Mother Son Date Knight

Last night my son and I had the rare opportunity to do something really special together. We are together all the time and we spend a LOT of time together. We homeschool together, we play games together, we read books together, we cook together. To be honest, a lot of nights we even share a bed together (if by share you mean me hanging onto the edge of the bed for dear life as I sleep).

Rarely, do I ever get all dolled up, wear something fancy and take my son for a Mommy Son Date night. As a matter of fact, we have NEVER done that.

Chick-fil-a is a love in our family for many reasons. They have amazing waffle fries and let’s not even get started on that sauce. Oh. My. Goodness. Aside from that though, we love Chick-fil-a because it is a wholesome family environment. We can eat our food, Mister M can play with other kids and we can just enjoy our time. We also love Chick-fil-a because they value family. If you have never paid attention before, perhaps you should start watching Chick-fil-a a little more closely. If you do, you will discover that many locations (if not all) do family nights at least once a week. These nights offer kids meals for free, special activities and games the children can do and of course, that blessed play area that allows your children to wear themselves down for bedtime. (Can I get a witness???) But even more than all of that, Chick-fil-a does Daddy Daughter Princess themed date nights and now a Mother Son Date Knight. These events are semi-formal to formal. They allow a parent to get all dressed up and take their little one out for a night that is all about them.

Think about something with me for just a moment. We get all dressed up to go out with our spouses. We get all dressed up to go out with our friends. We get all dressed up to go to church or to someone’s wedding but when we do get all dressed up just to spend a few hours with one of our most precious blessings? If you are a lot like me, the answer is probably, not very often or not at all.

You see, even from an early age, we teach our children what is special to us without even realizing it. Our children began to realize that moments when we take the time to wear a nice evening gown or a fancy dress are because it is a special moment and we will be doing something special with someone special. They begin to equate our eagerness to put on that makeup and pick out our favorite heels (or flats) with something special because in reality, it IS special to us.

They begin to see how special and important every one is to us and I think in that same way, our children should have a few nights reserved that make them feel that special too; moments and hours when we begin to pour into them their worth and their importance to our lives as well.

I am not saying our children do not know they are special to us unless we put on a fancy dress or suit but what I am saying is that I realized that my son already knows how special his father is to me, he already knows how much I value the Lord and he certainly knows his Momma cherishes weddings and that is wonderful because hopefully someday he will grow up to be a man who cherishes those same things in his own life. But even more than that, I want my son to know that I also value him and that my love for him is just as big and just as special so that hopefully someday he can do the very same thing for his daughter or help his wife do the same for their son.

My little man is growing up and before he loses that wonder of me and before I become the last person he wants to cuddle, I want him to know that he was one of my first loves; that he held the keys to my heart and that he mattered more to me than all the weddings in the world. I want him to know that he is worth spending two hours trying to do a 2-minute YouTube Easy UpDo to my hair, putting on a fancy evening dress and wearing some pretty uncomfortable shoes for. I want my son to know that he is worth it all.

We have our children for but moments compared to the span of their lives and as Mommas we can get so tired and so used the same old routine and same old pair of jeans and sweat pants that we begin to lose ourselves and our ability to remember that our children are mini versions of us some day. We sometimes forget they need to know they are worth that effort and maybe, honestly, we need to remember that we are too. It just might change our relationships, our homes and our children’s lives.

I once heard a quote that said, “Life is not measured by the breaths we take but rather the moments that take our breath away.”

I pray you have moments to spend with your sons and daughters and that they are as memorable and special to you as ours has been to us.

Here’s to a lifetime of Mother Son Date nights (or so I hope)!

Blessings and love,

Kristy ❤

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Easy Peesy Pasta Salad

I love Pasta and I love my veggies so combining the two makes my heart VERY happy.

This Pasta is very simple and one of my favorite summer and winter dishes to munch on.

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Easy Peesy Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

1 Box of Rotini Pasta Noodles

1 Bell Pepper (of your choice)

Fresh Broccoli Florets

1 Package of Pepperoni’s

1/2 container of Cherry Tomatoes

Colby Cheese (I buy the cubes and then half)

1 Bottle of Italian Dressing

1 Package of Italian Dressing Mix

Parmesan Cheese

Cook:

This part is simple: just cook the Rotini as directed on the box.

While the Rotini is boiling, cut up your ingredients and set them to the side.

I combine my Italian Dressing Mix with my bottle of Italian dressing.

Once the rotini is done, drain and place in a large bowl. Combine with all the other ingredients, top with some parmesan cheese and then pour the entire bottle of Italian dressing over the pasta and mix thoroughly.

Serve with your favorite beverage and you have a meal that is delicious and filling for the entire family!

Enjoy!

Kristy ❤

Community Helpers Series: “Artists Are Everywhere”

Today was our second lesson in our Community Helpers COOP class and I was really excited about today because it happened to be about one of my favorite helpers: Artists.

Art, as you know, is EVERYWHERE we look. From the books we read, the cartoons our children watch, to the pictures and paintings hung in our homes; we can see art displayed all around us. Each piece bringing us emotions and memories we cherish and love.

For today’s lesson, I wanted to let the kiddos get creative and paint Sand Dollar Ornaments.

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This was a very quick, easy and fun project. They dove right in and completed their sand dollars in record time. We helped hot glue the ribbons on so no one got injured.

In the excitement and concentration of today, I forgot to actually get some snap shots of them painting and working on their lessons but I promise I will get more of those next week!

In addition to teaching your children about what an Artist does, this is a great Christmas craft to do with the little ones. Just set out some Washable Finger paints, place a sand dollar on some tissue paper or newspaper and let them paint away. It’s an adorable and easy gift your family and friends can cherish for a lifetime (so long as they keep it stored safely).

I will be working to post our Weekly Lessons in my Free Printables section so that all of you have access to the curriculum I have written for our course this semester.

Until next week!

Blessings and love,

Kristy ❤

Genesis 1:1

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

School on the Go and a Sea Turtle Welcome

Today was the first day we left the house all week. That in and of itself should tell you how good our day was.

Since we have been cooped up in the house ALL week so far, I decided that we should take our classroom on the go and utilize our library for our lessons and make up for our missed library fun time on Tuesday. So we packed up and we headed out. It was a GREAT idea and Mister M’s enthusiasm was full force as we set ourselves up at one of the tables.

The best way to keep his attention and keep him from refusing work was to make a deal:

  1. Do one lesson and then we can take a 15 minute break and you can do whatever you like inside the library.
  2. Come back, sit down, do another lesson and REPEAT!!

While I had hoped we would get EVERYTHING caught up, we didn’t. It was just too exciting seeing everything all around us. I compromised and decided to just finish a math lesson and two of our phonics lessons. The rest we can make up tomorrow afternoon and I should be back on track for next week’s lessons.

If you have never used the library as your classroom, I highly recommend it. It just has this atmosphere of “Learning is Fun.” And it gave us a nice change of pace to keep from feeling like it is all so mundane day in and day out. We will be making this mobile classroom a routine. 🙂

Here are just a few snapshots of our afternoon:

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Once we were all done with our lessons and checking out books at the library, we headed straight to the beach for our hands on Science lesson for the day: A Sea Turtle Nest Excavation.

I have never been to anything like this before so I was just as excited as Mister M was but I had no idea what to expect. For those who do not know, sea turtles come out of the water and onto the shore and dig a nest down into the sand and lay their eggs. Once they have laid the eggs, they cover them completely with sand. Now when I imagine this in my mind, I think of it being just below the surface of the sand but it’s not. They dig pretty far down folks. I say this to give you a reality of how remarkable the life of a baby sea turtle really is. You see, those eggs, buried down under the sand, hatch in that very environment. Once they hatch, the little tiny sea turtles then dig their way to the surface and out of the sand and then slowly (or quickly depending on whose perspective) crawl their way to the water and swim in. From the moment they are laid in that nest, they are on their own. There are amazing volunteers all over the coastlines and world who dedicate their time to finding the nests, marking them, checking them every night and waiting for the anticipated surfacing of the sweet baby turtles. Then 48 hours later, those volunteers return and do an excavation of the nest. This is important because most of the time, such as tonight’s excavation, they discover little stragglers who have been unable to find their way out of the sand and are able to rescue them. It is also important because they dig down to the eggs and measure how deep the nest was, how many eggs are found and they also recover any unhatched eggs or little ones who did not survive the struggle through the sand. The nest that was excavated this evening hatched over 90 baby loggerhead sea turtles, held three little turtles who did not make it, two live turtles who were rescued and 7 unhatched eggs. Any eggs that did not hatch are considered lost as they will not hatch at all. It was so amazing and breathtaking to see. Taking in the reality of what these beautiful and precious little ones go through to make it out is phenomenal and really puts into perspective how intricate and delicate life truly is.

Below are some images of our amazing volunteers digging out the survivors, the hatched eggs and one of the sweet little survivors who we got to welcome into the world this evening. It was truly one of the most incredible experiences I have ever gotten to share with my son and this will not be the last excavation we attend.

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At the end of the day, my heart is just so full of joy. I love this homeschool journey. I love that it allows me to give my son an education that is both mental and spiritual. I am so thankful that it allows me to do hands on, outside the box things to teach my son and grow his desire to learn and discover. Moments like today are a huge reminder of why God called us to this journey and how amazing it is when we just step out and obey. Our homeschool might not look like any one else’s and that’s okay with me. I don’t think they are supposed to look alike. Tonight will be a memory we will cherish for always and that makes this crazy, wild, unpredictable journey all worth it.

Blessings and love,

Kristy ❤

First Step Reading, you saved my day….

This week has been a very off one to say the least. With my back being in such pitiful shape the last few days, I have had to greatly alter our lessons and do very minimal things. I attempted to do too much Tuesday evening and found myself feeling exhausted and in a great deal of pain yesterday so our regularly planned homeschool lessons were too much for this recovering Mamma to handle.

I felt frustrated at first until a sweet friend reminded me that my son is only in Kindergarten and that if he is learning ANYTHING he is learning and that is okay.

So I set out to find some online resources yesterday morning that would work in lieu of our traditional homeschool lessons while I rested and tried to get my back in working order again. Thankfully, I found an amazing FREE program that I knew I just had to share with all of you:

FirstStepReading.com

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There are over 50 FREE lessons to help teach your child to read.

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They have these adorable interactive critter characters, as I call them, who help teach your child to sound out sight words. So while they teach them to recognize the word, they also teach them to sound them out so that they can hear the word themselves and learn it by both sight and sound. I completely love this as my husband and I both felt on the fence about just sight words or just sounding out words. This was the perfect way to blend in both techniques at once.

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Each time your child, along with their adorable new critter friend, work on one of the words together and learn it, they celebrate your child’s accomplishment with confetti or balloons and loud cheering. Not only is this adorable but it also gives them incentive to keep on going!

I was absolutely amazed watching Mister M go through each word with them. He was guessing the word within seconds of hearing the two sounds put together. I felt so excited and proud as I realized how much my son truly does love to learn.

If you are looking for a supplement to add to your homeschool lessons or are a teacher that is looking for a fun, interactive way to teach your students how to read, this would be a GREAT resource for you. I am so thankful and blessed I found them, they came to my aide in a very needed moment!

Mommas, life is going to happen. Homeschool does NOT have to be burden. We can make up days later if we must, we can do extra on another day if we feel we need to but if we don’t allow ourselves room for life to happen sometimes, then we will get weary and this incredibly wonderful journey will become a burden that we want to shed. If you are having an off week, that’s okay. If you did ONE thing to help your child learn that day then you did homeschool and it’s going to be okay. Don’t sweat the small stuff or the big stuff because God called you to this and He will be bring you just the resource you need at just the right moment.

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Isaiah 43:1,2

“But now thus says the Lordhe who created you, O Jacob,
  he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
  I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
  and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
  and the flame shall not consume you.”

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Blessings and love,

Kristy ❤

Kickin’ Chicken

Sometimes I like to just take out my dinner and then look around the house and ask myself, “What can I do with this?” Tonight was one of those nights.

I took my chicken breasts out of the fridge and then began to envision what it might look like with a few ingredients from my kitchen and formulated a  new recipe:

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Kickin’ Chicken

Ingredients:

3-4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

3-4 slices of White American Cheese

3-4 slices of bacon cut in half

1 can Rotel

Your favorite seasoning. (I used Weber’s Kickin’ Chicken Seasoning)

Directions:

Season top and bottom of chicken breasts with seasoning of your choice and lay in baking dish.

Places two strips of bacon across each chicken breast.

Cover with a slice of cheese.

Pour 1 can of Rotel over all then entire dish.

Bake for 45-60 minutes at 400 degrees.

When done, add with your favorite side! We chose to make Olive and Garlic Butter Pasta and some homemade Garlic Toast. DELICIOUS!

Enjoy!!

Kristy ❤

Curveballs

Sometimes life throws you a curveball; like this weekend when I somehow managed to throw out my back.

I have no idea how I did such damage to such a vital part of my body that is used for so many things but I did it. I had so much planned for this week and we were supposed to go to our Homeschool group’s Back to School Skating Bash today but instead, I have spent the entire last two days in bed, passed out on medications to help heal whatever I have done.

I know I should be resting right now but with Friday fast approaching, I needed to get some things done for the next two week’s  COOP lessons and this Momma still had to cook a yummy meal for my fellas.

So now that I have those lessons done and sent off for printing, homeschool is taking place tonight. In my room. On my bed.

Sometimes life will throw you curveballs. You can’t run from them. You can’t dodge them, you just have to step up to the plate, get your bat ready and SWING!!!! It doesn’t matter what happens after that because the only thing that really matters in life is that when we are thrown a curveball, we don’t allow it to throw us off course or quit the game. We just adjust our position, ready our bats and swing with all we have in us to finish the game.

So while tonight’s lessons are shorter than planned and we didn’t get to go skating, we still did something and that counts for a LOT.

Don’t get so overwhelmed with how you think your homeschool should look. Instead, allow your homeschool to be shaped by the needs of both you and your child. There is no right way or wrong way. There is only the way you choose to play the game that allows you finish no matter the obstacles.

Don’t give up Momma’s. Your schedules will get crazy. Life will try to get in the way but you can swing that bat. You can win this game! You’ve got this!!!!

P.S. Our attempt at night homeschool lasted through our Math lesson and guess what…I am okay with that. There’s always another day. ❤

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Blessings and love,

Kristy ❤