Allison's Birthday Gift

Along with our Disney trip, Allison received Chrissa (an American Girl doll) for her 6th birthday. She picked out the doll 10 months ago, but we told her she had to wait until her birthday before she received it. She even survived two trips to the Boston American Girl store while leaving empty handed. She has concluded that it was worth the wait. You can see a video of her opening her gift below.


Board Break

Tae Kwon Do

Sometimes I wonder what I'm going to do with all the photos and videos we've collected from TKD.

More Disney Pictures....


Happy Birthday, Allison!

We spent Allison's 6th birthday at Disney World thanks to a Christmas gift from my mom. I have many more pictures to post and will do so after I get a little organized. On the 4th, the day of her birthday, Orlando had some torrential downpours and very cold (for Florida) weather. However, we managed to keep Allison looking most beautiful until after she dined with the princesses.


It's Christmas Music Time....

...although we've been secretly listening to the holiday carols for weeks now.


The Greatest Thing on the Internet....

I've been meaning to blog about this for awhile. Let's face it, there's a lot of amazing things on the Internet (dancing cats, dancing babies, teenage hijinks, etc.), but several weeks ago a fellow homeschool mom suggested I check out e-mealz. Trying to find the time to grocery shop and meal plan on top of homeschooling has been a new challenge for me. However, for only $5.00 a month, some kind person will provide me with my meals and my shopping list for the week at the grocery store of my choice. Unbelievable. And, totally worth the $1.25 a week. I used to do a decent job of shopping the circulars, meal planning and hitting the sales at the local grocery stores once a week. However, now I find that task a little daunting, especially with my children accompanying me. Now, thanks to e-mealz, I'm making a weekly trek to Wal-Mart bright and early on Saturday mornings. I'm buying my groceries for the week, and we're saving a ton of money in the process.

FYI - the family plan serves 6, and it is a large 6 meals. I've actually reduced the plan to only 4 meals weekly and found that that is an adequate amount of food for our family.


Let's Read

We've begun a holiday reading contest. We made this tree and posted it on our living room wall. Between now and the end of the year, both Alex and Allison will receive an ornament to hang on the tree for each book they finish reading. But, here's the catch....Allison has to read chapter books (early reader types, like Magic Tree House books), and Alex's books have to be a little more challenging than early reader books. As you can see, they've embraced the contest well, and we only began on Wednesday. Alex's ornaments are red. Allison's are yellow. We'll update you more as the weeks progress.

Field Trip Friday

We've had simply marvelous weather again, so Friday we declared it zoo day!

This tree kangaroo has a baby joey in her pouch. You can see him peeking out to say hello!


Alex's Signature Dish

We're fans of 101 Things You Gotta Do Before You're 12! If you have children, check it out. The book lists 101 ideas of some of the coolest things kids just have to do. Number 54 is Develop Your Own Signature Dish, and Alex has recently developed his. This actually came about as Alex was experimenting with what he wanted for lunch one day. We heated up some ramen noodles, then fried them in an egg. Its actually quite tasty, very Japanese. However, Alex didn't stop there, and added goldfish crackers and crumbled toast. He loved his creation and now has it at least twice a week. Since its become a favorite, we figure that's enough for a signature dish!

Why Allison Loves Homeschooling....

...Everyday is dress-like-a-princess day.



I've been busy organizing pictures. Well...some of them, anyway. I remember when I used to load film into a camera, and I took about 40 pictures a month. Now, thanks to the advancement of digital photography, I take 40 pictures on a Tuesday afternoon. Each year I've been making a book highlighting some family events. For each child, individual milestones (like loose teeth, dance recitals, birthdays, etc.) still end up being displayed in their own personal scrapbook. I've come to the realization that there is no way I can showcase every picture. There are just too many.

I've finished a book for 2008, and you can link to it below. I always end up quickly putting them together because there are certain times when shutterfly (my preferred online photo site) runs specials on the books and shipping. The sale ended today.

I've found this blog to be helpful in recapping memories because everything has been recorded, with a date!

And, by the way, the book has already been ordered. So, if you notice a typo, please don't tell me. :D Enjoy....


Click here to view this photo book larger


One Month...?

I can't believe its been almost an entire month since my last post. We've been terribly busy. Our new homeschool schedule seems to be the reason, but we're having a blast. Our days are full with lots of reading, writing, mathematics, history and more! We're enjoying every minute of it.

We're also enjoying the fall weather, and we took a trip to Washington D.C. There are some pictures below. With our trip to D.C., Alex has now visited 33 states, and Allison has been to 31!

Gorgeous Fall Days

October rolled in with lots of rain, and very cold temperatures similar to that of late November. We were worried that fall missed us all together, but no worries. Autumn has showed up the last week and will hopefully continue for the last few days of the month.

Marine Corps Marathon

We traveled to D.C. over the weekend for Adam to participate in the Marine Corps Marathon. We had a quick visit and saw some sights briefly before we were rained out on Saturday. Fortunately, the weather cleared up, and Adam had ideal conditions for his fourth marathon on Sunday, which he ran in 4 hours and 7 minutes. It was a wonderful experience, and we've now decided that unless a marathon has 30,000+ participants, 180,000+ spectators, military flyovers, a Marine Corps color guard and the nation's capital, it will be sub par.


Happy Birthday, Alex!

Alex turned 8 on Saturday. In lieu of a party, he opted for an evening at Cedar Point. Cedar Point hosts its Halloweekends throughout the fall, and we heard the rumor that the parks are empty on Friday evenings. The rumor is mostly true. There are no lines for the rides. Whereas there are a few people at the park, most people attend in order to walk through the umpteen dozen haunted houses. We opted for the rides, and walked right on most everything we wanted to. Alex even cleared the height limit to ride most of the biggies including the Magnum, the Power Tower, and maxAir. This last one was even terrifying to watch. I'm glad I didn't have to ride it with him.

Happy Birthday, Alex!


Mercy Watson

Have you heard of Mercy Watson? She has quickly become the new favorite pig in our home. And, we love lots of pigs...Wilbur, Babe, Piglet, etc. There are six books thus far in the Mercy Watson series, and thanks to the recommendation from one of our local children's librarians, we have already read all six books. Some more than once! They are written by Kate DiCamillo, who is probably most popular for Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux, since both of those award winning children's novels were turned into movies.

Mercy Watson books are easy chapter books for younger readers, so our librarian recommended them to Allison. However, we have all found ourselves enjoying the adventures of this pig who loves hot buttered toast. We giggle along as we listen to Allison read us the books.

Along with Despereaux and Winn-Dixie, DiCamillo also has several other books for older children that are worth reading. Alex read a new one, The Magician's Elephant, in two days. DiCamillo is a fantastic story-teller. Check her out!


Forseeing the Future...

Thanks to our friend Scott, we recently discovered these AT&T commercials from 1993. Did we really believe, nearly 17 years ago, that we'd have the technology we have today? Check them out.....

As an added bonus, the commercials are narrated by Magnum P.I.


North and South

I'm thrilled to report that we've had a great start to school. We've only been 'in session' for two weeks, and both those weeks were short weeks due to Labor Day and a Field Trip which was a blast! Friday we traveled to Zoar, Ohio with our Field Trip Co-op for their civil war days. The City of Zoar holds a Civil War Festival each fall which includes many battle reenactments. On Friday they host a school assembly with stations practicing old techniques (weaving, wood detail, candle-making, confederate and union camps, etc.) along with an artillery and cavalry demonstration. On Thursday, in preparation for the trip, we read quite a bit about the Civil War and the 19th Century.

The kids and I, enjoyed ourselves so much that we returned with Adam on Sunday to watch one of the battles. Neither one of us had ever been to a Civil War reenactment, and now I can see why they draw such a crowd! The South won the battle we watched, although I think it had something to do with their five cannons to the Union's two.

I'm super happy with all the curriculum I have chosen for the kids and promise to post more about what our school schedule looks like at a later date!

I caught this 'dressmaker' texting. Very 1800's.


Tomato Pie

Thanks to my friend Kristin, I have come across the most tasty recipe, Paula Deen's Tomato Pie. I made this one afternoon, and we had gobbled it up by the next morning. I actually think its a little too cheesy (if that's even possible) and next time will probably reduce the cheese a bit. Enjoy....

  • 4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 (9-inch) prebaked deep dish pie shell
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated cheddar
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the tomatoes in a colander in the sink in 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 10 minutes.

Layer the tomato slices, basil, and onion in pie shell. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the grated cheeses and mayonnaise together. Spread mixture on top of the tomatoes and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

To serve, cut into slices and serve warm.