L.E.N.S. Photo Challenge {Live} in the moment


A concept I try very hard to live by….

in the moment…

THIS moment….


Yesterday is gone…

Tomorrow has not arrived yet….

No silly worries….

what may be [but probably won’t]

just this beautiful, amazing moment.


This post is linked here – Home is Where You Start From

Homeschooling Rocks!


Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present†moment.† ~ Buddha


It’s a Tea Party Dahling, Fairy Abodes and Swimming…

This past Saturday, Kei had a Character Tea Party.† She was reprising her role as Horace in “101 Dalmatians”.† It was a completely different script to learn and it was interactive with the audience.† Lots of ad libbing which she LOVED.† There were 16 different tables, beautifully decorated, twinkle lights everywhere, little and big girls in hats and lace gloves, 2 extra rooms where the puppies and dogs of London ‘lived’.† The tables mainly had a red, white and black color scheme to go with the Dalmatians theme.† One of our favorite tables was the Eiffel Tower one.† Isn’t it adorable?† People could walk around before the lunch and interact with the characters.† It was an amazing experience.† Quite unlike anything Kei had done before.† I bought Liv a ticket so she could see Kei’s performance.† We had a great time.

Aren't These Tables Gorgeous?

It was a lovely Tea Party.

101 Collage

Kei also built some fairy houses.† You would not believe how much time she spends doing this.

Building the Stairs to the 2nd Story

We also went swimming yesterday.† All the pools around here close after Labor Day and we spent a great day with 24 homeschoolers/unschoolers.† Fun times.

Kei's World Famous ...???
Kei and Ben
The KEI Jump/Cheer / Phote by Heather Woods

Kei noticed this shadow on her leg on the way home and grabbed my camera.


We did school sort of things too, but I am finding myself more and more drawn to less structure in that.† I mean really, when she is 77 what is she going to remember?† That we spent a Wednesday conjugating verbs or that we spent an incredible day with some of our best friends, playing in water.

Homeschooling Rocks,


Mad Hatter: Would you like a little more tea?

Alice: Well, I haven’t had any yet, so I can’t very well take more.

March Hare: Ah, you mean you can’t very well take less.

Mad Hatter: Yes. You can always take more than nothing. ~Alice in Wonderland

Learning ALL The Time…

This was back to school week for us.† For some reason, even though I was very excited about starting back, I was being a huge procrastinator about the whole ‘planning’ thing.† I have our curriculum, mostly, but I have decided I am not going to spend hours and hours actually planning daily lessons.† I am taking advice from Theresa at OurLifeInWords and just jotting down what I want to cover each day and just going with the flow.† It seems to be working pretty well.†

Love how HSers don't have to brush their hair before class!


We started SOTW 2 and are already in the 2nd chapter.† I am also reading aloud “Our Island Story” for some British history.† You can read it free online here.Here is the free audio version from LibriVox.† Kei and I were talking about it yesterday.† How Americans know so much [well SOME of them] about US History but so very little about other countries.† She was very interested in British history because she is planning on living in England when she is older. :) She loves all things British.† We are doing Life of Fred for Math for the first month or so.† I bought this last year but Kei wasn’t interested.† Now she is.† She is so funny, for those of you who know what LOF is …she was reading a chapter yesterday and she yelled, “Do you know what that fool just did”? and I said “Who” and she said, “Fred! He paid a billion dollars for a bicycle!”.† I told her that is why you can be a genius in one area and not have, as my grandmother would say, ‘walking around sense’.† We are using Writing with Skill for Writing which Kei seems to like so far. [3 days in!]† We are finishing up Zoology 3 and going to start Botany and then do Real Science 4 Kids Physics.† I have heard from so many people that Botany is gets a little intense the last few chapters so we will see. †

Art With .....M&M's!

Kei is practicing for a Character Tea on Saturday.† It is a fund raiser for the Hartselle Fine Arts Center.† She is once again playing her favorite bad guy role, Horace, the bumbling, extremely stupid henchman.† She was in the Hartselle paper today promoting the Tea.

She also is practicing for her BIGGEST role to date.† She auditioned for “To Kill a Mockingbird” and got the role of Scout!!† She is so incredibly excited.† It is her first non musical role.† At the first rehearsal she knew every line already!† There are only 4 children in the entire production.† It is mostly an adult cast.† Kei has wanted to play Scout since she saw the movie when she was 7.† What is so ironic is that we were listening to the book on audio when we heard that they were doing this play.† Kei said it was a ‘sign’.† Harper Lee is from Alabama and the story, of course, takes place in Alabama.† I wish I could scoop you all up and bring you to the theatre on that day!

So we are busy around here.† Plays and learning cool things and building fairy houses and hanging out with friends.† We had a† couple of nights that it got cooler and it was so lovely around 7:00 AM.† I am ready for fall, I just wish we had a longer one.† It seems to be HOT and then COOL for a couple of weeks, then COLD.† I hope this is a wonderful year of learning for everyone.† I hope it is full of magical times with all of your children that you will remember forever.† Make it count.

Huge Mushrooms!

Homeschooling Rocks!



ìWe ask children to do for most of a day what few adults are able to do for even an hour. How many of us, attending, say, a lecture that doesnít interest us, can keep our minds from wandering? Hardly any.î ~John Holt~ How Children Fail†

*More GREAT John Holt quotes here.

Water, Friends, and Water…

What do you do when it is over 100∞?† Well swim of course!

We went to a fabulous NOT back to school party this week.† Gina picked us up and we headed to Huntsville.† Katy had reserved an entire pool for our group.† 35 of us!!† After we swam for a while we headed out to Katyís house,† which I totally want to move to!† It is a perfect place for kids to live.† Beautiful setting, right on top of a mountain with everything a kid could want in the backyard; trampoline, hammock, swings, air gun and target, a HUGE treehouse and more.† Loved it!

What a View!
Tons of Yummy Food...
There was eating...
And playing...

This series of pics cracks me up!

Isn't this Treehouse GREAT???
Kid's NBTS!!! Woot!

Then Gina and I had some ….err fun on the swing.† The problem was when I stepped on one side, the other side went up, so Gina helped me on and then I couldn’t get off.† The kids just jump off, but that wasn’t happening.† Gina was laughing so much she couldn’t wouldn’t hold the dang swing.† She literally picked me up from it and put me down. Photo by Katy Bothwell.

Me Tarzan!

We got to get an entire group shot.† This picture is from Esther Crawford.

Love Homeschooling...

It stormed the last 2 hours we were there so we just sat inside in a room with floor to ceiling windows and watched it.† It was such a great day!

Brit came home with us and she and Kei cut my hair! They did a great job.

The FREE haircut!

On Friday, Kei and went to Pt. Mallard.† It is the last day the center is opened during the week.† It stays opened until Labor Day but only on weekends.† Public schools start Monday and most of their lifeguards and workers are high school kids.† Kei wanted to get there very early.† She got into the Olympic pool first!

Just Kei...

It wasn’t very crowded, which was a first.† Several schools in North Alabama have started already.

There was much jumping...
More Jumping...
Love this picture!!

She also jumped off the 1st platform for the first time.† It is very high….I wouldn’t have jumped off of it for $1000!† She was so excited and I was praying!

We ended the day with Italian ices.† We have had such a blast this summer at Pt. Mallard!

Now we are ready to get Not Back to School on Monday.

The summer is not over, but it feels like new beginnings.† Bring on the adventures!!

Silly girl...

Homeschooling Rocks!!


The water is your friend.† You don’t have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move.† ~Aleksandr Popov

Seventy-five percent of our planet is water – can you swim?† ~Author Unknown

Not Back to School…

Ahhh back to school time.

For us there is no scrambling to clothes sales looking for bargains.† There are no new tennis shoes for P.E.† There are no mad dashes to make sure every little item is crossed off a 40 item ìSchool Listî.†† There is no hunt for backpacks or lunch boxes.† There is no stocking up on food for lunches.† There is no wondering if you will like your new teacher. †There is no wondering how you will like your new classmates. †There is no going to bed earlier each day to make sure you can get up at 6:30.

ButÖthere is excitement.† Excitement over the entire year stretched before us to discover new things, learn things that stimulate our brains, read marvelous stories.† Excitement over new crayons, colored pencils, notebooks, pencils, clay, art pads, and more.† New books just waiting to be opened and pored over.† Excitement for field trips not yet taken, picnics just waiting for us, meandering walks in the woods, new places to explore, videos to watch, nature to watch unfold and change before our very eyes, laughter to be laughed, plays to rehearsed, wonderful volunteering to do, amazing friends to spend time with, notebooks to fill with stories, new math concepts to figure out, plants and animals to learn about, our Bible to explore in more depth, the entire Middle Ages to read and learn about [we CANíT wait!!], conversations to be had, fall leaves to crunch on, snow to watch quietly falling, cocoa to drink, Shakespeare plays to read, meals to prepare, marshmallows to roast over fires, dogs to walk and play with, †time for snuggling, time for giggles in the dark, reading in bed with a flashlight, watching the night stars, bike rides with the wind blowing our hair back, picking beautiful leaves from the ground, discover new secret places and so much more.

This summer has taught me one thing, time is so fleeting.† Kei is growing up so fast.† It wonít be long before she is no longer under my roof.† I must cherish these moments; hold on tight, squeeze them until they almost canít breathe.† Stop and smell and taste and feel and see and hear everything.

Bring on 2011-2012. A marvelous adventure is just waiting for us.† Are you ready?

Homeschooling Rocks!


“Life is either a great adventure or nothing”~Helen Keller



It’s A Hard Knock Life….

Last week was Show Week.† Which means this week I am still moving slowly.† Kei loves Show Week.† I barely survive it. :) This time my backstage job was to keep 12 7-11 year old girls completely quiet for about 35 minutes.† M&M’s may or may not have been included as bribes gifts.

Kei did amazing.† She was a maid and I was a little concerned at first because she was by far the youngest Maid.† And they danced, a lot.† And several of the girls had taken dance since they were like 6 months old!† But she did great and loved every minute of it.

We had so many people come and support her.† We are so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends.† Several pictures I took just didn’t come out but here are some of my favorites.

The obligatory "Lipstick" picture
Maids Greeting Annie
The kick
Photo by Esther Crawford
Photo by Esther Crawford
"NYC" Dance Number...
Another "NYC" shot
Kei with My Mom's Best Friend of 50 years...
Kei and Brit...
Kei with My Daddy and Marlene
Kei and Chan...
Kei with Drew, Abby and Gracie..
The Cast at the Cast Party

Another amazing experience.† It only took me 4 days to recuperate!

Practice starts Thursday for the NEXT PLAY.† It is a VERY EXCITING part for Kei.† More about that later. ;)

Happy August,

Homeschooling Rocks,


I would like to be going all over the kingdom…and acting everywhere. There’s nothing in the world equal to seeing the house rise at you, one sea of delightful faces, one hurrah of applause!† ~Charles Dickens



I know everyone is wondering where in the world I have been. Well maybe 2 of you.

Busy busy.† Living life, exploring, playing, reading and trying to stay cool in this Alabama July heat!

This is play week for Kei.† She is in “Annie” and has performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday.† So we have spent hours and hours at the theatre.† I will update more later.

Practicing the Dance...
Kei playing around..

Homeschooling Rocks!


Only good girls keep diaries. Bad girls don’t have time. ~Tallulah Bankhead [Actually in our case it is just ‘BUSY” girls. ;)

Drama, Drama, Some More Stuff, and More Drama….

Kei eats, sleeps and breathes theatre.† She has loved it since she could walk and talk.† We try to take advantage of everything our semi-small town offers.† She has been in 9 plays and is about to audition for the 10th.† We are doing Annie right now.

Last week was Camp Princess.† She had such a blast.† It is a week long theatre camp with the show on Friday night.† This is her second year to attend.† Every day she I dropped her off at the theatre she was just giddy.† When I take pictures of her onstage, her face just glows.† I don’t think I have ever loved an activity that way.

Headed to Camp Princess
The Performance
See the Joy?

On stage they did several exercises they did at Camp.† This one was “open your mouth as wide as you can”. :)

The Entire Cast

After the show she posed with Brian.† He is the director of the entire Bethel University Theatre Program.† She told him to remember her name because she would be there in 7 years.† [only 7 years????!!!]

Kei and Brian

Kei was so happy that Livvy was able to come.

Kei and Liv

And of course her BIGGEST fan!

Kei and Mom

It was an amazing experience for her.

So you wonder what to do with extra tomatoes?† Try this..Tomato Pie.† I promise it is so yummy you will almost faint!

Tomato Pie

4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced

10 fresh basil leaves, chopped

1/2 cup chopped green onion

1 (9-inch) prebaked deep dish pie shell

1 cup grated mozzarella

1 cup grated cheddar

1 cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the tomatoes in a colander in the sink in 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 10 minutes.

Layer the tomato slices, basil, and onion in pie shell. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the grated cheeses and mayonnaise together. Spread mixture on top of the tomatoes and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

To serve, cut into slices and serve warm.

Tomato Pie

†Kei found time this week to catch minnows in the creek…

Work on learning a hand stand.

Playing Frisbee with Nomad.† Look at his face!!!!

Going to see Harry Potter! [Bring tissues!]

Kei and Hermione

Kei will never know a world without Harry Potter.† When she was 7 she dressed up for the final book release as Hermione and won 1st place!

Of course in the midst of our busy week she still had “Annie” practice!

Annie Practice
Giggly moments..
Learning the dances...

WHEW!!!† What a week.† I am so in awe of you Moms with more than one child.†

Homeschooling Rocks!


If you really want to help the American theater, don’t be an actress, dahling. Be an audience. ~Tallulah Bankhead


Caves Are Scary Places…[to me]

I have a small case of claustrophobia.† It isn’t so much the ‘size’ of a place but the fact that I can’t get out of it quickly enough.† My Mother had claustrophobia big time.† She was in nursing college and got stuck in an elevator for 6 hours in the middle of the night.† My entire life I knew this about her.† She would not ride elevators unless she absolutely had to.† She would make me prop the† bathroom door opened when we had to stop at a gas station on a trip.†

The first time I was ever made aware that I too have this is when I was about 25.† I was married at the time and we went to Ruby Falls in Chattanooga.† We paid the money and rode down the elevator.† The ceiling was about 6″ above my head.† All of a sudden I got very shaky.† I asked the guide how long the tour was and he said about 2 hours.† To my way of thinking that was 1 hour in and 1 hour out.† So I would be, at the most, an hour from air.† I couldn’t do it.† We had my niece with us and they went ahead and took the tour while I rode the elevator back up.† The lady told me it happened several times a day.† I remember laying in bed that night and getting so upset.† Would I never be able to fly?† Ride a subway?† Take a cruise?† I fly fine.† The first time I was a little scared but it wasn’t a big deal.† My first flight was a 6 hour flight!† I have ridden a subway, no big.† Never taken a cruise but I don’t think it would really bother me.

Fast forward to yesterday.† My sister in law and niece and nephew are at the beach.† My brother wanted to take Kei and I somewhere.† He wanted to take us to Cathedral Caverns.† He assured me it was a huge cave, although it isn’t really the size that freaks me out.† Kei was so excited so I said sure.† The closer we got the the place the more nervous I was.†† I used to be very ‘to myself’ about my claustrophobia, now I tell anyone who will listen.† I have found that when you share something, it helps tremendously.† I told the guide that I was a little claustrophobic.† I explained to her that I wanted her to understand if I started screaming and running. :)† We paid and started the tour.† I was fine, a little nervous, but fine.† The further we got from the entrance the more I was actually ok.† But it was there, it the back of my mind like these things seem to do.† Then, about 20 minutes in, the power went out.† Dark as..well dark as a cave!† The guide had a flashlight and one little boy was wearing a miner’s hat but neither provided much light.† I pulled out my iPhone and used my flashlight app but I kept accidentally shining it in people’s eyes!† Then a guy pulled up on a golf cart and said there was a horrible thunderstorm and the power was out!† I mean really!!! What were the odds?† She asked if anyone wanted to go back as she looked at me.† I decided I did want to go.† I just wasn’t happy about another 1 1/2 hours in the dark!† Eddie said he would take Kei, so I handed him my camera and jumped in.† The guy was really nice and said that caves freaked a lot of people out.† I was dissappointed for Kei.† Her first cave and I missed 80% of it.

I sat up on the porch and talked to a lovely lady from Florida.† She and her 3 kids were there to go to Space Camp and they decided to stop by the Caverns for awhile.† They canceled all tours until the lights came back on.† An 1 1/2 later Eddie and Kei were about to leave the tour the lights came back on.† So Eddie went back in with Kei to take more pictures.† He said that it was no where near as cool with no lights.

Kei's Shadow

When they came out Kei was very excited but she said, “It would have† been more fun with you but I understand Mom”† Argh..† The thing is, if my claustrophobia is a direct result of my Mom, then am I doing the same thing to Kei?† Although that is the first time anything has ever happened that prevented me from doing anything.† I close and lock the bathroom door with no problems and we love riding elevators.† I just feel like I let her down somehow.

Kei and I at The Trading Post

Homeschooling Rocks!



“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
~Frank Herbert, Dune – Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” ― A.A. Milne