Thursday, May 2, 2013

Hello Again! (And Various Spring Adventures!)

Hello, everyone! I'm back! I've had a nice blogging break and am excited to be back in the blogosphere.

I'm still trying to work out the internet-time enigma in my life. There are so many tensions to resolve - such as...

(1) The internet can be a source of inspiration, godly counsel (depending on where you hang out...), great ideas, fellowship, and fun. But... it can also be addictive, a huge time-waster, and a destroyer of in-person relationships and genuine community.

(2) Blogging is a source of fun and relaxation for me - I love it! But it can also be a source of guilt, another time-waster, and can actually lead me to neglect the family about whom I am blogging!

Thus, I am trying to work out those various truths in my life and figure out how to make the internet and blogging a constructive part of my life, and not a destructive or addictive part. (Tips, anyone?)

I am excited soon to be bringing you my new series, Plain and Simple, in which I will be sharing snippets of my ongoing journey to simplify my mind and my life. This is not a lifestyle that I have perfected and am now ready to spread amongst the less-enlightened (!), but rather a simple sharing of what I am learning along the way. It's an exciting journey, and I hope you'll join me (and share your own journey with me as well!).


In the meantime, we have had a busy spring! Today was our last day of kindergarten for the 6yo, meaning that we have now completed our first official year of home education! This is such an exciting milestone for me! I know that more experienced moms in the audience are snickering at the simplicity of this (only one student, only a few subjects, etc.), but it's a huge accomplishment in my book - especially with a child who is emphatically not academically-minded!

I want to start first grade as soon as is humanly possible, simply because I want to make March-April our "summer break" next year, and we have some heavy-duty catching up to do time-wise to make that happen. However, I also realize that we all really need a break. That being the case, we'll take at least this month off, and then see how soon we can get started.

In the meantime, I'll be doing a lot of lesson planning, as well as attending several curriculum sales and the homeschool convention in June.

Reminder for local parents: The May 13th registration deadline is coming up for this year's awesome convention! Don't forget the first-timers' discount and the free pre-convention mini-conference!

I'll be sharing some of my plans for the coming year, and I'm really excited to talk with you all about those plans, get your input, and hear about your plans!


This past month or two has been full of field trips!

When we first started to homeschool, one of the (many-many-many) intimidating things about the idea was the thought of having to plan field trips. Frankly, I'm really not keen on that. However, I need not have worried! The various organizations of which we are a part (MOMS Club International, Cub Scouts, and two home education support groups) all plan multiple field trips a month - and so rather than having to scramble for field trips, we are often overwhelmed with more than we can handle!

When you add in the family outings and family field trips that we create for ourselves (the local Jazz Festival, etc.), we easily have one or more field trips per week.

The wonderful thing about home education is that field trips become not "that thing my kid is doing," but an adventure for the whole family that immediately becomes a set of wonderful memories that is incorporated into our family culture. It's an absolutely wonderful part of home education!

Here are just a few of our field trips from the past month:

Backyard Camping Trip, complete with breakfast al fresco after the fact!

It's just remotely possible that the kids' hour of play on our air mattress was responsible for DH and I waking up on the floor. 

Waiting for breakfast!

Yes, the man is on a cell phone. It's called "roughing it."

Our city's Jazz Festival:

If I look slap-happy, that's because I was beyond exhaustion at this point

Usury National Park - we had absolutely beautiful weather!

Going on a snake hunt! Though DH and I have found snakes here in the past (before we had children), DH and DS have been so far unsuccessful.                

Chilling in the stroller! 

Snagged by the camera 

A local airport:

Our local cardiology museum (put on by the American Heart Association):

This was an excellent museum - great hosts, and a beautifully constructed facility. They were very helpful and took a vast amount of time to work our huge (100+) group through the museum.

However, not only did I have two extremely fussy babies on my hands (plus at least one exploding diaper), but I was extremely frustrated by the nutritional information that the museum was pushing as "heart healthy."

I've got to give them credit - they had excellent displays on subjects like smoking, calling 911, and heart disease, and it was a great museum overall. I'd recommend it. Sort of. But if our family ever goes back, I'll stay home and send DH there with the kids!


The Boyce Thompson Arboretum, one of our favorite places!

We were taken on a "Plants of the Bible" tour, which was excellent - unfortunately, we could hear almost none of the narration as the group was so large and we were usually at the back! I'd love to go back with a smaller group to hear it again. Next year we hope to go back for all of their homeschool days rather than just the last one!


Open House at another local airport:

We're getting known by these umbrellas. Just listening to peoples' conversations as they pass us is hilarious! (But the umbrellas work, which is more than I can say for the stroller's sun shades!)

A completely random moment of hilarity. 

At the controls! 

In the flight simulator. 

He loved getting to climb in plane after plane all morning! 


On our zero-budget of the moment, we have to skip field trips that cost money. And there are a lot of field trips out there that are very pricey - $7-$10 per person, which really adds up quickly. I've had to say no to quite a few field trips over these past months based on the cost.

However, all of the above field trips were free or "nearly free" (i.e. less than $10 for the whole field trip)! So it is entirely possible to maintain a busy field trip schedule even on a less-than-ample budget.


Although we probably won't be able to fund any sort of summer vacation this year, we do hope to host lots of visiting family members as well as attending summer events and enjoying the pleasures of the season. Additionally, my husband will be taking an awesome course, "Fathers Leading Families," and we are very excited about that opportunity.

What are you all doing over the summer?


  1. I love that picture of G and G passed out in their stroller!

    Which is the airport in the first set of plane pictures? Looks like something that has Matthew written all over it!

  2. Hi, Jen!!

    The first airport is Mesa-Phoenix Gateway. One of our Cub Scout leaders is a trainer pilot there, so he was able to arrange to give us a full tour of the place one evening. I don't know if they do tours normally, but it would be worth finding out! Joe and Caleb had a GREAT time there.

    The pic of G&G was on the tarmac at the other airport open house - I think the light was too much for the little guys, poor things! (Though it did produce an adorable picture!)

    Love you!


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