Monday, December 31, 2007

Baby steps.....

Just had to document it....I'm walking. It's been about 6 weeks since I broke my ankle. Just baby steps, but it's something! I tried for the 1st time two days ago (29th), after some encouraging words from a neighbor who is a massage therapist. She gave me some good advice, (after receiving not much from my doctor who pretty much just said "try to start walking" after my last visit). I was kind of fearful, because everytime I would put my weight on it I would feel this tingling, kind of like when your foot falls asleep, and I just was very unsure about putting my full weight on it. Well, I held on to hubby's hands and walked across the living room. Then, down the hall and back. Now, I'm up and gradually walking more and more. My ankle gets tired after a bit and still swells up after too long on it, but it's a start. Baby steps.....I'm really excited and motivated to keep going. You really take your health for granted when you have it. I will really appreciate walking so much more now.

Sharing with Wrapped Emotions, as it is indeed a gift to be able to walk again! The Theme this week is "Gift of every moment".

Wrapped Emotions button

BSM - Sweet Violet

This is my Best Shot Monday. I've recently discovered Picnik through Flickr, where you can do lots of editing on your photos, even selective color! Lots of fun & easy to use
For more BSMs go check out Tracey's blog Mother May I.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Flaunt it Friday-Best of 2007

For this week's Flaunt it Friday, we are looking back at 2007 and remembering what we wouldn't change for the world!!!

Spent our 10th anniversary in Cabo San Lucas and had an extremely wonderful time. I think we really needed this to reconnect, get romantic, and remember why we fell in love 11 years ago.

Came home to a safe, intact, home and to our 2 beautiful daughters, who seem to have grown a foot in a week's time! And thankful to my mom for evacuating them and our pets to safety and keeping a cool head, we can never thank her enough!!!

A new job for Dan, which enables me to continue to stay home with the girls and enjoy them eveyday as we live and learn and create.

Our first Unschooling Conference in Corvallis, OR in April, the Life is Good conference that Mary Gold at ZenMomma's Garden organized. A life changing experience that clarified and helped me to realize that unschooling was definately the path we wanted to commit to. We will definately be making the next one in May 2008.

Making new friends......we've made many new friends this year. And, some folks I feel that I've gotten closer to. I really miss my old friends from the Temecula Valley area, but it's also nice to become closer to those I have met in this area over the last two years that we've been here. It used to be so hard for me to make friends. I think that by blogging, it has actually made me friendlier and more open to new possibilities in the "real" world. I don't know if that makes sense to bloggers out there, let me know what you think about that....

Finding some really neat blogs that inspire, allowed me to meet new people, go to new places, see new things, hear different perspectives, make me laugh, make me cry, connecting with people, reconnecting with family.

Also, meeting and making friends through Flickr, and helping me to grow with my photography.

Looking through my posts from this year I just really got to reflect on all the fun things that we've done together. It makes me appreciate my health and anxious to get back on my feet again! I'm looking forward to 2008 and all that it brings and hope the best for my friends and family. Looking forward to the new babies on their way too!

Check out Flaunt it Fridays, and feel free to join in the fun!

btw, Violet had a Best of too, go here to see it, it was pretty exciting!!!!
Violet's Best of.

We had a Merry Little Christmas

Santa was pretty good to us all this year. The girls received what they wanted from Santa. Violet got a Cabbage Patch doll and Olivia got a puppy, albeit not a real one, but a "furreal" one. I think they were pretty happy with what mom & dad gave them. Violet was super excited to get a Wii, and Olivia got a chopper bike, webblaster and a Imaginext pirate ship. Both grandparents were here to visit and eat with us on Christmas day. We had a prime rib, potatoes, green bean casserole. Nana brought some really good ambrosia, and some desserts. We spent the evening playing Wii sports. It comes with games such as bowling, tennis, boxing, golf, & baseball. We were all a little sore in the arms the next day! We also got to spend some time with our neighbors and Dan's brother and his family over the holidays. That's what it's about, spending time with family& friends that you love. Hope yours was spent with loved ones and that you had a wonderful time!
Bowling Wii
Violet bowling on Wii
Bowling, wii style
Dad's turn
Opening the webblaster
Look at that excited face, when she opened the Webblaster
We were all pretty tired the next day......including Domino, who got a present too: a catnip filled teddy bear!

Many more photos in my Christmas 2007 Flickr set.

Monday, December 24, 2007

BSM Rudolph's friendly helper!

Here's my "real" BSM. I just had to get permission from her mom. But, I thought this was a really fun Christmassy photo that I wanted to share. (thank you to my friend for letting me share this!!!)

More Best Shot Mondays can now be found at Tracey's other photo blog, Mother May I

MotherMayI button

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

TT has a new home!


Theme Thursday (previously hosted by the lovely Tracey Clarke at Picture This) has moved to Stacey's The Land of K.A. Another talented photographer, Stacey has changed it up a little and is offering some fantastic photography tips and prompts that are sure to help many improve their skills! I'm looking forward to Tracey's move to Shutter Sisters as well as continuing to visit her Mother May I blog. There's sure to be many more exciting fun times after she makes this transition, and I for one, am planning on continuing my support and admiration for her!

So, for this week's Thursday Theme we are taking "window" shots, be it a shot of a window, a shot utilizing some lovely window light, or wherever else your creative juices take you. I had some fun taking some window light shots of my girls by my favorite spot in the front room. Be sure to check it out and join in the fun!

Havent' been in the mood......

I don't know why, but I just haven't been in the mood lately to blog. Maybe just burned out. I just posted an entry I had sitting in my drafts for Unschooling Voices. I had written it, and went in and edited it several times. I wasn't even sure I would post, and actually almost deleted it all together. Not sure why the hesitancy. But, I like participating and love reading the other entries. I learn so much from them. I hope our experiences help others and at least allow them to think about their own. I do like documenting the things that we do and things I notice my girls learning and just plain fun that we have, usually. I guess it's partly because of my ankle and being stuck at home mostly. It just kind of puts me in a bummer type of mood. I try not to let it.....but it does. Fortunately, I got a wheelchair delivered last Friday. It's really helped me get around the house easier, and I've actually been able to get out and about more now. We went to the town's Christmas tree lighting on Friday night, then out for some yummy Italian food at our local favorite restaurant. Sunday, we went to the movies and saw Alvin and the Chipmunks. I really didn't think I'd enjoy it as much as I did. So many funny references. I had to laugh when I heard one of the chipmunks do the "bow, chicka, bow, bow" at one point, when the man they lived with had a date and was trying to impress her. I think the first time I heard that reference was on Oh the Joys. Fun movie, I recommend it. Monday, one of the girl scout moms picked us up and we went with the troop to get some toys for Toys for Tots. We dropped off the toys at a local credit union then enjoyed a great lunch at Daphne's Greek Cafe. I enjoyed some hummus, pita bread and a nice salad. The girls both enjoyed their pita sandwiches.Then, we headed back to the Scout House and the girls made some graham cracker gingerbread houses and exchanged some homemade gifts with each other. Violet made a nice little Christmas diorama for one of the older girls. It had a Christmas tree and a kitten in it. She came up with the idea herself and made it on her own.

How can these cute gingerbread houses not put you in the mood? The girls are all so creative and it's fun to see them enjoying themselves.

I've done more in this last weekend than I've done in a month. It's been great for the girls too. I've made a few playdates for them here, and it's been so great to have friends over. Thanks to all those that have come and visited, we've really enjoyed having you here!!! Still not sure when I'll be driving so we'd love to have more......

Monday, December 10, 2007

Unschooling through the ages

Unschooling Voices, Issue #11 asks: How, if at all, does unschooling look different as your child ages and grows? Is it different now than it was a few years back? What role does age play in unschooling?

Even though Violet (now age 8) only went to "school", and that was as a homeschooler through a charter, for 1 1/2 years, I felt than it did affect her in several ways. For one, once we were "required" to provide documentation of math skills based on state mandated standards she started to feel stress and came to dislike "math" greatly. When she started to express that she "hated math" to me it became clear to me that the public school system way of learning was affecting her negatively in this area. Prior to enrolling in school she never hated learning anything. In fact, she had a love of learning that, looking back, I really honestly wish had never been tampered with.

It has taken about 2 years of deschooling math for her to even have an interest in anything resembling math. In fact, today I try to avoid using the word "math". I can now see math occurring almost daily in so many different ways. I have completely let it go, and am now pleased to see it happening very naturally and on a self-motivated, need to know basis. My mom, who has been a great supporter of our choice to unschool, recently picked up a little addition practice chart board. I initially thought that Violet would have no interest in it at all. But, she started going through it, and I think she surprised herself, and found that she already knew many of the answers by heart. I recently read this page on Sandra Dodd's list of "math" in real life. There is a great link called Math A Few Words About Unschooling Math that I found myself nodding my head as I read it. Math is so much a part of normal life that I'm really surprised to see how someone could not learn it naturally.

I'm glad to say that her love of learning in other areas were never affected. She still is an avid reader, and from that alone comes everything else. She enjoys watching on line videos and playing on line games, reading strategy guides, magazines, catalogs, collecting & trading Pokemon cards, watching W.I.T.C.H., Avatar, & Pokemon on TV. They both enjoy a science group that we go to. We started an American Girl club based on the American Girl book series (historical fiction). Going to 4H, where she helps out with craft group, scrapbooking, & photography. Girl Scouts. Several different park days, one being a wide mixture of homeschool types, and one an unschooling group.

Recently, we've been watching this program on TV called Kids Nation. Most of the kids showed a dislike of school, and when given the option of a video arcade or a library, preferred the video arcade. One little girl flat out said that she hated books, hated learning. We were really surprised and saddened to hear a child say that. One must wonder what made her dislike it so much. I thought it pretty ironic though, that the kids all seemed to be learning so much in an unschooly kind of way. It was funny too, that when they were initially given the video arcade many of them spent all of their time in there, disregarding their chores. I think that when a child is restricted from something, when given the opportunity they will do it all day. But as I have seen and other unschoolers can attest, eventually the attraction of it goes away, when they are not controlled from playing games and watching TV whenever they want. When Violet initially got her Nintendo she did play it all day, every day, for some time. Eventually, she got bored with it and wanted to do other things. She still plays with it on and off, sometimes several days go by without her playing it, other times she'll play with it for hours. But, I don't see it as negative thing. It's just one of her many interests. And she amazes me with the things she picks up from playing it, and the interests that it leads to. She also recently asked me to remove her TV from her room. She wanted her desk clear for her laptop and some other stuff.

Olivia (age 4) has never had any type of formal schooling. She lives life fully. Full of joy, full of interest and creativity. She's never been instructed to do something "this way" and therefore comes up with many beautiful, interesting creations. She is a highly motivated self learner. I constantly find her eager to learn. She likes to write letters, cut paper and create things from it, build things, loves to read stories with me, play games on the computer, sing, dance, play with friends. Where I see Violet hesitant sometimes, and often asking permission for something, Olivia just goes head first into things. She is sometimes fearless, but is learning about risks as we let her know what the consequence may be and assist her in making choices that are right for her. Violet was more controlled when she was younger so she usually asks first and is much more cautious. I now, often tell her that she does not have to ask (food, watch TV, etc) but she still does out of habit, I suppose.

I think that mostly unschooling looks different in our home now, because my outlook has changed. All of the things that I've read about unschooling have come true for us. There were many things that I was not sure could possibly be true, and yet when I trusted and allowed myself to be open to the ideas presented, did come true. My children (& I) are learning all the time. It doesn't resemble the learning that occurs in school, it doesn't occur during any specific hours, but I think it is learning that more closely resembles what living an authentic life looks like. Enjoying learning. Having fun. Making friends. Interacting with all types of people. Developing and pursuing new interests, letting them go. Having real life experiences. And so much more.....

For more takes on Unschooling through the ages go to Unschooling Voices. More articles to be linked on January 1st.

BSM-Eskimo kisses

Olivia wasn't so cooperative about Christmas photos this year but the outtakes were a lot of fun! Sometimes those are the best! I wanted her to wear a hat like Violet, but she didn't want to. So I ended up using one wear they are at least both looking forward. I thought this one was kind of cute, though. Go to
Picture This for more great Best Shot Mondays.

little bsm button

Sunday, December 09, 2007

And the winner is...........

Thank you everyone for commenting and entering the contest for the HP Camera Giveaway! I only wish I had a camera for everyone!!!! I picked a winner using the random sequencer at

Unfortunately, there's only one winner of the beautiful camera below, and it is the 10th commenter which is......(drumroll)

An HP Photosmart M547 Digital Camera!!!

Betty at WAYA!!!!!

Congratulations Betty!!!! You'll be receiving your camera directly from Hewlett Packard.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Contest for HP camera

Be sure to leave a comment on my Contest post to win an HP camera, here.

Monday, December 03, 2007

BSM Little bookworm

My Little thinker
The girls were playing around with some glasses I had laying around. Here's Livie looking rather pensive. I just pulled out East of Eden and started reading it again. It's been many years, but Steinbeck is one of my all time favorite authors and with me being laid up it's the perfect time to enjoy some of my old favorites!
Don't miss my HP Camera Giveaway. All you need to do is post a comment and I'll be having a drawing next Saturday.