Posted in Craft Corner

Summer Craft- Wind Chimes

This week my SURF Club made wind chimes. I got the idea for these from Crafts Unleashed. We added buttons to ours for some extra pizzazz. 🙂

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For this craft we used the following supplies:

  • Drift wood (I found these at Hobby Lobby, near the sea shells in the craft section)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Painter or masking tape (optional)
  • Glass and wood beads
  • Craft thread and twine
  • Scissors
  • Small eye hooks
  • Buttons

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I prepared the drift wood ahead of time by poking holes for the eye hooks. After the girls painted their sticks (some kept theirs completely natural), they twisted in the eye hooks.

Floss threaders work great for threading beads onto string! You can buy these in the floss section. They work like giant, soft needles.

Once the girl threaded three or four strings of beads and buttons, I helped them tie the top to the eye hooks. The twine was tied to one or two eyehooks on the top or side of the drift wood for a sturdy hanger.

 

 

These were really fun for the girls to make. Next week, the girls will be making 4th of July crafts (I won’t be holding craft days the week of the 4th).

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♥ I am so excited because my daughter, Marissa, will be home from her mission in 8 days! She has served an 18-month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the Cusco, Peru mission. I am so proud of her, especially because she has suffered from stomach issues most of her mission, but she has hung in there because of her love for the people (and the dogs!). ♥ How is your summer going so far? Marcus and I finished up his 10th grade year and now he’s working at a scout camp for 9 weeks. Zach, my oldest, moved to Texas to work as a mud logger. And, Darcie is planning to move to China in September to teach English. With our house on the market and my husband working in Montana, everything seems to be happening at once. I had the funniest dream not too long ago. All of my teeth fell out at once in a pile on my bathroom sink. I awoke and was so relieved my teeth were still in place. I read that one interpretation of dreams of teeth falling out signify “a period of transition”. Ha! ♥

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Posted in Snippet Corner

Snippets of My Life- Hygge Style

Greetings from Montana where it is still cold, but not as cold as it has been. Today it’s a whopping 20 degrees! As I mentioned in my last post, Marcus and I are here visiting my husband this month, and through the first week of March. We are definitely living the minimalist lifestyle here, which I love, and for me it feels like I’m on vacation, although in a hermit sort of way.

Here is the afternoon view from the front door

A blogging and homeschooling friend introduced me to a new word which could describe my cozy, relaxed life here: Hygge. I have no idea how to pronounce it, haha, but according to dictionary.com it means, and I quote:

Candles, comfy socks and a throw, good company, maybe a little wine or cocoa … gotta cultivate that hygge.
Hygge is a Danish cultural concept and value of warm, happy coziness and togetherness, which people make time for in everyday life. Outside of Denmark, hygge is commonly referred to as “the good feeling you get from a well-curated, cozy, and aesthetically pleasing environment.

Minus the wine, because I don’t drink alcohol, it’s pretty accurate. I sip hot cocoa every morning and hang out in yoga pants and fuzzy socks all. day. long. I even have an electric throw blanket. If the weather was warmer, Marcus and I would be taking walks in the neighborhood, but it’s just too cold to venture outside. We’ve become hygge hermits. 🙂

I start each morning with this devotional journal. A sweet friend gave it to me for Christmas. I’ve never used a journal like this before and I’m enjoying every page. I start out by looking up, and listening to the worship song or hymn at the top of the page. I’ve recognized a few of the songs, but most are new to me so that’s fun.

I am also in the middle of two Bible studies. One is a year study called, Come Follow Me. It’s a beautiful New Testament curriculum by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The artwork is stunning. Besides my own study throughout the week, as a family we have a Skype study session every Sunday after everyone’s home from church. 🙂

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Stained glass window in Nauvoo Illinois Temple, by Tom Holdman
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Sermon on the Mount, by Jorge Cocco

The second Bible study is an eight week study I’m doing with my friend, Audria. It’s called Altogether Beautiful. I am at the end of the third week, ready to start the fourth week. I’m enjoying this study as well.

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I watched Marcus’ English class with him this morning. He is reading Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice and today his teacher showed some clips from the play. I enjoy watching/listening to his history and English classes. In history today he was learning about the Red Scare. This school year is going smoothly for us. We are thinking of shaking it up next year by road schooling. I’d love to hear any reader’s tips for full time RV living, especially with a teenager. This is something we are seriously exploring at this time.

This hygge life gives me lots of time for reading and binge watching. One show we’ve recently discovered on Netflix (I have a like-hate relationship with Netflix, but my son pays for the subscription so we use it moderately) is called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. I’m getting some handy tips for decluttering my home when I return next month. ♥ We just finished watching the miniseries, John Adams. This is considered fairly historically accurate. We’ve owned it for years, but never watched it ’til now. Go figure. I think John Adams sacrificed, as did his family, a lot for this country. I’d like to get to know more about other founding fathers. I have one book waiting to be read about George Washington. ♥ I’ve just begun reading a huge book about education in Colonial America. It’s going to take me forever to read, haha.

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Marcus bought me this fun 3-D beach art from Hobby Lobby, for Valentine’s Day. 

♥  I hope all is well with you. Is it snowy and cold where you live? I can’t wait for spring! Let me know a snippet from your life. ♥

Posted in Blessings Corner, Family Corner

Christmas Highlights 2018

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On Christmas Eve we celebrated this guy’s birthday. My baby is 16! We are in our final years of homeschooling, his last years of childhood. I want to savor every day and create lots of memories together.

We always end Christmas Eve by reading the Christmas Story out of the scriptures, but this year my husband decided to change things up. He had us each randomly select a nativity piece from a set he placed inside a box. We then took turns sharing what we know about that person (or animal) and guessed what he or she might have felt. It was a great discussion.

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We simplified our gift giving this year and I’m glad we did. Everyone got a few select gifts under the tree and some fun stocking stuffers. Our main gift was a surprise to the kids: we booked an Alaskan cruise for the end of next summer, after our missionary returns home. 🙂

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As much fun as it was to open gifts together on Christmas morning, it was delightful to watch this little fellow. He was curious about all that was going on and loved playing in the wrapping paper and boxes.

I took this video of Casper playing.

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The highlight of Christmas Day was Skyping with our missionary. She looked great! She was bubbly and happy and told us some funny stories. For example, because she is American and white, Peruvians often assume she doesn’t speak Spanish. Or English? They will start “talking” to her in sign language! She doesn’t even think it’s real sign language. Then when she speaks Spanish they are in awe!

I took video of her singing a Christmas carol in Spanish with her cute companion.

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David’s mom spent Christmas with us (she is in her eighties), and my friend, Steph, and her daughter (pictured below with Darcie), joined us in our Skype session with Marissa.

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Darcie and Steph’s daughter act like sisters.

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Two days after Christmas we headed towards Salt Lake City for our annual family fun. This year we walked through Thanksgiving Point’s Luminaria.

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It was freezing that night! But we layered up and took advantage of the hand warmers and hot cocoa that came with our tickets.

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The next day we visited Brigham Young University’s Museum of Art where this fascinating exhibit was on display. My kids are so funny!

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Have you ever seen any of Patrick Dougherty’s work? Pretty cool.

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We were supposed to see a hockey game, but it got postponed to another day due to bad weather for the opposing team (from Texas). So we got a refund and went to dinner at Rodizio Grill instead. Yum!

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♥ And that was our Christmas. A few days before Christmas, these three lovely ladies surprised me at my door. They sang, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and gave me a spa gift to thank me for all I’ve done for their girls (some of my craft club girls) this year. Their thoughtfulness made me cry. I had to crop out a cute craft girl from this photo. I also received treats and gifts from some of craft girls, which was very sweet.

Wishing all of my readers a Happy New Year. Thank you so much for following my blog, for your likes and your kind comments. It means a lot to me! I’ll try to catch up to your blogs in the new year. Let’s make it a great one! ♥

Posted in Family Corner

Our Family’s Christmas Traditions

This is a sad confession, but when I was growing up there was only one Christmas tradition that I enjoyed and that was spending Christmas Eve at my Grandma’s house with aunts, uncles, cousins, and my paternal grandmother. We always had a big turkey dinner with all the fixings, a talent show, and everyone got presents. My aunts and grandma often handmade gifts for each grandchild. One year we all received homemade Pound Puppies. Another year, the girls received sewing baskets. I remember a doll with fold-up legs and a wrap-around swaddling blanket. My favorite gift, and one I still snuggle up with today, was a Holly Hobbie blanket with green ties and trim.

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The first Christmas I spent with my husband was the Christmas we were engaged and I was thrilled because it was the first time I was allowed to stay in my pajamas for Christmas morning. So one of the traditions I started with my husband was opening a new pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve.

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Another tradition we started was reading a Christmas storybook every night from December 1st to December 23rd. This started with a binder of stories and then over the years I purchased storybooks until we had a collection of twenty three books which would be wrapped and randomly selected by a child each night. With my kids being grown or teenagers, we’ve sadly outgrown this tradition, although it half worked last Christmas. I’m sure we will pick it up again when there are grandchildren. This year my friend borrowed our collection of books to start the tradition with her children.

Some years, in place of the 23 stories, we’ve read one book for several nights in a row, such as A Christmas Carol. On Christmas Eve, we read the Christmas story out of the scriptures. We have a special binder just for that which includes carols and my husband takes charge and divides the readings among us.

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My girls and I started a tradition several years ago where we invite younger neighbor girls over for a Christmas craft party. That has been a lot of fun and has brought us a lot of joy. 

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Every Christmas we plan a special trip to Salt Lake City or thereabouts where we dine out at a fancy restaurant and take in a Christmas play or concert or something else. We also walk Temple Square to see the lights and displays there. This year we are going to a hockey game and to a light festival.

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Marcus’ birthday is on Christmas Eve so our tradition is to dedicate most of that day to him and do activities he chooses to do. One year we went ice skating. It’s also tradition to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol as part of his birthday celebration. We eat a big dinner on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day. We usually have Prime Rib. On Christmas Day, we have my husband’s amazing waffles for breakfast and then snack all day long.

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I love this photo of my baby girl who is currently serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has been in Peru since January and we will miss her this Christmas, but we do get to Skype with her on Christmas Day so we are looking forward to that.

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Here is a recent photo of her in her Christmas dress (on the very right), with her companion (on the very left) and an elder. They are spending this Christmas season spreading the light of Christ by teaching His gospel and serving God’s children in Juliaca, Peru.

♥ Other traditions we have are making goodie plates for neighbors, caroling with youth groups in our church, watching Christmas movies (Hallmark!) all month long, including the classics such as Miracle on 34th Street, The Santa Clause, Christmas Vacation, The Grinch, and A Christmas Story. My personal favorite that I have to watch every Christmas is White Christmas. I play Christmas music all month long as well, and I love to decorate my house from top to bottom, inside and out. We have many nativity sets, most from Peru since we lived there. On the Sunday before Christmas Day we attend the Christmas Sacrament program at church. We also give to charities at this time of year, and we often find a family in need to secretly give to or we buy gifts for the sub for Santa program. ♥ I would love to hear about your favorite Christmas traditions! Please leave a comment below to share. Thanks for stopping by and Merry Christmas! ♥

 

Posted in Family Corner

My First Walk MS

Two years ago, at the age of 23, my oldest baby was diagnosed with MS (Multiple sclerosis). I will never forget the array of emotions that swept over me upon his diagnosis: Fear; Anger; Overwhelming Sadness; More Fear; Complete Helplessness; Wishing it were me instead; Did I mention fear?

I would start weeping around friends and family as I shared the news and sometimes in their efforts to comfort me they would say something hurtful. That wasn’t their intention of course, but it stung to be given the advice: “You mustn’t cry! You have to be strong for him.” Why is crying perceived as a weakness? First of all, I’m his mom! What mom would not weep at their child’s diagnosis? Second of all, I am naturally an emotional person. Ask my kids to tell you about the time we watched Toy Story 3 at the drive in. I didn’t stop crying until halfway through the second feature. 😛

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My amazing first born and me.

So naturally I was emotional today at my first Walk MS event. You can tell in my smile. Shortly after we arrived we picked up our t-shirts and wrist bands and prepared for the three mile walk. This took place at a lovely park in Ogden, Utah.

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When the call came to begin the walk, we were some of the first ones to cross under the big orange inflatable arch, which I didn’t take a photo of because I was too busy weeping with a smile on my face. I couldn’t help it. I guess it was hitting me why we were all there. We were all walking for someone we love who has a disease which attacks their central nervous system; a disease which has no cure. YET.

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There were painted rocks along the Walk MS path.

This walk was dedicated to the memory of Alex Hatch. I never knew Alex. I bet he was a wonderful person who gave MS a good fight.

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Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.

By the way, did you know that this weekend (September 7th-9th) is National Weekend of Prayer for Faith, Hope, and Life? We all know someone who is struggling with mental illness or suicidal tendencies so let’s pray for them now and every day. Along with prayer, reach out to them and give them unconditional love and support. We all need one another. I’m a big believer that we are not meant to go through the challenges of this life alone. We are all God’s children and we are His hands here on earth.

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MS often causes a whole host of symptoms from fatigue to balance issues to numbness and tingling to memory issues to speech issues to you name it really. It affects each person differently. There is no known cause and often times symptoms were present months to years before the diagnosis. It was a relief, although a bittersweet one for sure, to find out why Zach had been struggling at college with his reading and memorization when he had always been a strong, avid reader before who could remember what he read long afterwards.

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♥ Besides our family, with two members missing, we were joined by one family on my husband’s side, and I am so thankful for their support. Next year I am determined to advertise early in hopes that friends and other extended family will come out to this event. We even plan to make up our own Team Zach t-shirts. Because “Together We are Stronger”. ♥

Posted in Homeschooling Corner

10th Grade Homeschool Curriculum & Schedule


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September is here and for us that means the start of a new homeschool year. We follow the traditional school calendar (September thru May) because of the awesome distance program we use for Marcus’ core subjects.

This school year got off to stressful start because of driver’s ed. Sigh. To avoid dual-enrollment, I put Marcus in a seven-night driver’s ed. course which began last week and just ended last night. It’s a shame he couldn’t have taken the only other summer course which was in June, but that coincided with a youth camp. Honestly, if I’d known it would be this time consuming with the four-hour classes from 5:30 to 9:30pm, and the hours of homework assigned for each class (he basically rewrote the driver’s handbook), I would’ve made him trade his summer camp for driver’s ed. And, he’s still not finished because he has all the driving-with-instructor time to get in. One is scheduled for this afternoon for four hours, another for next Thursday, and then two more need to be scheduled after that.

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The book on the left is for history; the rest are for our own unit study. He’s studying Doctrine & Covenants this year in Seminary.

So, up ’til last night his schedule looked like this-

  • 6:40am wake up, get dressed
  • 7:10am leave for Seminary (20 min. drive + traffic)
  • 7:40-8:30am Seminary (this is a four-year scripture study program for youth)
  • 9:00am breakfast, set up for class
  • 9:30ish-am online American History II (1860-present; live-streamed)
  • 10:25ish-am online Earth Science (live-streamed)
  • 11:25ish-am online English (live-streamed)
  • 12:25ish-pm online precalculus (live-streamed)
  • 1:30pm lunch
  • 2pm-5pm driver’s ed homework (at least two solid hours worth); math or chores as time allows or sometimes we snuck in a quick devotion/scripture study; quick dinner
  • 5:15pm leave for driver’s ed
  • 5:30-9:30pm driver’s ed class (carpool home)
  • 10pm second dinner because he was hungry, even with snacks at driver’s ed
  • 10:30pm shower, brush teeth, get to bed

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English books: The Bronze Bow; The Hiding Place; The Screwtape Letters; The Merchant of Venice. His grammar comes from The Good and the Beautiful.

Driver’s ed. made us feel sorry for the public high school kids taking it. We know two girls in band, and band practice is after school for an hour and a half and then they had driver’s ed for four hours. These girls were at the school from 8:30am to 9:30pm! We were wondering when in the world they found time to do their driver’s ed homework? Or just breathe? We are so glad we homeschool. One morning we skipped Seminary for some much needed extra sleep. We can do that when we need to and to make up the absence, Marcus completes a worksheet the teacher emails him.

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Math book.

I don’t have any science books to show because all the resources will be provided by the teacher.

Aside from the time and stress of driver’s ed, which I realize is both necessary and temporary, we are excited for this homeschool year. Even though I don’t personally teach Marcus’ core subjects, we still make time to do other types of learning together, and I read all of his novels for English with him. But on our own this year we plan to make time for:

  • an early Church history unit study
  • a unit study about C.S. Lewis, including much of his poetry
  • fieldtrips to museums
  • hiking, biking, nature walks
  • art lessons
  • poetry tea time
  • meal planning and dinner prep
  • finishing six merit badges and his Eagle project
  • visiting his dad in Montana at least once a month

♥ Are you homeschooling a teenager this year? Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog today. Are you seeing signs of fall where you live? Here, not so much. Not yet. ♥

Posted in Homeschooling Corner

What is “Real School”?

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Marcus and I have just begun our tenth year homeschooling together. 🙂 This week he started a driver’s ed. night course through the public high school. He’s been carpooling with three other teens from our neighborhood. He is the only homeschooler in the group, and maybe the only homeschooler in the driver’s ed. class. One teen in the carpool made it a point to tell Marcus that he does not go to “real school” and that prompted my son to write an informal essay which I’d like to share here-

Something I hear all the time, and something every homeschooler will hear, is that we don’t go to “real school.” This is always annoying to hear so I decided to really figure out what “real school” truly means, and if anyone is actually using this phrase correctly. I have gathered some resources to break down the phrase “real school.”

Let’s define what real means. I am going to use Dictionary.com for these definitions. Under the word real it lists the word genuine. Upon going to the word genuine we find definitions and synonyms such as “origin; not counterfeit; authentic.” Upon delving deeper into the word origin one of the definitions is “something from which anything arises or is derived; source; fountainhead.” In other words something which is real could be anything coming from an original source.

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Cell cake

Let’s define what school means: “A session of such a course” or “the activity or process of learning under instruction” or “a building housing a school.” Sounds like normal public school, right? It’s interesting to think about how parents do teach their children many basics, and that home can be a building, but we will explore this later.

Let’s combine the words real and school together: The origin of process of learning under instruction. And for a bit of a history lesson: Everyone should know that learning has always begun in the home. Since the creation of Adam and Eve, and before public and private schools existed, everything was taught within the family and community. Before private schools, a scholar or teacher was hired to teach a very small group of children.

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Elephant toothpaste experiment

In Thomas S. Monson’s talk Teach the Children, from the October 1997 General Conference, he talks about “parents and grandparents fill(ing) the role of teacher.” Although Monson is talking more about the gospel in the home, this principle of parents teaching in the home can be applied in any and every way.

As for the definition of school as a school house, a home is and has always been a place of learning, and a home can be housed in a building. Home is always where family is and in an article called Home: the Heart of Learning, from an October 2014 Liahona magazine, it says, “All of the Church’s ‘teaching, programs, and activities’ [are] home centered and Church supported. That means our church meetings are meant to support individual and family learning.” Most things in the Church are meant to support learning in the home and not replace it. Of course, home is not the only place we can learn. We can learn anywhere, even outside. I’m not saying public and private schools are bad or wrong, but I do believe there is a better way to do them. I would like to see schools follow the example of the Church and be more home centered.

When someone tells homeschoolers that they do not go to “real school” it implies that homeschooling is fake. But upon looking at the definitions applied here it could actually imply that public school as the “real school” is actually derived from and in fact a counterfeit version of homeschool.

I just finished reading the book Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto. As I was pondering “real school” something he said stood out to me: “What’s gotten in the way of education in the United States is a theory of social engineering that says there is one right way to proceed with growing up.” Homeschoolers like us know better and we are proving it first hand. ♥