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Archive for the ‘Home School’ Category

I’ve been reminiscing a lot lately.  Can you believe that 10 years ago this month a very shy, 29 year old girl launched a business called Amazing Transformations?!  Me either!   And boy have I been TRANSFORMED!

Here is just a small sampling of how my life has changed over the past decade:

1.  Met my trainer, mentor and dear friend JoAnne Lenart-Weary who encouraged me to follow my dream to create beautiful spaces.

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2. Launched my business Amazing Transformations.

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3.  Made weekly/monthly appearances on NBC56 news in Tyler, Texas.  (Yes this very shy girl actually asked to be on live television and they said yes!  Not sure if I would be able to do that now. :))

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(No, I did not have the opportunity to decorate the set.  I sure would have liked to!)Image

4.  Had the privilege of working in all levels of homes across the country.

Here are a few examples:

Before…

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After…

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Before…

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After…

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5.  Opened 2 different studios (one in Texas and then one in Oklahoma) to teach decorating classes.  Oh how I loved that season of my business!  It was so fun to share so many decorating tips with my friends and clients.

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6. Started writing Transforming Tidbits on a weekly basis in 2007.  I continued to faithfully write almost every week for about 3 years straight!  But because of #7 (see below), my ability to write as frequently, dwindled quickly.

7. Went from longing to be a mom (and having great difficulty becoming one) to becoming a mother of FIVE! (through the gift of adoption and fostering)

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8. I began the homeschooling journey with my oldest two daughters.  I have to admit, although I never saw myself ever even considering being a homeschool mom, I can’t imagine my life any other way now!  I have enjoyed growing closer to my daughters and learning along with them.  I will say, this year certainly has its challenges with also raising three little ones 2 and under.  You can usually find them right on top of the dining room table while I work with the older girls.  At least I know what they are doing, right?! 🙂

9. About 1 1/2 months ago, I rid my home of almost all processed foods and started a very challenging but exciting adventure of eating whole foods.  As you might imagine, eliminating processed foods leaves one having to do a lot more work in the kitchen.    You may be asking yourself…”Why in the world would this open adoption, fostering, homeschooling, decorator mom even think about adding this to her already full plate?”  I know it is crazy, but I am finding it is totally worth it!

You see, about 6 months ago, a very dear friend who is just a few years younger than me was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Through her journey, she shared with me how much the food we eat affects our health.  She made the choice to fight this ugly disease through diet and I am pleased to say she is winning!

Once you learn information in life, you are then responsible with what you do with that information.  Well, what I learned has motivated me to make a huge change in the way my family eats.  It was tough changing at first, but now I can’t begin to express how amazing it makes me feel!  I have renewed energy, my clothes are much looser (woo hoo!) and best of all, my husband says I am more beautiful than ever before!

10.  And probably the most significant change, I am content with who I am.  For a long time, I was driven to be “known”.  Known as an amazing decorator, known for working with people I highly admired, known for writing an amazing blog, known by the world.  But now, 10 years later, I couldn’t be more happy.  Now I am a wife, a mom, a teacher, and a homemaker who occasionally decorates and I wouldn’t change this privilege for the world!

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As I enter my 39th year of life, I can’t wait to see what the next decade has in store.  I have a hard time imagining being able to top the last 10 years!

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About 2 weeks ago my girls excitedly expressed that their children’s group at church was going to get to eat a meal on the Mayflower.  I knew the girls were excited but I wasn’t aware of their plans.  About 2 days before the event my oldest expressed that everyone was supposed to dress up as an Indian or a pilgrim.  What it actually boiled down to was she found out some of her friends were dressing up and she just HAD to dress up too!

So on a moments notice I had to come up with costumes (Okay I didn’t have to.  I thought it would be a fun challenge.).  First stop…Goodwill!

I just love Goodwill.  There are so many treasures just waiting to be discovered.

I would like to pause for a moment and share my gratitude for the nice friend who anonymously left $20 at the register to pay for our purchases.  It really blessed my kids.  They were amazed that someone was so nice to help us!

I was able to find a long ladies’ shirt and a petite dress to work as the base for 2 pilgrim girl costumes.  Next stop, Hobby Lobby.

Fortunately, HL had their McCall patterns on sale for $0.99.  I was so excited.  Having a pattern would make creating a collar and apron much easier.

Once, I picked up the fabric at Wal-Mart, I headed home because I had about 5 hours to pull this costume together.  There’s nothing like the pressure of a deadline!

I want to pause again and share my gratitude for the training my grandmother gave me in sewing. I didn’t retain everything she tried to teach me, but I did hold on to enough to turn this mess of supplies into a fairly decent costume.

So do you want to see what I came up with?

Not too bad for an afternoon’s work if I do say so myself.

At least my girls seemed pretty proud.

And told me “thank you” and “you are the best mom” many times.  (Those compliments certainly didn’t hurt!)

I finished in time to be able to catch a quick bite of dinner before leaving the house.  I offered to fix the girls something but they were very confident.  “We are eating dinner on the Mayflower.”

I’m sure they had visions of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pie.  It was sure to be delicious.  I was proud of their resolve to wait for the meal!

We headed to the church and they began at their regular Wednesday night class.  The children’s pastor had set up a really cool rotation.  They went to one room for story time to hear about the pilgrims life before sailing on the Mayflower, they were able to make a fall beaded necklace and then they headed to see the Indians dance.

A group from Operation Eagle came and shared their beautiful dances with the children.

It was mesmerizing to watch!  Just ask my daughter.  She didn’t even seem to notice her hat impeding the vision of one eye. (She left her hat that way the entire performance.  Fortunately her observant mom was waiting to fix it for her on her way out the door! 🙂

I could have watched them all night.  Actually I did for the most part.  I think I saw all four rotations worth!

Probably the only complaint from the kids was that the music was a little loud, but other than that, I think they were as impressed as I was!

After watching the Native Americans dance, it was finally my girls’ turn to head to their long awaited dinner aboard the Mayflower.  They were starving by now I am sure!

Yes, they had dinner on a moving truck, but wasn’t it a clever idea!

Now the moment of truth…dinner!  As you probably notice in the picture, it might be a little tough to serve a full turkey dinner to a bunch of 7 & 8 year olds sitting on hay bales.  That is until you hear what the menu actually consisted of.  Do you have a guess?

For dinner my daughters were served:  a cube of cheese, a cold biscuit and a piece of beef jerky on a corn husk! I wish I had thought to take a picture.

It was a perfect meal and was in complete agreement with what we had studied that very day about what the pilgrims actually ate during the 66 days aboard the Mayflower.  (I just love object lessons to reinforce home school!)
I  had to chuckle.  I am certain, this was not the meal they had in mind!

As we headed to the car, I asked the girls how the dinner on the Mayflower.  They grumbled and said they didn’t get much!  Oh well, they were good sports and I made sure to give them dinner once they got home.  What a memorable adventure!

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Several weeks ago I became a member of a Home School Fellowship and with that membership comes the opportunity to participate in field trips.  As soon as I heard about the trip to Fort Gibson I thought we should go.  Of course when I signed up in September I had no way of knowing how extremely cold, wet and windy it would be on this “outdoor adventure”.

cold temperature

We loaded the car at 8:30 am full of excitement and a packed lunch.

ft gibson

Although I have lived in Oklahoma over half of my life, I had never visited Ft. Gibson and actually really didn’t know what to expect.  I had overheard from another home school mom how great it was so I thought I better find out.  I was pleasantly surprised.

cold girls

Here we are waiting for the tour.  As you can see the reality of how cold it would be is sinking in but there is still a hint of excitement about the adventure!

Hailey leaning on pole

We are still waiting and the excitement is fading fast!

man in top hat

We managed to schedule the field trip on the weekend in which there were people dressed in period clothing and giving a more detailed tour.  I am so glad we came at this time.  Otherwise a tour in the bitter cold would not have been as worth it.

medicine bottles

The doctor’s medicine bottles.  I was proud of how pretty the picture turned out!

man in blue coat

After about a 15 minute wait our tour finally began with this nice gentleman.  Unfortunately I can’t remember much of what he said.  I guess my mind was already going numb!

bugeler

Probably our favorite actor was the bugler.  He taught us how the bugle was much like our modern day cell phones.  It was the soldiers main source of communication in battle.  It was fascinating how many different songs sent different messages to the soldiers.  The bugler was trained and was one of the highest paid soldiers.

drummer

He was accompanied by a drummer who kept the soldiers marching once the bugler played the next command.

musicians

The two made a great team!

cold head

I sure hope my daughter is learning something.  Seems like the cold might be getting to her! 🙂

canon man in black hat

Next we headed to the “big arms” to learn all about the canon.  Once we learned what was involved in getting this piece of artillery ready to shoot, it was very impressive to learn that 7 men could fire it up to 3 times in one minute!

tired canon man

I certainly could relate to how this guy felt.  Thankfully I didn’t have to stand outside all day!

boy with rifle

Watching this young man fire his gun was fun but I jumped every time he did.   Fortunately there weren’t too many groups there at the same time as us.

reflection

Once we finally were able to tour something indoors, what were my kids interested in looking at?  The outdoors!  The kids were actually behind me.  I caught their reflection in the display case.

look daddy

Would you like to know what the best part of the day was?  Having Daddy join us!  We love home school!

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The weather was so nice the end of last week that I encouraged the girls to spend some time outside.  I went out with them for a little while to put a fall wreath together for my mother-in-law.  After finishing her wreath I had a couple artificial apples that I wouldn’t be using so I gave them to the girls and headed into the house.

After quite some time I figured I should probably check on the girls especially since I hadn’t heard from them in a while.  When I went outside this is what I found…

camp site

My first response was “It looks like you are camping out here”.  They were very proud and replied “We are!  This is Girl Scout Camp!”  I think they are pretty smart especially since they have never been a part of a Girl Scout Troop and have never seen a Girl Scout Camp!

Here is a tour of what was available at their great camp:

rock pile with apple

First you have their rock statue (notice the apple – the inspiration of the day)

starting a fire

My daughter demonstrating her “fire – starting” tool.

bathtub

Then you have their bathtub…

tent

and their “cozy bed”.

apples on heads

Who would have thought that two apples would create over 2 hours of fun?!  I love their creative minds!

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Our First Field Trip

I have been very pleasantly surprised with our first year of home schooling.  The kids have adjusted so well and seem to love it just as much as I do.  (Yes, I said “love it”.  I know, I never thought I would feel this way either. )

Last week we headed out for our first field trip to the Washington County Free Fair.  We must have been doing the right thing because we ran into several public school classes on the same adventure!  I think what amazed me most is how long (3 hours) we managed to stay at this small community fair.  I was grateful that we weren’t on a strict time schedule so the kids could see and participate in anything they wanted.  The people were so friendly and were very eager to share their crafts.  We have already decided that we too need to submit our very own creative projects next year.  Unfortunately we have to wait a whole year to get there.  Oh well!

My favorite exhibit this year was not what I initially expected.  I really thought it would be the photography but it was actually the animals,  mainly because of these sweet creatures…

sheep in turtleneck

Aren’t they too cute!   These precious sheep were so kind to give up their fur for people like me who have “felted wool sweater craft” addictions, only to have to put up with our hysterical laughter.   This blue turtleneck is priceless!

Feeding the horse

We also met this sweet horse who captured all of our hearts.  He had one beautiful blue eye and one beautiful brown eye and was so gentle.  Of course the fact that he had hot pink socks caused him to rank high with my girls.

And my favorite of all…

pig and sheep

Now really, could you blame me?

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