Forty Something Parents

The Ins & Outs of Parenting

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Celebrating Henry Rosenberg’s Birthday

When we arrived at the Rosenberg Library yesterday, we had no idea that the day was anything other than plain-old ordinary.  However, to much delight, we soon discovered that we’d be celebrating the birthday of the man who made our lovely library possible — Henry Rosenberg.

Even though he’s been gone since 1893, it is because of his generosity that my Nixi is able to enjoy such a wonderful place as Rosenberg Library.  I’m so happy that my daughter loves books and reading so-very much.  When it’s library day, Nixi is always jumping (literally) for joy.  I look back on my own childhood, and I wish I had been able to know the joy of visiting our local library.  But, alas, it was not to be in my early years.  Let’s just say I’m a late bloomer to frequenting the library and learning the vast resources available there.

The celebration of Henry Rosenberg yesterday piqued my curiosities about the man behind such a wondrous place; free to all…loved by so many.  After further research, I learned that he had moved here to Galveston Island from his hometown of Bilten, Switzerland, when he was just a lad of nineteen years. Quickly finding success as a dry goods merchant, Mr. Rosenberg worked his way up to purchasing the dry goods business within three years, and set-about growing it into the largest dry goods business in Texas.  Between 1851 and May 12th 1893 — passing at the age of 69 — Henry Rosenberg contributed thousands upon thousands of dollars to the growth of Galveston Island.  In his Will, he left $400,000.00 towards the organization and endowment of what is today the Rosenberg Library.

When I stop to consider how much four-hundred-thousand dollars was back then, and how much it is todayI can’t help but be inspired by Henry Rosenberg’s generosity.  It makes me realize what I could do to help out my community more and be a better help to to those around me — both near and far.

Celebrating the life of such a generous spirit, and singing him Happy Birthday to the theme of Curious George, along with the wonderful staff at Rosenberg Library yesterday, was a time we won’t soon forget.  My Nixi received a gold medal for reading, and we couldn’t be more proud of her.  She has come so far this past year with her reading.  And her love of reading, and the fun times we’ve had at Rosenberg Library, I know must be contributed to one of the most enjoyable free things to do on Galveston Island.

I wanted to share the snaps we took of yesterday’s fun.  I hope it inspires you to visit your local library, and see what you might learn about the founder and staff-members who are always there to help.  Such simple pleasures in life are utterly priceless!

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Paddle Boarding — Never Too Young

I never could’ve imagined doing water-sports back when I was six years old; let alone paddle boarding or surfing.  I grew up inland, though I was never a land-lubber.  But as I stood watching my daughter stand with ease on a paddle board this past Saturday, balancing upon Mother Ocean, I couldn’t have been more proud of her natural abilities.

Looking back to my own childhood, I realize now that I wasn’t quite the athletic type.  I didn’t even learn to ride a bicycle until I was 10 years old!  But once I did — feeling the wind blow through my hair…free as the breeze — I was hooked.  And to this day, I still love riding my bike more than most things I’ve ever done.

As for my young daughter, I can hardly wait to see her gliding on top of the water.  And soon after she’s paddle boarding, I hope we can introduce her to the art of surfing.  Being island transplants — known as IBC’s (Islanders By Choice) — to our Gulf Coastal home, I feel our little-one will grow up knowing what it really means to blend with nature.  And I too, will come to know Mother Ocean’s embrace like I was never able to when I was a child.  Just as we are never too young to try new and daring things, neither are we ever too old.

*Live the Life You Love*  #NeverTooYoungToPaddleBoard #NeverTooOldToPaddleBoard #LearningNewThings #EveryDayAdventures #PaddleBoarding

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Field Trip: The Grand Children’s Festival

–Fun…FREE Activities For Home School (or Traditionally Schooled) Kids–

In my last post, I wrote briefly about this past weekend…when we attended the Children’s Festival down in the Strand District.  It’s a really fun time for kids of all ages, and very family friendly.  Best of all, the festival is FREE!  And even though this was our first year to attend, we certainly don’t plan on it being our last.

In the meantime — I wanted to share some of the fun moments from this past festival.  The numerous booths and activities were enough to keep us busy for the entire weekend; though the event is only for one day.

The learning experiences that Nixi was able to be a party to, I feel, will stay with her for years to come.  As for me…?  I realized I’m absolutely no good at hoola-hooping, but I  can still do the Lemon Twist; or an updated version of the old classic jumping toy I used to love as a kid.  It was great to show my husband and child, that this middle-aged Mamma can still ‘cut-a-rug’.  I look back on it, and I have to laugh.  –As I feel I’ll do…for years to come.

*Forever Young*

*Being Young-at-Heart*

*Remaining Active Over 40*




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Home School Cliques and Bullying Among Adults

We met late last year, after my daughter had attempted to eat her son’s toy.  My husband had witnessed it as it happened, and made Nixi apologize to the woman’s little boy.  It was laughed off, and we started talking: me and the one I will refer to only as ‘C’…for sake of not gossiping.

She seemed pretty nice when we first met, though the signs of control were there from the git-go.  I noticed it after briefly discussing travel and where-all we’d like to go.  I told her I had always wanted to visit New York.  She quickly came out with, “No…  You don’t want to go there!  Everyone just acts like you’re not even there when you walk down the street.  They never look you in the eye, and they’re rude.”  I just left it alone, but took notice for future reference.

did want to go to New York…still!  Just because someone I’ve just met, and wasn’t sure I wanted to get to know, says NY is no good…doesn’t make it true for me.  Besides, I have friends there; never-mind we’ve lost touch for a number of years.  Still…they are friends.

I’d clearly had my first ‘red flag’ that day; no matter how well our kids were playing at the time.  We had exchanged numbers and decided to get together for a play-date.  But it would be a few weeks before that actually happened.  Again, we ran into her at the library and sat and talked a bit more.  And…again, another ‘red flag’ quickly shot up.

I had noticed her staring and laughing in the direction of a very pretty woman, though quite heavy in size.  The lady had apparently made a bad fashion choice, according to ‘C’.  She stared and laughed under her breath, but it was still very obvious.  I kinda didn’t say anything, but took notice.

Even if I did agree, I still felt bad for the other lady…C’s target of the day.  Still, I felt myself getting sucked into the meanness, but caught myself on the verge…and dismissed the adolescent behavior that was ensuing.

Remembering what I was trying to teach my Nixi, I knew it was very rotten citizenship to behave in such a way.  After-all, being an adult should mean we’ve outgrown such antics as bullying.  One might think so, anyway.  Needless to say, another major red flag.  Two strikes against C!

Well…aren’t just a glutton for punishment!  I overlooked the red flags, and continued getting to know C.  We exchanged a few texts, and even talked over the phone a little.  The play-date plans were made, and…soon-after, we met her and her son for a day at the park with a few other home school moms.

It was a very fun day for us all, and I found myself second-guessing my previous opinions and warnings.  Parting ways that day, I was sure I’d found a friend for both me and my daughter.  This is going to be a fun year!  I said to myself; later telling my husband Nico how much promise this new friendship was showing.  He, of course, was very happy for us.  Soon, another play-date was planned, and it was just C and I…and our kids.  It went off without incident, we laughed and enjoyed visiting.  I couldn’t have been happier.

Taking a step further, we were soon inviting each other over to our most sacred of places — our homes.  We first visited C and her family at their end of the island.  I loved her little place — a split-level carriage house they’d been renting on the East end.  It was cute and quaint; though it smelled very strongly of natural gas.  I didn’t mind.  I had lived in a house with gas heaters for many years…and grew used to it after about half-an-hour.

So…we got on with what was leaning towards a very nice visit, and even had dinner with them.  The more I got to know C, the more I felt I must have been wrong with my first assessment of her.  Still, there was another red flag that evening.  –Again, I let it slide.

At our last play-date, I had shared our music with C, and she had really loved it, she had said at the time.  So…that night we visited, we had brought our instruments for an impromptu jam session with her husband who played bass guitar.

It was a fun thought, when we had planned it.  But after my first song — which was being drowned out by our kids playing, yelling, and laughing — C came off with, “You need to work on your confidence.”  What the ‘blankety-blank-blank was that?!  Now the red flags were really flying!

 I quickly chimed in with something like, “The song is supposed to be sung softly, it’s just really loud in here.”  Something along those lines.  Nico said the same thing…in a nut-shell.  A few songs later, with her standing over us like she was some sort of expert, I knew she did not appreciate our music and seemed to be picking us to pieces.  Her husband seemed to like it just fine; though he didn’t speak two words the entire time we were there.  We were quickly replaced by video games before the visit was over, and we didn’t stay late.

Red flag number…4?!  I stopped counting at that point.  And I should have cut contact with her then.  If I’d had any sense at all…I would have.  But…I must not, because I invited her for a play-date at our place.  And anyone who knows us…knows that we live quite differently than most folks.

Our lifestyle fits us, just as our tiny home-on-wheels fits our lifestyle.  We don’t expect everyone to ‘get it’, but…then-again, we aren’t trying to impress anyone or get their approval.  Mermaid Mansion is perfect for us, and we’ve worked very hard for what we own…bought and paid-in-full.  ‘Sure beats renting, or a 30 year mortgage!  And, even better, she goes where we go.

So…C came to visit our caravan home, and let-on like she loved it.  I was happy, but hadn’t been worried whether she did or didn’t like our place.  I just opened our home up to her and her son, feeling that perhaps I had over-reacted a little.  Man…!  If I had only known then what I know about her now!  That day never would have happened.

She stayed way after dark, and so, we invited her for supper.  All had gone okay up-to-then, unless you count earlier that day…when her son had been pitching dirt up into the air for it to blow back into my face.  She never said a word about it because she was too busy ‘labeling’ me as a home body.

“Excuse me, girl?!   Just because I love my home life, and don’t feel the need to fly the coop each and every day (just looking for ways to get away from my husband who, according to YOU, sleeps all day and plays video games all night), does not mean that I am a homebody.  And, did you…just maybe, consider that I might not want to be around you that long…locked in a car, off the island to where ever (anywhere but home), you flee?!”  Such are just a few of the reasons why I never wanted to go running around with C each time she invited us.  I listened to intuition those times.

But getting back to her visit to MM–  Inviting her for dinner?!  Was I crazy?!!    I must have been!  By the end of the night, I knew the budding friendship was fading fast.  Her making reference to kids with Down Syndrome as being ‘retarded’ should have been enough; being quite certain that I had told her about my little grandson having DS!  Again, I just sat in disbelief at what had just come out of her mouth…and let is slide.

If I had only seen what Nico later told me about when she’d left, the line would have been drawn right then-and-there.  Had I only seen her getting on to my daughter (I had thought she was reprimanding her son), in MY home…she’d have been told off and ordered to leave. My back was to it at the time; having dinner as the kids played in Nixi’s room.

I found out later that my little stinker-monster was being mischievous, and attempting to push C’s son off the bed.  If I had seen it, my daughter would definitely not have gotten away with that.  I’m not one of those moms who thinks my kid never does any wrong.  I know she does; like all other kids on this planet–including C’s.

So…there I was!  –Not knowing quite what to do about it all, other-than just steer clear of her from that day on.  One would think that it would be a no-brainer!  Right?  Wrong!  A few weeks passed and we kept our distance.  Then, out of the blue, she text me for a play-date.  Never mind that I had suspected that her and the other moms were getting together without inviting me and my daughter.  –‘Not sure why, though. I had never done anything to anyone, and we all seemed to get along great at that first play-date; which was the last time I’d heard from any of them…except for C.

I quickly suspected something was up.  And there was no question who I might have to ‘thank‘ for it.  –None-other than the very ‘friend’ I had invited into my home, and shared with her the illustrations I had painted for my new children’s book.  –Even the story itself, I shared with her.  She was very complimentary at the time; even asking if she could scan my paintings to animate them.  I wasn’t about to let that happen, so I politely declined.  Her niceties, I know now, were completely artificial.  –Just like our friendship had been all along.

Still, even though I hesitated…and went against my gut feeling (which was screaming, Noooooo!  Don’t do it! It’ll end badly!!  NOOOOoooo!!), I went to the play-date, right around the corner from our place; refusing the ride C had offered.  Anything less than a mile from home, we always try to walk; happy to get the exercise while helping to be kinder to the environment.

So…we walked to the park, and there they were: C and her son, and another home school mom I had met briefly at the first play-date.  She was a very nice lady who didn’t say much…and –I suspected–never did any harm to anyone.  She seemed a gentle soul.  I liked her.  No red flags, no signs. She was just genuinely nice.  As for the  other home school moms, I liked them all too.  Even though C had ‘confided’ in me that she didn’t like one of the moms for what ever reason.  Something to do with drama?  I can’t remember really.

Even still, whether they included me or not, I thought they were all nice, and they had never done anything for me to not like them.  Though I suspected they didn’t reciprocate such feelings towards me.  It led me to realize that, since they did not know me, they’d been given false truths about me.  I suspected, but never knew for sure.  Still, no skin off my back.

That last play-date got off with out a hitch, but not for long.  I’m not sure what had gotten into my Nixi that day, but she was being a stinker…again.  Never mind that two of the other mom’s boys were wrestling and, I guess, play fighting; Nixi had no right to go up and smack the smallest boy.  I saw it about to happen, but couldn’t catch it in time.  Nixi was reprimanded and made to apologize.

The boys mom, the nice mom, didn’t seem to be offended. She could see that I had taken care of it, and she didn’t have to say anything.  She was very mature about it all.  Still, I felt bad that it had happened.  And, of course, C had to chime in when Nixi came over for a drink of juice.

“You shouldn’t hit, you know.”  She had the nerve to correct my daughter, after she had previously made it clear that she didn’t like when other moms correct her son?!  My blood was beginning to boil to the point of ‘blanking out’.  When I lose it–completely boil over–I have a tendency to blank out. I didn’t want to do that there, and set such a bad example for the kids.  It had been years since I’d last let anyone get to me like that.  I didn’t like C at all!  Negative all the way!  Toxic to the core!  I could finally see it very clearly.  She was bad news!

The play-date ended badly that day.  –After my Nixi was being mischievous…again, only to the boys; since she’d made fast-friends with the other mom’s daughter.  This time, though, Nixi hadn’t hit anyone.  She was simply picking grass and throwing it at others.  Still not nice.  I know.  Like I said, I’m the first to admit it.  She’s not the only one, though. C’s son would absolutely not share his scooter.  The few times Nixi or any other kid got a chance to ride it, he came and took it away.  C said nothing. She was too busy saying something about someone.  I was half listening.  But I was watching her watch my daughter.

Then it all broke loose!  C got up and stormed towards my daughter, not realizing I was right on her tail.  I was still surprised when she looked like she was going to put her hands on Nixi.  She’d better be glad she didn’t, too!  My boiling point would’ve over-taken me and bad would’ve turned to worse.

It was all so surreal.  There C was, having the nerve to get onto my child.  I stopped her, though I cannot recall exactly what I said; since I was already blanking out at that point.  But it was something along the lines of, “I’ll get onto my child!”  I didn’t crack a smile, but am quite sure I looked really P.O’ed.

C said something like, “It’s time to go.”  As if telling me and my daughter we needed to leave?!  Seriously!  There we stood, at our neighborhood park.  The one had shown her!  More nerve than a bad tooth, this girl had!  I can’t even refer to her as a woman, since she stooped to the level of Kindergartners.

I said a few words to my daughter, careful not to shame her, but to talk to her and see what was going on inside her young mind.  I knew there had to be a reason why she was acting up that day.  We turned and started heading for home.  And I was seething when I turned around to thank C for the scarf and hat she had made for Nixi.  It was a late Christmas gift she had said.  It played a lot into why I kept my cool that day.

I wanted to think it was all just a huge misunderstanding.  Surely C knew I would be offended for her getting after my daughter, if such-a-thing offended her as well?!  Still, she seemed to not know any better.  Her problem I guess, but it wasn’t going to be mine anymore.  I had thought about calling C and asking her what was going on?  Why would she lunge at my daughter and expect to remain friends?  To me, she seemed to not even care.  Nor did I at this point.  Things were best to be left unsaid.

THAT was then!  This past weekend was a deal breaker, though.  We had gone to the children’s festival to meet another friend of Nixi’s; one we’ve never had a bit of problems with at all.  –A really nice little girl, with a really nice mom and grandma.  They respect others because they respect themselves.  And no gossip!

We had such a fun day, seeing all the going’s on and enjoying so many activities.  Nixi and her little friend never had a bit of trouble.  Though they were quite a challenge to keep up with; so full of energy and all.  We had been from one end of the festival to the other…and back again.

I had suspected I might see  C there, since she lives not far from the area.  And I was right.  When I least expected it, there she was.  I hadn’t noticed her until after I noticed her son…right after I had to stop Nixi from taking a dump truck he was playing with.  I corrected her, as I always do when she’s being a stinker.

I looked over and could hardly believe what I was witnessing.  C was pointing right at us, whispering into the ear of another lady who was sitting beside her.  Unbelievably immature!  Adolescent in every way!  Nico and I just laughed at her, not really believing she had the nerve to show such ‘class‘.

The truth is, If I really cared what she thought of us, I might have followed my urge to go ask her what was up.  Though, Nico probably would have stopped me before I could go put an end to it.  –Telling me something along-the-lines of, “she just isn’t worth the effort.”  I would’ve had to agree with him.  We had been having such a good time, and I didn’t want to cause a scene in front of friends.  We just stood our ground and stayed in that spot, despite C’s obvious slanderous gossip and cliquish behavior.  When the girls were done playing there, we headed on down the road to another fun spot.

Nico told me later that the entire time we’d been standing even remotely in the area, C had been pointing down at us and talking into the ear of another unsuspecting sounding board.  It made me think of the one rule of thumb I’ve always followed:  If someone is talking trash about one person, or everyone else, they will certainly talk the same about me.  This was the prime example: C’s adolescent actions.  I was happy to rise above such behavior and be rid of such a toxic person…clouding up my life and well-being.

Yes, my Nixi is still a stinker. But she is my little stinker.  And to this day…and all the days forward, I don’t suspect I’ll ever meet another mom (whether home school or traditional school) who will take kindly to any other mom getting onto her kid(s).  I always try to respect others, as I expect them to respect me.  Without that, friendship will never be.  And with friends like C, I’d rather not have a single one.  I’m happy with my own company, and that of my family and real friends.  With them, there’s little to no drama…and almost always a lot of fun. Life is just too short to waste on toxic people who only mean to deceive.

–Words I live by–

*Life isn’t rocket science.  There’s no need to complicate it with the toxic behavior of others*  *Love yourself and be kind to others*  *Kharma is only bad when sent out that way*  *Cliques are for kids who don’t know any better*  *Adults who bully, are still a child in their minds*


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Home School Art Project – Family Tree From Hand & Foot Print

I’m always trying to come up with new ways to exercise my daughter’s creativity.  Being that she is six years old, she has a lot of input when it comes to our zany creations.  One thing’s for sure — we always have fun coming up with new ideas.

I had been trying to think of a fun art project we could create from my Nixi’s hand and foot prints, but ‘the light bulb’ had continued to elude me.  Finally, last week, the ‘light’ lit-up brightly above my head, and this Hand & Foot Print Family Tree was the result.

Using Nixi’s foot print as the trunk of the tree (which had to be painted, since we had no brown construction paper), we traced and cut enough of her hand prints from green construction/art paper, and labeled each hand (or, should I say ‘leafy tree branch’) with members of our immediate family from both my side and her dad’s side.

One thing I would have done differently — and might still add to the tree leafs later — is to also write the names of Mom, Dad, Bubby, Sissy…Grandma, Grandpa, etc, instead of just their call-names.  It’s really no big deal if you do or don’t add real names to your leafs, because — as in our case — you can always go back and do it later.  These improvisational art projects are pretty flexible that way.

On that note, we were very delighted with the outcome of our family tree creation.  So, however you wish to carry out your process, you’re sure to have oodles of fun with your child…or children, and grand-children, too.  I hope it inspires you to find new and different ways to create family keepsakes with your home schooler.

Thanks for stopping by.  :  )  Please comment and share your ideas and creations?  We can all learn from each other.  Blessings and .V.. (Peace), to you and yours!

*Supplies We Used*

-colored construction paper


-Elmer’s school glue

-Crayola washable paints

-white poster board (paper backing for family tree), 11 x 14 inches

-paint brushes (though you can always use your fingers, too)

-pencil for tracing (better than using a pen or marker so you can erase)

VOILA…!!!  Here is our finished result!  We couldn’t be more pleased with our hand and foot print family tree.   If you date your creation, you can always see how big your little one was at any age.  It’ll be a wonderful keepsake-memory…always.






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Home School ‘Class Pets’

The other day…during outside playtime, my daughter Nixi and I discovered a baby snail stranded in the middle of our sandbox lid.  It must’ve felt like no ‘mans’ land to the little critter– I’m sure he was almost bird feed.

It was a very daring snail rescue!  –Nixi and I swooped-up our new class pet, created his habitat-in-a-jar, and named him Inch.  –Though we’re calling him a ‘he’, we really don’t know for sure.  Snails are difficult that way.  :  )

All in all…It was a fun day of learning to be kind to creatures more vulnerable than ourselves.  Nixi and I came inside and examined Inch with our magnifying glass, while referencing her book about shells; which identifies the parts of creatures living in shells…including snails.

I thought it might be fun to share our little adventure in nature, with you-all out there in this great big world of wonder.  Whether you home school your child (children), or your child (children) go the more traditional route, I hope our little snail, Inch, will inspire you to scout for your own class pet.

*Discover a universe of nature in your own yard.  The world is an adventure….waiting to happen!  –Free for all to enjoy!*



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A Day In the Life of a Homeschooling Mom

Learning from Play-dates & Playground Mayhem —

It never fails, right when you think you’re onto something good–someone has to come along and throw a chink in your chain of play-date fun!  And, at the end of the day, if you’re lucky, you can take a learning experience away from a bad situation on the playground.

A little while back, a few of us moms got together for what thought was a very enjoyable play-date.  That was two months ago, and already, such gatherings have already left a bad taste in my mouth (figuratively speaking, of course).  But, even still, I feel I’ve gotten to know my little one better for-having suffered through a recent ‘play-date gone awry’.

For some reason, my little’n did not seem to ‘take’ to a few of the kids on the playground that day.  And, for reasons I can gather as immaturity, another one of the moms thought it was okay to reprimand my daughter…when was doing a fine job of nipping my kiddo’s bad behavior in-the-bud.

It wasn’t the first time this other mom had had the nerve to try and correct my daughter, but…on this occasion, I made sure it was the last.  Never mind that her son brought a toy to the playground that he was set on not sharing.  Never mind that–whether she thinks she knows it all when it comes to parenting–she will never know my daughter better than I.

So, we all parted ways.  And not a moment too soon!  I was fast-losing patience with her rudeness, and my fire was about to erupt like a volcano.  We headed for home.  I went over it all in my head, trying not to let it consume too much of my time.

I knew that my daughter’s behavior had nothing to do with the kids at the playground; though I had-yet to figure out why she had behaved like such a stinker that day.  And…mind you, it was only the boys she seemed to not like.  My daughter and another little girl–the daughter of a very nice and respectful home school mom who was also there–made fast-friends.  And when it was time to leave, the other little girl came and hugged my little one.

So, there I was…a few days later, still stumped as-to-why my daughter seemed to play favorites.  I knew there had to be a lesson to learn in all of it; if nothing else but to be more choosy about potential friends and playmates.

Then…it washed over me like a cool wave of Mother Ocean!  –My daughter had been jealous, but not of the kids more than the fact that I was not there playing with her like I usually do. Instead, I was talking and spending time with the other mothers.  My reason for coming to this conclusion was simple really.

The last time my daughter and I had a play-date with the ‘know it all’ super rude mom, I made the mistake of sharing my personal world with her and her child.  Remembering back to that day, my daughter had started to act whiny and very pout-y.  I knew from that recollection that my little one was simply not used to sharing me with anyone.  It’s always just the two of us when my husband isn’t home.

When my husband is home, we all spend time together — it isn’t him doing his thing, and me doing mine.  We do everything as a family.  Our daughter thrives on this commitment to family.  I see other moms who are always with their kids alone.  This…alone, helps me to see how good I really have it that my husband is always available for us.

And even though no one could ever pay me enough to join the rude mom for another play-date, I feel fortunate for having gone through such an ordeal, and witnessing her response to my daughter.  It has taught me a thing or two about respect, and being more respectful to others…simply because I respect myself.  It has taught me to be more patient with my daughter, and to understand that sometimes…she just likes it to be us, having fun as a family.

*Never let toxic people infect you with their misery*

**Live the life you love…with those you love the most.**


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HomeSchooling Activities — Vision Board Workshop

Earlier this year, I attended my first ever vision-board workshop here on the island…at an art studio down in the Strand District.  I so thoroughly enjoyed meeting the nice ladies there, sharing our visions about the life we hoped to inspire through art…the lives I-for-one, hoped to find.

My visionboard still hangs on my wall, where I can see it every morning when I wake up.  To look at it gives me insight into my desires as a woman, as a mom, as a wife.  Some months later, entering my first ‘official’ year as a homeschooling mom, my vision board has also inspired to create one with my five-year-old.

Sitting down at our dining table–the desk we use for studies, art, and games–I provided my daughter with foam pads (the size of a sheet of paper) of her color-choice, her Fiskars, Elmer’s Glue, and several family and travel magazines.  Guiding her through the process at first, I smoothly backed off and let her take charge of her own visionboard creation.

As I looked-on, I watched the secrets of her little mind spill-out onto her blue foam boards (she chose to do two boards instead of one), and I was delighted to be invited into my child’s mind…her thoughts, choices,  and dreams.

In the end, when the glue had dried and we had shown Daddy when he arrived home that evening, I felt like I knew my little one much better than I had when we woke up that morning.  I felt I had discovered a hidden door into my daughter’s mind.  It was a win-win for me as a homeschooling mom, grasping at new and productive ways of ‘teaching’ without really teaching.

Vision boards with your homeschoolers?  It will remain a fun activity for me and my homeschooler for years-to-come.  Try it with your child.  You’ll be so happy with your discoveries…and wonderful memories made together.


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Homeschooling — The Freedom to Learn

As our daughter Nixi began to approach school age, my husband and I figured we’d go the traditional route and enroll her in school.  Until one day, as I sat with my 3 1/2 year-old in the office of her prospective preschool, I realized that it somehow felt all wrong.  The principal came-across as cold and unfeeling, not the least bit warm in her interaction with my child.  It alarmed me to rethink it all.  That was the day we began our journey into homeschooling; casually, without even realizing it at first.

I remember the school calling me up on the phone, questioning me as-to-why I had not sent in my daughter’s enrollment papers.  I quickly told the school administrator that I had decided to keep my daughter home for another year.  I was not sending her to their school.  She clearly did not approve of my decision, but…since it really wasn’t any of her business, I did not succumb to her prying.  It all turned around for us that day, and I started ordering books on homeschooling and un-schooling.  I was intrigued by it all: the idea of keeping our daughter home to learn in a non-traditional way.  I felt passionate about helping my daughter develop a deeper love of learning than most kids are allowed to reach in public schools; though there are exceptions in every case scenario…I must admit.

Two years later, I can’t say it hasn’t been a challenge to do things differently this time around, but I can say…it has been quite an adventure!  Being a late-in-life homeschooling mom is someplace I never thought I would be at this age.  And…I must admit, homeschooling isn’t for everyone.  Even I have my days when I wonder if we are doing the right thing…schooling our 5 year old in a non-traditional way.  I worry she might be lonely at times…for other kids her age.  I worry she might get really sick of my company; me being her constant companion, teacher, mother, friend.

Then I see her with other kids, with other people, and I realize she doesn’t have one ounce of trouble blending into any situation.  She is a very outgoing child.  She makes friends where ever we go.  I watch her just being a kid, while many of the other ‘traditionally educated’ kids stand back and seem almost fearful of being free…being kids.

It’s times like this when I realize the freedom and room to grow…to learn, we are giving her by teaching her in such a relaxed environment.  Because she has developed a love of learning (especially reading) on her own, I feel she will not tire of it as she grows older, and into more difficult curriculum.  She will already have-come to associate learning with freedom and no stress; unlike kids in traditional learning situations.

As a child, I remember liking kindergarten–recess especially–and that’s about it.  I found school terribly confining and boring, stressful and traumatic at other times.  The constant need to fit-in and be accepted was a real drain from my creativity and concentration; my entire ability to learn.  And even though I did finally get through school, I cannot look back on it all and say it was a good experience.  In fact, it was the opposite.

The old saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”, stays constant in my reminder-to-self when I do have my weak moments of doubt.  I remember how, even though I sat in the classroom physically, I was not there mentally.  So the teacher was teaching, but my thoughts were a million miles away…wishing I could be anywhere but there in school.  This is something I never want my daughter to experience: that desperate need to escape, feeling like you are in a prison-of-sorts.  In my  memories of school, from K to 12, that’s exactly what I felt 99% of the time.

Not until college, when I went voluntarily, was I excited about learning.  I cherished each and every moment I spent in my college classroom.  I loved just being a part of the experience that was higher learning.  I finished all my classes with flying colors, my first go-round in community college.  Later in life, when I was already a mom of two, I enrolled again in college.  Just like before, I loved being there.  It was what learning was supposed to be, in my eyes.  I blossomed in so many ways in my efforts towards my AA in English.  Not only did I maintain a 4.0 GPA, but I also ended up serving two years in student government, and contributing to the campus literary magazine.

These memories of ‘learning on purpose’ and loving it, are what keep me trying new…fun ways of teaching my daughter.  –Ways she does not even realize are lessons, because she has fun in her educational efforts.  It is true, kids are like sponges when it comes to learning.  Our little-one loves books, she loves reading, word games, numbers too.  It’s all fun for her; not a chore, an assignment load she cannot bear at such a young age.  I feel that kids are given too much burden when it comes to lessons and homework in the public school system.  It takes the fun out of learning.

As for our preschooler-turned-kindergartener, we hope to keep learning fun for her all through her school-aged years.  We choose to let her remain a child, without all the pressures of fitting-in and growing up too fast.  In an age of too much seriousness, stress, and pressures for children to grow up too soon, I feel Blessed that we can be here to guide our daughter.  I feel so-very fortunate that she can learn…for the love of learning.  After-all, living a full…abundant life (in my opinion) involves remaining forever young and seeing each and every thing around us as a lesson to be learned.  Learning is everywhere we go — the world is our playground.  We just have to be allowed to embrace it with an open mind…and open arms.



Earth Day Project — Repurposing Juice Bottles Into Food Containers

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Caravan & Travel Trailer Remodeling

Happy Earth Day all you small house living folks! I wanted to share with you all, and the world, a little solution to throw-away plastic bottles. Almost anything can be Re-used, Recycled, or Repurposed nowadays. My most recent ‘brainstorm’ might be something you’ve already thought of, but if not…her ya go!

Because we live full-time in less than 200 square feet of space, I’ve had to come up with creative alternatives to storage, and had to rethink how I stock my pantry. If it isn’t square or rectangular in shape, it’s going to rob me of much-needed pantry space.

Change gears towards the fact that my preschooler goes through several bottles of fruit juice a week, since we do not give her sodas and she doesn’t really like them anyway. Either way, here we are with all of these plastic bottles.

In the past, I always recycled them, but…one day…

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