Cheers for the Red, White and Blue

Last Friday, my sweet friend Kate invited the girls and me over for an early 4th of July celebration with her family and another mutual family of friends.

Kate served up these delicious chocolate malts (and photographed them, too!)

One of Kate’s most prominent spiritual gifts is hospitality. Sitting in the wicker furniture on her four-season porch, sipping a malt, and gazing at the breathtaking white hydrangeas… Isn’t this why lazy summer afternoons were invented? I start to wonder if I really did fall into a page of REAL SIMPLE magazine. Or perhaps it was a children’s story book I landed inside of.

 Not that any of us moms could linger daydreamily for long, mind you. With 11 kids between the three of us, it was quite a busy and festive place!

After having their faces painted and making and decorating their own patriotic top hats, the kids marched in a parade. 

Everyone took turns being the Grand Marshall; this was Linnea’s turn.

Thank you, Kate, for a lovely and memorable afternoon of fun! And thanks for taking these beautiful pictures, too! You simply amaze me, and your friendship is such a sweet blessing!

Presentation Day

Last week our homeschool group held its 2nd annual Presentation Day — a wonderful event that allows the students in our group to display some of their hard work and also perform before a live audience. It’s a fantastic way to wrap up the school year, and it’s also good medicine for us moms! When we are all wiped out at the end of the school year, there’s nothing more encouraging and inspiring than seeing the kids put on an incredible program — piano, violin, guitar, skits, poetry, ballet, singing, live science experiments, and even some magic tricks. It’s also really a treat to check out all the amazing projects other homeschoolers have been working on in art, science, history, etc.

Linnea has been studying U.S. history all year — from the Leif Erickson to Thomas Edison, and from Delaware to Hawaii. So she put together a pretty nifty U.S. history display, which included her tri-corn hat, her paper patchwork quilt, her drawing of the Statue of Liberty, her drawing of George Washington, her replica of the Oregon Trail, her replica of Jamestown 1607, and her 93-page U.S. history scrapbook that she labored over diligently all year.   

the Oregon Trail replica

She also had several pieces of artwork on display from her Friday art class with Mrs. Henriksen. The one pictured above is one of my favorites.

During the special program, Linnea played “Pink Polka Dots” on piano, and then she recited the poem “Bed in Summer” by Robert Lewis Stevenson.

Laurel recited “To the First Robin” by Louisa May Alcott. Then, accompanied on guitar by their dad, the girls sang “Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue.”

They did a fantastic job! I’m so proud of them and all their hard work this year. We all have learned so much and made so many great memories together! I’m enjoying summer, but I’m also looking forward to start fresh again in the fall.

Back to School

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It’s back to school for our family this week! Our first day went as well as we could expect. We actually chose to start on Labor Day because the girls couldn’t stand to wait another day. They really look forward to school!

Much of what we are studying this year centers on U.S. history, a few presidents and a little about each of the 50 states. One of  today’s highlights was learning about the Pledge of Allegiance, why it was written and what it means. Linnea drew and colored this picture of the flag.

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Laurel did her own version of the flag below.

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One little-known perk of homeschooling is that students can wear hats to class! This was especially convenient for the first day because during our lesson about the Pledge we discussed removing your hat to show respect for the flag. It’s helpful to actually have a hat on when you learn that.

This year both girls have desks, and they are arranged side by side beneath one of our bulletin boards. Personally, I’m pretty thrilled about the bulletin boards. They are like giant scrapbook pages. Well, almost.  Another perk is that everyone gets a handy-dandy organizer tote (black with white polka-dot accents) to keep scissors, pencils, crayons, rulers, and the like right at your fingertips. Very useful and cute, too! 

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This one is my favorite picture from the first day of school.

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In God We Trust and Rejoice

Under the dark cloud of hard times, inauguration day is coming up, and much of the nation seems to be putting all hope in our president-elect.

For example, Associated Press writer Errin Haines writes, “And while the ceremony itself will only last a few hours, the entire day offers a chance to reflect and rejoice in the moment.”

Obviously putting the first black president into office is an historic moment; I’ll give her that. But I personally just can’t see the need to rejoice in it.

Instead of reflecting on black history or rejoicing in the “inauguration moment” or putting our hope in one man, shouldn’t we instead rejoice in the Lord and reflect on all that He has done? Shouldn’t we put our hope in Him?

According to Revelation 22:13, God is the Author and Finisher of history. God is the Alpha and Omega, the First and Last, the Beginning and the End.

The Foundation for American Christian Education put together this list of Scriptures, which is an especially timely reminder of Whom we trust and why.

It is better to trust in the Lord, than to have confidence in man. Psalm 118:8

Romans 13:1: God establishes all government and authority.

Proverbs 21:1: God directs kings and rulers.

Daniel 2:21: God both places and disposes of all rulers and controls the times.

Acts 17:26: God determines national borders and the times set for nations.

Psalm 147:8, 15-18: God controls the weather.

Isaiah 45:7: God creates disaster and prosperity.

Proverbs 21:31: God determines the outcomes of wars.

Vote for Slushies!

VOTE FOR SLUSHIES: Earlier this month we held a dinner election. Each of us nominated our favorite candidates for dinner in the positions of main entree, side dish, fruit, vegetable, drink and dessert. Pictured are the girls campaigning for slushies and hoping to secure their daddy’s vote. The winners were: BBQ chicken, salad, carrots, watermelon, apple pie, and slushies of course! I wish I could say I came up with this idea, but actually it was an assignment for Linnea’s current events class.

The Not-So-Wonderful World of Disney

I don’t listen to Radio Disney, but earlier this week I read about that organization refusing to air an advertisement for the new animated movie about the Ten Commandments (being released Friday) because it said Moses was “chosen by God.”

How many times has Radio Disney aired God’s name being said in vain?

This incident doesn’t really surprise me, but it sure makes me question whether I should spend another penny on Disney merchandise.

You can read the Liberty Council’s press release about this at

http://www.lc.org/index.cfm?PID=14102&AlertID=748.

And you can sign a “Don’t Ban God from Ads” petition at

http://www.lc.org/index.cfm?PID=14102&AlertID=750.

As a side note, I’m planning to go see the movie. Plugged In Online has a review of it at

http://www.pluggedinonline.com/movies/movies/a0003462.cfm.