Quick takes- December edition

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Lacrosse season has begun here in So California.  This year, Demi-Sky is trying out the goalie position.  I was equal parts worried that he would miss a bunch of shots and his team-mates would be mad and worried that he would be hurt because apparently, lacrosse goalies don't get extra padding. Not even shin-guards. Nope.  He did really well, his team-mates were happy with him and he only got a little hurt.


Our bible-conference is over and slowly our house is being emptied of extra people.  We had a blast, lots of laughter, fun, eating and sharing.  We had several trips to In & Out burgers for our out of state guests.  We also might of introduced a couple of newbies to Dr. Who while they were here.  Maybe. Probably.

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Meg played her violin at the police explorer's talent show, and since then, she has been asked several times to play the national anthem at different events.  We are so proud of her hard work and dedication!  Here she is at an event, talking to her dad.


We hardly go to the movies, the cost is just too great for us, but this last month we went to see Ender's Game, the Dr. Who 50th Anniversary in 3-D!! [whoot!]  and The Hobbit.  They were all really good.


With the New Year, I am really needing to clean/organize our homeschool books.  With this new semester, I am planning on starting up Apologia's Worldview Bible study with Demi and Amie.  I am also thinking of quitting Demi's online Latin class and continuing it at home with Memoria Press Latin.  I'm having trouble deciding....

So, any new plans for the New Year?

7 Quick Takes -lost and found edition


Well, hulllooo lovelies!  (I just said that in my head in a Queen of England accent/voice)  Yes, I have to tell you all this fantastic story about how I lost and then found my blog....okay, too far-fetched?  I'll change it to the story about how taking care of my grandparents, getting ready for homeschool/ school, caring for my kids and lying to myself and thinking I would deep clean and organize my house - all got in the way of me having time to blog.  There, I said it.

I missed you all!!  (that part was said with a shriek!) I miss blogging and sharing photos and rambling.

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Josie spent the Summer painting a huge 30 foot mural for her fencing studio.  This was her very first mural.  It was very, very exciting. And also a lot of driving to-and-fro.  Towards the end, it got a little crazy, they were having a big community event and the Mayor and lots of people were going to be there, so we needed to have the wall done.  Yeah, I'm impressed with it- and I'm totally unbiased.  Totally.


Okay here is the finished wall.  And yeah, I'm still gushing...

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I already mentioned that Josie was accepted into a performing arts highschool?  Yes, gushing again.  She is doing great, I was wondering how it would all go, with being homeschooled her whole school career so far, and add in the fact that the school runs till 5:00 4 days a week- yeah, it was a big adjustment for her and for us, but she seems to be thriving and loving it there.


Things are going better with my grandparents. Grandma is better and back home.  Things with grandfather are not so good, he is confused mentally, we had adult protective services out and they determined that he is in a sort of middle-ground, not impaired enough to be declared incompetent, but impaired enough to cause problems.  We have been looking into putting him on medicaid and wow, the whole thing is extremely confusing.  Even with my pretty-good internet research skills, I still don't know if they would qualify.  We are looking into hiring an elder care attorney to help us with the medicaid stuff.  I'm frustrated that it is so complicated.

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We did the family-fair-thing.  It's tradition!!  Sky, Josie and Amie all had art entered.  Sky's was woodworking (of course)

It's tradition, and we are mostly there for the food.  {truth}


Meg was just accepted into the police explorer's program.  We are so proud that she is so gung-ho with initiative.  When she first announced her interest in a local urban force, the first thing out of my mouth was "oh sweetie, but what about Irvine?"  (Irvine is like one of the top safest cities)....turns out, it is still all about horses with Meg and the reason she is interested in the area she chose. I try not to think about it all too hard.  She is taking a full load at community college, we are really proud at how hard she is working and how diligent she is.  And yeah, she did dye half her hair blue with purple tips...

So friends, how was your Summer?

*Conversion Diary hosts 7 Quick Things every Friday, hop on over :)

7 Quick Takes ~Family life edition

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Whew, I don't know where to start, so I will go in chronological order...first up is the 4th of July Parade at the horse community closest to us. Meg and Josie rode in the parade.


Meg said that glitter and horses equaled a dream come true for her girlish heart

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Merlin, the horse was a patient subject.


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I decided to up my walking game and do more actual running. As in running.  not walking. I decided to try out the couch to 5k app to guide me along, and I really like it.  The app, not the running so much. Maybe.  The running part is starting to grow on me, I'm starting to crave it when I can't go.  The app is pretty cool, it tells you to warm-up with a brisk walk for 4 minutes, and then when that is done, it tells you "lets jog" and you do that for a certain amount of time, and then it tells you "let's walk".  It's very, very handy.  The photo above is of a small corner park in my neighborhood, it's at a corner that is more of a triangle.  I love all the flowers here.


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I had the best hot dog of my life at LinX Artisan Sausage in Old Town Orange.  It was so good I tweeted it.  I'm not usually a hot dog person, I have maybe one once a year. This restaurant recently opened and I was curious.  I ordered a chicken hot dog, it had pesto and asiago cheese in it, beside other yummy things I can't remember.  The bun was a pretzel bun.  The fries there were also awesome.  Okay, now I am really hungry... tip, my first dog was awesome I think because I didn't have a ton of toppings, just mayo/mustard/ketchup trio and a sprinkling of grated cheese.  The next time I went, I went crazy on toppings and it made the bun soggy and cooled the dog.  I think less might be the key because it lets you enjoy the amazing flavors of the hot dog itself.

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This past week has been pretty rough.  My grandmother blacked-out and fell on Friday night.  My grandfather has dementia and followed the ambulance in their car to the E.R. after they admitted her, he tried to go home and got very lost and confused.  Eventually, after he asked many people for help, a policeman took him home.  My sister and I have been taking turns all week, taking care of grandpa and visiting grandma in the hospital.  My sister lives closest, about 20 minutes away and I live over an hour away.  It's been rough, we had some family drama with our Uncle, who is a deadbeat and has some emotional and perhaps mental problems.   We like living very calm, drama-free lives.  I'm also very much a home-body.  This week has been very stressful.

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Funny thing about stress and worry; it doesn't add anything good to your life.  I spent a good part of the week very upset, worrying, and trying to figure out best how to handle my uncle.  I kept trying to pray, but my mind would just not relax.  I couldn't read or concentrate on anything except the worry.  And then, one night this verse kept haunting me:

"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things, but one thing is needful"....Luke 10:41, 42

 Funny how I can try so hard on my own and forget to just let my burden down. (and my anger, and my sense of justice)  His yoke is indeed easy, and His burden light. If we could make Christ that "one thing" life would look very different to us, and I suspect we would be very different.


spending time in a retirement city, and in a retirement mobile home park is very interesting.

*7 Quick Takes is hosted by Conversion Diary

7 Quick Takes-Homeschool graduation edition

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We have our first homeschool graduate!  We started homeschooling Meg for pre-K (in case I messed up I had an extra year to figure it out) and now, 14 years later, I am done as her primary teacher.  We had a simple dessert graduation party for her.  Dessert party = brilliant idea.  It was rather simple, we set up tables outdoors and strung lights up on the front patio and tree and then set out different desserts and coffee.  The main focus became visiting, which was such a great bonus.  I was so busy visiting and fetching chocolate mousse (Sky's homemade brilliance) that I forgot to get my camera out until it was too dark for good photos.  We had a really, really nice party.


It's Bible conference week, known at our church as The Summer Training. It's like a semester Bible class stuffed into one week.  This year we have 4 people from Russian staying with us (Meg gets to practice her Russian) and a bonus Texan. There's always a Texan in the bunch.... :p  Sooo, this week is really, really busy- lots of cooking of meals and whatnot.

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bonus photo of the wonder-labradoodle.  She's all kinds of awesome.


the kids and I attended an open house for a new parkour gym in our area.  We went, because Demi-Sky in particular is very enamored by the whole parkour concept.  Really, who wouldn't be?  Don't we all, deep-down inside wish we had some stealth, secret ninja moves?  Okay, if you don't know what parkour is, click over to this youtube video - I'm very familiar with this one, because my kids watch it over and over, it was my introduction to the concept of parkour

Assassin's Creed meets parkour on youtube


So yeah, we went to the open house, it was pretty cool and my Amie got very excited about the whole thing, she wants to take classes there.  It's called Firestorm Freerunning & Acrobatics.  Soo, besides the trampolines, climbing rope, obstacles, they had a section of climbing bars.  When I was in elementary school, I lived on the bars at recess time and my friends and I could do amazing and dangerous things on these bars. I happily climbed onto these bars and happily told my kids all about what I used to do and egged them on to try it.  {no, I did not try any of it, after the cartwheel incident of 2006, I learned the hard way that just because I think I can still do something, doesn't mean my body agrees}  I did try to do an underhand mount-thingy and couldn't get my legs past an horizontal with the floor position...sad. So, I egged my kids on to try different things, climbed around on the bars, swung my legs up onto them and did monkey-bar type swinging on them, in an attempt to engage my kids.  And then, for the next 3 days I was downing advil like candy...it was so very sad how sore that little bit of exercise made me!


Sky and I just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.  We met 26 years ago at Corona del Mar beach.  For this anniversary, we went back to the beach where we met, and then had dinner at a local pizza place we used to go to all the time while we were dating in highschool.  We really had such a nice, simple evening remembering when...


I played photographer for Meg's senior photos, which is really a lot of pressure when you are not a professional.  I captured a few nice ones, I think.  Here is one- involving her favorite horse, of course...

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hope your week is a blessed one, friends!!

7 Quick Takes is hosted every Friday at Conversion Diary  :)

7 Quick Takes -Homeschool Prom edition

So much going on here at {Home} with the end of school!  I'll start off with the most exciting event, homeschool prom!

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Josie and Meg attended our homeschool prom.  This was Meg's very last prom, she is graduating!!  (I can't believe it!) I was so lucky to get to play photographer again for their group of friends.  Meg is in the center, with cowboy boots and Josie is on the far right in purple.  They had a great time, the girls came over to our house to get ready, we went to a nearby location for photos and then they had dinner and prom at a restaurant near the Queen Mary.   More photos [maybe] coming up (it's a bit tricky when there are kids not your own in photos) we will see what I come up with :)

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Amie's Hogwarts for Muggles class ended.  Her last few classes involved herbology,  quidditch matches, building their own Diagon Alley with boxes and exploring currency, and making this very cute golden snitch.  She was really sad that the class was ending, she really enjoyed it, the teacher and the kids she studied/played with.  It was a really good class, the hour drive was a bit much for me though.  I'm really relieved that the season of driving is over.

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Our new kitchen island is finished! Sky totally demolished the old island, built a new one and installed a stained concrete counter-top himself. He did a really great job, this was his first time working with stained concrete and his first time making a concrete counter.  We went with a dark brown color.  I love, love, love my new island and my new stove-top.


Our homeschool year is wrapping up.  Meg and Josie's Biola Star classes ended last week, they were busy with finals and parties.  It was a little sad, Meg is graduating and she is all done with Biola Star, Josie is done too, since she will be attending the performing arts high school for 11th and 12th grade.  Demi will be taking two classes with Biola Star next year, and Amie will be taking one, so it's not totally goodbye.  I am so thankful for the wonderful classes Biola offers to the homeschool community.  I truly don't know what our high school homeschool would have looked like, without them.

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We had a piano recital recently and all of our kids played.  Josie and Meg played "A Thousand Years" and our wonderful neighbor joined them with her cello.  Here is a shot of a rehearsal at our house.  She is truly amazing, I want to be like her when I grow up!! She truly is so graceful, kind and intelligent.  She reminds me a bit of  Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter :)


Sky treated me to two workshops at the Create Mixed Media retreat that happened nearby in Irvine.  I was so excited to learn how to do encaustic collage.  Now that my homeschool mom career is changing, big-time, I am looking around and thinking about what I want to do with my time.  Art is big on my list, I want to spend time (any time, really) on art.  I haven't done anything with art since the kids were born, really.  My artistic outlets have been scrapbooking- which segued to blogging and then also photography.  I have directed my kids towards the arts, but neglected to address it much, myself.  I am realizing though, that things don't really look like they are going to slow down, much...so I need to carve out some serious art time for me.  As soon as things slow down, I will give it some serious thought.... (it's a circular problem...)


I went to yet another parent meeting at the performing arts highschool.  At this one, they handed out contracts- very much like car buying contracts- to us, wanting a pledge of the $4,000 per student they expect to bridge the gap between what the State pays for the academic side of the school, and the costs of running the arts conservatory side.  I kind of hyperventilated a bit....I thought we'd be able to work some of it off in volunteering.  Nope.  They want our credit card number or bank number.  Super serious.  It's totally worth it, this school is phenomenal.  It is one of the top 4 high schools in OC, even if it didn't have the amazing arts side, people would be lining up trying to get in just for the academics. I found out at this meeting that they had over 3,000 applications and only 400 spots.  Our Josie was one of them. :D  I am a super proud mamma, excuse the gushing/brag...  She asked me to help her set up a blog for her artwork (super exciting moment for a blog-nerd!) and I will link up when she's got it going.  She is drawing the header in photoshop- she amazes me.

Whew! so that's the run-down with all that is going on here.  How 'bout you, bloggy friends? -How's the start of Summer shaping up for you?

*7 Quick Takes Friday happens every week at Conversion Diary

7 Quick Takes Science-fair edition

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I introduced Amie to yoga.  She is enjoying a kids yoga class.  I love this studio, isn't it beautiful?  I can't even remember what this move is called, I think it was the "belly train".  Sky thinks it looks like a bunch of dominoes tipped over :)

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Meg has been dreaming for most of her life to barrel race horses.  We had to sit her down once, a long time ago, and explain that this would not happen, we couldn't afford horse-riding lessons.  Well, fast forward to 17 years of age....and she made it happen.  She has been so tenacious with her desire to be around horses, to the point of calling random stables in nearby cities/counties and trying to arrange to work for lessons.  Which, she did.  And now, here we are... funny, as I went through my photos of this event for editing, I noticed that in all of the photos of Meg competing, she is grinning wildly.

you go, Meg!

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Yes, it looks like, walks like and smells like Science-Fair season!!  Meg had a big project/ Science-Fair experiment/research paper for Chemistry, and Josie had a research paper/Science-fair presentation and 3 D model of a cell.  She did her project on the red blood cell, and here is her cell model.  Can you see the oxygen stuck on the hemoglobin?? I got a kick out of that part!  :)

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In the midst of all this Mad-Science, I opened up my fridge and noticed that Meg's container of 200 blue-bottle fly pupae were hatching.  Just the sort of thing every mom expects to see on her butter shelf....blah!  I requested she go free them.


Went to a new student orientation meeting with Josie at the Performing Arts School.  I was really impressed, I think she is going to have a great year.  She picked graphic arts, animation and piano for her electives - and these classes take place during the academic portion of her day, they aren't even part of her art conservatory portion.  Very cool.


We are on the home-stretch with Farmer Boy.  I am really enjoying this book, somehow I skipped it when I read all the other Laura Ingalls Wilder books.  I'm reading it primarily for my boy, I hope he is soaking up the lessons on hard work and integrity.  As for me, Almanzo's mother makes me feel very, very lazy, I don't think that woman ever sat down! Lazy, and hungry...that book has a lot of good food mentioned.

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Our new kitchen island project is very close to being completed.  Sky completely demolished the old island, there was nothing left but a spot on the floor with missing tiles. He then built this island frame here, from scratch.  Including these drawers.  The bottom two big drawers will hold our pots, pans and lids.  The drawers are fancy/smancy and will finish closing by themselves if you don't close them all the way.  I don't even know what the term for that is...but it's really cool. My new stove-top is in place...drool....and this Saturday Sky will attempt to pour a concrete counter top on the island.  He has never done this before, but I have complete confidence, the man can do just about anything he sets his mind on.  He also has mad-concrete knowledge/skills.  I always found it amusing that he had to take a concrete class in college. Who's laughing now, Jenn, who???  Not me- I will be grateful for my  new stained-concrete counter and will never, ever call concrete "cement" again just to make Sky mad.


hope you are having an awesome week, bloggy friends! 7 Quick Takes happens every Friday at Conversion Diary. Hop on over and join up!