Friday, June 24, 2011


~Homeschool Style~


360 degrees
of scenery...

in the Pacific North West...

Including a beautiful view of the Sound, along with some random rain showers...

Followed by our favorite sports stadiums;

Qwest Field
Safeco Field

...and as we come around full circle...

...the sun peaks out for a moment.

After all, it is summer, right?

If you haven't guessed yet, this is our view from the Space Needle.

So, what does graduation look like for a student that is homeschooled?

The advantage of homeschooling is that you can personalize not only their education, but create a graduation that truly fits your student's personality.


our gifted athlete, with a competitive drive within.
with a spark of humor & charm.

He opted out of:

Senior pictures;
he prefers
THIS picture. It reflects his senior year, his dog, his moments in soccer, his schooling.
Graduation announcements; we even bribed him with the idea that some folks may even send money as a congratulations of a job well done. He preferred not to have the extra attention.
Graduation party; again, not eager for tons of attention, he shrugged this idea off.

So what did we do?

I pondered his relationships with other folks, his interests, his personality...

then came up with a plan of celebration.

3 Surprises:

1) Biggest brother, JOE, along with TJ, took NICK to a concert.
A Christian Rock Concert w/ The Newsboys, The Disciple, & Kutless

2) A senior grad & dad overnighter at the Great Wolf Lodge with Nick's
best friend & his dad.

3) A dinner at the Space Needle with us, the parents. We invited Nick's bestest friend from public school (which they were in the same class Kindergarten - 3rd grade). I thought it fitting to have his last "field trip" be with the friend he had his first field trip with. *grin*
This is where we handed him his Diploma & his high school transcripts.

We are so very proud of Nick. He has worked diligently, as some things did not come easy. He has been my faithful slow-n-steady learner.

Always respectful;
listening & learning,
absorbing & applying
more knowledge than he lets on.

Congratulations Nickolas,
grasp the future and make it as you wish,
believe in yourself,
and trust God always,

We love you!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our Yearly
School Schedule

One of the fabulous things about home-
schooling is the ability to create your own flow of how you want to enjoy your seasons.

We don't school year round, although we seem to always continue to learn.

For many years we followed the school district's schedule. After all, what else was there? I soon realized I didn't appreciate all the extra days off at their convenience- holidays, teacher in-service, etc- This was interrupting our own routines.

2 years ago I began to outline our own school year.

We began the 1st Monday in August. This is 4 weeks earlier than our public school peers. August is hot, and boredom sets we choose to begin school. We follow a 9 weeks on (equal 1 quarter), 2 weeks off format. The 2 weeks off gives us time to finish a book, get paperwork in order, add a few field trips, & regroup for our next quarter.

Conveniently, with starting in August, our Christmas break lands just right. And we wrap up our school year in mid-May, which just happens to be when we have state testing, and this works for us!

Getting out 4 weeks earlier than public school gives us the opportunity to explore adventures before all the crowds set in. *smile*

For those who homeschool,
how do you approach your school year?

and for those whom don't homeschool,
how do you adjust to the random days off the school district needs?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Since I have been on the topic anyways, I am linking up to Tri-moms to share our schedule.

With our impending move (did I mention we are moving? *smile*) , I've had time to ponder how our schedule will best fit our family. Our outline for the past 2 years has worked well because we have not had any distractions. With us now heading back to our hometown, there comes activities, friends, Ofcourse these are favored choices within our family dynamics, but I want to stress balance in our lives.

Daily Schedule:
I struggle with wanting to start early. I *heart* mornings! I love Kathi's hours. That works for me, but my life isn't about me. My children adapt better with a slow-n-gentle start.

I also recently read about a mom choosing afternoon hours for schooling, which I think is a fabulous way to adapt to one's family. Yet, for us, attention spans begin to wane around 2 o'clock.

So, we are some where in the middle. Ideally, I like our day to begin around 8, but we tend to flow with the circumstance. I intend to rise early to enjoy my sanity, er, some quiet time.

Come August 01, here is our school routine:

(older kids / the littles)
Morning routine
Bible w/ breakfast
Math 1 hr/ 1 hr exercise for me
History 30 min / Circle Time
Science 30 min/ Story w/ craft
Language Arts 30 min/ Activity Time
Recess for ALL. 30 min.

lunch clean up/ Andrew's reading lessons
Fine Arts/ Quiet time
Spanish & French/ still quiet time (hopefully)
Jurisdictions (chores) for all
Free time til Dinner


A family read aloud, I'm leaning towards C.S. Lewis this year.
and a literature book read before bed as down time.

Here is my faint Daily Flow chart:
The camera wouldn't focus :^/

I simply penciled in school & quiet time. It gives Grandma M an idea of what we are doing w/o getting bogged down by the details. I intentionally left Saturdays empty. We'll just place sticky notes on any activities or plans that arise.

*Tomorrow I will share how our yearly school schedule is laid out.

Now I must confess I find it amusing that many of us homeschooling families are discussing routines, school or otherwise, while many families are just beginning to embrace their summer break with not a thought about the first day of the next school year yet.

It is even more amusing to think that during my own summer breaks when I was young, I was planning, preparing, and stuffed animals. Roll call and all *grin* Hey, give me a break, I was an only child for many years, and a latchkey kid...atleast I stayed out of trouble *hee*

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Lil Ballerina...

I may have been caught in the rain showers chasing after roses for our ballerina; she, on the other hand, showered us with her grace on stage.

We loved watching her in

She curtsied & twirled as a courtyard lady;
she swooped and swirled as a minion (bat);
followed with a final performance as a "lady in waiting".

The Calm before the Chaos

Most things are now packed and ready for our big move. Now the boredom begins to set in...

Unless, ofcourse, you have a fun dad...

What does your husband do with marshmallows?

Mine happens to like those gigantic campfire ones to teach the kids how to make "taffy".

I just prefer not to watch as they enjoy their ooey-gooey-icky-sticky mess. =)


I have pulled together a monthly meal plan. It's simple & rotatable (is that a word? hmmm).

I have created a chore chart, implementing our morning routine, jurisdictions, & evening routine. Just so you know, this makes me smile #41.

Besides our typical daily school schedule, I put the "flow of our day" on poster board, with the adaptability of placing sticky notes on any changes out of the norm. This is with the intent of letting Grandma M. see how our days flow. We are a busy bunch, and I can see how the chaos could be confusing. This way she doesn't always have to chase me chasing someone else to ask what our plans are for the day.

And since I am such a planner, (you did know that about me, right?), I have already laid out how I would like our belonging to be set in our new house.

I am especially thrilled with choosing to use our formal dining room as our school area. I am leaning towards simple & natural. Many ideas are dancing in my head....

and then their is school planning to ponder in this week of down time. We love, and will implement the Robinson Curriculum. Our hot topic is of our foreign language studies. Several of us want to continue French, several others want to begin to learn Spanish. We have friends we will see quite often who will be learning Spanish due to possible mission work in the years to come. This would be fun to learn together. My quandry comes in the possibility of a multi-lingual approach.

Other things knocking on my door...

1) I've been asked to go to a Zumba class at our church...every morning. This disrupts our school schedule, or maybe not. The littles can go with me, the older kids can do their scheduled math hour while I am gone. Honestly, I need the exercise. really!

2) I am excited at the thought of offering Bryson's little friend to join us for preschool hour(s). Let's face it; songs, fingerplays, crafts, and stories are more fun with a friend.

3) I have been asked about homeschooling someone else's child. This is not a new offer, it is something that was being pondered before the move.

4) to co-op, or not. 4 moms, including myself, may rotate Friday mornings to teach our own beloved topic. In other words, I would have one morning a month to share nature studies with a lovely bunch of children. Katie & I had wanted to begin a Nature Club anyways, so this may just be the right approach. In turn, I would have 3 other friday mornings a month without the littles. They would be off having fun doing creative arts, food crafts, etc.. and quite frankly, I like the thought of some quality time with my older boys. =)

5) my biggest contemplation is the desire to begin to unplug our family. I will save the details for another post, but really, this tugs at my heart...

So, What's been knocking at your door?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Treasure Hunts....

lead to a box...

filled with candy.

Daddy's favorites:

Junior Mints,
Mike & Ikes,
Reeses Pieces,
& Hubba Bubba Gum!

Needless to say,
the kids were all over daddy in the hopes that he would share. =) **note that Bryson's mouth is already full of candy, he's quick like that.

This daddy style dessert was followed by a fantastic steak supper for us all.

I am grateful to have such a fabulous dad for our children!

Dear Fred,

Thank-you for your incredible patience,
your thoughtful guidance,
your wise opinions,
your energetic fun,
and your endless love to us all.

Happy Father's Day
We love you!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Random Rant...

is anyone else dislike blogger right now?

So rumor (too lazy to look up the facts- any volunteers?) has it that Blogger changed some of their codes. If you have blogger, and you don't use a pop-up comment box, fellow bloggers cannot leave comments. really. and it is annoying. after all, I've got so much to say to other lovely folks, right? ;^)

My other aggravation with blogger is that "spacing" is a huge battle. The more you try to correct it, the more wacky it gets. At this point I'm just throwing perfectionism out the window *hee*

So, I have a question for my faithful readers...
What do you use? and do you like it?

I am seriously thinking of changing things up around here (ie switching blog resources). I need easy-peasy and inexpensive.

Also needing to update our blog "title". We've spent the last few years with more than our "simple 8". Title ideas anyone? really, I am not creative in that area *sigh*


Wednesday, June 15, 2011


backyard style.

We had studied rocketry in April & May.

Our first easy-peasy experiment was "blow rockets". We placed a skinny straw into the tube of the rocket, and BLEW. We explored theory of the angle of the fins, and the amount of fins used.

Next we attempted "pop rockets" by using mini M&M containers.

Add water, insert alka-seltzer, seal lid on, and voila.. in flopped over!

So, I bought fuji film. Yes, real film. It comes in a white canister. *smile*

Got our protective eyewear on.

Had a
to record
'time to blast off'.

Dad judged the distance of the 'take off', while we tried a variety of water levels, amount of alka-seltzer, and even tried soda (pop).

It was too fast to catch it well on camera,

but it was fun, and the kids thought it was great.

Our last event in this series was the "sling rocket".

Do you see Katie's on the ground? That hot pink 'stick' in the ground. That was a flopped shot. *hee*

These were so much fun!!

They go so far, we ended up heading to the local elementary school to use their field.

Basically, it is a fancy paper airplane that you use with a good rubber band. (yes, we did snap a few in the process, stings pretty good after about the 3rd time)

We had a good contest amongst us all.

and the littles would chase after them as the flew across the field.

Here is an upclose view.

Can you tell we are a 'color-coded' family?

Rockets, events on the calendar, school folders,

Yep, everyone has their assigned color. Interesting right now though, cuz Andrew *likes* blue, which has always been TJ's color, so we've been going with the dark/light variety.
I figure that's one way to compromise. ;^)

With the mix of all this fun
, we read a good Rocketry book, viewed a variety of educational videos, and even watched some fun shows from "Myth Busters"

In conclusion,
we had a blast with this study!

Monday, June 13, 2011

These Economic Times

National deficits are high,
gas prices are ridiculous,
taxes are not fun...

but when it all comes down to priority,
family is what matters.

Our time with my parents are coming to a close;
they are embracing every moment left.

A common topic that I have been overhearing lately is about "kids" still living at home. Ofcourse, this is meaning adult kids. I hear rants about kids sucking it up and getting on their own; get 6 room-mates if you have to, etc. While I don't promote the lazy adult child sitting in a basement doing nothing all day, I also don't encourage our children to move out at all costs!

Is it just ME? or just our family? that has hit difficult financial times a few times in their life? If you haven't...consider yourself blessed...and look to bless others.

Here's my personal "adult" journey through interesting times:

I moved out when I was 17. Not because I wanted to. My mom was my very best friend. (yes, I was that cheerleader type person with way too much energy w/ an endless smile whom had more friends than was necessary, but my mom was tops!- which is a whole different post, lol)
So, why did I move out so young? I started school early- 5 yrs of age in 1st grade- thus I ended school early. So what are we 'suppose to do' when we are finished w/ highschool? Move Out, right? I didn't have a clue what I wanted out of life (cept to marry Mr. Right and have children-which was clearly not in the near future). So I went to Beauty School. Someone offered a place to stay and do this, so I did it. btw...this career was more fun than work.


thrilled to be pregnant, not so thrilled with some ugly stuff of marriage & divorce that occurred all within a dragged out year. I was left high-n-dry (gratefully so), and worked I knew I would be "moving back home" at the end of this pregnancy. I pre-bought everything I needed for this baby with the tips I made from cutting hair. I had a ridiculous amount of diapers stocked up (really!). Then came December, and the blessing of a precious new baby boy. *smile*

took a 'leave of absence' from my job. No income, and thanks to the ex, no medical, thus I went on welfare. I think I got about $300 a month. I was not in for a free ride, and insisted to pay my mom "rent" and to help with groceries. I did the bare minimum of anything cost wise, used the money wisely, and embraced the beauty of motherhood for a few months before heading back to face reality of life. 6 months on welfare, not proud moments, but blessed all the same.

returned to my job- my mom followed- and we ended up "room-mates" for a season. I was adamant about splitting the bills. Integrity mattered. =)

married, learning to trust someone else with the finances. Funny too, cuz he made way more money than I did.

Husband became jobless, and our 2nd child was born. During this 6 month season, we moved in with my mom to regroup our circumstance. A husband, a wife, and 2 young children all in one room, and grateful. Interesting enough, dear husband changed career directions, starting at a bare minimum wage... just a couple more years later, we had child #3, and I became a stay-at-home mom.

1999- Job is fine. Father-in-law is moving to Alaska, and needs someone to rent out his house and look over his property. This is in another state, but only an hour away move. It didn't effect Fred's job, so we agreed to help.

2002- child #4 is about 18 months. Finances for the first time are great (for us). We get a new van, and our own home!

2003- We lose medical benefits. Child #2 gets his appendix out 2 weeks after this took affect. We also lose our home to foreclosure; move into a townhouse.
2004- unemployment benefits run out-0 (zero) income for 6 weeks. I find out I am pregnant w/ child #5 (our only surprise, btw). Kindness of strangers in our community help us through this. A church paid our mortgage for 2 months!!! Our utilities were paid anonymously that month. I then began to run a full time daycare (I had already been watching 2 lil ones, but it had been more for fun) not by planning it that way, but by God answering prayer. We needed food on the table, and I wanted to stay at home. Several families had been referred my way for childcare. I also was able to maintain an on-call job for a law firm. I did haircuts on the side. And the church we began to attend offered my a janitorial job, which could be on my own schedule and the kids could come with me. God is so cool! Fred was working odd jobs, and wasn't getting paid for one of them. We ended up filing bankruptcy. He finally found a 'non-union' job in his field. 2 weeks before medical benefits kicked in, child #3 had an emergency room visit w/ stitches to the head,, child #1 got his appendix out also! Grateful for income, but our accrued debt was very daunting. (we did get things reduced, and paid off, and eventually became debt free)

Fred gets a job offer to help start up and run a company. This comes with a work truck, a huge pay increase, & fabulous benefits... all to take a risk to get this company up and running. The best offer was that the owner of this company was a Christian man wanting to run this company on Christian morals (and lots of prayer). Within 6 months the company had a strong start.

I was able to begin a new season in life of letting go of the daycare kids (which, btw, was emotionally difficult, I just loved those kids) and begin to enjoy the simple moments of mommy-hood. Child #6 was born; My husband set this blog up for me; Child #1 was moving out and starting his own 'adult' journey.

Job expansion took us out of state, and near family. With the crashing housing market, dear mother-in-law lost her 30+ yr career in escrow. I believe God's timing is not by coincidence, and we felt blessed to help pitch in financially while she sold her home.

Still in transition of landing a permanent residence, my parents ask us to stay w/ them through this season. We help w/ bills, they share their home; family bonding is strengthened.

Job expansion is reduced, things are slower, but still steady, & we are grateful to move back to our hometown (where the kids were raised). We have offered for my dear mother-in-law (G'ma M) to come with us. She is quiet and lovely; hopefully she will survive our busy-ness, lol. We also have big brother Joe, who would appreciate rooming w/ his brothers for a season. He is wanting to save up some money for 'future plans'. *grin*

Should we tell him to suck it up and find 6 roommates ??? or be blessed by fellowship, creating stronger bonds with our younger ones (whom adore him btw), and receive more help around the house? If he's 'our Joe' that we know, he won't be home much anyway. A girlfriend, helping w/ local ministries, and a job will keep him busy enough.

So I guess the moral of my story is that some days we need some help, and some days, we will find that we need to help others.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What are your days looking like?

We're pretty laid back right now.
Can you tell?

Sissy is reading in her spare time. Never mind that it is a school text book and that we are on summer vacation. (and that we don't even use textbooks for school anymore, lol).

Andrew is enjoying being, well, Andrew! Loves the simplicity to just play, imagine, do.

~psstt...He's secretly learning to read, as I have caught him reading zoo, boy, so, go, & stop. Random? I kinda think so? He knows waaayyyy more than he lets on. I'd like to think it was because of Asperger's, but really he probably inherited that trait from his dad. *smile*

The littlest brother had fun helping make spaghetti this week. They even took turns
"stirring" which doesn't always come so easily. =)

The Calm....
before the storm...

sort of...

Things here are pretty low key. The weather is still Pacific North West Wet. We are slowly packing up our things, mostly our school books, since everything else has lived in storage for 2 years. Katie-girl doesn't quite know what to do w/o me coming up with "all the fun things to do". We are having to get creative for fun while packing up all the fun things.

I am excited to be moving! I love a fresh start to getting organized! I almost thrive on it. *hee* My dear husband is not such a fan, lol. Bless his heart, he is hanging in there well. He's needing to help his mom some as she will be living with us too.

I try not to think about what we are going to do with 2 households of "stuff", oh my!

I, er, my husband, downsized us quite a bit when we moved up here 2 years ago...
gave away our TV's, couches, some desks, a foosball table, etc...
so we are pretty low key...
i hope.

What am I most excited about with our new house?

3 toilets!

and that we will be using a formal dining area as a school room.

A whole room for school!

now THAT is my kind of fun!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Somedays are simply...

about having fun!

Sharing Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream is fun!

is fun!!

'Making leggo weapons' in the name of entertaining littlest brother... is fun!

Today was my day to have some fun...

I had the blessing of meeting a bloggy-friend in real life today...

We are nearly the same age...
yet she has homeschooled nearly twice as long as I have
and has twice as many kids as I have.

Thank~you Mama D
for finding time out of your busy days to visit with me....

~She is as lovely in person as she is portrayed on her blog *smile*

and yes, this is the same sweet lady who encourages me with my 'Takin' Care of Mama' series.

For sometimes it is just plain nice to have someone to share the journey with.