Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day...

I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day with your family and friends! 
 We are enjoying the week in North Georgia with my family. 
There have been hours spent ...
rocking on the front porch, panning for gold in the creek, riding the gator thru the pastures...
listening to the crickets and watching fire flies light up the night skies!
We're looking forward to our time in Helen, Georgia watching the hot air balloons lift off and our annual tubing adventure down the Chattahoochee River.
Delicious meals, time with dear friends, lots of coffee with my mom, and sitting around the pool at my brother's house hearing the laughter of my kids with their cousins.

Life is good. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Perfect Date.

Briar Patch in Winter Park, Florida...the perfect brunch.

Our favorite garage sale find...2 new glass lamps!

We love them...they are the perfect addition to our room, which is a constant work in progress...

Glass Milk Containers and a Small Bread Board
 I'm sure by now you've figured out how much I love Winter Park, Florida. 
We spend out 95% of our date nights there.
This  past weekend we ate a delightful brunch at a wonderful place called
The Briar Patch.
We sat outside under the umbrellas and ate the most
divine breakfast that I've had in a long time.
I had a Western Omelet with and a delicious English Muffin.
He had two pancakes, eggs, toast and bacon.

We hit some garage sales while we were in Winter Park, and let me just say that...
We scored again!
We found two glass lamp bases from the 60's that look very similar to the ones at Pottery Barn.
The lady said she wanted $2 for each of them.
Apparently, she  had no idea that the glass lamp bases from the 60's are BACK in high demand!
We picked up two lamp kits from Joann Fabrics and two lamp shades from Walmart.
We also had to pick up the rod going down the middle that holds the cord.
No worries.  We're gonna paint the rods...not liking the "brassiness" of them.
We're also going to add shells or a bird's nest in the inside base of it. 
Don't you think that'll look better?
We also found the two old glass milk containers and the small bread board.
I think we spent $6 at the garage sales and another $45 for the lamp materials.

I love dating my husband. 
Some seasons of life are easier than others, but we always try to make it happen.
Dates make us better partners, better parents, better people.

Linking up with The Inspired Room and The Girl Creative and The Shabby Nest

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

We're Making Plans...


Bike Trails  Downtown Disney     Beach Days   
Homemade Ice cream  Lazy Pool Days  Tubing down the Chattahoochee River, Helen Georgia

Orlando Science Center  Snow cones 

Clearwater Beach   Wally World with Nana and Papa  
White Water Park, Atlanta, Georgia     READ everyday Play at all of  our favorite PARKS
SHREK-the final chapter     Winterpark Farmer's Market
Tampa    kids cook     CAMPING at the beach     Karate Kid
Lemonade Stands     Hike TALLULAH GORGE
go fishing with dad    write handwritten letters

This certainly won't be all the plans that we accomplish over our summer, but it's a good start.  If you've never visited Meg over at Whatever, then you should go check out all the cool summer fun that she has planned for her family!  She believes in color and her life is filled with it!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

You won't believe this miracle.

I won Short Southern Momma's give away!!!!  She gave a very generous $75 gift certificate to the one and only

Have you heard of Emersonmade?  They sell the most beautiful, unique homemade fabric flowers you'll ever see!  I was beside myself when Short Southern Momma left a comment for me telling me that she had a surprise for me.  Beside Myself.  I went right over and picked out exactly what I wanted!!  The darling dandelion in the last picture and one of her coral pink roses from the first picture will be entering my wardrobe soon making many of my not so exciting outfits a little more magnificant!  

All I can say is that it's a miracle that I won.  I never win.  Seriously.  I've entered about 47 thousand 25 of them since I started blogging in February, and this is a first!!

Let this be an encouragement to all of you to keep entering the give aways!  If I can win, you can win.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Our year in Review...

Many of you have asked me throughout the last few months about homeschooling.  We are finishing up over the next couple of weeks with the core of our curriculum, and I thought I'd take a post and tell you about our school year.  But first!  I want to give a shout out to Edie from Life in Grace and Jessica from Riverside Scholars because they emailed back and forth with me answering lots of questions before I took this leap of faith into homeschooling!

There are all sorts of educational models or philosophies out there.  We follow the Classical approach  to learning.  This model identifies three stages of learning-grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric.  For us, the biblical equivalents are knowledge, understanding and wisdom.  In other words, to learn something new you must memorize the vocabulary and basic rules and patterns associated with a subject (knowledge), process the new information so that you understand it (dialectic), and then do something with it to demonstrate mastery (rhetoric).  

We school at home Monday-Thursday each week, and we are part of a wonderful program called Classical Conversations on Fridays.

It is a national program found in most states across America.  The program meets once weekly for 24 weeks, and it offers small class sizes with the maximum number of a class being eight students. The program meets for 12 weeks in the Fall and 12 weeks in the Spring taking a break from Thanksgiving to New Years.  We continue to school during the breaks so as to meet the required 36 week school year.

The program that we were part of this year is the Foundations Program and it serves k-6th graders.  This program meets from 9:00 am-Noon.  The students memorize History time lines and sentences, Math and Science facts, Geography, Latin, and English grammar.  The program gives the home school family a basic framework of facts to build upon throughout the rest of their week together at home.  In addition to the subjects learned above, the Foundations program gives the students complete sections of the bible to memorize and offers a detailed science project each week.

My boys learned the entire timeline from Creation to Modern America this  year with 160 events.  They also learned 24 History sentences covering the Historical World Empires, Peoples and Countries, 24 Science sentences covering Biology and Earth Science, 24 Latin facts covering Noun endings (declensions), 24 Geography facts covering all of Africa and the world with mapping, 24 grammar facts covering verbs and prepositions.  Classical Conversations also offered 24 weeks of fine arts teaching both the great artists of the world and the great composers of the world.  In bible, they learned the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20.

I can't say enough about how this program has served our family this year.  It's helped me to be successful in teaching and training our boys.  I feel kind of like a rockstar when it comes to teaching them, and it's because Classical Conversations has given me a beautiful framework.  We love the community that it offers with other families.

On top of the subjects that we memorized throughout each week through Classical Conversations, I added Math, History, and Language Arts at home. 
Luke (4th grade)
Math- Singapore Math
Grammar-Essentials of the English Language 
Writing- Institute for Excellence in Writing 
History- Story of the World Volume 1 & 2
Science-Apologia Science

Seth (1st grade)
Math-Singapore Math
Grammar-First Language Lessons
Writing-Writing with Ease
History-Story of the World Volume 1 & 2
Science-Apologia Science

Lydia (pre-school)
She turned 3 in January, so we've spent this year doing a lot of reading, working on letters and numbers, and most importantly, we've spent time learning how to help clean up our messes, how to help unload the dishwasher without breaking every dish in the house, how to help mommy cut up fruit and veggies, how to cut and paste and color, and how to not pitch the biggest fit when we don't get our way!

I also wanted to let you know that my oldest son, Luke, is part of the afternoon program at Classical Conversations, called the Essentials Program.  This is offered to 4th-6th graders, and it offers them their Grammar and Writing and Mental Math.  The tutor introduces the material and teaches it in class, but all of the work is completed at home with the parent.  He learned things as a 4th grader that I didn't know when I graduated high school.  It is the most unbelievable, in-depth program I've ever seen.  It is a three year program, so Luke will be fortunate enough to complete the entire program by the time he completes 6th grade.  The writing program coincides with what the students learn in history through Classical Conversations, so he was writing each week about the people that he was reading about in our History program giving him a double dose of learning!

The boys do History together which involves me reading a chapter per day and then doing a activity with them that reiterates what we learned in the chapter.  ie) We read about the Trojan War and then we made a Trojan Horse out of Popsicle sticks.

They also share Science together.  This will change once Luke gets to middle school age, but for these elementary years, we do it together.  Apologia has a wonderful website that will explain the different aspects of Science that you can learn each year.  It's very easy to teach both boys the same thing.  

For reading, I make an extensive list at the beginning of each year for each boy to read alone, and I also make a list of books that we want to read aloud to them throughout the  year.  A great online source for making a book list by reading/grade level is Ambleside online.  It gives you a list of all the classics that every child should have the pleasure of reading.  Another set of books that my boys have really enjoyed their dad reading to them are the YWAM (Youth With A Mission) books put out by Janet and Geoff Benge.  They are a great way of introducing some of the great world missionaries and their incredible stories to your children.

We also make time for field trips.  This year, our favorite field trips were to the Orlando Repertory Theatre.  We took full advantage of the fact that it's less than 15 minutes from our house!  We were able to see "How I Became a Pirate" and "Charlotte's Web" among others this year.  

If  you are at all interested in Home Schooling your kids, several great books that have helped me tremendously  are The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jesse Wise, A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver DeMille, and 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy.

I'm sure that I've left something out, but this will give those of you who are interested an idea of how we roll over here!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Summer Cooking...

1.  Flank Steak with Radish Salsa

served with Balsamic Grilled Vegetables

2.  Sizzling Greek Salad with Grilled Chicken

3.  Chipotle Salmon Burgers

served with Spinach Apple Salad with Maple Cider Vinaigrette

4.  Steak and Vegetable Kabobs

5.  Kentucky Blue Grass Salad with Grilled Chicken

6.  Fajita Turkey Burger

served with Vegetable Kabobs

Southern Living never lets me down!  They gave me enough meal ideas to last all summer.  These are the ones I will make this week...we love to grill in the summer when the vegetables are freshest!  

The only problem with them is going to be getting our boys to eat them without gagging down the vegetables!  Our daughter will eat anything that we put on her plate.  Oh well, we will  just continue to put them on their plates hoping that they will eventually like them.  I mean, a girl can only handle so many pizza nights, taco nights, and spaghetti nights!!

**Linking up with The Inspired Room 

The Girl Creative

and Loving My Lovebugs

and The Trendy Treehouse

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's a GREY day....

Grey's Anatomy.
two hour season finale.
Who will the shooter in the hospital take down?
Will Lexie choose McSteamy or Alex?
What will McDreamy say when Meridith tells him that she is pregnant?

Yes.  I do watch brainless tv a few nights a week.
No.  I don't feel bad at all.

It's no secret.  He's my favorite.

He is married to her. They got married on a post it note. 

This is McSteamy and Lexie. She is Meridith's little sister. They used to be together.  He still loves her.

This is Alex Karev.  He is a troubled soul, but a really good guy...deep down.  Lexie is dating him, and if you must know...I pray for him.

This is Callie.  She has been with McSteamy, among others.  She wants a baby.  bad.

This is Miranda Bailey....she is a firecracker. She is a single mom..divorced this year.  She's kind of the heartbeat of the show.  

This is Christina Yang and Owen Hunt.  She has a hard time giving herself away since she lost her dad when she was only nine.  She really likes him.  
This is Owen with Teddy.  They served in war together and now work at the same hospital.  Miracle, right?
He is a little confused about his feelings for her since they went through so much in war.  He's pretty sure he loves Christina. 

Okay.  Now that I've finished telling you all about the show, I have to admit that it all sounds extremely crazy.  They put the fun in dysfunction, don't they? 

As a small disclaimer....if you're judging me for watching such a warped show, just know that I also read a boat load of books each year!  I'm well rounded.  Seriously.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day Dreaming...

Day Dreaming of napping with my husband on one of those spectacular swings while listening to our kids play in the sand.  What are you day dreaming about?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Friendship Unwrapped...

They say that the yellow rose represents true friendship.
I took this picture while I was out in Southern California visiting one of my truest friends.
Her parents have the most gorgeous rose garden in their back yard.
I could get lost for days back there!

I am so blessed in my life with several dear and true friends.
When I took the picture, I knew that I wanted to keep it in a special place in our home. serve as a reminder to me of those sweet friendships in my life.

 These friends are all over the United States, but the distance only makes our friendships sweeter.
I can laugh with each of them until my whole body hurts.
I can cry my "ugly cry" in front of them and they cry with me,
 We can try every item in our closets on and tell one another what seriously doesn't look good.
There is no subject off limits.
I trust these girls completely.
They challenge me to love who I am and not wish I was someone else.
They respect my opinions even when they differ from theirs.
They are beautiful vessels of God's grace poured out in my life.
Our husbands worry about the oxygen levels in the world when we start talking,
and our children understand that we won't be fully present for days on end when we're together.

I'm thanking God for the gift of these friendships.  I can't imagine my life without each of them in it. 

I'm linking up today with these fabulous blogs:

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

 Sweet Shot Day

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Ice Cream Truck Strikes Again...

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Ice Cream Truck People,

I'm writing to ask you to please stop showing up six minutes before I serve dinner every single night.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to force feed my children their green vegetables after they've heard your music coming down our street?  They are convinced that the ice cream you serve them tastes 100% better than the ice cream just like it in our freezer.  I can't seem to make them understand that for the price of one Popsicle that you serve, they can have a box of 24 for the same price from our local grocery store.

I was willing to go along with it every so often until you started showing up in the middle of our long, hot, and humid soccer games every single Saturday.  Can you imagine how hard it is for me to say  no to my kids when 47 million kids run toward your truck?  My kids look at me like I'm Cruella Deville.

You've left me no choice but to have my children use their own hard earned money to purchase ice cream from your truck.  I  have a strong suspicion that they will gain great financial wisdom through this experience.  Your only hope is that their Nana will most likely see this note and send them ice cream money in the mail later this week!

I hope there are no hard feelings, and I thank you for the wonderful memories you've given to us,


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sugar and Spice....

This is Lydia loving on her "most special baby" today at the soccer fields.

 And, this is Lydia when a little girl at those soccer fields tried to pull her "most special baby" out of her arms.  

I guess a "mama bear" lives in all of us.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Our Wooden Trunk...

Have I told you that I've been looking for a trunk to go at the end of Seth's bed?  
I knew that we'd eventually find one in the right price range, but I never imagined that we'd get a wooden one for $5.
Here's the low-down on how we came upon it...
We were on the way out of our neighborhood this morning to take my husband to the airport, when we noticed the garage sale sign.  
You know that feeling you get when you just know you're gonna find something amazing?  
Well, I had that feeling.  
As soon as we turned onto the street, I saw that wooden trunk in all it's vintage beauty.  
We paid for it, loaded it up, brought it  back to Seth's room, and left again for the airport.
I love a good deal!

I'm totally inspired by this awesome garage sale find and I can't wait to head over to The Inspired Room to see what's inspiring everyone else and Shabby Nest to see what everyone else has found on this frugal Friday!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

LA My Way....

I'm home from a fabulous trip to Southern California!  

There was a boat load of laughing and eating and talking and coffee drinking...
Kate thought it more than necessary for me to experience a little bit of  the real OC...
so we dined at Javier's, which is one of the "Real Housewives" hangouts. 
It'll be a while before we forget that experience...
Think....lots of big boobs, short skirts, no wrinkled faces, and very.expensive shoes.
Oh, also think ..white haired men, lots of Tommy Bahama shirts, younger men and hair gel.
lots of hair gel.
We also spent one entire day doing the Hollywood scene.
I saw everything there is to see...
EXCEPT A-list stars.
Rodeo drive is exactly what you'd think it is.
The Hollywood Hills are breath taking.
Pacific Palisades and Brentwood  make you forget you're in one of the largest cities in the US.
It's quaint and quiet up in those hills.

I got to hang out for half a day with my dear friend from high school who lives out there.  She was able to show us all the places we'd never have known to go since she lives out in the middle of all of it.

We ate the best breads and the most amazing praline and chocolate spreads.
We had sugared Belgian waffles with fresh berries on top and drizzled with chocolate.
I drank the best mint lemonade that the world has ever known.
The salads.  Oh, the salads that we ate. *sigh*

We ate lunch at The Ivy, where the stars apparently frequent.  
Except, not when I was in town.
Our waiter didn't know what to do when he came back and our plates were clean.
He must not see women eat in that town!

We visited Rolling Greens, which is the most awesome home and garden center. abundance of vintage goodies....I was able to snag a couple of  beautiful jars!

There are a hundred other things that I could tell you about this was beyond anything that I can describe.  My time with Kate and her sweet family was priceless to me.  Her girls are a.m.a.zing. 
Our talks and laughs and coffee time were so good for my heart.  
I can't wait to go back!

Those roses and that house and that todiefor back yard belong to Kate's parents!! 
Yeah.  I know.  todiefor.