Saturday, December 27, 2014

For Your Enjoyment (Well, Mine, Really, but Whatever)

I cleaned some pics off my phone the other day. Over 300 of them. My total is now below 1200. Woot!! I'm getting there. And since I had to download some before I deleted them from my phone, I get to do a photo dump blog!

This was when Blossom first came home. She was so tiny. And cute. And good. Hmmm...

Just another dance picture. We seem to have a ton of those for some reason...

This was our first official family pic at Disney. Wow, have things changed! And grown...

I can always count on the big girl for a selfie. This was at Hollywood Studios for the Osborne Family Lights. Love that place...

The boy after he won 2nd place in the talent show. I think he should have gotten first...

Gotta love a family shot...

Beautiful...and lazy...

The big girl and the boy teaching dance at VBS...oh, yeah, they did... 

Downtown O-town after a Magic game...

Because sometimes there isn't anywhere else to sit...

Big girl said she didn't look good in a scarf. I showed her...

This is our loot from the summer reading program a couple of years ago. Yet another reason we read...
And that's all you get. For now...
Have a great day...

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dance, I Say, Dance!

Yeah, I just quoted Salt-n-Pepa. You are welcome! We are deep in the Christmas dancing season, so I thought I'd take a minute to share what we have going on in our crazy lives. And there are pics! Lucky duckies...

There is a board that gets displayed at every performance that has pics of all the company members. These are my 3 and their headshots. Nice looking bunch of yahoos.

There is always a barre exercise to warm up. Considering it was coooollllddd, it was much appreciated!

This is the group rehearsing for the Christmas tree lighting. They were so good!

The baby on dress rehearsal day with her "March" buddies. This year for ballet, Miss S has put together the Russian, Chinese, Spanish, March and Marzipan from The Nutcracker. I think my favorite is the Russian and the Marzipan and the March. Hmmmm, I wonder why...

This is what happens on dress rehearsal day. Everybody crowding the mirror trying to see themselves in their costumes. There were lots of new costumes this year and so much ooooing and aahing.

The boy with one of his Russian partners. His other partner was out of town. They did a such a great job!

How can you not love that face? I just adore her. And her big sister. And her brother.

The boy starts his dance with a toe touch, straddle jump, or whatever crazy French term you want to use for this. I cannot even imagine getting myself off the ground, much less having to do multiples of these.

Look at my babies!!! These are The Nutcracker costumes for the first set of numbers. The big girl doesn't want to give hers back. I can't blame her.

Checking out the tree before the tree lighting. People have asked me why we do what we do. Despite the fact that my kids love to dance, the smiles should be all the answer you need.

Sometimes, when you get on stage and the nerves start to get to you, a hug is always nice. The baby's friend A was having a moment. Thank God for friends!!

Checking out the stage. It's hard to do when the stage is full, but I still love this pic.

We have known this sweet girl for what seems like forever! She graduated a couple of years ago, but still comes home from college to see some of the performances. She is an amazing person and dancer and we love, love, love her!

This is the big girl with her friend, B and the boy with his friend, J. They were warming up before the show before they were so rudely interrupted for picture time.

And this is the group on stage. It makes for quite a pic, don't you think?

All of the dancers have put so much hard work and time and effort into these performances. We have 3 left. If you want to check out some quality entertainment and a amazing dancers, message me for dates and times. And even better, all of the shows are free. How can you beat that?

Have a great day.

Friday, November 7, 2014


It has been a long time since I have just blogged. I hope you're as excited about this as I am!

  • School is rolling merrily along. I had to change a couple of things, but for the most part, the kids are rocking it. Chemistry is seriously trying to kick the big girl's and the boy's butt. This, too shall pass. To reward them, we started German. It may not sound like a treat, but the kids want to learn a foreign language. Our attempts at Spanish and Latin have fallen flatter than Stanley. This is what the kids want to learn, so here we go. They are excited about getting to the point that they can have a conversation with their grandparents in German. Me, too, actually.
  • I have a huge stack of books to read. Again. Duh. My favorite thing about this, though, is that the girls have a stack to read that's just as big. Being an avid reader, that is one thing I have wanted to pass to my kids. I'm not sure how it skipped the boy. But, on a bright note, he does find books he wants to read, they are just few and far between. I requested an audio book and was pretty excited to listen to it. The guy doing the narrative had the worst voice for it. I was soooo bored. Like, so bored I fell asleep. I missed half the book. We do have 2 more books on CD to listen to in the van. That is one of my favorite ways to read. The One and Only Ivan is what we're listening to now. It's about to get sad and we don't like that, but sometimes that's what happens. We just finished reading Sarah, Plain and Tall as our after dinner book. We are moving on to the movie now.
  • Mama needs a new vehicle. The minivan is on it's last leg. Ugh. The thought of having a car payment again stinks. We barely got to enjoy not having a payment when the bankruptcy trustee told us we had to pay them off again. Now that we don't have those payments, the thought of starting over weighs heavy. I would like to get a small SUV. We not only carry our five, but having extras in the van is not uncommon. Optional 3rd row seating would be lovely. I really want a Suburban, like Big Sis has, but the gas would kill us as much as we are in our vehicle.  
  • Dance is in full swing. There was one day a week that we just could not make that trip. We are lucky enough that we don't have to go that day. I have to say it makes me happy. Company rehearsals are going well. So far my favorites are the boy's ballet and the big girl's tap. This is only the 2nd year of tap for the big girl and she is doing quite well keeping up with the girls that have been tapping for years. I am so proud of her. The baby is soaking up everything she can. She is loving it. If you happen to be in the area for the holidays, let me know. There are some great shows coming up.
  • Our tap teacher gave us a box full of musicals on VHS. You have no idea how happy that makes us. We love musicals! The singing, the dancing, the costumes! My favorite is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. The big girl's is The Sound of Music. I like that they were made at a time when an actor HAD to do it all. We're going to curl up in my bed this weekend and watch a few of them. I wish I hadn't run out of popcorn.   
  • Hubby and I were gifted with worms for the garden and the chickens. I know, sounds like a weird gift. The worms are great for the compost and the chickens love them. We moved our compost pile to the garden so it's easier to take care of. Those worms work fast! They also multiply, well, like worms. The ladies are going to get a handful today. You have not seen anything funnier than chickens fighting over a bug or a worm or whatever treat it happens to be. We are dismantling the garden we have now, except the tower. We took a field trip to an aquaponics farm. Hubby wants to take their classes. We think that is the way to go. We can raise fish and vegetables for us and also food for the chickens. Hubby has been looking into it for years and we think now is the time. The worms will play a big part in that. They'll help make compost and feed the fish and the chickens.  
  • We have started participating in Meatless Mondays. It's where you don't eat meat on Monday. So far, so good. It hasn't been too hard trying to find meals that fit into that category that we'll all eat. I am not a big proponent of soy, so we don't use any meat substitutes like Boca burgers. I have always wondered why vegetarians try to make food seem like it has meat in it. Anyway, if you have any favorite vegetarian recipes you want to share, that would be amazing.
And there you go. I made all 7. Woot! Now on to the other blog to update that one.

Have a great day.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Good Company

It's the time of year again when we gear up for performance season. That means company try-outs. I took pictures this year. I even got a really cool one of all the dancers. First, here's some familiar faces.

Ballet is always first. The ballet mistress, Miss S, puts all the dancers through a small barre to warm them up and get them ready. The kids were all excited for try outs this year. My big girl got a 10 in ballet! The boy got a 9+ in jazz! When the baby came out of auditions I asked her how she felt. "I rocked that audition." You have to love the confidence. I am happy to say that they all made it this year. Rehearsals for the Christmas performances have started already. I love the groupings and pairings this year and all the kids are excited to show off their hard work.

I adore this pic. This is most of the kids that tried out. They all sat together and warmed up and at one time sat in straddles, feet together, making a circle around the room. Then came time for splits and someone had this brilliant idea. I had to get a pic.

Everyone that tried out had the scores to make Company. It is going to be a fantastic season. If you happen to be in our area, you should come see these great kids perform. You will not be disappointed!

Have a great day.

Somebody Has to Do the Dirty Work

We were on our way to co-op one morning when I apparently ran over something in the road. The van started making a weird noise and I thought for sure my tire was flat. I pulled over, twice, to check the tires and everything was fine. I was going to meet hubby at the church and he was going to take a look at the tires for me. Well, I didn't get that far. Heading down the road, we hear a very loud "THUNK" and I immediately heard the thwap, thwap, thwap that is international code for pull over because you have a flat. I get to a gas station that was, thankfully, 10 seconds from where we were. I called hubby and told him we weren't making it to the church. He came to change the tire and put the spare on. And since the big girl is learning to drive, she also learned some maintenance at the same time. I took pics. Want to see them? Of course you do!

Hubby had the van all jacked up and was taking the lug nuts off the tire when he had the brilliant idea of making the big girl do some work. Always learning is our motto.

While the big girl was removing the rest of the lugs, hubby got his spare out, hoping it would fit, so I wouldn't have to ride on a doughnut. I would have eaten a dozen doughnuts right about then. She's gorgeous changing a tire, too. Big sigh...

Needless to say, his spare didn't fit. So it's on to plan B. Thank goodness for a backup.

He was showing the big girl how to get the spare out from under the van. In the 5 years we have owned the van, I had no idea. I didn't even know that was there. Yeah, it's in the details. I read the Cliff's Notes. Dang Cliff's Notes...

I thought this was just too cool so I had to get a pic. I am a weirdo, but that's not what we're talking about.

The spare was flat. But, I have a compressor in the back of my van. Originally, the big girl was filling the tire with air until hubby realized there was a leak in the spare. We'd never used it and I don't think in it's 10 year existence, it's ever been used. Well, crud. On with the lesson in spite of a small set back.

We still had to get the spare on and the van to the house, so the big girl soldiered on. While she was doing this, hubby got everything else cleaned up and put away. He pumped it as full of air as he could, tossed me the keys to his truck, and took off for the house. He is crazy, but I love him for it!

And, of course, I have the most adorable photo bombers ever. Just look for Disney vacation pics online and you'll probably find my boy in thousands of them. This time it was the baby. They get the crazy from their father.

Letting the van down and removing the jack. The big girl had a good time, truth be told. She said it was kind of fun. I just hope her Papa is there for her if she ever has to do this again.

Hubby ended up going to get a new tire. Thankfully he was able to take a 1/2 day from work and get the new tire put on my van. He is a good egg. He was very patient with the big girl and they have a great story to tell. And if you ever need a tire changed, you can call the big girl. As long as she doesn't have to get dirty, she's your chicky.

Have a great day.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Starting Fresh

It is that time of year again. We are getting ready for school to start. I have a couple of things that are coming in the mail and should be here by next week. I had such a hard time finding the lesson plan books I like that I ordered 3! I would have ordered more, but then shipping got a little pricey, so there you are. The kids are gone all next week for various activities, so I'm taking a day to plan. The big girl is planning herself again this year. She learned a lot about planning last year and the pitfalls involved, so this year should go much smoother. We hope. Here's what's on the agenda for the year coming up.

  • Science- You have to love friends that love to teach subjects you don't want to. Last year I taught biology. Loved it! This year my friend G is teaching chemistry. I have a very weak chemistry background and I don't feel like I could do the subject justice. The boy and the big girl will both be taking that while the baby is going to study earth science. For chemistry, they'll be using A Beka. The earth science is God's Design for Heaven and Earth: Our Planet. We already know that the 2 olders will have homework, but so will the baby. The set comes with a CD with all the student consumables, like worksheets and fun stuff, on it. We'll see, we'll see...
  • Bible- This is the first year that everyone is doing something different. I'm not sure I like it, but that's the way it goes. I'm thinking a devotional together before we start and then they can break up into their respective corners. The big girl and the boy will be "sharing". While the big girl works on BJU's Walking in the Spirit, the boy will be using A Beka's Joshua and Judges. Both of those are 1 semester, so they'll switch after Christmas when we start the second half of our year. The baby is using Explorer's Bible Study. I actually bought this several years ago, and never used it. Now is the time!
  • History- It was so nice for many years to be able to use 1 curriculum for my multi-level kids. Oh how I miss those days when things were so uncomplicated. This year the boy and the baby will both be using A Beka. The baby is studying the old world, while the boy is studying America! The big girl is also studying American history, but she's using BJU. I already have several books for everybody that correspond to the different time periods they'll be studying. They are not liking me very much right now, but they'll get over it.
  • Math- The big girl will be studying Geometry this year. While I understand that the general consensus is algebra, geometry, algebra II, we did something different. She did algebra, algebra II, and now geometry. Makes much better sense. The boy is going to pre-algebra it this year. He's so lucky. Both the geometry and pre-algebra are A Beka.  The baby is getting booted up to 6th grade math. She's using BJU. She is one excited chicky about getting to skip a year of math.
  • Language Arts- This is where is gets just a bit tricky. The boy and the big girl are both using A Beka's Grammar and Composition, but their literature will be different. The big girl is studying American lit this year using BJU, and the boy is using A Beka's Of Places. The baby is using Rod and Staff for grammar. She's using a Progeny Press study guide for The Secret Garden and a Total Language Plus study guide for The Courage of Sarah Noble. If she finishes both of those and we have time left, I have either The Whipping Boy or Mr. Popper's Penguins
  • Electives- PE and fine arts credits are dance. As much as we dance and as much as the kids perform with company, I can separate the 2 and call it good! We also have been bowling and dancing this summer so that also counts for PE credit. The kids want to learn German, and I found a program I think they'll like. We'll see if it actually gets fit into the schedule. The big girl may not have a choice.
There is a bunch of A Beka and BJU in there. I was given most of the A Beka, and I bought almost the entire BJU 10th grade for $50 last year. Thank you very much, I'll take that every day! There were a couple of things I didn't have, the chemistry and some work books, that I got super cheap at a used curriculum sale. I love a good used curriculum sale! The readers for the kids for summer reading and the year coming up have been purchased at thrift stores. Thrift stores are your friend. The most I have paid at one was $7, but you should have seen the stack of books I walked out with! I even found a student workbook for the grammar the kids will be using next year. I paid .54 for that bad boy! It retails new for almost $20, and used was as expensive as $10. I save most of what 1 kid uses for the next one down the line. It's actually kind of sad when I sell something. That means that we're all done with it. I could cry because that means the baby is not so much of a baby anymore.

That's our year coming up at a glance. My friend K is going to try to pre-plan her kids' entire year. She gets super busy with work at the most inopportune times. I'm not doing that (but I would if I could). I am, however, going to plan a month at a time. We get that busy and I need to get it done and not slap something on paper the night before we start. We'll see how it goes.

Have a great day.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Back to Topic

I like small groups. I'm not big on speaking in front of large groups, and I'm not big on speaking into a microphone. Small groups, however, I can do those. Sometimes it's like herding cats. I have actually said, "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty" to get the attention back on point. All of that is my segue into talking about en pointe! See what I did there? Did you see?

The big girl got fitted for her first pair of pointe shoes today. Yes, I have waxed poetic all over the social site, so now you get to hear me gush again! This journey started when the big girl was 4. She had just started kindergarten and wanted to be a ballerina. So we put her in dance. The best part of this story is that she didn't take ballet until 2 years ago. She's so beautiful when she dances ballet.

We were lucky enough to go with my friend N and the big girl's friend B. We were also blessed to have our ballet mistress and studio owner accompany us as well. It was so nice to have their eyes and N's eyes as well as the sweet girl that was fitting the girls for shoes.

The big girl debated about taking a pair of tights. She didn't. So they gave her these stylish socks to use while she tried on shoes. Tres chic, non?

I like this pic because it shows the beginning of the pile. The fitter was very good about taking away whichever shoes didn't fit and replacing it right away.

Once the big girl had tried on several pair, she narrowed it down to 2. To simulate the ribbon and elastic, they used wrist braces.  These shoes were the 1st runner ups. These are Russians and they are a beautiful shoe. Oh my catfish, they were hard to say no to.

But these were the ultimate winner! They are gorgeous and I hope the big girl is happy with her choice. If the crazy smile that still hasn't left her face is anything to go by, she is at peace with her choice.

This was the beginning of the final discard pile. The fitter was so quick at removing what the big girl didn't like, I couldn't get a pic of all the shoes she tried.

Look at those pretty, pretty shoes! I am so happy that she's happy. And I'm happy she finally took them off!
She also had to have a nice wrap skirt. The norm has been a black, gauzy wrap number. But you know any kid of mine has got to buck the trend. We showed Miss S a black lace wrap around and she approved it! Yippee!
The big girl diligently watched some videos on how to sew on the ribbon and the elastic. She got the ribbons done, but she has the elastic left. At least the shoes are off her feet when she has the needle in her hand. We start summer dance next week and she is probably the most excited out of all of us. With beautiful shoes like those, wouldn't you be?
Have a great day.