Monday, August 31, 2015

Dutch Wonderful Day!

Steve has a business contact at Dutch Wonderland and we were offered free tickets to go sometime this summer.

Our summer has been a bit busy…so we had to find a time to go before the summer is over….and yesterday was the day that we had open so we went!

This amusement park is geared towards the younger kids.  So it was perfect for Lena and Ava.  They could ride all the rides.


And these big kids had fun too! 

(Even if they were “off the chart”)


Jared had to work so we let Logan bring along a friend.

He (of course) chose Kristy.

She is a (very) sweet girl that we have known for years. 

(They aren’t dating…they are just friends!  But I have feeling when they turn 16 there will be some dating happening. Winking smile  Call it mom intuition.)


(Love the guy photo bombing in the background.  At a quick glance I thought it was Mr. Darryl for a second! lol)


The girls loved this turtle ride.  They went on it 3 times.  It wasn’t crowded yesterday which was wonderful!



I didn’t ride many ride and I took my sling along as my arm did get tired from being down all day.


Dutch Wonderland only has 2 roller coasters. A small one and a wooden one.  Ava LOVED the roller coasters.  She went on them 3 times.

Steve said he thought I could go on the wooden roller coaster since it is nothing compared to what we usually ride at Hershey Park so he thought it would be ok.  

2 weeks post-op + rollercoaster=bad life decision. 

It is an old wooden roller coaster and jostled me around pretty good but I survived.


Every time the carousel came around Steve was making funny poses.  I was cracking up.



It was a blessing to spend a whole day with these girls and I so enjoyed watching them have so much fun on the rides.




I’m really thankful for the free tickets.  It would have cost over $200.00 for us to go to Dutch Wonderland if we would have had to buy tickets.  That would have be crazy!

But for free it was a perfect, wonderful, fun day!!! <3

We are sad that summer is on its way out…..but we still have our annual beach trip to look forward to in a couple of weeks!!!! <3 Whoo-hoooo!!!!!!!!!!


All too soon the sun was setting and we were all tired so we headed home… take some extra strength advil and crawl into bed!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Our 14th…

year of homeschooling has begun.


I think it is about 14.  I’ve honestly lost count and it really is more just a way of life around here.

Schooling happens all the time.  Not just from Monday-Friday, September through June.

But we “officially” started our 2015/2016 school year last week.

Homeschooling in PA has really gotten more “relaxed.” I no longer have to turn a portfolio into the school district.  Which is SO strange! We still need to get an evaluation done at the end of each year and turn that into the school district by June 30th.  But that is easy-peasy compared to what I have been doing the past 13 years! They still need an affidavit and objectives for the upcoming year to be turned in but I have all the objectives in a word document and so I just change the dates and the child’s name and away we go!

Lena is in 4th grade this year. 


Her reading has really taken off.

What I’m really focusing on this year for both the girls is comprehension. For both of them to really grasp what I’m reading to them.  I’ve realized how very important it is to read to your children before the age of 5.  And becuz we missed out on some very formable years with Lena and Ava (and the fact that they have only been speaking English for 5-ish years) they aren’t quite at the level of “typical” kids in terms of understanding some of the reading we do.

But they have made great improvement over the past 6 months.

I thankfully still have lots and lots of good books from our years of doing Sonlight History!  I’m still very eclectic with what curriculum I use for the other subjects.  Some of the “oldie but goodie” curriculums have worked with the girls…but there is some great new stuff that we have started using this year.

Homeschooling isn’t easy….nor is it cheap! But it is right for our family so we continue on this path.

Miss Ava is in 3rd grade this year!

(How can that be already?!?!?!?  My baby-baby!!!)


So I have 4 kids that I’m reporting to the school district this year.

Jared is a senior!


He is still pursuing going to college for a computer science degree.

He is taking Pre-Calc, Am. Gov’t and Economics, Am. Lit. and Spanish II at our local co-op.

Then he is also doing an AP Computer Science class online.

Plus working 15-ish hours a week at Masonic to save for college.


He is excited to be in his last year of high school.

Seriously….where do the years go!?!?

My “baby” is starting high school!!!

(He will always be my baby btw….)


Mr. Logan is my “complicated” one.

He is our youngest bio kid. But he is also now a middle child.  And most days around here he is the oldest.


He is a special one alright! Winking smile

But he handles it all in stride and is excited to start high school this year.

He has a FULL load this year.

(I expect a lot from my boys.  I know they can do the work….and it is good to keep boys busy, busy, busy! It keeps them out of trouble!)

Logan is taking Biology (w/labs), French and a literature Lord of the Rings class at co-op and doing Algebra, Grammar/vocab and History at home.

And my oldest started his second semester of his sophomore year at MU!

(He will be a junior for the spring semester of 2016!)



He loves college.  He goes Monday, Wednesday and Friday all day.  But he can commute and live at home and save loads of $$$.

And I cherish having him around a few more years….knowing that it will go by in a blink of an eye!


I was so proud of him when this came in the mail last week! Smile


He got a 4.0 in his first semester at MU.  (Hopefully this will help get him some scholarship money….but he has worked hard at Giant and so far doesn’t have any college debt!  Praise God! But he still has many more years to go to get his doctorate. He is still pursing being a history professor. I am thankful he got a good jump start on his college education.)

So another year begins.

I’ve learned a lot over the years….probably as much as the kids have…if not more! lol

*To not sweat the small stuff.

*To read, read, read out loud to your kids.

*To teach them to learn themselves….and then they can learn anything!

*To realize that if you get nothing else done in a day but family devotions then you have done the most  important subject.

*To embrace the fact that each child learns differently.  So if you have to buy a new curriculum that works instead of passing it down….then that is ok. But within reason….there were many times when I had to decipher if a child just wasn’t applying himself or if it truly was a different learning style issue.

I have truly cherished the one on one time that homeschooling has given me with my kids. Not everyday has been easy or fun!  But overall it has been the bestest decision we have ever made for our family.

I’m so thankful for the women in my life who went before me and were such Godly examples on what homeschooling really was and what a homeschooling family’s life looked like. Friends like Nancy, Bev, Kerri and Carolyn to name a few. Seriously without having them as a support system I wouldn’t have made it this far!

To learn and realize that I wasn’t to do “public school” at home but to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6)

And you can certainly train up a child in the way he should go and still send him to public school!!  Absolutely! Every family dynamic and every situation is different.  Homeschooling is what has worked best for our family. 

I think it really boils down to just doing life with our kids, being present, and walking along side of them. Giving them the tools they need in life….but remembering that those “tools” aren’t just reading, writing and ‘'rithmetic but character issues as well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Wake up at the zoo!

Ava got to have some really fun times last week while I was zoned out on the recliner recovering from surgery!

Her Aunt Joy came EARLY Tuesday morning to take Ava and Isabella to the Hershey Zoo for their birthday gift. <3



They had a really great time.  Isabella and Ava are both animal lovers and they really enjoyed being able to feed the animals!


They learned A LOT about each of animals.


Ava’s favorite part was seeing…….


and FEEDING the mountain lion!



But I’m glad that there was a fence between them….as they are still wild animals!



This was the coolest birthday present for these two girls. It will be something they will remember for a very long time.


And I wouldn’t be surprised at all if both of them chose something in the animal field when they grow up.

Either being a zookeeper or veterinarian….anything to do with animals.


Thank you Aunt Joy… are THE coolest aunt! <3