Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Katie n me havin' some lovely tea...

Dad n Bryson;
playin' tinkertoys,
n havin' some fun!

Brothers! To not play games would be such a shame, although if they lose, the baby will get the blame. =)
*note: poor quality pics are from my phone ;^)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Light Festivities $75
Hot Cocoa/Spiced Cidar $10
Kettle Corn $7

Laughter & Love amongst family...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tis the Season to be jolly...

~Life is fun...enjoy the ride!

~Best Pals forever! Aria and our Andrew!

~Life IS a ball!

~Joe's Sarah... our luck!

~Miss Mikayla (aka... our Katie-girl)

~Life is like a bowl of "Cheery-O's"

Fa la la la la....

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Hello friends & family! I have not posted much lately...
I have not quite settled into our move as of yet... yes, it has been 6 months already!

Although homeschooling is going well, the credit goes to my children, as they are staying consistant with their independant work (math, reading, vocabulary, & grammar)...
yet I am a planner, and I am not maximizing our remaining school time effectively with our elective choices (French, Ancient History, Art, & Cooking).

Although we are seemingly managing our small, enclosed living situation with the best of attitudes...
I am rather challenged to feel organized.

Although we are not a materialistic family, and are grateful for what the Good Lord provides on a daily basis...
yet again, I am longing for the normalcy of our own things, as 90% of our belongings sit idly in storage.

Although we have an opportunity to share Christ's love through how our family lives...
I find it difficult to find a balance in how things are to be domestically ran while trying to respect differences.

Although I know God has a plan and a purpose for us...
I find it hard not to be eager to move forward...
to another day...
another place...
another journey...


"I will put my trust in Him." Hebrews 2:13

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


(a statement on 'Monk')

So I interview our family about their view of happiness:


...a peacefully sleeping baby!
(sheri) when Daddy comes home from work.
yes, I helped him share his thoughts ;^)

... a smile!

...when you feel really good inside, and get along.

...playing soccer in the rain!

...only a tear drop away.
(Nick-now what movie is that from??)

...being alive with loved one's

... eternal forgiveness.

So what is happiness really? Personally, I think it is based off of feelings and positive situations, and is very temporary.
JOY is what matters...
is a presence of
peace from within regardless of outer circumstances.

In a humble way, I share the difference here, as I have had my share of challenges along my life. Some of those challenges come as physical trauma, others as emotional drama...but most of us know 1st hand, somehow, that life is not easy. Do you want happiness...or do you want to seek out true JOY?
It all comes down to a choose Jesus Christ... or not.
That presence of peace? It is a gift from God, it is the comforter, it is the Holy Spirit that comes from receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Here is a verse I live and breathe daily, and helps me keep things in perspective:

Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16/17

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

the littlest sister-in-law...

Beautiful, in a simple way;
Smart, in a fun way;
Talented, in a creative way;
Giving, in a precious way;
....Keep Christ 1st always,
for He is truly the only way
to live a fulfilling life for all our remaining days!
Love ya girl!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Missing the Normalcy of "HOME" run
on couches...

...arts n crafts anytime...

...messes without worry... to roll around...

...curiosity without question...


...and ...

the freedom...

to just play...

A new state, a new town, a new house, new rules...
...little space, little rooms, little yard w/ little to do...
...Still living, still learning, still laughing, still loving...

~The cost to move is steep, but to embrace the moment with loved ones is priceless!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A beautiful view for today's 6 mile walk!

TJ and Auntie Chanelle at a hockey game.

Our Seahawks won!!! 41-0

Nick's soccer team won 1-0

TJ's soccer team won 4-3

Silvertips vs Winterhawks (hockey)
10-4 plus lots of fights ;^)

Sports... gotta love it!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Personal Journey...

Weighing in the positive!

Active recess time,
nature hikes,
3 mile walks,
6 mile walks,
military workouts,
less junk food,
more water
0 (zero) pounds lost, and someone asking me if I am pregnant! (um, no, I am not... just round, thank-you)

Good thing I am a "half glass full" gal...

more energy,
clear mental focus,
mommy stamina,
and a good attitude!

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Nice BIG field to play in!

Watchin' TJ....

Ready to take a shot?

Nope... the Goal Keeper is not ready!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Homeschooling is...

A LIFESTYLE, not a classroom.

We are well into our 1st quarter of school, and personally, I am pleased with our progress thus far!

When I first began homeschooling (8 yrs ago), I very much immitated a classroom setting. Desks, full curriculums of subjects, schedules... and the greatest of intentions. My 1st grader began to read well, my 4th grader devoured math, and overall, the year went well.

The next year was way more lenient as many outside challenges came forth; a l o n g layoff, a loss of our home, not one but two of our boys had their appendix out in the same school year; thus my 'ideal' school day became very minimal.

The following year we tried charter school via public school system, which was ok for that season. My husband was back at work, and I was juggling many mini-jobs to make ends meet. My perfectionist personality appreciated the charter schools laid out plan, yet it was clear by the end of school year that it wasn't a good fit for our boys.

Our 4th/5th year of homeschooling was still chaotic, but we worked together to make it work. A new baby was now in the mix, the boys helped out with my church cleaning job, and endured the sharing of their living space (and mom) with many other little people. I was very good at running a daycare/preschool, and it was an accomplished feeling to know I was making a difference in so many little lives. To embrace, love, guide, and teach other peoples children (during the hours when they couldn't) was a responsibility I did not take lightly. Children are precious no matter whom they belong to.

The 6th year brought about a new journey for us. My husband was offered a great opportunity to help start a new company... a risk that has paid off amazingly. Suddenly, I was faced with the reality of not HAVING to work. God started stirring my heart that it was my own childrens turn to have their mom's full attention. We were now up to 5 lil blessings. My oldest was in his last year of high school (he has survived well the public school system- the credit going to much prayer and good communication). The two boys (now entering 5th and 9th grade) were spending more time hiding out in their own space, while I was spending more time w/ other peoples' was time to let go... time to embrace my own blessings, er, children. We discovered Unit Studies... WOW... a 'learn as a family' style. We learn most subjects together, (yes, even me!) and adapt the assignments to depend on comprehension.

Now into our 8th year of this journey, 6 blessings in tow... life IS education. Everything is a teachable moment whether we would like it to be or not.

*When teen boys (most of them) use foul language while they are playing in a soccer game w/ my son... it is my job to step up and say this behavior is unacceptable... to lay a boundary to sportmanship-like conduct... to not be intimidated by the lack of other adults ignoring, er, not addressing it.
*When Dad faces challenges at work and displays grace through it, they learn about integrity.
*When an older child can guide a younger child into a good choice, they have learned about leadership.
*when we see someone different than ourselves, we take the time to explain the why's & how's, not just shush their curiosity, thus teaching compassion.

We also enjoy...
*French lessons with Aunt Chanelle in the evenings.
*Nature hikes to examine natural habitats on a week end.
*Field trips, movies, and games that support a current lesson.

Yep, Homeschool is a lifestyle... and we are lovin' life!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Post-summer blues...

Ha, so summer is fun and all, but really, I am not a "heat" person... so I am just reflecting back on our summer of change, and do realize we had some good times in the blur of things!

Katie-girl loves drinking her dads gatorade!

TJ and his shades...

Our Andrew- cool and laid back....

Joe (always Joey to mom) and our littlest Bry-guy!

The young man behind the camera...

So long summer...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Homeschooling is...

as easy as CHEMISTRY!

This weeks element of the periodic table is ...

Simple facts:
atomic number is 6
symbol name is C
2 electrons in shell one, 4 electrons in shell two
Is the most important element of a plant...

Bond with it:
carbon dioxide CO2
(2 part oxygen, 1 part carbon)

Experiment: FIZZY POP

a 16 oz bottle of soda pop and a balloon;
remove cap, place balloon over opening, and SHAKE!!

Now try one at room temperature (or warmer) and one refrigerated...DO NOT SHAKE....wait 15 or 20 minutes...
Which bottle loses more fizz (aka. carbon dioxide) ??
The balloon that is bigger, of course!!

For more fun:
1) try adding pop rocks to the soda
2) and of course the infamous 'drop as many mentos as you can' in the soda bottle, in which I recommend a 2 liter bottle of soda, using the great outdoors, and lots of room. ;^)



Monday, August 31, 2009

Our School Year '09-'10~Curriculum

Did you know school can be as fun as skipping rocks??

Ah, yes, just count it as physical education, social-science, physics, and nature study all wrapped into one fun afternoon together!


Mystery of History~Creation to Resurrection
Covers a variety of subjects including, but not limited to...
ancient history, geography, map & graphing skills, creative arts, fine arts, and Biblical history.

Drawn Into the Heart of Reading~
(a multi-level reading program)
Genre studies, Godly Character traits, vocabulary strategies, scripture memorization, emphasizes story elements, and encourages literature discussions.

Nick...algebra (continuing previous years program to boost understanding)
TJ... fractions/percents/decimals
Katie... focus is on addition/subtraction w/ fun side lessons for times tables.

Language Arts~
Easy Grammar/Daily grams~TJ, review for Nick
WordSmart~vocabulary builder for Nick, SAT friendly
McGraw Hill~spelling, grammar, reading workbooks for Katie

CompleteWritingProgram ~
an easy multi-level writing program; creative, yet simple.

nature study by way of explorative field trips (from beaches to mountains to forests to backyard adventures!)
Painless Life Science (book)
...continued study of periodic table, one element researched per week.
1 simple science experiments per week.

Physical Education~
soccer (need I say more?)
daily treadmill and basic military workout encouraged.

Nick- sketching/drawing
TJ- whittling
Katie- embroidery


ABC Jesus Loves Me (*note: logo on left)

notimeforflashcards (for quick, fun projects)
childcareland (simple art projects)
starfall (interactive, also has great print out worksheets) also has great alphabet activities!
(THESE SITES ARE ALL FREE... how could you NOT do preschool?)

**admittedly I have endless resources I could share related to early childhood education. I spent many of our previous homeschool years also running a daycare/preschool. Now my own Littles are reaping the benefits ;^)

For an idea of how we homeschool, feel free to read here.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

We Love Soccer....

I am a soccer mom.

I first heard about soccer moms during some presidential election...what it really means I am not so sure, but I am pretty confident that I am probably the poster picture of it.

This ball has had some mileage on it... it is broken in, and is a favorite.

My boys have some awesome footwork...

it is quite entertaining to watch in person!
They were taught by one of the best... their DAD!

...and what would soccer season be without this
popular refreshment!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Following the narrow path...of blogging.

As it is getting towards the end of summer 'round here, life seems to get busier...
Labor Day plans, school starting up, sports beginning again...
Another notable observation is fellow "bloggers" that are re-evaluating their purpose. A great post about that very thing is
Tammy. This got me thinking about why I blog. Frankly, I have no interest in being a "successful" blogger in the terms of followers, blog rolls, awards...naive of me that I even know what those are.
"Come follow me" that you may know Him. The path that we follow is narrow... but our joy is abundant!!
Reasons I ever started to blog, and continue to do so:
#1) as a personal journal. To share tidbits of life, difficulties and blessings alike. A place to reflect back on photos and feelings. I am a busy mom, guilt ridden by the lack of organizing any family photos... this blog is our family album.
#2) a place where friends and family can drop by to see how we are doing. I post when something stirs my heart, so the frequency of posts are random.
#3) a tool of encouragement. Life is hard, but God is faithful! We live by the "this too shall pass" during times of trials. We are always looking for the blessings that surround us on a daily basis, even if it is just a whisper of the moment!

This is also how I choose what blogs to read. I enjoy my minimal time to read, I enjoy a good feed of encouragement, I enjoy friends who are willing to share their journey also; these are the blogs that let me do just those things:
Tonia (the writer/poet)
Tammy (the "I can totally relate to" person)
Elaine (a lovely southern gal)
Dorothy (an urban blessing)
Katherine (a military witness)**blessings to you, your kids, and your husband!
These are ladies with different cultures, backgrounds, and interests, but ALL are of encouragement to me. They are real and down-to-earth, and it has been a blessing to meet them!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Our school year begins... '09-'10

Living life is our education;

The world is our play-ground;

God is our authority;
Dad is the principal;

Grandma is the recess aid;

Auntie Chanelle is our school counselor;

I am the teacher;

Nick is a junior;

TJ is in 7th grade;

Katie is entering 2nd grade;

Andrew is our pre-k student;

and Bryson loves TOT school.

May God bless, guide, and protect our up-coming school year, and all the events that we may participate in... in Him we give thanks!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"The Move" part 2

Exploring the woods...

See... we can play hide-n-go seek anywhere.
What I want to know is how Dad talked Andrew into sharing his "S" hat??

Reptile Zoo...
(share more later)...

Yes, that would be our TJ with both a soccer ball AND a football during a family hike...

Grandma Hollinger... How lovely it is to see her more!


Our hometown is a pleasant place to raise a family. Most areas of interest are within walking distance. Traffic is minimal, parking lot spaces always available, and there is ALWAYS someone to say "hello" to at the store. Crime, although there, is not dominant. It is easy to get to know your neighbors, and I am pleased to get positive reports when they say "oh, I saw your son at the...." I love the people in our little town!

Big move means bigger changes for our children:
~More gang behavior observed.
~a bigger awareness of the homeless
~observations of drugs
~exposed to what a 'workin' girl' behaves like
~the amount of 'adult' stores available
~we discuss how sin brings about more sin when describing casinos, which seem to be everywhere. Gambling brings about drinking that brings about sexual immorality... and so on...
Big city offers bigger opportunities...
the up side to our move is there is more to do, thus the lack of complaints about our new transition.
~Within city limits we have a huge library, ice rink, parks, beaches, petting zoo, childrens museum, indoor soccer; just to name a few of our interests.
~Near by, we have access to endless interests in the Seattle area. Our favorites would include the Seahawks, the Sounders, the Mariners, the Washington Park Zoo, the Science Museum, Children's museum, Space Needle, Farmers Markets, Train rides, and an occasional Ferry ride.

My conclusion is that home is where our family is... and we look forward to meeting some nice people in our big city!