Read Me Stories: Learn to Read

This weekend, I stumbled upon a new educational app that I decided to download for Mister M. As reading is one of our big goals for this year, I have been seeking out any additional fun and creative ways that I can help him learn to read. Seeing as he is like most children and loves any moments he can have time using technology, I decided to take everything off his tablet and start over. I began the process and after a couple hours came across this amazing app:

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At first, I downloaded it without really fully understanding all that this app had to offer our family. I discovered the next morning when I went and checked my email just how truly amazing this little app is.

Each day, a new story is added to your child’s library. Each time they do this, they also send you a Parent Activity Booklet that goes with each book via email. These activities help your child to not only be read the book, but learn to read it for themselves! In addition, the activities are printable and give you things to do with your child that allow them to review what they learned from the book.

They read each story 3 times. Once, it is read to them by the app. The second time, they attempt to read it themselves with the help of a parent and the third time, they read it again themselves, each time touching a word which gives them the phonic sounds of the word and what the word is in case they are wrong.

After they do the entire set of reading, then they are directed to do the activities printed out by you the parents.

When I realized this, I was blown away because this app was FREE. Now, I am not sure if at some point you have to purchase additional books but it says in the emails that each day a new book is added to the child’s collection when they finish them. So I am hoping that we don’t have to start buying books. If that is the case, I apologize in advance but either way, this might be worth the small amounts it might cost.

So yesterday, we fully used the app as it was intended and it was A HUGE SUCCESS! Mister M was able to read the entire first book by himself when we were done and we spent time reviewing each word to be sure he knows them and isn’t just guessing.

If you are looking for a supplement to your reading curriculums, I would strongly recommend Read Me Stories. It has been a tremendous blessing for us!

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This is what our first printout packet looked like. There is a parent instruction section, then a part that gives you step by step activities to do and then the last sheet is the activity sheet Mister M and I completed together.

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As you are working on the booklet, the app also walks you through each activity step by step on your screen.

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The first thing they do each time is have them write their name in the spaces they provide. This one was inside the balloon. This helps to promote proper handwriting practice. (LOVE this!)

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The next thing we were to do was have Mister M draw his face, hair and clothing onto the image of the boy next to our character Zip the Frog.

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The main two words that they were teaching from this book were “I am”. I wrote them on the board, as well as, every word that made the sentences he was reading so we could practice them and review them together. This was very helpful and Mister M did so good I almost cried. (No, literally.)

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The next activity they had us do was to review what Zip had been doing and why those things might have made him so happy. After we reviewed that, they had us draw in the clouds, the things that made Mister M happy. And to finish, he was to color the rest of the sheet. They recommend placing these all in a binder or scrapbook for them to review and look back on later.

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Once you go through all the steps on the app, they then reward your child with a special video link which takes you to their YouTube channel and begins to play a video for them to enjoy. This one was called, “Five Fabulous Frogs.”

We hope you enjoy this app as much as we have and that it propels your child into a love of reading!!!!

Blessings,

Kristy ❤

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Almost but Not Quite

Yesterday, I almost packed up my son’s things and loaded him into the car to go down and enroll him into public school.

Almost but not quite.

I did this all in my head. I didn’t say a word to him. I simply imagined stopping mid-lesson, putting all his supplies away, changing him into real clothes (as we usually stay in pjs per his request), loaded up into the car, pulled up to the administration office, walked in, threw myself onto the counter and said, “TAKE HIMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!”

That visual then made me burst into tears so I had to go hide out in the bathroom for a bit.

<Rewind>

Yesterday was terrible. It was horrible. It was no good. It was a very bad day.

Yes…I, so understand now Alexander. I really do.

It was the kind of day where I was not sure why I am even doing this.

It was supposed to be a good day. It was LIBRARY DAY for goodness sakes. How can library day go wrong?

Oh how wrong it had gone.

We ended up in the bathroom TWICE, hiding out in the stall, standing as I made my son put his nose to the wall.  At one point, I almost had to laugh at the fact that I was doing this. IN THE BATHROOM. OF THE LIBRARY.  But wasn’t consistency what I am working on? So library or not, bathroom or not, his bad behavior took a nose to the wall (which was quickly followed by a scrubbing of antibacterial soap! YUCK!) and when that didn’t work, I packed up our stuff and we headed home.

It was 2:00pm.

We started our ventures at the library at 9:30am and all we had managed to accomplish was ONE SIDE of our Math worksheet. I felt defeated just taking that reality in. How on earth could that even be possible?

Well, there was the books he wanted to find, the computer games he kept trying to watch others play and the grumbling and the complaining and the falling onto the floor like jello, refusing to just do his work. That was how it was possible.

When we got home, he took another time out for a bad attitude and we started on the other side of the math worksheet which was not finished until after 4:00pm. Exhausted and just feeling like I wanted to throw a toddler sized fit, I attempted to start on our Phonics lesson and that is when I just lost it. Not wanting to do it, he took four crayons into his hand, made direct eye contact with me and broke them in half. ON PURPOSE.

People…crayons are good as gold in this house. I value anything that can be used to create art and I absolutely loathe broken crayons. (It’s an OCD thing). He knows this. He grinned from ear to ear as he did it and this Momma blew up and had a grand ole’ display that would have made an infant proud and then, the visual came. I ran to the bathroom so fast, even my legs were confused.

On the floor I sat. Contemplating life. Wondering if I should just go ahead and use the bathroom since I was in there so no one would notice I was actually crying and not taking care of business. I opted for flushing, wiping my tears and as I brushed past the door, told my husband in a very melodramatic tone, “I’m done. He’s all yours for the rest of the day.”

I listened as my husband went to ask my precious boy what had happened. I listened as that oh so wonderful man told my son, “Mommy is doing a really good job at being your Mommy and your teacher but today, you made her feel bad and she feels like you aren’t learning anything and that she is failing.”

This was true. I mean, he couldn’t remember what I had JUST REVIEWED with him for pity’s sake but then again after the mess of a day we had had, how could he?

I took most of the day yesterday wondering if I wasn’t better off to send him to school until someone else mentioned it and I immediately knew that was not the answer. I know this was our calling. I always have. It’s not easy. It’s messy. Sometimes I feel really inadequate but thank goodness, Jesus fills in what I am missing.

It was one of the worst days we have had in this journey…it has been the worst two weeks for that matter but I slept and we woke up and today was new. It was fresh. It was Bible Study day and my very determined Kindergartener woke up with a jolt ready for the day and I am proud to report we finished AN ENTIRE DAY OF LESSONS. We had some setbacks we had some attitude correctors but we got it done with smiles on our faces and joy in our heart.

Together we are learning how to say I’m sorry and will you forgive me in our own family as much as we do with others and we are learning that Homeschool is a calling and it is a gift. It will not always be happy, easy or joyful but God’s grace is sufficient, His patience is unending and His strength carries us through the hard times.

I am learning it is okay to admit that it’s not okay sometimes. I am learning that every other homeschool Mom has moments where public schools are sounding really good but they prevail. Minute by minute. Hour by hour. Day by day. We are warriors, us homeschool Mommas. We may not seem like it but we wage war every day and we don’t give up. No matter what.

So as you lay your exhausted, tense little head down tonight fellow HM’s…I just want you to remember that if today was a battle, maybe you feel like you won, maybe you feel like you lost or maybe you feel you are stuck in between but tomorrow is a new day. It’s full of new mercies and that battle has already been won by God. You have victory. It will be okay. I promise. (Be sure to remind me of this too will ya? I will need it again I am most sure.)

We will have those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days but we will also have beautiful, glorious, laughter filled, memory making AMAZING DAYS too and it’s worth it. Every single bit of it.

I will close with images of our day which included finishing our 2nd half of lessons this evening while at the laundry mat, which consequently had short vowel and long vowel charts hung on the wall complete with a table for us to work at while our comforter was washing and drying.

It’s a sign ya’ll!!!

Blessing and love,

Kristy ❤

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Summer Sausage Skillet Dinner

It’s been a bit since I posted one of my recipes and tonight as I whipped up one of my easiest meals that my husband just loves, I thought to myself, “This one is post worthy.”

I am all about simple. Give me few ingredients, quick prep and cook time. Since dear hubby works odd hours, I have to have dinner ready for him to eat or pack up by 4:00 p.m. I know, as you are reading that you are probably laughing at the notion I even consider that early but growing up we always ate dinner around 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. depending on what Momma was cooking that night so to be ready to eat at 4:00, well that seems really early to me.

The easier the meal, the happier this Momma is!

Tonight, I am sharing with you my “Summer Sausage Skillet Dinner”:

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Ingredients:

1 Beef Smoked Sausage (I use Hillshire Farm but you can use whichever you prefer)

1 Green Bell Pepper

1 Red Bell Pepper

Salt

Pepper

Uncle Ben’s Boil-in-Bag White Rice – 2 bags

Steps:

Put 8 cups of water in a large pan to boil.

Clean your bell peppers and slice into strips then half them.

Slice the entire smoked sausage.

Place in a skillet and add the salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and cook over medium heat until the bell peppers are soft and juicy and the meat is golden brown.

Drain and pat with paper towel to remove any excess grease from the  meat.

When your water is boiling, add the 2 bags of Uncle Ben’s Boil-in-Bag rice. Cook for 12 minutes.

Drain the water and cut open the bags carefully and pour rice into a serving bowl.

Serve the sausage mix over the rice and you have a delicious and quick meal the whole family can love.

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Enjoy!!!

Kristy ❤

Community Helpers Series: Police Officer

This week’s lesson was a TON of fun as we learned all about one of our family’s very favorite police officers from back home! It has been such a joy to get to highlight people I know as I teach these precious ones all about their very special and important jobs!

This week, we created our very own Police Hats, Stop Signs and Badges. We were a small class due to travel and sickness but we still had an incredible day discussing the role of our law enforcement and how important they are to our safety. I think these little guys enjoyed the lesson just as much as me!

Here are some snapshots from our fun:

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If you are interested in using my Community Helpers curriculum, you may download it for FREE Below! I want to give a HUGE shoutout to The Old SchoolHouse Magazine for the FREE download of their Wanna Be Series which inspired my curriculum. I took a few of their ideas and inserts to make this curriculum work for our little ones. They have some AMAZING things in their books that were just too advanced for our Kindergarteners. Be sure to stop by their site and check them out!

< Community Helpers Series: Police Officer >

Blessings and love,

Kristy ❤

Community Helpers Series: Firefighters

A week ago, we did our Community Helpers lesson all about Firefighters. I have been wanting to post about it and share with you the curriculum I use but the last couple of weeks, I have been battling allergies and headaches on and off and that Friday, I had to actually leave COOP early due to a migraine onset. It was miserable BUT we still had a WONDERFUL time at COOP learning all about some of our favorite community helpers.

I was so honored to have one of my friends and former classmates from my hometown share about his career as a Firefighter. It really made the lesson more personal and special for me and my class. It is one thing to study about these jobs, but it something entirely different when someone you know dedicates their life to it.

Here is a peek inside some of our fun:

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First we colored, cut out and assembled our very own Firefighter Paper Dolls complete with boy and girl dolls so that our sweet L was not left out. She was very excited when she saw her paper doll was a girl. (It’s the little things!)

Next we did an adorable Firetruck Craft. I probably should have had this already cut out for them to just color and glue to assemble since there were quite a few pieces but it turned out so great nonetheless and we had some happy kiddos.

For homework this week, each of the children were given an Emergency Contacts List to create with their families so they are prepared should they ever need to call on the help of our firefighting heroes.

In addition to our Firefighter fun this week, it was also Crazy Hair Day at COOP and we had a couple cuties with some seriously CRAZY hair:

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All in all, in spite of my horrible migraine coming on, this was a FUN and AMAZING day at COOP!

If you are interested in using my Community Helpers curriculum, you may download it for FREE Below! I want to give a HUGE shoutout to The Old SchoolHouse Magazine for the FREE download of their Wanna Be Series which inspired my curriculum. I took a few of their ideas to make this curriculum work for our little ones. They have some AMAZING things in their books that were just too advanced for our Kindergarteners. Be sure to stop by their site and check them out!

< Community Helpers Series: Firefighters >

Blessings and Love,

Kristy ❤

And Just Like That…

I have shared many times with those who know me well and possibly even in previous posts how difficult my journey in coming and sustaining here has been. I am a routine individual. While I like spontaneity, I also cleave to the familiar especially, when it comes to people.

When I learned that we would be coming here, I struggled greatly. I even left church for the last 9 months of my time at home. A decision I have regretted every day since because where those last 9 months could have been a time of goodbyes and growth and support, I isolated myself and only deepened my pain and the struggles I had with leaving.

Those who know my story know that having to come here as a partial family, allowing my girls to stay behind with their father was a decision that broke my spirit and my heart in ways I will never adequately be able to express in words. Not because their father was not worthy of having them there but simply because I am their Momma and I didn’t want to miss a second. Where I needed to trust God, I was so desperately attempting to but there was so much anger and pain behind those attempts that I often found myself weeping and begging for a different answer, a different plan.

It never came. God’s plans and purposes stayed the same. I didn’t see the bigger picture but He did.

When I came here it was out of nothing more than obedience. I didn’t want to be here, I wasn’t even sure I would remain here as I had NO idea what to expect. My mind was not in the right frame but my heart was desperate to not fail God…to trust even if it hurt.

I stumbled my way through a roller coaster of emotions I cannot even describe in a way that paints an accurate picture.

It has been…rough. (And that’s putting it lightly.)

Nonetheless, I came here and once again, nothing seemed to go the way I hoped or planned or even prayed for. We came in and found a church immediately but within 7 months, the Lord called us out. I was so broken by this point, I would be lying if I did not tell you that lying down and raising that little white flag didn’t sound good. It did. I wanted so badly to do that but I had come so far and God had brought me so far…I wanted to just keep hoping that the restoration He promised, the things He spoke would come to pass.

In the beginning, I worked hard to MAKE THEM COME TO PASS. Has anyone ever been there? Can I get an amen? I am so embarrassed just remembering it. Trying to force restoration. Trying to force things to work for MY benefit. My stomach just turns thinking about it and I laugh at myself all at the same time. What on earth ever made me think that would even work?

The Lord has kept us out of church for an entire year now. I know you are reading that and shaking your head saying, “Uh uh..sister you are believing a lie. God would never take us out of the body of Christ.”

I understand your logic and I know the scriptures you have in mind but He DID and it was NECESSARY.

When I came to know the Lord almost 6 years ago now, I was the very definition of vile, messy, hopeless and a wreck. My life had been nothing short of a plane crashing to the earth at 300 miles per hour with no parachutes on board. I lived my life in chaos and without understanding and I was sick. Very very sick. I was speeding through life with no way to stop and evaluate what was happening and when I did have moments where that occurred, I was so ashamed I just ran and ran and ran; thinking God could never love me.

And of course, I was wrong. He loved me RADICALLY and as we know he does, He gave me a new life, a new heart, a new soul. He gave me a CLEAN SLATE.

I dove in with ALL I had for Christ. I clung to every person He brought into my journey to help guide me. I became VERY dependent on the teachings of those who were further ahead in their walk and who had much wisdom to share. That is a very beautiful thing but it is also a very dangerous thing.

When you are like I was and you have nothing but a trail of broken relationships, broken promises and broken plans, you very quickly want to become the opposite when you realize life doesn’t have to be that way. We “extremists” as I like to call my past self, tend to have a difficult time finding balance and learning for ourselves out of a fear that we might just mess it all up again.

That fear was always there. Always underlying. Always surfacing and creating this need for me to learn from those around me and become a people pleaser. Sisters (brothers), no matter how good our intentions or pure our hearts, we cannot please God and people at the same time. He must be our first source and He must be our only strength. We cannot place that responsibility upon anyone else.

Unfortunately I had and I didn’t even realize it. I had placed it upon my CHURCH. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVED JESUS MORE THAN ANYTHING. I still do. However, I relied on my pastor and my mentors to teach  me the scriptures. I read them, but only what they taught me that day and only where I was directed by some devotional or Bible application. I spent a few minutes taking in a few things and then I prayed. My knowledge came from someone’s perspective of God and quite frankly, what I believed about my gifts and callings came from what someone I loved spoke into me .

You guys…sometimes we can get lost in the church and forget that Jesus CAN and WILL teach us. We forget that He should be the first call we make in a crisis or in a moment of victory. Jesus should be our first love affair and our first friendship. He should be number one but all too often, he comes third or fourth or maybe even further down the list because we cling too fervently to those we glean from around us.

I say all that to tell you that when I came here, when God removed me from all I knew and placed me in the middle of a new land and a new people, God had every intention of tearing me down to build me back up. He had every intention of letting me dive in as I always do with love and passion in my heart to lead me straight into the wilderness…alone.

One of my now favorite passages from Hosea 2:14,15 says this,

Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
  and bring her into the wilderness,
  and speak tenderly to her.
   And there I will give her her vineyards
  and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
 And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
  as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.”

I came to Florida a codependent woman when I was created to stand on my own two feet. I came to Florida created to be a leader but was acting like a follower. I came to Florida needing so desperately those mentors and that church I had clung to but God created me to be someone who clung solely to HIM.

This last year, I had no church that I could truly call my own. I visited so many churches I thought I might just literally start screaming at the Lord. The first 10 months were rough. I whined. I threw a fit. I laid in bed and said I was giving up. I told God I couldn’t do it anymore. Then one day, I woke up  this past June and I said, “God…do I even know YOU anymore?” I mean do I really, to the core, know You or is what I know about you based solely on what EVERYONE else around me has told me You are?”

Suddenly a light bulb went off.

I paid more attention to the churches I visited. I went to so many denominations, I would make a devout church goer shake their head in embarrassment. I visited Methodist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Non-denominational and do you know what I discovered? (Brace yourselves). The Holy Spirit was the SAME. The Holy Spirt was the SAME every place I went. There was no difference. The Worship was the SAME for me. I probably thoroughly frightened some in my freedom but everyone was gracious enough to not tell me if I did but not for a second did it matter to me. Not for a second. I came to find Jesus and I was going to meet Him and no one else right in that spot no matter what. Going to all those churches taught me to not be afraid to worship the way God designed me to and I did it. I could hear the chains falling every week.

I began to find things in the scripture I never knew existed. Do you know why? Because I no longer had this Bible study or that sermon or this person or that pastor teaching me. I was knee deep in the wilderness crying out, “Show me your truth God. Teach me your Word. I need revelation.” I didn’t stop asking. I dove in and I began to understand things on a whole new level and when that began to happen, I began to see things within myself that God needed to remove. I began to go to a deeper place in my worship and my prayer time and it wasn’t in a building full of people. It was in a tiny closet in my house. It was in that intimate place with the Lord.

I am created to teach, to preach and to lead (even if just to within the confines of my own family) but I could not do that until I fully understood what it mean to solely and fully rely on no one but God. The Father had to remove me from those I love and clung to so that I would begin to cling to HIM above all else. Oh sisters (and brothers), what an amazing and beautiful thing that is to learn.

This past year has shaped me in ways I never saw coming. It has given me a boldness and a confidence I never thought I could have. Even as I type that I hear my dear friend Becki Kneeland laughing because I am pretty sure she doesn’t think boldness has ever been an issue for me but the truth is, it has. My boldness came when others built it up. My boldness came when others understood what I was doing and AGREED WITH IT. There is something even more beautiful when you can be bold and everyone thinks you are crazy until they see JESUS and realize, our ways are not His ways and our thoughts are not His thoughts. That’s true boldness. That’s a Paul kind of boldness. That’s the kind of boldness we need to have in these days; an immovable truth that we are not afraid to share just because it isn’t popular.

God has grown my ability to rely solely on Him in such a sweet and beautiful way. This time alone with Him was crucial to what I am created to do and who I am created to be and to the love I have wanted to display to Him and others from the beginning. You see, I have learned that if I never have a formal ministry outside my home and I never have anything I am known as other than someone who loves Jesus with all her heart, then I am victorious. It is about Jesus folks. It’s not about what we are teaching others, it is what is HE teaching us? Who do we love the most? God or our churches? God or our families? What comes first and what do we KNOW about Jesus for ourselves?

It was a year ago this month that God removed us from the place I thought would be our church. It was a year ago this month that God allured me into the wilderness and began to speak softly to me the truths of who He is and began to work on the things that I was unable to see existed within me. It was a year ago that I began to be alone…with God.

And just like that, the Lord led someone to invite me to their church. They didn’t realize that was what God was doing but they did it and we have visited several times as a family. I had not even dared ask the Lord if we could stay. I didn’t even dare question if this could be the end of the very long, lonely place I had walked through. I didn’t dare ask because I wanted the Lord to know that I finally trust Him above ALL ELSE. I finally am ready to submit ALL IN, take me where you want, keep me alone if you must; I’m ready to do this…whatever this is. I am finally in a love relationship with JESUS all for myself and what has seemed so lonely now makes perfect sense.

We love this new church. We have been meeting amazing people, making some sweet connections, learning some powerful truths and feeling hopeful and this morning, I attended my first Women’s Bible Study in over a year and what do you know…it is on fellowship.

I sat through those two hours and took in every word that was spoken. My heart was so full of joy I thought I might get up and start running around the room telling God how much I loved him and how much I appreciated Him allowing me to be there. I listened and I gleaned but I also found myself saying, “Teach this to me Lord. What are you speaking to me here in this place?” I was confident, I was excited and I was ALIVE.

And as the study came to a close, we began to pray.

As our sweet leader led us in this beautiful prayer, I heard the Lord say,

“Read the last sentence in your notes…”

So I opened my eyes and there upon the page were the closing words of the author of the study,

“You do not have to be alone any more.”

I wept silent tears and I knew instantly that the Lord was telling me two things:

  1. My time alone in the wilderness is over. He has just taken me from the thickest, darkest of forrest and walked me straight into a valley of light and hope so beautiful, I will never be the same.
  2. I am home. (For however long He calls us here that is.)

Friends, sometimes God does call us to seasons in which it will be necessary to be stripped of every single thing we put first before God and that may even include church. I would NEVER advocate and am not advocating or suggesting that you leave your church….EVER. We need the body of Christ and we need those leaders and teachers and brothers and sisters to help us through the chaos that this life brings. We need one another and the Bible is CLEAR upon that but as I sit and pour this out, I see others out there walking a similar journey and you are ready to quit and you feel abandoned but don’t you dare raise that flag and don’t you ever forget that God will NEVER leave you or forsake you.

If you are in a season of being alone, call out to God and ask Him what the purpose is. I can promise you there is one. It will either be that you are in a place you shouldn’t be or it will be because the Lord has brought you into the wilderness to prepare you for what must be done in the valley.

God loves you in ways you cannot imagine and HE is there. Seek him first…above all things. Allow God to be your most important friendship and love and take a deep breath. There is something beautiful happening in that wilderness. I promise.

Blessings, love and abundant prayers,

Kristy ❤

U.S. Geography Printable Series

We started off the year thinking we would do some U.S. History as Mister seems to love learning about past events and what happened before our nation became what we know it as today, however, we had a difficult time with trying to help him understand so we decided that maybe the better place to start would be with U.S. Geography. So this week, I began working on my own worksheets to help us do just that!

The first thing we did was print a very awesome map which we found over at Mr Printables:

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This will be used to color each state as we learn about it until the entire map is colored and looking great! I printed this onto card stock to make sure it would survive our journey.

Next, I began to work on the 50 State Worksheet series which I will be sharing here as I complete them! Be sure to check back each week for new updates with new states. If you have any trouble downloading, please email us at thedelgadofamilyblog@gmail.com and we would be happy to assist you!

Alabama – Thank you to thegraphicsfairy.com, all-free-download.com, bestcoloringpages.com, sweetclipart.com, and mycutegraphics.com for the awesome free clipart!

Alaska – Thank you to thegraphicsfairy.com, all-free-download.com, bestcoloringpages.com, sweetclipart.com, and mycutegraphics.com for the awesome free clipart!

Blessings and love,

Kristy ❤