7 Quick Takes -Thanksgiving edition

We spent Thanksgiving up north, in Washington State, visiting one of Sky's brothers....Photobucket


I really love it there.  Eastern Washington is beautiful.  Actually, all of Washington is beautiful, I just prefer a bit more sun- which is why I have a hankering for the east side.

These are crab-apple trees and they line the driveway of Dr. Bros.'s house.

I {heart} these trees so much.

Dr. Bro. says they are messy, but I think that is rather un-poetic of him.








The kids were in horse-heaven.

Aren't they sweet?

True fact:  Dr. Bro is allergic to the hay he feeds them.


We had a plethora of good eats.  I mentioned the now-legendary snickers salad in an earlier post... we also had several pies- Pumpkin, apple crisp and lemon meringue...just to name drop a few.... and I have to admit that I am lusting after his stove-top. I've already priced out the brand and I'm bugging Sky to get me one.  I never thought I'd prefer an electric stove-top over gas, but this wolf electric stove-top has won me over. It's the simple cleaning possibilities that I am drooling over...



Emma-doodle, she loved it.  She reveled in it.  She ran and ran and let the wind run through her ears.

Yes, it was 4 kids, 2 parents and a labradoodle in a van for 22 hours.  Oh the joy.

Actually, they were all good traveling companions.  Emma is a quiet soul, and was just happy to be included with her pack. We rented a van for the trip, and she had her own seat  :)



The kids did a lot of riding.  Amie and Emma did a lot of exploring of the woods behind the house and saw deer several mornings and beautiful pheasants.  The kids, Sky and Dr. Bro also did some gun shooting.  Demi-Sky and Josie were total cracker-jack shots and had a bit of a rivalry going.  Josie edged him out,  I think.  She had incredible aim.  Hidden talent??

We did a lot of cooking, eating and lounging around.  Of course we visited Barnes & Nobles. Twice.

The second time was on Black Friday, because we are hardcore like that....



Photo opp with the wonder-labradoodle!!  Her best trick?  She is no-touchy.

Seriously.  She will ask to be petted and then lean away from you/ move away from you.  She loves it/but can't handle it. And yet, she follows me all around the house.  She is a finicky lover.  I think she is perfect for us, if she was too touchy, she would drive Sky crazy.

Can you see the not-so-subtle lean away from me here???


It was a great trip, we had a blast.  Next time though, I think we are flying  ;)

*7 Quick Takes Friday is hosted weekly over at Conversion Diary

7 Quick Takes -Spring Break edition

Hello lovelies!  Well, Spring break came and went here at {Home}...way too fast!



Sky is making a farmhouse table using reclaimed wood.  This table will be longer than our current table, so we can fit more Bible College boys around it.  Right now we have a smaller table pushed against our table to make it longer. The table-top is made of curly-spalted maple wood and was left out in the open, has water-damage, fungus stains and termite holes. It has so much character.


I put together a web-page for Sky for his woodworking, he is hoping to eventually sell furniture.  It's in the very rough stages still, but it was a lot of fun to help him set it up and share with him my knowledge of working with wordpress, widgets, plugins and blog stuff. [I love talking blogging..love it!]



Right before we were off for Spring Break, Josie did a report on The Diary of Anne Frank.  She also did a timeline project from the book.  This book had such a profound affect on me when I read it as a girl. It meant a lot to me to share it with her.  We had many discussions and did further research on the internet to help her understand what the times were like for Anne Frank before and after her hiding.  Once again, I grappled with describing absolute evil to my kids - and I struggled with the details I held back.  Some things I just can't tell me kids about, yet.



We continued art lessons during Spring Break.  Amie and Teddy worked on charcoal tea-pot drawings. Here is Amie's finished work - love it!  Art class is ending after next week.  I am kind of relieved because gas prices are starting to take a huge toll on our budget. (I will, however, really miss my secret outings for a chocolate chip bagel & diet coke while they are at class!)


Meg was hired to exercise some horses five days a week.  She is so excited, working with horses is her dream job.  It was a little tricky the first week, I had to drive her back and forth.  I was really glad it was Spring Break because the driving would have added chaos to our day.


Relief has arrived, though.  Meg just passed her driver's license test.  She can now drive herself to her job.  I am equal parts relieved and terrified.  I'm having a hard time with letting her drive off alone.  I keep telling myself we were all new teen drivers and survived without incident. >Rinse and repeat...



Here in Orange County we had dramatic weather shifts from beautiful sunny days to thunderstorms and rain. This messed with any beach plans.  The girls fit in a few horse riding/care days at our friend's house.  My sister drove up and we spent an afternoon at the Orange Circle instead of the beach.  Whew, this vacation week just flew by!!

Did you have Spring Break? How was it?

7 Quick Takes Friday is hosted over at Conversion Diary every week.

the wind beneath her wings

Piano recital-time is approaching.  Our piano teacher likes to add a little something extra to these performances and usually assigns some kind of neat extra, like artwork or an essay.  }I blame this on the fact that her child is not school age yet, more homework:the gift that keeps on giving for mom. So- for the recital my kids were to compose a little essay to dedicate their performance at the recital to some person, ideal or sentiment.  These will be printed up in the little program booklet and the kiddos will read it/ speak it to the audience before they perform.

Let me preface this story by saying I had no preconceived ideas about this assignment, no guesses as to what my kids would pick (my kids always amaze and surprise me with their individual ways at looking at the world/life) and no real desire to delve deeply into it besides making sure it was done and punctuated correctly.

So, I pick up Amie after her last lesson and her teacher with simmering excitement bids me to sit down, takes my hand, and tells me that she has some exciting news about little Amie's dedication....(I have to preface this by begging you to realize that I don't expect adoration, thanks, fawning, etc. from my crew, I am just happy if they follow my directions without grumbling-they are all reaching tween/teen years- we are just trying to survive at this stage.  I drive them around, teach them, direct them, sacrifice for them and figure that someday- ten years from now when as a parent they are sitting up at 2 a.m. rocking a crying child who has just puked on them, my children will each, in turn lift of a prayer of love and thanksgiving for me, beyond that...not expecting fanfare...)   So, no passing thoughts as to who they will pick- but the way the teacher was acting, the fact that she took my hand...I will admit that just for a teeny/tiny fraction of an instant- my heart leapt a little at the thought that it must be me.  Amie must be giving her dedication to me, for the time I spend taking her to lessons, finding her music book, making sure she is clean before she goes, asking her to practice... just for an instant I kind of thought this.

drum-roll please...  her teacher told me with great excitement that Amie's performance was dedicated with much love to ~

our dog, Emma.

yes, she is the wind beneath her wings.

this was the only way this story could end, really.


Mr. Chewy.com -pet food retailer {review}

I was invited to review the online pet food retailer- Mr.Chewy.com recently. I have to say that, as a  dog-mom, a homeschool-mom, being both busy and a procrastinator; the idea of ordering dog food online and having it delivered right to my door was really appealing to me.  Heck, it's an answer to prayer!  I haven't ordered dog food online before because frankly, I figured the prices  would be higher and then I'd have to pay for shipping too.

I was pleasantly surprised to find Mr. Chewy's prices to be competitive, and sometimes even lower on the many products they offer.

MrChewy.com is an online pet food retailer offering more than 70 brands of pet food, treats and supplies.

***MrChewy offers free shipping on any order over $49

***orders under $49 pay just $4.95

***offers automatic shipments - and you save 15% off your first order when you set up automatic shipment. *** you can easily cancel, pause or change any part of your order schedule.

 Emma the- wonder-labradoodle is allergic to rice.  (and I think, eggs)  Um, guess what ingredient is in almost all dog food? Rice.  I spend most of my time in pet stores reading labels.  I have found a few brands of food Emma can eat, but they are not sold in the pet store closest to me.

Ordering online is the way to go, I've seen the light!!

MrChewy.com has a very easy to use website.  They had all the familiar brands, and also the hard to find rice-less brands I can buy.  I appreciated the handy tab for each item to click for the list of ingredients.  Because of this handy tab, I was able to order a box of treats we haven't purchased before- but I knew they were safe because I could read all the ingredients right there on my screen.


I ordered two cases of canned dog food for Emma, a box of carob/peanut butter cookie treats (these are her all-time favorites now) and a chewy bone.


It was very easy to place my order online, I got a notice the next day that it had shipped- and then, 5 days later I had a package at my door.  Easy peasy.  I am now, quite the fan!


Emma was quite the fan, also.  She gets so excited when we bring something home for her, she knew this package was for her and had to sniff it.  (We gave her the bone right away)

if you want to try ordering with Mr. Chewy, you can use the discount code MARM6630 for 10% off and Mr. Chewy will donate $10 to an amazing animal charity.

 disclosure: I was given a coupon so I could order from the website and give my honest review of their service. My opinions are all my own.

March photo-a-day challenge {smile}

L.E.N.S. March photo-a-day *Smile


Having teens, I am mostly restricted on photo-taking priviledges...yeah, they can be difficult subjects.  Kind of hard on a photo-loving mom.  Today's prompt gave me a bit of a challenge...I didn't think I'd have much luck gettting one of my teens to pose for {smile}.  Instead, I banked on the labradoodle.

Dogs are pack animals and need to be with the pack (which at our house, is us).  I didn't really understand this concept before we looked to get a dog.  Mostly, we are home-folk- the whole homeschooling thing means someone is almost always home.  When we do leave for a long period, Emma is so very beside herself when we come home.  This is the ritual when we walk in: she barks happily as the key jingles in the door, we walk in and she wags furiously, nuzzles everyone, nips at my heels, and then she romps with Sky.  He pets her and grabs her and spins her around.  She loves this.

I grabbed my camera today when we came home, and snapped a photo of our smiling, so-very-happy dog.

Her expression here is smile + bliss

*you can find the linky for the March photo-a-day challenge here

homeschool day in the life -March

Here is a look at our Monday:  We started the day around 9-ish  (yeah, still working on that) after everyone had breakfast we all sat around the dining table and worked on Math.  The 3 youngest students are using Math-U-See and Horizon Math, Josie is using Math U See Algebra 1 and Meg is using Math-U-See Algebra II.

After Math, the high school girls began working on their other assignments independently.  They had grammar review for test prep, Biology for Meg, Art appreciation for Joise, Earth Science for Josie using Switched on Schoolhouse and Language arts for each using Alpha Omega Life pacs.


Here is a page from Josie's LA life pac, grade 9 unit 4.  She is learning about topic sentence patterns.  She also takes a composition class with Biola Star on Thursdays.

Meg is learning about Poetry right now with Alpha Omega's Life Pac -LA grade 11 unit 5.


Her work was about meter, rhyme, feet, all that good stuff.  I also found her a helpful youtube lecture on meter,  here:  Youtube Rhyming Schemes lesson  and Poetry Metrics 1 by the English Guy in Texas

The 3 younger students did cursive handwriting and then had a short snack break.  Once back at the table, we worked on grammar.  Today we learned about helping verbs and review linking verbs from last week's lesson.


We worked in our Spectrum test prep books on reading skills.  I did a read aloud for History and asked questions as I read.  We then stopped for lunch.  The kids ate lunch and then tore through the house with nerf guns.  I did my best to tune them out.  The high school girls moved to their bedroom to work in quiet.

After lunch, we did a Science reading worksheet.  The 3 younger kids then had a 1/2 hour of quiet reading time.

I had to leave and take Meg to her violin lesson.  Josie practiced piano, the 3 youngers continued to tear up the house and play their nerf gun wars.


My photoshop elements 10 arrived from Amazon!  Much rejoicing in the land.  Ok, I was happy, no one else noticed...  I finally had enough with the nerf wars and the upended furniture and commanded the kids to clean up and stop.  They did and then watched an episode of Sherlock.


Meg went to the front room and practiced her Irish hard-shoe dancing.  More noise!  The 3 youngers were now just free-ranging around the house.


Amie gave Emma the wonder labradoodle a bath, Dad paid her $5 to do this.  Emma was not real impressed with how her day was turning out.  The 2 boys played a computer game online.  It's a game with viking villages and forts...kind of educational.... Before dinner, Sky took Demi to his martial arts class, Teddy's mom arrived to take him home and I started dinner.

So ends our day in homeschool land.  Nothing artsy or creative was done today, but it was very typical and normal.