Online School Field Trip

Online school… is … well, online, but it also has books,
papers, pens & pencils, projects (digitally turned into the teacher),
real human teachers and lots of other students. Yup… students.
photo 2
Yesterday we drove two hours to join in the first all-school
field trip at Uncle John’s Cider Mill. Only a portion of the student
body was present, but it was large! Very Large!
photo 3

The kids met their teachers face-to-face and some of the
other students who are technically in their classes. It
was fun to put faces to names that have previously only
appeared in the chat boxes during an online Live Lesson.

photo 1 photo 2

Besides a corn maze and some other typical yet fun
fall activities, the farm had a giant bouncy pillow…
which continually drew Max & Chase back to it’s jumpy
fun, over & over!
photo 1

Being outside in the fall in Michigan certainly sits near
the top of my “Favorite Things about Fall,” and meeting
very real (and friendly) parents, students and teachers
from the world of “cyber-school” made it a day we’ll
remember for years!
photo 4

School, Insanity & Salty Tears

I don't REALLY feel like this... but I certainly relate enough to crack up laughing at this!

I don’t REALLY feel like this… but I certainly relate enough to crack up laughing at it!

The last three weeks were filled with 14 days of hard work, tears,
sadness and continually finding words to encourage my kids
and myself.  Then,  7  of those days offered smiles, comfortable
routines and no more tears. And it is all because of schooling.  Here’s the deal…

In 2004 we started homeschooling our children (because we’d just moved to
the heart of Detroit city).  Then, last year we put our youngest 3 kids into
a university prep charter school near our house.  And now… this fall we’ve
gone a completely different route.   Our youngest three are doing online
public school!

Yes!  Free online public school, Connections Academy. It’s taken many of
the things I love about homeschooling and the few things I liked about
traditional public school and mushed it into one!  Here’s a bullet list
of how things have gone for us.

– Day ONE was insane!  We had the computer that the school gave us
(Yes, they provide one per household) and my laptop.  But after we
took the infamous “1st day of school” picture and sat down to begin
my very aged laptop went to computer heaven (or the opposite!!)
Now what?  THREE kids sharing ONE computer for Online school?
Yeah… NO!!!  Insanity. Tears.

– My kind and compassionate husband took pity on me and put out a
plea on Facebook for used computers.  That very same evening our
precious friends from church were dropping off not one, but TWO
brand new laptops!  Thanks to our friend’s work and an unexpected
money gift we’d been given the month earlier, we now have enough
computers for all three children!  Praise Jesus!

– That thrill worn off quickly… All I’ve used for over 16 years is MAC
computers and now I had 3 PCs!   Everything is the COMPLETE
opposite!  HELP!  More school, insanity and salty tears. But I knew
I’d get it eventually… plus my kids were teaching me how to use it.

– We were told that it would take a while to “get used to computer school”
Yes… no joke.  The first two weeks it took between 9 and 11 HOURS each
DAY to complete the assigned work!  WHAT?

– Of course there were tears!  (Mostly MY tears, quietly shed in a private
corner during the day, and in my time with Jesus in the stillness of the
very early morning.)

–  After a week of this I made several email and phone-call pleas to the
teachers.  “HELP!  What are we doing wrong?”

– The teachers were so, so kind and gave us every bit of encouragement
and ideas they could.  But the daily hours continued to mount!

– We stuck to it, knowing that this WOULD be GREAT when it settled down.

– And then it happened….  We started getting the hang of it!

–  The 3rd week has actually been fun!  All the joys of having my kids home,
being involved in their learning, knowing what they’re studying and
connecting  it to daily activities, news reports, outdoor exploration, etc
all clicked in… again… finally!

– I truly love having my kids at home, learning!  We have a blast.

– Later on I’ll post more about a regular school day as an
“Online Schooling Family”  and the field trip coming up soon.


GRATEFULNESS fills my heart.  Of course more challenges hide around
the corners… that’s life… but we’ve walked through a rough beginning
and know that “we can do this!”


(NOTE:  Comments are closed… I’m having some trouble with that. But
you are welcome to email me at   I’d LOVE IT!)


Denim for Baby, too?

If you’ve read very many of my posts you already know
that I totally love to make new items out of “old” jeans.
It’s often called, “Upcycling” but it’s just plain fun and
a great way to be wise with money!

This idea came from Pinterest.
Now, Pinterest and I have a strange relationship…
I don’t have one, but when a google search sends me
to someone’s board I cannot lie… I like it.

While hunting for a printable bib pattern I found
a few pictures of these adorable little bibs.  SO CUTE!
So I busted out the bag of “old jeans,”  (thanks, Chilly,
little boys and Zach) and whipped up a few for a sweet
little girl born to our precious friends in Chicago-land.

Now, the other pregnant lady in my life (Hi Kelley) will know
what to expect when she’s done expecting!


Bib 1 front


Bib 1 back


This is a great project if you’re just beginning
to sew.  Fun!


(Note:  I wrote this post a few days ago… cuz as you
read this I’m actually on vacation. Yippee!)




That’s What He Said

If you read my post yesterday you know that our garage
was broken into and our daughter’s awesome bike was stolen.
That happened on Monday.

Fast forward a couple of nights…
It’s bedtime.
I’m praying with our boys as I tuck them into bed.
We prayed for all the usual needs and safety…
just like any other night.

Then my 6-year-old prayed, “Jesus, help the person
who took Zoe’s bike to know that they should ask You
to forgive them and ask you into their heart.”


Psalm 8:2
“You have taught children & infants
to tell of Your strength,
Silencing Your enemies
and all who oppose You.”


I’m not gunna lie

I’m not gunna lie.  It’s true… I look.
As of Monday evening I totally take a close look…
at every person riding a bike in our neighborhood.
It’s because I’m instinctively looking for a bike that
looks similar to this one….


Because my daughter’s bike (that looked similar
to this picture above) was stolen from our garage
during the night.  Then, as if the gashes in the
garage weren’t enough, the thieves returned
during the early evening (while we were away
for a couple of hours) and hacked away at the
garage door again. (fortunately we’d reinforced
the door).  But seriously!

Now some of you may be thinking, “That crazy
family just needs to move out of Detroit?”
(And we really do live right in the heart of
Detroit city… not a suburb.)
But move?  Really?

I bet you’ve had a missionary come to your
church and tell wild stories of danger from
the country they are called to, right?  You
probably sat there with awe and admiration,
thinking, “Wow, they are so obedient to Jesus!”
Why then, do you some of you get disgusted to
hear stories of a missionary in one of your own cities?

You have a choice… just like we do.
Proverbs 11:11
“Upright citizens bless a city and make it prosper,
but the talk of the wicked tears it apart.”

God has sent us to Detroit to make it our home;
He sent us to share His love and the hope that
comes through His forgiveness and salvation.
You have to be where God has called you, too…
and if it’s in the city… yay!
(maybe He’s calling you to our city!)
Or maybe He’s put you elsewhere.

Just obey.
And… speak well of those who are citizens of the
city… and Pray for us! (and other urban missionaries!)


and a wonderful lady in a nearby area has given
our daughter another bike similar to the one that was
taken on Monday night.  As I’m typing this, our friend
and daughter are on their way to pick it up!  THANK YOU,
Kind Lady who is “blessing the city!”




4 Days Detroit- recap





Ministry Teams of teenagers & youth leaders came to
Courage Church, Detroit from Michigan, Ohio, Iowa and Indiana.
Each morning the students benefited from quality (and fun)
teaching followed by outreach ministry in the afternoon.


The evenings services left HUGE and lasting impressions
on students and adults with the ministries of Reggie Dabbs,
Edgar Cabello, Richard Crisco, Sounds Good Ministries
and my favorite… Chilly Chilton!

(Click on the pics below to go to their links)







The final evening a rally was hosted at Courage Church
for the entire neighborhood of Southwest Detroit, also
proudly known as Mexicantown. (pictured below)


Our building was SOOO full of people, and everyone
had a chance to hear about the love of Jesus and about
150 people raised their hands to signal that they wanted
to give their lives to Jesus!  SOOOO wonderful!

Nearly 25 of these new friends attended our regular
church service on Sunday morning and several of them
are taking their committment to Jesus so seriously that
they’ve asked to be baptised in water!  YAY!
In the words of NOT-so-spiritual song The Hokey
Pokey… “That’s what it’s ALL about!”

Thank you for praying (if you did)!
If you didn’t… please start now!
Pray for these new friends who just beginning their
journey with Jesus!
Pray for our family & leadership team!

(Many of you reading this helped make this amazing week
possible!  THANK YOU!  You have made a nice spot for
yourselves in our hearts!)

NO Drama (or Disney)

Girls are dramatic. It’s not a secret.
But at our house we don’t encourage it or
allow it, and it doesn’t get the response that
the “dramatic one” is hoping for in the first place.

No more drama

Our culture tells us it’s OK to be grouchy,
mean, flip out, gossip, stomp, yell, etc…
and if you’re a girl you get a free pass to this
behavior at least 5 days a month.
NONE of this behavior reflects JESUS!
You cannot find a free pass to pouting
and selfishness in God’s Word
no matter the time of month,
or year or day!

Sadly, we’ve come to discover that most
of the shows on the Disney channel (and Nick, too)
seem to glorify this ridiculous behavior all year long.
Note: This doesn’t include the preschool shows
or the great “Phineas and Ferb.”
But most of the sitcoms directed towards
older elementary/middle school kids are full
of undisciplined & unnecessary
drama, lying, disrespect towards all authority,
boyfriend/girlfriend garbage and a host of other
subjects that we are NOT willing to dump into
our kids’ lives.

This makes me sad… but we’ve drawn a line.
Truthfully there’s very little programming aimed
at this particular age group that merits a second
of our time.  (Such a bummer, too, cuz some of those
shows have really cool decor on their “set” houses!
Like… a denim carpet made from old jeans!  What?)
I’ll just have to google/bing those decor things cuz we 
certainly will NOT be watching the shows just so
I can have a tiny peak at the carpet.)

Drama happens.  We’re passionate people.
Hopefully our children will learn how to respond
appropriately to whatever life brings.  Yes,





Recently Overheard


If you’d been at our house recently you may have overheard the following things being said.


Child: “Wanna play Egyptian Chicken?”

Me:”What’s that?”

Child:”You yell EGYPTIAN and run around like a chicken!”


“Hey mom. Wanna watch this show? It’s about the 80’s.”
“This isn’t the 80’s it’s the 50’s just for the record.”
“Oh… anything old seems like the 80’s.”


“Hey mom, who was president when you were born… John Adams?”


This isn’t a funnel, it’s a unicorn helmet.


Someone busted out singing “All Things Bright and Beautful” and then
someone else said,”Aldi is beautiful?”


“Guess what  I’m listening to on my headphones?”
“Sign language?”


While eating dinner:  “I told you to take off those dirty socks when you came in the door…”
“WAIT… not NOW!  Take your feet OFF the table!”



Dreams fulfilled

I wrote the following things in my journal last week when I was thinking about
“dreams come true.”


Dreams are fulfilled in relationship, not accomplishments.

Relationship with Jesus, Chilly, my children, family and church, etc…

It doesn’t mean that these people fulfill my dreams-
that would be setting us all up for failure.

But rather, it means that the joy of
loving them,
serving them
and having them in my life is enough for me!

I’m livin’ my dreams!




Menu Plan Monday, April 8, 2013



You’ll notice lots of links to recipes this week… many are from Racheal Ray’s EVERYDAY
magazine. I get the real, paper & ink version in my mailbox. Although I do not make
every recipe exactly like Racheal, she inspires ideas. Maybe you’ll find sometime
new to make this week, too.

NOTE: The LUNCH menus are things that I pack in my children’s school lunches,
and i try to make a similar version for the rest of us at home, too.


Lunch – Cheesy Tortillas, Apples
Dinner- Fritos Fritta, Rice, Tomato Salad

Lunch- Sandwiches, oranges
Dinner- Whole Wheat Pasta with Meat Sauce, Broccoli Salad

Lunch- Steak & French Fry Salad, crackers
Dinner- Alphabet Stew

Lunch- Stew (do-overs from last night), pretzels
Dinner- Pepperoni Rolls (with this dough), apples

Lunch- Pizza Rolls (extra from last night), carrots, ranch dressing
Dinner- Make-your-own-Taco-bar

Lunch- Quick Chicken Soup 
Dinner- Pan Seared Ravioli

Lunch- Lasagna, Salad
Dinner- Cheesy Tortillas