Wednesday, December 9, 2009


"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself…" Mark 12:31
December’s meeting was all about being a good neighbor.  After our opening,
 which included an impromptu piano playing of our hymn by Emily, 
Megan led the girls in a discussion of what God says about how we should treat others and how in particular we should treat our neighbors.  
We are to be a light and shinning example of Christ’s love to everyone we come in contact with, even when it’s hard. 
After discussing what it is to be a good neighbor, the girls got busy decorating Christmas Cookies to take around to their neighbors.
The girls were challenged to be extra friendly to those who haven’t been nice to them as well as to those who are friendly back.  Not always an easy task to follow.  Share how you did with your challenge!  Was it easy or hard?  How did the person react?  Did it make a difference in your relationship?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


What a fun night we had tonight.  Those of you who weren’t able to come, you were missed and we hope you all feel better soon.
We started off our meeting going over our verse, purpose, goal and we even got part of the song in.  We then talked about our hymn, It is Well with My Soul.  We went through each stanza, line by line, talking about what it means and what a wonderful gift Christ has given us, he will never leave us.  No matter what life throws our way, It is Well with Our Souls!  Sammie shared with us what the author, Horatio Spafford, experienced that prompted him to write the hymn.  Such a tragic accident to lose all his children on what was supposed to be a fun trip.
After talking about our hymn Mrs. McDaniel took over and shared about the history of croquet.  We all learned it is a really old sport, dating back to the 14th Century and was originally called Pall Mall.  When the french took over the game they changed the name,  Paille Maille, to Croquet and that name has stuck ever since.  We also learned that the shopping center "malls" come from the original Pall Mall which were the covered courts in which they played.  Really fascinating history.  Thanks Diane for sharing with us.
After the history and a brief run down on what to do, the girls hit the yard to learn how to play croquet, as they played. :)   The girls did great and were cheering each other on.  So proud of their sportsmanship.  The eventual winners were Tessa and Emily.  Anna and Peter were second.  Hannah came in third.  Sammie and Elizabeth were fourth with Rebecca coming in right behind them.  Great job to everyone and a big thanks to Diane for teaching us how to play.

Monday, September 14, 2009


It was great seeing everyone again after the summer break.  We welcomed our new members, Tessa and her mom Diane.  We are so happy to have you both in our group.  Rachel and Suzanne, we missed you both!  Hope to see you next month.

"Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!" Job 22:12
"Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?"
"Knowest thou the ordinances of Heaven?" Job 38:31-33
After reciting our purpose, verse and goal we sang our hymn for this month, How Great Thou Art.  You all did a great job singing along w/ the CD, even though the singer was a little low for everyone! LOL  Keep listening to the CD you took home so next month we can try to sing the song w/o the CD. :)
We learned how to read a starmap, talked about the North Star or Polaris, named the planets as we looked at great images from NASA then we went outside!  We took our red filtered lights, so we didn’t lose our night vision w/ bright white lights, and our starmaps and headed into the darkened backyard.
Fortunately, the moon hadn’t risen yet, so we had a pretty good sky for this area.  There were some clouds around the horizon as well as a lot of light pollution, but a good portion of the sky was unobstructed.
We first found The Big Dipper as it’s handle arched over the Carob tree.  From the Big Dipper we used the pointer stars to find the Little Dipper.  Unfortunately, the only part of the Little Dipper that we could really see well was Polaris.  Which is a good star to find and one of the requirements for the badge!  From the Little Dipper we followed the northern sky to the east until the large W was seen.  The W was on it’s side and resemebled a 3 more than a W, but we all knew that was the great, beautiful Queen, Cassiopeia, another requirement for our badge.  Perseus was lost in the light pollution but we did find Pegasus, the great winged horse looking suspiciously like a baseball diamond. ;)   Hanging onto Pegasus we saw some of Andromeda, the beautiful princess who was just saved from the horrible sea monster by her hero, Perseus.  Down along one of the lines that make up Andromeda you’ll find M31, which is Messier object 31 or the 31st deep sky object that was classified.  M31 is also known as the Andromeda Galaxy.  The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest galaxy to us and is a spiraling galaxy, like our own Milky Way.  I couldn’t find a public domain picture but here’s a link to a picture you can check out.
We also looked at the Zenith, or the very center of the sky.  We saw The Summer Triangle, made up of the 1st magnitude stars, Vega, Deneb and Altair.  In The Summer Triangle we picked out the constellation, Cygnus, the beautiful swan w/ his wings outstretched.  A couple others also found Delphinus and Lyra.
We then looked over to the Southern sky.  Low on the horizon we found the Teapot, also known as Sagittarius.  I mentioned the Trifid Nebula, which is an area of star formation.  The Trifid Nebula is located just above the spout of the teapot, right where the steam would be if it were set on the stovetop.  Away from light pollution you can see the the Trifid Nebula with just your eyes, it would look like a wispy cloud (or steam).  Here are some NASA images (aren’t they cool):

The Center of the Trifed Nebula
An area of star formation
Right next to Sagittarius (to the west) is Scorpius, the gigantic scorpion residing in the southern summer sky!  I pointed out Antares, a reddish first magnitude star, which is said to be the heart of the scorpion.
In the western sky a bright star was pointed out.  That star is the first magnitude star, Arcturus, which is located in the constellation, Bootes.  An easy way to find and remember several constellations in this area is to find the big dipper handle.  Follow the handle from the bowl to the tip of the handle and "arc to Arcturus", now you’re in Bootes, the protector of the Great Bear (The Big Dipper is just a small portion of the constellation Ursa Major).  Draw a line from Arcturus towards the zenith and you’ll see another bright star.  Not quite as bright as Arcturus but brighter than the majority of stars in that area.  That star is located in the constellation Corona Borealis, or The Northern Crown.  This constellation looks like a smiley face, or a skate board ramp.  If you use Corona Borealis as a skateboard ramp towards the zenith (away from Arcturus), you’ll jump right into the middle of Hercules!  Hercules looks like a lot like an open book or a butterfly.  There are several deep sky objects in Hercules.  M13 is known as the Hercules Cluster.  It’s a globular cluster of stars.  You can check out a picture and some info here.
Have the girls go outside and find the constellations as much as possible.  The more they look for them the easier they will find them.  Have them share what they have found with other members of your family! 
We almost completed the badge.  There are just a couple of things left for the girls to do on their own.  The Moon Phase worksheet I handed out is not a requirement.  That was just something for them to do if they wanted to.
Requirements for the Astronomy Badge:
  • Read a book about Astronomy
  • Name the planets – finished
  • Name the planets from smallest to largest
  • Find and identify the constellation The Big Dipper – finished
  • Find and identify the constellation The Little Dipper – finished
  • Find and identify the North Star – finished
  • Find Cassiopeia – finished
  • Find another constellation that may only be up at a certain time of the year – we found a bunch and will continue to throughout the year.
  • Demonstrate how to tell directions from the sky – face the north star.  Using Polaris as the top of your circle, go clockwise around and don’t forget to Never Eat Slimy Worms!
  • Try to find either Jupiter, Venus or Mars (find all if you’re able but only one is required) – finished, we found Jupiter.
Pictures, pictures, everybody loves pictures!

Some of us went to the Stargazing Party put on by the Phoenix Astronomical Society the next evening.  They had their telescopes set up to view the moons of Jupiter.  There was also a man with his collection of meteorites.  Very cool.   For those who went to the Star Party, leave a comment and share what you learned and what you liked best!  (those who didn’t go to the party, leave a comment and let us know what constellations you’ve been looking at and which one is your favorite).  The astronomical society has star parties every second Thursday of the month.  They are free to the public and are a great family outing.  Just a reminder, they are scientists and you will be hearing things that may not jive with your views of how life, the earth, the universe, etc. came into existence.  We used our experience as a great discussion on our drive home. :)
Our next unofficial meeting will be on September 21st from 2-4ish.  Come hang out and play at our house. 
See you next month, at my home, where Diane will be teaching Croquet!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Welcome Back!

I’m looking forward to another great year as we learn new skills, grow closer as a group and deepen our relationship with Christ.
We have another fun and exciting year ahead of us.  Here is the line up for the year!








Monday, June 29, 2009

How our Keepers Group came to be

People often ask me about our Keepers group.  How it was started, how we organize and run it, etc.  Since we’ve had new families join our group this past year and another family joining in the fall, I thought I’d share the story of how our group came to be again. :)
Back when Emily was 5ish and we were starting her Kindergarten year, I joined a wonderful homeschool support group in our town in Ohio.  It was there that I first heard of Keepers of the Faith and the group, Keepers of the Home.  The woman who was sharing about Keepers was a veteran homeschooler.  Her daughter was hitting junior high age and this Mom spent a lot of time encouraging and mentoring us newbie homeschoolers.  She was talking about how important it is, as homeschooling moms, to find your community.  Find a group of like minded people and make it a priority to form friendships with them.  We get so wrapped up in schooling our kids and running them around to various activities that we neglect a vital part of our homeschool, our own personal relationships.  She then talked about Keepers and how when her daughter was 8 she started a group that turned into the most wonderful group far beyond anything she could have imagined.  Through the years these girls formed and strenghtened their friendships, as did the moms.  These were the Moms that were there for her when her husband had a heart attack.  They took care of her, prayed for her and with her, brought meals, stood vigil.  They were her tangible proof that God was right there beside her loving on her and helping her through an incredibly painful time.  When her husband had a second heart attack, those friends were right there again offering the same comfort and support.  In short, they were there for each other through all of lifes ups and downs, joys and sorrows and it all started through her forming a small Keepers group. 
As a new homeschooler amongst a bevy of friends who weren’t homeschooling, I was all over that!  I couldn’t wait for Emily to be old enough to start our own group.  Well, I blinked and when I opened my eyes after a split second, there she was, an eight year old. :)   We were now living in  Phoenix and I had met some people through Eastside but mainly they were moms of boys.  Not exactly the demographics I was hoping for.  
I prayed about starting a Keepers group and felt led to put some feelers out there.  I sent out an email to the support group to find moms of daughters in the approximate age range of 7+ to see if they were interested in 1.  a Mother/Daughter bookclub 2.  starting a Keepers group or 3.  Both.  I had a pretty decent response to the bookclub, a mediocre response to Keepers and a couple who were gung-ho for both.  My thoughts were to start with the bookclub and see where it progressed from there.  (as a side note, we’ve been meeting now for 4 straight years! :) ). 
God’s timing is always perfect whether we are aware of it or not.  Shortly after I sent out those emails I became pregnant with Jacob.  Most of you lived through my last pregnancy w/ Katherine (some of you lucky ones got to experience both Jacob and Katherine!) and know I get really, really, reallysick when I’m pregnant.  There was no way I could have started a Keepers group with all that was going on during my pregnancy.
I shelved the Keepers idea putting it aside but not entirely out of reach.   Our bookclub group in the meantime was doing really well.  The girls were making friends, I was adjusting to a newborn and all was good. 
Fast forward to Spring of 2007.  I started praying again about forming a Keepers group.  My 5 year old was now going to be 10 and I really wanted to give this a try.  I put out emails again through the two support groups, Eastside and Cornerstone, to see what the interest was in starting a Keepers group for girls ages 7+. 
Again I say that God’s timing is impeccable.  The response was incredible!  I had two separate informational meetings where the moms came, I explained about the program and what my hopes were for the group.  From those two meetings there would be over 20 girls participating!  I will be honest and say, that made me nervous! LOL  I had never started or led anything like this before.  It was all new territory and I knew I was going to be learning as we went along.  With all meetings held in my home, the majority of badge work being taught by me, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit intimidated. 
Through the whole process I prayed and turned our group over to the Lord.  I told Him, this is not MY group, it’s Your group.  I prayed that He would put the girls in our group together in only the way He can.  I was nervous with that large number but if that was what God wanted, I was willing to go along with it.  Within a couple of days of turning everything over in prayer about half of the people interested decided to start their own group.  They all lived further north and thought it would be better that way. 
There was a part of me that was disappointed as these were great moms and girls that I would have loved to have gotten to know better but another part of me sighed a big sigh of relief and said a huge "thank you Lord!"  ;)
When our group first gathered it was special from the begining.  The girls are all just incredible kids.  I was blessed our first year and blessed again our past year and I’m expecting to be blessed some more this coming year.
As we prepare for our next year and are planning on coming together to discuss what we’re doing, I’m again in prayer that the Lord will bless us beyond belief this year.  My prayer is that friendships with the girls will blossom as well as the friendships between the moms.  I know some of you are pretty close, it’s my hope that everyone will feel that same closeness.  That this group is a group of moms you can call on if you need anything, from a soup recipe to a shoulder to cry on.  For encouraging words when our homeschool days get long and you swear the kids are using their knowledge of world history to form a coup as well as a sympathetic ear to listen as we all begin to enter new stages of motherhood as our kids enter the exciting yet challenging years of adolescence. 
It is exciting to see what has become of that little spark of excitement I had so many years ago when I sat in the basement of Fairhaven Church in Dayton, Ohio listening to a mom talk.  I fully believe that our group has been carefully knit together and I’m excited to see what all God has in store for us through the years.
That’s the story of how this group came to be.  Through a testimony and lots of prayer and waiting on God’s perfect timing.  Those are the best ingredients to any new beginning, lots of prayer and patience waiting for it all to fall into place according to His plans. :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sign Language

Suzanne led our last meeting of the month, Sign Language.  What a fun and informative meeting.  Suzanne worked as an Audiologist before kids and had studied sign language for many years.  She did an awesome job teaching all of us not only the history of sign language but how to sign John 3:16, Jesus Loves Me and we all learned the alphabet.  What has been so cool is since our meeting we have witnessed sign language on several occasions now out in the real world.  Such a beautiful language.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Tonight Jeni taught the girls how to make miniature scenes out of clay.  Again, I wasn’t there for the night and if anyone wants to add what happened, please do so!  :)
Jen graciously sent me a couple of pictures from Elizabeth’s project.  Thanks Jen and  Elizabeth. :)   I also have a picture of Anna’s creation with the extra clay.
Thanks Jenni for hosting.  The girls had a lot of fun creating w/ clay.

Elizabeth’s creation at the meeting

Elizabeth’s Solar System

Anna’s Village

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Latch Hook

Here are pictures from our night of latch hooking.  Since I wasn’t able to stick around, I can’t share any more details than these pictures.  Anyone who was there want to add anything?  Please do so!

Singing our hymn for the month

Working by candlelight, like Laura Ingalls Wilder
More Pics!