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Well it’s been weeks since I’ve last posted, and I don’t know, I’ve just been in the worst funk ever. Blah. So much to do and so little motivation.

Last Wednesday, I put Rowan on an airplane with 7 other kids and 3 adults for a homeschool trip to London – I know right? We’ve only heard from her 2 or three times since but it seems she’s having a good time ( I hope). I haven’t gotten any  – Help I want to come home NOW – -emails. That’s a good sign right? There have been some pictures by other kids on their facebook page but not many. I know some of the days they have no internet connection whatsoever. I hope she’s having a good time.

Since Row is gone it’s just been Jaia and I here at home. Well my husband as well but – – you know. Jaia is my girl who needs to be out and about consistently. With a friend preferably, but that’s not always doable. I’m going to have to put more effort into group activities for that girl. She’s also been infatuated with all things school! She has a new Vera Bradley backpack. NOT sure where the VB love came from, it’s certainly not me, not my style at all but hey – She wants a new binder, a “big one that holds all my work”. I’m not buying it for her – I’ve purchased all her school supplies already and school is almost over! But she’s insisting. Also there’s the whole school uniform thing. I “had” to go to the thrift store to buy her a uniform skirt. Yes. I. Did. And she wears them too. Such a funny girl. She wants a hard back math book next year so she can re-write all her math problems in a notebook. Are you sure you don’t want to GO to school I ask her? NOPE.  Keeps me on my toes that one. (I’d post pictures but STILL getting that error notice).

With the three of us not doing summer camps this year I’ve really got to plan lots of activities I guess.

I’m still trying to talk our barn owner/friend into letting Rowan  have a trainer come. So far no such luck. She doesn’t want to open the door to having everyone have a personal trainer be able to come to the barn. I get that. Kinda of. We’ll see what happens. It may be that we are at a new barn next month.

Oh well. Such is life.

Bright Blessings!

 

 

So does anyone have any big plans for Cinco de Mayo?  We don’t and honestly I’m not even sure what this day celebrates – lol! Guess I’ve got some researching to do huh? We had a big weekend here in our household – dance recital!  Last year Jaia didn’t want to participate until about 2 weeks before the recital – by then it was too late. This year I signed her up for it  – no questions asked. It would have been easier to pull her out than sign her up to participate if she’d changed her mind so that’s what I did. Since she is loving the performing aspect of Irish Dancing I knew my decision would be fine  – and it was.

Rowan and Pharma - etc.. May 030

Selfie on the way to the recital –

FYI – I’ve been having issues with getting my pictures from the computer onto my blog – grrr…. so I’m hoping that some of the pictures I took I can post on my blog – we’ll see though .   And nope they are not working – I keep getting an error notice. Utterly and completely frustrating for me –

We are in the final  stretch before Rowan leaves for London – sooo much to do. I’ve got to get a few items of clothing for her – you know how teens are they wear the same 3 shirts day in and day out! She should be taking at least 7 days of clothes with her so we need to bolster her wardrobe a bit. Schoolwork needs to be finished up. Her 50 hour project is nearly done but it’s due Thursday and she still needs to fit it on the horse and take a million pictures to create a slide show –  Armor to put together and all sorts of stuff.

Friday was our last home school class of this semester. It was a new group we had tried out this semester to see if we liked it. It was okay – Jaia had a great time in the knitting class but the cooking from scratch class left a bit to be desired. Several baggies of herb mixes, salad dressing mixes etc… were certainly NOT worth the $30 I paid for the class.

Rowan and Pharma - etc.. May 020

Playtime after our last day of classes –

And exciting news! We don’t have to work summer camps this summer! We are all very excited but I’m realizing that I am out that money then. I always use camp money to cover some of the costs of feising – Oh well… I have lots of plans to grow my blog so look for some big changes this summer!

I’m off to start our day and to figure out why my pictures won’t transfer to my blog!

Bright Blessings!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I cannot believe that tomorrow is May 1. That means in 14 short, short days my biggest will be leaving for London with a home school group for 2 full weeks.  Am I worried – yes. Am I scared -yes.  Is the world full of unknowns? Definitely.  Am I “pushing” her to take this trip. Yes. At some point in time you just cannot let fear and uncertainty control your life. And I’m not letting that fear of the unknown let her change her mind.  Row is a total introvert and shy to boot and I’ve never made her get out there to challenge that. Maybe I should have. But being a shy, introvert myself…… So I know that she wants to go to London and she’s voiced that opinion many, many times over the year (s) , so I’m “pushing” her to go because I know she wants to. I also know she’s the type of person to not do something because she’s worried of going out of her comfort zone.  I know the group is safe and the teacher has taken groups several times before – once to Japan!  I don’t want her to miss this opportunity and then in 6 weeks, 6 months or next year say ” I wish I would have gone…”. I wish I had had this chance when I was her age.

I think those 2 weeks in Great Britain will change my baby – help her to grow her self confidence, her personality.  I think she will learn, grow, explore and come back maybe knowing more of who she is.  I know it’s just a short trip to London, but it’s the longest she’s been away from us – and we from her – and it’s also by far the farthest she’s ever been!

It’s an adventure and I am so super proud of her for taking this leap.

Bright Blessings

(Sorry for the lack of pictures – I can get the pictures from the camera to the computer but then it keeps telling me there’s an error when I try to get them onto the blog)

 

 

 

 

 

 

School for us started the 2nd week in September. We homeschool, and sitting down at the kitchen table to get our work accomplished is something we’ve done now for years. This year I have a daughter who is a freshman in high school – and a 9 year old. The 9 year old is great – gets her work done, with a positive attitude (for the most part) and for the first 2 weeks “walked” to school. Really, with her back pack, around the block. My older one, however, is tough to get motivated sometimes, and with high school aged children come high school attitude. We may home school but I do have certain standards that she is having a hard time understanding. Like completing the work properly and finishing all that I’d like her to do! “Required reading”! -She’s read  not even 2 chapters of the book that’s required!  Time for some restructuring I think! And I think it might be on my part – A checklist might be in order or some sort of  .. I don’t know! Something.  The first weeks are always a trial – getting back in the groove – figuring out what works again year after year. The children get older, their need change, their attitude changes –  If you homeschool – how do you get your teens to finish everything you’d like?

For the most part though – our days go pretty smoothly. The girls get up – with plenty of morning time to read for my big one, school starts at the same time each day and we work until we’re finished with what we need to do for day. Sometimes it takes us 2 hours – other times it takes us ALL day.  Algebra, math, science, phonics, spelling, handwriting etc..  Afternoons are free – 2 days a week we head to the barn, 2 evenings we have dance, riding lessons, and homeschool park days.

These first few weeks have been hard for us – our routine has been interrupted 2 out of the 3 weeks we’ve been working – birthdays, friends over to visit, visits with my sister and nephew – and this week! Feet trimming for the horse and the equine dentist! Oh – I hope next week is smoother. We’ve GOT to get our rhythm down – if only for my sanity.

Row working on the brain for science. Biology for her this year and we’re studying the human body. So she’s making the brain!

This is what Row did with the left over clay – after she finished making the brain –

Today is Wednesday – off to the barn for us this afternoon – cleaning stalls, feeding and lessons!

thanks for listening to my grumbling.

Bright Blessings

Over the weekend, Friday through Monday morning, we had some very special friends visiting. My girl’s two friends who moved about 3 hours away several years ago. Just. Far. Enough. Just far enough that the girls know they can’t see each other daily – or even weekly. But not so far away that a visit every couple of months is not impossible.  Most visits tend to occur around birthdays – March, April, September. And also around mini-vactaions. M and A’s mother’s wanted to have a mini-relaxing stay-cation, so I invited the girls to stay with us for the weekend. We met them halfway on Friday. Driving in the rain!

We really did not DO a whole lot this time around. Friday was homemade lasagna (I loved it – the girls not so much) and they played. Watched a movie and did each other’s hair.  Oh – I made them hit the grocery store with me  – otherwise there would have been NO food –

Saturday we went to the mall. I really don’t know why we hit the mall each and every time the girls come over. Well they ARE girls I guess huh?  I am not a mall person – oh there are a few stores I really enjoy. Well made clothes, high prices. Many shoe stores….. BUT, the girls very much enjoy going and spending whatever money they have on what ever they want to buy. Who am I to argue about that teeny, tiny little notebook that ONLY cost $2.00.  It’s futile to point out that 1 – we could have made that – and 2 it’s going to be lost/falling apart/ruined in a matter of days! I kept my mouth closed (such a good momma) and I let them enjoy the day.  The big girls (and small ones) split a yoghurt from the yoghurt shop and MY daughter actually bought a coke! Really not my choice drink for a growing 14 year old but hey – I guess I do have to bite my tongue from time to time   – yes?

J on the right and her friend M on the left.

The younger two insisted on going to the American Girl store. I do see why it’s such a draw for little girls. It has everything you could ever want for your dolls. I actually enjoy just looking at everything. We went to the store twice. The first time as soon as we arrived at the mall , but the little girls couldn’t decide what to buy so we walked around the mall – We went back before we left and I kid you not – J walked around the store for 45 minutes because she could not make up her mind! She only had x amount and wasn’t happy with anything! (I did lend her $3.00).

Rowan and her friend A huddled in the corner ignoring the rest of the AG store. Rowan could and did, sit here the entire time the little girls were shopping. Give her a book – any book –  and she’s content to sit and read it.

We had organic hotdogs and chips for dinner (requested!) and watched the Lorax.

Sunday we spent the entire day at home. The girls played horses, playmobile, American Girl dolls, beauty parlor and ran around outside. That’s all they wanted to do – so I let them. They had a blast.

Monday we met again – half way   – and dropped the girls back off with their moms. My girls were a mixture of sad, tired and just somewhat, a tiny bit, relieved? We love having  friends over and will have them over as often as we can – but you know, even though you enjoy someone’s company and they are your very best friend – It’s nice to have that quiet back, that down time after they’ve gone. So that you CAN do it all over again the next time you visit.

M and A – We love having you visit! Come back again!

Today we start SCHOOL! My girls are not pleased.

Bright Blessings!

 

Sunday brought us a wonderful, sunny day. Temperature was perfect but the humidity was crazy. Normally our Sunday’s have been lazy, non-productice, go nowhere days but this weekend was the Festival of Nations, and I wanted to go.  The girls and I went last year and had a blast.

The Festival of Nations is just what it sounds like – a gathering  and  a celebration of many of the nations that make up our country.  From Bosnian to the Chinese. Germany to Scotland.

There were no fewer than 30 different food booths, 35 or more different booths selling items from different countries and 3 or 4 different stages where you could see performances from around the world.

Food booth row I called it – Row had bangers and mash “from”  scotland and some mango drink that was absolutely to die for!  Jaia had ribs – American soul food. I had a chicken schwarma pita from? and my husband had a gyro –  I really would have loved to try something from each and every booth – but you know… Can’t have everything we want right? 🙂

The merchandise booths held everything from jewelry to hand made sweaters, to scarves, bags, and even olive oil!  I just enjoyed looking.

We ended up for the majority of the afternoon in front of the main stage to watch the performances.

We saw….

 

African dancing and drumming.

 

Buddhist monks..

 

European folk dancers..

 

Dancers from Hawaii dancing a traditional dance to Pele.

 

Belly dancers.

 

Flamenco dancers.

 

And my absolute favorite. This is who I actually CAME to see – I saw them last year and absolutely loved it.

Cobu – an all female  Japanese Taiko drumming group. The leader is a member of the off Broadway dance company Stomp. So you can only imagine what it’s like. They combine Taiko drumming with dance.

 

I love drumming – any kind really. Okay – not so much the American rock star drumming. BUT  I can feel it – the drumming. It very much rattles me to my inner core and can get very emotional when I hear and feel drumming.

We left shortly after Cobu – we were hot and tired after the day exploring around the world.   We will definitely be going back next year.. I have to try something new at the food booths and of course – I have to see Cobu  – if they come back!

We are off to the barn again today! It’s Wednesday – I know – certainly seems like we live there doesn’t it? I think if my children had their way  we WOULD be there every single day!

Bright Blessings!

 

We had a very crazy busy weekend here in our household. Jaia danced in her very first feis. A feis is an Irish Dancing competition – pronounced fesh.  It is not at all like a normal dance recital. We’ve been there -done that – with not so good results and a little girl who refused to go back onstage for anything. It took her months to decide she was ready and that’s only after we went to watch a feis earlier this year.  A feis, like I mentioned,  is a competition – you register, sign up for the particular dances you want and those are the ones you compete in. Jaia danced the jig and the light reel – and there were 2 other competitors in each dance – 3 total dancers  for her 2 particular dances.. ..  There are dozens to sign up for – hundreds of girls competing and a few boys as well.

She did a fantastic job! and literally bounced back to me each time with the biggest grin on her face! I am so absolutely proud of my daughter. She placed 2nd in each dance. I know there were only 3 but hey… 2nd place! (she’s the blurry one in the middle).  Sorry about that – I was trying to watch, take pictures and NOT cry – Watching her dance makes me very emotional for some reason. She was super pleased with herself, as she should be, and wore both medals ALL DAY LONG. Even out for ice-cream to celebrate.   She told me that her next feis – in September – she’s going to win first place…

Jaia with her medals.

We had a blast and Jaia had a fantastic first experience – I think the next feis will be even better.

Sunday we went to the Festival of Nations – which I’ll tell you about tomorrow.

Today we’re off to the barn – it’s Monday after all.

Next week we start school!  and I’m busy trying to pull everything together.

Bright Blessings! – have a wonderful day!

Tuesday afternoon Jaia really wanted to go to the zoo. Great! We didn’t have too much time since J has dance class in the evening, but we contacted some friends and they were going to go with us.  (our zoo is free! it’s a fantastic zoo) – I drove all the way over to the zoo  and there I discovered the crowd – jam packed! I was so surprised! A lot of our schools in the area had started for the year Monday so I honestly thought the zoo was going to be relatively empty. But! the paid parking lots were full and my usual parking secret was filled to the brim also!  After a quick chat with our friends we decided to skip the zoo and go someplace else. We’ll do the zoo next week..

We ended up a a sculpture park – It’s a neat place filled with trails and HUGE pieces of artwork. Some you can climb on  – some you cannot. I apologize in advance for anything my child climbed on that she was NOT supposed to. Sometimes you don’t see the sign until after the fact..

 

We grew into giants and sat on houses –

 

Walked a u-turn bridge.

 

Discovered a hidden grotto –

Played in a creek –  She looks so thrilled doesn’t she?

Climbed on huge metal balls that snaked off into the distance..

Saw a silver tree –

 

And saw all sorts of sculptures that I didn’t quite understand.

 

 

 

Giant eyeball anyone?

 

This was my favorite – the teardrop tree tent. Can you imagine camping in this! Fantastic –

All in All – we had a fantastic afternoon with some wonderful friends! Next week we’ll do the zoo..

Bright Blessings

 

 

 

For the most part we had a very lazy, laid back weekend.  On Saturday Jaia danced in her very first performance as an Irish Dancer. Yep – big wig and all.

She did a fantastic job and had a blast dancing! I am so totally proud of this girl..

Sunday found us lounging around a lot, watching Kiki’s Delivery Service, getting my husband ready for his trip and the girls ended up doing a tad bit of painting.

This is an old cart that my dad made for the girls one summer. Someone sits there in the seat and another person  hold on to the handles and  pulls them around. Kinda like a chariot.  I saw this idea in a magazine years ago and the price tag made me balk! Luckily the girls have a very handy grandpa that can make them all sorts of cool things..

Last week I got around to finishing a few things Jaia will need for her upcoming Feis performances ( well – things *I* think she needs anyway:)

The drawstring bag is for her dance shoes – I just freezer paper stenciled her initial on the front. And the pink bag is her dance “emergency” kit – similar to the one  I made for the equestrian girls. In it are some bandaids and alcohol wipes, a lint roller, safety pins, and rubber bands. Items you always seem to need for performances but usually always seem to forget!  I’ll eventually add some homeopathic  remedies like arnica for muscle pain and peppermint for nerves.

Today is Monday – Barn day of course.. What are you up to this week?

Bright Blessings!

Since Jaia is now into all things Irish Dance, and we’ve spent the money on the beginner outfit and wig and shoes and socks, I thought the dress needed to be protected.

 

Beginner dance outfit for J’s school. Ignore the air vent! I don’t have a good place to take pics 🙂  BUT rather than buy a garment bag, I decided to give a go at making one.

 

I used a hanger as reference for the shoulder area and I measured the length of the shirt.

I double checked the pattern I made with the shirt to make sure it would all fit. I actually adjusted the slope of the shoulder after I did this so that it did not slope as much.

After I got the pattern pieces together – the bag itself came together fairly quickly.

Cutting out the bag pieces and the pocket pieces.

Adding the zipper and the pockets to the front

Sewing the front and back together. Wow – sorry – I didn’t realize just how blurry this picture was!

and Taa-daa! I didn’t turn out to bad:) I’m pleased with my first attempt – and my first attempt with making my own pattern for it also!

Here it is with the outfit inside – so you can see how it all worked out.

Now I think I’ll make a matching “emergency kit pouch” like I did for the Equestrians. I have a ton of this material left over!  I also need to figure out how to transport this wig….

Today is barn day! and we’re finally in the double digits here in the midwest – no more triple index for us for a while. AND we had rain for the second weekend in a row! So absolutely wonderful to wake up to thunder and rain.

Bright Blessings!