Thursday, March 27, 2014


It's exciting to *win* a drawing, is it not?  Well, guess what!?  I won a drawing at the Southeast Homeschool Convention last week!

I received a kindle edition of Relief Notes:  Encouraging Letters for Tough Times by the Christian Authors Guild.

Inside the book are 52 encouraging letters from caregivers, the financially challenged, and even addicts (everyday folks who have experienced the highs and lows of overindulgence).  Their homespun messages offer encouragement, inspiration, and glimpses of victory.¹

Cynthia L. Simmons is a speaker, author, and Bible teacher who uses history to encourage women and illustrate biblical truths.²  She contributed two of the letters in the book:  "Mom of a Special Child" and "Financially Challenged."

I met Cynthia at the homeschool conference, and I attended one of her workshops as well.  (You can view a list of the workshops I attended here.)  I discovered her to be a kind and encouraging person with a heart seeking to help women learn Bible study techniques.

Cynthia also generously gave me a complimentary copy of her study guide, Women in History Who Overcame.  This 12-week Bible study uses the stories in her companion book by the same title, and compares their dilemmas to Scripture.  I'm looking forward to delving into it.  :)  (You can view all of the books written by Cynthia L. Simmons here.)

   ²Relief Notes:  Encouraging Letters for Tough Times

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Butterflies Lunch

I made this lunch for T last Wednesday...a butterfly-themed lunch.  (Spring, where are you??!)

  • butterfly-shaped sandwich with mini m&m's
  • popcorn clouds with butterfly rings
  • milk in a sky blue cup
  • low-fat strawberry yogurt
  • Little Debbie butterfly cake

This muffin tin meal received an enthusiastic "Yay!" and "Thank you!" from T.  :)  He even blew a kiss to me.  Awww.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Southeast Homeschool Convention

I mentioned yesterday that I attended a homeschool conference.  It was the Southeast Homeschool Convention.

I love to attend homeschool conferences.  It's exciting to browse the many curriculum options.  It's informative to listen to various workshop speakers.  Here are some of the workshops I attended this year:

Thursday (March 20th)

  • Movers and Shakers:  Curriculum and Teaching Strategies for the Active Child (by Kimberly Kulp)
  • The Secret in the Sunset -- Grumble Much? (by Heidi St. John)
  • If Mary and Martha Had Been Homeschool Moms (by Joanne Calderwood)
  • How to Homeschool and Keep Your Sanity (by Cynthia L. Simmons)

Friday (March 21st)
  • Run the Race (by Becky Browning)
  • Improve Attitudes, Learning, and Relationships by Discovering Roots of Problems (by Kathy Koch)
  • Cultivating a Love for Learning (by Ashley Wiggers)
  • Lies Homeschoolers Believe (by Todd Wilson)

Saturday (March 22nd)

  • Restoring Joy in Your Journey:  I Choose Joy! (by Candace R. Hansford)
  • Habit Training:  A Charlotte Mason Approach (by Sandi Queen)
  • 12 Genius Qualities to Encourage in Your Child (by Kathy Koch)

All of the workshops were very good; some were excellent!  :)

By the time the conference was over, I was physically exhausted.  However, I came away from the conference spiritually uplifted and feeling mentally and emotionally energized, motivated, more "centered" and more "focused."  I mean, it's always a good thing to be reminded (1) of some of the reasons why I am homeschooling,
(2) to keep Christ in the center of my homeschool, and (3) to teach to the heart of my child.

Possibly one of the most satisfying moments of the conference for me was when I had a revelation about homeschooling T.  I realized that just because I never had a "being hit on the head" light switch moment when I thought, "Aha!  Yes, I am being called to homeschool!" didn't mean that I wasn't called by the Lord to homeschool. For many years, I kept hearing the phrase "called to homeschool" and I wondered, struggled even, with whether I actually was "called" to homeschool or simply had decided that was what I was going to do.  (Are you still with me?)  Here's the story.

The Lord brought to my mind a conversation I had with my sister, as follows.
Several years ago, my sister reminded me of something I'd said to her years before that in response to her question of whether or not I would be willing to raise her daughter if anything happened to her (my sister).  At the time, my sister was homeschooling as a single mom.  I agreed that I would raise my niece, if ever needed.  I added that I wouldn't homeschool her, but that I definitely would put her in a Christian school.  I never planned to homeschool.

We didn't know of T's special needs until after he was born.  (You can read more about that story here.)  From the very beginning, I wanted the best for T -- the best life I could give him.  His special needs coupled with my teaching background began to evolve into my realizing by the time he was school-aged that homeschooling was best for him.  The Lord knew my major in college would be elementary education, my spiritual gift would be teaching, my passion would be teaching, and my son would have Down syndrome.  He worked it all together...for the good of all of us!

Do you see where the enemy was able to gain a foothold in all of this?  My doubts stemmed from never having had that aha moment that I thought being "called" was all about.  But the Lord revealed to me in a moment at the conference that as my background and my desires for T were knit together and culminated in a decision to homeschool T, that WAS my calling!

I shared all of this with my husband and asked him if he thought it constituted a "calling" to homeschool, and he said YES!  Oh, happy day.  :)  I feel so content.  My doubts have been swept away!  I have joy and new purpose in my heart.

Did I say that I love to attend homeschool conferences?  :D

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Blessing

We were blessed in the most wonderful way yesterday evening.  I had just reached the end of a three-day homeschool conference and was worn out, so I met my husband and T for supper at a restaurant near the convention center.  We were eating and talking about the conference when a hand slipped over the back of the booth...and in that older gentleman's hand that touched T on his shoulder was a rolled up bill.  Actually, it ended up being two rolled up $5 bills.  So thoughtful.  So kind.  So generous.

As we left, T told the gentleman and his wife thank you and gave each of them a hug. The gentleman told me that the Lord led them.  I thanked them...and tried to convey what was in my heart.  I don't know that I did an adequate job.  I hope they understood somehow how they blessed me and my family.

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day

T had leftover pizza for lunch today, so this was his supper.

  • leprechaun sandwich
  • low-fat peach yogurt with green sugar sprinkles
  • baby carrots with Hidden Valley Creamy Parmesan Dressing
  • Little Debbie Shamrock Shortbread Cookie
  • milk in a leprechaun cup with a green-striped paper straw

Here is a close-up view of the sandwich.

I cut bread into a face shape and a hat shape.  I decorated the hat with Air Heads Xtremes Rainbow Berry Sour Candy and a Starburst Fruit Chew.  (I unwrapped the fruit chew and microwaved it for approximately 20 seconds.  Then, I rolled it flat and cut it into a square shape.)

I used candy decorations for the facial features.  The leprechaun's beard is Oven Baked Cheetos.

With a mouthful of cookie, T looked at his sandwich and showed "beard"...and then he pointed to his papa, who has a (reddish) beard.  

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 8, 2014


I received two postcards today.  The first one was from Finland.

This postcard shows a European elk or moose.

This majestic forest dweller is known as a moose in North America and an elk in Europe.
To make matters even more confusing, an elk in North America is an entirely different animal...a kind of deer, also known as a wapiti.

Some information about the European elk or moose:

  • Moose are found in large numbers throughout Finland.  In 2009, Finland had a population of 115,000 moose.
  • An adult moose stands an average of 4.6-6.9 feet high at the shoulder.
  • A male moose (or "bull") typically weighs 840-1,540 pounds.  A female moose (or "cow") typically weighs 440-790 pounds.
  • The moose is the second largest land animal in both North America and Europe. (The bison is the largest.)
  • Moose are solitary animals and do not form herds.
  • Although generally slow-moving and sedentary, moose can become aggressive and move surprisingly quickly if angered or startled.  Moose can reach speeds of up to almost 33 miles per hour.
  • Predators of the moose are wolves, bears, and humans.
  • The moose is an herbivore and prefers the new growth from deciduous trees and aquatic plants such as lilies and pondweed.  (The moose is an excellent swimmer.) A moose weighing 790 pounds can eat up to 71 pounds of food per day.
  • A male moose has antlers which can grow up to more than 6.5 feet from tip to tip.  After the mating season, he drops his antlers to conserve energy for the winter.  Then, a new set of antlers regrows in the spring.  Antlers take three to five months to fully develop.
  • A female moose has an eight-month gestation period, and she usually bears one young (or "calf") in May or June.  A calf weighs approximately 28 pounds at birth.
  • A newborn moose has fur with a reddish hue.  (An adult moose has light brown to dark brown fur.)  The calf will stay with the mother until just before the next young is born.
  • The moose has an average life span of approximately 15-25 years.

Friday, March 7, 2014


I received this postcard today...from Serbia.

Actually, this is the second postcard she sent to me.  I did not receive the first one. I'm so glad she tried again!!

This postcard is a view of Fish "czarda" on the Danube.

About Serbia:
  • Serbia is a country located at the crossroads of central and southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Pannonian Plain and the central Balkans.
  • Serbia is a landlocked country in relative proximity to the Mediterranean.
  • Serbia borders Hungary to the north, Romania and Bulgaria to the east, Macedonia to the south, and Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro to the west.
  • The capital of Serbia is Belgrade, which is among Europe's oldest cities and is one of the largest cities in southeast Europe.
source:  Wikipedia