Magnanimously homeschooling, worshiping, creating.......

Join us on a journey of faith, healing, learning to live with part of our hearts missing, and recovery, as our family rebuilds our lives, after our son's long battle with cancer....and his eventual rise on eagle's wings into Heaven...victory is his...he is serving the King!!!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Day 5, reboot

 I had a very busy weekend with company. I was not very wise in starting my plan right before my monthly time ( very inflammatory) and company can usually make one happy...but it was busy and hard on my feet, but that's ok, we had fun and I actually stuck to my plan quite well. I am pleased. Because I have done this before, I can follow a slightly different route, so I tested pork roast last night. Ugh. I usually don't eat pork as a general rule. I did NOT pass! I will stay away and re-try again in a month or two. I will eat light and clean to recover today. How is your eating going everyone?

Azure April

Here is my order for Azure for April: 
Some of these items are for a friend, that is why my order is so big. Potatoes are still a great price!

I am trying my hand at their seeds and some seedling broccoli, so I will report to you on that. Also, I test out some gluten free items at a decent price without having to buy 12, which is nice!
No great picture today.....

Bulk Barley, Hulled, Organic
Bob's Red Mill Biscuit & Baking Mix
Once Again Nut Butter, Inc. Almond
Sarah's Starts Lettuce Variety, Org
Sarah's Starts Sausage Tomato, Orga
Heirlooms Evermore Black Beauty Zuc
Heirlooms Evermore Bloomsdale Long
Heirlooms Evermore Lacinato Kale
Fresh Produce Potatoes, Russet, Org
Bulk Garbanzo Beans (chick peas)
Annie's Homegrown Macaroni & Cheese
Bulk Pumpkin Seeds, (Hull-less), Or
Clif Bar Kit's Cherry Pumpkin Seeds
Santa Cruz Peanut Butter, Dark Roas
EnviroKidz Crispy Rice Bar, Chocola
Sarah's Starts Calabrese Broccoli,
Natracare Curved Panty Liners
Bulk Brown Rice Crispies, Gluten Fr

Friday, March 28, 2014

Day 2 restart

Day 2
Down .8
Holding steady.
Feeling well.
Slept better than I have in awhile, amazing how quickly that sets in. 
Testing rice tonight.

Purchased tons of veggies at Aldi. 
Aldi is my favorite store for buying veggies other than my Azure store.
See you tomorrow.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

day 1, the plan

Today is the day.  Day 1.  

I am starting the elimination diet over, which is a good thing to do once in awhile to kick start your weight loss and healing.  I am excited! I have been 'maintaining' quite well over the last few months...but that will not do...it is time to get back in the full groove....

Thursday, March 20, 2014

felted wool potholders



I love felted wool projects. I hit the jack pot on wool sweaters last year. Re-purposing something that is no longer being used for its original purpose makes me happy. I make them by just loosely designing a flower and roughly sewing with a colorful zig zag stitch. That's what makes them so special and unique. I just love these, do you? The stripe is the back side of this piece. I made a ton of them for my kitchen and for a friend. It's such a great addition to my kitchen decor.
Love the wool, love the colors, love the texture, love the look......
LOVE! 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Classical Conversations, Challenge A

When the Lord started drawing me toward Classical Conversations a couple years ago, I beginning  to grow in my vision for my children. Now that Ninja son, who began his journey in Challenge A in the fall, is coming nearer to the end of his school year, I am amazed at the blessings, growth, time management, and learning that has occurred since we began. I have seen so much fruit for all our consistent work. I am well pleased.

I am sharing this wonderful post today from a fellow blogger about the benefits of Challenge A in Classical Conversations. It's difficult to re-write what she so eloquently writes for me.  Another day I will write the 'whys' of how we ended up in CC, but for today, here is a little taste of what starts the Challenge years in this amazing program!

Enjoy this guest post written by Classical Conversations mom Amy Shepley-Garwood over at SIX MORE SUMMERS. I can sure relate to her blog title with only 6 more years of summers left here in my home...it is a realization that the Lord has made all to clear to me, as of late. It does make one truly take stock of what your homeschool is about and for what one's children are prepared.





WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT CHALLENGE A?

Classical Conversations Challenge ProgramIt seems like the age when many parents begin to wonder how much longer they can homeschool their children… Middle School.  When kids are around 12 or 13, we start questioning whether or not we should send them back to public school, or enroll them in a private school, and allow them to finish high school with a diploma in their hand.
I won’t lie – we wonder this as well.  We have discussions about whether or not our daughter should head to high school next year with her friends, or whether we should stay on the path we are currently on – which is the Classical Conversations Challenge Program.
For those unfamiliar with Classical Conversations, for younger children, CC has Foundations classes, then Essentials classes, all for elementary students.  At 12, or around 7th grade (but many start much later), kids can begin the Challenge Program, which is A & B, then Challenge 1 through 4, which cover the high school years.  Many students end up graduating out of Challenge 3 as the course load in Challenge A & B could count as high school courses in many states, thus allowing them to earn credits at a rapid speed.
We started Laine in the program a year later than necessary.  We had only just learned about CC when she should have been heading into 8th grade, but we decided to place her in Challenge A, feeling that the pros of an extra year of middle school outweighed the cons.  The bulk of the positives lay in the material being taught in Challenge A.
Challenge A lays the foundation for the rest of the Challenge Levels, and while CC Foundations and Essentials courses for elementary kids could be helpful, they aren’t necessary for success in Challenge.  CCC (Classical Conversations Challenge) covers 6 topics.
  • Grammar – students learn Latin for the first 4 years of CCC
  • Exposition and Composition – an ambitious literature curriculum where students will lay foundation for essay writing
  • Debate – a dynamic geography course where students learn to draw the world in Challenge A
  • Research – where kids apply research techniques to learn and write about many biology and anatomy topics
  • Rhetoric – a course designed to introduce young Christians to apologetics, argument, and clear reasoning
  • Logic – math class – many CC families do not use the recommended math curriculum, which is fine.
These 6 strands are built upon year after year, covering all kinds of topics by the end of CCC 4, such as Chemistry, Philosophy, Economics, World History, and Shakespeare!  Because the Challenge Program is laid out so beautifully, it makes the typical high school educational experience pale in comparison, and so, it is our hope to continue the Challenge Program throughout the rest of our daughter’s educational career.
Classical Conversations Challenge ProgramMany people toy with the idea of jumping over CCC A for reasons such as their child is older and could move to B, or they don’t want them to graduate behind their age level.  Also, some communities don’t offer Challenge levels, due to low enrollment or lack of interest, forcing families to move to other communities who are only offering B.
We have a few weeks left in our Challenge A year, but I already know for sure that I would not trade this year to have my daughter graduate with her eighth grade friends.  I am so thankful we started with A, and here’s why:
Firstly, the topics covered in B are complex, and not all students will be ready to embrace those topics right out of the gate.  Challenge A gives a comfortable yet challenging introduction to CCC without being overwhelming.  CCC A is difficult when compared to a public school curriculum, yet is also adaptable for each learner.  Even though your kids will meet in seminar once a week and have a tutor, you are still the teacher, and are able to adjust the coursework to how you see fit.  Some kids don’t do all research papers, or they are condensed to one great paragraph, instead of multiple paragraphs.  Others opt out of Latin altogether, instead focusing on developing better English grammar skills at home.  All of this is up to you as your child’s teacher.
Still, even with modification as necessary, there is room to enhance the curriculum for your student who may want more than the regular course load by adding in projects, longer research papers, or more difficult math curriculum.  It’s the best of both worlds – a great curriculum as is, which means less work for us as parents, but a customizable program which means greater success for your kids.
Challenge A introduces your homeschooled child to accountability to someone other than you!  This is powerful.  I witnessed this when my daughter would pour herself into a paper like never before because it would need to be presented to her class!  Challenge A introduces kids to responsibility for quality work, which many homeschooled kids do not experience.  We struggled with this in the previous year, and it is my favorite thing about CCC.  She tries her absolute best because she wants to impress her tutor.
Classical Conversations Challenge ProgramThe geography curriculum in CCC A is unlike any I had seen before.  I truly had never even given a thought to drawing the world before this year.  Around Christmastime, my daughter told me that she felt about geography the way she felt about reading when she first learned in primary school – it was like an entire world had opened up to her.  Suddenly she understood the news better, had a grasp on current events and politics, and recognized cities, nationalities and features of our earth better than I did!
The introduction to Latin was challenging, yet necessary to move to higher levels of Latin should your child wish to continue in CCC B.  While there is a review of the work in B, it is fast paced, and is definitely areview, not a great intro to a new language.  In literature, students learn from Lost Tools of Writing, a curriculum which teaches great essay building from the ground up – a step you don’t want your kids to miss.
An unexpected by-product of CCC A for me was my daughters ability to become much more independent, taking a huge leap away from being taught each day, to being self-taught.  I’m still always around to help her, but she’s become driven to be a self-starter, usually needing very little prodding to get her work done.  This is an answer to prayer in my house, as she has always been dependent on someone sitting beside her, helping her with each step.
Many strands open up great topics of conversation for you and your middle schooler, as well. Literature gives your child the power to build essay topics of their own, defending decisions made by characters in each book. This allows great discussion about right and wrong, and is a window into the moral compass of your child. Rhetoric and apologetics can almost be approached as devotion time in your homeschool.
Within our Challenge A families, we have varying opinions on certain topics, which I believe is important and powerful to expose our kids to. We want them to learn to defend their faith and beliefs, but just as important is that we learn to love each other and be respectful. Exposure to environments that put these things into practice is critical. If you’ve ever felt like your child is too isolated and needs more community, CCC might be the perfect solution to provide your child with relationships, different points of view, conversation, presentation skills and confidence building experiences.
For these reasons and more, I wouldn’t trade our CCC A year.  I think for most students, it is necessary for success in the Challenge Program.  Not only that, but I would recommend any middle schooler jump into CCC A, even if they haven’t done CC in the elementary years.  I wouldn’t have said this a few years ago, not knowing much about it, but the classical model of education is incredible, even for learners who struggle with dyslexia, dyscalculia, or ADD.  I am thankful everyday that we were introduced to this community.
A few things to know about Challenge A…
It isn’t free! Tuition is roughly $1100/year. Beyond that, there is a registration fee, a facility fee (different for each location), and curriculum, books and supplies. It takes financial planning for my family, but I have never once thought it wasn’t worth it!
CC recommends that your child spend approximately 6 hours a day at home completing schoolwork. Depending on your student, this might be shortened, but I don’t think many middle schoolers would ever need more time than this.
The reading lists for all Challenge levels are challenging, full of pieces from many time periods, and lots of classics. While I love that the kids are being exposed to this great literature, some younger students, or very weak readers might struggle.
Challenge levels are very self-directed, and require your student to take a lot of responsibility for their learning. It’s worth having a serious discussion with your middle schooler before enrolling to be sure they understand their responsibilities.
Each Challenge level builds on the previous one. While I’m sure there are kids who would be fine jumping a level, if at all possible, start with A and build from there. I think of Challenge like 6 steps of a staircase. Each one is important, and builds a firm foundation with which to take the next step.
Whatever your plans, I wish you success, and leave you with the encouragement that only we as parents truly know what is best for our kids. Take heart, have faith in yourself and your children as you make these tough decisions together!



Hello! My name is Amy Shepley-Garwood, and welcome to this little space where I'm counting down the last 6 summers I have left with my teenager. I'm seeking out peace and purpose in these teen years, and I'd love for you to join me. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

why I blog / blog updating

  I am in the process of updating my blog. Please be patient with me as I find time to rearrange things and update photos and all of our book lists. 
  I truly enjoy maintaining this blog. It's a fascinating way to showcase what we're up to as a homeschooling family for myself and for any friends and family who dare to enter. For me, this is a way to go back and look at memories of our years in a beautiful scrapbookish way.  In doing so, I get to share our lives...our adventures, our sorrows, the 'rebuilding' of our lives without a precious someone.....no longer here with us on earth. (oh how we miss him)
  In addition, I get to write. I find writing to be a therapeutic outlet for me. I am not saying I have any extra talent beyond the average American mother, but we all need an outlet and this is one of mine, a journal of our lives. 


Beautiful sunrise, glistening on the fresh snow outside my window a couple weeks ago.
Hoping to see no more snow!

Thursday, March 6, 2014



I don't know about you, but we love reading over here. We especially love reading old books, rich in language and vocabulary. 

Here are some favorite oldies free on Amazon for the Kindle.


Are you a fan of G. A. Henty? He is an excellent writer of a large quantity of adventurous, usually historical fiction books. They are always entertaining, with stories of valiance and excellent character. Just the kind of book for instilling magnanimous character into our children's hearts.

Also, I found a lovely amount of Campfire Girls book series.


And The Rover Boys series.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wordfew Wednesday


Playing with my new birthday present.

Do you like my new term for 'Wordless Wednesday'?  I love photography and I love posting pics and letting the picture speak for itself, but I can rarely refrain from commenting on said picture, so...I decided to call it 'Wordfew Wednesday'.

 Clever? or A Bust?

 I don't usually like using caps in my titles either, just for fun, however, I made an exception here, what do you think?


Do you know what this photo is? 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Braveheart and blueberries...


I was finally able to spend part of the weekend learning some new aspects of photo editing, including watermarking my photos. I am pleased with the results above. My blueberry loving boy would be proud.

I rewrote my last blog post, because I wanted to share this beautiful picture with you all on a separate post. Why? Because this one is for Braveheart. Our dear, sweet boy, whom we love and miss soooo much.

He LOVED blueberries....and birds, but that is another post.  Every time I eat a blueberry, I think of my dear boy. It is one of my favorite memories etched into my heart forever.  He requested them often.  
We are eating our blueberries for you my love!

This picture was taken of Braveheart by a friend, shortly before his transplant in the fall of 2011.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Azure Standard time...stocking up on healthy staples




I recently discovered Azure Standard for ordering quality organic, sustainable growing products.  I love the ease at which I can search, order and pick up said items.  I love seeing what everyone else is ordering, so here is my bigger than usual list. What's yours?





One of my favorite products available at Azure...10# of blueberries for less than $2 a pound. Although not certified organic, one can be sure it is grown contentiously and only sprayed if absolutely needed! I can live with that and so can my WALLET!


 Wilderness Family Naturals Coconut Oil, Expeller Press -Refined
32 oz
Azure Farm Wheat Berries, Soft White, Organic
25 lbs.
Bulk Blueberries, Natural, Frozen, Small
10 lbs.
Fresh Produce Potatoes, Russet, Organic
10 x 5 lbs.
Food For Life Brown Rice Tortillas WF & GF
12 x 12 ozs.
Rumiano Butter, Unsalted, rBST Free
1 lb.
Wholesome Sweeteners Coconut Palm Sugar, Organic
16 oz
Ener-G Foods Egg Replacer
1 lb.
Food For Life Brown Rice Tortillas WF & GF
12 ozs.
Food For Life Brown Rice Bread, Yeast & Gluten Free
28 ozs.
Really Raw Honey Really Raw Honey (Glass)
1 lb.
Eden Foods Millet, Organic, Gluten Free
16 ozs.
Earth Circle Organics Barley Grass Juice Powder, Raw, Organic
4 ozs.
Lundberg Creamy Brown Rice Cereal, Organic
5 lbs.
Azure Farm Buckwheat, Broken Groat Grits, Organic

PS...do you like how I store mine in a mason jar in my freezer?
See the cute lid for my jar? Love them! 
I keep the big bag in the deep freezer.


5 lbs.

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Why MAGNANIMOUS?

Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary of the American Language defines Magnanimity as such:
MAGNANIM'ITY, n. [L. magnanimitas; magnus, great, and animus, mind.] Greatness of mind; that elevation or dignity of soul, which encounters danger and trouble with tranquillity and firmness, which raises the possessor above revenge, and makes him delight in acts of benevolence, which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects.