Thursday, March 29, 2012


At our DRASTIC Co-op, the K-1 class was super-duper EGG-cited for their Easter Egg Hunt.  In their art class, the kids created Easter crafts and decorated bags.  However, it was what they would find to fill their bags that enthused them.  These happy hunters have become the best of buddies this year, and I'm so thankful God has blessed my kiddos with sweet friends.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Hospital Hunt

Thankfully, our trip to the hospital was not necessitated by serious injury, sudden illness, or other malady.  We were on a mission... a hunt per say for EGGS!  The kids were excited to go to "Daddy's Work" to see the Easter Bunny, enjoy some juice and cookies, hunt eggs, and score prizes.  The littles were definitely successful in their search because their buckets couldn't contain all the brightly-colored, candy-filled ovals they found.  Happiness abounds!  Hippity-hop, hippity-hop, hop, hop, HOP!

Action Alert - TOS Review


One child comes to you with a question about his schoolwork that requires research.  Another wants to dig deep, explore, and learn more about the fascinating tidbit in science that intrigued her.  Your family is working together to complete a DIY Project and run into a snag.  Your tweens are playing games, and your teens are social media junkies updating statuses and sending tweets.  Where do we turn, or what is our outlet???  In this day and age, the computer and the contents of cyberspace. 

Technology is such a powerful, useful, wonderful tool, but therein, also lies Internet dangers.  As parents, we have the responsibility of protecting our children.  Action Alert is a company dedicated to Internet safety.  It offers downloadable software comprised of 8 Internet safety tools. 


In the Activity Notification Alerts, you can set Action Alert to notify you via email or text message when questionable key words or phrases are being used by your child.  Then, Access Control allows a parent, even remotely, to disable the computer.  The use of Site Blocking keeps children away from sites known to be inappropriate, dangerous, or hosting spyware.  Content Filtering gives the parent the option to have the computer operate in a safe, allowed sites only mode or filter searches to show only family friendly results. Action Alert features Activity Video Recording, Keystroke Logging, and Chat and Email Logging. An impressive 60 hours of all computer activity (web activity, chat sessions, games, and homework sessions, everything online and off) is recorded.  The parent is able to scan the video or type in a key word or phrase to jump to any point in the video.  Finally, with Time Allowance, Action Alert can set time limits or daily times when the computer can be used.   

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
Action Alert has received recognition through awards and television features.   It is available in two versions. I encourage everyone to read the FAQS and start with the Free Version.  With it, you can have a kid-safe computer in mere moments.  The Maximum Protection Version ($29.99) offers protection for multiple users, can be customized, and provides full social network monitoring. Action Alert offers a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee. 

For my family, this product isn't currently necessary.  Due to the young age of my children, my husband and I are proactive parents both limiting and directly supervising their computer usage.  Currently, they are all working through an online phonics/reading program that we love!  The site is kid-safe and age-appropriate.  I log them in and stay in the room while they maneuver through the site.  On rare occasions they are able to play other games or visit a site, but again, they have been pre-screened by a parent.  Although as my children age and are allowed more autonomy on the computer, I do see the value in having a safety program in place.

Sail on over to the TOS Crew Blog and read what my crew mates are saying about Action Alert.

(Disclosure:  I was provided a complimentary Maximum Protection Version in exchange for my honest opinion.)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Reading Thing 2012

Katrina at Callapidder Days is sponsoring Spring Reading Thing 2012.  After participating in the Fall 2011 challenge and whittling away at my ridiculously huge, ever-growing, "to-be-read" list, I decided to participate this spring.  The Spring Reading Thing runs from March 20-June 20th, and my goal is to read 12 books in the 3 month time frame. 

My list - while not 100% concrete and subject to change - is as follows:

Kisses from Katie  by Katie Davis (This is my current read.)

Infinitely More  by Alex Krutov & Jackie Davis

A Place at the Table by Chris Seay

Stumbling Into Grace  by Lisa Harper

Organized Simplicity  by Tsh Oxenreider

Pajama School - Stories from a Homeschool Graduate  by Natalie Wickham

Raising Kids with Love and Limits  by Julie Barnhill

Quitter  by Jon Acuff

Loving  by Karen Kingsbury (releases March 27th)
(Team Brandon or Team Cody - we finally find out who Bailey Flanigan will marry!)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire  by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay  by Suzanne Collins
(Can you tell I'm succumbing to the pressures of pop-culture and feel the need to see what all the hype is about?  I added these three to my Kindle.)

Monday, March 19, 2012

From Whom All Blessings Flow

Are you familiar with the Doxology?  I've attended various churches for years that have methodically, robotically, traditionally sang the words and melody week after week at the appointed time in the service... typically after the offering is taken up :-)  Hmmm... I know I was guilty many a time of singing the words with no thought whatsoever.  I hate that because the words are so very true.  It is God who is the great provider and gift giver.  From Him all blessings flow, and to Him all praise is due! 

Any Tony & Donny fans out there?  Their worship music was quite popular on the church camp/youth rally scene in the late 80's and early 90's.  Our church youth praise band was often a few years behind so we were mastering songs like "I, Oh I" and "Cry of My Heart" in 1997.  Oh well...  All that to say - I loved their version of the Doxology... "Praise to Our God."  There was a cool echo part, and the chorus was always so meaningful when an entire group was belting it out at the tops of their lungs.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise God all creatures here below.
Praise Him above the heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Praise to our God who reigns in the heavens.
Praise to our God who reigns in our hearts.
Praise to our God who reigns in the heavens.
Praise to our God who reigns in our hearts.

I missed my Multitudes on Mondays post last week, so my list of gifts is quite long today.  Indulge me as I list these blessings.  The very blessings that flow from my Father above!  Thanks & Praise!

191.  Little Miss released from speech therapy!  Way to Go!
192.  fresh fruit pie toppings
193.  crayon drawings
194.  my Thirty One bags all packed and ready to go
195.  God's protection while traveling
196.  balloon animals made by a missionary in training
197.  my hubby's generous heart
198.  the ability to bless another on God's behalf
199.  an outdoor hot tub shared with my little ones
200.  an indoor jetted tub just for Momma
201.  a cozy, comfy cabin
202.  a day away with dear friends
203.  sweet Myles and the joy he brings
204.  beautiful sea creatures at the aquarium
205.  enjoying the outdoors as a family
206.  making memories
207.  tender moments
208.  safe return home
209.  tears shed and fears relieved
210.  sharing resources
211.  hand-me-downs
212.  wisdom shared by older women
213.  God-incidences
214.  a crib to loan
215.  tips both given and received
216.  been-there-done-that homeschoolers
217.  children united with their forever families
218.  a stocked pantry and fridge
219.  a global perspective

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Learn from the Locals

The Homeschool Mother's Journal In my life this week…

We returned from our long weekend getaway in Tennessee, so I found myself buried in a sea of laundry at the beginning of the week.  Then, back to the normal routine.  It's always so hard to do after being away for a few days. 

I had the opportunity to sit on a frugal homeschooling panel with two lovely ladies a homeschooling mini-conference sponsored by one of our local homeschooling groups.  It was great to share some money-saving tips and learn from the cost-cutting measures of others.  I also sat in on a session about organization and one on schooling multiple ages.  Lots of great information!  I love having this at the local level.  Hearing from names and faces that you are familiar with is often as helpful if not more than listening to the so-called "experts" in the field. 

In our homeschool this week…
  • We read Flat Stanley books in preparation for a flat character exchange we will soon be participating in.
  • DRASTIC was cancelled, so we used the afternoon to make up schoolwork we missed doing on Monday while traveling.
  • Friday, I led our Galloping-the-Globe group in a lesson on The Netherlands.  Of course, when I teach, I never take pictures.  We chatted about the geography and facts over donuts.  Then, we discussed famous people including artists Rembrandt and Van Gogh and Anne Frank.  The get-together ended with paper tulip creations and bowling.
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
  • Don't discount the value of learning from those in your midst.  Local been-there-done-that homeschool moms have tremendous information to share.  Take advantage of their wisdom and sage advice.
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
  • Monday - Life Group
  • Tuesday - Play date with friends
  • Wednesday - FIAR co-op & Bible Study
  • Thursday - DRASTIC co-op
  • Saturday - Kiddos are hanging out with Uncle Adam & Auntie Val while we attend our quarterly KY America World Board meeting
  • Sunday - Church and FRMC Easter Egg Hunt
My favorite thing this week was…
  • family time!
Things I’m working on…
  • TOS Reviews
  • Decluttering & Purging the house
  • A list of home improvement projects to accomplish in the next few months
I’m reading…
  • Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis
I’m grateful for…
  • safe travel home from our trip to TN and all the memories we made together.
I’m praying for…
  • peace for friends who have a heavy burden.
A quote to share...
  • An open book shows more of God's grace than a hidden story.  ~Heidi Weimer

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hot Tubbin'

The kiddos favorite part of the whole trip!


Totally random, but growing up we used the word "putt-putt" for what my kiddos call "toots" - EWWW!  That ickiness aside, none of us really have any mad golf skills, but I managed a couple hole-in-ones :-)  Not bragging or anything, but I totally dominated over the kiddos!  Jon and I were pretty closely matched though.  He may have won, but not sure.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Shrimp, Space, and Believe It, or Not!

After an exciting aquarium visit, it was time to refuel.  We huffed it on foot to one of Daddy's all-time faves - Bubba Gump's.  Daddy dined on "Garbage"... aka - a bucket o' seafood.  Caleb and Rachel braved the shrimp.  Jeremiah ate pizza, and I enjoyed my hamburger despite great ridicule from our waiter.  Sorry dude - I don't do seafood!

Following lunch, we crossed the street to go up the space needle.  Jeremiah was so funny.  He cackled the whole way up as we all peered out the glass elevator.  When we reached the top, he was confident he could see our home.  Nope buddy - KY is a long way off.  Ok... then he could see our cabin.  Well, not really!  To say they were impressed by being high up was an understatement.

Finally, we visited Ripley's Believe it, Or Not! Odditorium.  Sorry... no pics.  We were a little less than impressed and the kiddos were getting really tired.  So... I'd say it was definitely an OR NOT attraction.  There was some weird stuff though.  Yeah... you should have heard me dancing around an explanation of what a medieval chastity belt was.  Yikes!

Lil' Squishers!

Some precious "own-post-worthy" pics!  Love these little squishers!

 Posing outside the aquarium...

 ... and being silly inside it!

Look at all that love - I'm so blessed!

Seeing Some Sea Life

Look at these cuties!!! They are posing before we head out the door for a fun-filled day in Gatlinburg, TN.  On our agenda, first, Ripley's Aquarium.  To make the day even better, our friends were able to get away and join us for the day.  We all LOVE Mark and Jane... and who can resist Baby Myles?!  That's what the kiddos call him, but sometimes they slip and say Malachi.  These are the only two little guys they are really around, so the two "M" names become interchangeable.  We're working on it though :-)
Wow - they first spotted a shark!

A rare full family photo...
See, we must always travel with friends for me to venture out from behind the camera!

This guy looks hungry!
Daddy & the kiddos touching the horseshoe crabs... Jeremiah declined.
I love this pic... look close and you see his reflection in the glass.  The wonder!

 Ahoy Maties!
A True Treasure!

My Adventurer!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tennessee Travelers

Last April, Jon began working at the hospital, so we skipped our annual September beach trip.  In fact, with the exception of one quick over-nighter, we have been homebodies adjusting to this new schedule, life, etc.  Well, September still seems far off, and we were itchin' to go somewhere - ANYWHERE.  Jon started a new schedule working four 10 hour shifts each week in the OR.  Thus, he ended up with a Friday off and the following Monday.  So... the Hillbillies loaded up and headed to Tennessee!

Actually, it seems we got out of town just in time.  Shortly, after we passed through, a sink hole opened up on I-75.  Traffic was at a stand-still - some for 3 & 4 hours.  Then, the interstate was shut-down and cars rerouted.  Thankfully, we avoided all of that mess.

Since for some reason, Jon and I have never gone on a trip or vacation anywhere without stopping at Walmart, that was the first thing we did.  Loaded up on breakfast goodies and snacks, we headed for our cabin.  The Hillbilly Deluxe was very nice!

After dropping off our things, back out for supper at Fuddrucker's.  The kiddos were quite excited with their balloon animals.  I found it odd that some college kid was roaming from table to table impressing all ankle-biters with his mad balloon blowing/constructing skills.  I trotted off to dress my burger with all the fixin's and returned to see hubby dearest slide the guy a sizable tip.  Raised eyebrow and confused face on my part, then Jon told me the guys shared with him that he was fundraising to be a missionary.  Loved the smile on the guy's face as he left our table, and love my hubby's generous heart even more.

Caleb's tiger, Jeremiah's dinosaur, & Rachel's red alligator - she wanted red???

Bellies full, we headed back to the cabin to partake in some hot tub fun!  Showered and ready for bed, we tucked the kiddos in downstairs.  It was the perfect set-up.  The boys shared a King size bed and Rachel sleep on the futon.  Downstairs, they also had a pool table, air hockey table, and tv to entertain them, so they were living it up.  I'm glad though that they zonked out quickly, so they were rested for our next busy sight-seeing day!