Friday, February 27, 2015

See Me Homeschool



Theresa over at Ordinary Lovely and Micaela at California to Korea are hosting a blog hop asking homeschooling bloggers to show a typical homeschooling day in pictures (no words)!!  I did a interview post for Micaela's link-up last year How I Homeschool so I thought the new link up would be a great way to see how we actually implement that into our days.

My teenager commented to me yesterday "the only typical thing about our homeschooling days are that they are untypical".  No truer words!  Confession:  I snapped these pictures over two days for the same reasons everyone else has given (namely, you can't take pictures and get the homeschooling done at the same time).  Also, I may or may not have bribed my older children with a gas station soda to allow me to photograph them doing their work.

Last but not least...I didn't do much cropping to these so you can still see the laundry that needs to be put away in the background.  Just keeping it real life...













Head over to Theresa at Ordinary Lovely to click on more See Me Homeschool posts by my fellow homeschoolers in the trenches!!

Friday, February 20, 2015

7 Quick Takes - Beach Vacation!!


Thanks to Kelly for hosting!!

So we just returned from vacation in New Smyrna Beach, Florida and I wanted to photo dump...

Sunrise at the beach
1.  We stayed in a condo right on the beach.  The beach = awesome!  It was white sand with very few sea shells, which was actually nice because you could walk barefoot all day long and not step on anything but sand.  The condo was beautiful but Doug and I decided that maybe condo living is not really built for large families?  We spent the first couple of days hissing at the kids to be quiet...use your indoor voice...not so loud (you get the picture).  Our family did a lot of day trips because it was impossible to keep the younger kids quiet and cooped up for long blocks of time and we didn't want to annoy our elderly neighbors.  Typically we would plan a morning activity, come back to eat lunch, and then go out on an afternoon activity.  We would come back to eat supper and then everyone was tired out enough to watch a movie and go to bed.

Balcony on beach
I should mention that the condo was on the fifth floor with a balcony.  Plus all the windows open!  Whose brilliant idea was that?!  We were ever vigilant parents for the first couple of days and made sure the windows stayed locked and blocked off.  The little kids were not allowed on the balcony without Mom or Dad out there.  I will admit that at night we totally blocked off the balcony door with chairs that made lots of noise if you moved them (we have some sleepwalkers).  However, it did make a very nice place to drink my morning cup of coffee.
Morning cup of coffee...awesome!


















2.  The drive down was not too bad.  We stayed in a hotel outside Atlanta on the way down and in Chattanooga, TN on the way home.  Both places had heated indoor pools and enough beds to sleep all seven in our family.  I used http://www.sixsuitcasetravel.com/ to help us find some places big enough for our group.  We also had lots of snack food, our smartphones, the Kindle Fire HD, two ipods, and a DVD player with double screens and headphones.

Princess at Florida welcome center
Florida welcome center

































3.  The older two boys spent a lot of time fishing.  On Thursday they went out on a fishing charter and caught some redfish, which we fried up that night for supper.  They were also brave enough to swim in the surf (the temps were in the 60s and 70s when we were down there).  The kids claimed the water was warmer than the air once you got used to it.

Firstborn

Heading for the surf

Riding some waves







































4.  We took an afternoon drive north to St. Augustine to visit Castillo de San Marcos, which is the oldest American fort.  We studied St. Augustine and the fort last year for history when my folks went there for a visit.  When we were planning this vacation it was someplace I wanted to take the kids.  The entire fort is made of coquina, which is a limestone made of sea shells.  You can see all the shells embedded in the walls, it was really neat.
The gang outside Castillo de San Marcos

Group shot

Princess with the cannons on the top deck

Toddler Boy loved the cannonballs
He wanted to take one home












































5.  We also spent some time walking along the beaches.
Shot of the guys...














Game Boy

Racing the waves!

Toddler Boy with me
Still light enough to be carried...
6.  While the older boys were out on their fishing charter we took the younger kids on a boat ride to look for dolphins.  The kids even got to drive the boat for an extra treat...





Captain for the day

Dolphin family






























7.  The last day there my hubby and I got to go out on a date!  We went out to lunch at the Sea Shack and then went for a walk down Flagler Ave. where I picked up some nice jewelry...

My Valentine's gift from my
sweet hubby!
Me and my man


















We could have stayed an extra day but I'm glad we didn't because there was a weather system coming in and we don't love driving through the mountains on ice covered roads.  We picked up our dogs from the kennel and made it home in time to do some grocery shopping before this:

Back to reality...

Hope you're all staying warm in the final days of winter!  Click over to Kelly @ This Ain't the Lyceum for more Quick Takes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lent Starts Tomorrow!

I haven't posted in a month because I was getting our family ready for this...

Sunrise at the beach...heaven!
We just got back into town a couple days ago.  I'm planning to do a post all about our week long Florida beach vacation on Friday, complete with pictures!  But today's post is going to revolve around Lent, because Ash Wednesday is tomorrow and I wanted to get my Lenten plans out there, accountability and all.  I have a sort of love/hate relationship with Lent.  Usually I make way too many plans and things tend to fall apart mid season.  In the past I could use the excuse that I was a baby Catholic and Lent was new territory for me.  However, we're coming up on my four year anniversary of entering the Church and I'm thinking that excuse may be wearing a bit thin?

This year is going to be different!  I am determined to not over extend and over commit myself and become a caffeine deprived crazy woman by the time Easter rolls around.  The goal is to not allow my family to suffer because of my utter lack of self discipline during the upcoming penitential season.

I did decide to log off of Facebook for the season.  I'm even planning on taking it off my iphone (gasp)!  This is tricky because I do belong to groups who use that social media platform to plan meetings and make important announcements.  I have them linked to my email address so I don't miss anything important.  I don't post much so I doubt anybody will think I died, we'll see.  I thought this would be a good thing to give up because I have noticed myself mindlessly surfing it in my down time.  I considered taking a blog break but decided against it for this year.  I tend to receive encouragement for the journey from you guys and as you can see from my posting record, I'm not on here that much.  I read way more than I post, so I may limit that a bit.  Haven't quite gotten all the details worked out, nothing like waiting until the last minute!  Procrastination for the win...

Bonus, my women's bible study
is reading it with me.
The other major change I wanted to make this season is going to adoration for an hour once per week.  We have a 24 hour chapel in the area that I've gone to a few times.  I did pick up the book by Father Wilfred Stinissen, Into Your Hands Father.  I have had it for weeks but I have forced myself not to crack it open because I wanted to save it for Lent.  Granted, I was busy getting ready for vacation so I didn't have time to look at it, but still, willpower!  I never like leaving a good book sit on the shelf.  So the idea is to take it with me to adoration and read it there (this will also help me keep my adoration appointment).



I have other plans for doing some works of mercy and especially involving the older boys but I haven't quite gotten it all worked out.  I may post more about it after it's on the calendar.  That's pretty much it in a nutshell.  These are my plans but I'm sure God has his own plans on what He wants me to work on during Lent and I'm looking forward to what He has in store and how it all turns out.  His way is always the best way and He tends to surprise me, which is good.  It keeps life interesting!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Another Teenager in the House!

So, last week was Soccer Boy's 13th birthday!  I need to get his birth story posted but it involves non-digital pictures and I have to figure out our new printer's scanner so it will have to wait.  His birthday weekend involved another cold weather storm (figures).  They were predicting sleet but thankfully it really wasn't that bad out this time around.  His birthdays always seem to involve winter storms, the days surrounding his birth were filled with lots of snow.  On his actual birthday the family celebrated by picking him up some Smokey Bones nachos and playing a few games of his newest gift:
Ticket to Ride!
The game takes some time to play (think Monopoly), so we've only played it twice.  Firstborn won the inaugural game (just barely, only 6 measly points ahead of me)!  Doug won the second round.  We picked up an ice cream cake, per Soccer Boy's request, and headed to my folk's house a day ahead of the bad weather to celebrate with them.  He finally got his fishing cake (reference goldfish cake from last year).
Happy 13th!

The whole gang...

















We were supposed to go to a local indoor gym, but when we arrived they were closed due to the expected bad weather.  Since we were out and about I went ahead and took the kids shopping at the pet store and Toys R Us to spend their Christmas money.  It was a real treat for them because we avoid that store like the plague.  Taking the kids there tends to give them a case of the "gimmies" Berenstain Bear style.

This past weekend we finally made it to the postponed gym date...
Soccer Boy on trampoline

Firstborn scaling the cargo net
Game Boy & Princess in background





















Still working the net










Princess on ring swing









Game Boy on obstacle course





Flipping on the trampoline
It was a really neat obstacle course and they had a worker there to teach them how to use the equipment properly.  He also taught Firstborn how to do a official "drop" (landing bottom first, legs straight on the mats).  He was allowed to do a drop off the platform that was something like 20 feet up, suspended from the ceiling.  The actual drop was only maybe 10 to 12 feet to the mat, but still crazy high!  I wouldn't have been able to do it, but Firstborn enjoyed it.

So now I guess we're the parents of two "official" teenagers!  Firstborn will be working on getting his driver's permit soon.  Good times ahead!!