Back To School Traditions

SchoolYear2015Another year, and the kids have grown yet again this summer!  This year we have a Middle School Student (6th grade), a 4th Grader, and a 1st Grader.  With many things on the horizon to look forward to this year, it’s the first day traditions that get us excited when we return each September.

We start our morning taking pictures in the yard.  Then, we begin as we do every school day with prayer and the pledge to the American Flag and Christian Flag.  A majority of our first school week isn’t necessarily on lessons, but testing to see what the kids have retained from the previous year.  I was excited to see our 1st Grader ace his first Spelling pre-test with great penmanship.

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We finish our first day with a the kids’ choice for lunch or dinner.  This year, it was Fuddruckers for lunch!  Why Fuddruckers?  Well, occasionally throughout the school year, we like to meet my husband for lunch during the day.  And typically, this is the place we end up.  It has become our “spot”.  So naturally, since their daddy was able to join us on the First Day, this was the kids’ choice!

Fuddruckers

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As I reflect on this day, and the beginning of another school year, I am reminded and encouraged by so many wise words that I’ve heard and read this past week.  The affirmation through Christ is the fuel and steady reminder for this homeschooling mom.

In preparing for another school year with Classical Conversations I re-read:

The classical model that we use as a guiding principal is usually credited to the ancient Greeks, but references to this style of learning can be found in the Old Testament, which leads us to believe that God created us to learn this way.

In the book of Proverbs, you’ll notice three words are repeated often: knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, which correspond to what the ancients called grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric:

Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
—Proverbs 24:3-6 (NKJV)

The classical model could therefore be called the Christian Model because it uses this blueprint for learning. Once educators try it, they realize that it is like “teaching with the grain”: simply put, it suits our nature.”

This verse was repeated during Sunday service at our church.  And I felt a reassurance yet again that even though we are not educating our children in the same manner as many, we are choosing to make our primary emphasis on teaching that which is eternal.  As our pastor, Chris Brown, says, “We have to focus more on GOD, than MVP, or GPA.”  While I most definitely relate to putting importance on academia and sports interests, I can appreciate the exhortation to keep Christ the center.  “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

BacktoSchool2015Our 3 Blessings!

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” 3 John 1:4

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Blessings!

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Happy Mother’s Day

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I hope all the moms had a wonderful Mother’s Day yesterday!  It was a blessed weekend of family, friends, and celebrating the moms in my life who share in this journey of motherhood.  I have to say that this Mother’s Day has been my best ever!  Not just because of what we did or what gifts were given, but as my children get older, as I grow in maturity and fill out this divine role, I have a greater appreciation in the beauty of being called “Mom” or “Mommy”.  I’m discovering that as I spend more time being intentional, playing, teaching, talking, engaging, being myself, and loving even despite my sin and theirs…I’m revealing the transformation that Christ is doing in me, and allowing the heart of Christ to grow in my children, forming in them the utmost creation they are designed to be.  Isn’t this our calling as moms?  The Lord has truly used this role to speak to my heart and ultimately get my attention to seek Him, be more like Him, and to follow His will for my life.  I’ve learned more about who I am and who I want to be as I continue to raise my kids and partner with my husband.  So, this Mother’s Day I’m encouraged by not how much my children appreciate me, or how much my husband values me, which I am so very grateful and blessed, but I also long to continue to grow through this role, through the seasons of my life, embrace the current, pray in seeking joy through the challenges and allowing my marriage to also strengthen as I follow the Lord to love because it is Him who certainly knows me and always loves me.  Moms, I say this again…I truly hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day!  Know that you are invaluable, not only to your children, but to your family, to your community and to our next generation.  I celebrate with you!!

“Mothers, I came to believe, were God’s finest idea for how such a righteous legacy would be passed on in each generation.” Sally Clarkson, Own Your Life

“Her children rise up and call her blessed..” Proverbs 31:28

SistersMothersDay2015Started my weekend celebrating motherhood with 2 of my favorite Moms, my sisters!!

MothersDayRoadTripAfter church, I just wanted to adventure with the family.  So we went wherever “Jeepy” took us; a mini-road trip!

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Succulents

MothersDaySucculentsFirst stop was this adorable Succulent Cafe, where I got my Mother’s Day souvenir.  Now to look for the perfect container!

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Our next destination was the beach, which drew us in with it’s coastal breeze and thoughts of sand in our toes, seashells to bring home, and sand dollars to be found.

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Blessed

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I am so blessed to have a loving husband who appreciates me and honors the role of motherhood.  The greatest gift he gave me this Mother’s Day was time to celebrate, not just one day but the entire weekend.  To be with other moms, get pampered, and relish in enjoying my time without agenda.  I love him so very much!  Looking forward to celebrating him next month for Father’s Day!!

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Blessings!

#ownyourlifebook – Sally Clarkson

OwnYourLifeBook

     I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, and if you remember from a previous post that I consider the day after Labor Day my “new year”, but I don’t shy away from reflecting, renewing, and re-examining where I currently am in life.  Especially when I’m struggling to get back into routine from a wonderful Christmas Break, I appreciate the encouragement and inspiration to be purposeful in my living!

     Which brings me to the timely manner in which my Mom Heart group is beginning our next book study by Sally Clarkson, Own Your Life.  This book, as many of Sally’s books, is a form of mentorship to me.  In reading the wisdom so carefully worded for moms like me, Sally has led me to hear God’s voice and put into action the convictions placed on my heart.  In just the first few pages of reading, I am compelled to share the impact it has already made for me in 2015.

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     If you are following along with me on Instagram, you may already know that my word for 2015 is BALANCE and the reasoning behind it.  So in keeping with this vision, and receiving affirmation in reading this book, I am driven to seek the Lord fervently in guiding my priorities.

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     I will own my life by leaving my priorities to God, trusting and following His lead to reveal the intent of my time…and then actually doing it!  It will be Him who sets my time/schedule for what is intended; praying that I have the self-control to follow through.

     After 4 years of reading books by Sally Clarkson and attending the Mom Heart Conferences, I can confidently encourage you to pick up Own Your Life and visit her blog at http://www.sallyclarkson.com.  Be inspired to #ownyourlife and share how you will in the comments below.  Let’s lift each other up in prayer as we all seek our best in 2015!!

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Blessings!

Happy New Year – 2015

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Wishing you a wonderful New Year full of God’s blessings!  May you rejoice in all that is revealed through Him in the beauty of our everyday!!

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As we closed 2014, I reflected on Paul’s exhortations in 2 Corinthians 13:11 “Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

Peace.Comfort.Love

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Blessings!

Smith Ranch – An American Revolution Adventure

HastyPudding

This morning we had Hasty Pudding for breakfast!  Why do you ask?  It was the influence of a wonderful field trip we experienced this past Wednesday.

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I just love it when we can apply what we are learning to a hands-on experience.  Our recent field trip to Smith Ranch was perfect for what we are studying this year in Cycle 3 of Classical Conversations.

SmithRanch1We were greeted by Mr. & Mrs. Smith and their son.  They gave an overview of the Revolutionary time, with instructions for the children in responding respectfully to directions, “Yes, Sir.”  The group was assigned to a Company.  We were Company A…and the flag bearer was selected to lead us to each historical station.  My daughter was elated to be picked!  She sure was glad to be wearing her costume that day.

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SmithRanch2The first stop, musket training.

SmithRanch3Next, learning how to make George Washington’s favorite breakfast: Hasty Pudding

Recipe: 1 part Corn Meal to 4 parts boiling water (add salt, butter, and honey to taste)

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All the children really enjoyed this and asked for seconds!  My kids couldn’t wait to make it on their own at home.

SmithRanchboy1The next stop was crossing the frozen Allegheny River

SmithRanch4We then raised the flag at Fort Daniel Boone

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SmithRanch12We discussed the Declaration of Independence, and then signed our own family documents declaring our freedom using quill and ink.

SmithRanchgirlAfter breaking for lunch, we rode the “Franklin Express”

SmithRanch6Where we saw this flying, and learned the brief history behind this flag.

SmithRanchgirl1We served on the USS “Patriot” and learned about the ship’s cannon

SmithRanchgirl2The children then danced the Virginia Reel

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The dancing quickly ended because we had to defend and recapture Fort Daniel Boone!  As a result, there were wounded soldiers to bandage.

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All in all, it was a wonderful trip and a great experience for everyone!  Our History and Faith go hand in hand, and appreciate the heritage of our great Nation!!  I would highly recommend visiting, and hope to go back for another American History Adventure!

Thank you Smith Ranch!!

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Blessings!

Pumpkin Traditions

FamilyOct2014Every October the family visits a local Pumpkin Patch.  The kids look forward to the corn maze, hay ride, and picking out their pumpkin to carve!  Just another family tradition that I hope our kids will never tire of, and eventually carry on with their own families one day.

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Oct2014dWhen we are ready to carve, we read The Pumpkin Patch Parable.  The kids enjoy every step, especially taking out the “gooey” and creating the pumpkin faces for the light to shine through.  Not to forget to mention, the delicious pumpkin seeds to snack on afterward!

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We hope that you had a wonderful month of October with your families!  And we look forward to a thankful November as we reflect on all that we are grateful for; blessings big and small!

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Blessings!