Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Spring photo session for the kids!

Sometimes I like to pretend I am a professional photographer.  I know I will never be...but it is ok to pretend right?  I love having our photos taken by friends who have their own businesses, but it can be stressful setting a date and then hoping for good weather and good temperaments with the kiddos.  A few weeks ago, we were heading in town every morning for swimming lessons, so one morning I got the kiddos dressed all cute and we headed to a local park on the way to class. 

Weston just wanted to run around and play...I don't blame him...Easton had his weird smiling thing going drives me crazy....the girls were pretty good sports:)

Here is what I captured that morning! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It's strawberry time!!

My kids and I LOVE when strawberry season rolls around!  We have made it out to the patch the past few years and we always enjoy our time picking away.  The past few years have been hard for me to pick because I have either had a toddler to chase around, pregnant, or one year my back was out so it was hard for me to bend over.  Some years it is just way too hot to be in the fields.  This year was perfect!  Well for the first 45 minutes....

We live 35 minutes away from Martin's Hillside Orchard.  I woke the kiddos up super early and we made it to the patch a few minutes after it opened.  I was watching the radar on my phone as I was driving....not recommended...and there was a storm moving in from the East right towards the orchard.  Our knew our time would be limited so we had to pick fast.  When we first arrived there were a few families already picking....8:45am hit....the orchard was now filled with people and it started pouring!  We ran to our car to get our umbrellas so we could get to the barn to pay. 

All in all my kiddos did an awesome job picking!  Weston just enjoyed having me hand him strawberries and put them his bucket.  The 3 older kids did a great job knowing what to pick this year.  We ended up with 18 lbs over all!

I had to snap quick...because we were in a hurry....

 So what do we do will all of these strawberries??....well we gave quiet a few away to friends and family.  We freeze a few lbs.  The kids like them in their oatmeal...helps cool it down.  We have strawberry shortcakes and make jelly.  But most of all we just like to eat them with meals!
Thank goodness for a helper!
Jocelyn is helping stir the jelly!
It turned out OK.  It didn't set as it was supposed to, but the kids LOVE it. 

Strawberry Flashback!!

 2010-- Weston is in my tummy!

 Can't wait for next year!!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Just a wee bit excited!

A few weeks ago I attended the Teach Them Diligently conference...I really think it should be Teach ME diligently...because I have learned so much...but that is besides the point.  Some of the workshops are sales presentations.  You are usually well aware of this before you attend...most are not though.  Sometimes I like to attend these "sales" type workshops because it is a great way to learn about what is out there in the land of homeschooling materials.  I was however unaware that the workshop titled "Releasing your Child from the Grips of Entertainment" was a sales presentation of sorts.  In the was all good, I really, really enjoyed the presentation.  Sharon Hofer, a local artist, talked about how children are being taught using technology...why not try something putting down the video games, tv remotes, keyboards and learning through art.  Granted you can't learn everything through Art, but it is definitely an alternative for many kids.  Her art program, called Creating a Masterpiece, is extremely popular in the area...and she currently has over 200 kids on her waiting list.  We live a little more than an hour away from her studio...and we would probably have to wait a few years to get taking classes from her aren't really an option for us.  Well lucky for us, she sells DVD's to teach the same things that she does in the studio.  Since I wanted to learn alongside my kiddos, I purchased the level 1 DVD's. You can mix and match the different levels, but Jocelyn picked out what she wanted to start off with and they all ended up being level 1.

So we started with acrylic painting.  Our goal in the end was to make it look like the painting on the cover.

 Mrs. Hofer does a great job at teaching the different techniques of how to paint with acrylic.  The lessons were broken down into 4 different episodes.  We had to pause several times, so we could actually complete what she was teaching.  The girls and I were so excited that we completed episode 1 in one setting and then finished the entire painting in a second sitting.  The supplies add up a bit...especially since there were three of us...but all in all we really enjoyed her first DVD.  Using the concepts we learned for this painting, we can now incorporate those and paint other acrylic paintings.

Here are a few pictures from our first painting!

 After our first lesson!

Joc is actually holding mine and I am holding hers...ooops.
 Kate working on the sky.
Be prepared for a mess...

Some tips....especially if you are working with an extremely uncoordinated 5 year will need a LOT of patience.  A lot.  There were a few tears along the way because this un-named 5 year old wanted to do the painting just right and perfect...I had to keep stressing it was HER painting...she had to make it her own.  So the bottom one is now up for sale for a million dollars.  Let me know if you are a taker...and we can arrange the deal:)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Maybe I am just weird...ok don't answer that...but I love attending homeschooling conferences.  I have attended a local one for 4 years now, but this year I branched out and attended a national conference called Teach Them Diligently.  It was held in Omaha, Nebraska...very convenient since I already have free lodging and childcare providers (my 'rents):)

This conference was huge!  There were over 5000 people in attendance.   Families drove from all over the country to attend this event!  There were over 150 1-hour workshops to choose from...overwhelming!  I attended 13 workshops in total...but purchased the entire conference on MP3.  I have earmarked 45 must listen to workshops...and I have 37 more to listen to!  Can't wait.

Some highlights from the conference:

Kids conference:  I wasn't crazy about their layout and having to pick the kids up for their lunch break...but we managed.  Our three older kids were able to attend and they all had a great time!

Meeting a blogger from Texas:  I have been following Laugh with Us blog for some time now.  The writer is a friends, sisters, sister-in-law...small world.  It was nice meeting her and her family!

Photo From Laugh with us:
 Hanging out with friends:  A group of friends rented rooms at the Hilton and it was nice hanging out with them in the evenings.  Such a fun, fun group of women.  I still think I am recovering from the late nights hanging out.

Jo--sharing her collection of beads...meaning millions of beads.  She let everyone make pretty bracelets...I was too tired to focus on a string!
Great speakers:  There were quiet a few nationally known speakers.  I could write a million posts reviewing all of the I am going to just highlight a few things from my notes:

Ken Ham (From Answers in Genesis)
~~Many people in today's society claim they are Christians...yet discount Genesis altogether.
~~Kids are straying away from the faith at alarming numbers in the middle school/high school level...and more so in the college level.
~~2 Corinthians 11:3--  But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

Heidi St. John (From the Busy Homeschool Mom)
~~Remember the goal of homeschooling...not to have the smartest kids, but to have Godly kids.
~~Expect opposition:  spiritually, from family, friends, children.
~~Adjust for life.  Successful homeschoolers are flexible.
~~Listen for the Lord.  Be in the word.  Listen to your spouse.
~~Let go of legalism.
~~Enjoy the journey...even though it isn't easy.  Don't give up on your kids.
~~Goal is in never neutral.
~~Be amazed at what your kids do!
~~Don't make homeschooling complicated.
~~Organize your home for success.
~~Stop wasting time.
~~It's not time management-- It's me management!  We all have the same 24 hours in a day.
~~Check your priorities-- things in order of importance-- Spiritual life, marriage, family home, homeschool, and outside activities.
~~Clear the emotional and physical clutter.
~~Have two days totally free...and unscheduled.
~~Guard your time.  It is precious and you don't get it back.
~~Be intentional
~~Remember the reason
~~Finish well!
~~The goal of the enemy is to create separateness
~~Be that girl.

Hal & Melanie Young (from Raising Real Men)
~~Resist feminizing our boys.
~~Give them something to aim for like heroes and protectors
~~Help them see the "why".
~~Love your sons.  Don't whine..train them!

Jeannie Fulbright (from Apologia Science)
~~If the reason we learn is to score well on a test...we have lost sight in the purpose of education.

Pam Tebow (from Bob Tebow Evangelical Association)
~~Love your children and give them grace.
~~Fearful parents have fearful kids.
~~We don't have to be supermoms or superdads because we have a super God!
Voddie Baucham (from Grace Family Baptist Church )
~~God does not call us to prepare our children for college...he calls us to prepare our children for heaven.
~~College is not for everyone.  A lot of times it is for a parent to fulfill their "lost" dream or for bragging rights for parents.
~~A degree is sometimes a million dollar myth.  Don't waste time and money getting a degree where you can simply internship for it.  You don't automatically become a CEO without hard work on the job.
~~Idolatry-- we will do anything for a piece of paper...even if we go in debt.
~~People say nothing about going into debt over a college education...try buying a $100,000 car...see what people have to say then.
~~There are other options out there where you don't have to lose your child to a university.  College Plus offers 4 year degree can start at 14 years old and finish a degree in 2 years...and it only costs $10,000-$15,000.

I could go on!  I think they should rename the conference Teach ME diligently....because I learned quiet a bit.  Can't wait to start the new school year...refreshed!!