Sunday, September 29, 2013

Homeschooling--Beware the Roaring Lion

This is a copy of an article that appeared in Answers in Genesis magazine.  I thought it was a fabulous article that more Christians need to be aware of and wanted to share.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).

The majority of those who homeschool want to create a safe haven where they can train up their children with a Christian worldview founded in God's Word.  They believe they are training a new generation of "soldiers" for the spiritual warfare that is raging all around us. 

But the homeschooling movement is under attack.

The devil, as a roaring lion, is seeking any way to wreak havoc in the home and devour our children.  No place is safe, and it appears that he has found a way to infiltrate homes, where parents think they are strongest.

The parents' best "weapon" in training children really is the Bible, which is "powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12). Ephesians 6 gives details about equipping young soldiers, which must include learning how to use "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:17).

And that's where the devil sees a weakness.

Imagine two soldiers fighting with swords, but one sword is broken and useless.  You wouldn't want your child to be the one holding the broken sword.  Sadly, the majority of young people from the church have been equipped with broken swords, and two-thirds are losing the fight and walking away from the church by the time they reach college age.

The devil is trying to get homeschool parents to equip their children with broken swords.  How is he doing this?

THROWING DOWN THE GAUNTLET.  A recent article in the Atlantic magazine featured a new class of homeschooling parents who want what they called more "science" in textbooks published by evangelicals.  But sadly, by science they don't mean the observational science of modern genetics and physics; they mean historical or origins science, and more specifically they mean the historical or origins science of the evolutionists and old-earth beliefs.

In other words, a vocal group in the homeschool movement want textbooks to promote as truth the pagan religion of evolution and millions of years--a perspective that contradicts God's Word and will ultimately lead kids away from the truth. 

WHY IT MATTERS.  The point I want to make again that I've made in churches many times over the past thirty-five years is that, although Christian acceptance of millions of years or evolution is not a salvation issue, it is a gospel issue, and it is an authority issue. 

It is a gospel issue because the evolution of life on earth over millions of years would mean sin is not the cause of death, disease, suffering, or bloodshed.  It means sin is not the cause of the groaning world described in Romans 8:22.  And it means God--not man's sin--is responsible for death, disease, and suffering!

It is an authority issue because you do not get millions of years or evolution from God's Word.  Such beliefs come from outside God's Word, and then compromising Christians use them to undermine the truth of God's Word and thus undermine its authority. 

AN OLD STRATEGY FOR A NEW BATTLEFIELD.  We are losing the coming generations from the church, and the major reason is the same method the devil has employed since Genesis 3:1--"Did God really say....."  This mindset has caused generations of young people to doubt and eventually disbelieve the Word of God and the gospel message. 

The devil is out to destroy the Christian homeschool movement the same way he has been destroying generations of young people who grow up in the church.  If God's people in the homeschool movement (and the church in general) do not stand on the authority of God's Word beginning in Genesis, then the movement is doomed!

Don't be led astray when those who want to compromise with millions of years and evolution use the word science.  Remember, observational science that builds our technology is very different from historical science, which involves beliefs about the past--beliefs about origins.  The compromisers have used the word science to intimidate people for centuries.  Now they are attempting to intimidate homeschoolers. 

Sadly many don't understand how the compromisers are brainwashing them by no admitting that they are mixing historical science (beliefs about origins) and observational science (empirical science in the lab that builds technology) together and calling them both "science."  The secularists use this trick to intimidate and falsely indoctrinate people to think that beliefs about origins are on a par with repeatable, verifiable observational science. 

Does this mean that homeschooling parents should never expose their children to evolutionary ideas?  Of course not.  Homeschoolers certainly need to address different views about origins and other controversial issues in their teaching, but they need to do so in the clear context that God's Word is truth and compromising views are error!

The compromisers are trying to infiltrate homeschool households.  It is the devil's way of trying to undermine this great movement that was originally formed to raise up generation of kids to stand on the authority of God's Word and be the salt and light that the culture needs.  The devil has already been successful in infiltrating the organized church and many Christian schools and universities with this confusion.  Now the devil is using the same method against homeschool children, too. 

Homeschool parents need to stand!  God's Word is just as powerful as it ever was, if wielded unflinchingly against the roars of the lion. 

"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."

"Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:11-17). 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Homeschool Preschool Unit 7--Young Moses

I am using Heart of Dakota's Little Hands to Heaven, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons,, various forms of  Spanish, & reading out loud of a chapter book.

This unit focuses on the letter F, the number 7, & Moses. 

On Monday we began a new fingerplay, we read about God's people in Israel crying out to God & God hearing them & that He is going to send them a helper--setting the stage for Moses.  For a math activity we used blocks to build towers--first we built a tall skinny tower & next we built a shorter & wider tower.  And Lil J counted the blocks (perfectly I might add) after each tower was built.  He practiced writing "F" & "f" on the tracer sheet I made.  We did 'count on me', drawing & counting bricks.  He did really well with this one.  Then we did Spanish.  Now most days I just read to Lil J in Spanish.  I have lots of Bible stories in Spanish, that's mostly what I do.  And I just rotate them around & around, pulling the one furthest left & when I'm done I place it on the right.  The one I pulled today just happened to be about Moses--I just thought that was very cool since it lined up perfectly with our school work being about Moses this week (& the next 2 weeks after this week).  Then we did reading, lesson #77, & then our songs--there was no specific song to go with today's lesson, so we just did The Books of the Bible & God Made the Universe.  He asked me to read out loud to him, but I told him I'd do it later.  He is starting to REALLY like the reading out loud--I hope it stays like this when we finish this book & move on to a new one.  He REALLY seems to like this book.  He was asking me to read to him from it yesterday also, but I wasn't at home & didn't have the book with me so I wasn't able to do so.

Yesterday at church we got his new memory verse for this week.  And last night I looked up the "F" verse for school this week & we started going over them.  The church one is very doable & I'm sure he'll have it down by the end of today, but the school verse is rather long.  I'm not so sure he'll be able to fully memorize it.  But I'm sure he'll try.  He is such a perfectionist.

The church verse is: "I thank and praise you, O God." ~Daniel 2:23

And the school verse is: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." ~John 3:16

On Tuesday we continued with our fingerplay, read about baby Moses in the Bible, & did a baby Moses craft that was part of our school curriculum.  It was masking tape F day, which my son loves.  He picked out several cars that he wanted to drive on the F.  We acted out what we read in the Bible & did some discussing.  He nailed reading lesson #77, will be moving on to lesson #78 on Wednesday.  We did Spanish & listened to our songs--a baby Moses song, the books of the Bible, & God made the universe.  James & the Giant Peach will be our out loud reading a little later in the day.
On Wednesday we continued with our fingerplay, we read about Moses in the Bible, we acted out & discussed what we read about in the Bible, we made a play-dough "F", we did an extra baby Moses craft.  (I was supposed to do this on a piece of blue construction paper, but I suddenly realized that I'm all out of blue, so I sort of drew water on white paper instead & then helped Lil J glue the rest of it on!!  LOL!!!  My hubby thought it looked much better like this than it would have on blue paper!)  We did reading lesson #78, Spanish, our songs, & then I had my son watch "Prince of Egypt".  Later we will read some of James & The Giant Peach.

On a sidenote: as of this day I have the Books of the Bible song memorized completely.  (some time ago I had all but the minor prophets memorized)  It took a little longer than I had expected BUT I have to admit I was only singing it at school time, once each day, not even thinking about it, or trying to memorize it at any other time, I've just been too busy.  But I'm still pleased that I've memorized it & Lil J knows most, if not all, of the song as well.  And he definitely knows all of God made the universe by heart as well.  The music portion of this curriculum is a 4 CD set.  Very soon we will be moving to the 2nd CD.  I think at that point I will just put the first CD away & sing the books of the Bible & God made the universe on my own, without the CD, rather than dealing with 2 CDs for music time.

On Thursday we continued with our fingerplay, we read about Moses in the Bible (the burning bush), & we did our devotionals (both of them still).  My son did not completely memorize his school verse this week, it was very long & I really didn't push him because he's such a perfectionist & I didn't want to see him crying over it.  He's done just fine with his church verse & I'm hoping the school verses are shorter after this one!!  We also did "hide & seek F", which my son is really good at.  And then he glued 7 shoes onto his #7 page.  (shoes because Moses took off his shoes at the burning bush).  We did an extra craft about the burning bush.  I traced his hand on paper & that was the bush.  I had him color in the bush & then I cut up red, yellow, & orange "flames" & he glued them on the bush.  We did reading lesson #78, this is where my son's perfectionism kills me.  He has almost no attention span at all & he has a really hard time focusing on reading because of it.  But he knows the words, he is super smart.  Sometimes I think he's just not ready yet, but yet he REALLY wants to read.  And if we don't do reading he feels like he's being punished, no matter how I try to explain it to him.  He will beg & beg & cry if we don't do reading.  So I just have to be SUPER patient with him, but also remind him constantly to focus & look at the words.  It's tough.  I sure hope it gets easier with time.  I am praying for God's guidance & wisdom in regards to this.  Then we did Spanish & then we listened to our songs--a song about Pharaoh, the Books of the Bible, & God made the universe.  He was begging to paint since before school started & I kept telling him he needed to wait until after school.  So there will be painting & also reading of James & the Giant Peach later on this day.

On Thursday I finally got the rest of what I needed to finish the project I am making for Lil J's bedroom.  Not sure how long it will take me to complete it, but I'll be posting it here in my blog when I finish.  I am very excited!!  Every step of this project is dealing with things I have never had any experience with before.  I would've never even tried normally, but I REALLY like it & want to make it for my son.  Part of me is nervous that I'm going to screw it up, but part of me is excited because I'm learning new things.  I had no craft experience or knowledge AT ALL prior to starting homeschool preschool with my son & now we are only 7 weeks in & I know so many things that I never knew before.  This is an amazing experience & I have learned that I LOVE crafts!!  I want to learn so much more. 

On Friday we continued with our fingerplay, we read more about Moses in the Bible, practiced writing "F" & "f" again.  We discussed the plagues & consequences to our actions--both good & bad consequences.  I was surprised with reading today (lesson #78)--it started out badly, but very quickly I got his attitude turned around & we were having a blast.  I was sooo pleased.  Then we got to the end of the lesson, where he is supposed to read sentences, a few short paragraphs.  He broke down in tears.  I offered to put it away & instead of getting even more upset like he usually does he said he would like to read them later, not right now.  I commended him for being so mature about the situation & told him absolutely we could do that.  We proceeded with Spanish & then an activity in the kitchen sink (I did this one out of order, only because my son loses his focus if we move around from room to room & getting out of our chairs, etc while doing school)  In the end we turned the soapy water red (like the Nile River being turned to blood) & discussed the plagues & consequences in general once again.  Then we finished off with our songs--pharaoh, books of Bible, & God made the universe.  Later on we will finish off James & the Giant Peach--we only have 2 more chapters to go.  By Monday I will have a new chapter book picked out to read each day. 

Right after school was finished Lil J asked to watch TV.  I told him there would be no TV until school was finished & he still had his sentences to read, so it wasn't finished yet.  He told him me wanted to read them, just not now, & I want to make sure I hold him accountable to his word.  As of now we haven't done the sentences, but I have no doubt they will get done & I am hoping & praying they can be done with a good attitude.  Perhaps I should split the reading lesson in two parts during our school time.  I could do words in the beginning of school time & do sentences later, nearer the end of school time.  Perhaps that would help him.  I think I'm going to try that on Monday & see how it goes. 

Onward we go to the weekend & then more of Moses next week...........

Monday, September 23, 2013

Gluten is least for some folks, myself included

I learned at the end of last year that I have serious issues with gluten......and that my son does also.  As I do research & learn more & more I do believe that we both have celiac disease.  To be formally diagnosed we would have to eat gluten for some period of time (3 weeks I believe?) & have biopsies done on our intestines.  That is just not happening for my son.......and I'm not willing to endure 3 weeks of gluten consumption either at this point.

As I reflect back over my life, as early as I can recall, I can recall having GI issues.....and never really feeling 'well'.  I have spent my life (from teen years onward) in search of feeling better, feeling 'well'.   I had many tests done as a child & teenager & even adult (barium swallow, barium enema, sigmoidoscopy, the list goes on & on) & was never given any sort of conclusive answer.  I finally gave up asking doctors.  It's amazing as I listen to other people with celiac share their stories--most are so similar to my own.  I have tried so many different ways of eating over the years, all in search of feeling 'well'.  But wellness always eluded me.

Other health issues ensued over the years, and with what I know now, all caused by gluten.  Oddly enough, it was while searching for relief from interstitial cystitis that I learned gluten can be a contributing factor & sometimes is the causative agent in IC.  I honestly didn't think that would be my case, but I was searching for relief relentlessly & felt I must leave no stone unturned in my quest.  And so I decided to give it a shot & it ended up, at age 40, that I finally found the answer I was searching for all these years. 

I used to laugh [silently to myself] when I would hear people rant about gluten.  And when I saw gluten free food in stores.  The fact that they would label obviously gluten free food with a big "gluten free" label I thought was stupid.  Little did I know about cross contamination issues.  I know so much about gluten now, it's shocking to me sometimes when I stop to think how much I've learned in such a short amount of time.  Anytime I feel frustration with someone for not understanding my situation I stop & think of what I knew about gluten prior to all of this.....I had NO CLUE about cross contamination.

Sadly my poor son has the same issue.......but on the bright side we found out early, at a very young age for him, so he doesn't have to suffer & be sick for years to come like I did.

Eating out is still a nightmare for us.  I can only hope that this will improve in the future.....or I'll just continue cooking everything at home, like I pretty much already do.  Eating at other people's houses is also tough.  I don't want to offend anyone, but I'm also so afraid that I will get sick, & most of the time I do.  When we go to a birthday party for someone I make sure I bring a gluten free cupcake for my son.  I can survive without cake, but I feel sorry for my son, watching everyone eat cake & he can't have any.   Most of the time I just don't eat at people's houses.  Even if the food is truly gluten free there is still the risk of cross contamination that most people know absolutely nothing about.

The one place I have good luck at is Chipotle.  I tell them it needs to be gluten free & they change their gloves & they have only one person handle my dish down the assembly line.  I have never had a cross contamination issue at Chipotle.  Sadly at most other places I have had mixed results & bad results (& this is coming from a person that honestly rarely eats out--I can't even imagine how much worse things would be if I did eat out on any sort of regular basis).  The biggest issue is that food workers are not aware of cross contamination issues.  

My son was having issues also, & he eats out even less than I do (which is saying a lot).  I finally replaced our toaster (which had been here since before going gluten free & my hubby still occasionally has wheat toast) with a toaster oven & my son is doing MUCH better now.  It was clearly a case of cross contamination in our own kitchen.  My hubby was eating tortillas & toast on occasion, but he is now giving up tortillas.  I am not pressuring him to give it up, he clearly doesn't have gluten issues like me & our son.  When we travelled in the RV recently I asked my hubby if he wanted me to pack bread or tortillas for him & he said no.  He was gluten free for a whole week & didn't even mind!  I have to admit it was nice to have a completely gluten free environment like that!  There is some really yucky food out there being sold as gluten free food.  I really don't understand &  I hate it cuz most people think that's all there is when you're gluten free.  But I eat GOOD food & that's why, for the most part, my hubby doesn't even miss gluten. 

Yesterday we took my mom to Benihana for her birthday.  It was my hubby's idea to go there.  I googled eating gf at Benihana & was not seeing good results.  I was fully prepared to not be able to eat.  I did take my own gf soy sauce with me.  Upon arriving our waitress said they did have a gf menu, but when I tried to order from it she didn't know what she was first I thought it was ME & I was asking her to help me understand & then the manager showed up & it was clear that she was wrong.  But in the end I got sick & so did my son (I shared my chicken with him, it was the only thing he ate there).  We watched the cook prepare the raw chicken & put only gf soy sauce on it, BUT the grill was not REALLY clean upon arriving, just wiped down, with food stains on it.....and I don't know what goes in the kitchen, ie how careful they are where they place food & how well dishes & utensils are washed, etc.  Cross contamination is tricky & most people are clueless about it.  The manager kept insisting that gluten was only in the sauces--soy sauce, mustard sauce, ginger sauce, teriyaki sauce, salad dressing, etc.  It seemed that he wasn't really aware of cross contamination, only of not putting a gluten sauce into food making it gluten free. 

I suppose I need to improve in the area of what questions I ask......I need to ask more about what they do to prevent cross contamination, etc.  That is really the best way I can think of to ensure that I don't get sick, & more importantly that my son doesn't get sick, every time we do eat out. 

One day we were out running errands & my hubby was getting hungry.  I told him to get whatever he wanted, not to worry about me, that I had a glutino food bar with me that I could eat.  He stopped at a place that he said has good turkey burgers & he inquired about gluten free options & found that they had a dedicated kitchen space for gluten free food preparation!!  They made me a chicken breast lettuce wrap sandwich.  They held the mayo cuz they weren't sure if it was gf, but I think it would've been messy with mayo (we were eating in the car on the go).  But I have to say it was REALLY good.  I had never before tried a lettuce wrap sandwich/burger option.  I had always thought I wouldn't like it.  But I actually loved it, just like I love the lettuce wraps at PF Changs.

Charcoal & glutamine are my course of action when I do get 'glutened', but it's still basically a waiting game until it's all out my system & my body recovers.  It can sometimes take up to 3 weeks for that, I'm sure hoping this time isn't that long.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Homeschool Preschool Unit 6--Joseph Becomes a Leader

So last week we went on vacation & I chose to take the week off school-wise.  I did consider the fact that I could do school on the road in our motorhome, but to me a vacation means relaxing & taking a break & not following your usual routine.  Because of this I chose to take a break from school for the week.  I did take some school stuff with us in case Lil J asked for it, but he never did ask. 

{For anyone new to this blog, I am using Heart of Dakota's Little Hands to Heaven, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, various forms of Spanish, & reading out loud of a chapter book for my 4 year old son}

So I decided to start having him memorize both the verse they give for memorization at church & the verse in his devotional each week for school.  This week the devotional reading falls on Thursday, but I am already teaching him the verse ahead of time. 
So this week his church verse is: "God said 'I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go'"~Genesis 28:15
And his school verse is: "Even a child is known by his deeds"~Proverbs 20:11

So I was a little nervous trying to get back into school on Monday after our week-long break.  But we got going & all went well, except for struggling a little with him focusing in the reading lesson.  We started off with a new fingerplay.  This week will focus on the letter E & the number 6 & will continue with Joseph.  We read more about Joseph in the Bible, we did some dramatic play about what we read in the Bible.  I had him practice writing the letter E.  We glued 6 pillows onto the #6 page (because of Pharaoh's dream, dreaming while he was sleeping on his pillow).  Then my son asked to write the number six.  So I pulled out the number sheet & he ended up writing ALL the numbers.  Then we did reading lesson #76, Spanish, & ended with 3 songs--one about Joseph (7 fat cows), then our usual books of the Bible & God made the universe.  Aside from a little struggle with concentrating on reading it was a great day, especially after taking a whole week off!!

On Tuesday we continued with our fingerplay & read more about Joseph in the Bible.  There was something labeled as "Math Activity", but I didn't see it relating to math at all.  We were supposed to play 'Joseph may I' & imitate different types of animals.  The idea of it was that the king put Joseph in charge of the whole land.  I didn't see how this had anything to do with math or with the idea of the king putting Joseph in charge of the whole land.  I was very close to skipping it, but we still did it & then just discussed the idea of it, since the activity didn't convey it at all in my opinion.  We did 'hide & seek E', which my son is really good at.  And we did 'count on me', drawing rings in the boxes (because the king gave Joseph a ring to show that Joseph was important) & then counting them & adding them up.  He did really well at this also.  Then we did reading lesson #76 & he nailed it, so on Wednesday we'll be moving on to lesson #77.  Then we did our Spanish & music--7 fat cows, books of the Bible, & God made the universe.  We had a really great day!

I've decided to focus more on reading out loud to my son, at least on a more regular basis than I have been.  So as of this day I am going to try to do it daily, as part of his preschool.  Although I think I'll do it later on, after school time.  I think he'll be able to focus better that way.  Right now we're reading "James & the Giant Peach", a favorite of mine when I was a kid. 

On Wednesday we continued with our fingerplay & read more about Joseph in the Bible.  I have to say that I really love that when we're done with our Bible reading & I ask the questions in his Bible, my son almost always knows all the answers.  He really is listening & comprehending.  And he'll often repeat what we read about later that day & sometimes even weeks later.  That really makes my heart joyous.  We did a little craft which was supposed to demonstrate that Joseph's brothers didn't recognize Joseph at first when they went to ask for food.  And today was making tape E day, which is always a big hit with my son.  He's been really into his trains recently & so he had a train drive over the E today, rather than a car.  We did a little acting out of what we read in the Bible--I was really starving, so I sort of abbreviated this one, but I did focus on the main point of it, which was the fact that Joseph forgave his brothers for what they did to him.  We did an extra craft (TP roll cow) & then we did reading lesson # 77, Spanish, & our songs.  When I put the songs on I have to admit that instead of singing along like I usually do I ran to the kitchen & started getting food for myself.  My blood sugar was really crashing.  I also started letting my son learn how to use scissors.  He's always watching me & wanting to try.  So I got him a pair of scissors & have started teaching him how to use them. 

I've been trying to do 2 extra crafts each week.  It's often hard to find more than that & it also feels too busy if I do more than that.  But when I do less than 2 per week the week feels too light to me.  So it seems that 2 extra crafts per week is a perfect fit for us.  But I have to admit that I had a really hard time finding crafts for this week.  Most of the Joseph crafts correlate with his coat, which we covered last week.  This Sunday is the first day of Autumn & I was planning to add on a craft for that, so we'll be doing that one on Friday this week.  But I still wanted one more.  Since we're singing about 7 fat cows each day this week I decided to look for a cow craft.  I chose a toilet paper roll cow craft.  In the past I did a baby Isaac TP roll craft & an angel TP roll craft & my son really loved them & still has them in fact!  So I'm hoping he likes this one just as much. 

On Tuesday of this week I sat down & looked at the next 3 weeks of school--all on Moses.  And I planned out what days we would do each of the crafts.  It works out perfectly with 2 per week.  Well I was actually short by one, but I was able to come up with one all on my own.  I'm quite pleased that I was able to do that, especially when creativity is usually so hard for me.  Hopefully it will turn out well & my son will like it, that's really what matters most.   I haven't yet looked at what crafts we'll do beyond Moses, I am hoping I can keep up the 2 crafts per week deal. 

On Thursday morning Lil J woke up sick with GI issues.  I had thought we were going to be skipping school for the day, but after a couple of very rough hours he said he was all better & he was asking for food & drink & his mood & attitude were great once again.  He had gotten whatever it was out of his system I guess.  I am suspicious that our popcorn might not be gluten I emailed the company & am waiting for a response.  We had just eaten popcorn the day before & I am having some slight issues myself also.  (I have to say I am honestly grateful that I also have gluten issues, I don't think I'd ever be able to understand my son if I wasn't experiencing the same thing first-hand myself; it's definitely an 'illness'-if that's the proper word-that you FEEL more than you OBSERVE)  Anyways, I then suggested school & he was all for it.  So we continued today with our fingerplay, read more about Joseph in the Bible, did our devotionals today--I still chose to do both of them.  He actually READ his memory verse out of the ABC devotional book--he was REALLY proud of himself & I am very proud of him too.  We did a "bean E", we glued beans onto a paper in the shape of an E.  He didn't like this activity at first, but then decided he did like it after I got started & he took over & finished the project.  We did some discussing about what we read in the Bible today, we did reading lesson #77, Spanish, & our songs--7 fat cows, books of the Bible, & God made the universe.  He wanted to drum to the music today--I do think he's going to end up being a drummer.  He has a keyboard, guitar, & drum & he really loves his drum.  And on vacation last week he wanted an Indian drum in a gift shop in Red Canyon (near Bryce Canyon).  We did buy it for him, simply because he loves drumming so much.  And when I was a kid I had bought one of those drums also.  As we wrapped up school I reminded him that later on we would read out of James & The Giant Peach.  He was all for it, but for now ran outside to play.  So grateful that he's feeling well so quickly! Thank you Jesus!!

He also wanted to do some painting today--here is a picture he painted of Doc, from Disney Cars

On Friday we continued with our fingerplay, we read more about Joseph in the Bible, did some discussing & acting out of what we read in the Bible, practiced writing "E" & "e" again.  We did an extra craft today, for the first day of Fall.  Then we did reading lesson # 77, Spanish, & our songs.  Aside from some behavioral/attitude struggles during reading it was a great day. 

He wanted to paint a blue Chevelle today, I like that I see 4 tires & the black on the upper left he says is the engine

Next week we begin 3 weeks on Moses.......

Sunday, September 15, 2013

RV Life-Road Trip

We recently took a road trip to Utah.  Like I said here, we recently obtained a used motorhome, which was quite a blessing for us.  It's also been a VERY long time since we've taken a vacation, so this was super exciting.  Part of me was worried that my hubby wouldn't like RVing once he tried it, but to my delight he loves it just as I do. 

Lil J was super excited about being in the motorhome.

We live in Southern California, so we went to the 15 freeway & headed East (North, according to the freeway).  We crossed through Nevada, Arizona, & then crossed the border into Utah.  I was surprised that reaching the border of Utah really wasn't that long of a drive, although that would depend on timing & traffic conditions at the time of the drive.  It's about a 8 hour drive I guess.

We had specific areas of Utah that we wanted to see.  Our first stop just across the border we looked at Santa Clara & Ivins & then camped for the night in Snow Canyon State Park.  I had gotten an app on my phone that would show us where RV camps were.  We quickly learned that the exact locations of the camps were not all that accurate though.  We were thrilled that this camp had full hookups & was only $20 for the night.  It was very pretty here & we did a little hike the next morning before getting back on the road. 

The ants here were very large & we didn't think they could get any larger.......until we got to the Grand Canyon that is.......  My son had been begging me for a toy motorhome ever since we bought our's.  I found this one & hid it in his bunk so he could find it while we were on the road.  It quickly became one of his all time favorite toys.

This sign with the lizard was at the trail head of the trail we hiked the next morning.  We didn't get very far on this trail because my hubby wasn't used to the altitude.

We stopped at a market in La Verkin & took advantage of these great photo opps in the parking lot there.  We continued onward Toquerville & Hurricane & then to Zion National Park.  I must say that this area was our favorite part of all of Utah that we saw on this trip. 

We got super lucky here at Zion.  One of the campgrounds was full, the other had some open spots still we were told.  When we arrived we got the very last spot that was available.  Here we paid $16 for the night, with no hook ups.  The other camp does have some hook ups & they also take reservations, but the one we stayed in had neither.

I was at Zion National Park when I was a kid & the one thing I remember was the weeping rock.  So the next morning we got up & took the shuttle bus all the way up the mountain.  On our way back down we stopped for the weeping rock. 

We actually ended up on the wrong trail at first.  It was super narrow (which made us nervous with our son) & steep.  We went quite a ways up & then decided to go back down & try the other trailhead that was also there.  And it was the other one that went to the weeping rock & it was safe & wide & not so steep.  My hubby was still trying to adjust to the altitude changes on this day, but he was doing much better with it.

Zion National Park is so very beautiful.....if you've never been I highly recommend going

I don't think I'd ever get tired of looking at this

There were LOTS of deer on the trails we hiked on.  And they weren't very afraid or timid either, which surprised me.  They looked really thin, but maybe that's the norm for them this time of year, I'm not sure.......

The weather was raining off & on, but still so beautiful

So many breathtaking views

I might add that the shuttle bus is a free service, how wonderful is that?

In our campground--it seems like construction work follows us wherever we go!!  At home we have never ending construction going on it seems & always wake up to the "beep beep beep" of construction vehicles backing up in reverse & we did here too.....of course Lil J loves construction vehicles. so we had to go check it out & take a video of the action!

My hubby & I like to collect magnets on our travels.  So he stopped in this shop to get one.  He posed for a pic with the Indian but the Indian started farting much to my hubby's surprise!!  Our son was passed out asleep at this time, so I waited in the motorhome while hubby was in this shop.

Bottom Left: This river ran next to our camp ground; Bottom Right: the roads inside the National Park are this beautiful rust color, matching all the rocks

After we left Zion we headed North to Sanpete, Manti, Spring City, Mt Pleasant, & Fairview.  We camped in Fairview for the night. 

I can certainly appreciate the speed limits in Utah.....hehehe......although they aren't too doable in a motorhome.

Much to my son's excitement we spotted Tow Mater on the way to Fairview!!  It was getting dark so it was hard to get a good picture of it

When we called this RV camp they said there was only one other person staying at the time, so we could pick any spot we wanted when we arrived.  But by the time we arrived we were the only ones there for the night & next morning.  We had quite an adventure trying to find this place!  We were following the directions on the app on my phone & we couldn't find the place where the app said it was.  We came to this little old rickety wooden bridge.  My hubby stops & we both looked at each other......we were both thinking that there was no way that bridge was going to hold the weight of the motorhome.  So he called the camp on the phone.  He asks the lady about the bridge & she says yes, to cross the bridge.  Again we both look at each other in alarm.  So he inquires again, stating that it's a wooden bridge & she says no, it should be a cement bridge.  Whew!!  What a close call!!  The camp was actually a little ways away from where the app on my phone said it was, but we did eventually get there.  It was also $20 with full hook ups. 

When I was a kid my mother had posed for a photo hanging on the back of our motorhome.  I was telling my hubby about it & he said suggested we pose also.  But I didn't have the guts to hang my feet off like she did!!  And then our son got excited about the ladder & wanted to climb up too.

Onward we travelled to Spanish Fork, Mapleton, Springville, & Midway.  This area was very nice, but it appears to be a big snow & skiing area in the colder weather.

We were interested in this Heber Valley Railroad....until we learned that the ride on it was 3 hours long.  There was no way we had time for that.  But we did see it stopped here at this park while we were driving so we stopped for photos. 

Our son was very sad to leave the train behind without being able to board.

But we got him cheered up again

We stopped at Strawberry Resevoir to park & eat lunch.  He built a "rock castle"

He also had a blast playing in this puddle with his boat.

Then we did a really long drive south to Monticello & Blanding

This was a lengthy drive through lots of mountains......on a very narrow highway......

......with plenty of  fog.........

......and rain.......

......and more beautiful views......

We spent the night in Blanding, this place was about $30 with full hook ups.

The next morning we took off, heading to highway 12.  Top Left: these "open range" signs are everywhere.  The first few we saw didn't have a picture of a cow & we didn't know what it meant.  We learned it means the cows roam freely & are likely to be on the highway & they don't move away quickly when they see a vehicle coming, so you'd better watch out!

there were views of the Colorado River

This whole drive was breathtaking.......Highway 12 is a must see drive, at least once in your life time

did I mention "breath taking"?

Here we were just about to reach Highway12 & we found this road block.  The police officer helped us find an alternate route on our map, he said a whole section of this highway was completely washed away the night before in the rain.  Top Right: there were lots of old cars all over Utah, this one is a Plymouth Belvedere, which I rarely see.  But growing up my father owned a 2 door coupe '54 Plymouth Belvedere so I had to get a pic of this one!

It was still a little rainy & cloudy

There was a flash flood warning in effect for most of the areas we were in for this whole trip while in Utah, we had to wait here for this road to reopen.  This was at the very beginning of Highway 12 for us.  We were told it was a record breaking year for how much rain they were getting.  I personally love the rain, but my hubby not so much.

There were LOTS of cows roaming freely, all over the highways

Lots of beautiful canyons & caves

some rain & plenty of clouds

Once we got onto highway 12 it was breath taking (even moreso than the other breathtaking views we had seen) & I do believe it was the highest elevations we experienced in our whole trip.

I stopped at this little post office on highway 12 to mail my mother's birthday card.

We spent the night at this RV park, very near Bryce Canyon National Park, although I never actually saw signs indicating where you enter Bryce Canyon National Park.  This place was around $20 for the night with full hook ups.  We had called the day before & made reservations for this one.

We stopped at this little shop that was next to our camp before taking off for the Grand Canyon

So we headed South through Utah..... (This was some sort of Museum....the structure itself was amazingly beautiful, a naturally occurring cave, but we didn't actually pay admission & enter the museum, we were in a hurry to get to the Grand Canyon)

.....and entered into Arizona

We had made a reservation here at the North Rim Camp of Grand Canyon before we got there.  I do believe this is the same campground we stayed in when I vistited the Grand Canyon as a little girl

In our camp site our son spotted this little baby lizard.  Upon looking at literature I discovered that it is a short horned lizard, but I do believe it was only a baby, it was very tiny & very cute.

Our son claimed that this rock on the right was a truck & the rock on the left was the 5th wheel trailer!  I do have to admit that I can see the resemblance.  He said the stick was Curious George, but he had a broken leg, LOL.  And we stopped at the general store in our campground & our son was begging for this snack.  It was healthy & gluten & dairy free so we got it for him.  To our surprise he ate almost everything in it!

Our son really wanted to ride on this choo choo, but upon inquiring in the general store we found it was only for some sort of dining experience package deal.

We hiked the Transept Trail to Bright Angel Point

And then came back on the Bridle Trail....we spotted a deer along the way....and some interesting trees

We had been dreaming of having a camp fire, we finally got to do so here at Grand Canyon, almost at the end of our trip. 

The next morning, we drove to Point Imperial before leaving Grand Canyon behind

I was told you can see all the way to the South Rim from this point

Lil J begged to show "Buddy" the Grand Canyon.....this was his only request to take Buddy anywhere on this whole trip, so I allowed it (I normally don't allow Buddy out of the house, since it needs to stay clean so he can snuggle & sleep with it)

And so we left Grand Canyon & headed back to Utah to get to the 15 freeway to head homeward

The easiest/shortest route I could find on the map was to take Highway 9 across to the 15....and then I realized it was the same highway that goes through Zion National Park.  But this time we were on the other side of the Park.  Since we had just paid for entrance to the Park a few days prior (& we had the receipt to prove it) we didn't have to pay the entrance fee again, but we did have to pay to go through the mile long tunnel.  That was quite an experience.  Our son was really excited, although he did get scared before we reached the end of it.  We were able to make him realize it wasn't scary easily enough though.  I was actually excited to pass through here again since this was our favorite part of Utah & because we still needed to buy a Zion magnet......hubby had stopped for one the first time we were here but he just got one that said "Utah", nothing about Zion specifically.  We had to make a few stops to find a magnet that specified "Zion", but we did finally find one.

We were ahead of schedule on our trip, so instead of making the long drive straight home we decided to spend the night in Las Vegas, NV.  I've never been a fan of Vegas, but I did want to see ATM headquarters, which is where they film the TV show Tanked that we like to watch.  This camp wasn't really a "camp", I guess that's why they cal it a "resort", but it was nice.  It had an amazing pool & other amenities.  And there were actually people living in here long term, which I hadn't seen before & was surprised to realize that people do such a thing.  We also finally found the time to put our USA sticker on our motorhome while we were here.  And being in the desert, we were finally out of the rain.

That big blue/gray fish was my son's fave in the whole place & he literally BEGGED to be able to take him home.....I tried explaining that mommy's tank wasn't big enough & was freshwater rather than saltwater, but he still wanted it.

This tank was 1100 gallons!  The fish in it were massive! This is where that blue/gray fish my son fell in love with lives.

My birthday present from Freddie Five O at ATM--an autographed poster

And onward to the California border!!  And a few more hours until home

One final shot of my little stinker laying on me while I was resting on the long drive home!

All in all it was a really great trip & we learned a lot about the motorhome & we cannot wait to go on a trip again!!!