: Week 1

Okay, so is everyone ready for the very first edition of Monday's Pin-It Madness here on LazyDay Expressions? Woot! 

These are my TOP 10 FAVORITE pins from the previous week (in no particular order of course).

Scroll through and see all the inspiration:

1) For my cute Katie who is sad about her short hair right now :(


2) Homeschooling is on the mind of late. This would be great to have for each girl while they sit at the table and do their written work.


3) DIY Scratch Paper - a whole lot cheaper than purchasing it and it looks great.


4) Great art time coloring pages


5) Just looking at this jar of goodies puts a smile on my face. Not just for beginners!!!


6) I'm of the mind that one can never have too many totes (well, unless they're staying in a travel trailer........minor details)


7) I'm always on the lookout for a cute menu planner. Love this one.


8) One of my very favorite color combinations - AND, it's upcycled, Yay!


9) This one totally reminded me of my mom. Been missing her a lot lately.


10) This has Alexis's name written ALL OVER IT!


Can't wait to see what fun things show up on Pinterest this week. Looking forward to it.

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My Favorite Pictures From Last Week

There is only so much to do around the Hyder, AK and Stewart, BC area. Consequently, we spend quite a few afternoons at the Municipal Playground in Stewart. They really enjoy it and it's also a really good spot for cute photos. Love it! My favorite pictures this week were all taken there.

Cute Cute Cute Cute

I really like how these turned out. Hopefully I can get a good picture of Alexis soon. She didn't quite get the whole solo picture thing this time. Too many distractions to focus on looking at the camera.

We'll see if this week's pictures will be as good :)

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Bear Visit.....Again

Now we know why Suzie was growling early in the morning. We got another visit from our local wildlife. It was even sweet enough to decorate the truck for us.

Whenever we run Anthony some lunch, I usually just have the girls eat their lunch in the truck on our way. Makes it easier - two things at once, AND they usually stay relatively quiet since they're concentrating on their food. The trick is to get them to remember to grab all their garbage and leftovers when we get back to the trailer.  Apparently, this is a skill that is extremely difficult to master......we've been working on it for months now {smile}.

I guess these "cuddly" creatures (actually, they're more like giant raccoons)just LOVE the smell of a nice peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Well, I can't blame them, they are pretty delicious. Poor thing wasn't able to get to it though. He decorated our truck with mud trying to get in, but to no avail. Dejected, he wandered off to see if he could find anything substantial at the dump.

It is quite interesting to wake up to find your truck has been mauled yet again. However, beside very muddy, there was no damage - so we're thankful for that. Just another day in the Hyder life.

Watercolor Interpretation of Hyder by Kaitlyn

Do you remember the picture I posted of what we see outside our travel trailer window? If not, check out this post.

Well, while the girls were visiting the Rogers (good friends of ours) in Stewart BC, Mrs. Rogers brought out some paints for the kids to use. Kaitlyn decided that she was going to paint what she saw from our trailer. I asked her about it and below is the answer that she gave.

Click on the image to get a better view

"This is God in the sky and Jesus in the sky and that's the Holy Spirit. And there is real grass. I feel good when I look at it. Mrs. Rogers helped me. The sky is blue. This is what I see from our trailer."

I was blown away by it. How wonderful that what she sees when she looks out is God (in whatever form or way she sees that in her mind). It made me think......Do I look for God in the everyday? Would he show up in my watercolors if I were to paint something? The answer to both of these should be yes - but too often it is "no." Thank you Katie for showing Mommy the proper view.