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Collage Friday - Math, Appliances, and Other Goodies



It's been an odd week. We're not QUITE done with our schoolwork (more on that later), and we have been jam packed with special activities.

Last weekend we went to see a local high school production of Hairspray. It was excellent! Our friend, Olivia, who we go to church with, has babysat the kids, and was also one of my piano students, had a part in the show. Anna and I had a fun night, and we're still singing Good Morning Baltimore a week later!

Mother's Day was a great day - church, a nice lunch out, and then Anna's piano recital. Music is her anchor, and I am such a proud mom when she plays.

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details. 

Wrapping Up Math

We are a Saxon Math family. Anna is completing Saxon 7/6 and Grant is completing Saxon 3.

We are done with formal schoolwork, except for math. Saxon is rough, folks. Rough, in a good way, though.

I hear A LOT of debate about math programs. 

Here's my two cents on math:

  • We tried some more relaxed approaches to math and it just didn't work. There is no "negotiating" in Saxon. There are no pictures in the books. It is just MATH. Yes, it's hard and some days we spend a lot of time on it, but I feel that my kids are confident mathematicians.
  • Saxon is great if you want a very thorough, rigorous program. It is full of drill and repetition and is a spiral approach. 
  • Saxon is great if you have kids that are GOOD AT MATH. Neither of my children have trouble with math, so this is a good fit for us. 
  • We will be purchasing the DIVE CDs to go with Saxon 8/7 next year. The end of 7/6 has been quite difficult for Anna (and I'm not a math teacher!) and I have heard so many great things about these instructional CDs.
  • All that being said - you have to do what works for YOUR CHILD. Saxon may not work for everyone. It just works well in our house.

 Using The "New" Kitchen

Last week we received new kitchen appliances.  Hooray!

We have lived in this house almost 8 years. The home itself is almost 17 years old. When our refrigerator was showing signs of distress, we decided to go ahead and get a new refrigerator and stove, along with a built in microwave (my old one was just on the counter).   


Anna made wonderful brownies for middle school youth night at our church. I taught her my secret of using a really good brownie mix (I love Ghiradelli!) and then making homemade frosting for them. 

I let her do every step of them by herself. It's good practice following specific directions and she loves baking.

One evening I was just wiped out. My sweet husband took care of dinner and Anna set the table so nicely.

One of our favorite meals is Parmesan Tilapia and Roasted Brussels Sprouts. I am so thankful my husband enjoys cooking and he's good at it, too. 

Don't you love my CLEAN oven? I made cinnamon rolls one morning for breakfast. That's a meal that always puts everyone in a good mood.


I'm very proud of my husband. When he turned 40 a couple of years ago he had a physical and the results weren't terrible, but they weren't great. His cholesterol was high (which was concerning because his father had a heart attack when he was young) and his weight was too high. 

In the past few years he has made a RADICAL lifestyle change. He works out faithfully each morning at 5 a.m. and he has lost the weight AND reduced his cholesterol WITHOUT MEDICATION.

He keeps me healthy and has a way of encouraging me on this journey, too. His discipline and faithfulness inspire me and set a wonderful example for our children. 

When I was away in Florida in the winter he purchased a juicer. He experimented with lots of recipes and surprised me when I got home. I must say, I like some of his concoctions.


What We're Reading




This week we finished Amos Fortune, Free Man. What a beautiful book. I think it will go down in history as one of my favorite read alouds. I cried at the end, and I spotted glassy eyes on my children, too.

We then began The Fellowship of the Ring, which was a huge excitement for Grant. We read The Hobbit a few months ago and he did a literature fair project on the book. He loves all things Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

If you have a sports lover, I highly recommend any book by Dan Gutman. This week Grant read Baseball's Biggest Bloopers.  Sitting at dinner a few nights ago Grant proclaimed, 

"Did you know that umpires wear black underwear so if they split their pants it won't matter? "

Ummm.... ok. See why I recommend these books?

We also got some summer reading books at a local thrift store. I'm making a reading list for the kids this summer. 

Finally, we are reorganizing bookshelves and materials to purge and make way for new Classical Conversations things. I cannot tell you how EXCITED I am for this new chapter in our homeschool!

Other News


We received a shipment from Homeschool in The Woods this week.

Their materials are just so beautiful. I am very excited they are one of this blog's sponsors. I will be sharing a lot with you about their beautiful composer resources, as well as their materials for history study. We will be using their Medieval materials next year to supplement Classical Conversations.

I think this is a marriage made in heaven!

Have you entered the LEGO Education giveaway?  It is open until next Tuesday.

I also posted a new SQUILT lesson - this makes a total of TEN free music listening lessons here on the blog. My SQUILT eBook (Baroque Composers) will be coming out in just a few weeks!  

Also, in that SQUILT lesson I showed you some notebooking pages my kids were using. We are huge fans of Notebooking Pages. There is a huge birthday sale going on now - you should take advantage of the savings on the yearly memberships. We use our pages almost daily. I never have to search for notebooking pages - it's all in one place.


I hope you link up your weekly photo collage post!  Please remember to include photo collages.  Also, link back to this post or include the Collage Friday button (in my sidebar) in your post. Once you have signed the linky, please visit others on the list to gain ideas and offer encouragement.  I love the Collage Friday community!  (I reserve the right to delete any links that don't comply with the guidelines.)

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    Now a days kitchen appliances are available in different shape and design. We have most modern collection of appliances all the times. Refrigerattor, Ovens, Kitchen tables and other accessories related to kitchen making things easy for us.

Reader Comments (18)

Lilah is starting The Hobbit today. She has wanted to read it for a while now. I love your weekly posts even though I am not the best at participating in them. Off to check out Homeschooling in the Woods!

May 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJess

We are right there with you Mary! We have been swirling in wonderful activities, one foot in summer and yet we are still doing math. But math is math and...Congrats on the 'new' kitchen! Wonderful, lovely reading and juicy juices!

May 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

Just one last Collage Friday post for the school year. We are getting ready for a big party next week.....thanks for hosting the link-up.

May 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarb-Harmony Art Mom

Yay for the new appliances, and for a helpful, healthy husband!
And the umpire underwear thing cracked me up. ;)

You all have lots going on Mary. My kids really loved your latest SQUILT lesson. I have to go back and do the superman one. Everyone was sick that week. The performance of Hairspray sounds fantastic. Have a blessed weekend.
Blessings, Dawn

May 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

Oh boy, you exhaust me with all you read. My pregnant belly puts way too much pressure up on my lungs. It makes reading out loud difficult because I gasp for breath. It's sad it has taken me 4 months to get through 1/3 of our book. So sad. But, the kids read a lot on their own.

Your husband looks great. I think I remember seeing pictures of him over a year ago. I can't believe I have been following you for that long! Oh, how time goes by.

We used Saxon math for quite some time. I found it too much for me. It is a great program though. I would definitely use it again.

May 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRachel E.

The Lord of the Ring series is such a wonderful series, especially for boys. Your children have achieved so much this week. I read about Anna's recital earlier in the week but forgot to leave a note of congratulations. She's very talented, and kudos to you for being such an inspiring music teacher to her.

May 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHwee

Hey, we just had Ghirardelli brownies for our impromptu celebration last night! I always keep a box in the pantry--I've never been able to come close with any homemade brownie recipes.

I'm off to reserve Amos Fortune, Free Man at my library! I always love reading (and copying) what you're doing!

I just found your blog! I am loving it!! I can't wait to try out your SQUILT Music Lesson and I am about to look into this Classical Conversations you've wrote about. I started Lord of the Rings with my daughter, she can't get enough of that book! I love reading it and she is learning a lot of new vocabulary words to boost. I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog!

May 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer Hopton

I'm excited to hear more about Classical Conversations. I've tried to figure out what they're all about from their website but am still not perfectly clear... I pinned the tilapia recipe- I think my family would love it. I've been wanting to get a juicer but I need to find one that's dual voltage since we're in Germany right now...your husband's story is amazing.

May 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCari

We are Saxon Math people too. Amber is also finishing up Saxon 7/6. You are right when you say that it isn't for everyone. Amber started using Saxon in her parochial schools and I must say that there were many kids that did not thrive with it. Thankfully, it fits Amber perfectly. However, we are a math family and Amber is especially gifted in mathematics. Our Algebra 1/2 books for next year arrived yesterday. I'm still nervous about going to Algebra 1/2 in 6th grade, but Amber isn't. She actually has sailed through 7/6, so I guess I shouldn't be nervous either. We've never tried the DIVE cds, but I too have heard good things about them. I do have a minor in applied mathematics, so I doubt we will ever try them.

How do you like The Fellowship of the Ring? Amber and Fred LOVE Tolkien. Amber has read the whole Lord of the Rings series, but not the Hobbit yet. I find Tolkien to be dry and mind numbing. I love the movies, but can't stand to read his books. LOL. I'm impressed with you reading it out loud. I wouldn't last past the first chapter.

I love your new appliances! And you are so lucky to have a husband who cooks.

You've got to quit recommending new resources! I've already got almost everything for next year and you are making me want to look at other things too. :-)

Have a good weekend!

May 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristy

Oh, your food looks so good. We are looking at a re-vamp of our kitchen, too. Looks like school is humming along for you guys.

I'm excited to hear more from you about the Homeschool in the Woods products! I'm considering using some of their American History resources next year! Have a wonderful weekend, and thanks as always for hosting. I just read your chapter in the iBlog ebook, and I am so thankful you have created this community. I love reading everyone's posts every week. :-)

"Hairspray" is fun! Have you seen "Into the Woods"? My kids love that one. Netflix has it. I'm all for Saxon too! Sure, it's not flashy, but my older kids do seem to have a firm understanding of Math concepts. Now, my youngest does NOT like Saxon so he's doing Math-u-See right now. I do hope that he'll be able to switch back to Saxon for 5/4. Those frosted brownies sure look awesome! :)

May 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJessy

You must be so excited about your new appliances! The cinammon rolls look scrummy, I must make them some time! Thanks for hosting, as usual :-)

May 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLula B

Homeschooling in the Woods was one of the first things I ever found when I started HSing and wanted. Love it. I would love to see Hairspray. It is one of our favorite plays. Keilee tells me all the time, "Why didn't you make me take piano lessons!" She would love to be able to play. You know we used Saxon for 3 years and Keilee really liked it. She liked anything in a book with things to write and a sort of 'completion' thing. She always loved workbooks! Now she just uses Khan but we have Saxon Algebra and she occasionally gets it out. Love Grant's trivia. ;) And that juicer..drool! I can't wait to see how you like CC. I think it will be a great fit for you. Thanks for the linkup Mary!!

May 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I always enjoy your Collage Friday posts, Mary!
We used Saxon math for many years before I decided that we had to switch--too many children needing more help than I had time to give. We still use Saxon for grades 1-3, and I still remember our Saxon days with nostalgia!

You're kitchen is beautiful! We got a juicer last year and I think it's a great way to incorporate fruits and veggies into a diet that may be lacking. I'm not a fan of the clean up though. Ugh!

May 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

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