Saturday, April 30, 2011

A String of Events Begins

The next few weeks are going to have the Wells family hopping.  At least, we'll be racking up a lot of drive-time miles going from one adoption/orphan care event to another.  Things could get a bit hectic in the coming weeks, but we'd be hardpressed to find things we're more passionate about or believe to be more important.

Today, we had the opportunity to attend an America World "Adopted By Design" seminar as a speaking family.  It was great to partner again with KY Associates, Zack & Rebecca Caldwell, and this time in my home church.  It's changed and grown a lot since my highschool days, but I love that IHCC is supportive of adoption.  We were able to share our personal adoption story and give God all the glory, honor, and credit due.  As a special bonus, a dear friend from high school was surprisingly in attendance.  It was great to see her again and get-together plans for the future have been added to the calendar. 

We have participated in AWAA seminars so many times, but we truly enjoy sharing the adoption story God wrote for us.  Probably even more appealing to attendees though is seeing our kiddos.  The cuties can turn on the charm no doubt, but we definitely desire for others to see the beauty of adoption.  We believe our close-knit, God-ordained, and God-sustained family illustrates it quite well.  Pair that with knowledgeable associates, a great video, program overviews, the Steven Curtis Chapman family adoption story, and "When Love Takes You In" video...  wow - always an incredible experience.  Be sure and check the AWAA website to find a FREE America World "Adopted By Design" seminar in your area.
  • Saturday, May 7th - America World KY Board of Directors Meeting.  Our quarterly meetings are always informative and full of brainstorming and great ideas.  It's a privilege to serve alongside couples and individuals dedicated to AWAA's growth and presence in KY and most importantly committed to God's growing of forever families through adoption.
  • Tuesday, May 10th - I have a Light Will Rise planning meeting. 
  • Wednesday, May 11th - The Free To Live Tour comes to Louisville, Kentucky.  Tom Davis, Meredith Andrews, The Desperation Band... this promises to be fantastic.  It will also be difficult as human sex trafficking will be the topic.  It is saddening and sickening, but it is real.  The church is called to act.  Now is the time to ARISE!
  • Thursday & Friday, May 12th & 13th - SUMMIT VII sponsored by The Christian Alliance for Orphans will be at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY.  I can't even tell you how much I'm looking forward to the speakers, break-out sessions, networking opportunities, meeting new people, and reconnecting with adoption pals.  It promises to be memorable and quite possibly life-changing.  Praying that God works mightily among all those in attendance!
  • Friday, May 13th - AWAA dinner @ Mimi's Cafe.  I'm so looking forward to having this dinner hour to meet America World Corporate Staff - some for the very first time.  Also, time with AWAA families both at home with kiddos and in process from KY and all over the U.S.  This really will be a delicious treat
  • Saturday, May 14th - America World "Adopted By Design" seminar at Fern Creek Christian Church in Louisville, KY from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.  Kentucky and Indiana families this would be the perfect seminar to attend.  It's FREE - Register & Join Us!
  • Saturday, May 21st - Light Will Rise Launch Event - a Meet & Greet Potluck @ Shilito Park in Lexington, KY.  I'm really excited to find community with local Ethiopian adoptive families.  At home with kiddos or in process, this is great, very relaxed, informal event.  The little cuties can play and the Mommas & Daddies can get to know and support one another.
Yes, there is a lot on our adoption/orphan care ministry plate, but as a family, we are commited to being a VOICE for those who have NONE.  God has blessed us tremendously... how could we ever be silent?  We will expend ourselves making known the plight of the orphan and pray fervently that others will be called and moved to act.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Curiosity Files: Snow Rollers Review

Like most of you, I am longing for sunshine, warmth, and summer.  Every time I open my closet, from the depths I here the faintest cries from flip-flops and capris that long to be set free.  Unfortunately, with all the crazy rain we've had, they remain hidden away.  Honestly, I've been so sick of rain that I didn't mind one bit to re-visit winter when our family had the opportunity to review The Curiosity Files: Snow Rollers & Other Snow Phenomena Unit Study.   
Published by The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, The Curiosity Files series features Professor Ana Lyze - a specialist in all things obscure, outlandish, and odd!  No doubt, this fictitious character's niche is exploring the most peculiar and bizarre things of God's creation.  Best of all, children are mesmerized and fascinated as they discover and learn many new things.  The truth - Mom's are pretty blown away too!  Impressive! 

While The Curiosity Files series is designed specifically with children ages 8-13 in mind, I can honestly say that with modifications and a few omissions this study was perfect for my 4, 5, and 6 year old.  I read and/or paraphrased the information for the kids, and we did not use all of the activity pages or complete the writing tasks and copywork.  That's the beauty of having over 80 pages worth of educational material.  You are able to pick and choose the items that best meet the individual needs of your children.  Embrace that freedom and really tweak the study to work for you maximizing fun and learning!

My little ones learned that a snow roller is very rare and conditions must be just right to form this large snowball.  It is created when wind sweeps across an open plain of fresh snow.  While it may be 2 feet in size, it is incredibly light and airy.  The idea of having a snowball fight with these big ones made my boys giddy.  Sorry guys... no flat plains in the rolling hills of KY :)  They improvised and just pretended to be snow rollers one morning before breakfast.

As far as other phenomena, my kiddos were enticed by the fruity, pink watermelon snow.  However, after learning it is caused by microscopic algae, they weren't nearly as excited at the possibilities of a taste test.  YUCK!

Along with the information regarding the meteorological marvels, many cross-curricular extensions are offered.  Included in this e-book:  Bible study, memory verses, math, history, geography, literature and suggested book list, writing, spelling, vocabulary activities, copywork, science experiments, art, crafts, coloring pages, lapbook/notebook pages, hands-on discoveries, Internet resources, and video links. For a mere $6.95, homeschooling families really get a lot of bang for their buck!  

I know I really appreciated the Bible study aspect of Snow Rollers.  There are so many "snow" references in scripture.  We were able to look those up and discuss purity.  In the study, all references, memory verses, and copywork are in the KJV.  I wasn't particularly keen on this 1) probably due to preference and 2) it's not early-reader/child-friendly.  Easy enough to handle, we used the kids children's Bible.  While our discussions may be simplistic compared to that which an older student would have, they were nonetheless important.  I want my children to desire to have clean hearts!

While older kids could study diameter and division in math, we chose to focus on beginning fractions and cylinders.  When we applied fractions to food, the kids picked up quickly.  Everyone wants their fair share of the treats.  (We even tried this with Swiss Cake Rolls since a comparison was made between them and snow rollers!)  As far as cylinders, we went on a scavenger hunt through the house.  See the kiddos below posing with some of their finds.

 I highly recommend adding The Curiosity Files: Snow Rollers and Other Snow Phenomena to your homeschool library.  Your children will enjoy these studies tremendously.  I look forward to including other titles from this series in our curriculum next year.  Take some time and preview the absurd, bizarre, CURIOUS selections below.

Titles inlcude:

  • Blue Diamond
  • Dung Beetle
  • MRSA
  • Puffer Fish
  • Red Tide
  • Zombie Fire Ants
  • Blue-footed Booby
  • Cicada Killing Wasp
  • Quicksand
  • Platypus 

  • (Disclosure:  I was provided with a complimentary copy of this product in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion.)

    Saturday - Where Will You Be???

    I can tell you where the Wells family will be... my home church, Indian Hills Christian Church in Danville, KY.  We'll be doing one of our FAVORITE things - talking ADOPTION!  When God has blessed you as tremendously as He has us, how can you keep silent?  I know I want others to experience the same blessings!  If you are considering or even just have questions about  International Adoption, I encourage you to join us tomorrow morning for an America World "Adopted By Design" Seminar.  It's FREE!!!! 

    To register, learn more, get directions, find a seminar near you, etc., click HERE!

    Thursday, April 28, 2011

    Curriculum Clean-OUT! Giveaway #2


    Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations is hosting the Spring Curriculum Clean-OUT!  Many great homeschool blogs are represented and offering fabulous giveaways.  I highly recommend you check it out.

    My second giveaway item is a teacher resource book.  From Scholastic's Hands-On History series, Pioneers is a book full of easy-to-make history projects.  The book is recommended for grades 4-8. 

    To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment below.
    Extra entry - Follow The Wellspring of Life blog.

    U.S. Shipping Only - Winner will be drawn and announced May 1st.

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    Curriculum Clean-OUT! GIVEAWAY

    The Spring 2011 Curriculum Clean-up is in full-swing at Homeschool Creations. Jolanthe is hosting this giveaway, and it is a great motivator to do some decluttering in our homeschool materials. I've chosen to participate by giving away a Sonlight P4/5 Guide: Exploring God's World. It is a used copy but still in very usable, good condition.  The copyright is 2005.  This giveaway is for US shipping addresses only. A winner will be chosen and announced May 1st.

    *To enter simply leave a comment. 
    **Extra entry - Follow The Wellspring of Life blog

    There are so many wonderful blogs participating in the Curriculum Clean-Up.   Be sure and visit for your chance to win some great items for your homeschool.

    Sunday, April 24, 2011

    Easter Sunday 2011

    Easter Sunday morning began VERY early for the Wells.  I know I was up at 4:30 a.m., Jon at 5 a.m., and I woke the kiddos up by 5:30 a.m.  Thankfully, this is not our usual Sunday morning routine; however, I must say it went more smoothly than most Sundays.  I suppose there was a lot of pre-planning on my part, and my little bed-heads were too tired to be ornery.

    Believe it or not, we left the house at 6:10 a.m. - only 10 minutes past are intended departure.  Kiddos were in comfy clothes, and we had all of the Easter finery packed with us, as well as a Secret Sister gift, and a 31 bag to deliver.  Seriously, I still can't believe we made it to church with all the necessary items...  just minus Rachel's hairclips.  Anyway, by arriving early, Jon and I were able to rehearse our songs for Sonrise Service...  all while smelling bacon cooking in the fellowship hall.  That's tough :-)

    Sonrise Service began at 7 a.m.  Jon opened the service singing Matt Maher's "Christ is Risen," the congregation sang a couple traditional Easter hymns, and Jon and I sang Casting Crown's "Glorious Day."  Chris Sanford, soon to be missionary to Taiwan, brought our message.  (Check out his blog!) Then, we headed downstairs for a congregational country breakfast.  Bacon, sausage, eggs, biscuits and gravy, and pancakes....  all my kiddos ate their fill!

    Following our Easter gluttony, I was sure to scrape every remnant of breakfast from the littles faces. Time to don the Easter apparel, grand total I spent - $11.45. My sister-in-law Megan picked up Rachel's beautiful dress at a consignment sale last year, and thanks to a $10 off coupon and a sale, I scored both boys shirts for $11.45. Yippee... however, looking back I wish I had our family participate in "Forget the Frock". Unfortunately, I stumbled upon it a little too late this year. The idea - rather than buying new Easter attire, spend the money on behalf of orphans. I've read of some who participated in Feeding the Hungry while others supported current adopting families. 

    Our Easter Service was very nice.  We had good attendance, and Jon preached a great sermon challenging us all to live out the mission that Jesus started on Easter Sunday.  To open our service, the Kingdom Kid's Bell Choir played a couple songs.  See pics of my cuties showing off their mad musical skills...

    Glorious Day

    He is Risen!  He is Risen, indeed!

    Are you celebrating?  Do you know the joy of a personal relationship with The Risen Savior?

    My prayer is that your Easter is not lost in plastic eggs, chocolate bunnies, Peeps, and my personal favorite Easter treat... Reese's Eggs. 

    Easter is victory - Jesus conquered death!
    Easter is a promise - Freedom in Christ!
    Easter is a living hope - My future in Heaven.

    I absolutely love the words to Casting Crown's Glorious Day.  Jon and I sang this song at our church's Sonrise Service this morning.  The words are stuck in my head, and I can't think of anything more fitting for this Resurrection Sunday.

    Living, He loved me
    Dying, He saved me
    Buried, He carried my sins far away
    Rising, He justified freely forever
    One day He’s coming
    Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

    Enjoy this YouTube video I found of this wonderful song!

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    A Bunny Break-In

    Oh yes... the Wells home has incurred a break-in.  Strangely enough, it must be on one big bunny trail.  By what was left behind, I'm guessing it was the Easter Bunny. 

    He left three baskets for three super cute Wells' children.  In the boys blue and green baskets, I have spotted SpiderMan action figures, Lightning McQueen cars, and eggs with trucks inside.  The pink basket holds a Sleeping Beauty Baby Princess doll, Dora playing cards, and a color book.  Three stuffed green bunnies accompany the baskets.

    I'm guessing my littles will be quite pleased.  Hmmm... maybe this will ease the blow of having to wake up at 5:30 a.m. to get ready for Sonrise Service.  Well... here's hoping :)

    Inflatable Train, Drenched Kiddos, Egg Dump - It's EASTER!

    A conglomeration of Spaulding's, Nave's, Julian's, and Bollinger's gathered at my Aunt Becky's house for Easter. Quite honestly, others may have been represented - there were LOTS of people there. It was so funny... Caleb kept asking if so-and-so was his cousin or not. Hard for the little ones to distinguish who belonged to them, but they had fun playing with everyone!

    Weather-speaking, it truly was a soggy, rotten, yucky day. However, you would have never known judging by the huge smiles, roaring laughter, shrieks, and squeals of excitement coming from the inflatable train bouncy/slide. It was the wet from head-to-toe kiddos that evidenced the relentless rain. Water-logged, drenched, wringing wet - none of these adequately describe the situation. Caleb and Jeremiah were quite proud of their soaked state. Rachel had a little more sense... after a short stint in the bouncy, she chose to blow bubbles, ride the rocking horse, and play ball. Thankfully, cousin Isaac, isn't much bigger than my boys, so we were able to borrow some clothes sparing them the unfortunate pleasure of eating Easter lunch in wet jeans.

    Once bellies were sufficiently stuffed, the next item on the agenda: The Easter Egg Hunt Dump!  The rain showed no sign of stopping, so we improvised.  All the eggs were dumped in the floor, and the kids gathered round.  Various questions regarding favorite color eggs, mom's fave, certain numbers, etc. were asked and the kids could retrieve the correct answer/number of eggs from the pile.  It worked out just fine, and from the kids 3 buckets, it appeared as if we brought home an entire candy store.

     My sweet little nephew, Malachi didn't participate in the Easter Egg Dump.  He was content to sit on the floor and play with a new toy from Mamaw.  However, Uncle Jon and Aunt Becky tried to help lil' man get a sweet treat by letting him play in the Easter Egg Cake.  Oh boy - he LOVED the feel of the icing on his fingers, but he never once tried to put them in his mouth.  I was all for assisting him, but I got shot down.  Assuming I want Malachi to get to visit his Aunt Ang in the future, I refrained from continuing on that path.  Instead I joined Papaw and snapped pics - then assisted with clean-up.

    We had such a good time despite the rain.  It's great to be with family.  Even better, what a joy to celebrate Our Risen Savior!  I LOVE EASTER!

    Friday, April 22, 2011

    Mother's Day DNG Review

    A month early??? Yeah... that's how we roll at the Wells house! Hahaha... ok, you can stop laughing hysterically now. For those of you who know us, we are more "right on time" kind of people, and this DNG review is right on time for you! Tried and tested, I can now highly recommend the Mother's Day DNG to you as May is quickly approaching.

    Amanda Bennett has delivered yet another educational treasure.  Designed with K-4th grade students in mind, the Mother's Day DNG introduces children to the origins and founder of the Mother's Day holiday; it demonstrates how mothers are revered and celebrated in multiple cultures; and it paints a vivid picture of Biblical motherhood.  All of this is accomplished through stunning graphics, high-quality videos, informationl websites, activity pages, lapbooking elements, family fun opportunities, and suggested additional resources.  

    An outline of the week's daily topics is included below.  Also, take a sneak peek at some of the pages ready for immediate download.  Not only is this study kid-pleasing, but it is 100% Mom friendly.  Amanda Bennett has tackled the prep-work and research for you.  Mom, just download-n-go experience with your children.

    Day 1: What Is Mother's Day
    Day 2: The History of Mother's Day
    Day 3: Celebrating Mother's Day
    Day 4: Preparations for Mother's Day
    Day 5: Goodies for Mother's Day

    This particular DNG had some really thoughtful, engaging crafting options.  Excellent "how-to" videos aided in the creation of some very special gifts.  Since Mamaw and Grandma are blog-followers, unfortunately, I can't show off the kiddos beautiful creations quite yet.  Fear not - in May, their handiwork will be proudly posted and given to the sweet grandmothers in their lives.

    Another special inclusion in this study, the lapbook is actually meant to be given as a gift to Mom.  Admittedly, I want this activity not to be mom-directed, so I'm simply compiling/assembling the book.  Daddy can help the little ones with the contents.  I know the end product will be meaningful and something I cherish always.

    Finally, this study allowed for some very open dialogue about Jeremiah and Rachel's First Mommy.  While I will never meet this precious woman this side of heaven, I love her more than words can say.  It is important for Jeremiah and Rachel to know this, and I always welcome them to talk about their family freely.  My darling Rachel has no memory of her mother and Jeremiah's are few, but I will help him cling tightly to those.  In our house, Mother's Day and Father's Day celebrate two sets of parents - both who equally love their God-given children.  We are so very blessed!

    I invite you to be blessed as well.  Carve out a week to remember mothers in your family, in your church, in your community, and across the globe.  Spend time in the Word, and pay close attention to the Godly mothers represented therein.  Amanda Bennett's Mother's Day DNG will assist you in making this a memorable, joyous holiday.

    Click HERE to purchase this inexpensive study.

    To keep up to date on all things new, specials, contests, and giveaways, follow the Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett BLOG.  Also follow

    Finally, click HERE to read what other homeschooling families have to say about their experiences with the incredible Mother's Day DNG

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    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    Hearts at Home - MIRACLES?

    Welcome to the Third Thursday Blog Hop. I'm joining other Hearts at Home bloggers this month to answer the question: Have you experienced any miracles in your life? By God's great design, provision, and amazing love, I can undoubtedly respond with a loud, resounding "YES!!!!"

    My three little ones are my miracles. The Wells family has been built through the miracle of birth and the miracle of adoption. Both equally mind-boggling and heart-filling! October 10, 2005, in the wee hours of the morning, I found myself in a Labor&Delivery room awaiting the birth of my first child. While I was certain Caleb was ready to make his entrance, the nursing staff was not certain that I'd be sticking around. While having contractions, yes, my body still did not appear to be in the same mindset as my baby. I figured they might have me walk the halls before booting me out of the joint - I mean, that's what you see on tv, right? 

    A little time passed, and instead, a nurse brough me too itty, bitty apple juice boxes, told me to drink them, and not to get up. Hmmm... have these lovely nurses not read the script? Oh, and had I failed to mention to them that I detest juice of all varieties. Encouraged by my hubby to be the model patient, I obeyed and sipped on the juice boxes - now very thankful for their size! Contractions increase, finally, I get the good drugs, not long after my water breaks and I get the epidural.  I go from 2cm to 8cm dilation lightning fast.  Then I was told to fight the urges to push.

    Not long after, the charge nurse said that if the dr. didn't arrive in 5 minutes something had to be done.  Unbeknownst to me, there was some reason for concern.  A doctor I was unfamiliar with made his grand arrival and made haste.  I literally pushed 4 times and with a lot of help Caleb entered this world.  The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck 3 times and under his arm, and his color resembled Barney the dinosaur.  I remember asking if he was ok since the doctor seemed to be in no hurry to remove the cord so he could breathe.  Finally, I heard that cry and knew all is well.  I had a beautiful, perfect 7lb. 5 oz. baby boy.  Later, I learned that there was a sense of urgency because every time I contracted his oxygen supply was being cut off and his heartbeat would drop.  Thank you God for my miracle boy #1.

    As it was time to grow our family again, God fulfilled lifelong dreams and callings for Jon and I through the miracle of adoption.  December 15, 2008, we officially began our Ethiopian adoption journey with America World.  Through mounds of paperwork, homestudy visits, fingerprints, highs and lows, we waited.  We waited for the day to see our children's faces...  November 10, 2009 was that day!  The children that I already loved beyond measure, that I longed to hold in my arms, that I would die for were finally revealed to me.  Ermias and Yemesrach Ezekeal - oh... God's very miracles!  Born from another's womb, but deeply seated for all eternity in my heart. 

    February 15, 2010 - a mere 14 months after our application - I met my miracle babies for the first time!  Wow... God had never been more real to me than in that moment.  His amazing love for me was affirmed and clearer than every before.  Nothing I could ever do would make him love me more or less - I am HIS adopted child.  I am a rightful heir of the Most High God.  Really... does it get any more miraculous?

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    Friday, April 15, 2011

    SSMT Verse 8

    “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!” Isaiah 30:18 NIV

    When I deserve JUSTICE, my Lord longs to show me grace and compassion.  Wow!!!!
    Join me in committing this incredible verse to memory over the next two weeks.

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    Homeschool Giveaways Website!

    There is a new homeschool website getting ready to launch that will be centered around giving homeschool curriculum away for FREE. The grand opening giveaways have some great products like a complete Mystery of History set, Horizons Pre-Algebra Set, Picture Smart Bible, and a whole set of early learning currriculum for 2yrs – K. There are also several other things set to be given away such as gift certificates.

    To get notified of the giveaways, all you have to do is sign up for the “Giveaway Blast”. Please be sure to put in my email address: as the referral source. There is a pre-launch giveaway right now for a beautiful Well Planned Day Planner that I can win for referring the most subscribers. You can enter too after you sign up! Just copy & paste this and send it out to your friends!
    Here is the website:

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Expedition Israel DNG Review

    One of the reasons I became a homeschool mommy is to ensure that my children don't grow up viewing the people and places of the Bible in isolation.  Rather than relegated to Sunday School, Children's Church, and family devotions, I want them to see that the Word of God is ALIVE!  In every subject and every study, may God be glorified.  In the Expedition Israel DNG, Amanda Bennett delivers yet another beautiful opportunity for my children to experience God while studying geography, culture, history, science, etc.

    Designed as a week long unit study for students K-4, Expedition Israel is filled to the brim and overflowing with a bounty of information.  This gem of educational excellence welcomes little ones to the Holy Land in an innovative, exciting manner.  I know my three wild ones were easily tamed to dig deeper in order to study the places where Bible personalities of old lived and walked.  This study truly delivered a sense of reality to what is often viewed as a 2-dimensional Sunday School take-home paper.  The embedded websites and videos ushered us into the beautiful land and introduced us to the unique wildlife.  The suggested reading had us flipping pages in our Bibles.  The activities bonded us as a family, and overall, we had such an enjoyable time studying Israel's terrain, culture, people, and rich history.

    An overview of the week and sample activity pages are shown below.

    Day 1: Where on Earth Is Israel?

    Day 2: Some of the Special Places in Israel

    Day 3: A Bit of History

    Day 4: Cool Things to Know About Israel

    Day 5: Fun and Games in Israel

    I encourage you to purchase this study.  As we approach Easter, this would make for a timely inclusion to your celebration and time of rememberance.  For only $7.95, it is a wise investment that will reap benefits as you watch your children gain knowledge and greater understanding of the land that was central to so many Biblical events.  I highly recommend the Expedition Israel DNG for your homeschooling family.  Don't just take my word for it - visit the blog hop to hear what other reviewers are saying!

    Disclosure:  A complimentary copy was provided to our family in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.

    Saturday, April 2, 2011

    Homeschool Convention/Romantic Getaway???

    You know you are getting old when a homeschool convention becomes synonymous with a romantic getaway!!!!  Yep, in our 9th year of marriage, we really live it up :-)  I don't know - for his first HS Convention - my sweet husband probably felt like he was out on the wild side.  Let's just put it this way... as with everything in life, it seems that in homeschooling - it takes ALL kinds.  Hahaha!

    While at the convention, we both sat in on a session we really enjoyed.  Hal and Melanie Young spoke about Ballistic Homeschooling for Boys. It was insightful and very relevant to our little fellas.  I've added their book Raising Real Men to my "To-Be-Read" pile. 

    Together, we walked through the vendor hall.  To say it was a wee bit overwhelming would be an extreme understatement... wow - there were a lot of materials packed in that exhibit hall.  Friday, it was fairly easy to browse, but Saturday, when I was attempting to buy some items, the lines were crazy.  Several things peaked our interest and are now on our future purchases list.  However, I did go ahead and pick up a few books I knew the kids would be using in co-op next year. 

    The highlight of the convention for us was comedian, Tim Hawkins.  I have no recollection of the last time I laughed that hard.  I'm not talking chuckles and giggles.  I'm talking real LOL...  laughing so hard my sides hurt, face was red, tears were falling.  Even better, Jon was laughing equally as much.  We were so entertained.  I appreciate good, clean, HILARIOUS comedy.  It is hard to find, but Tim Hawkins truly delivers.  You have to check his videos out on YouTube.  He'll be performing in Lexington in a couple weeks, and we're planning to see him again.  We're assuming his material will be a little different...  a little less homeschool humor and more church humor.  He's so good - we don't want to miss a thing.

    Aside from the homeschool specific activities, it really was great to be with MY BOY!  Courtesy of, we scored an awesome deal on a nice hotel.  Thanks to unused Christmas/Anniversary giftcards, we enjoyed nice dinners out at The Cheesecake Factory and Red Lobster.  We were able to have some adult only time to talk and process some big decisions being made without being interrupted by a little one needing this, that, or the other.  While I missed my babies (this is the longest I've been away from Jeremiah and Rachel since they've been home), it was truly a treasure to have alone time with the hubster.  In our lives, God is leading, and we are acting in obedience.  Excitement is in the air as we embrace whatever the future may hold.  Even amid the serious conversations, we were able to be goofballs, stay up late laughing, and truly just relax.   

    Thanks to my parental units for taking on the task of childcare.  They didn't brave the wild ones for just one night but two - a feat no one has dared try before.  I'm happy to report that all survived, and I do believe there was great fun had.  In fact, Caleb informed me that I am "The Best Mom Ever" (my t-shirt will be made soon) for letting them stay at Mamaw and Papaw's a LONG time.  Hmmm...  still trying to figure out what exactly he wants - probably more overnighters.  Better let my Madre and Padre catch up on their rest first!

    Breakfast with Amanda B.

    In my first year of homeschooling, it would have been easy to purchase and blindly follow a boxed set, comprehensive curriculum.  However, thankfully, from my classroom experience, I was already aware that a one-size-fits-all approach to education is sorely mistaken.  As a mom, I knew my three littles were individuals each with their own unique personalities, learning styles, strengths, and weaknesses.  The math and phonics definitely don't look the same at my house, yet, there is one study we are able to do successfully as a family - Download N Go's.  Each one appeals to varied learning styles and multiple intelligences.  It truly is a smorgasbord to and from which all students can contribute and digest.
    I was first introduced to DNG's after attending several Amanda Bennett sessions at the CHEK conference in Louisville last June.  I was so very impressed with her passion and vision.  Immediately upon returning home, I spent time on her website, purchased products, followed her blog, FB, etc. - NO, I'm not some weirdo, creepy stalker or anything.  I just became a harmless, innocent fan :-)  Well, it paid off!  When it was announced that a team was forming to review DNG's and blog about them, I was an eager volunteer.  It has been an absolute pleasure and blessing for our family to work our way through many titles in the DNG series.  We have studied topics that I'm confident I wouldn't have approached on my own, and all of us have gained such a wealth of knowledge.

    While at the homeschool convention this past weekend, I was afforded the opportunity to share breakfast with Amanda.  I can assure you she is just as genuine, honest, and personable as you would imagine her to be after hearing her share her heart and passion in her sessions.  It was so relaxed and effortless to carry on conversation, and I appreciate the fact that she took time out of her busy schedule to spend time with a reviewer.  What an encouragement to me along this homeschool journey!!!!  Thanks Amanda :-)

    Also, I was able to finally meet in person our great DNG Review Team leader, Marcy.  She does a phenomenal job keeping us organized, aware of pertinent information, and mindful of deadlines.  All the while, she is dealing with our technology issues, goof-ups, etc.  What a patient woman!  Last but not least, I was introduced to a fellow reviewer, Heather and her sweet daughter. 

    Usually - I'm not much of a breakfast eater, but it was a super start to my last day at the convention.  Thanks ladies!  I appreciate your talents and your hearts for children.  God Bless each of you!