Summary Saturday: Summer and Science Fun

Summer has hit our area full force the past couple of weeks. Temperatures in the high 90's and heat index in the 100's. Luckily, we have been getting rain off and on so we aren't in the severe drought conditions that some parts of the country are experiencing. Of course when the weather heats up and playing outside just isn't possible, this mom brings out the school work. But we always find time for play too!

Last weekend Monkey helped me do some cleaning in the laundry room. We found a stash of plastic eggs from Easter that still had some chocolate in them. He sat on the washing machine and dumped the chocolate into a bowl and put the empty plastic eggs into a plastic bin. Such a good helper!

Mapgie studied the children of Israel in the wilderness this week. She learned all about God's house, the tabernacle, that the Israelites built. We talked about how as Christians, we are God's house and He dwells in us. We actually had some really good discussions about what it means to have God living inside us. Just like the Israelites brought the best cloth, gold, and perfume to build the tabernacle, we need to make sure we are giving our best to God as well with what we read, listen to, watch on TV, wear, and do. Here is a picture of Magpie's tabernacle:

We even sprayed some perfume in the air for incense. Thank you Aunt Fluffy and your Tommy Girl perfume!

Chipette finished up her study of the brain and nervous system this week. She made a brain hat and a nerve necklace:

She was amazed at how quickly the nervous system worked and how much the brain had to do yet was a small size in comparision. I told her that her brain is the best computer in the world. God knows what He's doing!

The thing Chipette is most excited about is that she is conducting her own science experiment this next week. We have finished up our study of birds in Apologia's Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day, and before we start bats, the book challenged us to design an experiment that would tell us if an egg could absorb water. An egg shell is actually porus to allow air in and out, but can those pores let water inside?

So I asked Chipette how we could figure out an answer to the question. She suggested putting an egg in a bowl of water and measuring the water every day to see if it gets less and less, then we would know that the egg was absorbing the water. I asked her if we knew of any other way that water in a bowl might get less even without an egg or anything in the water. She thought for a minute and then said, "Evaporation!". I told her if she thought her experiment would work since we would have to deal with evaporation. She decided that her original experiment wouldn't work because even if the water decreased we couldn't know if that was because of evaporation or the egg.

Next, I asked her if she could think of something that would change in an object when it absorbed water. She thought and thought, but couldn't come up with anything. I asked her to come to the kitchen sink. I picked up two sponges. I got one really wet, but didn't wring it out so it was full of water. Then I put the dry sponge in her hand and the wet sponge in her other hand. I asked if she noticed any difference. Chipette said, "The wet one is heavier!" I asked her to come up with an experiment using what she knows now. It didn't take her long to come up with the following experiment:

Her hypothesis is that an egg will absorb water. She is going to weigh the egg before she begins. Then she will place the egg in water for 24 hours. Take it out and weigh it again. She is going to do this for one week and see if there is any change in the egg's weight. Next week I will share Chipette's findings.

And, of course, when the weather gets hot, the sprinkler comes out!

Chipette jumping over the sprinkler:

Magpie is not too sure about this sprinkler jumping:

But Monkey has discovered an even more enjoyable game:

Pick up the sprinkler and spray Mom!!!

I hope all of you are keeping cool and learning something new every day, even if you aren't doing school at your house!

Monkey gets a special gleam in his eye when he makes Mommy scream and run in the treehouse,


Freaky Friday: Puppy Love

Today I'm going to be talking about a group of dogs. They come from a house by my Gran and Papaw's house. We've named them Weenie Dog, White Dog, and White Dog Junior. My dog is Weenie Dog. Magpie's dog is White Dog. Monkey's dog is White Dog Junior. We go out on the Gran and Papaw's front porch and scream their names until they come. They always show up. Sometimes at night when we are sitting outside by the fire pit, Weenie Dog will sit on my lap.

Sometimes Monkey is afraid of White Dog Junior because he tries to lick him. We're not allowed to take the dogs next door to Nana's house because Nana does not like them. They scare her cat. We have two cousins, named C and A who just love them! When we eat lunch at Nana's house on Sunday, we go over to Gran and Papaw's house and play with them. We always have so much fun! The first day we saw them was at Magpie's third birthday party. We were having it at Gran and Papaw's house. Gran doesn't allow them in the house, but they are allowed on the porch.

Loving our furry friends from the Natural State,



Wordless Wednesday: A Spot of Tea

Enjoying watching Chipette lead tea parties in the tree house,


P.S. Notice her attire: Cleopatra dress with ladybug wings attached!


Tasty Tuesday: Now I'm A Believer

I love Italian food. I really, really love it! But there has always been one Italian staple that doesn't get me super excited to put on my plate...alfredo sauce. I know, I know, blasphemy, right? Well, I'm not a huge fan of the flavor (most alfredo sauces are pretty bland) or the consistency (usually pretty thick and clumpy), but about a year ago I found IT. The perfect alfredo sauce.

Here is what you need to make Creamy Chicken Alfredo:

1/4 cup flour
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (This is the normal chicken breasts you'd buy in the store cut in half, lengthwise, so it's thin.)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. olive oil, divided
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. minced onion
3 cups whipping cream
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. parsley

First, place the flour in a shallow dish or pie plate. Sprinkle the chicken with salt; coat with flour. Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add chicken; cook turning once, until golden, 2-4 minutes per side.

Remove chicken from skillet; place in a 13x9 inch baking dish. I take the skillet off of the burner and let it cool down a little during this step. If you don't you might scorch the next step!

Heat remaining olive oil in same skillet over medium heat until hot. Add garlic and onion; cook until onion is tender, 1-2 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high; add whipping cream, Parmesan, and pepper.

Cook until sauce is bubbly and slightly thickened, for about 3 minutes after it begins boiling.

Spoon sauce over chicken in dish.

Heat oven to 375 degrees and bake chicken for 12 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.

Now I know what all of the fuss for alfredo is about!

Only one problem...this alfredo is so good that I have a hard time eating it in restaurants.


Not a doubt in my mind that good alfredo is worth the effort in the treehouse,


Mama Monday: Proverbs 31 Verses 10 and 11

Verses 1-3 are here.

Verses 4-5 are here.

Verses 6-7 are here.

Verses 8-9 are here.

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.

Oh how wonderful to be the excellent wife! Many women look at this standard and see how they fall so short of the mark. Even the writer notes how scarce it is to find an excellent wife. Does this mean as a Christian woman I should not strive to become one? Definitely not. This word "excellent" encompasses capable, intelligent, virtuous, strength, and morality. All of these things are attainable through God, not through any kind of strength of our own. Why does it matter? As women our influence is great in the home. We show our sons what kind of wives to marry; we show our daughters what kind of women to be. Most importantly, what woman would not want her husband to see her as being more precious and costly than jewels.

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.

It's a humbling thought to know that my relationship with my husband can bring him contentment or discontent. Just how many husbands trust their wives? Far too few, I'm sure. Trust is one of the most fundamental things in any relationship. A husband must trust his wife to be faithful in all aspects of her life, to take care of his interests, to act in an upright manner, and to be open with him. All women want a husband that feel this way about her, but are we living our lives to produce these feelings? We should prove to be trustworthy even if our husbands are not, simply because we are women of Christ. When women behave in a trustworthy manner, husbands find themselves wealthy. Not necessarily in material things, but wealthy because of the wonderful nature of his wife. When women do not act this way, the opposite is true. Men find themselves going out and seeking far less than the best through possessions, hobbies, or even other women.

Striving to be excellent by proving I am trustworthy in the treehouse,



Summary Saturday: Vacation Bible School Edition

This past week was Vacation Bible School at our church. While I had every intention of doing some school in the afternoons after VBS, our week actually went more like this:

  • Wake up at 8:00 (Holy cow! We've got to be up there in an hour!)
  • Wake up children at 8:10 (Get up! Get up! You've got to eat breakfast and get dressed.)
  • Everyone inhales eats breakfast from 8:15 to 8:25
  • Get dressed from 8:25 to 8:45 (No you can not wear that to VBS. Monkey, what did you get on your clothes!)
  • Arrive at the church building at 8:58 (VBS starts at 9:00.)
  • Teach my class from 9:00 to 11:00 (Lots of fun! I always love teaching my 5th and 6th graders. This year I got asked what a "eunuch" was. This age group keeps me on my toes.)
  • Prep for tomorrow's class while trying to keep my children from destroying my classroom.
  • Get home, eat lunch, and put everyone down for a nap. (Yes, everyone, even Chipette. Teaching is so tiring, and I just needed some down time.)
  • Wake up around 4:00 from naps. (Apparently everyone was tired.)
  • Do some laundry and dishes, then cook supper at 5:00.
  • Eat supper, then get everyone in bed as soon as possible.

So, no school in that list, but I do have some great pictures and videos from VBS which I love to teach at and my children adore participating in every year!

Our theme this year was "All Aboard the Kingdom Express." I tried to turn my classroom into a train depot.

This was the main bulletin board in my classroom. It says, "Be On The Right Track."

The waiting bench for the depot. The bulletin board on the left was the list of arrivals and departures. The bulletin board on the right had some posters of things travelers need to watch out for on the Kingdom Express. And of course, my lovely passengers who posed for this picture: Ty-Ty (Chipette's best friend), Magpie, Aunt Fluffy, and Chipette.

A close up of the Arrivals and Departures bulletin board. My sister and I collaborated to come up with these. My Preacher Man thought our alliteration was quite well done!

Speaking of Preacher Man, it's not often after ten years of marriage that I can impress him much anymore. But I drew this little guy above from looking at a picture about three inches tall in my teaching manual. He was very impressed at my non-artist skills (it's just copying a picture!) and kept bragging about me to everyone!

As my final decorative touch, I turned the windows in my classroom into train cars, so that it would look like you were looking at people sitting in the train cars waiting to pull out of the station. I did silhouettes of people that were in the building Sunday night when I was decorating.

On the last day of VBS, all of the classes do a little performance for the parents about one of the Bible stories they learned during the week. I was able to record Monkey's class and Magpie's class, but the batteries died before Chipette performed.

Here is Monkey's class, the two and three year olds. He's in the train hat roaming all over the stage!:

Here is Magpie's class, the four and five year olds. She's in the red and white tank top on the right:

While I didn't video Chipette's performance, she had a really great time. She was chosen to be Haman and another best friend was chosen to be Mordecai from the story of Esther. They both had a lot of fun pretending to be enemies!

I hope all of you choose to let your children participate in a Vacation Bible School somewhere in your area. It is a LOT of fun!

Recovering from a week of learning about God, craft making, cookies, and singing in the treehouse,



Freaky Friday: One Fish, Two Fish

We got the fish at a store that has dogs, cats, and little parrots that always look at me.

I love having fish and getting new fish, and I love when the check-outer says that if they die we can get new fish. And God loves the fish that dies, and if they die, we'll throw them in the toilet and flush them.

My fish is named Selena and is orange, black, and gray. She is a goldfish.

Monkey's fish is called Mate-o. It is a white suckerfish. It sucks like this (insert sucking noises here).

I have the job of feeding the fish morning and night. I love having fish because it is wonderful and really good.

Making fishy faces in the treehouse,



Thoughtful Thursday: My Heart Weeps

Today on my Facebook news feed, I discovered a video of a group of middle school children from New York belittling and harrassing a monitor on the bus to the point where they make her cry.

I am posting the video for you to view if you haven't seen it, but please be aware that there is bad language. I could only watch about one minute of it before I was so upset that I had to stop it.

My heart weeps for this woman. She is somone's mother, someone's grandmother, someone's wife, someone's friend, but more importantly she is a human being. When I watched this I thought of my grandmother who looked a lot like this woman. I tried to imagine what I would be feeling if someone had treated her like this. I couldn't. I just couldn't let my mind go there because the anger and the rage started building up so quickly. I don't think that I could have held myself in check as well as she did.

My heart weeps for these children. I don't know their background, I don't know their family situation, I don't know their religious affiliations, but I do know that at some point these children received a message that everything is all about them. Other people do not figure into the equation at all, especially if others cannot "give" them anything. They verbally abuse this woman so severely that I cannot even imagine the lack of conscience these children displayed. The lack of empathy and the lack of respect for a fellow human being.

My heart weeps for the parents of these children. I hope and pray that they are just as horrified by their children as I am. I hope and pray that not only do they find this behavior shocking, but that they bring down swift and severe consequences. However, I would not be the least bit shocked if none of the above happened. I dealt with too many parents when I was a teacher who were in denial about their children's behavior. Their precious child could not possibly have done what was being claimed. It must have somehow been someone's elses fault, some circumstance that cause their child to act that way. And as parents we need to be aware that our children are surrounded every day by children who act just like this. Do not be so naive as to think that your children do not have the opportunity and potential to participate.

My heart weeps for everyone else on the bus. While only a handful of children actually participated in the harassment, all of the other children on that bus did NOTHING. No one tries to stand up for the bus monitor. No one tells the other kids to back off. They just ignore it. While I hope and pray that my children would never participate in such ugliness, I hope and pray even more that my children would say something. That they would call out injustice and hatefulness. That they would stand up and say something or walk over to sit beside her. I would be so disappointed and upset if my child chose to remain silent. I feel so frightened for my children if the world they are entering chooses to keep their mouths shut at evil and it's heart callous to abuse.

Realizing that I need to be even more focused on teaching and living compassion in the tree house,



Wordless Wednesday: Obedience

Last week Monkey was taking a nap, and I told the girls not to make any noise so they didn't disturb him.

About thirty minutes later, Chipette walks up to me and just stands next to me without saying anything. I glance up at her and see this:

Finally learning a little obedience.

Next up lessons on hyperbole in the treehouse,


Tasty Tuesday: The Story of Food

This Tasty Tuesday is going to be a little different. No recipe.

Why? Because our family was invited to eat over at a new church family's home. No time to fix a recipe or post a recipe, but it caused me to start thinking about how food brings people together.

Food makes memories.

Food forms friendships.

Food tells stories.

Of course, being a good Southern girl, we are raised to love you to death with food. When a baby is born, we cook. When someone dies, we cook. If there is a holiday, we cook. If there is a birthday, we cook. When someone moves into the neighborhood, we cook. When we need to raise money for an organization, we cook. When we want to say thank you, we cook. If you get a new car, we cook!

But then I started thinking about the Bible, and I've decided that God must have Southern hospitality tendencies.

When God wants the Israelites to remember their escape from Egypt what does He do? He asks them to eat a special meal every year to remember.

When God wants Christians to remember the death of Jesus on the cross, what does He do? He asks them to eat a special meal every week to remember.

When Esther has to save her people, what does she prepare for the king to hear her plea? A meal.

When Jesus is about to be crucified what is the last thing He does with His apostles? He eats with them.

Food is so powerful. It is such a unifying force among all people of all backgrounds. God understands this aspect of eating; it's not just to keep our bodies alive, but it truly feeds our spirits.

I want to thank all of you who read these Tasty Tuesday posts and try these recipes. Hopefully your friends and family are making memories, forming friendships, telling stories, and uniting your spirits.

It makes me giddy with excitement to think that some of my food might be on your table as you do so.

Back to a normal Tasty Tuesday post next week in the treehouse,



Mama Monday: Proverbs 31 Verses 8 and 9

Verses 1-3 are here.

Verses 4-5 are here.

Verses 6-7 are here.

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute.

A Christian woman must be bold, courageous, and compassionate. Women are naturally nurturers and emotionally charged, so what a blessing to use these traits for the Lord. Every Christian woman should find a cause or service for God that she can completely devote herself. For some, this may be something a simple as your family or visiting the sick and house bound. It could beas elaborate as organizing a pro-life rally. Whatever cause a Christian woman finds it must be an avenue through which God is glorified and the gospel is proclaimed. By sitting on the sidelines and not fighting for what is godly, we give in to Satan. We need to shout out for those who cannot and defend those without any defenses. As it says in Job 29:15-16, "I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know."

Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

This is not a freedom given to judge unless one can judge righteously. Elsewhere the Bible tells us that none are righteous and that we will be judged by the same standard that we judge others. I think the best standard to follow is to defend. This is not a natural reaction for women, especially about other women. I think what God calls us to, though, is not to participate in criticisms and judgments, but to defend those who are being criticized and judged. Instead of joining in conversations about Mrs. X's husband, children, job, etc., we should be the first to jump to her defense. Has God done any less for us? How poor and needy were we when He sent His Son to die for us? Being a defender instead of a judge is a far better position to find yourself, since God is the only true Judge.

Defending has become more important to me as I've grown older and wiser in the treehouse,


Scripture Sunday: Father's Day on the Fly

Father's Day always falls on the day before Vacation Bible School begins at our church, so not much gets celebrated around here for the big day. Luckily my Preacher Man is very understanding of being glossed over a bit on Father's Day. I actually have a neat project I'm wanting to make for him, but I definitely will not get to it until next week.

In honor of Father's Day, though, I wanted to put up some of my favorite pictures of Preacher Man in "Daddy Mode".

Chipette's first time in the ocean at the age of 18 months. We were on a family vacation with my parents in Virginia.

The two men in my life! Monkey is Preacher Man's constant shadow.

Magpie with her favorite person in the word, her Daddy.

He takes Chipette fishing.

He lets Chipette and Magpie be more dangerous than Mom will.

He teaches Monkey how to be a helper.

The Bible talks about how finding a good woman is valuable and rare. I think finding a good Christian husband and father is pretty rare as well.

Privileged to live with a great father and husband in the treehouse,


Summary Saturday: Two Weeks of Fun!

This is going to be quick and short, but lots of pictures. It is 1:00 AM and Vacation Bible School starts tomorrow, so I've got to get in bed.

Last weekend Chipette and Magpie were asked to dance in a Czech dancing group that their ballet instructor coordinates. Although there is no Czech blood on either side of our family, they danced their little hears out.

Chipette was excited because she got to dance with the "big" girl Czech dancers:

During their audience participation time, Chipette spied this little girl wanting to dance with them so she chose her to be her partner:

Finally, Chipette got to lead the little girls in their simple Czech dance with Magpie as part of the group. Just last year Chipette had been part of this group:

When you love to cook, you love to gift people with food, so this past week a good friend of ours was blessed with her third child. That meant it was time to fire up the kitchen and make our friends a meal.

Chipette and Magpie chopping celery to put in the Chicken Spaghetti:

Monkey discovered that Fudge Pie tastes just as good off of the spoon as it does out of the pie shell:

While working through our new grammar program, The Sentence Family, Chipette played a game called "Change the Speaker". Someone has to give her a sentence (usually Magpie), then Chipette has to change the original sentence into all four different types of sentences: interrogative, declarative, imperative, and exclamatory. Here is one she did this past week:

Finally we rounded out our week with art. The girls learned the difference between tints and shades, then practiced what they'd learned mixing their own tints and shades. Once they had their paints mixed they painted some still lifes.

Magpie wanted to paint a bag of oranges:

Chipette worked on a blue vase and blue flowers:

Even I got in on the act (I am NOT an artist!) by painting both of the girls chosen inspirations on my paper. Overall I think we did a pretty good job:

Heading to bed late, way too late, but blessed, very much blessed, in the treehouse,