Spend the Night, Santa’s Village, Knitting Till You Drop… and learning….

It has been such a homeschooling kind of last few days.† Chan came over last Tuesday and spent the night with Kei until Friday.† I mean how cool is that?† That we can do things like that?† Kei taught Chan how to knit and I can tell you there were some knitting marathons going on.†

Knit 1, Purl 2

There was game playing.† Of course there was very little ‘following by the rules’.

What do you call this again?

They played “Life” [which I HATE] and I heard things like this; “Oh so you are making your kids work for money”, “I’m soliciting money from the children in the orphanage”, “Let’s pull another bank job for money”.† Ahhh those great lessons games teach us!

Kei knitted some scarves.† I was really proud of her because they were the first ones she had ever knitted.† She is crazy good at things like this!

Kei's Scarves
Knitting a Christmas Scarf

Thursday night we went to our Library’s Christmas Program.† A professor at a nearby college was reading “A Christmas Memory”.† He has this magnificent voice and we always try to go when he is speaking.† This is one of our favorite Christmas stories.† You should definitely read it if you haven’t.† It is written by Truman Capote about his childhood.† He grew up in Alabama and was always friends with Harper Lee [To Kill a Mockingbird].† It is also on instant on Netflix.† It is wonderfully done.†† My brother reads it aloud every year at Christmas.

†Friday was Skate Day and we went but I didn’t let Keilee skate.† She had ran a fever the day before and had a sore throat so we didn’t stay very long.

I read 11/23/63 by Stephen King.† I downloaded it to my Kindle and while Kei and Chan were doing their thing I read an 873 page book in 2 1/2 days.† I LOVED IT!!† I have always loved Stephen King, but he is not everyone’s cup of tea.† This book had a feel of King, but not really.† It was definitely worth reading!

Saturday we decided to go shopping.† I bought Kei some new clothes, boots, a hat and a few more little things.† Most of them are put up for Christmas! I look back fondly on the days that I could just buy her clothes and she would love them.† She still likes what I pick out but she MUST try everything on.

Monday we went to Santa’s Village with a Homeschool Group.† Now this place is really for younger kids but Keilee wanted to go because it was the 1st Field Trip she ever went on in Kindergarten.† We both had a blast.

Santa's Village
Kei at Santa's Village

Last night Kei spent hours texting with A and P, Theresa’s daughters.† She had a blast and plans to play an online game with them today.† I think there are Face Time plans in the future too!

Texting and more Texting

Today she has decided she simply ‘must’ write. This second….before she forgets this amazing story she thought of.† Me: “Why don’t you move somewhere more comfortable”?† Kei: “No I have to write this NOW”!

Must Write....

Did we learn?† Well of course silly!† We learned about Vikings and Odin and read myths and played online games about the Vikings.† We did a unit study on Rocks and Minerals and Kei did 2 months of Pet Shop Math and she is reading 2 books at once and she has written and written on stories.† She watched Brain Pop every day, we watched a documentary about Vikings and a movie.† She has watched documentaries about the intelligence of mammals and keeps telling me all these facts that she has learned.† She had an online Knitting Club meeting and had such fun talking about knitting.† We also started “Connect The Thoughts” Christmas study.† It seems really cool so far.

So here it is ….December.† DECEMBER!† I am so not ready for Christmas.† Blast all of you who has your tree up, decorations abounding, baking done and all your gifts bought and wrapped.† I work better under pressure. …..OK?????!!!!!!

Homeschooling Rocks!


ìTrue learning ñ learning that is permanent and useful, that leads to intelligent action and further learning ó can arise only out of the experience, interest, and concerns of the learnerî† ~ John Holt

The Week That Was Thanksgiving…

The Homeschool Mother's Journal
In my life this weekÖ

Cooking and laughing and spending time with the family on Thanksgiving.

Kei and My Brother Eddie

In our homeschool this weekÖ

Kei is writing this hysterical story about a Spider named Star who wanted to find the ëstarsí.† She meant in the sky but everyone she met thought she meant the ìHollywoodî stars so she found herself in Hollywood where she met Madonna and hence the song †ìLucky Starî.† Only my daughter would write a story about a Madonna song!

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to shareÖ

I really need to just post some of my resources.† Isnít it crazy how much is out there?† I also must say our new schedule is amazing.† I love doing one subject daily.† We do Math, journaling and reading every day but the rest is once a week.† We can spend so much time on that subject without me freaking out.† We learned about Charlemagne this week, Kei did a unit study on amphibians and frogs and of course there was all the million of things that are ìKeiís thingsî; knitting and coloring and playing and baking.† I found a really cool coloring site.

Cool Coloring
Coloring with Markers and Crayons

I am inspired byÖ

My friend Erica whose daughter was just diagnosed with leukemia.† Her posts and her faith and her strength amaze me.† I wonder if I could possibly be that full of faith and love if it was Kei?† And then I always whisper, ìPlease God donít test meî.

Places weíre going and people weíre seeingÖ

We mainly hung out at home except for Thanksgiving.† We ate at Daddy and Marleneís and met her son and daughter in law who lives out of state.† It was a lovely afternoon.† I donít do Black Friday sales.† I just canít justify getting up at 2:00 AM to save a few dollars.† It isnít that I donít NEED to save the dollars, I am just more of a ìCyber Mondayî kinda girl.† People are crazy on Black Friday.† Did you see the news??† Shootings and pepper spray and tazers.† Good grief.


My favorite thing this week wasÖ

Lying in bed, under my electric blanket, reading ìYou Belong to Meî on the Kindle app listening to Kei and Livvy play in her room.

Kei and Liv

Questions/thoughts I haveÖ

Does anyone know of a really good King Arthur unit study?† It isnít really covered in SOTW and Kei LOVES that story.† I have searched but canít find exactly what I am looking for.

Iím readingÖ

*See ìMy favorite thing this weekî

Iím cookingÖ

Lots of leftovers, aren’t YOU? :)

Iím grateful forÖ

The fact that we are both healthy.† You just never know when something is going to blindside you.† One minute your world is spinning happily and the next it spins off its axis. †We have to all appreciate the little moments.†

Iím praying forÖ

The Campbells

A photo, video, link, or quote to shareÖ

Ericaís latest Facebook post:

I Love watching my sweet girls quietly playing together when they think i am not looking .. It is so nice to have a break from the hospital for a couple of days..we read a book last night to HG about siblings with cancer and how itís ok to be sad.. she was sad &confused and said mommy” I am the oldest why didnt God pick me.”.. Wow what do u say to that .. so after we prayed about it i told her God has made all of us unique in his own eyes and sometimes we go through things hard because God knows we are strong enough to handle it.. now as I am saying this its hard to hold back the tears or really even talk about it because as their Mommy I just want to protect them and when they hurt i hurt.. but I have also realized through my sadness i see their smiles and I never want to miss a moment of “joy” I donít want to spend one moment not appreciating what God has entrusted me with my beautiful sweet girls..So today we are going to turn on the Christmas music , put up all 5 Christmas trees, dance & be silly and just enjoy each precious moment!! So today I pray you all will do the same.. Please continue to lift us up in prayer as we are starting to see the effects chemo has on our sweet girl. and please keep HG in your prayers so she will know just how much she is loved! thank you all for loving us so much and continuing to follow our journey .
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34

So next week it is December!!† Already.† I am looking forward to smiles and laughter and family time.† Time spent with my girl and my dog, favorite movies to watch, favorite foods to cook and lots of moments.† It is all about the moments.

Homeschooling Rocks!


When you finally allow yourself to trust joy and embrace it,
you will find you dance with everything.††
– Emanuel

Parties, Space Camp, Pierced Ears and BREAKING DAWN!

The Homeschool Mother's Journal
In my life this weekÖ Birthday parties, more birthday parties, last day of Space Camp, amazing life group with such wonderful God women, friends, BREAKING DAWN!

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to shareÖchillax.† That is my best advice.† Stress gets you nowhere fast.† Life is a journeyÖhomeschooling is a journey.† In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson [and Aerosmith] ìLife is a journey, not a destination.î

I am inspired byÖ my child.† Who makes me happy, makes me smile more, teaches me something every day and loves life in a way I wish everyone could.

My Girl

Places weíre going and people weíre seeingÖfriends and friends and friends.† What would we do without them?

My favorite thing this week wasÖ sorry, canít pick just one.† Too many wonderful things this week.† Highlights were Makalaís great Art Party [More on that later!], Jakeís 16th !!!! birthday party and Breaking Dawn with Gina, Britney and Cody.† Midnight showing yaíll.† Our kids were the youngest ones there.† Bad homeschool Moms!† It really was so well done.† I had no problem letting Kei watch it.† I love that Bella was a virgin when she married Edward.

Homeschool Kids
Still Can 'Do' Silly...
Mothers and Daughters

Kei’s Favorite Thing This Week…..PIERCED ears!† Kei had her ears pierced when she was younger but the earring split her ear and fell out in my hand while I was brushing her hair.† I freaked!† I have made her wait until 1.† the ear split closed up and 2.† she wasn’t allergic to metal any longer.†† That happened so off we went.

Preparing Herself

Whatís working for usÖPet Shop Business Math.† Loving it! LOVING IT!† Kei does it at night she likes it so much.† I have meant to buy this for over a year and finally did.† I think it teaches such great skills.

Questions/thoughts I haveÖAs Kei gets older, I worry that I wonít be able to fulfill all her needs.† I know that a lot of you out there have similar doubts and I hope that by sharing information between us all, we will muddle through.

Things Iím working onÖ After making “THE LIST” actually ACCOMPLISHING all some at least one things on it!

Iím cookingÖ chicken and wild rice in the crock pot.† I just love throwing things in a crock pot.† There is a sense of accomplishment to have dinner ready at 10:00 am!† Anyone have any amazing recipes?

Iím grateful forÖthat I had the money to send Kei to Space and Rocket Aviation Camp.† Her last class was Thursday and she was very nervous about riding the G Force Accelerator and the Space Shot.† She did them both easy peasy.† She was nervous because she gets car sick and was afraid she would get sick on the rides.† She didn’t.

These are NOT my pictures.† They wouldn’t let the Mom’s come and watch.† AS IF!

G Force and Space Shot

Iím praying forÖ Ava Campbell.† Her parents, Erica and Mike go to our church.† Erica is the kind of person that lights up a room.† She emits love and smiles and has such a huge heart.† Kei and I are both madly in love with her and her beautiful girls.† She has a 2nd grader Hannah Grace and the most beautiful baby Ava who will be 2 next month.† Thursday their lives were forever changed when Ava was diagnosed with leukemia.† Please pray if you pray for this child and this family.† Here is Erica and her sweet Ava.

Erica and Ava

A photo, video, link, or quote to shareÖ If you would like to follow along on Avaís progress here is her facebook page.† I have a feeling that this story may change your life.

Hope this week brings you love and joy and thankfulness.† I can’t wait to read about all of ya’lls Thanksgivings!† Enjoy each other, love each other, HUG each other.

Homeschooling Rocks!


We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.
Virginia Satir

I will not play at tug o’ war.
I’d rather play at hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.
Shel Silverstein


Grandma Springs…

Growing up I don’t remember a time I didn’t know about Grandma Springs.† It was named after a midwife who lived there in the late 1800’s. † My grandfather spent time there, hunting and fishing.† My father spent time there doing the same.† Our family would go to hike, climb, find interesting insects, sit on bluffs that Indians roamed, had picnics and more.

There are ghost stories abound about Grandma Springs.† Stories of a Confederate soldier killed there who haunted it for years, stories of a headless baby that roamed around at night.† My grandfather told stories of walking down the dirt road late at night and hearing a carriage traveling very quickly.† He got out of the road and heard it pass, but never saw a thing.

Kei has grown up with stories of Grandma Springs.†† She has always loved ghost stories, a love she shares with my Mother and Mom always told her stories about the springs. † But it is now private property and not easy to get to.† My father had asked the owners if we could go down and walk around and they told him we could.† Sunday morning we all headed out. We were taking sandwiches and I made sausage balls.† It was very warm but so windy.

Pear Tree
Hike begins

This was the first time I had been to Grandma Springs in about 20 years.† It was familiar but different.† I am different changed since the last time I was there.† I spent some of the time thinking back to the Karen I was, and the Karen I have become.† I spent a lot of time wishing my Mother was with us.† She loved this place so much.† She would have loved to walk along with Kei and I and tell us stories.†

We saw an Indian sign tree.† These are young trees that were bent in some unnatural position without being broken, and were fastened securely.† After doing this it would continue to grow, forever after maintaining the bent position.† With this as a means, it was possible to deform the trees deliberately so that they could easily be distinguished from the other trees in the forest.

Indian Sign Tree

There developed a custom of marking trails through the forests by bending saplings and securing them in such positions that their directions of bend indicated the directions of the routes to be followed.† A line of similarly bent trees thus established a continuous uninterrupted route of travel which could readily be followed.† We have found many arrowheads up in the bluffs in the past.


We ended up hiking about 6 miles.† These were hard miles not easy miles, uneven ground, bushes and grasses and uphill in places.† When we arrived at the bluffs Daddy and Marlene decided to hang around that area and Eddie wanted to take us up Range Mountain.

My Family -Most of them

†We found a tree frog and a hummingbird nest and so many other cool things.

Tree Frog
Beautiful Hummingbird Nest

Range Mountain is about 500 feet up and it was NOT easy going.† Very steep and underbrush everywhere.† The fall leaves made it so slippery.† Seth had to keep hacking away so we could get through.† I almost stopped about 3/4 the way up but I finally decided to keep going.†

On the way up we saw one of the trees my Daddy had carved “Jean and Bull” on.† [My Daddy’s nickname and my Mom]† It made me a little teary eyed.

Mom and Dad

When we finally huffed and puffed ourselves up to the top, it was beautiful.† There was a little cave that Eddie had played in when he was younger.† Rocks that he carried to make the walls that were still there.

Against the Bluff Wall
Me and Kei
Relaxing in the Sun

Going back down was a little easier but much more slippery!† I used my butt to just slide down some of the way.† Which was fine until I hit a rock.† OUCHIE.† We met back up with Daddy and Marlene, ate some lunch and headed back out.† We were all pretty tired on the way out. Kei got a ride from Seth.

Kei got a Ride from Seth

When we got back to our house, my Daddy called and he had LOST HIS CELL PHONE up there.† Kei and I had to go to church but Eddie and the kids went back and found it!† I couldn’t believe it.

But it was a great day.† Family and memories both old and new.† Mother would have just loved it.

Homeschooling Rocks!



A happy childhood can’t be cured.† Mine’ll hang around my neck like a rainbow, that’s all, instead of a noose.† ~Hortense Calisher, Queenie, 1971


Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.† ~From the television show The Wonder Years

A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen.† ~Edward de Bono


Homeschool Mother’s Journal… 11.11.11


The Homeschool Mother's Journal


Happy 11.11.11 This is such a cool day.† Kei and I started off talking about how unique it is.† Hope yours is amazing!
In my life this weekÖcalmer, slower, less frantic.† Our new schedule is amazing.† We are both so much happier without a huge amount of check lists to get through each day.† We are exploring things in greater detail.† I have wanted to do this basically ëone subject a dayí for years.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to shareÖfound so many wonderful sites.† How did people do this before the internet?† The resources are incredible.† A few of our new favs:

http://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulations/category/new Many simulations with free lesson plans to go along with them.† We did one Wednesday on Physics and we both loved it.

http://www.msnucleus.org/membership/k-6.html Great science resources.† You do have to register but it is completely FREE!

I am inspired byÖJessica at Teachable Moments.† Thank you Jess for talking me through our new schedule.

What made me smile… While searching for a video to show the difference between potential and kinetic energy I found this.† What better example than that crazy Wile E. Coyote and RoadRunner!!

Places weíre going and people weíre seeingÖWe mainly hung out at home this week.† Kei did go to her Space and Rocket class and learned to build a fire and construct shelter from a parachute. Because of course every one carries one of those suckers around!

My favorite thing this week wasÖCurling up on the couch and Kei and I taking turns reading aloud from ìKing Arthur and the Knights of the Round Tableî. Also we are watching ìMerlinî on Netflix streaming and loving it.

Questions/thoughts I haveÖ why is bullying acceptable behavior?† Who make that something that just happens.† Feeling blessed that Kei doesn’t HAVE to live with these kinds of people and can walk away from anyone who doesnít treat her with respect.

Things Iím working onÖbeing fine with Kei not wanted to jump out of bed and start ëworkí.† It is ok to do other things first Mom! Really it is.

We are readingÖ

I am reading ìLove Walked Inî by Marisa de los Santos [thank you Theresa] and really enjoying it.

We are reading ìKing Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtableî together.†

Kei is reading ìCelia and the Fairiesî

We are both reading poetry to each other.† Rereading Shel Silverstein ìWhere the Sidewalk Endsî.

Iím cookingÖchili and chicken tortillas and baked chicken and homemade bread!

Iím grateful forÖmy silly dog, who taught me it is possible to love a furry canine who chews up everything in sight, licks my mouth and nose, whines if he isn’t petted, gets dog hair EVERYWHERE, breathes his stinky breath all over me and is the highest maintenance thing in our house!

†What’s working for us...We have cut out TV by 80%.† Let me clarify….we still watch shows and movies but not regular TV.† We are watching things that we feel enrich our lives instead of waste time.† We are also sitting on the couch together talking, knitting, reading, doing crosswords, etc at night instead of just mindlessly watching television.† So far neither one of us have gone insane. 😉

Iím thankful forÖa job that is steady enough to splurge on beautiful yarn for my girl and not have to worry about it.

A photo, video, link, or quote to shareÖ Kei took this picture of herself with her iPhone and I loved the way it turned out.

Homeschooling Rocks!


“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.“† ~Hans Hofmann

Scheduling, Art Cards, Knitting and BFF News…

In our homeschool this weekÖ we shook it all up.† I was tired of doing lesson plans that never got completed because fun stuff came along or we wanted to spend an extra hour on Science.† So I called Jessica and chatted to her about it and after going to her post at Three Thinking Moms, I pretty much borrowed her schedule.† Of course I changed a few things, but I am doing ONE subject a day except for Math, journaling and reading which we do 4 days a week.† So far we are loving it.† We can spend hours on History instead of freaking out because we have 3 more subjects to do. †

New Weekly

The weather has been cool and crisp and autumny which we have loved.† Kei worked on Art Cards and had so much fun doing them.† She used magazines to make hers but you can use ANY medium; chalk, pencil, markers, paint, feathers, anything.† We were doing a Swap† Day at Skate Day and she made about 11 of them.† Fun fun.† If you aren’t familiar with Art Cards, google it.† Resources GALORE!

Working on Art Cards
"The Eyes Have It"

She woke up really early Tuesday morning and started reading a knitting book that Ami had sent her over a year ago.† She then told me “I can KNIT”.† Now she finger knits and crochets her little heart out but she couldn’t knit.† Now she can!† She knitted for about 10 hours straight.† She would knit, take it all out, start something else and rinse and repeat.† She said she was just ‘learning’.† Argh this is why I don’t knit.† I like FAST projects.† We also rented a DVD that Susan told us about called†No-Rules Knitting at the Teen Knit Cafe.† We loved watching it and Kei got some great ideas.† Thanks Susan!† I just love the give and take of Homeschool Moms.† I have learned so much from my blog friends!


Friday was Skate Day and Kei took all her Knit Wits Kreations that she had been working on all month.† She had orders for 5 scarves, hair extensions and bows.† I am just so proud of her.† She loves making the price tags and order sheets and arranging them just so in her basket.

Getting Ready
Skate Day

Saturday Liv spent the night with us and they stayed up until 3:30 AM!† Laura if you read this, it was NOT my fault. ;)† We also found out the best news.† Liv is going to be homeschooled again!† Kei and I are both so excited we were giddy.† Kei and Liv spend so much time together in the summer but when school starts Liv is at school all day, then doing homework and they don’t get to see each other.† Laura and I are already making plans Lucy!

Dress Up Angel Style

Kei had her 4th Aviation class last Thursday.† It was pouring down rain so they didn’t get to do the Surviving in the Wilderness class.† She is just loving those classes so much.† I hope they will do more.

So another great week in Bama.†

Hope your weeks are lovely and filled with beauty and learning and laughter.† Isn’t homeschooling the best?

Homeschooling Rocks!


“…knitters just can’t watch TV without doing something else. Knitters just can’t wait in line, knitters just can’t sit waiting at the doctor’s office. Knitters need knitting to add a layer of interest in other, less constructive ways.î† ~Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Bonfires, Boos and Kats…..

What a positively Halloweeny few days. We love Halloween around here. Now, living in the same house I grew up in, it holds so many memories that I can share with Kei.† We love to decorate inside and outside.

Ahhh Halloween

We went to my brother’s house Saturday night for a bonfire.†† Kei and I brought acorn snacks we got from Phyllis’s site.† While Kei was making them Nomad was waiting to clean up the messes!† Yes he has an apron on.† What??† Don’t your pets wear aprons while cooking?

Nomad with his apron

We had such a good time. †We toasted and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.† He had a dry ice cauldron bubbling and the makings for S’mores! It was really chilly outside so the fire felt great!


Eddie had bought pumpkins for Kei and Katherine to carve.† Seth bailed on us and went to the Auburn game!† Kei was so proud of her Dragon Pumpkin.† While they were carving Eddie, Heather and I watched “Walking Dead”.† We LOVE that series.† It is about zombies. †

About to begin
Dragon Pumpkin

It was a great night with family.

Monday was Halloween and we had so much to do!† We were having our friends over to eat and then go trick or treating, then come back here.† I made Taco Soup, which is something you MUST try if you haven’t.† I used turkey because several of our friends do not eat red meat.† I follow the linked recipe almost exactly except we don’t use olives.† It was so good.† I make it in the crock pot and it cooks all day. †

Then Kei and I got ready for our Halloween adventures.† She was going to be Katniss Everdeen from “The Hunger Games” so I decided to be a cat.† Get it?† Cat and Kat? :)† We had been working on her costume for a few days and thought it turned out really well.† We spray painted the bow silver, made a quiver out of leather and made a pouch for her belt and even put berries in it.† [For those of you who have read the book]† She wore a black one piece suit, a black sweater we bought at a thrift shop and cut the sleeves out of, a brown leather belt with fringe and brown boots.† She had leather wrapped all over her wrists and her hair in a side braid and wrapped with leather.† We put dark eyeshadow on her face for bruises and ‘blood’ by her ear for her injury in the arena.† She looked so cool!

Katniss Everdeen
Katniss ready for the games
I love this picture
Homemade Quiver
Ready, Set, FIRE!

And the Mommy CAT

Mommy Cat

We had the house semi cleaned, candles lit everywhere, pumpkin smells wafting all around the house.† The Taco Soup was in the pot, Kei had made cookies, chips, sour cream, cheese and drinks were ready to go.† And of course Nomad was dressed in his Halloween finery.

Darth Vader Doggie

We had such a blast.† There was laughter and food and talking and kids everywhere.† Then we all went trick or treating and there were HUGE numbers of people out.† They even had the police and a firetruck to make sure everything went smoothly.† We take our Halloween seriously here!

Loved this house

Photo by Esther Crawford because my picture of the kids was horrible!

The kids

After loading up with candy and fun, we headed back over here where more food was consumed.† Trick or Treating is hungry work!† The kids all did their annual ‘candy trading’.† I think they like this part more than the collecting.

Candy Trading

It was a great night.† And here it is November 1st!† I can’t wait to see what amazing things await us this month.

Hope everyone’s October was as lovely as ours.

Homeschooling Rocks!


Nothing on Earth so beautiful as the final haul on Halloween night.† ~Steve Almond

I don’t know that there are real ghosts and goblins, but there are always more trick-or-treaters than neighborhood kids.† ~Robert Brault



Search, Rescue and Renaissance….

I was about to type my first sentence and stopped.† Seems like each time I post I start out, ‘We had the best week!”. † I started thinking…is every week really that great?† And you know, for the most part they are.† Of course we have our bad days, days I want to drag Kei by her cute little head back to public school, days that my job demands time and I am trying to teach Physics and the dog is barking in my ear and the clothes are piled up to the sky and the house is covered with dog hair and I am overwhelmed.† Days that Kei hates Math and “Why do I have to read” and complains and her room is a disaster zone.

But this is not the norm.† Most weeks ARE great.† They are ‘our’ definition of great, which may not be everyone’s.

Kei working on Teaching Textboooks

We learned a lot this past week, history and physics and grammar and more.† We are reading “Devotions for the God Girl” together and loving it.† We are also getting to preview an exciting new product that I will write more about later.†

Kei has been very busy.† Not ‘Show Week’ busy but busy.† She has been knitting a lot.† On Friday we had to go get the oil changed.† While we were there they discovered I had a V Belt [?] that was about to break.† So we ended up being there 2 hours.† We met the coolest lady who sat there and taught Kei a crochet stitch she didn’t know.† She will now know how to make hats.† Kei didn’t have† her yarn with her so she isn’t sure about a couple of steps but Misty said to call her and she would meet us somewhere and she would show Kei.

Kei has also been making clothes for her Monster High Dolls.† She LOVES these dolls.† They are totally cool.† She started a blog called The Real Life of Monster High and she has been developing stories and taking pictures to add to it.† She has spent tons of time on there.

Monster High Photo Shoot

Thursday she had her Space and Rocket Class.† The one thing I hate about it is that I can’t take pictures!!!† This week was called “Search and Rescue”.†† Kei dictated to me what happened:

They got them in a room and told them all the positions; Lead pointer, second pointer, first in call, and first in call 2.† They you have a SWAT team of Alpha Swat, DC who are the Danger Crossing people, BS which is Beta Swat and the back position.† They voted and picked Kei for the Lead Pointer which is like the leader.† Then they practiced signals, danger crossing, dropping down quickly on the ground, duck and cover and more.† Then they were told their mission.

They had a bomb and about 2 miles away there was an enemy plane with their secret documents.† They had to destroy the plane along with the documents.† They had to avoid the gate people and cars coming down the road.† They could not be seen or heard from any staff members.† They accomplished this by sending hand signals to the SWAT teams and coordinating their moves.† When they got to the plane they dropped the bomb on the wing and ran away as fast as they could.†

While she was doing all of that I went with some friends to a model shop and then watched the son race a Bandit model car around a dirt track.† It was pretty cool too!† When I picked her up she was excited, jabbering like crazy and had GRASS stains on her new jeans. Next week is rope training.

On Saturday we went to Florence to the Renaissance Faire.† This is one of our favorite festivals!† I would love to take a year and just travel around from faire to faire.† We had so much fun!† We met some friends there and walked around.† It was a beautiful day for it!

The King and Queen
Kei took this picture of the King's boot. Isn't this amazing?
Pink Fairy
Kei found a Ferret! These are cute little things.
A Dog Jester! We loved it.
This is what I wanted. I LOVED these goggles. They remind me of goggles in World of Warcraft!
She ended up buying one of these. Aren't they lovely?

One of the funniest things was a Jack Sparrow impersonator.† Now anyone who knows Kei knows that Johnny Depp is† her future husband.† Girls were following him around, giggling and acting silly.† I told her I wanted a picture, she rolled her eyes, muttered ‘imposter’ under her breath and stood beside him.†

Kei and the "Imposter"

It was a wonderful day.† Kei ended up getting a crown, a bow and arrow [for her Halloween costume which has changed AGAIN] and a jingle belt.

Kei and her goodies

On the way home we passed so many cotton fields.† We decided to stop and take pictures because, while cotton fields are very common to us, we thought some people may not have seen one before.

Alabama Cotton Girls

We also finished “Catching Fire” on the way home and are about to start the final book, ‘Mockingjay‘. † We have LOVED these books so much.† The movie comes out in March and we are looking forward to that too. Seriously we have enjoyed these books as much as anything in a long time.† We work “Hunger Games” conversation into every day life. :)

Another great week and here is it Monday.† What happened to October???

Homeschooling Rocks!


ìHappy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor!î ~Effie Trinket

ìHereís some advice. Stay alive.î ~Haymitch Abernathy


At Skate Day a couple of weeks ago someone had some FREE magazines.† I picked up a copy of Mother Earth News to take home.† I would pick it up and glance through it at different times of the day.† Then I saw an article called ìWabi-Sabiî and started reading.

You can find the article online I am sure if you search for it.

Wabi-sabi is the Japanese philosophy of appreciating things that are imperfect, primitive and incomplete. ††It means finding beauty in things that at first glance, arenít beautiful.† It is old not new, antiques not mass market, old quilts ragged but still beautiful.† It is walking down a old street and seeing beauty in things most people would walk on past.

The strange thing about this wonderful word is that my Mother and Daddy have embraced this their whole lives.† How many times growing up did I long to have a brand new dresser, not one that was made 100 years ago.† Everything in our house was antique, and while my brother soaked this up, learned and appreciated, I did not.† How sad for me.† When I first got married years ago, Mother and Daddy almost completely furnished out house with ëold thingsí.† I had beautiful oil lamps, old furniture, a sleigh bed, churns and quilts and so much more.† I figured they would do until I could get better.† After a few years we were able to buy our ëdreamí house.† A totally modern 2 story with rounded walls, aqua and pink and black throughout.† Of course none of my furniture and things would match so we had a garage sale.† Everything must go!

We sold it all and bought all new, all modern, lots of glass and black and Mother told me, ìOne day you will come back to the beauty of old things.î† ìBahî I said.

As with most things she was right.† I do love old things now, old chest of drawers with pegs instead of nails, quilts made lovingly by hand, churns that were used to make butter so long ago, chairs that were made on front porches, aprons hand stitched, old jewelry that hides secrets of long ago events, old gloves, hats and purses.

I read the article to Kei and we have been finding Wabi-Sabi all around us.† It is our new philosophy.† I love it.† And NO Kei, leaving your bed unmade and messy is NOT Wabi-Sabi.

Here are 12 ways you can Wabi-Sabi† [Taken from the article in ‘Mother Earth News’]

1. Cultivate Slowness. Rebel against the machines. Hand a towel to a loved one and ask him or her to dry dishes while you rinse. Take 10 minutes to sweep the floor with a real broomcorn broom rather than filling your space with the roar of the vacuum.

2. Cultivate Vision. Start with the container you use to hold your morning beverage. Treat yourself to pottery that feels solid and heavy in your hand. Admire your mugís shape, textures and colors every morning to strengthen your ability to find beauty in the rest of the day.

3. Cultivate Craft. Making and growing things yourself is a gentle rebellion against globalized mass production. Spinning wool, making pottery and weaving baskets provides a tactile meditation almost impossible to experience by any other means.

4. Cultivate Cleanliness. An ancient tea master described wabi-sabi as ìputting oneís whole heart to cleaning and repeating it several times.î Every time we sweep, dust or wash, weíre creating clean, sacred space.

5. Cultivate Solitude. Find a space in the attic or a spare bedroom that you can dedicate to solitude and meditation. In tight quarters, designate a quiet corner in your bedroom or even living room as your meditation space.

6. Cultivate Space. Clutter smudges clarity, physically and psychologically. In wabi-sabi, space and light are the most desirable ornaments.

7. Cultivate Silence. To cultivate what Quakers call the ìstill, small voice within,î slowly reduce the noise sources in your life. Less is more.

  • Leave the television off for one night each week.
  • Turn off the radio during your morning or evening commute.
  • Practice a few moments of silence before eating a shared meal.
  • Make time in the afternoon for a quiet cup of tea.

8. Cultivate Sabi (the beauty that comes with age). Antique doorknobs and radiator grates give your home soul. Building with salvaged materials gives a new house depth and history it couldnít otherwise have.

9. Cultivate Soul. A piece made by hand holds the steady, solid vibrations of its maker rather than those of the jarring, impersonal machine. Surrounding yourself with things made by real people invites a tiny piece of each craftsman into your space.

10. Cultivate Imperfection. Real people leave mail piled in the entry, let the flowers go a little too long in the vase (if they have them at all), allow the dog on the bed and have unpredictable cats. Wabi-sabi embraces these flaws.

11. Cultivate Hospitality. Give every room in your house a soft seat, a blanket to curl up with, gentle lighting and a deep, delicious rug. Invite people to stay, curled up in afghans and sipping tea.

12. Cultivate Simplicity. Less stuff means more time to spend with family, friends and nature ó a philosophy simple enough for even the most complicated lives.

I honestly think the homeschooling families I have gotten to know over the years practice Wabi-Sabi much more than other people I have known in my life.† They know that simple is so often better, that there is beauty all around, that imperfection can be so perfect.†

So find Wabi-Sabi in your daysÖEmbrace it.

Homeschooling Rocks!


ìAny intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.† It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite directionî.† ~E.F. Schumacher

ìEverything has its beauty, but not everyone sees itî† ~ Confucius

‘To Kill A Mockinbird’ and Flight…

Scout on her Front Porch

What an experience.† Each play that Kei does is special for different reasons.† This one had some hiccups from the beginning.† Kei and I were both much more stressed than we usually are.† ButÖit was an amazing play.† I know it sounds like ëoh yeah youíre her Motherí but she shined.† I had so many people come up to me and tell me how great she did and she had even more.† Kei worked very hard on her role as Scout.† Memorizing comes a little easy for her.† But ëactingí takes work.† She worked long hours on perfecting this role, understanding Scout, understanding 1935 Alabama and the things that were going on at the time.† A couple of people told me I should get her a talent agent!† I just said thank you and laughed.† I want Kei to be everything she wants to be, but I want her most of all to have a childhood.

Scout, Maudie and Stephanie
Scout and Atticus
Tom Robinson's Trial
Scout and Miss Maudie
Scout Finally Meeting Boo Radley

We didnít do a lot of ëschool workí last week.† But let me tell you what she got out of this play.† First of all, she read the book; a requirement in Alabama for 9th graders.† Second of all we discussed every aspect of the story.† I doubt there are many 11 year olds with as much knowledge of ìTo Kill a Mockingbirdî.† We learned about Harper Lee, who is from Alabama for all you non ëBama readers. :)† She was a childhood friend of Truman Capote and ìTo Kill a Mockingbirdî was the only book she ever wrote.† Many aspects of the novel were autobiographical.

Scout, Jem and Dill
Scout and Dill
Scout and Jem

We also discussed protagonists and antagonists and who we thought each was in this story.† We discussed Atticusís parenting style.† We talked about how different the outcome would have been if it took place now, the role of Calpurnia and so much more.† She has such an amazing understanding of the novel now.† I am hoping to soon visit Monroeville, Alabama and the Heritage Museum.†

Scout and Boo Radley

Usually there are mainly children in the plays Kei does.† This play had 3 children roles; Scout, Jem and Dill.† She worked with some super talented adults.† The oldest was 71 and Kei loved her, as well as all the adults she worked with.† The woman who played Miss Maudie gave her a Mockingbird necklace.† It was so beautiful and will always mean so much to Kei.

At the Friday night show there were about 25 people there to see just her.† Our family and friends.† I felt like I was just going to burst right open with pride and happiness.†† Saturday my Motherís best friend, her neighbor for 40 years and her sister all came.† I felt like a little piece of my Mother was there.† My daddy told me he was blown away by the job Kei did and that Mother would be so proud of her.† My Mother never got to see Kei in a play.† When she did her first play, Mother was not walking so she never saw it live.† I always showed her the DVDís.

Our Great Friends...
Kei, Aunt Betty, Billie and Patsy
Getting Ready ...

Kei also had her first class at Space and Rocket Center.† Now these classes sounded unbelievable but the 1st one was the one I thought she would like the least.† It was on Aviation and she has never shown an interest in planes.† She LOVED it.† I mean, it is about a 40 minute drive home and she did not stop talking about it.† All the different kinds of planes they actually saw; T-38 Falon, Tomcat, Phantom and several more.† They got to get in the cockpit and have hands on contact with the gear and equipment used.† They learned about lift, thrust, weight and drag.† I am so thankful that I signed her up for this.† Next weekís class is about Strategic Communication and Teamwork.† They will conduct a ìSearch and Rescue Missionî to retrieve a downed pilot and secure Top Secret documents!† How cool is that.† I wish homeschool MOMS could take the class.

So now I am a bit exhausted.† Kei is actually sick and I am afraid it may be strep throat.† Her throat is hurting so badly and she has a fever.† The doctor may be in our plans for tomorrow.

I am looking forward to a quieter week, less hectic but involving lots of learning!† I know I mention this every time but I just love homeschooling.† Feeling very blessed right now.

Homeschooling Rocks!

ìI didnít have to stand in Boo Radleyís shoes to know him. Just standing on his porch was enoughî. ~ Scout from ìTo Kill a Mockingbirdî.

ìYou never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view–until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in itî. ~Atticus to Scout ëTo Kill A Mockingbirdí

Jesus, a Mother, a Daughter and a Dog….