Homeschool Conference!!!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

ABC Fun!



Play dough can be tons of fun...but if you want fun and a yummy treat at the same time, just whip up some bread dough and let the kids go for it! A couple weeks ago we decided to get a little crazy and we "made" the ABC's come to life! As long as you are okay with flour covering every surface in your kitchen, covering all your kiddos and mostly likely yourself ~ then this is the project for you!





Okay this was a funny day...we were doing the letter Mm, we usually make some kind of snack for the letter of our day and we decided to make some scrumptious Chocolate Mousse. Well to make it a little more exciting we turned the Mousse into a Moose! The kids just laughed and laughed.

Then we read the crazy little story of IF YOU GIVE A MOOSE A MUFFIN.

Pretty fun Mm day!


Too bad I couldn't download another photo for you...Today was all about Princesses and Pirates (the pirate photo is somehow missing) ~ with that little tidbit of information, I'm sure you can guess the letter of the day!

Our little one thought that a Pillow fight was definately in store since Pillow does start with a Pp!

Our house is never boring or dull!!!!

One of the greatest things about the letter P is that we could spend the whole day just hanging out "pretending" and it was great! Oh the imaginations we have...what a life!

Well look at the time...I really must go now. My family will be wishing to eat tonight and that would be my job...so until later!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Friends....

I am truly blessed with the greatest friends! How did I get so lucky?
Friends I get to talk to all the time, some I talk to just every once in a while, some that I haven't seen in forever ~ but it's just like old times when we see one another again. Some that I see just every once in a while, but wish I could see so much more!

The last couple of days I've been able to see a couple of special people in my life ~ and with a couple of others, I am lucky enough to get to visit on the phone with them almost daily and we can just find a million things to talk about still ~ amazing!

There are those friends that I love to talk with, but it happens a little more infrequently, but that doesn't change the fact that we can go on and on ~ amazing again!

One of my happy moments this week ~ I was able to go visit one friend and spend some time talking about being a mom...the joys and the struggles that it brings. She was so worried about potty-training her little guy and she just needed a friend to tell her don't worry, when he's ready it will be smooth sailing. No pressure, just love 'em and hold 'em and rock 'em to sleep until they don't fit on your lap anymore (and even then, give it your best shot!) I loved spending time with her ~ she's a fairly new momma and I get to share with her things that are soooo special to me. There have been so many things we've shared back and forth and I love that, sometimes we get going and it can be two hours later when we finally look at the time! Betcha didn't know I could talk that much, huh? Well, if you know me, you know I can talk!

Tonight was another special moment in my week ~ I saw such a dear friend that I don't get to see too often. We used to share every early morning together for several years just talking and exercising and talking. Then she moved away and a piece of my heart went with her ~ but as we see one another again, our friendship still remains what it was ~ true and powerful.

Not only do I have some of the most special friends ever, I have also been richly blessed with many daughters and as they grow, we become such very "special friends". So many wonderful women in my life ~ my mother, my sister, my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law, my sweet cousins and all those who weren't "Born" into my world...but arrived here miraculously and perfectly at the time and place I most needed them and they most needed me.

Wow! Heavenly Father sure had it all together when He figured out who we'd need in this life ~ He knew we'd gain strength and joy from one another, that we'd lift the other, that we'd pat each other on the back and give the reassuring "great job, you are amazing", that we'd be one anothers greatest cheerleaders in the deepest moments of doubt we sometimes find ourselves in. That we would need to laugh and cry together and bounce ideas back and forth. He just knew what we'd need and He gave us each other!

Okay stop, you have to read this next line, but then close your eyes and really see it...
"A friend in kindergarten is the one who sat next to you and let you have the pretty red crayon, when only the ugly black one was left." Can't you just picture that...go ahead, close your eyes, it's soooo beautiful and real...what you are seeing is just the kind of fabulous true friends I have in my life...Hooray for me!

If we could all just strive to give away that pretty red crayon, what a magnificent world this would be!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Confessions of a sugar/choc-a-holic

Okay so I said I would tell on myself and now I must confess!

I had been so perfect - not a lick of sugar or chocolate, until my little girls waved the unthinkable in front of my eyes! No it was not chocolate, it was really such a silly thing, but I simply could not help myself...before I knew it I was deep in the moment of enjoying the most delicious red hot cinnamon lips, yes I know it's crazy, cinnamon hot lips were the culprit, you'd think it would have been a decadent piece of dove chocolate or something as equally tempting, but no, it was Cinnamon Hot Lips! (I'm actually afraid to admit that I think it might have been worth it, at least right at that moment!)

Since my "Hot Lips moment," I have splurged a couple more times, but starting tomorrow, I WILL BE PERFECT AGAIN!

Just have to remember my favorite phrase ~ Will this taste better than Skinny Looks???

Anyway, off to another new start...so glad I have this whole life to continue working on myself...hopefully someday I will accomplish all of these great goals I set!

I have my plan in place for the next time: I will run the other way when my little ones offer me such a yummy treat or maybe, just maybe, I'll enjoy the moment and savor those tasty little hot lips and then give myself another chance the next day. Hmmm...all these incredible choices! But we only live once and the smile on their little faces as we pretended those Hot lips were really our own was priceless ~ just can't miss out on those memories.

Have a fabulous Monday ~ and if you need a lift to your day, go grab some Cinnamon Hot Lips, they will bring a smile across your face!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

4-H and Scouting...They are taking over my life!!!

So...I am really not an "outside girl" in the sense of horses and cows and dirt and horse poop and slopping through the mud! But my life has really become such! How did this happen??? I guess it all started with becoming a mother ~ and what does a mother do? Well, she lives her life to please others, right? Right! Okay, well at least to do her best to please her flock of little ones (and in my case, all of my big ones as they are towering over me more and more each day!)

So our girls all love horses! I guess that is where my life started to change...we now own horse property and have horses. With horses comes smelly horse poop and hay and tack and all the stuff I really do not know a thing about!

My days are filled with watching kids ride in the arena, seeing muddy boots lining my front porch, driving our daughter to competitions, holding my nose around all the stinky horses and smiling when I'm sure they are about to die right before my eyes as in horror I witness our daughter flying through the air with the horse plunging into the fence!!! She gets up from the whole episode and says to me, "Mom, I'm just fine, he didn't really try to throw me, I just fell off!" Ha! I may not know horses, but I'm pretty sure I can tell the difference between flying and falling... I'm really not sure I'm cut out for this whole horse world, but I'm the mom, so I'll just buck up or maybe I should say "cowboy up" and smile my best smile!
Just last Saturday, another competition...Horse Bowl ~ best way I can think of to describe it is Horse Trivia ~ ya gotta know all there is to know about anything and everything relating to a horse...she did fantastic!!! Her team took 1st and she took 2nd overall as an individual!!! Whoo Hoo!!

(side note: one very interesting thing I've learned, I absolutely will never understand this, but I have come to know for a fact that "horse people" actually think horse poop smells good!...Crazy, I will never get it, but it is so true, I am the minority when I hold my nose in complete disgust as they leave their humongous smelly droppings everywhere!) Weird, huh!?
And then with all my boys comes "Scouting world!"
This one is a little easier on my heart (I don't have to worry quite so much as I do with the horses!) For 5 years, I was the Webelos leader...(cub scouting term for those who don't have a clue what I am talking about!) What an experience that was! Love all those boys~ now all the young ones I worked with are out on crazy campouts in the snow! Who on earth would want to venture out in the snow for two days camping??? Seems like the most insane plan ever ~ but the boys all love it!
Here's a picture of my 3 oldest "boys" after their fun on Klondike playing in the snow!


Just before Klondike, our two younger boys received advancements in scouting...the oldest of the two earned his Webelos, Arrow of Light and the Super W Badge! He worked so hard to earn all of this ~ what a happy night for him. The younger of the two, earned his Wolf badge and is moving up to be a Bear. Hooray for them...scouting really is such a fabulous experience for our boys and I am grateful for the time they spend learning skills that will help them in life.


My boys are the super cute ones :)

The little guy posting the red and white flag (troop flag) and the one in the center, hands in pocket are mine! Hard to see 'em, but they are cutie pies! The bridge you can see behind with the arrow of light atop is what our oldest here crossed over to move up to Boy Scouts from Cub Scouts. Happy day for him!
:o) Well, now I think I'll play some barbies with my little girls and take a little break from the bigger things in life! Have a great night!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Word Struggles & Froggy Days

You just gotta love kids! And the things they come up with are the best...I think I laugh each and every day with all the random things that come from their little mouths!

I have been a mom for so long now - almost 25 years! If I think about the amount of time, I can start to feel very old, but when I'm in the thick of it all, not thinking about the fact that I have an adult daughter and little grandbabies, I actually feel very young still having all these little ones running around! The only drawback to having kiddos for such a long time...I am not quite as lively and quick as I used to be, but the good side is I think I really treasure my time with them and don't take it for granted ~ knowing just how fast it will go.

I just have to write about a couple of cute things that were said this past week - if I don't I will surely forget (must be that getting old thing!)

Our youngest woke up a few days ago, looked out the window and yelled, "Wow, it sure is froggy outside today! I need a knife!" Hmmm, why would she need a knife? Couldn't figure it out on my own, so I asked, "Why do you need a knife?" Her response, "Well, so I can cut through the fog, of course!" Oh well, of course that is why a little girl would need a knife on a foggy day!!! So we promptly got dressed, coats and boots on and headed out the door with a knife in hand!

The other funny thing that happened - our next little girl has been working on word searches - she had been working on one about Egypt and was just about finished but had to run out to play for a little break. When she came back in, I had put away the papers that were on the counter (her word search was included). She's looking all over for her paper and finally found me in the other room and asked, "Mom, I have looked everywhere, do you know where my word struggle is at?" How I laughed, I guess that must be how she really "feels" about them!

Love it!!!

Creating...What a Joy!

What makes you feel alive?
For me, "feeling alive" comes through "creating!" It comes from doing, not from watching...
I love this message and hope you'll enjoy it!
Create (just click for a wonderful message!) :0)

Have a beautiful day and take a little time to create whatever your heart may desire!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Apron


Well, here it is...I have to say it would probably look better on a skinny model...but I'll just have to do!

Love it - because it's all about having fun with school time!

Since that's my life each day I thought I should have a fabulous apron to wear around carrying all the essentials of my "job"...glue, scissors, tape, crayons, pencils, colored pencils, happy face & star stickers...ya' know ~ kid stuff!

The ABC's are so fun in all the colors and then the pocket looking like rulers - perfect! And you gotta love the yellow polka dots...just makes you happy to look at it! And that's why I'll wear it each day, it'll make me smile and my kids just won't be able to not smile (maybe they'll be laughing, but I'll just take it as a smile!) Yep, I'm a little crazy, but so are they!!!

Pillow Case Dresses and Patchwork Jumpers

Okay...I have to show off for a minute...don't look too close if you are good at all this sewing stuff ~ I am not! But, I do enjoy myself! I was lucky enough to have spent some time recently making four dresses each for my two littlest girls.
And wow do they look cute on...
The best thing about all of this is that I could do it ~ The Pillow Case dresses were fast and they sure turned out cute. I added buttons to some of them with little butterflies & ladybugs. The girls chose the ribbon they loved for "shoulders", so they were "custom made" for each little one! Just slip a little turtleneck under and voila - You've got a whole dress!

Now, the patchwork one was a little more work, a little confusing at times (but remember I know so very little about this sewing world!), but I learned a lot and had so much fun putting it all together.
And I must say they are perfect and such a great thing for Valentine's Day...what little girl couldn't be happy wearing this around??? Pink, red, hearts, flowers...just the best! Should have made myself one (but that would have taken up way too many charm squares!)
~ Speaking of charm squares ~
Had to show you a little bit of a close up on this one. The charm squares that these are made from are simply adorable!!! You can have some, too ~ just go check out my friend's blog and it will direct you to her store. She runs her store out of her home and has the most beautiful fabrics I have ever seen...take a minute and check it out...I promise it's worth it!



The downside of all of this sewing for the little girls is that my boys wondered what I'd made for them. Our youngest said to me, "Well, Mom didn't you make me a shirt or something, if you can make dresses, you can make anything!?"
Uh, oh! Don't think I can tackle that one. But I am thrilled that he thinks I can!
Soon, I'll show you the fabulous apron I just finished! It's soooooo perfect for me...when you see it, you'll know why...




Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Traveling in a Home School World

Well, I'm up waiting for one of our sons to return from a night of Basketball, so thought I might as well do something fun!!!

I know...How about I share some of our recent travels - they are fabulous! Last week we spent the week in China...
And for the last couple of days we've been visiting Egypt, we plan to spend another day or so, and then we'll be on our way to Kenya!
How can a family our size possibly afford to get to these incredible destinations??? Well, it's easy! After looking at the globe and wall maps, we decided we couldn't walk there, we couldn't drive, we didn't have a boat that would probably make it the whole way, the only airplanes we have don't actually fly (except for the paper airplanes we make), so it looked like the only possible way to get there was to get out our MAGIC CARPETS and hang on tight!

What a ride - as we were flying over the United States we waved at those below us, we saw the Statue of Liberty and asked her how she was doing that day, then came the ocean...wow, the excitement came - there were sharks and dolphins, a killer whale and my personal favorite, the girls saw mermaids, that's right, they are real, very, very real! And if you don't believe it, I'm quite sure they could convince you! Finally, after waving at everything possible on our ride, we made it to China. Our first stop was to see the Giant Panda Bears. What a treat - we saw tiny little babies, we saw momma's eating bamboo and we looked at all the hiding spots they would have to live in. We were lucky enough to see The Chinese New Year Celebrations and even made our very own Chinese New Year Lanterns! We learned about how special dragons are and saw a Dragon Parade! The Great Wall was an amazing site and we talked and talked about how some of us were just sure they could climb right over the top - no problem (yep, it was the boys!) The fields of rice were so beautiful - an incredible thing to imagine - what hard workers the Chinese people have been. We saw lots of Chinese Children and we learned to write their letters, numbers and even a few words ~ their writing is actually a form of art called Calligraphy (so beautiful, but we all decided it's much easier to write the ABC's & 123's). We read lots of books and imagined ourselves on a boat in the middle of the Yangtze River. Just before we traveled back home we all enjoyed a feast of Chinese food using our chop sticks! Dad and a couple of the boys didn't love the Chinese food we made - but the girls all loved it! And the fortune cookies were a hit for all!
Our favorite books about China: The Story about Ping, We Live in China, Dragon Parade, and The Secret World of Pandas.


You'd think we'd be tired after our travels to China, but we were all ready for the next adventure...this time off to Egypt! Our magic carpets kicked up a storm of sand as were landing next to the Pyramids and The Sphinx, but what a site we saw! We decided we ought to try our hand at building our very own pyramids - we made them from building blocks, those were great fun and then ended with ones that couldn't be destroyed at the hands of an awnry brother just waiting to torment another -- so origami pyramids were last. Shortly after that we saw a Pharaoh or two, maybe even three, and then tried our hand at mummifying them...guess I don't need to tell you that we'll be using toilet paper from the sacks filled with mummy wrap for the next month!
But they sure had fun!
OH, how could I have forgotten to tell you about the incredible and somewhat terrifying animals that we found in Egypt. Well, we all know that the Nile River flows through Egypt and it is the largest river in all the world. In the Nile are a couple of animals we want to stay far, far away from...We learned that we probably don't really want a Hippo for Christmas - they are a touch crabby, not near as cute as we had thought beforehand! And watch out for those crocodiles and snakes. We did love looking at those camels though and wondered how it might feel to ride a top one of them! Tomorrow will be a papyrus making day and then we'll be ending our trip and coming back home on our Magic carpets just after we enjoy a tasty meal of Falafels, fresh fruit and a handful of other Mediterranean dishes.
What a ride Homeschooling is! So glad we don't have to just hang around a classroom all day long! Oh, the fun you can have with just a little imagination and a crazy mom!

FOOD!

So my thoughts today are on food -- honestly I think my thoughts are too frequently on food, which is probably the reason I am putting myself to the ultimate test of will power!
I have begun this diet of mine (yes, it should have started January 1st!) but, I'm a little slow, so for me it was February 1st! Besides, who wants to be just like everyone else. The whole world starts a diet or makes incredible changes to their lives on the 1st of January each year. The difference between them and me is that by now, they've mostly forgotten those great goals, they've gone by the wayside and more important things have now taken their place.
I, on the other hand, have "planned" for an entire extra month how I WILL BE SUCCESSFUL! First and foremost for me ~ NO Sugar! This is not only great for losing weight, it is essential to feeling great and I know this, so why do I always fall back into the same routine? Why can't I remember that when I am being so good, that I am rewarded.
Rewarded how? you ask...well, let me tell you ~ the rewards can be endless!
When I am deep in the middle of an intense lifestyle change, yes a diet, every bite that goes into my mouth is savored, well thought out, "is this really, really worth it?", "is this what I want to spend my calories on today?", "is this going to taste better than skinny looks?" (that's my favorite one!)
each item of food eaten is pre-meditated and therefore thoroughly enjoyed, it has to be because there is only so much one can enjoy in a day!
Back to the reward...Sorry I often ramble...The very best example of a taste of heaven that I can think of is an apple or an orange. Yes, it really can be, simple as it may sound! They are just not the same if you are eating sugar and all that "the processed world of food" lays before our eyes. But, things are so very different when you are eating whole foods ~ an incredible thing takes place when you prepare to take a bite of that golden apple or that juicy ripe orange ~ you know that it will be the most divine thing you'll taste in your entire day and because of that it is a special moment! Have you ever bitten into a juicy orange and had that mouth-watering experience of complete and total satisfaction with your food? If not, take out all the junk that you eat and you will also be able to enjoy this fabulous experience! And you'll feel better for it, too!
The reward in all of this is that I can finally see (or taste, as is the case) the wonderful things that are available to me, that were created for me to enjoy. There is more to this reward coming, so stay with me...back to thoughts on food! Sounds a little like I have a romance with food, but don't we all? Well, romance in any relationship, including food does need some occasional nurturing, some zing, something a little extra special now and then and that is where I will answer the question for those of you who know me all too well...
you might have been wondering about my secret stash...chocolate...hmmm, this is a very hard one to forego, but I can do anything for a certain period of time and then I will once again indulge in the ultimate chocolate experience. I would be telling a lie to myself and to you if I were to say that I would NEVER again eat chocolate, because there are just some days that it is required! (but a good thing to remember, dark chocolate has very, very little sugar - and I even have to believe it is good for us - if it can make me "feel as good as it does somedays", then it's just gotta be good for me, right? right!)
Okay, coming back again...Just as flowers and a perfect "girlie movie" are a fabulous addition in your romantic life with your special someone, so is chocolate an essential part of that romantic relationship with food! But if I can remember to treat it as it should be ~ a "treat", something special, I will savor and truly love my experience in a whole new light!
Okay ~Back to the reward part...in no time at all ~ I feel like a new person, I have a renewed energy when I put the right things into my body, I like what I see when I look in the mirror, I no longer have to lay down on my bed-suck it all in-and then quickly zip up that zipper (I know you've had to do it too!) It's just the worst, well, I never want to have to do that again! Actually the worst, is when your dear husband walks in on you while you are attempting to dress your voluptuous body and bursts into laughter at how you have to put yourself into those jeans that just don't fit quite the same way anymore! (Yes, that has unfortunately happened here!)
I can be the greatest mom when I am fit because I can run with my kids, I can climb to the top of the mountain with them, I can put on a swimming suit and not want to hide in the corner! I can do anything!!!
And because I can do anything and I believe this of myself, I can do this diet and I can go without sugar for the next 8 weeks and be happy about it! I'll keep you posted on how I've done, if I fudge (AND I WON'T), but if it happens, again I won't! I will be sure to tell on myself!

So onto a life of great health...remember food is not everything, society places far too much emphasis on eating -- do you feel that everything you go to is centered around food and not just food, but vast amounts of the most fattening appetizers, most enticing desserts, taste bud tantalizing goodies and richly scrumptious dishes. We really don't need all of this - let's keep it for the special moments in our lives, not each and every day - because then the sweetness of that wonderful relationship with food is not treasured as it should be.

Well enough of my ramblings ~ I think I'll go have an orange ~ can't wait!!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Courage, Determination, Dreams

What this power is I cannot say: all I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in that state of mind in which he knows exactly what he wants and is fully determined not to quit until he finds it. Alexander Graham Bell

Don't let go of your dreams. If you have determination and belief in your dreams, you will succeed in spite of your desire to let go. Catherine Pulsifer

So long as there is breath in me, that long I will persist. For now I know one of the greatest principles on success; if I persist long enough I will win. Og Mandino

If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed. David Viscott

The significant problems we face in life can not be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. Albert Einstein

Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try! Dr. Suess

Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Man is not the creature of circumstances, circumstances are the creatures of man. We are free agents, and man is more powerful than matter. Benjamin Disraeli

How small a portion of our life it is that we really enjoy! In youth we are looking forward to things that are to come; in old age we are looking backward to things that are gone past; in manhood, although we appear indeed to be more occupied in things that are present, yet even that is too often absorbed in vague determination to be vastly happy on some future day when we have time. Colton

I've spent some time pondering dreams, life, reality, determination, desire, happiness...
Each of these quotes in some way is meaningful to me, some are a wake up call, some just cause me to smile, some make me squirm in my moment of life.
Do I have the courage, the determination, the belief in myself to be who I am becoming? Do I like who I am becoming? Possibly more important, but not necessarily, do those around me like who I have become? So who is more important, myself or others? Do I stop trying to please all those around me, if it is in fact, a sacrifice of happiness for myself? Do I worry about what others feel about me if I am doing the very best I can in this life? Or do I just come to the resolve that some people will love us for who we are and others will not no matter the great lengths we may go to, to accomplish such a seemingly impossible task. Sorry for my dumping moment, but I think I've always had a deep desire for pleasing others, to make sure everyone in "my world" or close proximity to, is happy, content or at least at peace. What I've found is that sometimes the harder we try, the less some people will "like us" ~ unfortunately, the some people I'm referring to can be the ones that might surprise us the most, people we thought were our friends, sometimes our family members, sometimes maybe even ourselves...
Today was a moment of reflection for me...I can think when I write, I can make sense of my feelings when they become words in front of me. I can take a good hard look at myself and guess what I've found today ~ I am Happy with who I'm becoming. I'd rather love those around me and try to lift the heart of another and sometimes have mine a little shattered and broken, than to stifle the person inside me and pretend to be what I am not.
So I'll go back to some of the quotes that I love and I'll end with one that makes me smile from deep inside...my goal would be to someday be one of these souls ~
"There are souls in this world which have their gift of finding joy everywhere and of leaving it behind them when they go." Frederick William Faber