For those of you who do not know, Dagyn this past year, attended a Mom's School (Future Christian Homemakers~or more commonly known in our home as: FCH) wherein she was inspired of many great things. 
Things such as:
  • sewing
  • cooking/baking
  • embroidering
  • good manners
  • paper doll art
...just to name a few.     
This is one of Dagyn's projects from class (embroidering for a decrotive pillow)
But the GREATEST thing was her teacher,
Carri Mason
(or Sister Mason, as Dagyn most commonly referred to her as)
Sister Mason was an inspiration to Dagyn.  She brought out such a greater quality in her (I say "greater" since we all know that Dagyn is already amazing!) 
                        And let me tell you what!
We are all benefiting from it here in our home.  And we are so grateful for that!  Thank you Sister Mason!

Speaking of benefits...
Not too long ago, we were blessed with Dagyn creating her own special recipe for our breakfast toast.  This, I am told was inspired from a recipe she was taught in her class.  She made us a chocolate pumpkin butter (the pumpkin butter was a recipe she learned in her class).
It was delicious to say the least!
Finished embroidering project (Decorative Pillow)


Since this class, Dagyn has been inspired to continue her love in the lost arts.  In fact, this school year she is taking a sewing class.  And I have a little surprise up my sleeve for her to use in her class that she will be getting for her birthday.  I can hardly stand the wait!!!  Here's a little sneak peek for those of you who can't wait either....
something for her to make....and something for her to keep it in

Wish I knew the original source.  But, when a friend of mine posted this on her Facebook page this morning, I just knew it was worth sharing here... with all of you.

Why Public Schooling is better:

Most parents were educated in the under-funded public school system, and so are not smart enough to homeschool their own children

Children who receive one-on-one homeschooling will learn more than others, giving them an unfair advantage in the marketplace. This is undemocratic.

How can children learn to defend themselves unless they have to fight off bullies on a daily... basis?

Ridicule from other children is important to the socialization process.

Children in public schools can get more practice "Just Saying No" to drugs, cigarettes and alcohol.

Fluorescent lighting may have significant health benefits.

Publicly asking permission to go to the bathroom teaches young people their place in society.

The fashion industry depends upon the peer pressure that only public schools can generate.

Public schools foster cultural literacy, passing on important traditions like the singing of "Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg..."

Homeschooled children may not learn important office career skills, like how to sit still for six hours straight.
Chris and I had the wonderful opportunity this past Saturday to go and hear both Larry and Brenda Farris speak on their experiences in homeschooling their 3 boys. 
Extraordinary story...Extraordinary couple!

They shared plenty of laughable, touching and monumental moments in their homeschooling lives.  But most importantly what Chris & I gained from that evening is that while we are teaching our own children we need to be more "in-tune" with the Spirit of God.  And to be sure to stop and ponder {often... no, Always} on those precious moments as they occur!
To Larry out there, if you are reading this, "We Got It!".

Another wonderful thing we experienced that evening {outside of homeschooling} was that the host, Laree Duncan had such a beautiful home and...
on her walls was the EXACT color I am wanting to paint our school/playroom!
It was so nice to be able to point that out for Chris to see instead of trying to explain to him the exact color of green I am wanting.
Thank you Laree for sharing your gorgeous home with us!

Oh and if you are looking for a cool way to set up your children's is another really cool thing Laree shared with us.  She mentioned that she got the idea from a TJEd book.  I believe that would be from the Home Companion.
Check it out...

Each envelope is programmed for each room in her home.

In each of these envelopes you will find laminated cards identifying each job/chore/service opportunity (depending on how you look at it) within that room...
such as these examples below:
I never did ask what the (A) & (B) were for but I presume that it may classify the level of difficulty.
(A)'s being easier than (B)'s.

These cards are then divided up between the children and placed into another set of envelopes below the "rooms" envelopes and labeled as "IN".
When the chore/job/service opportunity is completed...the card then gets moved to the "OUT" envelope.
Each child has their own set of "IN" & "OUT" envelopes as you can see in the picture below:
Laree mentions that she purchased the envelopes at a teaching supply store.
Laree didn't have these laminated.  But I'm thinking that you could experiment in laminating them & in using a exacto blade (or razor blade type tool), you could carefully slice open the tops of the envelopes.

Once again Audrey Dexter (the amazing woman behind the scenes), you put together a wonderful night!
Thank you!!!
But first, a little tree climbing action...
When we arrived we were greeted by a wonderful display.  There was a soldier's tent set up and lots more interesting items displayed on a table for the curious eyes to see.
Including a soldier (Aubree's husband) who gave us a really great talk and some information on (but not limited to) the soldiers, their uniforms and their gear.
He even had the kids get involved by marching them up and down the courtyard with toy rifles.
Here, our good friend, Aubree is passing out what is called "hard tack" is a hard cracker that the civil war soldiers were given for sustenance because perishable food was hard to come by at times.  These "crackers" lasted a very long time.  And jokingly, they were sometimes referred to as "molar breakers".
I wasn't kidding when I said that Hard Tack is really, really HARD.  But, don't worry, no one broke any teeth.
Devyn and Denym even got into the act by each sporting one of the coonskin hats.
And check out the money from that era.  Hello Mr. Lincoln...nice to see you!
Did I mention that Hard Tack is hard???  Devyn, still gnawing at his.
And aren't Aubree's girls just so cute dressed in the era's clothing too!?  Their dresses were so adorable it only made me want a sewing machine even more!
There was good food to be sampled afterward, as well as a couple of activities too.  Dagyn & Denym made rag dolls and Dyxon made a silhouette of his hand while Dyson and Devyn climbed more trees.  Devyn even had a turn at holding one of our friend's new, yet temporary addition to their family.
Thanks Aubree & family...We had a great time!

Now if you'll excuse me while I go and pack our bags for Ancient Rome...
Last Friday we decided to take a "Snow Day" and head up to the mountains with the Deputies.  We even withdrew Dylan from school for 1/2 the day.  He was super were all the other kiddos!
Chris had been monitoring the weather all week prior and was chomping at the bit to get OuTsiDe!!!

 The webcam we had been monitoring was reporting over 4 FEET of snow!  So, we packed up the kids and headed up to The Rim. 

This was Denym & Dyxon's first time in the snow.  And, with Dyson being just a baby his first time, it was so fun watching these 3 Deptuties venture out into the wintery white playground!
All the boys set out to complete a {Snow Tunnel} and {Snow Fort} with the help of Dad.
Dyxon did his best at making a {Snow Angel}.  It was so hilarious!  He just couldn't keep from laughing & giggling at himself.
Although there were some serious moments...or perhaps he's just deeeeeeep in thought.  I suppose being a young man surrounded by a bunch of wild & 1/2 crazed monkeys in the snow can make a person stand back and just watch in a puzzled wonderment.
I managed to capture a smile on Dagyn's face right before she "froze to death".  She has her mommy's thin blood and gets cold easily.

Oh, & btw...
She recently lost her first tooth last week.  We'll have to post seperately on that as she is so impressed with what the Tooth Fairy brought her.
Did we mention...the snow tastes GOOOOooood!
And what little brother wouldn't jump at the opportunity to throw a HUGE snow ball at his BIG brother?
I believe these 3 Amigos might have had the most fun of all.  That based upon the fact that they were the last ones to round up when it was time to leave.
Then could have been this BIG KiD.
Although, I believe that could have just been a rare case of Mountain Sickness {I hear the high altitude can cause that in men who don't get outside enough}.

And of course we couldn't leave without mounting the traditional "Snowman Hood Ornament".  The idea is to see how far we can get without it falling off the hood.  It is so entertaining & well worth hearing the squeals & giggles that come from the kids (ok, & from me too!).
Even with all this fun & excitment we even were able to squeeze in a Science Lesson too!

We learned that the Moon was at it's largest & brightest Full Moon of the year.
Some may even call it a {Wolf Moon} or better known scientifically as a Perigee Moon.  It was 14% wider & 30% brighter than lesser full Moons of the year.
We were even able to get a glimpse of Mars (an orange, star-like sphere to the left of the Moon). 
My cell phone just does not do it justice.
Photo taken from
Below is a much better photo taken by Steve Greaves of the Perigee Full Moon (Wolf Moon) with Mars the red planet (tiny speck of orange light on far left).
Photo taken in Darfield, Barnsley, South Yorkshire on 29 January 2010 at around 10pm.

Here it is Thursday, January 14th and I can finally say we have got our Spring Semester Schedule down.

It only took us 2 weeks...not too bad considering Devyn came back from a whirlwind of extra curricular activities with his dad {Sea World, SanDiego Zoo, Wildlife Park Zoo & Lego Land} the week right before school resumed.  Next time I will remember to not schedule something like that right before we get back to schooling. 

But, all things considered...we are back into the groove.
One thing Devyn & I have discovered over these past 2 weeks is that he needs a Compass for his day.  I had read about this in the TJEd book called Leadership Education and more recently on my friend, Celeste's blog post {The Binder and The Compass} over @ Cinder Mountain Scholars.

We already had our Binders in place but I then realized that it was "The Compass" Devyn was lacking in his day and that we could both benefit from applying it here at home to better {chart our course}.

So we have started to implement it into place and things are looking like they are {on course}.
What's a Fairy Tale Christmas without some toadstools for some fairies to sit on?
I had come across directions on how to put together these cute little toadstools not more than a week prior to the kids & I entering an Ornament Exchange thru The Crafty Crow.  And with the theme:  Fairy Tale Christmas...what better thing to make.

The kids all took part in making one & we decided any leftover we would either keep or use as gifts for someone so toadally special.  Ok, pardon my pun...but they are so toadally cute.  (Alright, I'm done).

For those of you who may be interested in making a toadstool ornament (or 2) for yourselves or perhaps one to tie on a gift...You can find the pattern/directions and a much better tutorial than mine over at My Little Mochi.  This is her design, not mine.  I'm not nearly as creative as her.  While you're there check out more of her creativity as she makes some reallly cute things.
Cutting out the strips of white felt for the stem of the mushroom.
Rolling the white felt up tight to make the stem. 
We also put a few stitches in them to hold them together.
Cutting out the tops of the mushroom from red felt.
 Cutting out a sturdy peice of cardboard to be placed within the mushroom's top.
Sewing the mushroom tops.
I programmed the felt circles with dots made with a fine tip black marker.  This seemed to help my kiddos know where to place their next stitch.
Here we are pushing the needle back through the cardboard cirlce so we could later attach a ribbon for hanging. 
I ended up having to do the rest myself...this was hard even with the aid of a thimble.
Hot glue to attach the stem to the mushroom's top.
Sprinkling glitter on the white paint spots.
After we attached the ribbon, we tied little bows at the tops.
We will be mailing these cute little mushrooms/toadstools out a couple days late to our list of recipients in our group.  We hope they don't mind the delay.
I wonder what the mailman will be bringing us in exchange?
When we found there was FREE admission to the Science Center on Monday, boy were we excited!  But that meant we would have to opt out on our monthly History Party co-op.  And we were pretty excited about that too!   

You see, we are studing about Ancient China
we had planned on teaching our friends how to use chopsticks.

Some of the things that we found most interesting in our studies of Ancient China were:
The Binding of Feet
The Food
How Silk is Made & Was Discovered
No Forests so No Fuel
(which meant they had to chop up their food very small to cook it since they had only small fires)
Their Clothing
Where and How Rice Grows & is Harvested
The Different Dynasties

So you can see our delimma. 
We have been leading-up to this History Party All Month and then WHAMMO we are struck with a FREE deal that comes by only...well we're not sure really how often but, we know a great deal when we see one.

So...we put it to a vote.

The deal is if they choose the Science Center then they are to get their morning routines done, leave the house clean & pack for the day.
(lunch & diaper bag)

Well, here it is after 11:00am and still their morning routines are not done.
Looks like we will be staying home kids and working on some
well needed housework & packing before our weekend get-away to Temecula, California for Aunt Christine's wedding.
This is a wonderful idea!  Thank you Donna!

I love it when I come across the solution to my problem and all I had to do was to move my fingers across a keyboard.  A few clicks & clacks of the keys and I came across this:  The Daily Dozen.
A baker's dozen (actually) on setting up structure to a homeschool day all while incorporating the same methods we have adopted & begun applying.

Drum role please....and here, ladies & gents, is the Daily Dozen:

Daily Dozen:
I. Anchoring – Devotions; scripture study, discussion, scriptural vocabulary building, hymn singing, scripture/quote memorization, scripture episodes, Jubilee devotionals, Sunday Gospel discussions, Church Meetings, Family Home
Evenings, and church activities.
II. Duty Calls – Citizenship and Patriotism; pledge, song, study of patriots, quotes, and documents.
III. Currents In Time – Current events- your children are part of history!
IV. It Came To Pass – History; biographies, history and Book of Centuries
V. Wisdom In Action – Hygiene, Fitness, Nutrition, and Healthy Lifestyles
VI. Publish It – Writing; calligraphy, copy work, correspondence, journals, family history research, personal histories, creative writing, commonplace books, writing books and articles, etc.
VII. Simply Science – Science; nature study, gardening, astronomy, nature walks, experiments, nature notebooks, science logs, weather stations, etc.
VIII. Math Matters – Math; history, manipulations, memory work, practice, life experience, and math narration (demonstrating and sharing the concepts that they have learned).
IX. Heart Sense – Cultural Refinement; music study, art study and lessons (apprenticing me in my studio), study other cultures (and their language),
refinement (or grace- etiquette and hospitality), practical arts (sewing, cooking, cleaning. etc.), poetry, literature, creative writing, drama, concerts, plays, etc.
X. Speaking Up – Speech; recitations and memory work, colloquia, narrations, presentations, talks, Stepping Into Character, etc.
XI. Margins – Time and Resource Management; keeping on top of their own commitments, planning, goal getting sessions, and tracking their own money.
XII. Family Work – Stewardships, Family Work, Family Service, Relationships,Family Council, Sunday recitals, Family game night, Family Activities.
XIII. Baker’s Dozen – Gospel Principles (on Sunday ); Core Knowledge (E.D. Hirsch), we just read it aloud to find things to spark imagination.
"Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Whatcha you gunna do?  Whatcha gunna do when they come for you?..."

You all know the song & if you now have that song stuck in your head...You can blame me for that.

Well, this past Wednesday we found out what happens to those who are not so nice...The Good Guys come for them...and this is their story...well atleast one of them...our Uncle Clyde.

Who is Uncle Clyde you maybe asking yourself?  Well, he is none other than the COOLEST Sergeant at the Apache Junction Police Department!
See...I told you!
And he likes us SOOOOOO much that he gave us a personalized tour.
Clyde is very impressed that Devyn aspires to become a police officer someday...and introducing him as such, Devyn was quickly given advice by a fellow officer to become a fireman...jokingly he said, "everybody loves firemen".   Call us biased, but we have a special love for the men in blue.  I mean, come on...besides the fact that they all love donuts...who wouldn't love those who serve & protect us!?! 
What's that?  No Donuts?!  Dyxon is going to be upset!
Because I LOOOOVE CSI...Forensics was my favorite part of the tour.  Here we met the resident Forensic Scientist and discussed the different jobs they perform plus we got to see a dismantled atm that was brought in for fingerprinting...pretty cool stuff.
Now you don't want to go venturing into this area w/o a key.  We found out that you get absolutely no privacy when stuck in a jail cell.  The toilet is in plain view of the 4 bunks that are stuffed within these small top it off... there is a camera watching your every move!
And if you are REALLY get strapped into this wheeled chair.  The hard part, we were told, is getting the "bad guys" into it!  They don't go quietly or without a fight!  But, once they are in there, they can easily be wheeled (transported) around to places like the court room.
The K9 Unit w/o the K9.  We found that the K9 was locked inside an office for safe keeping.  OUR Safe Keeping!
K9 Unit
and the K9...LOOSE in the office!!!
That's one door we won't be venturing through...
But, the door that leads to the yard was full of fun stuff!
you can't see them but the lights were flashing on the patrol car
And then...right up Devyn's alley.... (because they are just as [crazy] as he is) were the Special Weapons And Tactics (aka: SWAT) vehicles.
SWAT truck...Very cool!
Special Assignments Unit...Totally Awesome!
After viewing the motorcycles, Devyn decided he did not want to be a Motorcycle cop anymore based upon ALL of the buttons on it.  I think he was a bit overwhelmed.  And then to top it off, while I was busy trying to take pictures, Uncle Clyde turned on the siren...scared the tar out of me.  Yes, I screamed!  Hey, you would have was LOUD!!!
Training (Left) & Official (Right) Police Motorcyles
Bike cage
And what tour of police vehicles would be complete without the "paddy wagon".  Denym climbed right up inside...silly girl.
For those of you that even think you could even steal the entry code to any secured area...think again!  Devyn tries to copy the code he witnessed being punched in...but to no avail.  The #s change every time it is used...HA!
What!?!  You were caught trying to break in to a secured area?  Great, now you must go through interogation. Busted, Devyn!  I told you to not go messin' around with that keypad.
Now Devyn, you must get your fingerprints done.  Hold still & relax your hand.  This is NOT going to look good on your record.  Unless of course this was intended all along to obtain your Cub Scout Bear Achievement Award for "Law Enforcement Is a Big Job"...which it was.  No worries Gma's & Gpa's.
I think Dyxon is STILL wondering where they keep the donuts...
And that concludes our tour of the Apache Junction Police Dept.