Schoolin’ Around

It feels a little funny doing a school post on a day where we didn’t get all that much accomplished at school.  But, that is the reality of homeschool.  We have rockin’ days full of fun activities and awesome attitudes.  And, we have very normal days with some fun and some fussing.  And, we have days like today where the kids are happy because Mom has to run errands, do cleaning, and very little real school gets accomplished.  Anyway, here are a few pics from the last couple weeks:

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We made Mt. Vesuvius while studying Italy.  (We also had Grandma visiting who was able to share her story of Grandpa driving over the Ponte Vecchio while they were in Italy, but that’s another story!)

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We also made mosaic baskets in honor of the Italians.

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Next we flew to Greece and learned about some great inventors.  (Our trip to Greece was also timely due to the Olympic games coming up!)  The great inventor Dionysius gave us the catapult, but we perfected it using marshmallows as the perfect ammo.

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Who is that cutie who filled his dump truck and escaped with all our ammo, anyway?

Unforgettable Day

You see the title… “Unforgettable Day.”

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Next, you might recognize where we are… Disneyland!

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And, while Disneyland does make for some great memories, that is not why this was an “unforgettable day.”

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The truth is, I would like to forget the feeling.  It is one I never hope to experience again.  The feeling of losing a kid…

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Daniel had Malachi, and I had the girls.  We just got off a ride, and were hurrying to find him, as he saved us a spot in another line.  I had Sierra on my shoulders and was calling Daniel to see where he was.  Then my oldest asks, “Where’s Natalie?”

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I turned around expecting to find her right away.  A minute passed, and it felt like an hour.

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I spotted a security guard right away, (and continued to notice them the rest of the day… funny how that works, huh?)  He was a sweet old man, who assured me that they had never lost a child at Disneyland.  That did help calm my fears… a little.  I told him what she was wearing, etc.  He took Allison to go look, and I stayed with Sierra right where she was initially  missing.  Meanwhile, Natalie also found a guard and told him she couldn’t find her parents.  The whole ordeal was about 10 minutes; but it felt like forever!  I am SO thankful for the Lord at those times, (and always!)

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Later on, Natalie braved her first upside down roller coaster with me.  What a thrill!  Poor thing was terrified.  I have always loved roller coasters, but found it slightly nerve-racking, myself.  Fun memories!

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I’ll leave you with this sweet face.  Yes, we will do Disneyland again soon, little one!  And this time I will pay more attention to the whereabouts of my littles at all times!

Sunshine Sunday

Life is good.

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Movie and popcorn.

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Perler Beading.

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Valentine making.

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Glitter and glue.  (Thank goodness for lovely weather!)

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Reading to Grandma.

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The hat. Malachi made this in Sunday School two weeks ago, and still puts it on every time we get into the car.  adorable.

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The football — this kid loves his football!

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Nutella and apples.  Have you been enlightened, yet?  I overheard a lady talking about it at the Farmer’s Market, and chimed right in to exclaim, “That sounds good!”  Great snack for the kiddos; (if I could get Malachi to actually eat the apple, too!)  The lady also mentioned what a healthy snack this was… and it is compared to some, I suppose.  But, Nutella is no healthy snack!  None-the-less, we’ve found a new fun treat!

Happy Sunday!

Ten Years (Part 2)

For the last 9 years, we have spent our anniversary on our own.  After all, it is a special day to celebrate us — and we really don’t do as many dates throughout the year as we’d like.  However, since we had an entire weekend to ourselves to celebrate last weekend, we decided it would be nice to spend our actual anniversary together as a family.  There was candlelight, yummy food, talks of first dates, and a great time had by all!

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TEN Years!

I just love this time of year.  Love, love, love.  The weather is perfect.  The chaos and clutter and celebrations of the past few months, (which I love while I am in the midst of them), are behind.  In fact, they always feel so far away by mid-January I can hardly believe Christmas was less than a month ago!  The house feels crisp and clean.  A new year is here!

Anyway, January is also our anniversary.  January 24, in fact!  It is such a special time for me.  Even four kids later, I still count my wedding day as the most special day of my life.  Reflecting on that day, and how much has happened since is always so special.  This year is our first milestone anniversary, as well — ten years!  To celebrate, we flew my mom in to watch the kids and went on our first ever getaway as a couple.  (Hard to believe, right?)  So, after eight and a half years with no break from kiddos, you’ll have to forgive me for the length of this post.  Believe it or not,  I took far more pictures than this.  But, here is a glimpse…

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Before leaving, I handed my oldest the camera.  I wanted to remember this moment.  The feeling.  Such joy and excitement, I could hardly contain myself!

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We debated stopping at Disneyland on the way there.  After all, it was on the way and we have passes.  Oh, how I wish I could be spontaneous!  But alas, I remembered we are not night people, we are morning people.  And, we’re old.  That spontaneous stop may have cost me all my energy for the weekend!  So, we went straight to the hotel.  No regrets — it was lovely.

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I promise this post is rated “G” — my kids and my mom are the biggest fans.  That little collage is all I will share.  I brought a basket with some fun items.  Ironically, my husband had the same idea!

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The sunrise… (see, I told you we are morning people!)  This is off the balcony of our first room.  Apparently, our bathroom leaked to the room below it, so we were given an even nicer room the second night.  No balcony, but incredible views!

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I’m recording all the details so we have a record for the future… I cannot tell you how many times we look at each other and ask, “What did we do last year for our anniversary?  I know; let’s look at the blog and see!”  So, just skip through to the pictures if you’d like!

So, the first morning we had a lovely breakfast on the pier, and then walked right out to our whale watching tour.

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I was excited to see whales, but honestly even more excited to see this:

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Not just a few dolphins, mind you… hundreds!  It was a pod.  ur guide estimated about 1,500 dolphins.  It was spectacular; what a show!

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I think I took 100 pictures.  And then we drove off in search of this:

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The one and only whale we saw gave us quite a show, as well.  It literally swam under our boat, and I was blessed enough to have several good looks at it.  Incredible.

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And, on the way back to shore we saw some sea lions!

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We got back just in time for lunch, and decided on fish tacos and fish and chips.

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Of course, the sea food would taste better if eaten by the sea, so we walked it over to the beach.  The perfect little picnic table waited for us as if it knew we were coming!  And the food… awesome!

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Next we headed back to the pier for some kayaking.  Our first real date involved kayaking 12 years ago, and neither of us has been on one since.  We weren’t able to take pictures ptr than the launch pad below, but had a great time!

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We walked back to the hotel where we debated between a nap or a trip to the gym and sauna before dinner.  Daniel went with the rest time…

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I decided to hit the gym for a brief jog on the treadmill.  I am still very slowly getting back into exercise since my knee surgery!

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Dinner was another special place; we first ate here back when we were dating.  It never disappoints.  I forgot to bring my camera inside; bummer.

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The final day…

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Again, we headed to the pier for breakfast.  This time we had the all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch, which necessitated a long walk after breakfast.  The hotel gave us a little map of a scenic 2 mile walk which had several lookouts.  And, that is how we spent our final morning.

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(I may have been full from stuffing myself for brunch, but a coffee from a local shop on our walk was a must!)

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Saying goodbye to our cozy room was hard, but in all honesty I was ready to hold my babies again.  It was really just two nights and one full day; just enough.  I am so thankful to my mom for coming to stay with the kids.  I have total peace when they are with her, knowing they will have a spectacular time.  And, so did we.

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Happy tenth anniversary to the most awesome man I know!

One thing I’ve noticed about blogging as I’ve been doing this for quite some time now… Most of my blogging breaks are unintentional, and once I am on a break it always seems tough to start back up again.  Why that is, I don’t know… after all, I really do enjoy blogging.  I guess every good thing needs a break now and then!

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One thing is for certain; I will always come back so long as I can.  Mostly because I want to always remember moments like these…

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The kids in the backyard just before dinner busy making “perfume.”  The dog and cat hanging out wherever they go.  The bike laying around.

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The girl who never wears matching shoes and always has owies.

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The boy who is obsessed with construction vehicles.

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The patient girl who can spend hours finding the right scent.

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And then, the perfumes all lined up and labeled for mom to smell and decide which one can be brought in.

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I know I’ve said this many times before, but let me say it again.  This blog is really the only “scrapbook” I have.  These memories are so precious and the kids are growing so fast.  Of course, I love documenting our crafts, our learning, and our special trips… but these every day shots are truly my favorite!

France and Hot Chocolate!

This past week we travelled to France.

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Ironically, (or more likely Providentially), the verse we chose for the week was 1 Peter 3:3-4.

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…And then we travelled to the land of fashion!  But, we still had fun designing our own clothes and jewelry while memorizing our verse!

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There were baguettes eaten, croissants and cheeses enjoyed, and hot chocolate replacing our tea party.  Who knew the French were big on hot chocolate?

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It was a week that would have made Fancy Nancy proud!

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Let me end with a fun story.  As I mentioned, we decided on Hot Chocolate rather than tea on Thankful Thursday.  Our initial reason was because we were gifted some William Sonoma Sea Salt Caramel Hot Chocolate for Christmas, and were excited to try it.  Then we read about how the French are known for drinking hot chocolate.  (See, and you thought I was well-planned or something; ha!)  Suddenly our fun tea party fit right into our curriculum.  But wait, it gets better — that morning, I was e-mailed a coupon from Starbucks for a free caramel flan latte…

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On our way home from gymnastics there is a Starbucks drive-thru, so I went through so I could have my caramel latte while the kids had their caramel hot chocolate at home.  When I got to the front to give them my coupon, I was told the car in front of me bought my drink.  I felt so blessed!  It was a little love note from God.  Though, I was a little bummed that she paid on a day I had a coupon.  So, despite the fact that I am trying to have just one cup of coffee a day for the next three months, I made an exception and went back for a second free latte that afternoon.   That is my fun story. 🙂

Weekly Rap

It may have been a little quiet here on the blog this week, but you can certainly bet that means it’s been anything but quiet in this house!  Overall, it was a very good week.  Another week of school under our belt… A week of my husband working hard so I get to be home… A week of working on eating better and exercising more… after all, it is January!  Lots of thoughts floating through my brain that never quite made it to the blog.  Lots of pictures I didn’t take because it just seemed easier to be in the moment.  Don’t worry, though… the pictures will keep coming!

We awoke to many beautiful sunrises this week… here is one of them!

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The garden seems to be as confused as we are as to what season it is.  The bell pepper plant we planted last spring and thought was dead because it never grew suddenly produced these:

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And I’m pretty sure our peach tree thinks it is spring…

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Did I mention the sunsets were as wonderful as the sunrises?

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Hope you had a beautiful week, as well!  And, happy Friday!

Getting Ready…

Why do all good things have to come to an end?  (So glad Heaven never ends!)  This has been such a wonderful break, but tomorrow it’s back to school.  And, I am sure I will enjoy the routine once we’re back into it.  But, for now we are just enjoying our last day off!

Our final project serves two purposes: 1)  to have a fun craft day with Mom before school starts, and 2) to have a place to store fun mail!  My kids love to keep everything.  Pack rats, some might say!  Natalie got a cardboard box to decorate for her birthday, so we picked up two more when we went to the Japanese $1.50 store with our fun mail storage project in mind.  Even as I type, the girls are still painting… meaning this project was a hit!

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This brings me to my part… I have had these succulent candles for many years just sitting in my credenza waiting for a chance to make an appearance.  I won them at a BUNCO night.

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I finally decided to give them a little paint job and set them up in my living room.

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Here’s how they turned out:

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I got the birch log from a soccer practice this fall — it was just sitting around the edge of the field!  I had my husband cut it into two, and originally used it first for our Polar Bear Party.  Now they have a new home in our living room!

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Hope your week is off to a wonderful start!


First thing in the morning, I’m used to hearing my kids call from upstairs, “Mom, what’s the weather going to be?”  Lately, I keep replying, “Same as usual.” In fact, they’ve gotten so confused, yesterday Sierra asked me, “What season is it?”  I had to think for a second before responding, “Winter.”  And, every time I check the ten day forecast, it remains the same — 70’s.  Of course it feels wonderful, but we need rain!  Anyway, in honor of our glorious temperatures, (And due to the fact that we currently have lots of ripe lemons), we made lemonade yesterday.  Or, I should say my girls made lemonade.  It’s nice that they’re old enough to do most of the work themselves now!

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In honor of Malachi’s favorite word, “Cheers!”