Friday, May 29, 2009

You Capture: Family

This week's challenge at You Capture was "Family". I thought I would ace this challenge, as we went to spend the weekend with my in-laws, who are a family with 16 children, and how could there not be tons of opportunities for great shots with that much family around? But there was lots going on with graduations, recitals, and house remodeling, so there wasn't a lot of time for posed photography. You can read more about all the goings-on here. But above is a shot of their beautiful family in portraits on the wall, all so gorgeous, handsome, and adorable in their western duds.

And here is a picture of family life they way I picture it being a century ago - parents, grandparents, friends, and toddlers all in the same room, conversing, "live" music in the background.... no air conditioning (because of the remodeling one of the walls was missing in this room and it was open to the outside.... but family life goes on).

See more "Family" shots at the You Capture Challenge.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Free Safety Video

If your kids are into robots, this is a freebie you might want to check out. It's a safety video from Honda featuring ASIMO, "the world's most advanced humanoid walking robot". You can order your free DVD from here. My kids wanted to see more of ASIMO after the video was over, so we went here to find out more. My kids want an ASIMO of their own now. :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bragging Rights

We went to Tennessee this weekend to celebrate the graduation of two of my nieces. They, along with their 14 brothers and sisters, are homeschooled (for TLC fans, no, they are not the Duggars (but they are good friends of theirs and have been on their show a couple of times)). Seeing them graduate is such an inspiration to me, as I continue to "bump along" in my early years of homeschooling, because they are some of the smartest, sweetest, happiest, and most generous kids you could meet, and I think being homeschooled, and being raised in a family devoted to God, has done a lot to shape that character. (Plus, on days when I'm ready to pull my hair out over my kids, I think, well, if my sister-in-law can handle 16, maybe I can do 4...)

One of my graduating nieces also performed in a piano recital this weekend. I've heard her play before, and have always thought she was just amazing, but she really outdid herself at this performance. The video on my digital camera kind of muffles the sound, but here is a video clip (yes, I'm bragging by sharing, but I am soooo proud of her!).


You can also hear her play here on a TLC webisode. She's been offered all sorts of college scholarships, just from people hearing her play on the Duggar's show. Her musical style somehow breathes new life and joy into worship music. Someone said, "you feel like the gates of heaven themselves are opening up when you hear her music". Am I bragging too much? I'm just so excited for her, I can't help it. She's recorded one CD for friends and family, and hopes to do more in the near future. I have a feeling that now that she's been exposed on TLC, she'll have plenty of opportunities for doing that soon.

Here are a few shots from our trip to "the cousins'" (as my kids call our nieces and nephews - it's a little quicker than saying all 16 names)

Car Fun...

Tennessee sights (from the car)...

lots of wildflowers

lots of rock

rest stop sculpture

more wildflowers

"We made it!"

The Duggars and several other families arranged for a new addition to be built on "the cousins'" house. With 16 kids, it was a very welcomed addition! Everyone was soooo excited. TLC is filming the building process, so look for it on an upcoming episode of "18 Kids and Counting".

Even with a wall missing in the dining room, life (and dinner) must go on (it's hard to tell in this picture, but one end of the table was outside).

The Duggar Family was here for a week helping build the house. Here one of my nephews is wearing a hat signed by all the Duggars (yep, they all fit!)

a little "fun break" on the construction site

BeachPea's turn on the tire swing

MyBuddy was fascinated by the cousins' guineas

(part of) our clan leaving the recital

Lil' Diva is debating whether to share her book with her cousin (born 2 weeks apart)

enjoying the mountain view at the cousins' house

we did lots of hiking

here one of my nephews is doing some hammer juggling with John David Duggar, who stayed behind to help with the house
(another "fun break" apparently)

Lil' Diva meets a farm horse

CarriBear introduces the cousins to her Petshop toys

Lil' Diva shows off her gymnastics skills
(or maybe she's just being a kid :))

we got to do some cave exploring with the cousins
(CarriBear, here pulling desperately at daddy's hand, is not sure spelunking is for her at first, but she is brave and gives it a try in the end)

the girls get in on some construction work, too

BeachPea visits the cousins' beautiful filly

OK, enough pictures for now. Thanks for staying with me, and letting me share.:)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

You Capture: Sweet

Join the You Capture Challenge at I Should Be Folding Laundry. I had to laugh when I saw next week's challenge is "Family". You'll see why next week.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More Petshop schoolin'

Help - my girls have gone Littlest Petshop toy crazy. All they want to do is play with them. But, that's not necessarily a bad thing, I guess, because for once they are dropping their sibling squawbles so they can pool their critters and play together, and I certainly can't complain about the peace and quiet that comes with that. Plus we've found a few creative ways to use them to make school a little more interesting.

Today we played another game of Petshop Math, and even my 8 yo had fun. Then, BeachPea was supposed to put on a play of the Little Red Hen with finger puppets for her literature study, but begged to be allowed to use the Petshop toys instead. She put on a really great show, because she was doing it with something she loves. When Lil' Diva came in and saw all the fun she wanted a part of it, too, so I let her play a matching game with the discarded finger puppet pictures and the petshops (a dog, a duck, a cat, and an ostrich (didn't have a hen)). I'm beginning to dream of all the possibilities here, like petshop letters, petshop stories, petshop art lessons, color sorting, animal classification.... hmmm. Who needs textbooks when you have petshops?

"Not I," said the duck

animal match

And of course, they make great laptop buddies.

A Day in the Life...

This may end up being a reeeeally long post, so you may want to sit down and grab a cup of coffee (or grab the coffee, then sit down), or, take this opportunity to run quickly away before I get started. Just wanted to warn ya'...

When sorting through some papers the other day, I came across one of my written-out daily schedules from a few years ago- you know, the 7:00 - wake up, do Bible study, 8:00 - wake up darling children with a hug and a smile, feed family a healthy breakfast, slop the pigs, milk the cows, 9:00 - start school, teach kids reading, math, handwriting, science, history, social skills, bible, art, music, horseback riding, swimming, gymnastics, philanthropy, first aid, polo, how to save the world, etc., etc. Even though most of my schedules turn out to be totally unrealistic (somedays I barely make it past the "wake up" part), I was surprised to see how much our daily schedule had changed over the last couple of years, and how much I had forgotten about the daily happenings of those earlier days. Sooooo,

I decided to start making myself take a day every few months and record it (how it really happened) in pictures from beginning to end, to help me remember what was going on in our homeschool and family life.

So, here is TODAY, Monday, May 18, 2009, in pictures...


Feed the critters

set up the wii to do wii fit

then go to this white appliance instead and stay there for an hour


CarriBear is still sleeping like an angel...

...but Lil' Diva is up and ready for her morning milk

turns out MyBuddy is up, too, but is being more stealth about it so he can have a few more minutes on his DS

BeachPea is up soon, too, and it's not long before she's plugged in, too.

Piper is up and ready to play, too


everyone is up and it's time for one of those "healthy" breakfasts

Piper reminds me I haven't done the wii fit, yet (okay, okay)

Lil' Diva joins in on the "fun"
(the "warrior pose")


we finish the last chapters of the latest Magic Tree House book, this one about the ocean


the girls work on a self-imposed cartoon horse drawing lesson while I help big brother with school

MyBuddy finishes his 50-lesson on-line reading comprehension program at!

little sisters come to see what all the excitement is about


Grumpy (Grandpa), finds some quality reading material in the car while he waits (and waits, and waits) for all of us to get ready to go into town after lunch


BeachPea at her dance lesson (recital next week!)

little sister can't wait for her turn to dance someday

CarriBear has fun playing with another waiting little sister in the lobby of the dance studio. They come prepared with Petshops and tea sets every week.


MyBuddy at gymnastics class

more lobby-waiting fun for the girls


to Target for icees, popcorn, and shopping


BeachPea has been amazing about saving up her money from birthdays, Christmases, and allowances for the last several years. She finally saved up enough, with a little help from Grumpy, to buy her own laptop! Here, we are at Best Buy, hopelessly sorting through all the choices, while the kids find some "toys" to play with. (Sigh... I have hopes of organizing a homeschool orchestra next fall, but I may not be able to get my own kids away from the electric guitar!)


dinner at The Golden Corral with the grandparents


BACK to Best Buy to finally make our decision (had to discuss it over dinner, of course)


BeachPea with her new prize!


My naughty daughter sneaks a friend into her bed. They were just too cute to disturb.
Good night!

What is a day in the life of YOUR family like? If you post about it, let me know in the comments! I'd love to hear about it!

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