Friday, December 22, 2017

1st Day of School 2017

Dean's wish came true and we started school after his birthday this year.  He begs every year to wait to start.  We usually start the day after Labor Day but since Irma happened and everything was crazy we didn't officially start until mid September.  I can't believe I have two middle schoolers this year!  School is definitely harder for them, but in a way it's easier for me.  I just have to make sure I give them their assignments and their lessons and make sure they are completed and graded. I still teach Science and History, but most of the other subjects they are learning on their own.  I've made a point this year to make them take notes during the classes I teach so that they will learn how to take good notes and study from them even though they don't go to traditional school.  My girl passed the PERT (college readiness) test recently so she may even take a college class this spring.  We still go to co-op on Mondays for now.  That may change for next year, but I'm trying to keep it simple this year...the last one before high school.  It's busy here with my part time job and all of their activities, but the kids still love homeschooling and I love having them here so it's great for all of us. 

I took some photos on the first official day of school and here are my favorites!

My favorite part of back to school posts...the collages!

He's Eleven

My boy's birthday was totally disrupted by our Irmacation this year.  I felt really bad because we had to postpone his party due to everyone evacuating.  Then his actual birthday was the day we drove back home to Florida for 15 hours.  We rescheduled his party for the next weekend but a few of his friends couldn't come that weekend or forgot from all the craziness so it was a very small group.  It was still fun though!  This year's theme was Minecraft and we played a few games and had fun decorating.  He wanted his cake to look exactly like the cake in the game so it was a square of course and I had to use fondant for the first time.  It ended up looking amazing, but everyone agreed, fondant just can't compare to normal icing.  We also had fun making all our snacks resemble things from the game.

I still can't believe that my baby is 11!  He is growing so much, I had to go through his closet recently because all his clothes are getting too small.  It makes me sad, of course, and I always get sentimental around their birthdays, but I do love watching my kids grow up and seeing their interests change and evolve.  I did the annual birthday survey with my boy way back on the week of his birthday, so scroll to the end to read it.  

Here are some pics from his party!

The Birthday Survey

~How old are you? 11
~How does being 11 make you feel? No different than being 10, wait, I'm finally a tween and no one can call me a kid. When people say, "All right kids, come here." I won't have to come.
~What do you want to learn this year? Where Area 51 is on Google Earth.
~What was the best thing about being 10? My mama. (He's trying to score brownie points)
~What did you do for your birthday? I had a party and 4 of my friends didn't come but it was still okay. I liked my 10th birthday. It was more fun. (We had to reschedule his party due to the hurricane so a couple kids forgot and a couple were sick) What did you do on your actual birthday? I was in the car from 8:00am til 11:30pm because stupid Irma came. (We were driving home from the mountain house) But I still had fun the 2 days before my birthday because my Benny Ben Buns came.
~What is your favorite color? My favorite shirt color (he showed me the shirt he is wearing and it's a light heather blue)
~What is your favorite food? Kings Island's blue ice cream.
~Who is your favorite person? Jesus. How about a person living on earth right now? Jesus. He's not on earth. He's living inside of me! (Okay, I'm not gonna argue with that.)
~What grade are you in? 6th
~What is your favorite thing to do for school? Hug my mama and recess.
~What is your favorite game to play? Killer mermaid (a weird game where his sister wears her mermaid tail blanket and tries to hit him with it).
~What do you like to do with Daddy? Hang out and play on my Kindle.
~What do you like to do with Mommy? Hug her.
~What do you like to do with your sister? Play killer mermaid. Besides that? Belly warriors.

~What’s your favorite thing to do with the whole family? Movie night.
~What’s your favorite store? Toys R Us
~What’s your favorite place to eat? Kings Island blue ice cream shack, and Culvers.
~What’s your favorite book? Fast Food. I knew you were gonna say that! (He says that book every year) Don't say that. Pick another one. The Bible.
~What’s your favorite song? Wake me Up. That was your favorite song last year! Pick a new one. Despacito.
~What’s your favorite thing about God? He sent his one and only begotten Son to die on the cross to save us from our sin.

~What do you want to do this year? Get a new laptop.
~What do you want to be when you grow up? A Youtuber.
~What's your favorite animal? Penguins and puffer fish.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


It's been a while since I've posted anything and that makes me so sad!  I was on such a good roll and then life got a little crazy.  I got a part time job where I work from home 20 hours a week.  It really is the ideal situation for me, however, with work and homeschooling, my free time went from precious little to practically non-existent.  Then there was Irma.  That threw us for a loop to put it lightly.  We've lived here for 4 years but had yet to live through an actual hurricane.  I feel like a true Floridian now though!  Although we didn't have any real damage to our home, the stress involved in a hurricane situation is no joke.  The most stressful part for me was trying to decide do we stay and hunker down, or do we evacuate.  There are pros and cons to each.  We knew we'd lose power so staying in an oven (it was still in the 90's when the storm happened) didn't sound fun, and then leaving along with the other millions of people who were evacuating and getting stuck in horrible traffic didn't sound fun either.  The last straw was when we were reading this newspaper put out by the county about how to plan for a hurricane and we read about how you need to get a bucket with a tight fitting lid and trash bags to use in case the sewer systems failed.  My girl was like, "That's it, we're leaving!!"  Ha!  We did end up leaving and I'm glad we did, because although a 15 hour road trip with our dog was not in our plans we did end up having a nice little Irmacation.  

When we decided to evacuate we invited my brother and his family to meet us in the Smokies for the weekend.  At first we didn't think it would work out, but they made it work!  We didn't tell our kids so that it would be a fun surprise. They were going to arrive in the middle of the night so we had their beds ready so they could just sneak in.  I was worried our dog might bark at them, but she slept through it.  Nice watchdog...ha...she barks at practically nothing at our condo!

In the morning my boy was up early as usual and made himself breakfast.  I heard him and he came in our room to talk to me.  He mentioned that there were a lot of cars at Monica's house (my cousin who lives across the street) and one of them looked just like my brother's van.  I told him it was probably just the neighbor up the road's car and he seemed perfectly fine with that answer.  

My brother and fam were finally awake so they texted us that they were ready to come out and surprise him.  My boy was sitting on the couch and when his cousin came walking down the hall he was totally shocked and so excited!  He rushed over and grabbed him and knocked him to the ground with his hug.  It was so fun seeing him so happy and surprised.  It was the perfect early birthday present for him. 

We had quite a full couple of days with them.  The first day we went to Dillsboro where we found this cute pottery shop and the owner let the kids make little pinch pots in her studio.  My boy was being quite the perfectionist with his.  We left them there to be fired and we will pick them up next year when we go again.  After that we headed to Cherokee to go to the bamboo forest.  I took a bunch of photos there and my hubby backed into a guard rail and broke a taillight.  Not as bad as the time he backed into a tree at The Randolph House years ago while everyone eating on the porch watched. :)  We ended with dinner at a super vintage drive in called Na-bers and a bonfire with our cousins who live across the street...started by a blow torch and followed by Ohio State football on their big screen in the man cave.  

The next day we enjoyed shopping in town followed by a hike.  We had planned to go hiking at Deep Creek, but the gates were closed with a sign "Closed for Hurricane" even though the weather was beautiful and sunny.  My husband wanted to hike the Goldmine Loop trail but my brother wanted to hike the Road to Nowhere.  After some googling  we realized they were actually the same trail!  

The hike started easy and enjoyable.  It ended up taking us much longer than we anticipated.  As we were hiking a wider section of the trail, my boy and his youngest cousin were leading the group and my boy stopped and calmly said, "Bear." as a black blur went across our path at a gallop about 10 feet in front of them!  We all stopped and sort of calmly freaked out for a moment.  Then we made a lot of noise to scare off any other bears that might have been nearby.  That was the first time I've seen a bear in the wild like that and not from my car.  It was cool, but kinda scary.  After that we were all a little on edge and much more alert.  The hike got much more strenuous as well and some of us learned that our knees can't take it like they used to.  It was definitely a hike we won't forget!

After our crazy hike the adults enjoyed a lovely meal at The Fryemont Inn as the sun was setting.  We were able to catch up on all the hurricane news on the tv at the bar afterwards.  We had previously been glued to our tv's before leaving on the trip and it was refreshing to not be so worried about the storm while we were busy enjoying our little vacation.  

The next day my brother and his family headed home.  The tail of Irma started heading into the mountains and it stormed all night.  The power ended up going out during the storm so we decided we might as well start our long trek home to another home without power.   We were spared any damage to our condo, but the branches and debris all over town were quite a sight for us.  They were just cleaning debris in the park area of our complex last week and it's been a couple months now since the storm.  I'm hoping for no more hurricanes in the future, but at least if one comes we will be more prepared to weather it...or head out for another unexpected vacation!  Here are some pics from our Irmacation.


She will hate that I posted this, but she was making fun of her uncle, who kept saying "Horse 'nure!" in the tunnel and I think he stepped in it and did a ridiculous dance trying to get it off his shoe.  And now I can't look at these pics of her re-enacting his dance without remembering the whole thing and how funny it was!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Photo Friday 2017 ~ Week 34 ~

You guys, my girl is a cheerleader!  Last night was her first game and she did great and she looked so adorable in her cheer uniform.  Her bow is like bigger than her head but I kinda love it.  I'm so happy that she is getting the opportunity to experience a fun part of high school life while still being homeschooled.  It's really the best of both worlds.  The fact that I was a cheerleader in high school just makes it that much better because now I'm totally reliving all the memories I made as well.  I think it's crazy that a couple months ago this wasn't even on our radar and now my girl is out there cheering with two of her besties.  They didn't do any stunts this game because they had only practiced five times before this game, but I'm really looking forward to the next game so I can see my girl as a flyer.  I'm sure this blog will see many more cheer pics in the future.  Now I totally want to get a zoom lens too.  I've never felt like I needed one before, but this sports photography could get addicting with the right equipment.  I had a lot of fun trying out new things with the stadium lights.  Here are my favorites!

They had a lightning delay so there was plenty of selfie time. :)

Love these sweet girls!

I have no idea what is going on here but I think it's cute.

My fav.  I didn't know stadium lights would be so fun to shoot under.

It's great that my girl has friends on the squad because that means we have friends in the stands too!

Monday, August 21, 2017

One Day in Cincinnati

When we went to Ohio in May to see my new nephew we spent one beautiful day in downtown Cincinnati.  My sister in law took the day off work and took my niece and nephew out of school for the day.  It was like a mini vacay for a day!  I love Cincinnati so much and I swear they waited til we moved to finally make all the improvements they talked about for years before we did.  I'm glad we get to enjoy them now though.  The city is as pretty as ever with so many fun shops and parks.  We started out our day getting donuts in Over-the-Rhine at Holtman's Donuts.  They are known for their maple bacon donut and it was fabulous.  There is a donut place here in Clearwater that all of our friends love and I hate their donuts.  They just don't do it right.  Too many toppings and the donuts are too big...which I realize sounds weird, but trust me, Holtman's does it right.  Wish I could have one of those donuts right now!  

After all that deliciousness we just walked around to all the shops near there.  I wasn't sure if the boys would like doing that, but they didn't complain a bit.  We found this amazing furniture and home decor place that was in an amazing historic building with three stories and a glass floor so you could see up through it to the skylight in the roof.  We all loved it.  My girl is not a fan of heights so it was funny watching her walk on the glass floor.  It was freaking her out.  

We went to a bunch of other eclectic shops and decided to have lunch on the rooftop at one of the many restaurants in that part of town.  The kids loved it and my girl especially because she is a city person like her mama.  After lunch we decided instead of driving to Smale Park we would take the new streetcar.  It was great.  We got a little tour of downtown that way and it was cheap too.  

Smale Park is great and I so wish it had been there when we lived there.  The kids had tons of fun exploring the playground.  My nephew had brought a football and he was throwing it to a bunch of kids who were all using the big slide.  I love how kids will just play with anyone.  What if adults were more like that?

We didn't stay all evening, but it was a fun little day trip and I'm so glad we got to do it.  I didn't take my big camera so these are all iPhone pics. 


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