Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Busy, Busy Days


"Jacaranda in Bloom" by ME! - Nicole Pivec :)

Did you all have a nice weekend? To my American friends, did you enjoy your Memorial Day holiday weekend?

After a good time at the convention and arriving home Saturday evening, I had a busy time of cleaning and beginning to get organized. But before I get ahead of myself, let me start at the beginning!

This was my first year attending the FPEA (Florida Parent Educators Assoc.) conference. I had been previously to the similarly huge MACHE convention in MN for 3 years in a row, but had not attended the one here for 2 reasons: 1)$$ - or lack thereof and 2) I really had found myself at a place that I didn't think I needed anymore workshops for the elementary level work. Maia was in 6th grade this year and I'd wanted to go last year to begin getting my bearings for middle school, but my sister's first baby was due the same weekend as the conference and so I went up to MN instead.

So, I kind of already had an idea of what to expect at the conference: a gigantic vendor hall and workshops presented by some vendors and other folks, many who have written books on the homeschooling topic. I was not incorrect with my expectations, but was surprised at the hotel! I should have known, the conference being held in Orlando, that the hotel would have been pretty swanky. Anything that caters to the Disney tourists has to be over-the-top in one way or another it seems. So, it was really quite lovely. I shared a room with 3 friends and the price was quite manageable.

I confess that I went to the conference, though, with a little bit of... well, not dread, but having not even quite finished this year (our last day will be Thursday), I was not exactly in the mood to begin thinking about next year! I was a bit better than I'd been though. 3 weeks ago I was really wound up about the whole thing, because I was having to pour over catalogs and decide just what material I wanted to seek out in the vendor hall (did I mention it is gigantic?), so that I wouldn't have the deer-in-the-headlights expression as I wandered around.

As things turned out, I managed to pick up a great deal of my curriculum and listened to some wonderful, inspirational speakers. I chose workshops either pertaining to the upcoming high school years, ones about girls, in particular (concerning modesty and purity as the teen years approach) or ones that would boost me in my walk with Christ. Oh, they were really all so refreshing and I came away, as I told my husband and my mom, "with my tank filled." One of the workshops was hosted by "Generations of Virtue" and another by "Tomorrow's Forefathers," featuring their Bright Lights group leaders. If you have girls in the pre-teen years, I would highly recommend materials from either of these fine places. I am excited, because I know someone who will be starting a Bright Lights group in our area and I am hoping that Maia will want to attend.


Some of Our New Books


On to the weekend!

Upon arriving home with lots of energy and love and appreciation for my family as well as gratitude for the task at hand and the renewed knowledge of the privilege I have to homeschool, I was ready to tackle... well, almost anything!!

One peek into Eve's room and I knew where we had to begin. The deal was that after church and a family trip to see "Prince Caspian" on Sunday, we were going to need to once again purge her room.

The last time we went through her closet and purged clothes was not very long ago at all: perhaps 10 weeks or so. At that point, I had informed her that if her closet got out of hand again, we would be giving even more things aways, because it would indicate that there were just too many clothes to handle and she agreed. It was quite apparent that this was the case once more. We really do have just too many clothes for her. Between the generous hand-me-downs from friends and her sister, she would really, in theory, not have had to wear the same thing twice for a few months, at least. Of course, like so many of us, she doesn't actually do that, but sticks with a few favorite things over and over. So, she was ready to cull some more and readily gave up a lot of clothes!

We took this opportunity to visit the toy storage bins in the garage too. These are our "think about it" bins for toys that the girls don't play with much at the present, but aren't ready to give up quite yet. Well, we were happily surprised to unload a lot of that as well as some things under her bed (a bin full of "My Little Ponies" and all the accessories that went with it) and even some stuffed animals!! Oh joy!

After hours of diligent work, here is the van loaded up to go to Goodwill tomorrow:


Total: 14 bags... yes FOURTEEN bags of clothes and toys, a box of play dough accessories, a doll stroller, and a little bike with training wheels! Woo hoo!

I asked Eve if she felt better about her room and she said, "Yes! I should be able to manage it much better now." I couldn't have said it better myself.

Monday found me finishing up a painting I'd begun to sketch in my sketchbook before the conference. Our jacaranda blooms so beautifully every May and trying to photograph it never captures its true majesty. Really. It is almost a crime to not have brides back there every day during the height of its bloom. It really is breathtaking. So, I was trying, at least to capture a bit of the affection I feel for it in my journal. I know I haven't captured it perfectly either, but the memory of it will be stirred every time I look at my painting.

We did manage a little tea party as a respite in our busy day and to remember the men and women who have given so much for us to enjoy the freedoms we have. I made some chocolate chip "scookies" (scone/cookies) and the girls really loved them. It was such a beautiful day yesterday after the humidity we've had - just a perfect day to be sitting outside.


I've also started working on a new washcloth. I'm in sore need of some, so it's a perfect way to use up some scrap cotton and a free ball given to me at knitting group. I love, love, LOVE that turquoise color and watching the colors change is fun after working on my solid-colored socks and sweater.

Finally, - whew! did you make it this far?! - I am getting ready to have a table at the used book sale on Friday. Hopefully, I'll recoup some of the money I spent this weekend buying the new stuff. This picture is just one of a number of stacks I will be pricing this week. Next week will be our evaluations, so I have to be putting the finishing touches on the girls' portfolios sometime this week too. Then, perhaps I'll have a bit of a breather for a few days before I begin thinking about preparing for next year. Homeschool closets need organizing too... I hope my motivation stays high for it all, because I am motivated right now.


The end of the school year feels almost more busy than the beginning somehow. Here's to summer! :)
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