Saturday, October 17, 2015

Birthdays Again!

We officially have a teenager in our home! I really don't know where the time went, it's crazy! My middle son is officially in the double digits now too! We wanted to make their birthdays kinda special, so Dad decided he would take each of them out to eat just one on one at their restaurant of choice. My oldest picked an all you can eat buffet type restaurant. Of, course what 13yr old boy doesn't want buffet, right? My other son picked Olive garden and decided him and his dad should dress up for the occasion. It was just too cute, or handsome...sorry, handsome. They're not cute anymore. Lol. They each did some shopping with Dad and spent their birthday money.

Since, Taylor was turning 13, I figured it needed to be a little more special. We through him a surprise birthday with a few friends and such. It was a hit! To top that Sunday, we celebrated both their birthdays with the families. Grilled out, played ball, just had a nice time and beautiful weather.

Pics below! And yes, I actually made those cakes, which if you know me that was a feat.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Unexpected Home buying..

We recently had an unexpected journey...well unexpected to us but God obviously knew what he was doing.

We had been planning on moving next spring, our home had issues, it was a really small space we had out grown quickly, but we wanted our finances in line first.

Well, unexpectedly our Landlord told us the property is selling and it would be highly advisable to be out asap. (3 weeks or so) We knew the property was on the market, but none of us expected that.

So, not wasting any time we start looking at apartments, rental homes, etc...and we were led to a well established mobile home park. The owner asked if we'd considered buying? Well, we had but didn't think our credit and such would make it a fesiable goal just yet. After looking at more homes, and a unexpected financial blessing (we will call that blessing #1) that more than covered the down payment cost. We started the buying process for a brand new 3bed/2bath home.

Let me back up a bit, before all this even took place we had already told the boys we would be moving next spring, so as a family we needed to be in prayer for where God would have us, and that they could pray for things they may want too. At this same time we had been doing a video devotional serious on prayer. Some of there prayers, were a neighborhood with kids there age, park nearby, and that we could get a dog. So, they were fervently praying for these things with spring in mind. As for me and the hubs, it was more practical, close to both our jobs and church, affordable, 3 bedrooms, etc, not above and beyond but a home that would generally meet our needs.

We quickly got a reply from the finance company saying we were approved. Whoo-who! The term was great, price was affordable (cheaper than our rent)...blessing #2! The home is in a neighborhood, right across from a park, we can have pets, equal distance between jobs, closer to church, meets our needs, you see where I going with this...God heard our prayers.

Now, still...we had to be out of the house quickly, and supposedly this finace company was known for not moving quickly. We continue praying, submit all our paperwork requested, and in one weeks time. We get a call from the mobile home Park office: everything looks good, finance company just drawing up the contract. Yeah! Should be another week or so...okay, cutting it close, but God knows, he promises to provide for his children, and I have faith it's in his hands. Blessing #3: email from finance company, dropped home price, $5,000, and home owners insurance which was in with our mortgage ended up being a little cheaper, so quoted monthly payment is 25.00 less a month than originally agreed upon. Let's say that's blessing #4.

Now, we're packing, cleaning, waiting and here comes blessing #5, three days literally! Phone rings: Lady at office, " You're not going to believe this, I have everything here, can yall be here tomorrow to close?" Wait, what...really...already???? The lady comments to me, "Yall must really lead a blessed life, because I've never seen things move so quickly and smoothly." At this point, I'm so humbled I really don't know what to say.

As we go thru the home buying process, we have really made it a learning experience for our boys. Everything to how the bank loans you money, why you need good credit, and how it all works. It's getting really fun watching there expressions as we move along.

Closing day, thankfully they acted as the title company and have a notary on hand so that was one less wait we had. We bring the boys with us to close on the home, watch them in excitment has they hand us the keys, and amazingly enough they were so well behaved, I didn't really think they were my children.  Seriously.  We also paid up a few months on our lot rent, since we had that blessing in the beginning, and paid our pet deposit. (We already had a cat) and Boom, we just bought our first home!!

Of course God saw us through so first things first we praise him! We go over to our new home, hold hands and pray as a family for the first time in our house. Then, we leave go celebrate at our favorite Mexican food place and get to packing! The boys were eager to spend the night in our new place, so that night we literally camped out in our new home. Good memories!

So, that should be the end right?? Oh, but no. When God moves mountains and you're faithfull to him he blesses abundantly.

Unknown, to my hubs he would then switch jobs, after a cut in hours at his job, he began exploring options. God provided him a job in walking distance from our home with a better pay, (blessing #6) since then he has already received another raise on top of that.

If that wasn't enough...just last week, the lady from the office calls and tells my hubs, "I need you to come by when you can.." so, after work he stops by, and she says, "I'm really not sure what I was thinking, you bought your home. You didn't owe a pet deposit." (Now in my head I had thought that was odd, but we pay a lot fee, so I didn't really question it.) We told her to add it toward our lot fee, instead of a refund. So, as of right now, we have no lot fee until January! Blessing #7. God is good!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Update, #2 So sorry y'all...

Okay Dad! Here's for you. ;)

I know, I did I get so behind?

Hmm...well, starting where I left off, my oldest completed his volunteer work at the zoo. He had a great time, made a lot of friends and learned a bit too. I snuck around snapping some pics, he looked so grown up working and talking with Zoo visitors. In fact in his evaluation at the end of his semester, one of his best qualities they admired was his ability to talk with guest. (But, I thought homeschoolers weren't socialized?? just saying)

My middle son played his baseball season, and guess where he ended up? Pitcher's mound! A little aprehensive at first, but after his first game, several strikeouts he was really felling that position, did a heck of a job too. Unfortunately they never did pull off a win, but's the first year of kid pitch, it's what we consider a learning year. I'm most impressed with his ability to lead. A quality of him I hadn't picked up on before. On the field, sometimes I feel like I'm watching someone else's child. He is focused, determined, and constantly encouraging the others in games and practice. The coach even made mention of him and his leadership qualities, but where my heart strings tugged, is when he comes home and says "I sure wish so and so could get a hit." See, he knows he will hit, make plays, get points on the board, he knows what that feels like. He craves for the others on his team to get that same rush. His addtitude on the field is definitely humbling to watch.

As for my not so little guy, he is just living life. Learning, growing, and keeping me running. I'm still trying to figure him out. He loves robots, legos, and building things. I've tried to get him in sports. I think I've just realized, sports are not his thing. Either way, he's just happy playing in the dirt at the ball fields, not a care in the world.

I think that sums up some, I am going to try to do better. No promises, but I do intend to try.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Belated update.

So, I've been REALLY negligent in keeping up with my blog, I'm trying y'all. It's a struggle, none the less Im still here. So what's new you ask?? Well, my oldest after a little hard work, and an interview was selected to be a junior zookeeper at our local zoo. He works 4 1/2 hrs once a week. Totally bummed though his first official day was cancelled due to snow. :/ hope to update soon, on his new adventure. My middle son is all signed up getting ready to play baseball again, new league and he begins kid pitch this year. Though he is perfectly content not pitching. He just wants to play his same position at first. We shall see... My youngest boy is actually reading and sounding out words now. He is just amazing to teach, he catches on so quickly, we have already started in is kindergarten workbooks, I was going to wait, but he was so bored I had to. I actually dont like to push them up grades. Id rather them be confident and have a complete grasp of the concept, amazingly enough, some kids just grasp it quicker than I expect. He is making huge strides, as well as my oldest who has just started seventh grade math (pre algebra) I believe he was more than ready as well too.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I Love Homeschooling

I believe I've done this before, but seeing as statistics supposedly say most Homeschoolers feel like quitting in the months of November and February. I thought I'd  write my list of reasons why I love homeschooling. I must say this year is probably the first year I haven't faced a "burn out" around this time, but from previous experience when I start feeling that way, I try to go back to those core reasons why we began our homeschooling journey and what I absolutely love about it. So with that being said, here's my own compiled list of why we love homeschooling.

1. Biblical Teaching
I love that I can teach my children with a Biblical faith based foundation that public school doesn't offer.

2. We learn at our own pace.
Grasp a concept, Great! Lets move on, no waiting for 30 other children to grasp it before moving on. If we are struggling with a concept, we can spend as long as we need to until it's mastered.

3. More family time.
Yes, even though somedays they drive me absolutely Nuts! I love spending time with them, it's so nice when Dad has a day off we can all hang out together, field trip as a family, or just enjoy each other's presence.

4. Flexibility
We can school when it's best for us. For instance I school my youngest in the afternoon, so I can give attention to my older two in the morning. My oldest will start the harder subjects first where as my middle son will put his off till last, and you know what....That's perfectly Ok!

5. We get perks.
Oh, you know when all the other kids are in school. We can go places mid day with less of a crowd, take our time, etc... Nothing like taking vacations the week school starts for most children, and you have free roam, no lines, and a little more freedom. Not to mention mid week discounts!

6. Sleep
Yes! I said it sleep. We can sleep in if we want. I'm just starting to realize the importance of this, as my oldest is a pre teen, I'm learning as they grow through the teen yrs they truly do need more sleep. Its a growth and development thing not necessarily a lazy teen thing. In fact, there has been a lot of talk reccently of pushing high school time back an hour so school kids can get adequate amounts of sleep. Not to mention well rested kids equal happy kids, and c'mon we all know any one with recurrent lack of sleep, is a grump and not exactly who you probably want to hang around all day.

7. I get my kids during the best time.
What fun is it to have sleepy, groggy kids your shoving out the door in the morning and when they return, they're wore out and tired only to be bombarded with homework, dinner, shower, and bedtime? Nope, see I get to share a cup of hot chocolate in the morning, have discussions over lunch, free time to cuddle and no stressful nights of homework. Just good quality evenings of more family time. I love that!

8. I can see them thrive.
I get to teach them, watch them grow, help them in their struggles, and generally be there through all their ups and downs.

9. I know what they're doing.
Call me over protective, I don't care. I love knowing who my children's friends are, who their parents are, what interest they share, and what influence they have on each other. So far I couldn't be more pleased with the group of friends they have. In today's world its refreshing to know who they're running with and that they're in good hands with another parent.

10. Health
I have a say in what they eat. Though I will say, this healthy eating thing is an area of weakness for us, it's nice to know ultimately it's up to my discretion what's served. No, nasty lunches that children only eat three bites of just to come home at the end of the day starving. Oh and no sending them pointless lunch money I might add!

Time, truth is time is precious, we can't buy more of it, can't trade it in or get it back. We have to use it wisely. Our children will only be small for a short time. This is the last year before I officially will be raising a teenager and I already am trying to figure out where that time went. I want to cherish this time while they're small. I want to soak up the hugs and kisses. Laugh with them, play with them, never be so busy I miss it. We all know we aren't promised tommorrow, so we must make every second count.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

As if we didn't already know, here's some proof..

I love Stats especially ones that back up homeschooling, as if there are any that don't??? I have yet to find any truly negative stats. Opinions but no facts.Lol. I guess with having a sixth grader and looking ahead to high school, which I really never thought I'd continue to homeschool through....looks more and more like I probably will be, so when I read stats saying... homeschool kids are more likely to enroll in college, more likely to complete college, more likely to make a decent income, more likely to vote, be more involved in their communities, more likely to not be on welfare, it totally excites me. I found these stats as well, thought I'd share..

In this link: Once almost unheard-of and usually relegated to the province of educational quackery and political or religious radicalism, the homeschooling movement has in the last few years blossomed into a serious educational option. A recent study by the National Home Education Research Institute and the Homeschool Legal Defense Association demonstrates just how serious an alternative it has become. Conducted by researcher Dr. Brian D. Ray, the report made a number of startling finds:

The number of students being homeschooled across the nation is between 1,103,000 and 1,348,000.

The total number of homeschoolers equals the public school enrollments of the states of Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyomingcombined.

Homeschoolers outperform public school students by 30 to 37 percentile points on all subjects on standardized achievement tests.Whether the parents ever held a teaching certificate had virtually no impact on student scores. 

Even homeschooled students whose mothers never finished high school scored 55 percentile points higher than public school students in similar circumstances.

Homeschoolers scored between the 82nd and 92nd percentiles regardless of their families’ incomes.

Students scored at the 86th percentile whether states imposed strict or minimal regulations.

Homeschooling parents pay an average of $546 per year, whereas the average per-pupil expenditure by public schools is $5,325, excluding all capital costs.

Homeschoolers’ test scores tend to increase the longer they are homeschooled, going from the 59th percentile for those who have been homeschooled for one year to the 92nd percentile for those who have been homeschooled for seven years.

More than half (53 percent) of all homeschoolers visit a library at least once or twice a month; 38 percent of them make three to five visits a month.

The average homeschooled child is involved in 5.2 community activities, such as volunteer work, classes outside the home, group sports, and church.

An astounding 98 percent are involved in two or more activities.

Only six percent of homeschoolers, in contrast to 62 percent of public school students, watch three hours or more of television each day.

About 61 percent of homeschoolers are in grades K-6, more than 18 percent are in grades 7-8, and almost 20 percent are in grades 9-12.

Three percent of homeschooling parents intend to continue doing so through grade 6 or less; 89 percent plan to homeschool through grade 12.

In short, homeschooling not only works, but is helping to erode the public school monopoly. The more this message gets out, the more serious will become the homeschooling option.

—Dennis L. Peterson

A copy of the complete study, Strengths of Their Own—Home Schoolers Across America: Academic Achievement, Family Characteristics, and Longitudinal Traits, may be obtained from the National Home Education Research Institute, P. O. Box 13939, Salem, Oregon 97309, (503) 364-1490.

Nerf Wars Birthday Party!

Welp, my two oldest have birthdays in the same week so decided we'd try a nerf wars birthday party this year, ya know because a 12yr old is to cool for anything else, but not old enough either...hmm. Well after collecting cardboard for over a month and a lot of extra help from my Mom, we pulled it off. Could not have asked for better weather. We had several boys and even some preteen girls....I know, I know, already! We all dressed in camo, team color bandanas, and shades, yep, even us adults got in on the action. We warred against teams, parents vs. Kids, and boys vs. girls. Topped it off with cake ice cream and other goodies. The boys had a great time and contrary to the invite they recieved several gifts, money, and gift cards. Now time to get them working on those thank you cards. Posted some pics...