Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Blooming Cactus {Wordless Wednesday}

I spotted this tiny little cactus in full beautiful bloom while I was out running the other day. It was hidden off to the side of the running trail, down the embankment a ways. I couldn't help but stopping to snap a picture.

PhotobucketWordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont

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Friday, April 10, 2015

34 Weeks of Clean Update: Videos, Pictures, and Crafts

The past couple of weeks have been so busy around here that I've lost a lot of my 34 Weeks of Clean momentum.

Thankfully, I had worked ahead a little bit on the family room assignment. When I was cleaning the light fixture in the kitchen/eating area, I did the ceiling fan and light in the family room at the same time. There wasn't much deep cleaning left to do in the family room. 

I decided that I could part with a few of the throw pillows from the couches. About a year ago, I added some decorative pillows to brighten up our khaki couches and then left the extras stacked beside the couch in case we needed extras. If we haven't needed extras in a year, we can probably do without them for good. And if I ever get tired of the decorative pillows, I'm much more likely to find new decorative ones than I am to want to put all four of the old khaki ones back out.

Michele also challenged us to sort through our DVD collections that week. At first, I didn't even open the DVD drawer. As long as everything fit in its assigned spot, it was okay, right? Eventually I did open the drawer and surprisingly found a stack of rarely watched (or even never watched) DVDs that I could put in the garage sale pile.

When Michele mentioned pictures and scrapbook supplies the following week, I cringed. I used to be a big scrapbooker, but I haven't done any paper scrapbooking in several years. I'm almost embarrassed to show pictures of my current photo situation.

Yes, those are moving boxes, two shelves of moving boxes in my garage. What you can't tell at first glance is the boxes are from more than one move ago. Much of my scrapbooking materials were packed when we moved from DC to Arkansas. They sat almost untouched for our two years in Arkansas, and then I moved them all to Arizona three years ago. Our next move is several months away, and I'm determined not to move these boxes again. I didn't find time to sort through everything during the assigned week, but I've set it aside to work on while part of my family is gone backpacking later this month.

Michele also mentioned digital photos. I have tons and tons of digital pictures -- some sorted, many not. Tim and I have been slowly going through years of digital pictures this whole year. We have a long ways to go, but at least we're working on it.

If I thought the pictures/scrapbooks assignment was tough, this week may have been even tougher -- arts and crafts supplies. I've culled back my collection of arts and crafts supplies a lot over the past few years, but I still have a lot left, mainly knitting needles, crochet hooks, and yarn.

This tote bag and basket are both shoved in the bottom of my side of the closet:

There's also a basket of yarn in the living room with the yarn needed for my "most current" projects and a tote bag with the project that I'm currently working on. I might have a bit of a yarn problem. Thankfully, there aren't any unfinished knitting/crochet projects hanging around here any more.

I wish I could show pictures of neatly organized craft supplies, but unfortunately, my biggest accomplishment this week is probably the fact that I used an entire box of kleenex in a losing battle against spring allergies. I promise that I have a plan in mind and that pictures will be coming.

If you'd like to join me with the challenges, you can find Michele's posts on her Family, Faith, and Fridays blog, on the Facebook page, or by clicking the button below. She posts a new challenge every Friday and will also be hosting a weekly link-up for any other bloggers who are brave enough to share pictures of their progress. There is also a prize basket giveaway with entries earned by blogging or posting pictures on her blog's FB wall.

©2009-2015 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ocotillo in Bloom {Wordless Wednesday}

PhotobucketWordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

LTC Convention (aka First Weekend Photos, April 2015 }

I had the same problem on April the first that I've had for the past few months. I picked up my camera, took a few pictures of my family at breakfast, and then forgot about First Day Photos until late in the evening.

The first weekend of April, however, was a big event for our family and our church. For months, the children and teens have been preparing for our Leadership Training for Christ convention. They prepared puppet shows, practiced singing, learned sign language, and much more. I took plenty of photos of the convention events so I'll share them as our First Weekend Photos.

Addison's Speech

Elementary Puppets 
(Lauren is Ariel on the left side of the bottom row)

Teen Puppets

Addison singing during Opening Ceremony

Teen Drama

Day 2 of our crazy schedule

Elementary Bible Bowl team

Girls' Chorus

Teen Chorus

Addison's Sign Language Super Challenge
(She didn't know what song she'd be doing until she walked up to compete.)

Lauren Signing "I Am a Sheep"

Addison accepting a scholarship to Oklahoma Christian University

Free Time in the Pool

LTC Weekend is always a crazy weekend. I'm thankful for all that my kids learned while preparing the past few months and all their hard work. I think we could all use a few days to recover, though.

If you want to join the first day fun, you can visit Nicole's Journey to Josie blog or click the cute paper airplane button below.

©2009-2015 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Scripture and a Snapshot {LTC Convention}

©2009-2015 Through the Calm and Through the Storm. All rights reserved. Photos and content may not be reproduced.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

It's NOT Greek to Me! {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

After ten years of homeschooling, I'm learning to appreciate the differences in the way my children learn. Addison picked up a large vocabulary (and scored well on the vocabulary portions of college-entrance exams) simply by reading everything she could get her hands on. Brennan, however, needs a more direct approach to vocabulary instruction.

The Greek Morphemes Lessons (It's NOT Greek to Me!) program from Ready to Teach helped build Brennan's vocabulary by teaching small word parts (morphemes) and then showing how those parts combine to make bigger, more complex words.

The phrase Greek morphemes is simply a fancy way of saying word parts such as roots, prefixes, and suffixes. It's NOT Greek to Me! teaches these word parts both as a way to help students learn new vocabulary words and as a way to provide thinking skills practice. Each lesson introduces approximately 20 new Greek morphemes and their meanings. We found that it took at least a week to complete each of the twelve lessons in this book.


Each lesson has an instructional PowerPoint presentation to introduce the new morphemes. Originally the PowerPoint files were provided on a CD, but it is now being shipped as a small USB flash drive.

Sometimes I went through the PowerPoint with Brennan and other times I let him work through the slides independently. The slides load so that only a small portion of the material is shown at a time. When I worked with Brennan, this allowed me to stop at certain points so that he could figure out the word meanings or make notes.

The slides were all clear and easy to read. Throughout the presentation, graphics were included to help give the student clues to the word meanings.

When appropriate, the author includes memory tricks that might make the new morpheme easier to remember.


Each lesson has four practice assignments in the student book. The first two assignments have the student break new words down into morphemes and then write both the student's definition (based on combining the morphemes) and the dictionary definition. The third assignment requires the student to use the previously studied words in context clue sentences. I found the fourth assignment to be the most fun of all. The student analyzes created words (words that don't actually exist) based on the morphemes it contains. For instance,  "microarchegynophobiac" could mean a person who has a fear of little old ladies.

In addition to written assignments, the student should also create flash cards for each week's morphemes. If practicing with flash cards is not enough practice or if you'd just like a different way of practicing, a PowerPoint practice activity is also included for each lesson.


Each lesson has a test that requires the student to break down a word into its morphemes, define each of those morphemes, and then define the word. The test masters are included in the Instructor's Manual and must be photocopied. (I'd be thrilled if newer editions of the materials included the tests in a password protected file on the flash drive so they could be printed instead of copied.) At several points in the materials, there is an additional test that covers all the lessons up until that point. The Student Book has an extra practice page to help the student study for the cumulative tests.

I was most impressed with this program because it required my teenager to think. Memorizing new morphemes for each lesson was not enough. The program required him to apply that knowledge to new words (both real words and make-believe words). It's NOT Greek to Me! is more than just a vocabulary program; it is a thinking program!

Greek Morphemes Lessons (It's NOT Greek to Me!) costs $69.95 for a package that includes one Instructor's manual, one consumable Student Book, and one copy of the digital files on a flash drive. Ready to Teach recommends using this product with secondary students (junior high or high school aged). I'd recommend using it no later than the first two years of high school so that students can benefit from knowing more vocabulary words on college entrance exams.

Koru Naturals Review

Crew Disclaimer

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Random Five on Friday March 26th

1. I think we've skipped right over Spring and hit Summer. I still think it's far too cold to get in the pool, but two of my brave kids had their inaugural swim yesterday afternoon.

2. I just finished the latest baby blanket. For some reason I keep picking striped patterns to crochet. I forget how much I dislike weaving in all the loose ends that stripes create. (I wish I could share a picture, but it's a big surprise.)

3. According to HomeSchool Office, we are 78% of the way done with our school year.

4. Recently, we put our entire iTunes library (including a bunch of songs imported from CDs) on an old iPod. I set it to shuffle and put it in my car. There's just no telling what sort of song is going to come up next. I had to quickly turn down the volume when I went through the gate at the base last week. I didn't want the security forces to laugh at us listening to "Survivor" as sung by the Chipettes.

5. Last Sunday morning I completed my third half-marathon. For anyone that's keeping score, the tally now stands at Cristi -- 4, Diabetes -- 0.

If you'd like to join the Random 5 on Friday fun, you can either click on the cute birdhouse button below or visit The Pebble Pond.

The Pebble Pond

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