Friday, August 29, 2014

Collage Friday

It's been a fun filled week around here and summer, for us, is far from over... 

Field trip to the New Jersey Botanical gardens was a great time on Monday. The weather was perfect. The flowers were in bloom and the bees were busy pollinating everything!  (best of all - it was FREE!) 

The children could run and explore until they were too exhausted to take another step. We went with another homeschooling family which made it even more fun! 






I can't wait to go back in the spring and see these Crab Apple Trees all in bloom!


This beautiful specimen of a Black Rat Snake is living in our grass clippings compost pile. If you remember we found several of it's shed-ed skin earlier this summer. IT was finally nice to see who the wardrobe belonged to!  To find out more about these slithery creatures you can go HERE.


We were finally able to get to the Lake Beach this week. If you remember from last year's Summer Collage Friday's we went almost weekly!  This summer was just busy with other fun filled adventures.  


We are gearing up for our mid week trip to the New Jersey Shore (week after Labor Day) and the kids are so excited in anticipation for the big waves and sunny shores. 

This weekend:  I can't believe it's Labor Day this weekend...I planned no big parties 8(    Except for a small intimate Bridal Luncheon on Saturday for my future Daughter In Law!  Just a handful of family from our side to celebrate her before she becomes part of the family forever! 

I am sure we will have a bonfire and roast a few dozen marshmallows...maybe an outdoor movie if the weather is nice enough.   

As for school, we have been maintaining our spelling, reading and math...Science has been all outside. We start back with our full time regularly scheduled programming (lol) on October 6th.  

If you missed my post this week about my friend, Danielle and her need for prayers, please click over and read it. 




I hope you have a chance to enjoy the holiday weekend. 

Until next week - Be Blessed! 

Linking up over at Homegrown Learners for Collage Friday!


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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Reaching Out and Lifting Up

Psalm 107:19-21


Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.  He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.  Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.

This picture of Daneille and her daughter taken at my daughter's 7th birthday.

When I was 15 years old (let's just say many moons ago), I was given the news by my father that I had two years to live.  (insert GULP)

The "C" word was now a part of my family, my life, my then short future, my FOREVER (how every long that may be).  

Fast forward, many moons later, and as you can see I am still here (by the Grace of God)  typing this blog post, reaching out to my faithful followers. 

Ever wonder WHY you were put on this Earth? 

When you are faced with only a few weeks, months or short years to live, it goes through your mind, believe me.   I am confident that my life was saved so I can help others in times of need and I try to live by that every single day.  Even if it's just sending a happy email to someone who needs a smile, a gift card to a friend who needs a pick me up, a hand written note, meal support, a shoulder to cry on or cash to fill their pantry. 

Over the last 10 months, I have been faithful to a friend in need.  The "C" word is a part of her life too.  

It is with a heavy heart that I share her story...

She Needs Your Prayers

Her initial protocol was only 6 months of chemotherapy and then the sit and wait game to make sure the drugs wiped it all out.  We were making plans, over a glass of wine, where we were going to go to celebrate the ending of this chapter. 

Sadly, that was not to be.  Not only has it not left her body, but it's spreading.  Her future looks like this...clinical drug trials, hospitals, long commutes, more chemotherapy and a Stem Cell Bone Marrow Transplant then the sit and wait game, again. 

She is married and has 1 daughter.  They live on one income, as many of us do. They sacrifice because of it, as many of us do.  However, MOST of us will not face this extraordinary challenge, mentally - physically - emotionally or financially. 

I am reaching out to you and lifting her up to Our Lord today and every day until she is declared cured and the chapter is closed. 

If you find it in your heart, I ask  beg you to please add her to your prayer list and share her story with everyone and anyone. 

In addition, if you feel you can donate any amount of money, I have set up a Go Fund Me account that you can go to. FUND ME ACCOUNT  you can use a credit card to donate or if that does not work for you, you can send a check, please email me for my address (mnewell0293 (at) gmail (dot) com. 

Thanking you all in advance for sharing this post, praying for Daneille and her family, the doctors, nurses and all involved in her care and for donating. 

Until next time - be blessed ~

Friday, August 22, 2014

Collage Friday - Summer Fun

So happy that Mary is back with Homegrown Learners - Collage Friday!  

We have had a busy summer and it's not over yet!  We don't start back with our new grade levels until October 1st. We still have a week at the Jersey shore coming up and my older son get's married in a month!  More fun!


The children and I have been trying to start the school day with a mile and a half bike ride around our neighborhood. 

Exploring a pond near by.  It's been a great way to start the day! 


A lot of nature studies happening over the summer. Being a cooler summer here in New York, we have been able to stay outside without the heat of the day sending us back in to the air conditioner! 


Our deck garden update:  1 tomato, 4 peas and a sunflower...not enough to live on, but thankful never-the-less.  

Think I am going to leave the gardening to the experts next year - a lot of work and money for not a lot of return. 



Some fun with mushrooms!  Check out THIS post for a fun video on what one of these beauties does!



Having friends with gardens has been a blessing to our pantry.  Baking, freezing and eating all the yummy veggies. Preparing like a chipmunk for the winter months. 


My husband and I just returned from a three day trip to the Catskill Mountains. We went two years ago and it did not disappoint again.  Relaxing, boating, reconnecting.  Our 11th year wedding anniversary is tomorrow and I am excited to see what more is in store for us over the next 11 years!

Some of our real fun nature finds this summer.....


The tiniest frog - just thought he was soo cute! 


Large Fisher Spider - beautiful! 


Some bug...living on our roses and happy about it!


Coolest spider web I have ever seen. I could not fit the entire thing in the picture as it was HUGE.  Just looking at the dedication it took for this spider to finish this, makes my jaw drop!

How has your summer been? Back to school yet? 

Think about adding some arts and crafts to your curriculum this year?  

You can check out Kiwi Crate for FREE right now. We love them! 






Enjoy the weekend and be blessed!

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hiking the Glen - Family Field Trip


We recently took a trip to the Fingers Lakes Region of New York. About 3 hours from us.  It's our new tradition to camp up there during the August NASCAR race. Hiking at the Watkins Glen State Park is a MUST when you go there.  We hiked about 4 miles around the park, staying on the trails. 


The landscape is breathtaking.  The children loved every step of the hike and stopping at little rest stops along the paths, made it easy. 


If you remember on our last hike, I was photographing all the mushrooms I found. This hike I was all about the wild flowers. 


Map reading, checking out the fresh mountain water and learning every step of the way!


So many waterfalls in this park, I lost track.  


At the end of the trail (just about 2 miles in) there is a playground and bathrooms. (no bathrooms along the way)  Nice area to stop and snack, take a break before the hike back! 


We found this beautiful web along the trail and the children and I were in awe of the detail work that the owner achieved!

My advice if you want to hike this glen....comfortable shoes (they will get wet), water to drink, some sort of snack (there are garbage pails along the path), and a camera. 

Until next time - be blessed!



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

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Farm Sanctuary - Not for the faint of heart

Our family field trip to The Farm Santucary

From their site:  

New York Shelter

Nestled in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York, the rolling green pastures of Farm Sanctuary’s 175-acre New York shelter are home to more than 500 rescued farm animals. Spend the day with us and take an hour-long guided tour, browse our unique gift shop, learn more about farm animals in our Education Center, or enjoy a snack on our scenic deck. 

(They have three locations in the United States.) 

I was looking for something for an educational afternoon while we were in Watkins Glen, NY camping for the NASCAR Race.  I found this place on line and it looked interesting.  What we found it to be, we were instore for something completely out of our comfort zone. 

The place is BEAUTIFUL...rolling hills...big red barns...beautiful animals roaming around.  When we arrived at 2 pm that day (beauty of a day I might add), we were told that we had to take the "tour" and it starts at 2:30 (cost for the tour was less than $ 25 for the 5 of us).

 So were invited to walk around the "barn" (store and educational center) while we waited.  Once we (and 15 others) were ready at 2:30 we were told by a delightful gal what The Farm Sanctuary does.  Rescuing farm animals.  Sounds great, right?  She showed us a short movie (not for the faint at heart and then the tour began).  I think it would have been just fine if all we did was take the entire tour and she talked about each type of animal and maybe where they came from...Believe me when I tell you that is NOT was happened. 

If you are not a vegan, I don't advise going on the tour.  Do they educate you? yes   Do they try to convert you? YES. 

 Our tour guide proceeded (with many children in our group) to inform us the horrible condition of their "guests" when they found them.  What the previous owners did to these animals and how eating meat, drinking & eating dairy products etc will kill you... At one point my son turned to me and said "oh I can't drink milk anymore mom, I will get cancer".  GEEZ...  




I am ALL for educating the public on what your farm does and how great the animals are taken care of at your facility but to try to put the fear of GOD into your paying guests is not right.  Definitely a different agenda on their plate (no pun intended) then just showing us how beautiful their facility is. 

I was thankful that our two girls seemed to be off visiting with the animals rather than listening to what the tour guide said (thank you Jesus!) . 

Eric and I really did not learn anything we did not already know (except that pigs can sleep up to 18 hours per day).  The kids loved visiting with the animals.  

At the end of the tour everyone was invited to sample the vegan ice cream (dairy free) made with coconut milk. Kids all tried it, finished their sample bar and said they don't think we should buy it (tasted like suntan lotion)

If you ever have the opportunity to visit one of The Farm Sanctuary locations just be aware of what they are all about. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Our learning space....




As with most home educating families, we don't only learn in one area or room of our home.  

The world is our classroom and we take full advantage of that. Camping, traveling, exploring...learning all the time. 

We are "full time" homeschoolers and school year round. We do take a week off here and there from "formal" learning, however, aren't children learning all the time?


we learn outdoors all the time


at the ocean...



when we are camping....

But what you are probably more interested in seeing is our "home school"...so here you go....

We have purged A  LOT this year...donating over 100 workbooks/books, supplies to other homeschoolers.  We have purchased some new furniture and discarded others. We are a less is more family now!

My calendar board from Pottery Barn is my biggest TOOL that I could not do without.  It's all out there for everyone to see what is happening in our schedule.  LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!

These pictures above are more of "my resources" as a teacher.  I have to have things in order or I don't function well. 


We school in our dining room of the home.  We also have a computer desk in there by the sunny window. Since most of our "entertaining" happens outdoors, I don't mind having most of our "school stuff" in this room. 

Books, books and more books!  We have 4 shelves full. Not all curriculum related. I have parted with many and for now we are in good shape!

Most of our unused school supplies are downstairs in a craft closet and I go there when needed. 

There you have it....enjoy your day and be blessed!


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

Monday, August 11, 2014

The NEW Chocolate Chip Cookie

With all the gardens in full bloom, we have friends that are blessing us with their overflow (thank you friends). Zucchini seems to be the veggie of choice lately.  I wanted to use up some of the large greens ones before they went bad.  

Looking through countless recipes on Pinterest using zucchini, I came across this one. 





WHAT?  A CC Cookie with Zucchini - could it be true?


I am here to say YES friends you can have your veggie and cookie all in one!

They were light and cake like.  I loved the little hint of cinnamon in them and the fact that they have oats makes it a win win in our home.  

These are now my go-to cookie for the summer season!  Hoping to freeze a batch too so I can bring these babies out in the fall!

Until Next Time - Be Blessed!
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