Family Photo Friday


How can it be that September is over already? Another week, another month, another year is slipping away from us.

I guess I let this week slip away, as far as pictures are concerned.
I've got just one to share.

The kids and I were playing with our magnetic letters this week, spelling out all kinds of things on a metal pizza pan. (This is a great way to use magnetic letters, by the way. We pull them out now and then, to spice up spelling tests or help my son with letter recognition). Grandma K (my mother) is leaving on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Hawaii in a few days, so we thought we'd send her off with this message made just for her.

It's Friday! It's the weekend! Make it a good one - the days are going too fast to not live intentionally and invest time where it matters!

Children's Reading List: The Secret Garden


The Secret Garden

I don't know how I managed to avoid The Secret Garden all these years. I recently picked it up and read it for the first time. I very much enjoyed this classic tale. It has themes of beauty, mystery, children and friendship.

Mary Lennox is an orphan child who is sent from India to live with a distant relative in England. She is a terribly spoiled child, but through the kindness of a servant the rough edges become smooth. Mary learns of a secret garden kept on the premises, locked up for the last 10 years. Eventually she finds the garden and the key for the hidden door. Tending the garden is the way she spends her time, hoping the dying plants can again become beautiful. Along the way, she meets friends Dickon and Colin and shares her "secret" with them. The three friends share in the work of the garden and in the end surprise everyone with what the garden becomes but also what they themselves have become in the process.

I know that movies have been made about The Secret Garden, which I have never seen. For the beauty of it in my mind could never be equaled!

I enjoyed the book and see why it's considered to be a timeless classic to be read by children everywhere!

Works for Me Wednesday - Mailbox Club Bible Lessons


A few years ago we heard about Child Evangelism Fellowship's Mailbox Club. They have Bible lessons they mail to children. The children read the lesson and do a worksheet, which they mail back to the Mailbox Club. Volunteers "grade" the worksheet and send it back with another lesson for the child.

Membership is completely free. It used to cost one stamp per lesson, to mail it back, but now the return envelope is postage-paid so there is truly no cost involved.

Check them out or sign up online here.

After completing her first level, my daughter was mailed a completion certificate and a free music CD. After completing her second level recently, she received a completion certificate and a beautiful black Bible with her name engraved on the cover! She was VERY excited about that gift.

We incorporate the mailbox club lessons with our homeschool, but they certainly don't have to be considered "school." They usually contain a Bible story, a memory verse, a modern-day short story focusing on the scripture verse and a one-page worksheet. My daughter always looks forward to getting these lessons (what kid doesn't love getting mail of their own!)

I trust what my daughter learns through the Mailbox Club. She loves it. It's free. There are rewards for completing lessons.

What isn't to love about the Mailbox Club?

It works for me!

Children's Reading List: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler


From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

A friend recommended this book to me so I recently checked it out from the library to read it myself.

The story is about a young lady, Claudia, who decides to run away from the mundane routine of her boring life. She invites one of her brothers along, because he has money and she knows she'll need money to survive. Claudia's plan is to run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. They stay there undetected for a week and end up trying to solve a mystery about a statue that just might be a work of Michelangelo.

The age recommendations for the book are 9-12 and I agree with them. I will hold off on sharing this book with my daughter for at least a few more years. I thought the plot was engaging, but I am not keen on introducing the concept of running away from home to my daughter. Claudia and her brother are typical children, so they were at times rude and immature. In the end there was not any resolution between Claudia and her parents, no remorse on Claudia's part over having run away or what she put her parents through.

This book did receive the Newberry Medal of Excellence for American Children's Literature in the 1960s and is considered to be somewhat of a classic. I am glad I read it, but think that calling it a children's book is a stretch. There is minimal educational content in the book, while there are numerous examples of bad behaviors cast in a positive light.

Therefore, I give this book 2 stars out of 5.

Deals Around Town


Here are a few things I've picked up recently for free.

I purchased this book - The Bears on Hemlock Mountain
- from for my daughter. It was completely free (including shipping) using Swagbucks gift cards I'd earned.

These two items were free at Kroger this week. I had a coupon for a completely free candy bar and a $5 off coupon for a Schick Quattro razor (these retail at more than $6 but were on sale for $5 making them completely free after the coupon).

2 packages of Skinny Cow chocolate candy and 1 package of CVS brand bandages. These items were free at CVS, thanks to rain checks (ALWAYS get a rain check at CVS for items that are out of stock. This happens often at my local CVS stores. If the store regularly carries the item, they will give a rain check for the sale/deal so you can use it later when the item is back in stock. Rain checks NEVER expire, so hold on to them and pair them with a coupon in the future to get a great deal).

This was a mailbox freebie - a free sample I'd signed up online to receive that arrived this week. Free sample mouthwash, dental floss, and coupons.

We also were given a watermelon and a few dozen ears of sweet corn recently... at no cost to us.

Enjoyed anything free lately?

Family Photo Friday


I really can't believe it. Friday again?!
Here are some photos from our week.

Our local library had Clifford as a special guest during storytime this week. Here's my daughter giving him a big hug. [My son was super excited before the visit, but when the time came he was too shy and scared to get near Clifford]

My daughter used her easy-bake oven to make some cinnamon pretzels. Here we were rolling them out.

We've spent more nights recently playing board games together. Candyland. Battleship. Dominoes. In this picture, my hubby, son and daughter are playing Hi Ho Cherrio. This week my son had his first win ever - way to go, buddy!

Happy Friday to you!

Foster Parenting - Log #23


DCS - Friend or Foe?

When deciding to become foster parents and work directly with the State, you open yourself up to the scrutiny and inspection of DCS (Department of Child Services, as it's called in Indiana; also known as CPS - Child Protective Services). Social workers will be in your home. They will watch you interact with your biological family and your foster children. They will walk through your home to ensure it is a safe environment for children. They will look through your home study (approximately 30 pages of information you provide to them about your life, your values, your discipline techniques, your finances, your childhood, your everything). Your life becomes an open book, by necessity, for them to give you their stamp of approval as a foster parent. DCS is like a friend that you share everything with.

As a homeschooling family, we hear plenty of horror stories from others like us who face questioning or detention by DCS. Homeschooling has come a long way since the "movement" began 30 years ago. Parents' rights to homeschool their children are protected freedoms in America. Yet there are situations that make the news now and then about a judge ruling that certain parents cannot homeschool their children or that children are suffering "educational neglect" and are therefore removed from their home. Homeschoolers are generally taught to fear DCS, to stay clear of them as much as possible, and to know their individual rights should DCS ever knock on their door with questions about why their kids aren't in school. DCS is viewed as a foe, an enemy to avoid at all cost.

Walking the fine line between these two is indeed like walking a tightrope. We have done that for the last year. For most of that year, we felt trusted by the DCS workers we interacted with. No questions were raised about our homeschooling - nobody asked how often we "do school" or what curriculum we use or even how we expected foster parenting to impact our homeschooling. They left us alone.

In more recent interaction with DCS social workers, however, the tide seemed to turn. We got a taste of what it must be like for parents to have DCS interfere with daily life, to question their motives, to take things out of context, to make judgements based on insufficient information. It felt like we were betrayed by a friend - our "friend" DCS, whom we had shared our everything with. Suddenly we were suspect, we were viewed by them as an enemy. I cannot go into more detail due to confidentiality and privacy concerns.

For us, DCS was both a friend and a foe. For most of our year as foster parents, we were on the same team, working together and getting along well. But near the end, we were very disappointed by the relationship, the lack of support, the presence of suspicion, condemnation and judgment. That experience painted DCS as more of a foe in my mind.

Here are a few things I've tried to remember throughout this time:

1) Our experience is only our experience. Others may have great experiences or terrible experiences working with DCS as foster parents. I cannot paint DCS as all good or all bad, because DCS is made up of hundreds (in our county) of employees. Some of those are good at what they do and some aren't. As in any group of people, there are both. Yet each of those employees represents DCS and makes an impression on the public they interact with, who will form impressions of DCS based on that person's representation.

2) Many people have difficulties working directly with DCS. As a state-run agency, everyone employed there is over-worked and under-paid. Social workers have huge case loads, demanding more from them than can reasonably be accomplished in any given work day. This is a reason why many foster parents choose to work through a private agency, instead of working directly with DCS. They can give more support to their foster parents. They aren't spread as thin. They provide help more promptly. There are pros and cons to both working directly with DCS or working with a private agency. We may not have experienced the difficulties we did if we had been working with a private agency instead of with DCS directly.

3) Our experience in recent weeks has given us a great opportunity to put this biblical principle into practice - Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. My kids and I had been memorizing that passage during some of those difficult times with DCS. It came back to me over and over. Bless. Don't curse. Don't grow bitter. Bless the work they are doing on behalf of children in need.

I don't share our experience to discourage anyone from becoming a foster parent. I do share it so that anyone who heads that direction has eyes wide open to the good and the bad they may encounter, in order to be prepared more fully.

Foster care is a broken system run by broken people who are trying to help other broken people. Nothing about it is perfect. The very reason that children end up in foster care is become something went wrong. There is no perfect solution for them, since God's "perfect solution" (ie. a loving, caring family) fell through. So the people involved try the best they can to provide a "good" situation, but they cannot provide a perfect situation. At this point in America's history, foster care is the government's way to respond to the orphan crisis. Choosing to enter into that system as foster parents is to open yourself up to the good and the bad that comes with it. Our experience proved DCS as a friend and a foe, in a 12-month time period.

Works for Me Wednesday - Math Dice


My daughter is in 3rd grade and is just being introduced to multiplication.

Multiplication means... 1) my daughter is growing up. I always have viewed multiplication as a harder concept that only older kids grasp. Now she is one of those "older kids." And 2) we need to start practicing times tables. I have vivid childhood memories of the struggles and the tears to memorize times facts. I don't want my daughter to have such a hard time with this, if I can help it.

Bring out the dice!

We own an over-sized pair of foam dice, but any dice will do. Roll them and start talking your child through the math problem that the dice present. Factors won't be larger than 6, so that makes dice perfect for beginners.

Of course you can use the dice for other math problems too. We have used our dice for basic addition and subtraction problems. My 3-year-old son now uses them for simple counting as well.

If your children are like mine, they get excited over anything new and different. Using dice for math problems is much more fun, according to my daughter, than using flashcards or doing a math worksheet.

Give dice a try. It works for me!

Foster Parenting - Log #22


I mentioned last time that we were making some changes to our foster parenting status. Big changes, actually.

We are no longer foster parents.

We turned in our notice a few days ago.

It's been one year. We are very thankful that we were able to provide a safe and loving home for the 6 children who spent time with us.

However, there were some things that happened that caused us to question if the timing was right for us to be serving in this way. The biggest concern was related to how our two biological children were affected by having the foster children in our home. My daughter is 8 years old and overall handled things very well. My 3-year-old son, though, struggled a lot during the time that foster children were present in our home and long after they left. In fact, it's been over a month since our last foster children left and my son is still exhibiting behaviors that he picked up from those last children.

We also had a very difficult experience with our last foster placement. We saw some terrible things as a result of that placement - things that came out of us, things that came out of our biological children, things that came out of those whose job it is to support us as foster parents. In some ways it felt as though the legs were kicked out from under us, leaving us with no support.
Continuing to work within that system is impossible at the moment.

So, we are stepping away from foster parenting... not because our hearts no longer desire to help children and not because God's heart for the orphan child has changed. But because we owe it to our biological children to be here 100% for them, to guide and protect them while they are young. And because we've been burned by a broken system that let us down in our time of need.

I don't know what the future holds. I do know that in another ten years, we could easily return to foster parenting, at least in our hearts. Maybe it is in that season of life that we could have a fruitful, on-going foster parenting ministry.

Many of you know that we suffered a miscarriage in June. It was devastating... and still is. It was a major loss, as hopes and dreams were dashed. Laying down foster parenting feels similar to me. It is another loss, as hopes and dreams are again dashed. It feels like something is being ripped away from us. It feels like defeat. It feels like giving up.

But my rational mind reminds me that there is wisdom in knowing our limits, in knowing how much we can realistically handle at this stage of life. And it is not failure to try one's best - it is failure to not even try at all.

We gave it our best shot. We served for one year. We know that God has reasons for us meeting Amy and Candace and CJ and Chase and Davey and Jason. Their pictures hang on a wall in our home. My kids talk about them like they are distant cousins or old friends. We'll never forget them.

I have a few other thoughts to share about fostering, so this is likely not the last Foster Parenting Log. But for now, I will thank all of you who have walked on this journey with us, who have looked forward to reading these posts to learn more about foster parenting or to see who God is bringing our way. I thank those of you who know us "in real life" and have prayed for us, have supported and encouraged us, have helped us to provide for the needs of others. God bless you and may God shower mercy on all the children of the world.

Micah 6:8 says "He has shown you, o mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

Children's Reading List: The Borrowers


I first saw The Borrowers on a children's book list a few weeks ago and was intrigued. I am glad I checked it out from the library and gave it a chance - I very much enjoyed this book. I read it myself, as I like to do with many books, prior to letting my daughter read them (or her and I reading aloud together).

The premise of the book is simple. There is a miniature world of little people, who call themselves Borrowers, who live under the floorboards of human homes. They use postage stamps as paintings and matchboxes as storage drawers. They are discovered by a boy who befriends them and brings them dollhouse furniture for their home. Eventually the adults in the home discover the Borrowers and try to exterminate them, but the boy comes to their rescue by helping them escape.

This is a classic book that is still worth reading and sharing.

Two thumbs up for The Borrowers.

Family Photo Friday


It's Friday once again. The weeks are flying by.
As usual, I'm sharing some photos today.

I found this squirrel on the birdhouse to be humorous. My husband and kids built this birdhouse for me for Mother's Day this year. I'm not sure if any birds used it, but this squirrel was enjoying it as a perch.

We enjoyed a "Kids Fun Day" this week, letting our kids decide what we should do for the day. We spent some time at Kids Kingdom - an over-sized playground/park area nearby. Here they are "driving" a car there.

The other big thing we enjoyed on "Kids Fun Day" was a fishing trip. Here is a look down the pier. It was a gorgeous day, although a bit on the cool side. We didn't catch anything, but a successful fishing trip for us is more about enjoying ourselves than about walking away with fish. The kids had a blast.

Near our fishing pier was a water pump. The kids tried and tried to get some water out of it. My son here was completely hanging on the lever to inch it downward. These kids are truly fascinated by almost anything, filled to the brim with curiosity.

Happy Friday to you!

Foster Parenting - Log #21


We will soon be at the one year mark of being licensed foster parents. As that date nears, foster parents go through a renewal process - updating paperwork to prove that they are still current with certifications and are able to provide a safe environment for kids. It's also the time to make changes to the age/gender/special needs profile of children you are willing to accept. We will be making some changes to our fostering status, which I'll explain.

First, here's a recap of the highlights of year one as foster parents. Note 1: names have been changed to protect the privacy of our foster children. Note 2: you can go back and read more detailed accounts in the previous foster parenting logs here.

Fall 2010 - we were licensed with a therapeutic fostering agency

December 2010 - had our first placement with CJ, a 9-year-old boy who stayed with us 10 days; this placement was very hard on us as a family

January 2011 - we transferred our fostering license to the Indiana Dept of Child Services to become a "traditional" foster home instead of therapeutic

May 2011 - we fostered two brothers, 3-year-old Chase and 18-month-old Davey, for 4 days; this placement went well

May and June 2011 - we fostered Candace, an 18-month-old girl for 8 days; she was an absolute sweetheart and her stay with us went very well

August 2011 - we fostered two siblings, 4-year-old Amy and 2-year-old Jason, for 8 days; this placement was very difficult for our family

If you add up those days, it means that we had foster children with us for 30 days out of the last year. You can see that much of the last year was spent in the waiting phase - waiting for a call, waiting to see what would happen next.

As Christians, we have found that working with the foster care system is a sanctifying process. What I mean is that there is ample opportunity to become more like Jesus as you deal with broken people and a broken system. Parenting itself is a sanctifying process - foster parenting seems to add another layer of difficulty on top. Patience is required as you wait. Hope is required as you deal with seemingly hopeless situations. Self-control is needed as children act out in ways that anger you. Love is required as you open up your home to someone in need. An inner peace is needed because there is much chaos going on around you. A sense of conviction is required because you will at times feel like you're failing.

We have many emotions and memories as we look back over the past year, as so much as happened in our family. There have been ups and downs, good times and bad in our lives in general but also in our fostering specifically. As our renewal process looms, we want to take a step back and ask again: Is foster parenting what God would have us to do right now? Is this how He wants our family to be involved with His Kingdom work of loving the orphan child?

I'll be sharing more next week about how we are answering those questions and what changes that will mean for our family.

Homeschool: County Park Field Trip and Lesson


Last week my kids and I attended a special presentation at a County Park called "Wild Edibles" and aimed at homeschoolers specifically. The guide led the children in a game, matching a "wild" ingredient with an item that can be made from it (sassafras with tea, dandelions with salad, etc). Then she took the kids on a hike where she was able to point out at least a handful of edible items growing in the wild.Here is my daughter standing by a jewelweed plant. We learned that the small seeds inside the pods of this plant are edible. Though my son and I were afraid to try them, my girl liked these quite a bit and ate at least a dozen.

At the end of the two-hour lesson, our guide showed how to make grape juice from wild grapes we picked and how to make "sumac-ade" from the sumac we picked. Here is the guide pouring out the sumac drink. All of the kids had a turn to mash the sumac in water, which was then strained through a cheesecloth and many cups of sugar added to make it drinkable.

I'm thankful for our county parks and programs such as this one. Since we have been studying Native Americans, learning about "wild edibles" fit very well into discussions of life in those days.

Children's Reading List: American Girl Kaya and Lapbook


It's official - we've begun reading through the American Girl books. We started with Kaya because she is the "first" American Girl chronologically (the setting for Kaya's life is 1764 in the Pacific Northwest) and she is a Native American.

This was a great series for my daughter. She loves to read, especially fiction. This series beautifully supplemented what we've been studying in school about Native American history, all the while entertaining my daughter with the fictional characters.

We made a lapbook for the Kaya series. All of those lapbooking printouts can be found here and are completely free. It's been a while since we made a lapbook and my daughter practically begged me to make this one, when I told her that I had free access to the basic materials. Above is the cover she made for the lapbook - her own artistry.

Here she is showing the inside of the lapbook - the first set of pages with mini-books focusing on describing what Kaya was like, what her housing was like, what her mother and father were like, some of Kaya's favorite things, and what life was generally like in 1764.

Then you can turn the page in the lapbook and here is the next set of mini-books. These focused on Kaya's horses, what changed in Kaya's life throughout the series, what conflict Kaya had with someone else in the books, and a map of the United States highlighting the parts of Oregon, Idaho and Washington where Kaya's Nez Perce tribe lived.

I've made my daughter this promise: we will read through all of the American Girl books as we study U.S. history and when we are done we will take a train ride to Chicago and go to the American Girl store together. She can't wait!
I'm not sure if I should let her loose to just read all of the books quickly (which she would love to do and would finish them this fall) or make her wait until we go through each period of history so she better understands what is taking place in the books. I'd like for her to go the slower route, but we'll see.

Deals Around Town


Deals. Deals.
Honestly, I haven't taken advantage of too many deals lately, but here are a few freebies.

These 2 Renuzit air fresheners were free at WalMart. Priced at 94 cents, I used a $1 off printable coupon to get them free plus 6 cents overage (that was applied towards other items I was buying).

These 3 sample Suave items and coupons arrived in my mailbox last week. Samples of body wash, lotion and hair spray... all for free.

I'm hoping that you've been able to snag more deals than I have, though I'm always thankful for whatever I can get for free!

Family Photo Friday


This week flew by and Friday is upon us once again. Apparently I didn't take many photos this week and found only these two to share.

Here's my daughter doing some painting. We don't do anything formal for homeschool art class, but she likes to pull out our craft boxes and do artsy things fairly often. She didn't know it, but she had some orange paint on her eyebrow when I took this picture. He he :-)

And here's my boy doing some of his first ever "school" work. He's 3 and 1/2 and likes tracing letters, especially if he can use markers to do it! Note his new haircut - a complete buzz. It's in that fun-to-rub-the-fuzz stage now.

Happy weekending to you all!

Works for Me Wednesday - Clothespin Lessons


Ok. I'm a day behind. Monday holidays seem to throw the rest of the week off. It's Thursday but this is my "Works for Me Wednesday" post.

My daughter is reviewing the books of the Bible. We know songs that we often sing to help us remember the order of the books. Here is a visual and hands-on way to practice ordering the books of the Bible (or anything else you might want to memorize in a certain order).

Clothespins and hangers. You need to have 1 clothespin per item you want to memorize. For us, that was 66 clothespins for the 66 books of the Bible. On one side of the clothespin I wrote the name of t
he book (ex. Genesis). I did this for all 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament. I used a black Sharpie for Old Testament books and a red Sharpie for New Testament books, as a visual aid for my kids.

Hang the clothespins in the correct order on hangers. Then turn the clothespins over to the blank side. Use this second side to create a way for your child to self-check their work by using numbers or letters.

The New Testament has 27 books so that is almost the same as the alphabet, which has 26 letters. So I put an A on the back of the Matthew clothespin, B on the back of Mark, etc. I had one extra left after Z so I put a smiley face on that last one to finish off the 27 clothespins.

For the Old Testament, I just numbered the clothespins from 1 up to 39.

Here's my daughter holding one hanger with the Old Testament pins (the one with more pins, which have to curve around the edge of the hanger) and one hanger with the New Testament pins.

I like the fact that she can check her own work, by flipping them over and seeing the alphabet or numbers on the back. And now with my 3-year-old son I realize I can give him one set and work with him on letter or number recognition too.

Easy to create. Easy to use. Works for me!

PS: I originally created these clothespins 3 years ago and posted this tip way back then. I'm so glad these are still coming in handy today! You can see that original post here.

Third Grade Update


It's been a while since I've answered the common question "How is homeschooling going?"
(My last update was here, when we were 8 days in).

We are now about 50 days into 3rd grade, so we've finished the first quarter and are entering the second quarter of school (in Indiana we have to school for at least 180 days per grade level).

We are using a curriculum package called Sonlight. It's heavy on literature and involves quite a bit of reading each day. Some of that reading is out-loud (me reading to/with my daughter) and some is independent (her reading quietly by herself). We're finishing up a study on Native Americans which included several good books. We read about Pocahontas and Squanto and did some more in-depth studies on the Incans, Mayans and Aztecs of Central America.

My daughter just finished reading through the Kaya book series from American Girl. Kaya is a Nez Perce Indian from the 1764 time period, so I thought this series would supplement our studies well... and it has. Next up we begin studying more about the pioneer and colonial days of early America.

We're about 10 letters into the cursive alphabet, so there are many words she can now write in cursive (which is good motivation to continue on). In science, we've learned about the life cycle of frogs and are now discussing snakes and reptiles (which tend to creep her out so she covers up the pictures to not have to see all those ewwwy things). :-)

The biggest turn-around for my daughter this year has been related to math. She used to hate it and now she loves it. She loves it because it's now on CD-ROM and she enjoys all the computer time I'll allow her to have. This means that she is asking to do a math lesson on days we are not planning to do school. At this pace, she will finish math well before we finish the rest of 3rd grade but I see nothing wrong with that!

The most difficult part of homeschooling right now is not about the curriculum or the studies. It's about attitude. Even though my daughter agrees that school is more enjoyable this year than it's ever been before, she still struggles to face the school day with a positive attitude. There is often whining, complaining and procrastination. Dealing with her character is more important than completing the curriculum lessons but is also so hard to pin-point and to know how to address effectively.

Although I'm "the teacher," I learn a lot as I homeschool my children. Homeschooling serves as a refresher course for me, in matters like early American history. But I learn even more as I grow as a parent, learning how to walk alongside my children through challenges, how to gently instruct, how to weave the Bible into our day, how to share life with these two little people. And on difficult days (yes, we have those too) I remind myself that I am blessed to be at home with my children. Although we are a homeschooling family, we are first and foremost a family. We learn through life together. There is great comfort and security and trust in simply being there for one another through it all. God sure knew what He was doing when He created families!

More Pony Fun


We got together with some Girl Scout friends one day last week to enjoy time down on the farm. Fun with friends, a potluck lunch, and animals.

Here my two little people pet a pony named Honey.

For the kids, the highlight was a ride in a pony cart, pulled by a sweet pony named Carmel. Here three of the girls are getting ready to take off.

My daughter waving back at me as they headed into the field where the pony would take off running.
Here's a picture of them in the open field, trotting along.

Ponies and horses and farms... what fun!

Family Photo Friday


The first Friday of September is here. Who can believe we're so close to fall already? As always, I'm posting some family photos on this Friday.

My kids enjoy playing on a nearby school playground. On the particular day we went, though, it was nearly 100 degrees and we lasted on a few minutes before the kids were begging for air conditioning!

My son in the slide. He hides from the camera a lot these days, so it's a challenge to snap a shot of him without his hands hiding his face.

My daughter decorated this balloon and set it in the chair. My husband and I thought this was too funny to not photograph. Since then, we have drawn on a smile to complete the look, but the idea was completely hers.

Happy Friday to one and all!

Mini-Golf and Motivation


The end of summer is here. If you're like us, you may have one, two, or a dozen items left on your "do this summer" list. May I encourage you to JUST DO IT before the cold weather is here and the moment is lost?

Mini-golfing was one item left on our summer to-do list that we had put off until just this week. When I realized it was time to turn the calendar to September, I knew that our days for summer fun were quickly fading. So we made plans to fit this in yet this week.

My son - who ended up not playing golf but instead holding my putter the entire time. But he said he enjoyed himself.

My daughter - probably the one who enjoys miniature golf the most and has been asking to do this for many, many weeks.

My husband readying himself for a great shot. I don't have a good picture of me, but I am proud to say that I had a hole-in-one shot (the first that I can recall).

My kids, hiding under a tree at the mini-golf course. :-)

Whatever is still on your summer agenda, GET TO IT!