Monday, April 20, 2015


So my sister Mandy spoke at her MOPS a few weeks ago and I just had to post her talk! So proud of her! Such a well organized, funny, heartfelt, raw testimony. This was the little girl who was super shy and cried every day on the bus to school because she wanted to stay home. Now she's speaking in front of a hundred women and even posted on YouTube! And she was up there for 36 minutes! She rocked it and I am posting it here so I always know I can go back and find it.

Mandy talks at Mops: click HERE

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Florida Vacation: Day 2, 3, & 4

Day 2: The first few days were a blur. Sunday we arrived! Hallelujah. Splitting up the drive makes it bearable for the 11 hour drive. Checked in, unpacked, and hit the only place open for groceries... Walmart. Oh joy. It was as horrible and miserable as possible.

Day 3: I apparently didn't take any pictures but we were at the pool most of the day and let Lorelai take a nap in the afternoon. We then ate dinner at That's So Fresh and it was just Ok. Not as great as we were hoping.

Day 4: Time to have an educational field trip and lots of hands on activities. We went to the Glazer Children's Museum downtown Tampa. I lived just around the corner from here when I lived in Tampa and felt right at home in the city. Didn't get lost even once. Lots of pictures of this day. I planned ahead this time and packed bathing suits, towels, and a picnic lunch to eat by the out door fountains. Such a fun place for kids to play in the water and mama got to sit and watch. It's all by the Hillsborough River and they have done an amazing job since we moved away revitalizing this part of the city. Such a beautiful area now.

Riding Dorothy's bike at the new Wizard of Oz display at the museum.
Fearless Ellie climbed right to the top.
Lunch by the Hillsborough River.
Oh, bless her. We all joke about her sweet little chunky thighs. I don't think I could ever get enough of squeezing them.
Sissy helping sissy though the fountain.
Pretty girl photo bomb.
We kept talking about how much Mimi would have loved this exhibit!
Ride that cow girl!
Reece launching boats that kids can assemble.
My "little" girls playing in the water.

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Florida Vacation: Saturday Day 1

On Saturday we left for our third trip to Tampa since September. Woohoo!

Shane has been working on a project for almost two years and the last few months of construction and commissioning meant he needed to spend a lot of time down here. And the rule is (I made this up and so far it has worked in my  favor) if he's gone for more than a week then we are going too! 

I'm so thankful for our homeschool lifestyle as it allows us to "school on the go". Shane's job was one of the many reasons we chose homeschooling and we have loved the travel that comes with this. (Just in case you were wondering how we can spend our fifth and sixth weeks of vacation during the school year not at home.)

So back to Day1.

We left home around 11 a.m. Saying good-bye to the puppies since we didn't have the same housing situation as last time. As much as I hated leaving them behind, it is giving me a lot less work of taking them outside multiple times a day and cleaning up after them constantly. So they are happy at home in our house and big yard and we are cramped in a one bedroom hotel suite. I think they are probably missing us, but loving how quiet it is!

We drove all the way from SW VA to Savannah and stayed at the Staybridge hotel. These are great. With four kids it is hard to fit into a one bedroom regular hotel room and these rooms have pull out couches and kitchenettes too. Once we got there (around 5:30pm) we ate dinner and let the kids run out on the putting green at the hotel.

Getting all that pent up energy out of their systems.
 Avery is a tree hugger now.
 Sweet baby girl is still sporting her black eye.
 Ellie wanted to win the race.
 Lorelai was making sure she had lots of protein for her run.
 Lots of shenanigans going on here!
 Ellie zooming by.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Fringe Hours

     As a mom of four kiddos and a homeschoolers, I was skeptical of being able to find any fringe hours in my schedule. But after reading this book by Jessica Turner, I realized that there were some changes I could make in my daily schedule in order to refresh and be creative.

First of all, I spend probably three hours a week in the car or waiting at practices with my kids' activities. That's a lot of time wasted on Facebook! So I packed a bag that I now keep in the car. It has an extra bible, devotional, two books, a knitting project, and an embroidery project. There may or may not also be chocolate. 

One of my favorite quotes is where she writes, "you are never too busy to make time for what you love." And then she goes on to say, "if something is really important to you, you will find a way to fit it into your life." I completely agree! You can do it if you really want to! And it's ok if you don't want to, but there is time in the day for the "fringe." 

One thing I am learning though when it comes to the fringe part of my life, (the decorative, the creative, the renewing moments) is that I often need to include my kids. This may seem counter productive,but I promise you it can work. I love to read and it's hard when your have four little people in the house all having their own demands, all day long. So we have "room time" at our house. Every day at 3pm for an entire hour they are in their rooms. And as long as they are quiet they can do anything during this time. My oldest daughter usually reads. My son builds Legos and my third loves barbies and dolls. This is also when the baby is sleeping so no interruptions there! So they see that I value books and they are given the time and materials to try it too. 

Another way that I use my fringe hours with my kiddos is teaching them to do what I love. My daughter Avery is learning to sew and craft which is fun for me to do with her. It has renewed my love of quilting and knitting. My husband often includes my son on home projects and has him swinging a hammer or designing home improvements. And Ellie is spending more and more time in the kitchen helping to measure and stir during our baking time. It's not always quiet,but it's an amazing way to spend time with your kids while still being creative! 

And just to clarify, FRINGE hours are always best when paired with Starbucks! 

****disclaimer**** I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review but all opinions and photos are mine. 

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Quiet Time is Not so Quiet Anymore

I received this sweet email from my friend who was in our small group. Once I started typing my response I realized this would be a great post for anyone else wondering this same thing!

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

This is how we school.

Sometimes school is just the princess writing her story for CC and mama putting her feet up.

***This picture was taken as proof in the unlikely event it ever happens again.***
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Friday, October 24, 2014

THE Georgia Tech Game

Living in the Virginia Tech area, my honey doesn't get to see his team play very often. But every other year GT comes to Bburg to play VT. And this year Shane and I went to the game for a date. In the past we have taken friends, family, even our kiddos. But this year it was just him and me. And it was AWESOME! Why? Because GEORGIA TECH WON! We went with very low expectations. Every year since we have lived here GT has lost. So when the game seemed to be going in our favor we were floored. And quite possibly the only people besides the parents of the GT players up on our feet screaming our heads off. Thankfully the VT people were very kind and allowed us to celebrate.

 This guy was lots of fun and actually taught me some of the game. Which is hilarious because when they are losing I am not allowed to talk because I frustrate him. So I got to finally use up my daily word count!

 When the scoreboard got to this we were starting to really freak out.
 And here we are celebrating after the game. I convinced Shane to go around the stadium to where the players were and guess what? It paid off! Here we are with DeAndre Smelter who has to be one of the nicest college football players. He took the time to talk with Shane about the game and even took pictures with us. Seriously this kid (I can say that now since I am old) had a great game and was really fun to watch.

 Then we went and hung out where the players get on the bus to go home. I hung out with Justin Thomas' sister, who was also very sweet. You can tell they are so proud of their quarterback. And Shane thinks he's awesome. It's fun to see him excited this year after mourning the loss of his favorite player Godhigh.
 And surprise we saw Paul Johnson too. I am pretty sure Shane was floating at this point.
 Here comes Justin Thomas.......
 It is tradition for GT to steal the T from opponents signs. One year Shane had decided he was going to do it. I reminded him as an elder at church and the father of four children that it was not an option. Leave that to the young whipper snappers! And it looks like somebody got the T again. (not Shane)

When it was all said and done it was an awesome day. Like besides our wedding and the birth of our kids... it was rated up there pretty high. 
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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fall Y' all!

Yeah! Fall is here. I have a love/hate relationship with fall. Summer is my first love. And Fall is second. the big comfy sweaters, uggs, pumpkin everything. The problem is that Fall inevitably welcomes in Winter. Who is my absolute nemesis! But I have decided to live in complete denial that Winter is coming and embrace that absolute awesomeness of Autumn. So with my new found attitude and outlook on the season I set out to surround myself in all things pumpkin and apple.

First up! Baked apples, applesauce, apple everything. This was a genius plan on my part. The kids did so much of it! And they all got along. No fighting! Score! Avery wanted to wash all the apples. Ellie was in charge of "moving" the apples, and Reece was the apple corer. Because of course anything involving machinery is HIS. So two hours later we had a house that smelled like apple pie. Yum!

The awesomeness in all this is our "new"kitchen. We finished the kitchen when I was 9 months pregnant. So last Fall we really didn't do too much. But just this week we have worked the heck out of my island. Seriously love her. She's like the best assistant ever. She holds all my stuff, gets beat up constantly, and never complains! All four feet of her glorious quartzness!
Anywho I digress....

It wouldn't be a post about this time of year without a little shout out to my new love, the pumpkin spice chai. I can't tell you how many I've had in the last two weeks. Probably too many. But this new discovery has rocked my world. And guess what????? Target has pumpkin spice chai in their TAZO section. MIND BLOWN! So yes, my pantry has been stocked to last me until Spring.
We started Road Trip USA... again. It seems we have started it three times and had to cut it out various year for different reasons. But now all three of the oldest kiddos can do it so we are going full force. It will work great with our cycle 3 in Classical Conversations this year along with the Sonlight Core D readers we are reading.

Here's my man showing off his Five Guys cheeseburger and apple cider. Why you ask? Because the first state we studied last week was Connecticut. And who knew that CT was the birthplace of the first cheeseburger. We also learned that colonists often drank cider and beer because they believed water was bad for them. And no we didn't have beer. Just straight up convenient and very OK tasting apple cider from Target.

Here's a free little grammar lesson for you. Please see the below pic for the correct contraction of you and all.
YOU + ALL= Y'all

You're Welcome!

That's just a pic of my new favorite obsession. It will be so sad when I have used up all of my starbucks giftcards!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014