Convention Review

I just had a 3 day whirlwind at the Southeast Homeschool Convention.  It was amazing!  Seriously, though, my brain is on overload!  But, I am coming away with a wealth of information, encouraging insights and ideas, most of my curriculum, and a great new friend!  I'd say it was a successful weekend for sure.  :)

I thought I'd share a few highlights from the weekend that really spoke to me.  Day #1 was Homeschooling 101.  It was purely for the newbies.  I chose to go to Rebecca Powell's classes.  She was great!  She really just confirmed that what I am doing is the best thing for my child in this season of life.  She also gave me confidence that I can do this without royally messing her up.  And, she gave me some insights to discovering more about my child, her personality, and learning styles to educate her better.  Rebecca also provided some practical ideas, suggestions, and resources for the day to day scheduling and obstacles.

There were a couple of reoccurring statements throughout the conference in a number of workshops, so I think this was a strong indicator that I need to listen, take note, and take these things seriously.  First of all, we must devise a vision for our family - not just in the sense of home schooling, but also as a Christian family, a close family unit.  Secondly, home schooling is so much more than teaching facts and concepts.  It is about building character and strengthening the relationships with my children.   Thirdly, consistency is key.  My kids need structure and order.  Kids need to feel secure and they find that in routines and knowing what to expect.  It is up to me to see that that happens for them by planning ahead.

If I didn't learn anything except this, it is important to know that I am the one that sets the tone for my kids, their behavior, and their environment.  Kids model what they see.  If they see chaos and disorganization, that is what they will become. 

Another great speaker that I sat in on several of his workshops, was Kirk Martin with Celebrate Calm.  I realize that I do not always have the most calm attitude, kids, or home.  He kept it real, so to speak.  He made it very clear how my approach, reactions, and attitude directly effect my girls.  I can't expect them to change their behavior if I don't have myself in check.  Most outward behavior issues are really internal issues that need to be addressed.  We have to realize, too, that we can not control a human being, but we can teach them how to control themselves!

I went to another fun workshop by Monica Irvine from TheEtiquetteFactory.  I did not originally have this on my list of "have to attend".  But, I felt led to attend with my new friend.  It ended up being one of my favorites.  It was also my Not-Planned-To-Buy splurge for the weekend.  :)  I enjoyed the information so much that I stopped by her booth later to find a really cool electives curriculum for the girls.  I thought it would be something they'd really enjoy taking and there are some very practical lessons that need to be learned including:  Sincere Apologies, Magic Words, Cleaning Up, Table Manners, etc. 

In addition to all the great workshops, there was some pretty serious shopping going on.  I bought or ordered all of our curriculum for the year.  So exciting!  I can't wait for the last of it to be delivered in the next few days!  I'll share with you our choices in a later post.

I'm always amazed to see how God plans and works in my life - even with the smallest of details.  One sweet bonus I received from the convention was a new friend.  You can never have too many friends, but there are those that come into your life that you instantly know are orchestrated by God.  I am so grateful that God led Christy to sit next to me for that first class.  We instantly connected.  It's a little bit scary just how much we have in common!  By the end of the third day, I felt like I'd known her for years!  And, although we don't live super close to one another, I know that we'll make the time on this new journey of homeschooling together.

Some of My Favorite Things

I thought I'd share with you a few of my new favorite things.  We've tried a few new things week and I just have to share.  :)  First of all, we went to Brain Freeze for the first (and second) time this week.  Derek and I went the first time and we just HAD to go back to take the girls.  :)  YUMMY!  If you've never visited, it's a self serve frozen yogurt place.  They have about 15 flavors to choose from and more toppings that you could possibly count.  You pay by the ounce and it's really reasonable.  Loved it!

So my girls scream when I brush their hair every day - one a little more than the other.  lol  But, a friend told me about something called a Knot Genie.  Love it!  Granted, it isn't perfect, but as ratty as my girls' hair gets, it is a huge help!  One child doesn't cry at all and the other only screams a little now.  ;)

My dear friend, Allie, officially has me hooked on Pinterest!  I am addicted!  It is seriously awesome.  Check it out!!

Lastly, I have to share with you the awesome deals I got today!  I went to Michaels today looking for some small shelves to use as the base of Audrey's school desk (her grandfather made the desk top for me a few years ago as a craft table).  What was regularly $50 each, I got for $19.  But, the biggest deal I got was the Cropper Hopper 10-Drawer wheeled cart.  I've been tracking it for several weeks because I wanted to use it for Audrey's workbox (thanks to the idea from Confessions of a Homeschooler.)  The cheapest I have seen it was $49... until today!  It was on clearance for $35!  I jumped on that!!

I also got some incredibly cute material (with matching ribbon) to cover the chairs and closet with.  I am using the ribbon to outline the chalkboard.  Can't wait to show you the end results of the new classroom!
My brain is a big ball of mush today.  So many thoughts running through my head.  I'm just trying to get them all organized so that I can transfer them into words to type.  :)

My first thought - and one that has been heavy on my heart for a few days - is just how fragile and short this life is.  I have had such overwhelming sadness for a sweet friend.  She lost her husband, who turned 41 a couple of weeks ago, after a 5 year battle with cancer.  They have 3 young children ages 6, 7, & 13.  Although I did not know her husband very well and am still in the early stages of my own friendship with her, I've had the pleasure of working with her children at church the past year.  We've even kept their dog a few days while he was in the hospital.  I cannot fathom what this family is going through.  My heart aches for her and those precious babies.  I remember fondly watching this sweet couple most Sunday mornings sitting together on the front row and praying together at the altar.  What an inspiration!  What incredible people!  The first time I really met him and spoke with him other than Hi and Bye when dropping off his kiddos, was a mission trip to a homeless shelter a few months ago.  He was so warm and friendly.  And, seriously, one of the funniest guys ever!

I don't know if any of you have had the chance to read Heaven is for Real, but I strongly suggest it.  It is about a little boy's encounter in Heaven when he was very sick.  I know there are plenty of skeptics out there, but this child could not have known such details had he not been there.  One of the most amazing things to me was that over several years he revealed so many details and talked of all the different people he met, yet when asked how long he was in Heaven, his response was "3 minutes" (or was it 30 seconds?).  In any case, it just reminds us that we put time in a box and our life is but a blink of an eye in comparison to the eternity that awaits us. 

I guess I will end my post there.  I'll continue to organize all my other thoughts and share with you plans as we get closer to our new school year.  We are currently working on a small construction job in the basement, getting ready to attend a conference,  and purchase curriculum all while D settles into his new job and travels across the country.  Good night, friends.  Hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight.

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Ok, so I'm thinking I want to change up the page. Last time I tried, I could not get the background to change. Been playing with the heading though. What do you think?
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July 2011

Excuse me while I break a major blog rule by "cleaning out the cobwebs" and posting an update.  Give me the rest of the month and I'll be back to my regular blogging!  Seriously, haven't had time to do much of anything with the summer schedule we've had.  I'll share a few updates and pictures for you.  Thanks for being patient with me as we close some chapters and open some new ones in the weeks to come.

Derek started his new dream job a week and a half ago.  He now works from home with several upcoming travel ventures ahead.  Working from home has presented a few changes in and of itself.  The way our basement is laid out needs to be altered.  We have one large room where the girls play (and I scrapbook).  We have a large hallway, not really a room, that houses our bookshelves and storage, and there are 2 separate smaller rooms for offices.  There are no doors, only pass throughs - atleast until now.  We have added a wall between Derek's office and my office/classroom.  There's still some work to be done, but hopefully we will have it finished this weekend so I can begin painting and decorating in preparation for the new school year!  He will also be adding a door to his other office entrance.  It is currently open to the playroom and bathroom, so the girls cannot be downstairs in their room when he is working.  Again, hoping to get that built this weekend!  So grateful for a handy, knowledgeable husband who can build things!  ;)

Audrey had her adenoids and tonsils removed two weeks ago.  They also had to take out her loose tooth... her first!  So, she came out missing a few parts.  lol  When they say it takes 14 days to recover, they mean 14 days!  Seriously!  They had it all laid it out day by day what to expect and she was pretty textbook.  For almost 14 days she was begging for pain meds 3 1/2-4 hours regularly.  Then suddenly by the 14th, 15th day - she was totally fine!  I, myself, had planned to get a lot accomplished during her recovery time - knowing that Maddie would be spending a few days with her grandparents so we could focus more on Audrey.  However, I got sick the night we got home from the hospital - and was laid out over a week myself.  We were a mighty sad bunch around here for a couple of weeks.  lol

Happy Birthday, Audrey - and her first lost tooth

For Audrey's birthday, she chose 2 friends to go to Sweet & Sassy for manicures.  How cute are they?

Audrey also turned 6, just two days after her surgery.  She was baptized two days before her surgery.  She has had a big 3 weeks!

We just finished up our first week of VBS.  We had nearly 1400 kids.  It was truly an amazing week!  We have one more next week with about the same number of kids.  I can't wait to see how next week goes!  I am teaching music this year and it is totally up my alley!  There are those that have the gift of teaching in a classroom and there are those that do not.  I would be a member of the later.  But, I will say I'm totally in my element with the music and loving every minute of it!  God is using this ministry in such a big way.  I'm anxious to hear all the reports after next week.
My VBS music room (minus the light up Broadway sign). We're doing Big Apple Adventure, so this is my Broadway stage.

One of the hallways.  Some people are just so crafty!

Big Apple Adventure 2011 VBS - our sanctuary

So, what is everyone doing fun this summer?!  We have spent some serious time in the pool this year.  My girls LOVE to play in the water.  And, honestly, it has been so hot - that's really the only thing to do.  Maddie would rather be outside than ANYTHING and it is just too hot do anything outside of hanging in the pool.  And, no way am I letting my kiddos in the pool without 100% supervision, so I've pretty much stayed with them IN the pool.  My poor house... it's so neglected and dirty.  LOL  That's ok.  My kids will only be small for a short time.  I have truly tried this summer to put myself aside and focus on them.  We have done some serious playing this summer.  :)

That's about it for us.  I'm gearing up for VBS week 2 and then heading to the Southeastern Homeschool Convention the next week.  I'm trying to get everything together.  I'm so excited!!  Hope you're all enjoying your summer.  =)

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