Thursday, July 24, 2014

Camping Adventures - July

We have been trying to find different campgrounds to try out. Our "usual" is a Jellystone in the beautiful Hudson Valley of New York.  This time we went a little further Northeast near Albany to a KOA.  I have never been to a KOA and had pretty high expectations.  (that's all I got to say about that....)

Besides the "usual" camping fun, s'mores, camp fire and playground fun....

We found some funny moments to capture....

The phone booth was a fun picture and the owner says it rings from time to the stories I could think of if I answer! 

We found this BIG DADDY skillet in the camping store - Zachary thought it was hilarious! 

They had a cute craft on Saturday - kids decorated a fabric bag to bring back later that night for a Candy Hunt (in the dark). Fun times. 

One of my favorite things to do was hike the camp grounds. They had created a Nature Walking Path around the entire campground.  We were excited for the adventure.  One of my favorite things was all the different specimens of mushrooms we found. 

The larger picture, after research, is not actually a mushroom like we thought.  Check this out from Wikipedia. 

Ghost Plant, Indian Pipe or Corpse Plant:
Unlike most plants, it is white and does not contain chlorophyll. Instead of generating energy from sunlight, it is parasitic, more specifically a myco-heterotroph. Its hosts are certain fungi that are mycorrhizal with trees, meaning it ultimately gets its energy from photosynthetic trees. Since it is not dependent on sunlight to grow, it can grow in very dark environments as in the understory of dense forest. It is often associated with beech trees.[2] The complex relationship that allows this plant to grow also makes propagation difficult.
The plant is sometimes completely white but commonly has black flecks and a pale pink coloration.[3] Rare variants may have a deep red color.

Tether ball anyone?  I have not seen one of these babies since high school.  Kids loved it until they all got hit in the head by the ball...doh...

All in all, the kids had a ball (which is really what counts right...) but we can check this place off our list and say we been there, did it done. 

Next camping trip:  August - Watkins Glen - NASCAR race and hiking the Glen!  We are ALL excited to go back. 

Until next time:  Be blessed!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Kiwi Crate - TRY IT FOR FREE!~

We are HUGE Fans of Kiwi Crate.  I am so excited to announce that you can try it now for FREE!  This craft is available for a limited time!  My girls made these and hang them by their bedside. FUN at night time.  Click on the picture above and check it out!

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July with Mom Mentors and Graham Blanchard

This month is THE best Mom Mentor yet, IMO, at Graham Blanchard.  The team is really putting it all out there with their thoughts on ways to cope with tough days. 

Being a mother is a tough and rewarding experience.  Days can be long, tough and wonderful. 

I hope you are encouraged and lifted up by the post.  We are all laying it out on the line this month.  

Honest, raw - real. 

Check it all out at Graham Blanchard. 

This post may contain affiliate or sponsor links. You can see our full disclosure policy at the bottom of this blog page.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Healthy Snacking - easy is as easy does!

Snacking is something we all do...whether you snack on carrots or carrot cake, we all snack.  Last year I found out about Naturebox and our snacking habits have changed for the better!   We still have the occasional nacho chip with dip, but mostly we snack on healthy alternatives. Thanks to Naturebox!  

What is Naturebox you ask?  Glad to tell you all about it! 

Naturebox delivers gourmet snacks to your doorstep every month.  Each monthly supply comes with up to 5 full sized bags of snacks, all of which have been taste tested and approved by a nutritionist.   

As I type this post I am snacking on Salt and Pepper Lentil Loops. Oh My Word - these are delicious!  

One of my favorite things about these snacks is that I can pick them myself!  OR you can have Naturebox surprise you with their picks.   We try 1 new snack each month, but mostly we stick to the favorites that the children love! 

I encourage you to check out Naturebox and see what appeals to you.  They also have a blog that is FULL of recipes all healthy! 

If you are looking for a gift for a friend, family member, co-worker this is it!   We received a subscription as a gift and are hooked for life! 

I encourage you to click on the link above and check out Naturebox! 

"Over 100 ways to snack happy"

This post may contain affiliate or sponsor links. You can see our full disclosure policy at the bottom of this blog page.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Our week in nature....a GREAT find!

Before I show you what we have been up to...don't forget to enter the Keep'em Busy giveaway

The rain finally stopped, not that I am not thankful for the rain, but it dampens our outdoor time.  Once we ventured out to the yard after so much rain, we found lots of activity!  

You can't tell by these pictures but there are actually two groundhogs under our shed.  They were fighting earlier and I broke it up. Biting at each other's necks and "screaming".  I felt bad so I ran out and broke it all up. Then I waited a bit and one of the contenders came out for a bit.  We love watching them eat our clover in the yard. 

My roses are "reblooming"....wild raspberries are everywhere in our yard and neighborhood...Samantha is leaving a little bath and house for any bugs that need to get out of the sun and looking for some refuge....loving all the wildflowers around right now. 

We always have a wide variety of birds at the feeders and it's survival of the fittest to say the least. 

Sammie and I walked around just the front yard and within about 20 feet of each other we found four different kids of mushrooms.  The mushrooms at the bottom right of the collage are called Puffball mushrooms...check out the video to see what unique characteristic they have!


We leave for another camping adventure this weekend....not with our BFF's but just our family.  Trying a new "brand" of campground and can't wait to see what they bring to the table!

The next few weekends are very busy including a relaxing two day getaway just for ME! 8)

Until next time - be blessed!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Keep 'em Busy Bundle Giveaway

It's that time of the summer when the children might be saying "I am bored"....sigh...that phrase turns my hair colors!  
After sorting through all we HAVE - I decided we HAVE too much!  So we are giving a lot of it away to you! 

We have a fun Keep'em Busy Bundle to giveaway!  So much to little

So much we are giving away, I could not fit it into one picture....see all the pictures for ALL you will get if you win!

Crafts, games, prizes, stickers, crayons, foam paper, felt, markers, beads, stamps, books on CD and more....over $ 200 in Keep'em Busy Stuff!

It's easy to enter using the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Sorted Details:

This giveaway is sponsored by was purchased by will be mailed by's in no way affiliated with Instagram, Twitter, Blogger, or Google. 

Open to US Mailing Addressed only. 

Please make sure you leave an email so you can be contacted if you win! 

Linking to: Homeschool Survival 

Friday, July 11, 2014

What's Happening at The Joys of Home Educating

First the nice, fun, looks like a ball pictures....

At our first minor league game of the this time last year we had already been to three games...we are slipping....we got the tickets for FREE with our 2014/15 season ski passes so the seats were not as good as we usually get, but hey they were free...

Last weekend when my mom was here, she purchased Zachary's 10th birthday present (a new bike) and of course Molly lobbied for one also (she really did need one) so she got one (thanks Bubby) however, when we were in Toys r Us, I saw this bike - plain, simple, no gears - old fashion bike (with a nice big seat for my "you know what") . It was on a HUGE clearance (From $119 to $35.99 and I had $ 10 off coupon) SCORE. So I bought myself a bike.  

mine did not have the basket with it...but yes it's Hello Kitty 8)

This week I was determined to take a ride each morning with the children. My legs are hurting but my heart feels well!  We have been exploring this pond in our neighborhood each morning...what grows there...what animals are around.  Gives us a great start to the day!

On to the EPIC Fail of the century.  Each year we grow a "deck garden" (see this garden post from a few years ago) due to the animals in our area we have to have it up on the deck.  SO this year I decided we were going all organic...bought organic seeds from Renee's Garden (highly recommended to us), all organic soil with organic fertilizer too.  

What could go wrong, right?

 Did it all right...planted when we were suppose to - water when we were suppose to...what we have growing could not feed a mouse 8(   Three snap pees, a pebble size tomato and a sunflower...everything else never got bigger than 1/2 inch... 8(   

Feeling so defeated...what went wrong? 

no idea....waste of money...time...effort? 

 Well my littlest brought me back by saying - "well mom, we need to be thankful for what DID grow and not be mad at what didn't"....  WORD!  

It's been a heck of a schooling week - Zachary has been taking a few hours each morning and working on his state mandated tests (IOWA is what choose)...B O R  I N G he says!  lol   filling the bubble...what does that do for me mom?  lol...

I have been cranky for some reason...I think it's needed sleep really....and the heat - me and heat don't mix....but somewhere in my mind, I thinks it's because we have been in the house....I am one who needs to be out in the world, exploring with the children...I am used to so many field trips and adventures in the Summer months and we have been home for a few weeks now...getting the itch! 

 We are camping next weekend at a KOA, which is new to us...then Eric and I have a date weekend (kids going to Grammie's house) and Zachary's 10th birthday! 

 August is busy with lots of travel...

Well about sums up the last week...hope yours was blessed...Oh and we have a giveaway coming up on the blog starting on the 14th - wont want to miss it!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

June was a BLURRRR - what we did in pictures

I can't believe it's July already.  June was a complete blurr right now.
We traveled a lot and had a chance to fellowship with so many friends that live far away.

We started June with our Father's Day Weekend camping trip.  

In my usual fashion, I had a theme to the weekend. FOOTBALL.. Since my hubby is a Vikings fan
and my "other" hubby (BFF Husband) is an Eagles fan - we decided to have a SUPERBOWL theme with both of those teams in it!  (you might call is "fantasy"

The weather was great and we had a blast, as always!

The weekend right after that we saw our BFF's again at my "other hubby's" 35th Birthday - they live 2 hours north of us in Upstate NY.  It was a great weekend filled with parties, slip-n-slides and bonfires.

The flowers in the heart stones is in my friend's garden (not same friend as the other three pictures). Love this idea!

We left their house to travel another hour northeast to an old friend's house that I had not seen in 7 years!  When we left Central New York over 7 years ago, leaving my friends behind was the hardest thing I did.  My son Zachary and my friend's son were each other's first friends! 

 It was great to see how her family grew of the years and to rekindle our friendship. The kids had a ball!

We were blessed to have seen our other BFF's (they relocated to Orlando a year ago) not once but twice in the month of June!  (Getting my friends fill this month!)  We had fun times - bonfires, outdoor movie night, pigging out on food and celebrating the summer!

To end the month, we had our Summer Kick Off celebration at our library - to kick off the Reading Club!  In addition to a wonderful Science Program - Sammie received her very own library card!  Offical!  She is so excited! I am so proud!   

A personal goal of mine (if you remember back in January) was to finally start and finish a book!  It's been years since something has engaged me to where I wanted to finish the book - well thanks to Melanie Shankle and her books - I am hooked again on reading!

We started off July with an End of the School Year Luau party with our friends (more on that to come...)

I am writing with a sigh of relief that July is not as busy as June...we only have 1 camping trip scheduled and no other travel plans.  August and September is another oldest gets married in September - a HUGE Milestone in our family life!  I can't wait to witness this union! 

In case you missed the June Graham Blanchard post - you can catch up on what the Mom Mentor's are talking about this month - Bringing the Bible Alive with our Children

Enjoy your Fourth of July and if you have not had a chance to check me out on FACEBOOK - come on and join in!

Until then - my friends - be blessed!

This post may contain affiliate or sponsor links. You can see our full disclosure policy at the bottom of this blog page.
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