Echo eyes

We have a new addition to our home.

Our last little pibbles, ASIA, was put down 3 yrs ago.

We are finally ready to start a new journey with another pup.

Yes, she is another pit, and has quite the impressive heritage to her title before her name.

and yes, we’ve had her less than a week and have already received a snide comment on her “breed”,
but that’s ok, because we realize the ignorance is out there,
and we are just gonna let our dog’s loveliness show for itself.


“Echo” is getting familiar with her new pack (our family members),
is getting potty training figured out,
and most definitely is learning to control her puppy nips when playing.

It should be a fun year!

I would like you to meet our newest adopted big kid…


Meet Lyndsey! 
She is on the left with our Katie-girl.

I love the way God puts young people in our path to mentor and guide.
Sometimes it has been a difficult journey, one where you pour out your time, efforts, and heart, yet we just can’t quite reach them.  Their walls are built and we just can’t get through.  I like to think that we some how plant a seed of grace in there, and somewhere down the path it will get watered by another loving soul who will reach out to them also.

However, the past few years we have been very blessed to see the prosperity in the power of simply loving on others.


Justin lived with us back in Nov 2011- June 2012 to wrap up his senior year in high school.
He loved to cook for us, and was always willing to play games with the kids.


Preston (on right) lived with us for a year (Aug 2012-Aug 21013),
after he had graduated from high school.
He wanted to be closer to his job while he was going to college.

4th of July Lyndsey and Preston

Preston and Lyndsey are getting married in August.
We are blessed enough for her to stay with us while she prepares for the wedding.
I have to admit she is probably the quietest, cleanest roommate Katie will ever have!
Lyndsey has been with us for over a month now,
and although she seems to work a lot,
I think we will have lots of fun this summer!

I am so grateful to be there for others;  that I have spent these many years being a stay-at-home mom that allows me the freedom and flexibility to love on others.

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Romans 12:13


We still have freedoms!

There’s a lot going wrong with our country lately,
and I won’t drag in those political view right now;
however, we still have some freedoms left!

The Right to bear arms.
The Right to homeschool.
The Right to have what ever sized family you want!

I feel so blessed lately with our family and holidays.

4th of July group photo

Everyone shows up!
Our six kids!
One son’s girlfriend, and our daughter-in law!
My 3 nephews!
Often an adopted big kid or two!
Makes my heart full of JOY! 

4th of July football
We tend to be a bit festive for some holidays!
Football anyone?


or maybe futbol?

4th of July the men

My brother-in-law (on left) rocked the smoker this year with bacon-topped ribs!!  Yumm!


while my little sissy and I got to visit and giggle a lot!

4th of July drawing lessons

Katie-girl got some drawing lessons from Kailynn (Nick’s girl),
which I think is super cool since she’s a very talented young lady who has been going to college for Art Therapy.


Our oldest son and his wife are always a joy to have join us!

4th of July Lyndsey and Preston
Then these 2 showed up at our house when we got home,
which completed our family day with all of our kids!


And as we continue to pray for our great nation,
may God bless you…
and may God bless America!



It’s just about over, and time flew by!


Father’s Day was great because the dad did his own BBQ!
Yummy for us!  and all the kids were here too!


We had beautiful weather overall and this would be our first day of sunburns for the season.


The kids and I have spent 2 weeks helping decorate the church in preparation for our VBS.
Doesn’t TJ look excited on top of that ladder?  I think it was me taking his picture that he wasn’t thrilled about.  ha!


Let’s not forget the World Cup Games!!
Nick takes soccer very seriously!
Doesn’t he look like he would fit in the crowd for the USA?

Summer is off to a busy, but fun start!

We have also attended a graduation party and a bridal party.
Went to our local summerfest where Katie got to do one of her dance routines.
I spent a week end at a Homeschool Conference to encourage the Self-Learning concept,
along with beginning to plan out next years lessons for homeschool.
In the mean time, I blinked and now it is just about July!

So, how did your June go?  Got plans for July yet?


Give and ye shall receive?

I went through my schoolroom this past spring.

I gifted my whole set of Abeka (Kindergarten through 6th grade) set to a new homeschooler in the community.  I don’t know them, I haven’t met them, but I did hear about their need.  So I boxed up 3 large boxes and sent my husband on the “surprise” drop off.

Then I heard about someone really desiring Sonlight for their 2 young boys (7 & 9).  I happened to have what they needed, so I boxed up 2 years worth of books and sent them on their way.

Next was someone who needed leggos; yep, we have an overabundance, so we shared!

These are things that a person really could have made money on, but my heart really was to “bless it forward”…


imagine my surprise when I became the recipient of a gift of BOOKS!


8 boxes of classic literature, history novels, nature books, and more!

I received (I do believe!) just about the whole entire set of
American Landmark series-
The Landmark Books are a series of non-fiction books published by Random House in the fifties and early sixties.
Simply put, the Landmark series is the best collection of children’s histories ever written. ~ Exodus books

My cousin and his wife have finished homeschooling their daughter and, like I mentioned above, wanted to “bless it forward”.
Thank you D.T. & Leola!  I am SO excited!! 
People have joked about me having my own library, however, I now believe I just about do!  *smile*

Here’s our SCHOOLROOM:


All those cubbies on the right contain classic literature and history books.
-below is a small view of them.


Then we have readers.
These shelves are more for *free* reading interests.


Thus they fit nicely in our reading area.
We use the cork board for weekly themes for the week,
such as life cycle of a frog, spring trees, farm life, etc.
We actually put a daily craft on there to make a mural by the end of the week.
Schools out, so obviously it’s a little blank right now.


Next is our nature and science shelves!


…along with our nature observation window.


I also have a small bookshelf for early readers.


Here is the angle of the classroom from the reading area.
It gives a better view of all the history books too.


We add a small white board to the top of the bookshelf for Spanish/French lessons.  Since we are officially on summer vacation, it is a great time to review and get the younger kids to learn more.


And to utilize space, I put the older kids workboxes by the wood stove.
It works for now.


Yes, technically, our schoolroom is really what is suppose to be a living room, but hey, I’m living the dream…
I’m homeschooling my kids,
I have my own library,
and we have nature in our backyard.

Life is good, and I feel blessed!

 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” ~ Luke 6:38

So, I’ve gotten on track with all this Takin’ Care of Mama stuff.

I’ve cut down on diet Coke and limited fast food…
I’ve added juicing and protein shakes…
and I’ve added miles and miles of hiking!!

Yet, the weight in numbers has only gone down 13 lbs in about 5 months.
My belly is still very much round to boot, amazingly still the same measurement that I began with. *sigh*

The upside so far…
Healthier attitude
stronger lungs
leaner legs.

I’ve decided to do a detox program for 28 days.
To rid my body of all toxins; sugar, preservatives, dyes,
as well as common food allergens; peanuts, dairy, corn, gluten. 

After my gall bladder surgery last year, my body has not responded as well to my usual efforts.  I am a week into the detox, and the first week symptoms weren’t as bad as past efforts due to making some changes already.  I am hoping this up and coming week things will start picking up, as in my energy level.

Staying active. 

Obstacle course at the park…

TJ Rainier park tag
Kids are the best to play with!

I am still hiking with Chanelle when I get a chance;
however, an infestation of caterpillars the last few weeks has deterred our efforts. ew!

Here’s my new running buddy!


Katie-girl and I are taking baby steps to running.
Wind sprints are awesome!

Fruit-of-the-Spirit:  Self control…
in food, exercise, and attitude.

2nd Peter 1: 6-8
and in your knowledge self-control;
and in your self-control patience;
and in your patience godliness;
and in your godliness brotherly kindness;
and in your brotherly kindness love.
For if these things are yours and abound,
they make you to be not idle nor unfruitful
unto the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I am a very methodical and structured kind of person.  I like my plans.
Heck, I like planning to plan my plans!  Did you follow that?
It’s ok, I understand if you didn’t.  *smile*

So imagine my surprise this last quarter when nothing went how I planned it.
In fact, it was so scattered that we simply stopped our book work a month early.
Yep, done.  I am not a fan of homeschool burn out.  It’s never necessary.

We haven’t even reviewed stuff for state testing.
I figure either they know it, or they don’t, eh?
I’ll be sure to share the results later…
Oh wait, I don’t usually share the results do I?
Tests don’t define knowledge, nor the wisdom in how to apply it,
but we knew that already, right?

So what have we been doing this month?


Katie has been working on creative healthy snacks for the boys.


We have gone on nature walks.


Played many games.


Watch this cute-patootie on Fridays.


Continued piano lessons…


as Katie-girl gives lessons of her own.

Katie also continued practicing her braiding skills.
(yes, that’s my head)


Big brother is giving truck & tire lessons to Bryson…

IMG_1883[1] IMG_1884[1]

while Andrew observes small bugs.

We’ve also celebrated 3 birthdays;
(Bryson, 6; TJ, 17, & Grandpa Paul) and Mother’s Day.

Dance came to a close as Katie’s recital was a week ago;
however, she is still student teaching til the end of the month.

We also had an unexpected tragedy this month and my favorite uncle died.
That’s some sad stuff.


Additionally, we’ve had some nice weather to enjoy the river and parks in our area.

Our science co op, Wednesday school, and Stepping Stones church night are all coming to a close next week…

Then I can finally say our school year has came to an end.

Yay for summertime!! 


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