Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wichita Homeschool Convention

I just got back from going to a homeschool convention in Wichita this weekend. While I'm very glad to be home, it was nice to get away with friends for a few days! I attended several homeschooling workshops and did quite a bit of shopping. (By the way, have I mentioned that I have a side decorative painting business and would LOVE to do some painting this summer to help cover homeschooling costs and so my husband won't leave me because I spent too much money this weekend?!?! Yes, I know that's a shameless plug!)

Anyway, one of the speakers was Dr. Jay Wile of Apologia Educational Ministries. He's an extremely intelligent man and has received many awards for teaching and for doing scientific research. While I'm not a proponent of homeschooling for every family, he did present some very interesting statistics of research that has been done on homeschooling. He also presented interesting facts supporting creationism vs. evolution. His notes are listed on the following links...

Why Homeschool Through High School

Homeschooling: The Solution to our Education Problem

The Bible: A Great Source of Modern Science

Reasonable Faith: The Scientific Case for Christianity

Thursday, May 29, 2008

John 3:16 Mission Volunteer Opportunities

My hubby, Steve, has been volunteering at the John 3:16 Mission in Tulsa for the last few months. He really enjoys it and likes serving in that capacity. The children there so need good role models in their lives and just someone to love on them. Most come from single parent homes or they are being raised by their grandparents. They don't have many clothes to wear and some are even homeless. When pizza is served, many stuff their pockets so they'll have something to eat when they get home. It's so sad where many of these kids come from, but John 3:16 does an amazing job meeting the needs of those who need a step up.

My friend, Julie, recently sent out this message posting Volunteer Opportunities at the Mission..."If you are interested in any of these opportunities, please contact Megan Thomsan, the Volunteer Coordinator, directly at or 592-1186. They are wonderful to work with and it's a great time to expose our children to service projects. The Family Center has a children's educational program all summer. They would prefer that you commit to being there consistently once a week, but understand that is difficult with summer schedules. All the programs are planned and have supplies. You will be there to interact with the children and have fun doing projects with them."

The summer program runs June 16 - July 31st.
Monday - Art 2:30 - 4:30
Wednesday - Drama 2:30 - 4:30
Thursday - Bible Study 2:30 - 5:30

Mornings (once a week) Tutoring in Reading & Math 9:30 - 11:30

Monday, May 26, 2008

Couch-to-5K Running Plan

I love to exercise and I've been working out at the YMCA for about 5 years now. Before that, I did Jazzercise - also for about 5 years. While I do love taking the classes at the Y, I feel like I need something more. I have several friends who run & they have unknowingly motivated me to try it myself. (Thank you Gay Lynne, Margo, Ashley & Allana! Now if I have a heart attack, it's your fault!) I actually used to run growing up with my dad. We always enjoyed running in the Tulsa Run every year as a family. Well, now I'm old & it hurts my knees and feet to run! I'm hoping if I start out slow that I can work my way up to running a few miles without having a heart attack. I found a website that has a "simple" plan to follow for beginning runners. Their site says, "The Couch-to-5K Running Plan is a beginner's running schedule that has helped thousands of new runners get off the couch and onto the roads, running 3 miles in just two months." I'm starting tomorrow so we'll see how it goes!

Memorial Day observance at Floral Haven

Today we went to Floral Haven Cemetery in Tulsa to see the Changing of the Guard and all of the flags that were displayed. It was really neat to see and it serves as a good reminder to us of how blessed we are in America and how proud we should be of all the brave soldiers who have fought for our Freedom.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

If You're Reading This - by Tim McGraw

To watch this slideshow, please scroll to the bottom of this page and turn off the music first.

Happy Memorial Day

I have a friend who visits the graves of her passed relatives every year during Memorial Day weekend with her mother’s side of the family. She said before they went to the cemeteries this year, they all (including her two young daughters) made their own flower arrangements to put on the graves. I thought that was a great idea to get children involved and to make the observance more real and memorable for them.

Another person was telling me today that at Floral Haven in Tulsa, they are doing a “Changing of the Guards” every half hour to hour to reenact the Changing of the Guard at the Arlington Natl. Cemetery. He said it actually took an act of congress to be allowed to do this & it’s the only cemetery in the U.S. that is allowed to do it because of its sacredness. I’m thinking about taking the girls to see it tomorrow & see all the flags displayed. I’m sure it’s an amazing site! For more information of the special events going on at Floral Haven for Memorial Day, go to: and

Memorial Day lesson plans for homeschoolers:

Merry Maids to the rescue

After almost fainting, I had to grab my camera and get a picture of this! My girls were actually cleaning - and I didn't even ask them to! Actually, "M" is a pretty good cleaner but when it comes to "A" cleaning, she becomes a major drama queen. She drops to the floor and suddenly gets so tired. Hopefully she'll outgrow this stage fast ;-)

Well, I recently learned of a new website called Handipoints. Their website says, "In addition to powerful parenting tools for Task and Goal management, Handipoints features HandiLand, a fun virtual world where kids adopt their own cartoon cat and use their points to buy clothes and gear for their cat. Great for kids from four to fourteen, Handipoints helps teach kids to be Happy, Healthy and Smart." You can actually create a chore chart at this site & as the kids do chores at home, they can check them off on-line & earn points for their virtual cat. We also decided now is a good time to start the girls on allowance so we are tying that in with their chores. We just started this today so we'll see how long this keeps up but the girls were so excited to get started. I better enjoy this while I can!

My little fashion girls...

Even though my first degree is in Fashion Merchandising, I don't remember having an interest in clothes until around 6th grade or so. My girls are only 6 and 8 and are already so into clothes and looking "fashion" - not sure what that means. I'm so out of touch of what's in fashion nowadays - I'm doing good just to have shoes on when I leave the house. So the girls recently got new hats - apparently it's the style. They love them so much that Steve and I caught them sleeping with them the other night when we went to check on them. Too funny ;-)

Last day of preschool :-(

"A's" last day of preschool was last Wednesday. Before school started, one of the moms said how she was trying not to cry because it was the last day of school. I jokingly replied, "Well, you should homeschool then you don't have to worry about that!" Then, when I went to pick up "A" from school, another mom said, "This is kind of a sad day! No more preschool! My baby's not a baby anymore!" Then it hit me & I started crying! No other moms had tears in their eyes - just me. And we even homeschool - what's up with that?! I guess it just hit me that "A" was done with preschool. I suppose it's about time since she's been in preschool for 3 years now! ("A" has a late birthday so I thought I'd keep her in preschool another year and not start kindergarten full time just yet.) Apparently, we must move on! We've been so blessed to have such great teachers for both girls during their preschool years at Sonshine & Yellow Balloon. I would highly recommend both schools.

After school let out, "A's" friends from school went to the Sprinkler Park to celebrate (yes, it was our 4th time in a week to go!). They had a great time & we hope to stay in touch with her friends this summer & have lots of playdates!

Zoo Day with friends...

We went to the Tulsa Zoo again one day last week with friends and had a great time!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Last dance...

The girls have taken ballet and tap from Kari Williams at Center Stage Dance Studio for three years now and they LOVE it! We've been to two other dance studios in town and Center Stage is by far the best! Kari is so good with the kids and my girls have learned so much from her. They had their final dance recital today and it was held out at Rogers State in Claremore. All of the girls looked so cute & they did a great job! "M" and "A" can't wait to start again next fall!

"M's" dance recital pics...

"A's" dance recital pics...

Soccer season's over ;-(

"A's" soccer team, Switchfoot, had a great season and they just had their last game this morning. She had a great time and looks forward to playing again next fall.

Some wet fun...

Our homeschool co-op met at the YMCA's splash pad this past Friday! The water was a little cold but the kids had a blast! I'm sure we'll be spending many more days there this summer!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Our trip to the zoo

We went to the Tulsa Zoo on Wednesday with some of our friends and had a great time. We had fun watching the animals and enjoying the nice weather. Funny story - when we first got there, we were watching the black bears. One of the little boys that was with us said, "Mom, look! That bear has two heads!" Well, it just happens to be mating season so you can imagine what he saw! Sorry - no pictures of that one! The girls especially liked the Rain Forrest but those pics didn't turn out so well - too steamy, I guess! We look forward to our next trip back to the zoo!

Farewell butterflies!

Well, we released our butterflies yesterday. "M" came up to me and said, "Mom, I think it's time to let the butterflies go be part of nature." I think she really just wants to reuse her butterfly cage to catch more butterflies after these are gone :-) We really enjoyed raising them and watching them grow from caterpillars into beautiful butterflies!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

You go girl!

I am amazed at how gifted and talented so many of my friends are! I have to brag on my friend, Brandi, now ;-) Her website reads, "
Brandi Stafford Simons is an award-winning freelance photographer based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Brandi has been photographing daily news, sports, and portrait assignments since 1993, working as a photojournalist on a newspaper staff as well as freelance. In 2005 she and her family returned to Tulsa so her husband Mike could take a staff photographer’s position at The Tulsa World, and Brandi could freelance. Oklahoma has always been “home” to Mike and Brandi, and they are very excited to be back.
Brandi brings her years of photojournalism experience to her documentary portraiture, working unobtrusively. Her Don’t Say Cheese attitude paired with photographing people in their own comfortable surroundings makes for some truly amazing storytelling images."

NPPA-National Press Photographers Association
ASMP-American Society of Media Photographers

The Associated Press
Getty Images
The New York Times
The Tulsa World-
The Oklahoman
World Picture News
Just Between Friends
The City of Tulsa
The Wall Street Journal
The Performance Resource Group
CSP Magazine

A few days ago, Brandi covered the Picher tornado. Her photos even made USA Today's "The Day in Pictures" Go to "May 14th" & it's picture #3.

You can see more photos of the Picher devastation if you go here - you'll also see more amazing pictures she's taken from all over the U.S.

Yea, Brandi ;-) You go girl!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day to my Mom ;-)

Yesterday, the girls, Steve & I joined my sister and her family in surprising my mom for Mother's Day. We met at her house in OKC and did a backyard makeover for her - we should be on t.v.! We cleaned out her flower beds, pulled weeds, cleaned off her patio, planted flowers & potted plants & gave her new patio furniture. I'll have to post pics later. We had a great time and we hope she enjoys her surprise. She's worth it! Love you, Mom ;-)

Happy Mother's Day weekend

Hmmm - Mom's Week has apparently been shortened to "Mom's Weekend". I knew it was too good to be true ;-)

We have butterflies!

In a previous post, I mentioned that we were raising caterpillars and waiting for them to turn into butterflies. Well, the girls woke up yesterday morning to 3 butterflies in their cage & we're still waiting on the 4th. God's little miracles of nature can be pretty exciting ;-)


My friend, Leslie, who owns L.E. Portraits , created some awesome silhouettes of my girls for me and we also did a cousin's picture for Steve's mom. They turned out great & will be wonderful keepsakes!

Mother's Day Lunch

Today after church, we went to Steve's parent's house in Sperry for a delicious Mother's Day lunch. Steve's sister's family was there and his grandmother was, too. We had a great time ;-)

Happy Mother's Day

I woke up yesterday morning to a delicious breakfast of a bowl of milk with a little bit of cereal ;-), a tiarra and a very cute note. Notice the note reads, "Happy Mom's week" - hmmm, I wonder if they'll remember that?! I love my sweet girls.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


The other night, Steve and I went to check on the girls before we went to bed and "A" was asleep holding a note written by "M". "M" wrote this note for "A" for her birthday. Too sweet ;-)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Quack Quack

We've gotten so much rain today that our ditches have filled up and look like mini ponds! In fact, our neighbor across the street from us had ducks in hers! Of course the girls wanted to see them close up so they took them some bread and popcorn. As they ran out the door to feed them, I said, "Now don't chase the ducks and scare them away!" The third picture shows what happened ;-)

Our new pets...

The girls are so excited because we are raising Painted Lady butterflies from Insect Lore. (This is probably the closest thing they'll get for a pet for a while - with the exception of the fish "A" received for her birthday.) They are currently in the chrysallis stage & should be turning into butterflies within the next few days. More pics to come soon!