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Showing posts from 2016

Taking a Break

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I have a new macro lens for my camera and this was one of my first tries with it. I miss Autumn in Utah, but there is a quiet beauty in the Sonoran desert that I've come to appreciate as I take nature walks here.


This is our simple homeschool room this year. I framed the U.S. map in the center (it's a little too high on the wall, but I didn't want to create another nail hole and used what was already there). The bookcase is new and I love it. The fall centerpiece is from one of my closest friends who wanted to give me a bit of Autumn that I'm missing here.


I lovingly made the star-spangled paper border myself. It's our time-line border and hopefully Marcus and I will start making use of it next week when we begin our state history unit.


I've been giving this a lot of thought and since the purpose for this blog has yet to be realized (I had hoped that it would draw extended family and friends here, to take an interest in our adventurous life), I've decided …

Settling Back in AZ

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Well here we are, back in Tucson, adjusting to home life without our sweet Marissa girl, who is experiencing her first week of college life. I thought I'd share some of the pictures she sent to my iPhone yesterday. The first four are the horticulture gardens...





And this next one is a view of the Rexburg temple and a chapel.

So far, she seems to be enjoying her first days at BYU-I and she loves the classes she chose. One is a family history class so I'll be sending her pictures that I have from her life up 'til now, especially from when she was younger, as she compiles her life history for an assignment. She's been making some new friends as well. I think college life suits her!
As for Marcus and I, we haven't started our state history unit as I've been too busy unpacking and setting things up here, but we do have a service opportunity this morning that we are taking advantage of so I'm looking forward to that. :)
Hope you're having a fantastic week!




Summer's End (and an update)

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As summer comes to an end, I'm reflecting on my hopes, dreams, and goals for the near future...

* I'm looking forward to returning to Tucson where Marcus and I will begin a fabulous new homeschool year together and David will come home to us every evening after work.
* I am super excited for the state history unit study Marcus and I will be doing this year. I've designed a star spangled border for our time line (pictures coming in a later post). We are going to start with the thirteen colonies and then study each state's early history by its date of statehood. It's going to be So. Much. Fun!
* I am going to relish every text and phone conversation with my three college kids. I am so proud of each of them. I especially can't wait to hear from my Marissa girl. She is going to rock college life!
* I am going to become a morning person! My plan is to be in bed by 9:30 each night and be up around 7am. After my own morning routine, Marcus and I will have a special way of…

It's Almost Here!

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It's almost here! The start of a new homeschool year. I am so excited! If you'd like to read my planning post and more about our chosen scripture verse (above) and our inspiration word, please visit my Happy Heart's blog.

I'm not rushing time, however. I'm enjoying every last summer day I have with Marissa and Darcie (and the times we get to see Zach) before September comes and we move Marissa to her college apartment. I am so proud of my three college kids. They are so grown up! It's exciting to see them reach for their dreams. I love being a mom!

But I am looking forward to Marcus' eighth grade year. I'm excited for him to have another amazing year with Liahona Academy and I'm happy to have one more year to teach him English myself (we are going to start Shakespeare!). I have an awesome state history unit planned for us, as well. I'm even ready to go back to the Arizona desert, especially because we have established ourselves there and it'…

A Sweet Summer

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We are having such a sweet summer! Last week, we had the privilege of hosting three of my favorite nieces in our home. Here are some of the highlights:


It's the little moments of life that mean the most...

A summer walk in the country.

Trying something new with the help of a cousin. :)

Visiting a petting zoo with a friend.

An outing with friends (cousins make the best kind of friends!)

Family picnics. 

Crafting together.

Creating something completely adorable. (Way to craft, Drista!)

And then, on Saturday, we enjoyed a rodeo together.

Look at those happy faces!

This was my brother's first time at a rodeo!

We spent the weekend in Salt Lake City, celebrating the Days of 47. 

On Sunday we spent the evening visiting Mill Creek Canyon.

Being out in nature makes us happy!

It's so nice to have David home with us!

5 Things We Want Our Non-Homeschooling Family and Friends to Know

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You know, sometimes it's not easy to be the only homeschoolers in our circle of extended family and close-family-friends. Because we love you and appreciate being a part of your lives, we want you to know some things about our choice to homeschool:

We are not homeschooling to stand out or to make you feel uncomfortable. Honest! We are simply following our hearts and doing what we believe to be best for our family. We're not trying to get special attention and if we've ever come across as bragging, please pardon us. Sometimes we get carried away about homeschooling in conversations because we are so passionate about it. We believe that homeschooling is a superior education choice for our children. We're not saying we know what is best for your children, because of course we don't! They are your children. Please remember, we were in the public school system for many years before we discovered homeschooling. So, if we make comparisons about both ways, they are ours to…

25 Books That Make Great Family Read-Alouds

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I am a big believer in parents reading to and with their children, even in their teen years. Sharing great stories together is a quality way to spend family time and grow parent-child and sibling bonds. I made a list of most of the books we have read together in our family for the past three years. Some of these were read as mother-son or mother-daughter reads while others were family reads.



When selecting books to read with my children, I've just chosen what I thought would appeal to them at the time. What we like to do is read the book and then watch the movie, if there is one. The following are books that I think would suit multiple ages at the same time, but always use your own parental judgement as you know your kids best: 
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo (Skip the movie version. Not worth it.)*
Mary Poppins, by P. L. Travers (The Disney movie is quite different from the book.)
The Mouse and the Motorcycle, by Bever…

Thoughtful Tuesday

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Ah, summertime! I know it's here because it's EXTREMELY HOT in Tucson. I'm talking, way past the 90's and more like 109 most days. Sigh. It's way too hot to get outside for more than a few minutes at a time during the day, (such as climbing in and out of the car on the way to the grocery store and back), so that means we are spending a lot of time inside where it's air conditioned. Kind of sad since we love being outdoors so much, but who wants to melt in this kind of heat? Lucky for us, we will be spending July and August in Utah (at least, Marissa, Marcus and I will. Poor David has to suffer it out here).

Two weekends ago, we braved the heat and spent half the day touring Sabino Canyon for the first time. That was fun, although, blazing HOT! Have I mentioned how hot it is here?

So, for the next couple of weeks, before we take our road trip back to Utah, to move Marissa back home (in preparation for her move to Rexburg, Idaho in early September so she can be …

Disney World Memories

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Our Disney World vacation was a blast! It was so special to share it with my brother, Clint, and his adorable family. :) It was so nice to be with my college kids and for the guys to take a break from work. It was fun to eat, play and laugh together from sun-up to way past sun-down. I especially loved watching my brother in action as a dad. He's awesome! Here are some of my favorite highlights...


My niece pulled the sword from the stone!

Meeting Merida.

Our character breakfast with Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet was terrific!

Our whole group in front of Cinderella's castle.

Waiting for the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular with my niece.

At World Showcase in Epcot.

Our group at Animal Kingdom, in front of The Tree of Life.

The girls visiting Ariel in her grotto. Sooo cute!

Zach and Marcus at Animal Kingdom.

My favorite pic of Marissa! Posing with Daisy Duck.

My favorite pic of my nephew, with Mickey Mouse.

My favorite Splash Mountain pic!

Thoughtful Tuesday

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This will be my last post until I return from our family vacation to Disney World. We leave this Friday. I am so excited to share eight days with Mickey and Minnie, my husband, my two lovely daughters, my two amazing sons, my youngest brother, my sister-in-law, my three beautiful nieces and my darling two-year old nephew. Yay!

So, in honor of Mother's Day, last Saturday, Marissa, Marcus, David and I spent the day at the Desert Museum. The weather was actually very pleasant, not too hot, so it was enjoyable to walk through the desert there. Here are my favorite pictures from that day...









The kids bought me a wonderful desert wildflower field guide for Mother's Day so now I might be able to identify some of the flower pictures I take. :) Want to see a gorgeous flower? Look below...

It's not in my field guide, but I found out it's an Amaryllis Hybrid, and it wasn't growing at the Desert Museum, but at Tohono Chul park, which is full of lovely desert gardens and only te…