Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Carder Homeschool

Wow! I can't believe it's the middle of November and Christmas is just around the corner!! cRaZy. It's been a busy and fun fall for us and I hope for you all too. I've been meaning to update with my "How homeschool is going" blog since I said last time that that was the next post coming. Soooo, this will be my update on how homeschool is going for the Carder Family. I know you are so excited! Rrriiiight. Ok, I'm giving you all a heads-up so the few of you who care about this can keep reading and the rest of you who don't can check out now. :)

Since we started school in September I've had several conversations with people asking about how homeschool is going, about our daily schedule, what curriculums we use, etc. I also SO appreciate the prayers that are being lifted up on our behalf in the area of homeschool. I know there are many sweet friends that have been and continue to pray about this with us and for us and it means so much to me! Thank you!! So I thought I would do a little post and share what our day looks like, what curriculums we chose, etc. I know I learn so much from talking to others, sharing ideas, reading books and blogs, and so on that I thought since several have asked I would share what we are doing.

First off, let me just say that what I post here is going to be what I WANT my ideal day to look like, NOT what everyday REALLY looks like for us. Some days it comes close and other days we have a long way to go. We are on a journey here just like so many of you to teach and train our children to walk confidently in who God created them to be and to know they are deeply loved by the Almighty and because He loved us first and gave us his best, we want to give our best and love others too. Not everyday do we do this well. Not everyday does it look like it should. There are a lot of days my attitude is ugly, I'm impatient with my girls, I forget what my priorities are and get distracted by things that don't matter. But His mercies are new every morning and his grace is a deep well that never runs dry. He is so patient and continues to give me strength and wisdom as there are many days I just feel overwhelmed and wonder what I'm even doing and if any of this is taking root. Please tell me I'm not the only one who feels this way?? All I have to say is that I pray...alot! :)

With that being said, here is what our day looks like...for now.

8:00 Girls wake up, brush teeth, brush hair, make their beds, get dressed (No, we do not do homeschool in our pj's...sure is tempting though. :) )

8:30 Eat breakfast and do our Bible study/Blessing
We read from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (the one for kids) which is a short devo for each day and then read 2-3 scriptures that relate. We also read a bible story for the day. We just went through The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm and it is so good. Many mornings I get a little choked up reading it to the girls, it is very sweet. Another good one that we just started is The Jesus Storybook Bible and it is amazing! I am loving it! After our Bible reading we do our Blessing. Each day we try to give Eva and Ella a spoken blessing. A few years ago we read a book called The Power of Spoken Blessings by Bill Gothard about the importance of giving spoken blessings to people, loved ones and enemies alike and the power that the Word of God has when spoken into someone's life. It's an excellent book!  Another small but great book on this too is Mark Batterson's book Praying Circles Around your Children. So each day we give a blessing starting by holding their hand then reminding them of who they are, give a word of encouragement and then speak a promise or virtue from scripture that we want for them. Soooo sweet and one of the most important things we could possibly do each day. I'm telling you that there have been moments when I have seen immediate change come over them after receiving a blessing. It is  amazing when you speak the Word of God and the power it has to change, heal and restore. What's even sweeter is watching Eva and Ella give a blessing to each other or to one of us. We have made giving a blessing as part of their chore chart (this doesn't always happen everyday...remember I said earlier that I WANT this to happen every day :) ) and it is precious watching them hold each other's hand and say the sweetest things to each other. Think what a better world we would all live in if we were good at giving each other spoken blessings daily!

9:00 We have our worship/calendar time.
We usually learn a new worship song that goes with what we're learning for the week and do our scripture work. We learn a new memory verse every week and a character trait that goes along with our curriculum. Then we have a time of prayer and blessing for people and countries close to our heart and around the world. Ok, this is one of our favorite parts of the morning! We use a resource called Operation World. If you have never heard of this you have got to check it out! We use the website at but there is also a book, which we don't have. We use their online prayer calendar and everyday we pray for a different country and circle it on our map. Our goal is to pray for every country in the world this year! This website is amazing! It gives you prayer needs for every country in the world, the names of every unreached people group and sometimes a prayer video to watch. We love the videos, they are incredible! There are just so many things I love about Operation World, their website is a treasure if you want to learn more about our world and how to pray for it. Great resources there too with articles etc. I want my girls to know that there are people all over the world who don't know about the name of Jesus and there are many places we will never get to go and some we will BUT there is always something we can do and that is PRAY! I'm telling you there is nothing sweeter than listening to your children pray for places like Namibia, Peru and Sri Lanka and hearing them petition the Father for the churches to grow, for protection and peace over their people and that they would hear the name of Jesus. Oh my word! Many days I am in tears, at first they would look at me like I was crazy but now I think they are used to the tears. :) Their prayers are the sweetest things and I know they are to the Lord as well. I could go on and on.

The rest of this time is spent doing the calendar which involves the usual you know, days of the week, months (Macarena Months actually...we learn the months of the year dancing the Macarena, I hope no one ever gets this on video) colors, patterns, weather and graphing, counting/skip counting/number work, 100's chart, write/make the date with money, tally marks, telling time, review of sight words, phonics songs (we've got one called Who let the A out? to the tune of Who let the Dogs Out...I know, awesome right? You know me and my music. At least it's not Snoop Dog) and review of different math concepts from our math curriculum etc. Lots of fun!

9:30 Math
I am using a curriculum called Horizons and I really love it. It's easy to follow, easy to teach and the pages are colorful and fun for Eva. Fun for me too because I despise Math. I mean let's remember that I graduated high school with geometry and had a tutor. Yikes! I am not your math wizard here. Good thing it's only kindergarten! Lord help us in First Grade...kidding but not really. :/ We also cover alot of math during Calendar time so the math lesson itself usually doesn't take very long. Sometimes we do 2 lessons a day.

10:00 Language Arts

For teaching reading I'm using a book called Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, using BOB books for some easy readers/guided reading practice as well as some other Letter books I had and phonics supplements. I use our memory verse for the week and the worship song we learn to pull sight words from or a reading skill to focus on so we usually do 3-4 sight words a week and at the end of the week I give Eva a copy of the scripture and she illustrates it, circles her sight words, practices writing them and adds it to her scripture folder for continued practice. She also colors a copy of our Letter Book, circles words she knows and adds it to her own bag of books that she has made for continued reading practice. We also just try to add in as many read-alouds as we can and some days we are better at this than others.

10:30 Curriculums and Activities

Overall, I have been very pleased with the curriculums we chose for kindergarten this year. I kind of pieced together what we are using by borrowing some, purchasing some and using some things I had from when I taught kindergarten. For our core curriculum we are using My Father's World. It is very fun and has a lot of hands-on things to do, science experiments, crafts, good book suggestions and I love the biblical base it has and the incorporation of scripture and character traits. However, I don't love the way they do their math or reading so I am using something different for those subjects as I mentioned above. So during this time we do our daily lesson from My Father's World, read books that go with our letter of the week and theme, do science experiments or crafts. Just a fun hands-on, crafty time. :)

11:00 Writing

I'll be honest, we don't always get to writing like I plan to. We incorporate it alot with other things but as far as a focused writing time I haven't been good on following through with that. So, we sometimes read a book and Eva writes a response in her journal or we may do a craft and she writes something to go with it. Hope to get better about this one. I also purchased a curriculum called A Reason for Handwriting more for handwriting practice but we have yet to use it. :) I love that they basically teach children good handwriting by having them learn to copy scripture. So sweet! We are using some other things for handwriting practice right now but I'm hoping to start using this as well.

11:30 Lunch and we're done with school!

So that's pretty much it! We are having a blast folks! Seriously, it is a very sweet time and we are really enjoying our time together, I wouldn't trade it. Right now we are not doing much outside of homeschool in the mornings. We aren't part of a co-op or any classes. I decided that this first semester we needed to really just focus on getting a rhythm and figuring out what works for us and then we can start adding some things back in like gymnastics, soccer etc. We are plenty busy as it is and have a good time going on little field trips with a group of other homeschool families, meeting up with friends, playdates and just playing around the house. Eva and Ella are doing great and it has been a good transition so far. It truly is a blessing and even though I never would've pictured that we would be doing this I can see the fruit already that comes with obedience to what the Lord has called you to. So sweet and humbling!

Anyway, there you have it. All is well at the Carder house and we're so thankful. Blessings to each of you!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Recovery from surgery and Ella's 4th Birthday

It's been about 3 weeks since Ella's tummy surgery and I hope you know how thankful we are for all the prayers, encouragement, cards, texts, meals and all the ways our precious friends and family have taken care of us! We have the best family and friends, it is so special and we are very thankful for each of you.

Ella is doing great!! She has just bounced back like you wouldn't believe. We spent 3days in the hospital and then once we came home she was back to her normal self on day 5. Amazing! Children are so resilient. Thank you Lord! As far as surgery details, we are so pleased with the results. Her surgeon was able to do everything he had hoped and it all went so well. They were able to fully close Ella's muscles and make her a little bellybutton! :) Pretty amazing! So now she has a nice flat little tummy and a cute bellybutton. Her incision is pretty large and she is still getting used to the "new look" but every week the incision and her emotions about it all get better and better. I will post before and after pics at some point, just not ready to do that yet. :)
Sweet Eva took very good care of Ella. Love these two!
Gettin' the little patient up and walking!

Ella loved having visitors at the hospital, made her feel so special! She was especially happy when Daddy was close by!
There was never a dull moment with Cc. He kept her laughing!

We are just so thankful that it is behind us and that she is recovering so well. I think what has been harder than anything with this surgery is handling the emotional side of things with Ella. She is old enough to kind of understand what happened and knows that her tummy looks different now. It has been hard trying to explain the whys and hows and what it all means. The first week there were alot of tears from both of us about it all. She was very upset about the huge, scary scar on her tummy and didn't understand why her tummy didn't look like Eva's. :( Oh my! Wasn't prepared for that! Not at the age of 4, maybe later but didn't expect all of this now. It wasn't what she was expecting and I didn't really know how to prepare her for what her new tummy would look like because I didn't know what they would be able to do so it was really hard at first but now things are MUCH better! We prayed ALOT for her and with her and got great advice from friends and family about how to talk to her which was a huge blessing. She feels better about it and since it's been 3 weeks and it has changed so much already I think it's helping her understand that it's just going to keep getting better. Sweet Angel! Anyway, this should be the last surgery for her tummy so we're glad about that. I don't think, however, that this will be her last surgery but God is so faithful and has always walked with us as we handle each struggle with Ella so I choose not to think about possible future surgeries that are occasionally thrown around. We are just enjoying our amazing, healthy, and sweet little girl and my heart is beyond thankful when I look at her everyday at how far the Lord has brought all of us. There are hardly words to describe it.
Ella looooved painting and going on wagon rides to the playroom to play.
All of her masterpieces
So thankful that Cc and Dee were here to be with us!
Picture before loading up to go home. We all look a taaaddd bit crazy do we not? That's what staying in the hospital does to you! Makes you CrAzY!

So, speaking of how far God has brought us, how is this girl FOUR YEARS OLD?!!! My baby is four and she is just precious.

This girl is so happy, confident, sweet, thoughtful, smart, prayerful, giving, and compassionate. She is just so fun! She wanted a Rapunzel birthday party so that's what we did! She just wanted it to be family and her sweet friend Reagan so we had a great, small little 4th birthday for Ella. Precious! We are so proud of Ella and are humbled and excited as we watch the Lord create her into who He purposed her to be.
Ella with Mimi and Pawpaw

The ever popular silly face picture with Reagan

The girls got roller skates from my parents...all I can say is wow. Hysterical I tell you. Don't you love Minnie Mouse aka Ella in her giant skates? Awesome.
Word to the wise, try to take family birthday pictures before you give your kids ring pops. :) Cuts down on the blue and red teeth. I'll remember that next year.

Next post-first day of homeschool for the Carder fam and Ella's first day of pre-school. Good stuff!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Back from the Blogging Hiatus, Eva turns 6 and other news

Ridiculous. I can't believe it's been 7 months since I have written anything. I feel sorry for all of you for missing out on our exciting life. :) We've had a great year so far if you've been wondering! There is no way I'm going to try and play catch-up since February so we're going to just start here in August.

So, first off, last week our precious Eva turned 6! Whoa, I don't know how that happened but she is just the sweetest 6 year old ever. She is funny, compassionate, thoughtful, creative, caring, aware and so much more! She has really blossomed this year and I am so proud of her. Big things to note: she learned to ride a bike without training wheels several months ago, learned how to blow a bubble with bubblegum (something to be proud of folks), and learned to swim! She is so fun. And yes, another big thing is she will be starting kindergarten this year AND I will be her teacher! What the what?? We are going to homeschool and are super excited about it. More to come on that!

Anyway, back to Eva turning six. Just wanted to post a few pictures of her since it's been like half a year since you've seen her. She has wanted a roller skating party, oh, since her last birthday. So funny because she had only been skating ONCE prior to this but she was determined to have a roller skating party even though she really didn't know how to skate and really neither did anyone else at the party for that matter. Awesome. Soooo, it went as you can imagine. Just a bunch of little kids skating, sliding, falling, "skate/walking" around the rink. It really was so fun! But seriously, I am amazed that no one broke an arm or busted a tooth because they spent alot of time on their bottoms. And the venue was just a blast from the past. Just think back to your old roller skating rink days and there you have it, nothing has really changed which is GREAT! Transport that memory of listening to MC Hammer "Can't Touch This," and the smell of old, sweaty roller skates and you've got Eva's 6th Birthday at the roller rink. :)

My mom, sister and I made her cake

Love this picture!

The girls and Mimi

Aaannnd this is when everything went South. Eva burned her finger right when we were singing Happy Birthday. Classic.

Ol' Ella had to step in and blow out the candles because poor Eva was a little distraught.

But, she did recover and enjoyed the rest of the party so all turned out well.

Now to this crazy little skater. Talk about another fun, sweet and amazing little girl. Ella is one funny cat. She really was having a good time in this picture even though she looks miserable. :)I am amazed everyday at the blessings God has bestowed on me in Eva and Ella. Amazing I tell you. She thinks she is pretty big and wants to do all the big girl stuff that Eva does. She will turn 4 at the end of August which is just crazy to me! Ella is doing great. We have enjoyed just letting her be a little girl and do things like ballet, gymnastics, and just play. She isn't in anything therapy right now and is really just doing so well.

We would love your prayers for her though as next Friday, August 17 she will be having surgery. This is a surgery we have known she would need since she was born but just didn't know when it would be. And honestly this is a year earlier then we really expected the surgery to be but we feel good about it and are thankful that she is healthy enough to have it done now. So, she will be having abdominal surgery to fully close her muscles next week. If you remember when she was born they put her organs back in and were only able to cover them with skin and an artificial patch because they couldn't even get all the skin over everything or any muscle because the omphalocele was so large. This surgery they will go in and remove that patch and pull her ab muscles together over everything and hopefully if there is enough good skin this time they will create a bellybutton for her. Right now she kind of looks like she is pregnant because of the hernia so this surgery will help flatten her tummy out and provide that extra layer of protection over the organs that we all have. I'll post some before and afters ( you know how I love those) so you can see what I'm talking about. You can kind of see in the picture I've posted below how her tummy sticks out. So, this is big time for sweet Ella! Please be praying that all goes smoothly and the recovery is quick too. Her surgeon said she will be pretty sore for a couple of months and really will not need to be doing any big activity so I'm really not sure what to expect. We would just love your prayers once again for our precious Ella. Thank you for being her prayer warriors for the past almost 4 years! We'll keep you updated!

I'll leave you with this gem. We think this picture is hilarious! Why not "swim" in the tub? Ella has fun where ever she is! So great!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Good Reads

If you are like me and are always looking for a great book to read, boy, have I got some suggestions for you. I have read several really GREAT books lately so just had to share. They are each so, so good! I highly recommend them to everyone, young or old, single or married, with kids and without. They are encouraging, convicting, healing, insightful, hope-filled and make you want to draw closer to God and all that He has for you.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp- "A dare to live fully right where you are..." Soooo, good! I think I'm going to start reading it again even though I just finished it!

Twelve Clean Pages by Nika Maples
All I can say is WOW! You will have a hard time putting this one down. This is a memoir written by a friend of mine here in Fort Worth telling her story of suffering a paralyzing stroke at age 20 and how God has transformed and resurrected her life in the midst of trial. Unbelievable. You can get the book and learn more at or on her blog

One Million Arrows by Julie Ferwada-"Raising your children to change the World"
Looove this book! So encouraging and is a must read for everyone whether you have children or not. It gets to the heart of the mission which is our children's hearts and is a call to raise children with purpose and passion that will impact their communities and world for Christ. So, so, so good!

Without a Word by Jill Kelly
So good. A painful yet beautiful story and testimony of how only God's love can turn our grief into joy.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Catching up with the Carders...Again

Sooo, wow. October, November, December, January...I've got ALOT of catching up to do. Man, it has been fun, fast and crazy around here and lots of fun things have happened since my last post. I don't know why I can't get my act together and keep up because I really do want to. I'll add that to my goals for 2012-Be a better blogger!

Since I last posted obviously we've been through all the major holidays and that just overwhelms me to try and catch up with all of that so I'm not even going to try. So, I'm just going to do a cliff notes version of what's been going on with the Carders. You are welcome. :)

So, topic number 1) We moved into our October. Yes, it's February and I'm just now getting to this but oh well. We love our new/old house! We bought an older home and did some remodeling and we just absolutely love it! We are so thankful to be closer to work, church and family, it really has simplified our life in many ways. Here are some before and afters because you really have to see it to appreciate the difference. All I can say is get ready for LOTS of dark paneling!

Entry before

Entry after

dining/living before...don't you love the cut-out window? We thought about keeping it because it's like you have your very own drive-through window in your house. Eva and Ella thought it was super fun but our couch wouldn't fit in the living room so the drive-thru had to go. :)

dining/living after

kitchen, raise your hand if you love dark paneling. And is this not the most GINORMOUS overhead cabinet over the bar that you've ever seen?? I will answer for you and the answer is yes. Wowsers.

kitchen after...aaahhh, I feel like I can breathe. :)

There you have it. Come see us anytime!

2) Trip to Honduras

So, I feel really weird about showing before/after pictures of our house and then posting about this trip, just have to get that out there. I don't know what else to say besides I realize we are extremely blessed and because we are it is not for us to keep for ourselves but more for us to give to others. We are on a journey in this much like many of you and are praying for more trust in God to have open eyes and open palms to the world to be radically generous. We're working it out day by day and are learning everyday what it means to trust and say yes to God even when it's hard or doesn't make sense. Anyway, just had to acknowledge the wierdness and how convicting it is to post pictures of my house when just below are pictures of sweet ones that have nothing. I could go on and on but I'll leave it at that, I think you know what I'm saying. So, at the beginning of December Rick, Eva and I got to go to Honduras with an organization we love called Bread for a Hungry World. We spent a week there loving on the young and old, helping build houses and getting to see the amazing work that Bread for a Hungry World does day in and day out to help give those who have no voice a chance to speak, to give them dignity and show them they are important, loved and valued.

We were blessed beyond measure to see the lives that have been transformed and resurrected all because Jesus cares for the least of these and through Bread for a Hungry World people in Honduras are getting a chance to have a home, guaranteed food on their table, children given an education and their parents are given a dream come true by owning their own business through Bread's micro-lending program. Amazing, amazing, amazing I tell you! We cannot wait to go back to see and hug our sweet friends, young and old that we got to spend a week with.

We think of them and pray for them all the time and whether you agree with the benefit of short term missions or not, all I can say is that when I see and hear Eva, my five year old asking about the people who live in the trash and that she wants to save her money to buy pillows for the kids in Honduras who don't have them and now she has seen with her own eyes what it's like to not have a house or a bed and you take cold showers everyday if you even have a bathroom, I have to say it's worth it. I'm continuing to pray for Eva's compassion, heart and spirit and that this is just the beginning for her of a life lived for Jesus and one who will be obedient to serve those in her own city and in other countries.

3) The Reese's back from Thailand

Ann, Derran, Brynn, Meg and our newest nephew Dax came to visit from Thailand during December and January. We stepped off the plane from Honduras to meet this little guy who made it back from Thailand two days before us!

Dax was born in Phayao, Thailand so we could.not.wait to get our hands on him. It about put me over the edge not to be there for his birth so I was so, so, so excited to finally get to hold him and snuggle with him when they came to Texas. He is the most precious thing and we just had the best time. Ann and Derran left to go back to Thailand 2 days ago so we've been pretty sad around here this week but we cherish all the fun we had while they were here. We had lots of family and cousin time, trips, shopping, time with friends, lots of Taco Bueno and Sonic (of course)and Brynn, Meg, Eva and Ella loved every minute of their time together. They are all so different, funny and sweet and it is fun to watch their relationships not skip a beat even though they live thousands of miles apart.

Such sweet cousins!

Uncle Rick and handsome!

One of the many times we made cookies. I don't know if we ate more cookie dough or cookies. All I know is us Carders can do some damage on cookie dough, raw eggs do not scare us.

Crazy girls!
Needless to say, we had a wonderful time with the Reese's here and as usual it went by way too fast. I have way more pictures that I could post and somehow we did not get pictures of all of us adults but we had a fun time together too. :) We miss them so much already and can't wait until we can all be together again. You can keep up with them by going to my link to see and learn more about their lives in Thailand. More importantly I would just ask that you pray for them, their family and their work to build relationships and bring the love of Jesus to the people in Phayao, Thailand. They are doing an amazing work there and we're so proud of them and want to cover them in prayer by as many people as possible. We love you so much Ann, Derran, Brynn, Meg and Dax and are so, so proud of you and we miss you very much! Know that you are loved, loved, loved by us and so many here in the States!

4) More cousins and Family time
During the holidays we got to spend some good times with all of our cousins. On Rick's side of the family we got to see Caden, Emery and Adie. Eva and Ella ADORE these three and we are so thankful we got to spend some time together. They are so fun and Caden is about the funniest kid you've ever met! So sweet, polite and just flat out hilarious, the girls love their cousin Caden!

Caden and Emery

Eva and Emery...precious!

Oh my, these two are the cutest things! Ella and Adie are so funny together and Ella just adores cousin Adie! Just gonna go ahead and say that it was a crazy hair day for these two apparently. Love it!

All the cousins from my side of the family. So fun!

Here we all family with my parents, all of my sisters and brother and ALL of the kids minus Dax and Carisyn. Love this picture!

This is really more like it right? :)

We had a great time all getting together since it doesn't happen that often. So thankful for family and the blessing they are! Well, this post is probably long enough and I feel better about myself finally posting something. Gotta start somewhere right? More to come!