When I Grow Up

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Just this summer, I was mentioning to a long-time friend how emotional I’ve been preparing for this new chapter in my life, in which three of my four children are now grown and in college, leaving only my baby of thirteen-years, home as a sort of “only child” for the next five years.

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I guess I should’ve been prepared for the questions she then threw at me, as I’ve heard them from well-meaning friends and family before:

“Have you thought about taking some classes? Figuring out what you want to be when you grow up?”

Sigh.

I remember singing this song when I was a little girl… “When I grow up, I want to be a mother, and have a family. One little, two little, three little babies of my own…” Oh how I loved mothering my younger brothers, my baby sister and my dolls! When I was a teenager, I chose to spend Friday nights babysitting of all things.

My friends and family know that I married shortly after graduating high school and immediately began a family of my own with my wonderful husband, who had already put himself through six years of college, and was established in his career (he’s sixteen-years older than me). I have been fortunate to have the means as well as the desire to stay home and raise our four children.

I’ve embraced my roles as wife and mother and I’ve made my family my career. I am a homemaker. I serve in my church, have my own hobbies and love to spend time with my family and friends. I look forward to being a grandmother someday. (I want my grandchildren to call me, “Nonnina” which means “little grandmother” in Italian.)

I know it’s typical for many of my friends and family to “go back to school” at some point, and I honestly admire them for that. However, I have never felt compelled to follow that same path. That is not my dream. I seem to know something they don’t know: I have already furthered my education in other ways. My non-homeschooling friends and family don’t get this, but my travels and living abroad, my homeschooling lifestyle, and just being a wife and mother have taught me so much! For example…

♥ I know the life-cycle of frogs, how volcanoes are formed, and other science related tidbits, from hands-on unit studies and experiments.

♥ I understand Algebra for the first time because I taught it to my son (and teaching reinforces learning).

♥ I can name various cacti of the Sonoran Desert from my nature walks through desert gardens.

♥ I’ve improved my nature photography skills simply by taking photos out in nature.

♥ I can share first-hand knowledge about Peruvian culture, having lived and traveled in Peru for four years.

♥ I can speak and understand Spanish from years of submersion.

♥ I’ve expanded my vocabulary from reading classics aloud to my children.

♥ I’ve learned planning and organizational skills, simply by planning and organizing my home and homeschool.

♥ Etc. etc. etc.

I took a cake decorating class once, with my daughter and enjoyed it because it was special mother-daughter time. So, yes, I have thought about taking a professional photography class for no other reason than my love for photography.

 

But, what do I want to “be when I grow up”?

I’m already that person. 😊

Back to School Success Kits

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I enjoy putting together fun care packages for my young nieces and nephews. Since they are starting their new school year, I mailed them each a back to school success kit. They’re not that clever, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

I had to keep the cost down so I hit the dollar store, Staples, and Walmart, and bought inexpensive items in bulk as much as possible.

Each kit includes:
*A mechanical pencil
*Two crayons
*A smiley face sharpener
*An animal eraser
*A mini notebook
*Cute paper clips
*A bandaid
*Smarties
*Owl Stickers
*Pencil case
*Education quote

I found these cute “tickets” in my teacher box which I had never used, haha, and I wrote a little thought on the back of them and attached one to each item (with a paper clip or
tickytac).

Here’s an example of what I wrote on the tickets:
*Notebook- Where clever ideas, doodles and math problems mesh together.
*Pencil- Clever writing tool.
*Sharpener- Smile at your sharpened skills.
*Eraser- Mistakes don’t stand a chance!
*Crayons- Imagine a world without color.
*Paper clips- On the paper team.
*Bandaid- For life’s little owies.
*Smarties- You’re smarter than you think! (Called, “Rockets” in Canada.)

For my two nieces starting middle school and high school, I also included emergency kits, filled with a few essentials, such as: pocket Kleenex, hair elastics, chapstick, deodorant, chocolate, flossers, and Tic Tacs.

As for us, we will be starting our new homeschool year on August 30th. Right now I’m at our apartment in Arizona preparing our homeschool spaces as a surprise for Marcus when we return from Utah in a few weeks. More on that to come. Thanks for visiting my blog. 😊

Our Inspiration Word & Scripture Theme

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We watched the Olympic opening ceremony and I was touched when the Refugee team, made up of ten refugees walked out. I also didn’t know this was South America’s first time to host the Olympics. We thought this opening ceremony was beautiful and amazing. And, if I’m understanding correctly, Rio de Janeiro’s national anthem is called, “Aquele Abraco”, which translates to “That Embrace”. Embrace, as in, hug or welcome.

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This past homeschool year, we did something we had never done before: we incorporated random weekly scripture verses which we tried to memorize, and I chose a yearly scripture theme as well, which was from our Doctrine and Covenants, section 88, verses 118-119:

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.

As a new homeschool year is nearly upon us, I asked Marcus to choose our scripture theme and he selected one of his favorite verses from The Book of Mormon:

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I’ll be explaining the context of this verse in a later post. It’s actually a beautiful and amazing scripture story. ♥ Something new (to us) that I thought we’d try this homeschool year, is to have an inspiration word. It’s something many homeschooling families seem to do, choose a word to inspire their year of learning together. Our word is (you guessed it), Embrace. For us, embrace will mean to adapt, nurture, nourish, affirm, appreciate, cultivate, seize and foster. I chose Embrace as our word because I am entering another chapter of motherhood. I’m thinking of calling it, “I am now only one child away from being an empty-nester and I don’t like it one bit!”, which seems rather lengthy and a bit negative, but that is how I feel. Can you see why I need this word?

Did you watch the opening ceremony? Do you have a word that is inspirational to you at this time of your life?

Happy Hearts in Planning Mode

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It has been a busy summer here at our house, but it’s time I nail down our plans for this upcoming Happy Hearts homeschool year. I feel like we’ve come full circle. We started out homeschooling with just the two of us (my youngest son and I), and here we are, seven years later, back to just the two of us, now that both of my daughters are homeschool graduates.

So here goes… this will be Marcus’ eighth-grade year. I have already registered him as a distance student through the amazing Liahona Academy. His online classes will cover earth science, American government and civics, and a combined Geometry/Algebra 2 class. The best part about these classes is that they are filmed live, but the recordings are available anytime, and they are only Monday-Thursday. So, there’s a lot of flexibility for homeschoolers. Also, these classes are gospel based, which I love. This will be Marcus’ fourth year with Liahona.

That was the easy part! Now for the rest…

English/Language Arts- I want to cover more poetry this year. I purchased three poetry books to give us variety:

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The first is called, Pocket Book of Poetry and it contains select poems by several poets, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Lewis Carroll and Robert Frost. The second book is called, The Bridge Across the River by Shepherd Thorleif Halvorsen, and the third book is from Simply Charlotte Mason’s Enjoy the Poems collection (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow).

We have yet to try any Shakespeare, so with my daughter’s help, I chose, Much Ado About Nothing and I found some free online resources to accompany it, which I’ve downloaded into a folder.

We will also cover grammar and essay writing.

For our read-alouds, so far I have, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, and the third book in the Mysterious Benedict Society series, and the second, Nightmares! (The Sleepwalker Tonic), by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. And then, we’ll go from there, but I want to include a novel by Jules Verne (Last year we read, Around the World in 80 Days).

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Geography/History- I love geography so we have already learned the states and capitals twice, and having lived in Peru, we experienced another culture, but I want to go deeper this year and do a state history unit in order of the statehood dates, as well as a seven continent (with select countries from each continent) unit. This is where I’m still planning, but I have ideas swirling around my head (and jotted down), plus, I’ve purchased a couple of goodies to get us started. The first is this set of 50 state postcards. The second is this decorative USA map which I’m going to frame.

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Art and Music- We will continue with our set of Maestro Classics, which we started using last year. Since the only art my son currently enjoys is chalk pastel art, I purchased a couple of e-books from chalkpastel.com. One is American Landmarks so that will go nicely with our state history unit.

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I’m sure I’ll be adding a few more resources/curriculum as we go, but for the most part we keep things simple and leave time for new pursuits. As for our schedule, I can’t plan that in detail until I know his online class times. I only know the starting day is Aug. 30th. I’m also checking out different homeschool planners to see if one appeals to me.

Summer Family Fun

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Last week with my nieces was so. much. fun! We went rollerblading, enjoyed a picnic, and visited a petting zoo.

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We also made some crafts and I have to show off my favorite one. My niece who loves the movie, Up, made this.

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We ended the week by watching the Days of 47 rodeo. My husband, oldest son and my brother all joined us.

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On Sunday, my family drove up Mill Creek Canyon where I took pics with my iPhone 6 while my son took pics with my nice camera. I’m sure his photos turned out better, but I’m so happy he’s enjoying my camera this summer.🙂

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There’s something soothing about taking nature photos, even with an iPhone.

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This morning, we watched the Days of 47 parade in downtown Salt Lake City. (The Days of 47 celebrates Utah’s Pioneer Day holiday.) There were a lot of high school bands, floats, horses and police motorcycles. This is our second year attending this parade.

Weekly Nutshell (4th of July & a Concert)

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Yes, I embellished this picture, but you get the idea.

Last weekend, Zach came home, which is always a treat, and then friends came up from Salt Lake and had a BBQ with us on Sunday. On Monday, we watched fireworks in the distance from our back deck and lit sparklers. (I sent Zach home Sunday night with my Sony DSLR so these are all iPhone pics.)

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On Tuesday morning, Marissa left for her last girls camp. On Wednesday, our dog, Zoey, went to the groomers and came home with a shiny coat (and all the undergrowth gone).

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On Friday, Marissa returned, full of camp stories.🙂

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On Friday evening, Marcus and I visited our friend’s barn just up the street…

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Where we got to bottle feed their calves. That was fun!

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And on Saturday night, a group of us (that’s my cousin taking the group-selfie) went to a nearby resort for a Kelly Pickler concert.

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Aren’t they beautiful sisters?

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So that was our week in a nutshell. How was your week?