A Living Book for Fall Nature and History Study: Indiana {a review}

We have reviewed By the Way books in the past, this time we were able to review By the Way Book Series: Indiana (Discovering Biblical Truth in Everyday Life).We have enjoyed it tremendously.

This book is part of a larger series of geographically based Christian worldview children’s books; it has most definitely sparked some interesting conversations in our family.

How We Used it and What We Think

The 48 page, full-color book is absolutely gorgeous (and ourcopy is signed by the author! insert googly eyes here!). The first thing I saw when I opened the book is the most gorgeous fall foliage spread with scripture… insert google eyes again. *love* This is perfect for our fall book shelf! And if ever someone wanted encouragement as a homeschool parent that the world is our classroom to be seen through our children’s eyes and with a filter of our faith, this book is it! (Thank you, Joy!)

By the Way Book Series: Indiana makes a note in the beginning that it is:

  • informative-put the wow in learning
  • integrated- science, geography, and history (and scripture/Biblical truths-score!)
  • intentional- God’s message is right there the whole way
  • inspirational- touching our children’s hearts and minds with God’s beauty

All the above are quotes or paraphrases from the introduction of the book, but I couldn’t describe it’s purpose or message better myself! It is such a rich addition to our home library. What is the best part? Probably the conversations we had while reading parts of it. The story allows you to pick the book up and begin on just about any page, while still getting so much from your reading; this allowed us to discuss the scripture on pages, how the animals or events on that page reflected that scripture, how they relate to each other and most importantly to us and our loving relationship with God.

By The Way Reading {QuietintChaos}

This then became a conversation of all these things we see in our own world, our own back yard, on our farm, that make those same reflections. This week I heard one of my younger children trying to explain the Monarch butterfly’s “God given compass” from page 21, as we watched Monarch caterpillars on our milkweed plants.

There are fun activities such as finding specific animals and pictures (the 4 year old’s favorite) & learning how to geocache with links provided, as well as a precious story line that is sure to keep everyone’s interest. The illustrations are just beautiful, rich, and captivating, along with a little humor.

We still enjoy the Colorado book from the By The Way series (especially since we love visiting CO), but I *think* I may love this book even more. It is perfect for a fall nature study, history studies, and of course a state study. I think children of any age will enjoy the book; it can certainly grow with small children, while older children will enjoy all the information & beautiful illustrations/photography.

I cannot wait to add some of their state card packs from their website, and add more of this series to our home library.

Connect with By The Way

By The Way Read the Reviews


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On The Farm: Wrapping Up November {2015}

So … about Thora.  She is still very much a puppy.  And while she loves to love on all of us, be near us, and generally obeys commands, she is still a puppy.

And puppies chase things and are just naughty in general.  And BIG puppies like to show their authority using their big-ness.  This particular BIG puppy likes to dig giant size holes looking for *wait for it* …

moles. (I think because the cats catch moles and she wants one for herself.)

So we have small-human sized holes in our yard now.  Which is okay, we can fill them in … but man.  She is a mess!  She sure is loyal though and definitely My girl.

November on the Farm

The laying hens and two roosters have moved out to their coop.  They really need a nicer, new coop with more room and no drafts.  But right now they seem okay, if annoyed by their damp, drafty conditions.  They are not yet free ranging … we have to do some engineering for Thora a runner before she can be introduced to them full time!

We exchanged 1 possible rooster for another 5 week old chick, but will be returning 3 other possible roosters soon for more baby chicks.  We didn’t get them before Thanksgiving because we would be traveling, and wittle baby chicks need daily care.

We came home from Thanksgiving to ice everywhere!  Everything is covered in a few inches of ice; we are just praying we keep power.

Overall, things are looking good for the winter.  The weather is back up in the 50’s which is very nice!  The kids have been playing outside, and enjoying the weekends with their daddy.  Hopefully the winter doesn’t get too bitter and windy!

How was November for your family?

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Weekly Wrap Up: November 2014 {and Notebooking American Girl Books}

This month has flown by!  Thanksgiving is already over and everyone is prepping for Christmas.

We haven’t had any real weekly updates the last few weeks, because well … we haven’t done a lot of formal schooling.  Most everything has been relaxed and theme based.  And of course, we spend a lot of time just snuggling Ila.  =)  I mean, I spend 6 hours a day nursing her, and after every feeding Lexie and Max both request a turn to hold her.  So, we school when we can. 😉

Fall Indoor activities {quietinthechaos.com}

Lexie and “Jane Kirsten” having a picnic, building forts, happy baby ila

We worked on some pumpkin activities, which involved Max making his own pumpkin description book. (you can find it at www.ThisReadingMama.com) He really enjoyed it!  We are still working on NOT eating the markers … =)

Handwriting Practice and Fine Motor {quietinthechaos.com}

practicing handwriting, coloring with markers, gluing pumpkins in book

We also had our first big snow: (Lexie doesn’t mind the cold if she can play in the snow.  Mister refuses to keep his clothes on, so of course he gets “too cold” and needs to come in.  haha)


Lexie is still notebooking her way through the Kirsten of American Girl series.  She loves doing this and I am so glad she does.  I am going to introduce her to a timeline soon.  We have been talking about so many things in history lately, and I know it will help her understand something so contrast if she can see a visual.  We have two chapters left to notebook, and then we will move on to the next book.  I got our blank notebooking pages from notebookingfairy.com.  I chose the biography pages, whole punched them, and put in a folder with prongs.  We will add to it as we go.

notebooking American Girl Books

Notebooking “Meet Kirsten”

Last Saturday I was working on some knitting, and Lexie asked if I could show her how to knit.  Of course I said yes!  I love that my girl wants to sew and knit!  So, this is the little progress we made.  You may be wondering how I helped a four year old knit- I sat on the edge of my chair, and had her stand between my legs, so I could get my arms around hers.  I place my hands over hers, and we just went through the motions.  By the end, she knew exactly what to do, although she struggled with the dexterity needed.  I have no doubt she will be able to do it herself before long!

knitting with a four year old

We did do lots of reading about Thanksgiving.  You can see my post of supplemental books for Thanksgiving HERE (link coming soon).  Lexie really enjoyed this and learned lots of new vocabulary from these readings.  She has been using the new words every chance she gets!

And then, of course, we had Thanksgiving dinner.  Usually we spend Thanksgiving traveling to see family, but this year with Ila being so little we just decided to stay home.  It was my first year to cook a real Thanksgiving dinner for my family- we had turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole (from scratch, might I add…) and pecan pie.  And of course I am using my turkey bones to make bone broth!  As my sweet Lexie said, it was a “real Thanksgiving feast!”  She was so funny, she was kinda wiggling around on her seat during dinner, and she says, “I am just wiggling my belly so I can make room for more!”  haha  She definitely belongs to us!

Thanksgiving "feast" www.quietinthechaos.com

Between all this I have slowly started back running on the treadmill, and decorating for Christmas.  I hope to get you a recipe for that DELICIOUS green bean casserole soon, and an update on our Advent activities.  =)

Happy Holidays, and stay warm!

Thanksgiving Week

So, I have been MIA this past week.

I really have no excuse …  I just didn’t schedule any posts for my 2 weeks of travel.  

We spent time with family in Memphis, before driving to Arkansas.  Max was pretty cranky on our trip.  His disposition is more like mine when I was little- he doesn’t like strangers and he doesn’t warm up to others well.  At all.  And he likes home.

Lexie has had a great time; she is our social butterfly.  But man, was she happy to be home!  It was hard being out of our routine- no independent play, naps were a mess.  While in Memphis Mister took 2-2.5 hour naps every day.

In Arkansas, naps were only an hour, and he woke up screaming from every nap and every morning.  Sometimes he cried at night (most nights).  But, he was also in the most horrible of horrible, wonder week 64.  So I do attribute some of it to that.  Now that the wonder week is over, I am curious what developmental leaps he will start showing in the coming weeks!  Maybe more words?  I don’t know.

I just kept telling myself, this too shall pass.  And it did.

We did have a lot of fun though- in Memphis we visited family, and Lexie got to spend some time cooking with Granny.  Then in Arkansas, Lexie went to see the dinosaurs at the museum with her Sue Sue, we played in the deer woods, saw the gingerbread house downtown, went to the hot springs downtown, and saw the lights at Garvan Gardens.  It was a lot of fun.

Playing in the woods with Daddy
While in the woods, we decided our vehicles are just too quiet and smooth- neither of our children ever sleep in the car…  Max fell asleep riding around in a huge, loud, bumpy Razr, in the cold!

This was while playing in the back yard at my husband’s parent’s house.  Lexie was pretending to be Tigger, climbing trees in the One Hundred Acre Wood.


I am so thankful to be home!  Oh my goodness- 11 days is just too long.  A week isn’t quite long enough, but I am thinking 9 days next time.  We will see.

Flying home!

I feel like it is already the middle of December!  =(  I haven’t even started decorating for Christmas or planning our Advent activities.  I am so behind.  No Christmas tree yet … think we will do that tomorrow or this week.  I am in desperate need of Christmas and a whole month of non stop Jesus!

Lexie loved, loved our Advent stuff last year, and I really want to plan some fun stuff this year.  So guess what I will be doing all night?  (After I get some blog work done, anyway).

Here is to a wonderful December! 

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Nov 3, 2013

Welcome to our weekly wrap-up!  This is for the first week of November.

This week we continued what we worked on last week:

Reading Katy No Pocket, working on sight words, writing her name and family member’s names.  She is pretty much obsessed with sight words and writing names. Shes finds sight words in every. single. book she reads, or we read together.

Lexie did a great job!  She did this while I was making their lunches…
She is obsessed with writing!

Rainy day fun- bubbles!


this week Max started coloring with crayons.  He mostly just wanted to eat them ….


Lexie’s bears were riding on the “bus”- that’s daddy bear, middle size mama bear,
and little Lexie bear hopped on next.

This week we made our blessings tree.  It looks a little bare, because J.Tom was out of town when we made it, so his hands weren’t up.  We managed to get one handprint of Max’s, but it wasn’t on yet either.  Lexie decided Max would be thankful (if he could tell us …) for: his lovey, dog dog, dada, Lexie, Mama, and  bubbles.  In that order.

We started our conversation about Thanksgiving, but will dive in more the week before thanksgiving.  We are only have 2 BFIAR books to complete, and then we will start working on Five in A Row, after Christmas.  We will spend December mostly doing Advent and learning about Jesus, like we did last year.  Then in January we will being Five in a Row, and I cannot wait!

This week I finished a peasant top that is now offered in my etsy shop.  Lexie LOVES this blouse; she thinks it is just so pretty, and had to wear it to violin Friday.  I can’t wait to make her some solid white ones to go under dresses and jumpers for the winter.  I will soon have the ruffle pants in the shop as well! 



I hope everyone had a great week!

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Comparing schedules

Ive been going back and looking over my blogs from when L was Mister’s age.  Turns out they are so much alike it’s unreal.  On my Nov 12th post, when Lady was 2.5 months old, she was sleeping exactly as long as Mister is, about the same size, and eating about the same amount.  The biggest difference is with her, I didn’t start meds for her reflux, and I didn’t have her napping quite as well as M does.  I think that just has to do with A) him being no meds and B) me knowing what to look for as far as him being sleepy.

However, I’m worried his Zantac isn’t working anymore … The last two days have been horrible.  He’s been in a lot of pain and only naps well in his swing. I’m not sure exactly what’s going on but I’m going to give it the weekend before I call the dr about upping dosage (for weight increase) or changing meds; he has started pulling off while nursing again, and after eating he will cry out and then gulp/choke/gasp for breath.  So I know the reflux is hurting him; and I don’t think the rice is helping.  I can’t make it any thicker and it go through the nipple, so I’d have to spoon feed it to him, and I think he’s just too young for all that.  Anyway, after the weekend we will see.  The Coliccalm doesn’t seem to be doing anything for the reflux, not sure about his gas?

My days now are a bit more structured, mainly because I understand what baby whisperer and baby wise are saying and also because I have a 2 year old smack dab in the middle of her terrible-ness.  At that time, I had L on a great routine, but looking back she was definitely way over tired by the time I was putting her down for naps, and therefore wasn’t napping well.  But she always had good night time sleep (thank goodness!). So that was an okay trade off!

But, at almost 8 weeks old, here is what Mister’s routine looks like:

  • 5:00-6:00- Wakes, Zantac, small feed, goe back to sleep (either in crib or with Mama in chair)
  • 7:00- wake for the day, regular feeding, nurse then 3-4oz bottle
  • 8:05- Down for nap- rests on and off depending on gas/reflux until
  • 10:00- Eat, nurse 3-4 oz
  • 11:05- down for nap- rests on and off depending on gas/reflux until
  • 1:00pm- Eat
  • 2:05- down for nap (however he usually has not slept well at this mid morning nap, and therefore goes to sleep closer to 1:30pm, sleeping until about 3:30 in the swing if necessary)
  • 4:00 Eat
  • 5:30pm Cluster feed
  • 7:00pm last feeding of day
  • 7:35 asleep in crib
SO, that is typically what our routine looks like, but with him being so young and having the reflux and gas, it tends to be more flexible in the naps department.  Eating, however is always the same.  After his 10:00 feeding, we usually go for a walk and/or play outside.  If it is a day we plan to go grocery shopping or run errands, we do this about 8:30, home by 10:00 for him to eat and L to have a snack.  At 25 months, her routine looks like this:
  • 6:40-7:00- wake, daddy gets her from crib, she demands milk
  • then snuggle time with Mommy and “my Max” while mommy nurses and daddy gets ready for work
  • 7:30-  breakfast (yogurt, toast, oatmeal, fruit, etc)
  • play time
  • 11:30-12:00- lunch depending on am wake time
  • 12:00-12:30- down for nap depending on am wake time  (here is when she usually poopies in her pullup (this whole potty training thing has us all out of whack), I have to go change her, then put her back down for nap… but because this interrupts her getting ready for sleep, I’ve been going back in at the hour mark and rocking her to sleep.)
  • 2:30- if she didn’t nap I get her out of bed at the 2 hour mark
  • 3:00- if he napped, she is awake by 3:00
  • play outside, crafts, etc if napped… relax and keep it low key if she didn’t
  • 5:45pm- dinner
  • 6:30-7:00- bedtime depending on morning wake time
Right now, L needs a total of about 12 hours of sleep.  Her naps are usually 1.5 hours, which leaves 11.5 hours of night sleep on days she naps.  If she does’t nap, she has a very early bed time to prevent over tiredness the next day.  It’s all a numbers game..
So, big plans for the next few weeks.  This weekend we are going to a family reunion in LA.  Then next weekend my dad comes to visit, the next weekend my mom comes, then a few weeks later we have Thanksgiving!  ALREADY!  That’s insane.  I think we are going to Memphis for Thanksgiving… that should be a fun challenge.  Our first overnight trip wrangling two!  Fun Fun!  Of course halloween is this coming week.  Ew.  I’m not a fan of halloween, and until my kids are old enough to stay up late enough, we aren’t celebrating.  And yes, I will be one of the moms that takes the candy and exchanges it for something cool, a toy or new clothes, etc… like the tooth fairy only for crappy, overpriced junk food.  =)
OK, well I am going to bed now.  It;s 9:17pm, that’s about 20 minutes past my bed time!


Thanksgiving and Such

…. is less than a week away!  I am excited that we are heading to Memphis this year for my Granny’s famous Thanksgiving Dinner.  We were going to leave Tuesday, but …. I have now signed up for a 4 mile race at Shelby Farms.  The race is Wednesday morning, but packet pick up is Tuesday morning.  You can always pick up the morning of race day, but that lessens your chances for a t shirt.  😉  The t-shirt looks like a super cool long sleeve technical-t, and let’s face it,m we only run races for the cool t shirts!  Okay, okay, I am just kidding.  But it totally stinks when you register early and get gypped out of your t shirt.

So, back to the point of my post.  We will probably leave for Memphis Tuesday morning.  My car is at the dealership getting a million dollar tune up the oil changed, tires rotated, transmission checked up, all that 4wheel drive stuff … it’s so dang expensive but necessary if I don’t want a car note anytime soon.
My 10K Saturday went well, really well actually!  I had no cramps, felt good the whole time, sweated LOTS, which was a good thing.  I really wasn’t sure I was hydrated enough, but turned out I was.  My final time was 77 minutes 9 seconds.  Not the best, well actually it was one of the worst overall times.  But since my personal preliminary goal was 74 minutes, and I knew a month before the race I wouldn’t hit that time, 77 is okay.  My time was better than my original time on this race of 80 minutes. =/  I guess I have something to work towards for next year.  =)  74 will be my goal for sure!

The worst part, which was the beginning, turned out to not be so bad.  I really lost the pack when it came to the first incline on the mountain.  Those that were better prepared or more fit made it right over that first incline much faster than I did.  Had I been able to run that part better, I think I would have been in the main mix of the group.  Oh well, lessons learned.  The most important thing is to NOT STOP now that I have that mileage under my belt.  My next goal is a half marathon, and luckily I have some running friends with the same goal!  As soon as we pick out a race, we will begin our training. In the mean time, we are continuing to run with the Pacers a few times a week, and because I have a wonderful husband, I am able to do it without pushing a toddler in a stroller.  =)

Speaking of that toddler …

ready to go in my hat and boots!

silly girl

first bath in big tub!

baby greenish/blues!



on a mission for the camera!

sweet baby

coloring left handed

nope, I think I will try right handed …

“tip me over, and poor me out”

Mama’s girl!!!

playing with her farm

getting ready for church

thinking …

the curls ..

Eureka Springs and other things

We are finally on our mini vaca in Eureka Springs!  It is so nice to be away for a while.  Today we are going to see a few touristy things and just enjoy being away from Hot Springs for a while.

Lexie is doing great!  She is rolling over from her tummy to her back now.  She hates to be on her stomach though, so she doesn’t do it often.  I think she had fun at Thanksgiving dinner getting to see everyone and be held by so many people!  She is such a good baby and does well around lots of people.

This week marks the end of November, which means I will only have a few more weeks with her before she goes to school.  I am really, really dreading it.  I love spending time with her and being at home.  I guess a lot of people would go crazy being at home, but I don’t sit down much.  I am constantly cleaning and picking up, or we go out shopping or just walking down town. 

I am experiencing more and more people’s opinions on child rearing.  Quite frankly, I think they should just keep it to themselves.  What works for my family may not work for yours, but that doesn’t mean what we do in our home is wrong, it is just different.  It annoys me that people can say things so snootily and with such attitude like they know better for my child than I do, just because they have done it differently with theirs.  I wonder if they realize everyone is raised differently and that it is a good thing?  Obviously not..

As I see it, my child is happy, can entertain herself for good periods of time, she’s healthy, and she sleeps through the night.  That accommodates our lifestyle and whether is accomodates anyone else’s or not really doesn’t matter to me…  You do what is best for your family-despite what other people think!  I have never really cared what others thought of me, but I don’t really appreciate being criticized for my lifestyle- that’s mean, judgmental, and completely uncalled for.  I guess I just don’t have it in me to argue with people though.. that is unnecessary as well.

On a happier note, the drive up here wasn’t too bad!  Lexie screamed cried at one point and when we reached a good stopping point, we discovered it was gas.  Then she was fine.  J.Tom’s back is not fairing too well today, but hopefully walking around this afternoon will help.  I am so thankful that I have him.  He is such a big help with Lexie and loves pitching in; I rarely have to ask him to do anything because he knows Lexie and me so well, he just does it without hesitation.  Maybe that is why we work so well together when it comes to raising Lexie, and one reason why we do it our way..  I think she will have fun being out in the fresh air this weekend.  It is cold, but she will be bundled up good.  The other night we went to the lights at Garvin Gardens and I kept her shade over her because while it was not cold, it was cool and pretty windy in some spots.  Of curse she slept the whole time and then didn’t get to bed til 10:30-that does NOT fit my lifestyle!  haha  But it is not windy here today, so she should be bale to see and do a lot more.  Last night she slept a lot on the way up here, but I kept her awake as much as possible, so she slept good last night… from 9:00ish-7:00ish.

I guess some people would criticize me for not getting her out in windy or cold weather… but you know I don’t want to deal with a sick baby if I don’t have to.  Like I didn’t take her to church or places out not because I was afraid of her getting sick, but because I didn’t want to deal with her once she was sick.  Plus I could run my errands in the afternoons while J.Tom spent time with her so it wasn’t a big deal for me.  But it is just like I don’t want to deal with a hungry or tired/fussy baby.  So to prevent that we have a routine.  I don’t call it a schedule because it is not at the same times everyday, but I do know that she is going to eat every 2.5-3 hours, so I can estimate based on that.  But what really matters, is that she is a precious, healthy, sweet baby girl and is more loved than she will ever know!

Really, parenting doesn’t take a genius… just a little common sense will do.  =)

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