Saturday, May 10, 2014


Thinking about Mother's Day...
Martha Ann King

This post is ABOUT ME... and my mom.  You can choose to read it or not.  I know she's not here to see it... but it feels good to put it out there in the world.

To MOM... these are the things I miss the most:  YOU!
1) Two hour conversations long distance on the phone.
2)  Shopping and you telling me all the things you think I'd look good in!
3)  The excitement you'd get when you found a GREAT bargain!
4)  The way you'd rub my head and call me "little girl" even when I was well into my 20's.
5)  I miss not having you here to share my children with.  Sorry you did not get to meet
them.  You'd think they were the greatest; NOT just because they're so well behaved.  One of them has red hair... I know how you love red hair.
6)  Kicking back watching the football games...eating popcorn, boiled shrimp and tomato soup... although anyone else would think it's a strange combination... we were strange.
7)  Getting dressed in the bathroom... you at one side of the mirror, me at the other.
You asking me... "Too much blush?", me asking you, "How's my hair"... ha ha!
8)  Going out to eat, sitting in a restaurant (usually Mexican) and just talking.  You really understood my jokes, happy go-lucky attitude and facetious nature... and laughed at it.
9)  All the encouragement... No one has ever made me feel it was ok to be ME, like you did.  All the unconditional love you gave, even when you knew I was messing up... you were there to love me through it when I fell, to lift me back up and push me off again.
10)  I miss... not knowing... what it would be like to have you here NOW, to enjoy my children, know my husband and be impressed by him saying, "yes ma'am" all the time.  He does it to all his elders... except me.  ha ha!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Caught in a Time Warp

I didn't realize how secluded I am, until I recently paid my sister a visit.  Although she lives miles away from anyone, out in the middle of nowhere, I feel as if I'm the one in seclusion.

This past Saturday, March 15th, was a beautiful day for travel.  Trying to save time, we loaded up our minivan, plotted the quickest course and headed towards the Tennessee Mountains.  From our location we traveled almost two hours South, and then another two and half hours North just to get there.  The overall trip taking four hours and forty five minutes, most of it being on interstate.

I've been to visit my sister in the past, nearly ten years ago.  The drive out was long as we traveled farther and farther away from civilization.  Through the mountainous region of middle Tennessee there was nothing but rolling hills and countryside surrounding us.  As I stared intently from the passenger side window, I was in awe of the breathtaking scenery.

Her driveway was more like a road, it wound and turned going into a grove of Hawthorn trees, pines, hardwoods, and opening into a broad field.  As we cleared the trees, we could see her huge cabin in the distance, sitting high, atop a hill.  Pulling up to her home was like arriving at some well hidden resort, or cottage.  Her entrance was her back porch... spanning the width of their home;warm and inviting. From the porch, all I could see was miles of rolling hills surrounded by dense groves of trees, and forage.  It was beautiful.  Down the way, was a little cabin, secluded and all alone.  It belonged to them as well, unused, but well kept.

The reason behind our trip was to celebrate the upcoming birth of my great-niece with a baby shower.  My family sat in the openness of my sister's home, forming a semicircle around the guest of honor, watching on
as she opened gifts.  My beautiful niece opened gift by gift, revealing each one with a huge smile.  As she opened the beautiful painting my sister, her mother, painted for her nursery, her face couldn't not cover the joy she felt inside.  A beautiful painting of an owl, which her husband hung lovingly above the crib, also given to her by her mother.

My sister had a spread of food to die for.  She even had California Spring Rolled Sushi. Something I have never tried.  It didn't look good, but curiosity got the better of me, tasted one anyways.  People really eat this stuff?  That was my first thought.  Not only had I never eaten sushi, I didn't know how to eat it and enjoy it.  Wasn't until my cousin and his beautiful wife showed up to show me how to do it correctly.  Dipping it into a sauce concocted by my cousin's wife, and popping the whole thing in my mouth at one time, as instructed really did make a difference.  YES... right!

I began listening as each of them described the ins and outs of the technology they possessed.  It all sounded French to me. So instead of buying books, flipping through pages of actual paper you can read them from this thingy called a 'kindle'.  As we sat there talking, they were continually pulling these flat things out of their pockets, typing stuff on them, taking pictures and video taping too.  I pulled out my own gadget, wondering if it did those things they had mentioned, looking at it for a moment, judging by the size theirs had many more features than mine... or was better equipped.

Face time?  Face space?  Got a taste of that as well, as my cousin called to check in on her boys, and get them started with their day.  Wow... one on one conversations, and you could actually see they were cozy, still tucked in their beds.  So many gadgets, and doodads, I don't even know where to start.  They were talking about this and that, continuously losing me in conversation.  Several times I had to ask, "What's this?", and "What does that mean?".  ha ha!

The best part of the trip, other than visiting with family, was watching my children play with their cousins outdoors.  They lost themselves in the rolling hills and woods of my sister's farm, only returning for drink or food, and the occasional potty break.  To top it all off, I was able to listen to my nephew play a beautiful piece on his violin; Flannigan's Ball.

My sister has excellent cooking skills, she created a cheese cake masterpiece which I devoured.  The pulled pork by far surpassed any I could do.  Even though I didn't like it at first, the sushi was to die for.  Her and her husband were gracious hosts, building a bonfire for us to enjoy, putting out bedding and providing delicious food and meals.  Great conversation, although on occasion I felt lost.  Had the time of my life
enjoying the experience as if it would be another ten years before my return.

Caught in a time warp, exactly how I felt.  While visiting with family, out in the middle of nowhere, time moved on without me... and I just didn't care.

My sister, nieces and cousin in the kitchen!

My niece proudly displaying the painting her mother did.

Kids playing in the field.  The dots next to the tree at the bottom of the hill are the boys with their bikes.

Bonfire in the back yard.

Cousins sitting on the back porch caught in action!

View from my sister's upstairs bedroom.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Home School Review! Time4Learning

I've been homeschooling my children for five years, all three of them.  I also school/tutor another child not my own.  We keep a pretty hectic pace at my home, and we try to stay at the forefront of education.  I try to stay on top of the best educational materials, and get the most for my money.  Regardless of what I do, what works for one child, doesn't necessarily work for the others.  In my five years of homeschooling, regardless of the programs, tools or curricula I use, I've found every child has their own learning style, and just because a particular curricula works for my family, doesn't necessarily mean it will work for another.

My oldest child, a female, is self directed.  I've never had a problem getting her to start or complete a task. The boys, and my youngest child are far less motivated.  I have tried every curriculum in the book to keep them engaged, literally; Abeka, Christian Liberty Press, AOP, Bob Jones to name a few.  Although I love these other curricula formats, they did not meet the immediate needs of my family. Nor did they meet the budgetary requirements of my family

During a one on one discussion with a homeschooling mother, she suggested I give Time4Learning a try.  We shared many of the same homeschooling challenges, and as she discovered through Time4Learning, many of these challenges were put to rest, and many of the educational needs of her family were met.  I did my research;
  • I found Time4Learning to be affordable, flexible and suitable to the needs of my entire family.
  • After reading reviews, and listening to other parents, I decided to give Time4Learning a try.
From the first day, my children were completely enthralled in their lessons.  Getting them started was no longer an issue.  Reminding my children they had surpassed the required 4.5 hour school day, and prompting them to stop was a welcomed change.  On the first day, my son worked well into the night on his lessons, and would have continued if I hadn't pulled in the reigns.

As my youngest, six year old daughter said, "Look mama, I'm learning and having fun at the same time."  Her words pretty much sum up how all the children feel about Time4Learning.  It's an engaging, fun, interactive learning system, for all children.

I just completed a book called "Oh, Mother Clutter" which describes a need for reducing clutter in one's life. With Time4Learning, I don't have as much clutter, because most of the work can be done online while grades, lesson plans and schedules are maintained in the system.  This immediate form of organization has proven to reduce table clutter, book clutter, as well as mind clutter.  I am much more at ease and relaxed using Time4Learning.

As a Christian, I try to protect my children from being exposed to world views, and secular teachings; especially those pertaining to evolution.  Having them in public school or learning through an online public charter school wasn't an option.  Teaching them from home, regardless of what system I use, has allowed me to put filters in place.

Last but not least, learning from home allows much flexibility.  We never have an off day due to bad weather!  Time4Learning allows for flexibility so we can participate, and do our lessons regardless of the time, location, or weather.

As a member of Time4Learning, I have been given the opportunity to review their program and share my experiences. While I was compensated, this review was not written or edited by Time4Learning and my opinion is entirely my own.  Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, forafterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

Thank you for reading this post!  Have a fantastic day!