We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!!

2013retro

We are here! We are here! We are HERE!

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Pelicans!

Those of you whole follow me on Facebook know that we just made a HUGE transition by moving from the Dallas area to the Tampa Bay area.

The past year has been a long, hard road for our family. We went into business with a friend 3 years ago and discovered (too late) that we did not have the same vision for the company. Our partner wanted out at all costs and we sadly closed the doors at the first of the year.

We have had to deal with exhaustion due to 70+ hour work weeks, a broken friendship, and untruths being spread about why the company closed. We are choosing to hold our heads high and keep our mouths closed, because anyone who really knows my husband will hopefully not believe what is being said about him.

Since the beginning, we have been praying for God to reveal His will and leave us with only one open door. He has shown Himself time and time again throughout our journey. It has been so encouraging to us, and to the many who have been praying alongside us, to see His plan unfold.

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5 minutes from our house!

A job, a move, a house, a new church home … all of these things were placed in front of us through no pursuit of our own. I never dreamed that I would be pulling up my Texas roots and replanting them in Florida. Or that my kiddos would joyfully agree! Such is the grace and mercy of the Father.

I feel like we are in a whole new country, not just a few states over. We have bananas growing in our front yard!

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bananas! in my front yard!!

And a flock of whatever-these-are birds stops by for breakfast every morning.

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what are these?

We are loving our new adventure, and I am excited to get to share it with you!

This post is linked up to View From My Porch

Life With a 4 Year Old Is Never Dull

I’ve read several posts recently about being real on our blogs.
It seems to be THE hot topic amongst homeschool moms right now.

{because…REALLY…we don’t sit around talking about Socialization}

Sometimes we must come across like members of a Stepford society.

I know that I have not done a good job sharing my daily life with you. I post lots of wonderful resources, and possibly have even left you with the idea that we actually use most of them. The truth is that I just love to research & share. :D

It is evident from looking at my blog that I am a Christian. But what you can’t see (because I haven’t shown you) is how much God’s love for me penetrates down into my very marrow, or how it affects every decision I make. I have not shown that side of my life because it is harder to put into words. I am ashamed of that because what I really want to offer to you tired homeschool mamas is grace and peace, not just more fun printables to clutter your already busy days. Don’t worry- the printables will keep coming, but hang on cuz we are going deeper!

For your entertainment, and to show you that we are far from the homeschool “ideal”, here are bits of the conversation I had with Sweetpea(4) last night while looking through her favorite animal picture book:

We went over the names of several animals, including a chipmunk which was deemed So Adorable!!!, but she just couldn’t remember the skunk.
In her mind it is a Stinkmunk.

Sweetpea: Aww, a monkey.
Me: It says it’s a chimpanze.
Sweetpea: No, it’s a monkey.
Me: A chimpanzee is a kind of monkey.
Sweetpea:NoooOOO! (tapping finger in book) I can tell it’s a monkey!!

Sweetpea: What is that?
Me: A centipede
Sweetpea: What?!? A centiPEE?
Me: No, a centiPEDE
Sweetpea: (said dreamily) *sigh* SantaPee … I love him

There you have it – my kid makes up her own animal names, thinks the word Pee is hilarious, and believes in Santa (even though we’ve told her he’s not real).

p.s. I have no desire to be the homeschool ideal. Those people are boring! ;)
I do want to be more transparent though, so don’t say you weren’t warned!

Back to (Home) School: Our Students

I mention my kiddos from time to time, but it has been a long time since I talked about them individually! They have grown a bit. ;)

{Funny Girl-15}

Funny Girl is my responsible rule follower. She sees the world in black & white. She is laid-back and inherited her parents’ sarcasm gene. She would be perfectly content living in the world of Jane Austen. Her current interest is learning how to breed and raise cockatiels.

{Ms. Creativity-13}

Ms. Creativity is my free-spirited artist. She is a happy helper, and prefers pretty over practical. Her favorite color is sparkles. She will choose a paintbrush over a book any day. Her current interest is drawing & watercolors.

{Warrior Boy-9}

Warrior Boy is my man-in-training. He is his daddy’s shadow. You will usually find him in the middle of a Nerf weapon war with the neighborhood boys. His tender side comes out whenever there is a baby nearby. His current interest is carving & whittling.

{Sassyfrass-7}

Sassyfrass is my social butterfly. She never meets a stranger and never stops talking. She is compassionate and doesn’t let anyone cry alone.  Her current interest is creating & illustrating books to trade with her buddy next door.

{Sweetpea-3}

Sweetpea is my non-stop bundle of fun. Her job is to entertain her siblings and give her parents near-heart attacks. It is never a good thing if she is missing and it is quiet. Her current interest is stickers.

{The Teacher & The Principal}

We will be celebrating our 20th anniversary this Fall. We have almost nothing in common but enjoy every minute that we are together. :D    We have been through the fire and, by the grace & mercy of God,  have a life filled with joyful blessings.

So there you have it…the students & staff of The Way Home Learning Center. Thanks for stopping by!!

p.s. There is a book titled The Way Home, but our school name is from the book of Acts, which talks about followers of The Way.

 

A Bird in the Hair Is Worth???

On our trip to the zoo Sunday afternoon to see the new Koala Walkabout, we discovered a fun Lorikeet aviary.

They are friendly little critters, but it can be a bit unnerving to have them sitting on your head – poop could happen at any moment!

A Day at the Pond

Yesterday was gorgeous with perfect Spring weather, so we gathered the fishing poles and headed down to the neighborhood pond at the end of our street.

We look forward to the adorable baby ducks each year!

At first, all we attracted was a flock of pigeons.

Sweetpea made the first catch of the day.

Funny Girl’s was the biggest.

Warrior Boy was proud of his little friend.

All the little fishy friends went back into the water to grow bigger. No fish dinner for us, but a fun afternoon was had by all!

My Word of the Year

Last year was my first time to name the year.

It was a perfect fit for 2011.

As the new year rolled around, themes started running through my head.

I once again asked God to show me and He was quick to reply.

S-T-R-E-T-C-H

Oh how appropriate … and oh how uncomfortable!!

The ideas started tumbling in my head.

I want to STRETCH …

… my FAITH

  • give Christ His rightful position as ruler of my time
  • encourage others with the Word of God
  • banish the fears I still carry around after losing a child

… my BLOG

  • share more of our daily life
  • cheer on homeschooling moms
  • build up community

… my FINANCES

… my HABITS

  • continue our shift towards whole foods
  • 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week
  • force myself into an earlier bedtime

… my HOMEMAKING

  • scatter scripture throughout our home
  • decorate for my family, not for a design mag
  • shop my house and re-purpose what we have

… my CREATIVITY

  • start doodling
  • learn how to quill
  • put my new watercolor pencils to use

… my COMFORT ZONE

  • offer guidance to a group of future homeschoolers
  • teach a Couponing 101 class
  • promote my husband’s business

I hope that posting this long list will hold me accountable (gulp)!!

Did you name your year?

Please leave a link to your post, or tell us in the comments.

I would love to know!!

Thankful

I hope y’all had a wonderful Thanksgiving week!

We had a lovely dinner with family – about 25 in all. It was a day filled with fun and blessings.

Our week ended with an last-minute trip to Louisiana. My Granddaddy traded his earthly home for a heavenly one last Monday, and his funeral was on Saturday. He was a good, kind man and we look forward to seeing him again someday!

Please pray for my Grandmommie. They were married for 65 years and she has some long, lonely days ahead.

snowed under

We broke a record here in the Dallas area yesterday – around a foot of snow! Crazy!!

My friend Jenny’s illness has consumed my days this past week and I am miles behind schedule. I have several reviews, 3 giveaways, and some great links to share with you.

Hang on to your hats because I’m going to try to get it all posted by Monday!

on again, off again, jiggity jig

Last night I was whining at telling Hubby that I can’t wait until Saturday because I am soooo tired. School is going great but everything else is just piling up. I just need a day with nothing to do but clean my house. Blah blah blah. This is the conversation that followed:

H: You need to have the girls do more work on their own to free up some time.

Me: They do at least half of their work on their own. BUT I TEACH 5 KIDS!!! While they are working on their own I am feeding a baby and doing Phonics or Reading or 1st Grade Math or teaching the ABCs.

H: Well you should have thought about that before you had all those kids.

Me: It’s probably a good thing that I had no idea what I was getting into!

(FYI: we speak fluent Sarcasm in our house)

Jenny over at Life is Not a Cereal may have the solution to my woes. She does a 3 weeks on/ 1 week off schedule to regroup & organize. I am going to start taking the last week of the month off from our regular school schedule & see how it works.

Here are some ideas I have for our week off:

  • deep clean the house
  • catch up on laundry
  • write out a menu for the month
  • plan out the next month’s school activities
  • make a list of library books we will need
  • make those seasonal/holiday crafts that we never have time to do
  • the big kids will work on a project, probably for history
  • plan any Bible classes I will be teaching
  • work on review posts

I am setting up my version of Dawn’s amazing File Crate System, which I think will go along perfectly with my new plan.

And for the cherry on top, yesterday I found a new planner that made my heart skip a beat. I think it was created just for me!! (the holiday themed pages! the lists! It’s so beautiful!) I am going to sell some curriculum that I don’t need so that it can come home and live with me and be my friend!

What do you do to keep your sanity while homeschooling?