Wednesday, October 2, 2013


When I think of the things that my family has been through in the last year I can see how easy it would have been to just give up.  How easy it would have been to turn my back on the Lord.  To just stop trying. 

I am not going to lie and say there were not hours, days and even weeks that I thought that I would just give up.  There were days I could not get out of bed as I was paralyzed with sadness.  I remember one particular day I was laying on my couch sobbing.  I began to breath really heavy and fast.  The next thing I know I was waking up.  I had been sleeping for over 2 hours.  I believe I passed out from the intense crying. I was emotionally and physically drained.  I decided early on in my trials that I would give my self a deadline to grieve.  On that day I turned my trials and pain over to God.  People who know my in real life often ask me how I am handling myself so well and I can honestly say if not for the Lord I would not be doing as well as I am.  

The last 4 weeks I have been going to a Bible study with two of my dearest friends Julie and Sarah.  Between the 3 of us we have 12 children, we all homeschool and we are all stay at home moms.  When Julie mentioned the Bible study was on Gideon I was not sure.  I like bible studies that are girlie.  Bible studies by great women like Beth Moore and Lysa Terkeurst.  This study on Gideon by Priscilla Shirer did not seem like my cup of tea.  But, I wanted to go with my girls.  So, I  bought the book and showed up.  This Bible study is AMAZING! I can not even begin to tell you everything I have learned from Priscilla.  I LOVE doing the homework.  I love pulling out my Bible and my Ipad and searching the scripture.  It is so filling.  Please click the links above and listen to some of the video clips.  Even they will bless you. 

There are a few things I have been praying on and trying to apply to my life this week is...

There is beauty in the "normal".  I often times get caught up in the "normal" of my life.  The mundane things like laundry, dishes, cleaning, driving kids all around, homeschooling etc...  I get bored and I just mechanically go through the paces everyday.  Like clock work, I get up and make breakfast, get the girls to school, start the boys on their school, start a load of laundry, clean the breakfast dishes....  I do it because I have to, because these things need done.  There is no joy, no thankfulness.  What does that teach my children?  The last few weeks I have been taking joy in these everyday tasks.  I often text Julie or Lisa or Sarah as I am washing dishes or homeschooling something like "I am so blessed I CAN homeschool" or "I am so thankful I CAN wash dishes today".  As I go about these mundane tasks, the normal things I do everyday, day in and day out, I thank God, I "get to do" them.  I am thankful I can turn on my sink and water comes out so we can drink or clean.  I am thankful I have a washing machine a few feet from my kitchen where I can wash my clothes.  I am thankful I can go to the store and buy the groceries I need to cook meals for my family.  I am finally seeing the beauty in the normal.

God doesn't call us to do hard things.  He calls us to impossible things.  I know this so well in my current situation.  I never thought I would be a single mom.  I never thought I would be divorced.  I didn't think I could do many of the things I am doing now.  BUT I AM! He is not calling me to do hard things.  He is calling me to do things that in my previous life I thought were impossible.  Thankfully he is not calling me to do them alone.  He has surrounded me with the most amazing support system of friends and family.  Not only has he surrounded me with friends and family he has made his presence known.  ">I am not alone!  He is with me.  He is patient.  He is my comfort.  For that I am most thankful.  I am so excited to see what this week has in store for me.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October Unprocessed

My bloggy friend Lori is taking the October Unprocessed challenge.  It should not be too hard for her since she makes amazing healthy meals for her family all the time.  I have also decided to take this challenge.  For me it will be a little harder. 

I tend to go in waves of cooking.  I will be super into cooking and making healthy meals.  Then I get bored, errr.... busy and start hitting the Golden Arches a little to often.  Let's be real here.  It is much easier to run through the drive through and grab a $.99 burger between piano, gymnastics, cheer, tutoring, homeschool classes, school drop off and pick ups, than it is to cook an entire meal.  However I am spending way too much money on food.  I still grocery shop and while the food I bought at the store is wasting in the refrigerator, I am spending even more money on fast food.  And can I ask when fast food got so expensive?  I took Leanne and Cameron to Chip*otle and it was $30 for the three of us to eat.  Seriously!?  So, I am taking this as a challenge to not only eat better, but to save money as well.

How am I going to do it?  I was talking to Lisa (my BFF) and I told her about October Unprocessed.  I may have called it "Whole Food October" because I am pretty sure I have adult ADD and could not remember the name 30 minutes after I read it.  Anyway....  I decided when talking to her and after reading the comments on the official sites post, I am not going to be rigid or I will fail.  While I plan to make as may unprocessed foods as possible I can and will use foods I have readily available and I will not be able to go totally organic.  While I think there is a huge benefit to eating all organic food and used to mostly buy organic.  I can no longer do that.  I had to let go of that guilt months ago and just be blessed I can feed my children.  Since there are so many families who go to bed worrying about where their next meal comes from, I choose to be thankful I do not have that worry.  So my October Unprocessed will really be the "We are not eating fast food, mom is cooking everything from scratch, with the best ingredients she can afford" challenge.  I am pretty happy with that!

I made a weekly menu and I plan to share that here as often as I can.

October 1st

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with spinach and fetta cheese on toast.  One kid loved it, one kid ate it, but suffered through it the entire time, one kid picked it apart pretending to eat it and stuffed it in the trash and the last kid refused to eat it and sneaked to the school cafeteria to eat sugar cereal or pancakes cooked in a bag with a friend.  That child has decided not to do that again because she was tardy to class by 3 minutes and owed that time to her teacher on recess.  Have to love natural consequences. 

Lunch: Was a mash up of things.  Two kids took sack lunches to homeschool co-op.  One kid bought a school lunch which was yogurt and a muffin and sadly I had Wend*ys with one child between appointments.  Yeap!  Day 1 and we had fast food.  The kid was starving and her mom of the year forgot to pack her a lunch to take to school after her appointment.  Epic lunch fail!

Dinner- Sesame (grilled) chicken with broccoli over steamed rice.  Two children loved it, one child liked everything but the sauce so she had plain chicken, broccoli and rice and the last child threw a fit over the broccoli making gagging noises and faces that looked like I was feeding him fried insects at the table, causing one frustrated momma to pick the broccoli out of the bowl, throw  toss it into the kitchen sink, completely miss the sink and splatter sesame chicken all over the kitchen wall, blender and side of the cabinet.  That she then had to clean up.  Joy!

All in all I call day 1 half a success.  Thankful for 31 days in October to get it together. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

No More F*cebook

I love FB.  I love keeping up with friends and family I do not see often as well as reconnecting with friends I have not seen in many years.  It is fun to get a glimpse into others lives. 

The dark side of social media is what I believe it is doing to our children.  I have seen it with my very own child.  My oldest daughter is my only child who has had access to any social media so far.  She and her friends are not active on FB.  They have Instigr*m, Tw*tter, V*ine, and Sn*p Chat.  All of which took over most of my daughters day.  She had her I*phone attached to her 24 hours a day.  She even slept with it right beside her.  I would often sneak in after she was asleep and take it.  I do not feel like she needs to be "plugged in" and accessible 24 hours a day.   I also found that is gave her and her friends a sense of anonymity making them feel safe to say and post things that are not a direct reflection of who they really are.  They were (and many still are) posting videos, pictures and words that would never say or do in "real life". 

I pulled the plug on social media this summer.  I took the I*phone, all of the passwords and then deleted the accounts on all of her social media accounts.  I have banned all social media in my home.  I tell my kids in our home:

We talk to each other.  Face to face!

It has not been easy.  There were arguments, tears, accusations of being unfair, arguing, sneaking to get on social media, more tears, more arguing....

But it was worth it!  We no longer fight about the phone.  Sure, she wants it back.  But, she is surviving.  She still gets the information she needs, she still has friends, she still got asked to homecoming, she still knows where her friends will be and I have yet to forget to pick her up.  All of these were her arguments for keeping the phone and the access to her social media accounts.  Funny how we all lived without these things and made it into adulthood.  lol!

Since I took all of these things away from my daughter I have decided that I will also give up social media.  I am saving the last of my facebook photos and I will be closing my account as well.  I think it is only fair.  I am sure I will have much more time to get things done.  Since I am deleting my f*cebook (the only social media I used) I have decided to try blogging again.  We will see if I can stick to it. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Are you still homeschooling?

I have been getting this question a lot lately.
I think it's because of my confusing Facebook posts.
As well as the back to school pictures.

We are still homeschooling.
However, we are only homeschooling the boys.
Leanne started her freshman year at the local high school
Princess started 2nd grade at the local elementary school.
Both girls are LOVING school.

 So what are the boys doing?
(Besides wrestling with each other.
Seriously.  Why must boys always 
touch each other or wrestle.
It's can't be that fun.  Can it?)

We are in our second year of Classical Conversations.  
And we love it!
It was a God send for us.

Cameron is in the Challenge A program.
While Justin is in the Foundations and Essentials program.
CC has been a amazing addition to our homeschool.
Justin will tell you "CC changed his life!"
And he is serious.

Our campus meets on Tuesday morning from 9-3:30.
The kids participate in daily presentations as well as academic "classes".
We work on memory work and assignments
throughout the next week.
This is a new style of learning for me.  
The classical method did not fit well in my text book style.
I am learning to let go.
Kind of.

I addition to CC we are using some amazing curriculum this year.
A few of our favorites are...

Both boys are using this wonderful math program.
Anything I can use that adds computer time is a plus for my boys.
Are using grades 5,6 and 7 this year.  

We are using the Junior version.
Even with CC Justin needs a little more help in the grammar dept.
He is doing the Junior version again this year for review.
I had it, so why not?

Since Cam never had a chance to do essentials, he needs this
We use the DVD's. 
I love them! 
Anything I can find that someone else teaches is priceless to me.
Plus it only takes 21 weeks to get through the entire program.

I bought this curriculum several years ago at a homeschool convenetion.
I never opened the box. 
Actually, I did open it. 
I even cut out all the magnets and created the spelling boxes.
(That's the stuff I love to do. The hands on.  It's fun for me. Everything else.  Not so much!)
That's as far as it went. 
(I'm not the only one who buys gobs of curriculum I never use? Am I?)

The kids were doing ok with spelling.
Not to mention I already had so many other things to do.
Spelling seemed so over-rated.
I mean everyone uses spell check not.

Apparently spelling is not a lost art. 
I decided this year that we needed to do a formal spelling program.
Thankfully I was able to just dust off the several levels of
All about spelling I already owned.

We actually really like it.
It works really well for both boys.
It is great for my son who has dyslexia.

I guess am going to have to do a 2 part post.
I guess I didn't realize how much stuff we actually use.
(Well, at-least what I buy and intend to use.)


Unconditional Love

Can anything be sweeter than a boy and his dog?
I love this picture of Cameron and Flower 
and just had to share. 
I can feel the love in this picture.
My boy loves his dog and his dog loves him!

My super sweet and extremely talented friend 
Took these amazing photos of my kids.
If you are local and need a wonderful, patient, affordable
photographer, please click the link above and give her a call.
Hire her.  You won't be sorry.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


It was finally your day Jus.

6th Grade!
I can't believe it.

You were so excited to start your first day at 
Classical Conversations.
You missed your friends and they missed you.

It is going to be a great year for you Jus.
You are going to learn amazing things.

Justin, I pray all of your dreams come true.
You are not afraid to do hard things. 
That is how I know you will succeed in life.
I can not wait to see what the future hols for you Justin.

We are so proud of you!

Love, Mom and Dad

Monday, September 3, 2012

Is it hard to do her hair?

This is probably the most asked question I hear about Katie's adoption.
We hear it almost daily.  
It usually goes like this: "She is so cute!  Do you do her hair yourself?"

Haircare in the African American community is huge.
In fact during our adoption finalization the judge 
(a beautiful African American woman)
asked us how we planned on caring for her hair.
I told her I would "learn as I go."
Apparently that worked for her because she approved the adoption.

Over the years Katie's hair has changed texture a few times.
When she was a baby she has straight super soft hair.
As she got older it started to curl loosely.
By the time she was 3 it was thick and full of 
the sweetest and perfectly curled ringlets.

During the last 7 years our hair style of choice has been...
The Poofs!

Because I am so talented we could switch it up and do...
One Poof!

As she got a bit older I started feeling pressure to do more.
I knew it was hard and I thought the right thing to do 
was take her to a salon.
I knew I wanted to keep her hair natural, so I looked
for a place that specialized in natural hair care.
So they said!
Our trips to the salon were long and painful.
It broke my heart.  But it's what I was told was right.
"She will get used to it." 
"She's just tender headed!"
"If you started younger it wouldn't bother her."
"All kids cry when they get their hair done."
So I did it!

It broke my heart. 
And Katie's!

It looked so cute when we were finished.
So I kept doing it.

(Check out that length.  Wow!)

Until a friend introduced me to Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care.
This blog is written by an transracial adoptive mother
of a sweet little girl named Boo.
Since reading this blog I have realized...
I can do her hair myself.
It doesn't have to be painful.
There is no one perfect way.

Since we have started a new hair regimen we have tried:

Free hair

Two Strand Twists

 And Fancy Hair 
(actually a veil style into puffs)

(I know I need to work on parting.  lol!)

Katie loves our new routine.
She loves that it is almost pain free.
She loves that we can take our time.  

Our routine is simple...
Wash with a conditioner wash aka. co-wash
De-tangle while the conditioner is in.
 Hot oil treatment with organic coconut oil.
Comb out with Kinky Curly Knot Today
We love to style with the Kinky Curly Curling Custard 
and the Gloss Pomade.
We get our products at Target.

Thank you Rori at Chocolate hair/Vanilla Care.

No more salon for us!

This makes my baby girl happy.

Happy baby girl = Happy momma.


 (ETA:  This is how we do Katie's hair.  It works for us.  It may not work for everyone. Her hair is healthy and moisturized.  We are happy with this for now.  We will continue to learn as we go. As her hair grows and changes so will our routine.