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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Next Stop, YUMA!!

Today was the day, our Sailor has finally finished Bootcamp, A School and now his FMTB training with the Marines and tomorrow will officially start his military career at his first duty station at the Marine Airbase in Yuma.

All of us but our youngest went to the graduation ceremony and we brought his friend he's known since childhood along as well. His friend too, will soon be starting his career in the Navy, he's just waiting to go to bootcamp. Funny to think they used to play in their camo gear as children and now they will be wearing it for their careers.

Got several pictures on my phone camera, but until the ceremony was over, none of our son in particular as we weren't sure where in the group of young men he was!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Something for Nothing?

I am sitting here wondering why working for something is called "Volunteering" these days? I always thought volunteering was just that, volunteering. You, doing something for no reason than to help either someone, something or an organization out, just for the kindness of doing it and maybe to make yourself feel good in the process knowing you are doing what you can to make a positive difference in the world.

These days that doesn't seem to be enough any more. Volunteering, in my opinion for many has come to be understood as something different. Oh yes, they call it volunteering but is it? Let's take the recent "Give a day, get a Day" campaign by Disney. You "volunteer" but instead of just feeling good or being happy you made a difference to someone, somewhere you get "rewarded with a ticket to Disney. Isn't that just working for a ticket rather than volunteering?

Another example I heard of recently is a program in which you "volunteer" a certain amount of hours and in return, once again instead of just the satisfaction of "doing good" you get rewarded with a desk top computer, printer accessories and all! Volunteering? I wouldn't call it that. I call it working in exchange for a computer.

Is there anything "wrong" per say with the above scenarios? Not really, as long as both parties know what they are getting in return out of each other and are satisfied. But lets not call it volunteering. Let's call it what it really is which is working for goods, or bartering work for goods.

Here is the definition of volunteer as found via the online Dictionary:
a person who voluntarily offers himself or herself for a service or undertaking.
2. a person who performs a service willingly and without pay

The above scenarios do NOT fit that definition: willing and without pay, now do they?

I am not against situations as described above, but I am against calling it volunteering, because it's not. These situations are fine in that they enable some people to get luxury type items they may not otherwise be able to afford and in return a business or organization gets some much needed help. The satisfaction and feeling is going to be different though. You will be satisfied you got your Disney ticket or a computer, but you wont have that same feel good feeling inside that you did something just to do it, because it's the right thing to do, or was for an organization you feel strongly about, you will just feel good because you obtained a material possession. It is a whole different kind of feeling and not quite as rewarding.

If you are an organization that offers goods in exchange for work or a person looking to perform a service in exchange for work, great, but please, call it what it is, which is NOT volunteering.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Birthday

Today was Austin's 4th birthday! It hardly seems possible that he could be four!

His dad made him a Blue's Clues cake to celebrate. Well, we bought a plain cake at Costco, and dad decorated. He did this free hand! Impressive if I may say so!

We took the cake to church so our friends and church family could share in his special day. After we came home and opened his gifts and had his favorite dinner; home made mac & cheese!

It was a good day, and the birthday boy is now tucked in bed cuddled with his favorite gift, another tiger to add to his collection, given to him by a special friend of his!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Start Them Young!

Recently my 11 year old has become very interested in Beachbody. Particularly the Insanity program and Shaun T. He has been getting up at the crack of dawn with me and trying to keep up with the workouts.

Actually he started a few weeks earlier with my One on One workouts, but he has really gotten into the Insanity Program.

I must say Beachbody's advertising is pretty darn good, as he informed me this morning he wanted "that green drink they show at the end of the workouts" (IE Shakeology).

He also gets online at least once a day a scans all the workout programs for what he wants to do next.

I love it! I have been waiting for someone to jump on board with me. I thought it would be my husband or one of the older boys, but it is the 11 year old, AND the three year old.

Yes, the three year old is in love with Tony Horton and imitates him often.

We have hard floors and use yoga mats for our workouts. The minute he sees those mats come out he starts trying to give us instructions on what to do next.

A couple of weeks ago we went to visit my brother(who went home with P90X last night by the way!) and he too has hard floors, but had a rectangular area rug on the ground. Immediately he starts trying to lead us all in a workout. It took me a moment or two to realize that he thought the rug was one big yoga mat! My brother got a huge laugh over the whole thing.

So, what is the moral to all of this? START THEM YOUNG!! If you start them young and make them think exercise and good nutrition is fun and even a "treat"(working out with mom or dad is special and if they do it ,they can have the "special treats" like protein bars and shakeology) then hopefully it will become lifelong habits.

My older boys just seem to have no real interest. They get curious but lack the commitment to follow through. The younger ones though for some reason are just naturally curious and willing. Just like with anything. Think about when you have toddlers and they are only too anxious to "help" you sweep the floor or dust the furniture. If you take the extra time to allow them the "pleasure" even though in reality it creates more work for you in the long run, it will just become a natural habit to help out in the household. Now think about your teens who perhaps you didn't encourage to "help" when they were littles. Do they help now? It's the same with exercise and eating well.

I too am guilty of not allowing my older children to help when they were little, or encourage in a healthy lifestyle. It doesn't mean they can't be encouraged to change as they get older, it just takes more work and effort on our part as parents.

So, while sometimes the little ones get in my way when I am working out, or I don't really like to share my expensive nutrition supplements, I know that I am creating lifelong healthy choices and making my work later in life much easier for me AND them!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Going INSANE!!

It was bound to happen sooner or later. I knew it would, it was only a matter of time, yet I avoided it like the plague for some reason. I finally caved in and just went with it and now have gone fully insane, with Insanity:
After doing three rounds of P90X, then spending the last several months doing some of those workouts combined with the One on One workouts, I decided it was time for a change. I had gotten great results with P90X, but was still holding on to a bit of belly flab and a little extra here and there. I also have developed some nice muscles, but need more definition.

I researched several Beachbody and other programs for months, and decided this was the one for me!

Last week I took my "fit test" and Saturday tried the bonus "Fast and Furious" workout that came with the set. This morning I did my first "official" workout and even after 3 rounds of P90X, I have to admit, it kicked my butt, BIG TIME!! I could hardly breathe when I was done, and I was soaking wet. But, I have to also admit, it was FUN!!

I will post some before pics soon, then 30 day and 60 day photos so you can follow my progress if interested. Right now my computer isn't reading my card, so I need to find a cord, then I will get pics uploaded.

I am hoping to avoid that holiday weight gain that seems to come every year. What steps are you taking? By the time New Years rolls around, I wont need to make any health or fitness resolutions, as I will already be fit(at least that's the plan, LOL :) ) and moved on to my next program!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy Birthday U.S.M.C. !

Today is easy to find something to be "thankful" for, continuing on with my 25 Days of Thankfulness I am working on along with my children.

Today is the 235th birthday of the United States Marine Corps!

I am SO thankful to all of those who have served and who are currently serving and protect us and our freedoms!

I LOVED the video below I found earlier on Facebook. As a mother with a son in the Navy who is serving with the Marines as a Hospital Corpsman I feel a certain loyalty and pride towards both branches. Of course I am thankful to all who serve or have served in ANY of the branches in our military but today is devoted to those brave Marines!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bye-Bye Bailey

About this time last year, we lost our beloved dog, Sequoia. Some neighbor dogs that had been running loose with a pack of wild, feral dogs got into our yard and attacked him, and killed him. We were so heartbroken as we had this pet for several years, and he was very loyal and very protective.

Not to replace Sequoia, but to help ease the hurt we went and got Bailey, an older puppy. This dog was nothing but love. All he wanted was to love and be loved. We were hoping for another good watch dog. A watch dog he was not! As soon as anyone would pull into the drive way he'd run up barking, then when they'd open their car door, he'd jump in their lap and lick them to death!! He was just a sweetie. He was just as loving and affectionate towards other animals.

He really decided Austin, our youngest was his pet human. When we'd let Austin out to play, he wouldn't leave Austin's side. Wherever Austin went, Bailey was sure to follow. When we'd get home from somewhere and open the van door, he'd jump up and kiss Austin!

A little over a week ago Bailey went missing. This was very unusual for him. Our yard is totally fenced, but this dog could clear anything up to six feet, EASILY!! He would often jump out to chase our car down the road when we'd leave, but two driveways down, he'd turn around and go home. Other than that he rarely if ever left the property.

In the wee hours of the morning he went missing, I had heard what sounded like a nasty dog fight a property or two over, but didn't give it much thought as I was sure Bailey was here, safe at home. Well, ever since he went missing, I've had that fight in the back of my mind.

This morning came the dreaded call. Someone found Bailey, dead. He was just the other side of our fence, the bottom of our property. We're not sure what happened, he appears to have been dead only days, and he's been missing over a week. Best we can guess is that was indeed him we heard in the fight, and he was badly injured and struggled to get home and just didn't quite make it.

While we are heartbroken, believe it or not I do actually have a couple of things to be thankful for in this. One, I am SO thankful for the person who took the time to call(we had signs up all over town) and let us know. Even though we are now hurting, it is a sense of relief to know what happened, than to always wonder. Also, during this whole time we had several people call thinking they saw him or even had them. While none of them were him, again I am thankful for people who care enough to look for signs and scan the Internet for lost notices and call people and try to reunite missing pets with their owners.

One lady that called, even called back to let me know the dog she had that turned out not to be Bailey had been reunited with his owner. He was a special dog for a special lady. He was a companion pet to a disabled lady! I am thankful they are back together.

I hope you too, take the time to stop and look at those "LOST" signs and then keep your eyes open or if you find a lost pet, take the time to search out the owner. I know it's easier to call the pound or just ignore it, but you have no idea how much the owner and pet would be grateful for the few extra minutes of your time. You never know if you will be reuniting a special companion animal or just giving a worried family a sense of peace and resolution.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude

With Thanksgiving approaching we started a 25 Days of Thanksgiving Lapbook that we purchased from Each day the kids write something they are thankful for, and copy a Psalms on thankfulness.

One of my children almost daily seems thankful for food, while the other is thankful for everything from his family to MRE's. It is fun to see what they will write each day as it gives me some insight into where their hearts are and it helps them to find things to be thankful for and take the time to acknowledge how much they do have and how blessed they really are.

I was amused when one of them asked how the people of the Bible knew we would have a Thanksgiving holiday when they wrote the Psalms! I of course explained the Psalms were not written with the holiday specifically in mind.

I think writing out and acknowledging what we have to be thankful for can be a great exercise for us adults as well as our children. Perhaps I too, shall start this. Let's see, today I am thankful for my family and having my son close to home.... for now.

What about you? What are you thankful for?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Haiti, Hurricanes, and the Navy

I've been prayerfully trying to keep up to date with Hurricane Tomas and the effects it will have on Haiti. This poor country has already endured so much and I can't help but wonder how much more they CAN endure.

Two of my Compassion Sponsored children are in Haiti and both have suffered losses in the quake, with one still remaining homeless with her family. How is she suppose to protect herself from the hurricane while living in a tent? Even once the hurricane passes, there is still landslides and other things to worry about.

I've been trying to keep up with what's going on with updates on my Facebook page from Food for the Poor and Compassion, both places that do lots of work in Haiti. Imagine my great surprise tonite to see this update from the Navy:

U.S. Navy PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Nov. 6, 2010) Capt. Thomas Negus, right, commodore of Continuing Promise 2010, is briefed by UN officials on initial damage assessments after Hurricane Tomas impacted Haiti. Negus is commanding the humanitarian mission aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), which was diverted a scheduled Continuing Promise port visit in Suriname to assist Haiti. Air assets aboard Iwo Jima conducted aerial damage assessments as part of U.S. support to the government of Haiti in the aftermath of Tomas. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Jacqui Barker/Released) (CM)

This is such good news to me, and makes me that much more proud of my son and his choice to serve in the Navy. No, he's not on this ship, he is on a base here in CA for now, but still as a mother with a son serving and with children I care about dearly in Haiti, this just warms my heart.


It Worked!!

The last time I posted, it was about a reoccurring dream I keep having about flying to Haiti, going to sleep in Haiti, yet waking up in Africa. I assumed maybe it was a hint to write the girls I sponsor in each country. I did write them all, and indeed the dreams have stopped.

Not only that, but I've been blessed twice this week with letters and photos from some of the girls. First yesterday, I got updated, new photos of Ismaline. She is the youngest and most recent of the girls we sponsored. I SO want to share them here, but my scanner is not working. I will figure something out soon. She is such a beautiful child!

Then today I got yet another letter from Betty. She is the first child we chose to sponsor two and a half years ago. She had been concerned about a drought in her country(Uganda) last I had heard from her, and this time she was so positive and hopeful and thankful. She still had plenty to eat and drink this year even though they were dealing with a terrible drought. For the first time she is doing really well with school and things just generally seem to be going well for her. It is such good news!

I can't say enough times(cause I know I say it a lot here!) but I am the one truly blessed by sponsoring these girls. I am sure our sponsorship helps them and betters their lives just a bit, but I am the one blessed to get to be a part of that and to know them and learn from their hope and faith-fullness. It has opened my eyes to the needs of those in faraway places we may not often otherwise think of. It has improved our school studies as my children are now aware of places they may not otherwise be. They learn so much, and their geography skills are quite impressive. It has opened their hearts to the needs of others, not only in faraway places like Africa but even in their own neighborhood. It has helped them(and me) to be more compassionate overall.

It certainly has taught us to be thankful for what we do have even when there are times we may feel like we are struggling. It has encouraged us to live more simply so that we have more to share with those who have even less than we do.

With the holiday season upon us all, I can't help but think what a wonderful gift the gift of COMPASSION could be. Maybe if each family member agreed to one less gift each under the tree this year that money could be used to sponsor a child? Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Fall Asleep in Haiti and Wake up in Africa!!

How's that for a catchy title? Well, that's what seems to happen to me each and every night for the past month or so. Well, kind of....

As most know, I have children I sponsor in both Haiti and Africa. My biggest hearts desire for some time now has been to go to Haiti. Even before I had sponsored children there, I have felt a tug at my heart for Haiti. Now, since the earthquake that has only gotten stronger. I had planned on going next year with Compassion, but the trip for now has been canceled. So, with that heavy on my mind, and my sponsored child in Uganda writing me often lately and hearing of her fears of the drought they are suffering, I guess they have all been on my mind causing this odd dream.

I decided maybe to take it has a hint to write as well. I normally write all three girls often, but have been not quite as faithful lately. Maybe now that I have, this dream will stop. I sure hope some day soon, I get to go to sleep in Haiti, but I hope I wake up there too!! Then someday also get to go to Uganda to meet Betty.

I thought I would use this hint as an opportunity to update on the girls here as well, as I have had several people inquire how they are doing, especially those in Haiti since the earthquake.

Sarafina, the older of the two girls in Haiti, had the hardest time following the quake. Her home was destroyed. She sounded so discouraged the first time I heard from her after the quake. So frightened too, as she and her family were sleeping outside at night. The most recent letter she sounds much better and things have improved for her but only slightly. I am just amazed at how positive and thankful she can be for the small things, like a food package, or that Compassion has a place for them to go during the day. While many of us, myself included would most likely focus on what we lost or don't have, she chooses to focus on the good things, no matter how little they seem.

I have not heard from Ismaline since the first letter after the quake. She and her family seem to have fared much better than Sarafina's though lets face it, her situation is still far from perfect.

Betty who lives in Uganda and normally doesn't ask for much in regards to prayer or seem to worry much is very concerned about the drought in her area. It must be a big problem as another sponsor I know from church has a child in Betty's area and has heard the same concerns.

It makes me so sad and angry that little children suffer like this and have to have these kinds of worries at such a young age. Their biggest worry should be getting a passing grade in school or what dress to wear, not if there will be enough food to eat due to the drought or where they will sleep at night due to their home being destroyed in a disaster.

I makes me feel selfish and spoiled that I can make mountains out of mole hills of my own little teeny tiny problems, when in reality I don't really have any. I have food to eat each night with no fear of running out, a safe roof over my head with a place to lay down my head at night, I have clothes, a family that loves me and a God who cares. What more do I need?

As Wes Stafford's quote says "The opposite of poverty is enough."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Signing Time!

Our youngest, Austin, is turning four next month and still not really talking. He can repeat words he hears, but doesn't really seem to know how or even seem interested in two way communication. I haven't been overly concerned, as I really believe he will start talking and conversing when he is good and ready. The pediatrician though seemed more concerned and referred us to a speech and language specialist.

I can't say I was particularly impressed with her or her assessment. Austin, as usual wasn't very cooperative and wouldn't respond to her questions, so she asked me to answer how I "thought" he would. How she can come up with any sort of realistic diagnoses off of what I "thought" he would answer, I don't know, but she said he has both receptive and expressive language delays.

I wont argue, he does have delays. As far as the seriousness and treatment and prognosis, I can't say I agree with it all, but she did make a suggestion of teaching him sign language as a way to communicate. I have always loved sign language and at one time many, many years ago was actually quite proficient at it! I seem to have forgotten a lot of it, but it is slowly coming back.

At first I kind of blew the idea off, still believing he'll converse when he's ready in his own time. But out of sheer frustration I finally broke down and bought a "Signing Time" DVD. I have to say I am impressed, and think this was probably the best thing we could have done!

Not only is he trying to sign, but he is actually SAYING the words too! I am guessing it is the repetition combined with the "seeing" the picture words, and "hearing" the words and the "doing" of signing them, but he is both saying and signing many words now! He hasn't really moved beyond using them during the video yet, but I am hoping that is soon to follow. Meanwhile, with all the catchy songs and the repetition, the rest of us are picking up on it fairly quick as well so we can use it with him.

I have heard from several parents with children who have responded positively to these videos as well. Some have special needs and are non-verbal for whatever reason and have either learned to sign or like Austin, both speak and sign as a result of these videos. Several parents of just young yet non-speaking babies and toddlers have found teaching their babies sign language has really helped develop their language skills, plus reduced frustration as even though they can't yet speak they can still communicate and let their needs be known.

I HIGHLY recommend these videos for anybody with either children who are having difficulty in the language department or just too young to yet speak and communicate effectively. They are also great for younger children who may be interested in signing. Due to the silly songs and over all nature of the videos they are best for younger children, maybe up to eight years of age, though my eleven year old enjoys them immensely. My almost fourteen year old on the other hand, isn't the least bit interested, they are definitely geared for the younger set.

If you do have older children interested in signing, I highly recommend THIS site. It shows and teaches most of the ASL signs and even offers a free full course in ASL. There are great picture demonstrations as well as video demonstrations for all of the signs. I used this several years ago for my oldest son, for part of his homeschooling program.

Sign Language can be fun to learn, and in the case of non-verbal children, open up the doors to communication. Like many languages, you just never know when it will come in handy somewhere in your life either!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Life Isn't Fair, Get Over It!!

The past couple of days I have heard, seen, and read a lot of whining about things not being "fair." Surprisingly, this wasn't from children, but in all cases adults!

On a homeschool board I lurk at one mother was complaining because she had one child in public school and one homeschooled, and she felt it wasn't "fair" for the public school child to miss out on field trips and other fun activities that the homeschooled child may get to participate in.

At a recent gathering I recently attended, I overheard a mother complaining it wasn't "fair" that one daughter got invited to a friends for a sleepover and not her other daughter. She was bragging that she actually told the parent inviting the child that she wasn't to ever ask again for one child to sleep over without asking the other!!

I have three boys left at home ages (almost) 4, 11, and (almost)14. There are plenty of times things aren't' "fair" around here. One gets invited to a party or outing but not the others. Do I demand the inviting family invite ALL of my kids? I think not!! What does that teach them?

They need to learn young, that not everything in life is always fair. In most cases it rarely is. The exception to this may be the public school class room where everyone is a winner and everyone gets to be student of the month at least once, and everyone passes the grade regardless of their ability to actually do the next grade level of work.

At work as an adult, someone undeserving may get a raise, while some one deserving gets passed up. Fair? No, but that's life. Better to learn to deal with it at a young age then to grow up expecting and having always had everything be fair thanks to mom.

Recently my oldest son in the military, had to do extra push ups for being late to muster. Meanwhile 2 other Sailors were even later and didn't have to do the push ups. My son was quite angry because it wasn't "fair." I told him the same thing I am telling everyone here "Life isn't fair, get over it!!"

I think the schools, sports organizations and even parents are doing a great disservice to today's young children by making sure every body's always a winner. These kids grow up believing this then have serious issues when they learn that's not the way real life works.

As parents, we are to teach and train our children these valuable life lessons. As painful as it may be to watch a younger child's tears over not being invited along with big brother or sis to a sleep over or other outing, the tears are only temporary and the valuable life lessons being taught will take them well into their adult years!

Friday, October 8, 2010

It's Not All Bad...

Many parents these days avoid most forms of media for their children because of the negative influences. I agree that these days, this could be a wise choice. I know myself, I recently watched a movie just because it was on and it probably was a movie that was best left unwatched. Two weeks later I still have yucky images stuck in my mind as a result. This particular incident made me really realize how important it is to be very careful when selecting movies, especially for our children.

So many movies and TV shows have little of anything positive or redeeming about them. Most glorify intimacy outside of marriage, depict disrespectful children talking horribly to their parents, and fathers either absent or as some sort of goofy idiot. Not to mention horrible violence, foul language and dabbling in the occult.

Yes, all of this and more make it seem like a wise choice to avoid the media all together. But like most things in life, the media too can be redeemed for the good! I think the reason many of us are leery on what our children watch is because eventually the actions and behaviors on these shows, start to creep up in our own children. To some that may sound far fetched, but it's really not. I just witnessed last night first hand how easily this can happen, but in this case it was for the good!

I rented a movie on Netflix that was recommended based on previous rentals. I had never heard of it before, but was looking for a family film to enjoy with the kids this weekend as I had also ordered a heavy, not as enjoyable movie, for school purposes(Amistad)

We decided to watch the recommended film last night. At first I kind of cringed and thought the kids would find it too preachy as it was clearly a Christian film and like most Christian films, the message wasn't settle and the acting was horrible. Don't get me wrong, being a Christian myself I am thankful for Christian films to show my family, but sadly, often enough, the acting is substandard, the plots are predictable and they can get too preachy. The thing is, often they're preaching to the choir, and most non-Christians are not going to run out and rent or buy these movies.

The kids as expected started to complain that is was boring or stupid. Then something happened. They started really getting into it! I know one of them even cried in a highly emotional scene. By the time we were half way through, if one had to get up for some reason they insisted I pause it.

What impressed me was that about 3/4's of the way through, one asked me if we could start having a Bible study here at home for children! Both boys seemed to take to heart the lessons in this film. These are boys that are used to watching more worldly films with very little limits on their selections and yet they were enjoying this sappy film and most importantly taking the life changing lessons to heart.

This also got me thinking about not only my own children, but how we treat the youth and youth programs in our churches. Many use worldly gimmicks to attract and keep kids in their programs. Rock bands, overnight video game parties, etc..most youth groups are little more than entertainment, and the worlds entertainment at that. It is as if leaders don't think Gods word alone is enough to attract and keep youth. In this film, the man giving Bible studies did from time to time utilize games and object lessons to teach a truth, but they were totally wholesome and non-worldly. Of course in the film, it showed the kids responding positively. But MY kids responded positively! They want and long for something similar and are willing to try and provide that for their community themselves!

I will post more on that topic another time(youth groups) I mostly wanted to share how while we do need to be careful what we let our children(and ourselves) watch, I don't think we have to avoid all media all together. It can be used for the good. I think my kids learned more and were more inspired by this simple, preachy and poorly acted film then they have ever been in any Sunday school class or youth event.

If you're curious, this movie was The Secrets if Jonathan Sperry. It is available at Netflix.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I've been MIA this past couple of weeks, it's been a whirlwind of emotions, activity, excitement and more since my son got off the plane from Great Lakes to enjoy his leave before reporting to Camp Pendleton tomorrow morning!
As I mentioned before, when he arrived he was very ill. Being a man and all he refused to go to the doctor even though Dad and I were sure he needed medical treatment.

I hate to say "I told you so" but, I did!! The kid had "severe" Pneumonia!! Luckily he was able to come home and ordered on bed rest and given some strong antibiotics. He took the meds, but ignored the bed rest orders.

Good news, he's fine now. He's had his own share of ups and downs and heartbreaks and joys in this short amount of time. We had his party, but silly me, I forgot to get the promised photos!

BUT.....he did get a new flashy ride and we got pictures of that:

Quite a few friends and family have asked if he is still happy with his decision to enlist. When asked, his answer is over all a yes as while many of his friends his age are working dead end jobs or still trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives he already has a HUGE head start on a good career, a nice car, money in his pocket, some in the bank and always knows he will have a roof over his head and food in his belly.

Sometimes he does admit to feeling sad though that he has to be far away and not able to have the same regular day to day activities and involvement with his friends that they all enjoy. Like anything in life though, there is always a trade off. He's not so sure he will stay in until retirement anymore, but he will at least finish up his five years proudly and keeping his mind open about the possibilities beyond that.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Welcome Home!

He's finally here! After waiting for what seemed like forever, we finally picked up our Sailor Son from the airport. That's the good news. The bad news is he came home with a 104 degree fever and hacking cough. We are praying for a speedy recovery as he only has 14 days with us, and we'd like him to enjoy all of them. Right now he is passed out cold on some cough medication and fever reducers we picked up on the way home.

My Guitar Heroes

My 11 and 13 year old just started guitar lessons a few weeks ago.



Neither of them are doing too bad for only having four or so lessons if you ask me! They are enjoying the lessons and practice all the time. We are so blessed that we found a great teacher who works well with them both!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Plane Ticket in Hand!!

Finally, we got the call we've been waiting son will be coming home on Thursday! For sure this time as he has a plane ticket in his hand as I type this. We can hardly wait, we are all SO excited to see him.

Now, I have to try and plan this party thing all over again!!

Photos to come!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Favorite Things(Fitness Edition)

I had planned on getting to this the other day, but we have had a series of mini crisis's which I will share about at another time. I am so excited to share some of my fitness favorites, as fitness is one of my very favorite things!

I recall at one time, on here even I think, saying I HATED exercising at home in front of the TV with a video. I'd rather be in a martial arts class, hiking or doing something else active to stay fit. While that may still be my preference, I have discovered that thanks to P90X, working out at home with a DVD isn't such a bad thing after all! I actually like it! I can workout when I want, when I feel like it and am not stuck to any one else's schedule.

So, P90X would have to be my very favorite fitness find! Probably not a huge surprise to those of you that read here fairly often!

Beachbody which makes P90x is at the top of my list of favorites. They make all sorts of wonderful products. There really is something there for everybody whether you're a beginner exerciser or advanced, or somewhere in between. Unlike many fitness products that are either geared more towards men or usually women, Beachbody makes products for both! The support via the message boards and other resources make it a nice place to hang out and learn more about health and fitness. They offer 30 day free trial memberships and low cost regular memberships.

Almost tied for first with P90x, another of my very favorite fitness resources is There is SO much information and so many resources there that if you are interested in fitness you will spend hours there! Don't let the name fool you, while it is indeed a bodybuilding site per say, and there are lots of bodybuilders there, it is also an awesome resource for anyone interested in getting into great shape and improving your health. There are message boards, tons of informative articles on everything from exercises, nutrition, supplements and more! I find the "transformation" stories to be truly inspiring. There are many women's stories of those who gained lots of weight after children and never have been very active, who didn't begin exercising until their 30's, 40's and later who now look better than most 20 year olds! also has a great store to buy supplements at incredibly low prices, FAST shipping and they almost always throw in a little surprise in even small orders. I have been gifted with items such as razors, trial sized deodorants, vitamins, sample protein bars, powders and more! If you order $ 75 or more you get to choose from several nice free gifts!

Speaking of supplements, I will share some of my favorites that I regularly take. I always order from

A word about supplements though: There is no magic formula or pill for weight loss or big muscles or any other fitness goal. It really all boils down to eating right and exercising regularly. If you are doing those, you really don't need more than a good multi-vitamin and perhaps a protein powder. Other supplements can aid you in your goals if you are working hard, but it is only 5-10% of the whole picture, the rest is really hard work! You can't expect to get a shiny bottle of "fat burners" take them and go sit on the couch eating chips and think you're going to lose weight. Same goes for "muscle builders", still gotta lift those weights to build muscle!

For me because I am trying to build muscle and also eat very little meat or eggs I do rely on a good protein powder supplement. I have tried several brands from name brand to ones you can get at Walmart and they all have caused me a very bad upset stomach! I have found one and only one that works for me. Optimum Nutrition's Whey Protein:

They have all sorts of flavors and all mix well and they taste pretty good too! Gone are the days of those thick, chalky shakes you have to plug your nose to down! Many mix well and taste great mixed with just water which is a plus for those of you who like me don't care for dairy. My favorites are the Orange Cream and Tropical Fruit Punch. I like to get Chocolate and mix it in a blender with ice, a banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter for a filling treat! Same goes with the vanilla, you can mix with a variety of frozen fruits for a nice filling smoothie! Very versatile stuff!!

A good multi vitamin is important, and I like to take a joint supplement as my over 40 year old knees just aren't as limber as they once were. Universal Labs makes a great stack that includes both! Again, I've tried a variety of each, and these work the best for me. The multi is great because it includes SO much; Amino's, Digestive Enzymes, a Performance Complex all on top of your vitamins, minerals and antioxidants! They are like taking horse pills and a LOT of them at that, but I swear by these!

I have been trying to give up my Monster Energy Drinks for years and don't drink coffee, so I've been looking for a better way to get my caffeine. I also like to take a recovery formula because even after over a year and a half of working out at this level, I still suffer from muscle soreness. I recently found a product that seems to take care of all the above:

Optimum Nutrition's Amino Energy. This stuff tastes good! Much better than other similar products I have tried, and mixes much better as well. It tastes much like Kool-Aid, which isn't a favorite of mine, but for a product like this, it works! It has caffeine, which gives me the energy boost I desire, plus it has amino's in it. I take it pre and post workout and once in the afternoon as a pick me up. Since starting this, I have suffered very little if any muscle soreness and have just about given up the Monster drinks entirely. A bit pricey considering a bottle only lasts me 5-6 days, but it is about the same as my Monster habit was running me and I think better choice.

Before finding P90x and I had tried several DVD programs and liked many but just couldn't quite find what I was looking for. I find most instructors a bit annoying, especially female ones. I also find many programs geared towards us females to be too dancy and choreographed for my tastes and ability. I like bootcamp style workouts or just good old fashioned push ups, weights, etc...the closet I found that I think would appeal to most woman looking for more than just your traditional cardio/aerobics type program are the videos put out by Jillian Micheal's.

The 30 Day Shred seems to be among her most popular, but probably my least favorite. It is a good starting point though for someone wanting to up their level of fitness. I liked to combine the Boost Metabolism and and No More Trouble Zones on alternating days. Just recently I tried her brand new Yoga Meltdown, which I will write a full review on at a later time, but this is another winner! Not quite Yoga in the sense that I am used to, more of a workout with Yoga inspired moves. It is a good, short workout and I think most would see results with this. I am glad to see her putting out more DVDs and giving us more variety. I like her style of workouts and don't find myself getting annoyed with her like I do most female instructors. I would recommend Jillian's videos to those wanting to get into great shape but not up to the challenge of something like P90x just yet.

Not quite as high on my list, but worth a mention is Tae Bo. Kind of an oldie but a goodie, although he does continue to put out new products. I have reviewed several of the individual titles here in the past, a search will bring up many. This is another good starting point for someone wanting perhaps more of a cardio workout. What appeals to me is Billy Blanks personality is one I can cope with and also the moves are pretty basic, no fancy footwork. There are many similar programs out there that look like even more fun, but the fancy footwork keeps me from enjoying them. I just am not all that coordinated!

Still at the top of my list is Yoga. It is one of my favorite overall workouts and I still practice on average three days per week. I have written several posts in the past stating both my position on Yoga as a Christian and some of my favorites, so I wont repeat it all here again. If you click on "Yoga" in the sidebar you can read many of my posts on the topic.

I have so many other resources I use, mostly websites and blogs and I do hope to get around to adding links to all of these in my sidebar in the very near future.

What do YOU do to stay in shape? I especially love hearing what other homeschooling moms are doing!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Favorite Things(Homeschool Edition)

Lately I've been thinking about a lot of my favorite resources for not only homeschooling, but parenting, military, fitness, etc..I thought it would be fun to share some of them, so I am going to do a series of posts of my favorite things, starting today with a favorite topic of mine; HOMESCHOOLING!!

There are so many curriculum options out there and most of them worth using. Our choices often change year to year, child to child depending on their needs and our finances. I could write for days on my favorites as I have so many. So, today I am not even going to touch on the topic of curriculum itself, just share some of my favorite homeschooling related resources.

The very top of my list would have to be Home School Legal Defense Association(HSLDA) we have been members since day one over fourteen years ago. I personally wouldn't want to educate at home without them. Over the years we have contacted them with concerns about first taking our children out of public school as I had two with IEPs. They have kept us informed on changes in filing our yearly affidavits and informed when homeschooling was declared "illegal" here in my state just a few years ago. They were very involved in assisting us in my sons military enlistment. Certainly worth the ten or so dollars a month!

After HSLDA the very next thing I consider a must have is the Well Planned Day planner. I LOVE this planner! I have tried many over the years and this is the first one I have bought two years in a row! You can check older posts for reviews I've given of this favorite of mine!

To supplement our curriculum or just for fun resources I LOVE I usually purchase several items a month. There are so many great items to choose from. Excellent copy work pages, note book pages, actual down loadable curriculum item favorites such as Writing Strands and more. Lots of Bible enrichment resources, art resources and more. You'd be wise to check them out now as they are having a HUGE sale with several items up to 75% off!!

To help stay motivated and encouraged I love to listen to homeschool talks given by some of my favorite speakers. I get most of mine from Best Christian Some of my favorite speakers are;
Kevin Swanson
Andrew Pudewa
The Boyers
David Hazell
The Youngs
With my very all time favorite being Voddie Baucham. My very favorite talk is by Mr. Baucham as well. If I could only keep one of my talks to listen to over and over it would be Harvard or Heaven. He totally says everything I think and feel so much more eloquently than I ever could and this message sums it all up better than any other I've heard.

Other than great talks and messages like those above, the best source of encouragement(besides the Word of God of course!) comes in the mail via one of my many favorite magazines each month. I subscribe to several and at different seasons of my life different ones have been my favorites. At this particular season with my children the ages they now are, and with where we are in our schooling adventure my two favorites are Homeschooling Today andHomeschool Enrichment. Other great ones I either have or currently subscribe to are; The Old School House
Home Educating Family
Homeschool Digest
There are many more great ones out there to be sure, but these are the ones I regularly read.

Oh my gosh, even without discussing curriculum I could go on and on! I have so many favorite homeschool related blogs I love to read and homeschool related podcasts, and more. But dinner is calling and I have a little one who needs my attention. Perhaps I will add links to my sidebar as time allows of each of the resources I named here as well the ones I haven't mentioned yet.

Tomorrow, will be my favorite fitness resources!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Better Than Nothing

I was feeling a bit down tonite, as I expected to be tucking my oldest son in bed tonite, and instead he is on hold in Great Lakes for an unknown length of time. I was a bit surprised though when my husband walked in with the evenings mail. He handed me a package which we both thought was my much anticipated Jillian Michael's Yoga workout, and were surprised to see that it was our sons "KEEL."
The KEEL is kind of like a yearbook of his Boot camp adventures. We did find a couple of pictures of him besides the standard posed pic for their divisions. We even found one of him in his "BCG'S" at mail call.

It was nice to get a peek into his life and adventures while at Boot camp, though that seems a life time ago now that he officially graduated his A School this morning and has his orders for his first duty station. It feels like forever, but really it has only been a few months.

All of this anxiety over not seeing him for all these months even though we know he is safe and sound, I can't even begin to imagine the anxiety we will feel when he is in far away places that are not so safe.....For now I will enjoy the few pictures of him we have in the KEEL and be thankful that even though he isn't home tonite, he is safe and sound.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Guess I Just Need To Get Used To It Now...

Well, once again we are victim of the Navy's famous "hurry up and wait" routine. My son got up this morning expecting to get issued his plane ticket home for a flight tomorrow and instead was informed he and his whole class are on "hold, until otherwise notified."

How long this will be or if his actual orders change we don't know. From speaking with other Navy moms and wives it seems this isn't uncommon. I can deal with change fairly well, but on such short notice is another story. We had already invited over 50 guests to a "Welcome Home" party Saturday. Even harder to deal with is the disappointment in his voice. We were all feeling okay about the fact we couldn't make it cross country to his graduation tomorrow, knowing he'd be on a plane coming home a few hours later, but now....

No one ever told me it was going to be so hard to be a Navy Mom......

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Kids in the Kitchen

My 13 year old has always had an interest in cooking, usually more in baking or cooking sweet treats. Recently he became quite interested in the Jamie at Home cooking show on the Cooking Channel and tunes in daily. More recently he discovered the show that follows; "Everyday Exotics."
Every day from 3:00pm-4:00pm, everything comes to a halt as he watches(and records) these shows. He is even more impressed with the presentation of the food as he is the actual recipes.
Tonite he cooked us a meal from Thursdays episode of "Everyday Exotics" and it was a hit!! First he made Trinidadian-Style Chicken:

I don't often eat chicken anymore, but the smell was so aromatic I couldn't resist. It was super good!
He also prepared Plantain Gratin:

I had never had a Plantain before and didn't know what to expect. They look so much like a banana and the thought of banana's with Shallots and Jalapenos just didn't appeal to me, but boy were they yummy!! I think this dish may be a new favorite around here. I plan on adding more plantains into our diet, yum!

Both of these recipes can be found on the Cooking Channels website HERE.

For dessert he really wanted to make a Rice Pudding recipe he had seen on the "Jamie at Home" show, but we didn't have the exact ingredients. After looking through several recipes for rice pudding on the site, we mixed ideas and made our own;

I am thinking he's got quite a career as a guitar playing chef, what do you think?

He's Coming Home! SOON!!

I just got the phone call I've been waiting for today. My son will be coming home next week!! We are SO excited to see him. He will get about a week and a half leave before he checks in at Camp Pendelton, but even once there, he will be close to home!

We are planning(on very short notice) a barbecue get together for his coming home. It has been 6-7 months since anybody but me has seen him. I haven't seen him since May, though it seems much longer.

So, be checking back soon for LOTS of pictures!

Friday, August 20, 2010

"Public" Schools Competing?

I just saw an ad on TV, that for some reason really struck me as odd. It was for the K12 "Public" school at home option. For those of you not familiar, K12 is an educational company that caters to both the public and private schooling sector.

Many states offer K12 as a "public school at home" option. They will provide all curriculum and learning materials free of charge as well as provide a certified teacher to oversee your school at home program. At first glance this may seem like an ideal situation for brand new homeschoolers afraid to venture out completely on their own or for those low on finances, not able to afford all they think they need for school. In some cases it may be a viable option, but it does come with strings attached and one should always go into something like this aware of all the pros and cons. A google search on "charter schools" or "charter school vs. private homeschooling" will bring up lots of resources for you to help make an informed decision.

K12 also offers an "Independent" program. From what I understand, it is all the same resources the public school option offers but for a price(rather steep at that!) but it is a truly "private" homeschooling option.

I am not here today to debate the charter vs. private issue. It just struck me as incredibly odd to see a "public" school advertised on TV. To be honest I am not sure how I feel about it. On one hand I just think it is weird. I mean, does your local public school advertise on the TV? Last I knew, basically you were assigned to a school based on your home address.

On the other hand, maybe this is just what the government school system needs, is competition. I personally, Lord willing, will always choose the private homeschool option, but for those who for reasons personal to their own family and situations "need" to be in the public/government school system, maybe competition will help improve the schools at least from an educational stand point.

Right now, with the way the system is set up, you basically go to the school you are assigned or petition for a request for a transfer, which seem harder than ever these days to get approved. Then you're on your own for transportation and such.

With more "charter" school type programs opening up, both site based and home based now there is a little more competition. For those stuck in the system, I see this as a potentially good thing. Even so, I still think advertising on TV is just plain weird. But I suppose just like all the pharmaceutical ads I will eventually get used to it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

10 More Reasons...

Just in case you needed any more reasons, here is another site I found via a Facebook Link.

Actually, this one is a little different, as it is 10 Good Reasons to Keep Your Child in Public School.

Monday, August 16, 2010

101 Reasons

A while back I posted several "Reasons" not to send your kids to Public, IE: Government School. For fun, I think I started on Reason 101 and continued for a few days until I got bored or side tracked.

I've often started a folder with printed articles of some of the outrageous things going on in the schools just to show family and friends who continue to ask "Why."

Well, recently thanks to a link on Facebook from a group I "liked" I discovered an actual website that literally has 101 Reason to Homeschool.

I really have a hard time understanding why anyone in their right mind would still send their kids off to school after looking at this list. Some of the items are about what students do to or with other students, some are about abuses from the teachers and faculty and there is plenty to say about the schools themselves and those who run them.

While I think this is a great list with full articles, I just want to point out 101 Reasons is just the tip of the iceberg! There are many, many more stories just like these and worse.

For Christians in particular, I don't think anybody does a better job of explaining why not to send your kids than Voddie Baucham and his list of FIVE REASONS.

My kids are home with me for the start of our 14th year. Lord willing, we have 14 more years to go. I keep them home to give them a truly Christian education, to teach them to love God, love their country, and to love and show compassion for others.

What about you? Why aren't you sending your kids to Government school this year?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

California or Bust!

After a long wait my son finally got orders! He will be coming back to California and doing his FMTB training then he will be stationed in Yuma. Yuma is not quite as close as we hoped, but closer than it could have been!

He had lots of choices available including locations closer to home but he chose where he felt he could benefit the most with the training and things he wants to do while still staying somewhat close to home.

We are happy to have him very close to home for nine weeks while he does his training, and Yuma isn't that far away. Just a hop skip and jump away. According to Mapquest it's exactly 3 hours and 10 minutes!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Almost Done, Almost Home!!

We are SO excited!! Today our son took and passed his FINAL test at his "A" School!! All he has left is a couple of weeks of clinicals and the official graduation ceremony then he will be a Hospital Corpsman. But for now, the hard part is done.

It has been so stressful for him and us each week as he prepared for each test, but that part is done with now!

Now we are just waiting to see where his orders will take him and when he will get to come home for some much deserved leave! Other than myself, no one else in the family has seen him since March 2.

Since he left Austin has grown so much and is now talking in full sentences. His dad has gone from a blue collar worker to a white collar worker. Two of his brothers have taken up guitar. We've switched churches. My biceps have grown in size that even he will be envious of(in my dreams at least!) We've also added two Chihuahuas to the family, something he has always wanted!

Things have changed quite a bit. I am sure there are many changes in him as well. I know he has added some new artwork to his body. I know he too has grown some muscles. He left here a somewhat naive homeschooled boy and is returning a bit more matured.

But some things never change. He is still our little boy. Our love for him hasn't changed. Our pride in him has only grown in ways words alone just can't express.

Maybe the hard part isn't over with. I think the hardest part is waiting, and waiting for him to come home!

Cards 4 Heroes

When my son was graduating Navy Boot camp we were trying to find the perfect card for the occasion. In my search I stumbled upon this site: CARDS4HEROES.COM. Not only did they have the perfect card for graduation, we found cards for just about every military occasion you can think of including but not limited to; Going Away, Welcome Home, Congratulations and more. They even had a card for enlisting!

They also have patriotic general greeting cards for Christmas, Birthdays and more. Also branch specific cards for each occasion.

I know my son really appreciated a special card specific for the occasion. I recently sent him some for his birthday as well.

I really wanted to share this for those of you with loved ones serving or who are Veterans. It is hard to find the right card and this company makes it easy. They also offer several patriotic gifts as well. The prices are reasonable for what they offer, shipping is fast and in both my orders were extra goodies such as stickers and ball point pens.

I am happy to support a company who supports our loved ones who faithfully serve our country!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Since When Did Celeberties Become The Experts?

I couldn't help but giggle a little this afternoon when I read on one of my "friends" Facebook status updates: "such and such uses such and such said brand, shouldn't you?"

At first I thought it was kind of funny, then I felt a little annoyed. I am tired of celebrities pushing products, politicians and viewpoints down my throat!

First of all, in the case of products, at least nine times out of ten they are PAID endorsements! Pay me enough and I'll push your product too. Of course who'd want to listen to me? I am just an ordinary homeschooling mom doing my best to raise my family, certainly some celebrity who lives in a fantasy world knows more than I about everything, right?

I remember a time when Pastors, Teachers, Parents or other trusted elders were who we went to for political advice. Now we're suppose to listen to Oprah? Or worse, someone like Sean Penn? NO THANK YOU!! But, many, many naive people do. They wont even look into what a candidate stands for, they'll just take Ms. Oprah or Mr. Penn's word for it. No wonder we're in the mess we're in!

Sure, I love it when I find out a celebrity I am fond of shares a love of animals, or is also a vegetarian or does my workout routine or anything else we may share in common, but I am not about ready to vote for anybody or spend my family's hard earned money on a product just because they "say" they use it and that's why they look as great as they do(never mind the fact that they also have a personal trainer, private chef,, none of that made them look that good, it was the vitamins they are pushing on you!)

No thanks, I wont be trying those vitamins my friend was suggesting simply because Ms. Celebrity trainer claims to use them. I'd rather know what my fellow busy moms are using to keep up with their households. And as far as political advice, parenting tips or anything else of significance, the LAST place I will be seeking that advice is a celebrity!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My Two Guys

Nineteen years ago today I gave my husband his first son on his Birthday. We had different plans that night. We were supposed to go see Terminator 2 on its opening day. I was already several weeks late on delivering our son. My son chose that day to be born. While my husband was thrilled to have a son on his birthday, I still sometimes think that he was disappointed we missed opening night of T2!!(giggle)

Today on their shared birthday we've had our shares of excitement and disappointments as well. This is the first birthday our son isn't here with us. He is on the other side of the United States, literally just days away from officially becoming a Navy Hospital Corpsman. He was really looking forward to getting his orders today as well. Not only is he not home for his birthday, but he didn't get orders either(thanks to the Navy's hurry up and wait policy!) He did get a care package from home with birthday gifts and some homemade goodies as well, so the day wasn't a total loss.

My husband on the other hand, got the news he was hoping for. He got a long awaited, rather big promotion at work! We weren't so sure it would happen, but it did! Couldn't ask for a better gift than that. Well, except maybe a son, after seeing the opening night of your favorite movie!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Boys!! Love you both!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Two For 2010

Not Back to School Blog Hop

The 2010 school year will be our second with only two in our homeschool. Austin, our three year old will be doing some informal learning with us this time around, but he isn't officially in our plan book just yet!

This is my second time around participating in the Not Back To School Blog Hop. It was so much fun last year, not only to share what we are doing, but see what other families are doing as well.

Being on a limited budget once again this year, not all of our picks were our first choices, but I must say now that we've officially started(tomorrow we start our third week!) everything seems just perfect!

We started a bit early, so we can take time off when my oldest son comes home on leave from the Navy next month.

This year we have a 5th grader and an 8th grader. Both boys will be doing Who is God? for Bible.

We are really enjoying this one so far! This book has wonderful photos, a great layout, Bible verses for the children to memorize, world view lessons, notebooking ideas and more. I can't wait to use the whole series!

For History both boys are using Beautiful Feet Books Westward Expansion.

We are enjoying this as well. While this is a stand alone program, there are so many great things covered and lots of room to explore more in depth so we are supplementing with materials from Currclick and other resources as well.

Currclick has become one of my very favorite resources this year! If you sign up for their mailing list there are lots of great weekly freebies that can easily be used for your schooling. We have also bought lots of extra resources for History as well as for our Art Appreciation class, Handwriting and Copywork and more. I only warn you of one thing: It is ADDICTING!! There are so many great resources available and the fact you can download them instantly for immediate access makes it that much more tempting. There are also several big name publishers available for download as well. Check it out, if for nothing else other than the freebies! They are VERY good freebies too!

For Science our plan was to do Apologia Elementary Science Astronomy and Human Anatomy, but due to finances those will have to wait until after our Christmas Bonus this year.

We have already completed Zoology 1-3 in previous years and are really looking forward to the Astronomy in particular. While we wait though we were blessed when a dear friend gave us several Delta Science, Science in a Nutshell Kits. Right now we are working on the Crystal Kit and have an Ocean one as well as an Animal one to work on while we wait.

For Art Appreciation we are using a variety of great books we have found and other neat resources as well as Notebooking Pages from the above mentioned

I feel so fortunate that I am able to combine the boys in so many subjects. They each do their own Language Arts programs and Math programs.

They are each using Saxon Math at their own levels. We have older editions from my older children, but luckily math doesn't change too much over the years, or at least it shouldn't! We also have the D.I.V.E. Cd's for instruction freeing up much time for me and giving the children help in my weakest subject.

For Language Arts we are once again using Learning Language Arts Through Literature.

I have used this one on and off for several years, but I am planning on sticking with this one all the way through from now on! It includes everything I normally try and piece together such as handwriting, grammar, copywork and dictation, spelling and more. It is a solid program as is, but I do supplement a bit with each child in different ways depending on their needs. One gets extra spelling and handwriting via Currclick, another gets extra writing using Writing Trails in History.

Both boys are also taking guitar lessons, will participate in AWANA and we are considering 4H this year as well.

I cannot wrap this up without mentioning my VERY favorite resource once again this year.

I discovered this gem last school year. It is the Well Planned Day Planner. I love this planner! It has made my planning go much smoother and has kept my home and school much more organized! This year the boys were both very excited to get their own "Well Grounded Middle Schooler" planners as well.

I hope you enjoyed reading our plan for this year, and I can't wait to read yours as well! Happy Homeschooling to all of you!

Till Tuesday......

Here it is Sunday and I am already waiting for Tuesday. I am not sure if I am anxious for it to come quickly or if I'd just rather it not come at all. It is expected to be a rather big day full of lots of news. We're just not sure if we're expecting good news or not so good news.

Tuesday also happens to be both my oldest sons and my husbands birthdays. For their birthdays they are both expecting big news in their lives.

For my son, he is looking forward to picking orders. He will finally have some idea of where he will begin his Navy career as a Hospital Corpsman. It had been looking like he'd be placed on hold for a couple of months at his current location then possibly go to Spain or Japan. Now it appears there are orders available for what he was hoping for and his father and I were dreading...I guess Tuesday, we will know and there will be no more guessing.

For my husband, he is expecting news on a BIG promotion at work. Of course he is hoping for it, but it will mean changes in our schedule and family life as it is an odd shift he will be working. It could also be a pretty big increase in income for us. Personally, this one as well as my sons orders, I am just leaving in Gods hands.

This will also be the very first birthday my son will not be at home. Being on the other side of the country, he wont be coming home either. This is hard for me, mom. I guess it's just good preparation for when he is who knows where in the world in the near future. It does take some getting used to.

So, stay tuned in and Tuesday there could be some big news to report!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Double Trouble!

Being the gluttons for punishment we are, we didn't get one, but TWO Chihuahuas! A friend of ours lives near a park, and I guess a lot of dogs are abandoned there. These two little girls were dumped there about 10 days ago. Animal Control said if they took them, they'd most likely be put to sleep as they are so overwhelmed with animals right now due to the economy. So, they found a home right here with us!

I was a little concerned at first, as I read that this breed of dog isn't very good with children, but as you can see by the above picture, that doesn't seem to be a problem at all!

This one is "Pixie." She's the more out going one of the two.

This one is "Tiny." She is a little more shy but VERY affectionate! She also doesn't seem to realize she is a little dog. She constantly is challenging our big dogs. We call her Tiny But Mighty. She does sound a bit intimidating!

We weren't looking for another dog, but alone two, and we certainly NEVER would have gone looking for Chihuahuas! But, we're glad they're here and we are really enjoying them. They fit right in, it feels like they've been here forever!

Facebook: Friend or Foe?

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. On one hand it is an excellent way to stay in touch with people, keep up to date on their lives and vise versa. It's a wonderful way to let lots of people know all at once about things going on in your life.

It can also be quite addicting and suck up alot of valuable time! I hate to admit that at 40 something years old I am as addicted to the site as many teens I know. I find myself constantly checking in to see the latest updates or see who responded to an update of mine and it just sucks up far too much valuable time out of my homeschooling day. That's probably my own issue as I know many who exercise great self control when it comes to Facebook and Internet usage in general.

While it's a great way to stay in touch with others, like email where you can't see someones facial expressions or hear the tone of their voice, things can easily be misunderstood. I have personally experienced this at least once. You can also end up learning far more about friends or family than you ever really wanted to know. Many post things on there that may surprise you, and perhaps make you think differently of a person than you previously had.

Also, as we recently discovered, you may find out what people think of YOU! I guess not knowing we had mutual friends, some friends of the family had posted some things on another friends Facebook page saying very different things about the choices our son made to join the military than what they had said just days before to our very faces. Needless to say this led to some seriously hurt feelings and even anger.

So, I sit here pondering my existence on the site. I doubt I will delete my account, there are too many advantages, such as a quick easy way to send out a prayer request or life update quickly to several people at once, or an easy way to stay in touch with adult children living out of state and other friends and family members. I do suppose that I will slowly start to frequent it less and less often though.

The time I allow it to suck is a big issue, but so is the fact that I feel it keeps me from developing real relationships with people. Perhaps if I had spent half as much time in real life, in person with some of my Facebook "friends" I would have known their true thoughts and feelings and not have had to find out in the hurtful way I did on a public forum.

Many have hundreds and hundreds of friends on Facebook. It's like a trophy I guess to collect lots of friends, but how many of them would you really want to spend time with in the real world? How much of what you share on Facebook would you stand up in church and announce or in any other public place?

Like any other form of technology, Facebook can be a valuable tool if respected for what it is, just that, a tool. When it starts to consume too much of your time and even your thoughts when your away from it for a period of time, you know it's time to re-evaluate it a bit. I think it's about that time for me!