1,000th Post Giveaway!


Thank you for reading my one thousandth post! I know I have a few faithful readers…mostly those with whom I share DNA…who have been here for every one. Thank you so much! I have been blogging for over seven years about my family, my faith, my favorites and my fiascoes. I’d like to take this opportunity to say thanks by giving you a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card! I’ll be celebrating later in the year by giving away three of my favorite books and a special gift for homeschooling moms, so please check back often!

To enter, do one or more of the following:

Follow my blog by email or any reader.

Like my Facebook page.

Follow me on Twitter

Follow me on Pinterest

Follow me on Google+

This final step is REQUIRED: please leave me a comment telling me which one(s) of the above you have done, since each item gains you one entry in the contest. You can list them all in one comment or each separately. Be sure to include your name. :)

Contest closes at 10 PM this Sunday, April 20, 2014. Winner will be announced bright and early on Monday, April 21, 2014! 

That’s it!

Thanks for reading any of my 1,000 posts. Blogging isn’t much fun without readers. :)




Wisteria Hysteria

I suppose the title of this post sorta gives it all away: I have purple wisteria growing in my back yard! We are nearing our one year anniversary of living in southwest Oklahoma; one year of seasonal changes, one year of extreme weather experiences, one year of memory making. I don’t know if we had just missed seeing the wisteria bloom when we moved in on April 25, 2013, or if, perhaps, it didn’t bloom at all last year? Either way, it was a delightful surprise and it’s made me fall in love with my home and Oklahoma all over again. I’ve been a little crazy about taking photos of it. I’ve been experimenting with different settings on my Nikon, because I’m still very much a novice at photography. These are completely unedited, so some of them look a little washed out. Despite that, I just *have* to share them with someone. Care to take a peek?

Oh good! Thanks! :)


These are along the fence in our back yard.




This was mid-morning. I tried to get a good bokeh, or blur, in the background.



 This was late afternoon, and it’s my favorite! I love the rich color contrast.



Direct sunlight.


Lauren, in the wind.

The photos of the girls were taken late afternoon. The sun was so bright that I had trouble seeing my digital photo to see if it came out okay. I should have used a smaller aperture because these are a tad washed out. If I’d had time, it would have been an easy fix with Photoshop. (I’m lucky to have time to write this post as it is! :) )






Mitchell wasn’t too happy to be photographed with the purple flowers! Haha!


Matthew showed me his “punching stance”.  He’s all boy!


Spring is here, and it’s been lovely! I’m looking forward to seeing trees and bushes in full bloom and green grass! I got this sign at Ross Dress for Less! :) I love how the glitter sparkles when the sun shines on it…and we have plenty of sun! ;)

Thanks for reading!


Foggy Morning

I have enjoyed waking to the mild weather we’ve had the last few days. It reminds me of how the weather would be during the final days of school when I was growing up. The muggy, warm start to the day is a sign that spring has definitely “sprung”. We may still re-laps into some chilly temperatures, but it won’t last for long. I love the winter weather, but I love spring weather, too! I enjoy each season of the year. When one has exhausted itself, I’m ready for the new one to step in.

This morning as I pulled back the drapes, I was surprised to see fog lying peacefully in a huge heap across the street. Of course, I had to get my camera!





I was only outside for about five minutes snapping photos. By the end of that time, the sun’s first rays began melting the fog.


You can practically see it lifting in this photo.


Here, only a tiny ribbon remains near the ground.


Here’s another one of it as it thins out. (Please excuse my neighbor’s truck.)



It was a lovely, pinkish sunrise.

I hope your day is filled with warm breezes and blue skies.

With love,


Frozen {A Science Experiment}

If you thought this post would be about the Disney movie released last winter, sorry to disappoint you. I just couldn’t resist using that title. ;) As I’ve shared before, Leslie is doing the Apologia Astronomy course. We just finished chapter 13 – only one more to go! When I bought the book in 2009, started it, stopped it and shelved it, I really never thought I would pick it up again. But this year, with the help of the Junior Notebooking Journal, we are almost finished! Yippee!

The project for chapter 12 was making ice cream. This project demonstrated the change in temperature due to the effects of different chemicals (in this case, it was the effect of the rock salt on the ice) is similar to the atmosphere on Uranus and Pluto, which has various chemicals in it. (I really hope I said that right!)


She measured the heavy cream, vanilla and sugar and put it into a small zipper bag. We sealed it up and placed it in a larger zipper bag with ice and…


…rock salt! I’d never used rock salt before! It really fascinated me. But then, I’m a simple person so it doesn’t take much to get my attention. :)


Next, she had to vigorously shake the bag for eight minutes. We took turns because it was harder than it sounded.


Here she is shaking! :)


 Finally, the timer beeped and we had our very rich ice cream! Very, very rich!


I liked it, but Leslie wasn’t that impressed. It was just too sweet for her. I’m thinking it was just that her own sweetness and the ice cream’s sweetness were just too much. :) <3

Thanks for reading,


A Wonderful Birthday

Well, yesterday I had a birthday. I’m finally to the point where birthdays just don’t thrill me like they used to! Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for another year of life, and I’m VERY thankful to have friends and loved ones who are glad that I’m alive…I’m just tired of seeing those digits increase! Nevertheless, I’m 29 and proud of it!


I’m really thirty-something. Yes, let’s just ponder that for a moment. I never thought I’d make it to the thirties at all, because I just knew the Lord would return by now! I heard that preached almost every time I went to church as a youngster. But, He hasn’t come back and I’m still here, so I’m striving to use each and every day for Him. I am so thankful for my husband and children, my mother, my sister, my church family and my wonderful in-laws who made yesterday so wonderful. Many friends wrote on my Facebook page and wished me a happy birthday, and I received several cards from relatives far and near. Some of those friends I’ve met because of this blog. Let me say THANK YOU for being here! I’ve been “writing now” for almost seven years! I wouldn’t bother keeping up with it if it weren’t for you! <3

The Lord allowed me to awake earlier than usual yesterday so I could enjoy every second of my birthday! It was a gorgeous, sunny day.

Terry took me shopping on Monday for my gift from him. He bought me some new sneakers and some new exercise clothes! That should make working out a little more fun…for a day or two. ;)



I really love my Nikes!


Matthew woke yesterday with the sniffles, so he climbed up in my lap and let me cuddle him for awhile. That was a great gift, since he’s growing up way too quickly!

When I logged in to my computer yesterday, I saw this:


I’m not sure if you can see it, but Google had a special “doodle” for a birthday! If you hovered over it, it said, “Happy birthday, Valerie!” I know it’s because I have a Google+ account, but it was very neat!


We did our school work as usual  yesterday, and Leslie started reading in history about one of my favorite people: Laura Ingalls Wilder!


Last week, my friend, Ava, surprised me with this Mary Engelbriet bag! (I just LOVE Mary’s art!) It says, “A True Friend is the Greatest of All Blessings”. Wow! It really made my day! It is now my new Sunday school bag. :)

I picked my favorite meal for my birthday: spaghetti (which Terry made!), garlic bread, salad and English peas, with Marie Callender’s Chocolate Satin Pie for dessert! Yes, I think I over did it on the calorie intake, but hey, it was my birthday! ;)

My church family has been so kind to me and made me feel so loved on my special day. Let me say, it’s a wonderful feeling to love and be loved back. I give praise to my Good Shepherd for being so tender with me.

Blessed beyond measure,


The Boys’ New Bunk Bed

The boys were so excited to hear that we were finally going shopping for a bunk bed earlier this week. They have been waiting a long time. We went to every furniture store in our town, but were unimpressed with the prices and the low quality. Terry said, “I can build them a bunk bed. I’ll just use the measurements of Leslie and Laci’s bed.”

And that’s just what he did! He bought the boards, cut them to size, painted them blue (Mitch picked the color), and assembled it in about two days!


He had a good helper in Mitch, who really loved using the power drill! :)


And he held things.

A lot.


Here they are, climbing up on their new bed!


We took Matthew to pick out his own comforter today. He wasn’t too excited about the change at first, so the Buzz Lightyear bedding helped. This bed is much sturdier than the ones in the store, and looks just as nice! Terry saved us around $400, too! (I’m so blessed with a handy husband!)


Matt looks like a big boy now. *sigh*


But he’s not too big for my lap yet. :)

With love,


Leslie’s Rocket

We finally did the experiment from Chapter 10, about Saturn, from the Apologia Astronomy book. (We incorrectly say it’s the Chapter on Uranus and Neptune in the video. Sorry ’bout that.) We are now on chapter 12, so I was a little behind on this one! I kept forgetting to do it, or Terry wasn’t able to be there to see it. It turns out that it wasn’t much to see. Unless perhaps we did something wrong? Oh well. Here’s short clip of our rocket experiment.

And, no, I don’t think NASA will be calling us anytime soon for help!

But doesn’t Leslie look adorable in those goggles? :)