Homeschool Conference!!!

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

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

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Are you Happy???



This beautiful little sign is from Pinterest...I cannot take the credit for it.
How I wish it were in my home...I must create my own version!

I just have to say, I so completely agree with the premise that
"It is thankful people who are happy."  


We can all find things in the world to be worried about or ungrateful for;
unfair or unjust things in our lives abound!  
It's just part of this life...but that doesn't mean we should all lose hope and walk around hanging our heads and feeling mopey and sad like Eeyore.
.
If you wish to feel happiness surging through your body...
search for the many things you should be grateful for, it won't be hard, just open your eyes and your heart and look around...they are EVERYWHERE...
 and guess what ~
YOU Cannot Help But Feel Happy!!!
It just happens, 
give it a shot, you'll see I am right!


In no time at all you'll be doin' the Happy Dance in your kitchen  :0)




My hope is that during this week coming upon Thanksgiving that you will realize the beauty and wonders that abound in your life and that you will find deep joy in them.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends...(I am grateful and thankful for YOU!)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Defeated? Really???

For any of you who were concerned that I was not okay, or possibly losin' it...I'm GOOD!

Remember, I am too big of a brat to be defeated...a little beat down somedays...BUT NEVER DEFEATED!

Gotta go back to a quote that makes me giggle every time I read it.

"BE the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, the devil says, "OH CRAP, SHE'S UP!"

I will always strive to be just that woman...I will always stand for what is good and true...I will never be afraid to be who I am.  And most importantly I will be proud of who I am!

So, if you were worried, let it wash away.
I am still standing,
I am standing Tall
(well, as tall as I can get)
and I will keep getting back up when I have been knocked down,
YOU can count on it!!!

Wishing you a perfectly lovely day!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Seattle!

If all of our kiddos were grown, I'd be strongly considering spending a few months living here!

Chad and I had so much fun.  Granted it was only about 24 hours worth of fun in this amazing city...but I will take what I can get!

We arrived Friday evening and had dinner in the Space Needle...
the view--nothing short of breathtaking!
The spinning dining room gave a feeling I hadn't expected ~ but after a few minutes I was oriented and all was okay in my little world!

Looking out over the city, I was quite sure I would NEVER want to live in a place as busy as this...
but it was so intriguing to witness...
I will say, I still feel that I could never live in place this busy (at least not while raising kiddos),
BUT...

after spending Saturday enjoying what this city had to offer,
I could be convinced to visit long term
(again, only if my kiddos weren't little people...not the place I'd want to be raising them). 
My one requirement would be that I live downtown within walking distance of Pikes Place Market and the Pier. 
No desire to have to drive anywhere or to have to attempt parking once I had driven. 

The market was charming beyond description! 

I've never in my life seen veggies and fruit and cheeses that I could say I felt excited about. 
I even had to photograph them...
that's how much in love I was with this produce! 
I know, I'm a little off my rocker, you'd have had to be there to appreciate it!

The one experience I could have done without, actually occurred as I was snappin' photos of that amazing produce. 
This "guy", all I can recall of him was that he had dark hair, dark eyes, a powerful voice and he stood a good shoulder and head above me...anyway, he came up and said, "Hey, you can't be taking pictures..."  I must have looked a little shocked and he told me he was just joking. 
Okay...dumb joke!
Then!
He asks me a question that stumps me...
"How do you get a cougar off your front porch?" 
Well, I am clueless as to what this man is saying to me. 
All I can think is why would a cougar be on your front porch. 
And if there is one there, stay inside!!!! 
Well, this is what he says next...
"Offer to buy her a pizza and invite her in." 

Yep, you go it...

I stood there with a blank look on my face...

I'm still thinking that we are talking about an animal and wondering why on earth a cougar would be sitting on your front porch. 
Then all of a sudden,
I realize this guy is picking up on me, and I might add in a VERY RUDE sort of manner. 
I must have given him my shocked look, he kindly touched my shoulder and apologized. 
I ran back up to my hubby and stayed quite close to his side the remainder of my time there!

Not sure I could handle something like that again. 
I've not had that kind of experience in sooooo many years! 
And I really didn't even know what to think or how to handle it.
I told my hubby about it and he just smiled and held my hand, I think he was laughing inside, but didn't want me to see it.  I'm a little slow sometimes.
Anyway..moving on...

Here are some of my yummy produce photos...I hope you love them as much as I did! Fresh Veggies and Fruit at Pike Place Market

Check out the garlic...BIGGEST garlic I've ever seen!!!


That is the coolest cauliflower ever!!!
Why have I never seen these things?


Different colored carrots and giant sized radishes...I just cannot get enough of this place!
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Can you see the price tag on these amazing bouquets???
$10!
I could not believe my eyes!
The most beautiful flowers...
How I wanted to buy up bundles of them...
but they would never have survived our long drive home...
so photos would just have to suffice!

My other favorite place in the market was this sweet little Chinese Man...
ADORABLE!
He was an artisan...JEWELRY...
Chad saw his work while I was off on my little picture taking adventure.
Well, Chad loved his work and wanted me to come home with something "Special",
so I am now the very happy owner of a beautiful, unique, one of a kind bracelet.
I was sold as I listened to this sweet man speak...
I kinda have something for the Chinese ~
I'm thinking it must have something to do with such wonderful experiences with Accupuncture.
I know, once again, I'm a little strange, but this man was adorable.
I think that if he had just been any old person, I may not have been as drawn to his work. 
But he just had such a sweet little way about him.
He worked and molded the bracelet and as he did, he put it on and said,
"Oh, look it was made just for you, perfect fit...copper good for you...look good on you..."
I just loved him and walked away with a little something to have as a reminder of my splendid weekend in Seattle.

Well, after our wonderful little time in the market, we went on a CRUISE!!!!

It was only a 2 hour cruise, but it was oh so beautiful!!  It was called the Locks Cruise...quite interesting...
we traveled
 (hmmm.what do you call it when you are traveling on water??? 
we didn't actually sail since we weren't on a sailboat...
I guess we cruised through the water...
sounds good to me)
So, we cruised through the Seattle area checking out all the sites...
I thought we were on a fairly large "ship"? 
Boy, I should have done a little more thinking before writing about all of this.
Anyway, as I was saying,
I thought our ship was fairly large,
but in all actuality we were mighty shrimpy comparatively speaking.
It was Fascinating to see all the huge ships and the sailboats and the house boats. 
Oh how I loved the houseboats...
so charming!
I really wanted to just jump on board one and check it out. 
Instead I just admired them from my ship. 
 Don't you like that, "my ship"? 


I took so many photos,
but I loved the way the sunshine shimmers on the water with the landscape of the city behind. 

I simply cannot wait to visit somewhere, anywhere again. 
I am finding that it doesn't matter where we go,
I am always fascinated and intrigued by the newness that each location offers.
I'm pretty easy to please...we've only traveled a very few times...
I never felt I could leave all our kids, I am too busy being the Momma.
It feels like such a treat to be able to leave for a weekend with my hubby and not worry about our kiddos (okay I did worry about them, but I knew they were okay)
The point being, it's just a good thing to be able to have a little time away, to run around having a good time, being crazy, doing anything you wish, and not having to worry about watching and making sure everyone is safe and sound and accounted for and not wandered off somewhere lost.

But no matter if my kiddos are there or not, I find I am always drawn to things that make kids smile...
I cannot pass by a carousel
without wishing to jump on and find the most magnificent horse to hoist myself upon. 
I love the lights, the music, the joy...
I feel just like a little child...giddy with excitement!


I think I need to have a date with Sleepless in Seattle...
it might just become my favorite movie!

So happy to have had this time in Seattle...LOVED EVERY SINGLE MOMENT!!!

I'm Defeated...

the very thought of dealing with some things brings a desperate, despairing feeling of inadequacy to my soul.

It matters not the strength that we possess if we fail to recognize it within ourselves.

This is the point I've reached,
I know I possess the strength but find it difficult to see it within myself...
my strength has been weakened and I feel less than who I truly am...
I have had cause to question just who I am and I find that I feel defeated before I even begin...

Yet as I write those words,
I am immediately stricken with the thought that I am only defeated if I allow myself to be...


I am in charge, I am in control of me...
I do not have to turn that over to another,
I do not need to feel weak or small because of another,
I do not need to change who I am to please another,
I do not have to lessen the spirit within me to appease the crowds,
I do not have to withhold the deepest, most sincere thoughts that I have for fear of offending another,
I do not have to conform to be accepted...

All that I have to do is to be me,
to follow the Spirit that guides me,
to share the light that has been given to me and to not be afraid to do so...

I'm Defeated ONLY when I allow myself to be...

Have you ever been faced with something that just feels bigger than you are? 
Something that makes you want to shrink at the very thought of dealing with "it"?
Something that tears at your very core?
Something that, no matter how difficult it will be to handle, must be handled and not swept under the carpet?

Of course you have! 
We all have...
I guess this would fall under the "test" part of life...the part that makes us wiggle in our seats or wish to hide our heads in the sand!

The past couple of weeks, I have been tormented
(YES that is truly how I've felt!)
with a task that is before me. 
I have been asked to do something that goes against what I feel is right.
It goes against the very things that make my life what it is. 
How can one set aside a deep part of themselves to please another? 
Why would we even do that? 
Better yet, WHY would anyone ask that of another? 
Why can't we all just love and accept each other...without condition, without judgement, without condemnation...

The emotion that I have felt while dealing with this situation has been overwhelming. 
I feel that I am generally pretty level headed, that I look at life in the most positive way possible, that I see the good in others and that I truly live my life in the hope of blessing others around me.

So...
When I am asked to do something contrary to what I am "okay" with, my little world feels under attack
I feel as though I've just survived one massive earthquake,
I've come out and I'm still on top;
then the thought comes;
surely there will be the aftershocks of that massive quake...can I withstand those? 
Am I too weak? 
Will they hurt too much? 
Will I remain standing at the end of this "test"?

I am grateful that my structure, my foundation, is strong and sure...
It's strength has been tested!
And with the aftershocks that are looming in my future
I find it imperative to take stock of where I stand, am I prepared for what is to come?
Do I know what I believe? 
Am I prepared to stand up for those things that are the most important in my world? 
As uncomfortable as this all feels, I know I will be stronger for it.
It is simply another of those times that I need to grow... 

I will admit that I haven't liked one single moment of this little earthquake!!!
I'd really prefer to just have a little temper-tantrum, screaming, hitting, kicking and just generally flipping out, but since that wouldn't really be appropriate for someone my age, I'll just whine and complain that sometimes life isn't fair...and it's not...

Why does growth have to be so stinkin' painful? 

Makes me think of the long nights when one of our little ones would wake crying and miserable, as they suffer growing pains ...
I have always felt helpless, I can't make that pain go away.
I can kiss them and try to make it better, I can rub where it hurts, I can lay with them and try to comfort them, but I cannot make it end.

I recall so many nights just thinking how unfair it was for this sweet little person of mine to be in such real pain.  And as time goes on, they will each experience other kinds of pain as they grow and unfortunately, my little kiss will probably not end that pain either.

Why must we suffer through hard times?  Why does it have to hurt so? 

The best guess I can come up with is that during our struggles and our suffering we experience feelings that become so deep within that they will never be forgotten.  Our moments of growth and understanding need to be remembered, they cannot be lost or we may at some future point also become lost.  I actually think we NEED these hard, ugly, confusing, heart-wrenching experiences.

The other part of this answer is one I find more and more the older I become.  It is during these times that I realize I cannot do it all on my own.
I need help! 
I need guidance!
I need my Savior to step in and pick up the pieces when they have all crumbled down around my feet and I don't have the strength to even bend over. 
He stands ready to pick it all up and put it all back together. 
I am lousy at asking Him to step in...
He has to be so frustrated with me on a continual basis. 
I'm sure He'd love to take a 2x4 and whack me right upside the head and knock a little sense into me.
But you know what...
He "gets" me. 
He knows I am stubborn and that I think I can do it alone, I am a brat and I want to be independent, I don't want to have to ask for help, I just want to figure it all out and move on to happier days...I'm thinking He must feel its high time for me to get this lesson down.  And you know what it has been magnificent...He answers my prayers by showing me witness after witness of exactly what I most need.  I am truly blessed by his kindness and understanding.

So in closing this whole dump my heart out on my blog for the whole world to see and wonder why the heck I open myself up like this...

I'm defeated only when I allow myself to be...
and
I do not give up that easily
I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED (remember, I am a brat!)
I will stand strong
I will stand for what I believe in
I will do it with a smile on my face
and with love in my heart.

I will come out knowing who I am
with more assurance than before this little quake in my life.
My testimony will be strengthened, I will stand solid and unshakable. 
And when this is all over and I move on...
my hope is to help another stand when they feel they no longer have the strength to do so.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hay Rides, A Little "Culture", and Flower Child Moments...

What a truly amazing last two weeks we've enjoyed!

Besides our regular routine, which is mighty amazing in itself...we managed to sneak in a few extras!

A field trip to the pumpkin patch!
Love those hay rides and choosing "just the right pumpkin!"  
I'm tellin' ya this can be a very long process...patience is in order!

The next amazing thing the little girls and I did was quite unexpected.  At the last minute, I had a friend offer 3 tickets for us to attend a production at The Morrison Center.  It was a Korean Cultural Night...if only I had the words to describe this night...what I can tell you is that I have a new found love of these beautiful people.  I went with a little apprehension...simply ignorance on my part...I left with an overflowing heart and eyes that had freely spilled over the edges.  I was moved at their kindness and sincere humility when addressing our Veterans.   They thanked them for their service in a way that touched me more than I had experienced ever in my lifetime!  Their music, dance and Tae Kwon Do exhibit were superb...breathtaking at moments.  I felt inspired to learn more of this people, I felt saddened at the state of North Korea and lastly I felt a longing to expose my children to people, customs and cultures throughout this world.  The latter, I do attempt to do on a very regular basis, but the feeling is stronger than ever.

We finished up a sensational month of learning and our 4 youngest kiddos particpated in The History Fair ~ I was so proud of their efforts.  They truly did some amazing work.  One presented The Statue of Liberty, another Castles, another The War of 1812 and lastly Leonardo da Vinci.  I could not have been more pleased with them.  They learned so much and presented what they had learned to an audience...love these opportunties for them!

At the end of our month, we always have a big ol' whoppin' party to celebrate the country we've studied for that month.  This month was Germany...oh my goodness, can I just say, their food is mighty scrumptuous!  We cooked and cooked and ate and ate!  Our menu included some wonderful salads ~ German Potato Salad and a Nudel Salad -- both were so yummy, lots of vinegar!  We also made pretzels, these were a hit!!!  The kids loved making them and eating them was quite a pleasure.  We decided to make Dampfnudels...wasn't too sure how these might taste...we were very pleasantly surprised!  They are basically a dumpling sort of goodie...only so much better...light and fluffy and deliciously sweet.  Then we topped them with a divine vanilla sauce and a bavarian creme that I'd have to say was the VERY BEST I'd ever tasted (and I made it!!!)  Love it when that happens!  We had samplings of Chocolate Nougat candies and a German Chocolate Cake.  Good thing we only do this party once a month or I'm afraid we'd be racking up the pounds!!!  The kids decorated our classroom to look like OCTOBERFEST in Germany...Blue and White are the colors of choice in Germany...the kids went crazy with streamers all over...it was fantastic! 

Each month we have a little book club featuring a book from the American Girls Series...we are currently working on Felicity...I LOVE THESE BOOKS!!!!  This month's book was Felicity Learns A Lesson ~ loved the lessons and the time I had to discuss all that this little gem had to offer.  We were able to get into a discussion of just why the colonists would have thrown tea into the water...at first my younger kids were appalled, by the time we were done with our conversation they understood so much more about our freedoms and why we must stand for what we believe in.  What a beautiful way to teach such an important lesson!!!

Halloween was very fun for our family...My favorite part was one evening when my daughter came to me and thanked me for not being too lame to dress up and have fun.  Now, had you seen me this particular evening, you may have thought I was crazy...I did!  And quite honestly I was a little uncomfortable with being dressed up in such a wild sort of way...FLOWER CHILD / Hippy!  But she thought I was great and was thankful for me...then I jokingly said to my oldest son..."I bet you wish I was a little more lame and wouldn't dress up"...I fully expected him to agree with me ~ instead he said, "Yeah, I'm glad you're crazy!"