Florida State Flower: The Orange Blossom

In Keeping with our Florida State Unit, the kids were assigned to draw an Orange Blossom Flower.  The Orange Blossom is the state flower of the Sunshine State.

Here for your enjoyment are some of their renderings:


Orange Blossom


This is Dimples version.  He has great potential as an artist, but he gets bored very quickly. 😦

eyes orange blossom


This is Eyes version.  He is just a tiny bit frenetic in his drawings….but I think he has talent, too…..I might be biased, whatcha’ think? lol

kissy orange blossom                And finally, Kissy’s version…..she has a great potential for cartoon style art.  But she doesn’t like to try new things.  We’re working on it. 🙂


Sticks and Stones

Psalm 56: 1 – 8
Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press their attack.
My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride.
When I am afraid, I will trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?
All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me.
They conspire, they lurk, and they watch my steps, eager to take my life.
On no account let them escape; in your anger, O God, bring down the nations.
Record my lament; put my tears in your wineskin – are they not in your record?

Papi and Barbie used to take karate classes. They both had a wonderful passion for the discipline of karate. Unfortunately, sometimes when they were practicing, and even now when they are just playing around,Papi forgets how much bigger and stronger he is than Barbie.  He will do some form of kick and actually bring her to tears. It isn’t intentional; he just forgets his own strength. He is immediately remorseful and lifting her up to check for bruises.

Quite some time ago, when my Barbie, BAM! and I were studying this passage, Barbie immediately came out with “Stick and Stones”. I’m sure you all know the old saying, but I’ll reiterate it in here just in case.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

That’s a nice sentiment, but oh, how untrue. The truth is that words HURT! Whether intentionally or not, they can cause lasting damage, affecting our lives and the lives of those around us. Other people’s words have driven people into depression and even suicide. I can’t help but think how bruised and broken people are because of others words.  We kick, whether playing or seriously, and it hurts!!!!  We quickly forget that words matter.  Especially in this day and age of social media and texting.

I am horrible at this.  I know I am horrible at this.  I feel like my words never come out the right way.  I mean them one way, and somehow the other person hears something totally different.  They “hit” back and I’m left reeling on the floor wondering what ever happened!  And don’t we do that with our words? We will say something small and casual and someone gets hurt. Or maybe we speak with a passion on a topic, and someone else believes we are condemning them. Or sometimes when we try to hold another believer accountable, we don’t do it in a loving way and they get hurt.

Growing up, I was the new kid.  I was ALWAYS the new kid.  And a police officers kid.  And incredibly naive.  I couldn’t have had a bigger target on my forehead if Nana had tattooed it there.  Sometimes the bullying would become physical, but mostly the bullying I received was through words.  People were mean and nasty….and their words hurt, very much.  I still hear those whispers in my head sometimes, the ones that say that I’m not good enough.  I’m not pretty enough.  I’m not rich enough.  I’m not smart enough.  I’m not cool enough.  I’m not enough.  I have to fight them.  Because I know that in God, I am enough…but some days, oh, some days.

But God holds the tears of those wounded in vases, He holds all of the tears I have cried in a vase, and on Judgment Day He will hold those that made us cry those tears accountable.  On the flip side of that, he will also hold us accountable for the vases of tears we have caused.  That slip of the word, that cut with the tongue, the ones where we walked away, not caring to see if the other person was bruised and broken.  Not caring to see if we’ve stripped their branches bare of leaves and left them exposed to the elements.

How many vases is God holding that are full of your tears? How many vases is He holding full of tears that you’ve caused others? As I still struggle with this, I pray for God to put His hand over my mouth. I pray, dear sisters and brothers, that you will pray the same.


Anne Rice, A Christian???

Call me late for the party, call me completely behind, call me utterly dumbfounded!

As a college age young lady (kind of) I was a HUGE fan of Anne Rice.  I loved her vampire series and I even loved some of her lesser followed books. I was not a huge fan of the movies, but the books were read over and over until the covers tore off.  When Barbie was about a year old she was having intense nightmares, and so was I.  In a complete act of utter desperation I went through every book in the house and got rid of all of my horror books.  That was a ton of books!!!!!!  Strangely enough, or maybe not so strangely, the nightmares stopped shortly after that.  Sadly, my Anne Rice books went with them.

I’ve been trying to keep the “yeast” out of my house, so my visits to the local library have been slightly frustrating.  I’ve been searching and searching for books that I wouldn’t be ashamed to read in front of the Pope or my Pastor.  That is not as easy as it sounds when you read as prolifically as I do!  I was searching in the aisle with R – S and discovered “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt”.  I snatched it up and quickly scanned the back of the book and the inside leaflet.  It looked promising, and it was.

In her own familiar style, Ms. Rice quickly swept me away to Egypt and immersed me into the family of Mary and Joseph.  Told from the story of the Christ child as truly a child.  He understands that He can do marvelous, scary things, but He doesn’t understand why.  And all of the adults around Him do understand why and are simultaneously adoring and in awe.  It was a magical book, I can’t say enough about it.

I am a word nerd, so I must admit, I read the entire book cover to cover….Including her reasonings behind writing the book, and her justification of herself as a woman of faith.  I can not judge if she is truly a Christ follower.  I read that she claims to be.  I can judge her book….and it was entrancing.

I can not wait for her to do more in this genre of book.  I read recently that she was putting out another Lestat book, so I don’t know that we’ll get anymore from her about the Christ child.  It would be greatly disappointing if that was the case.

Interested enough to check out this book, you can read more about it here   http://www.annerice.com/ChristTheLord-OutOfEgypt-Editions.html

What was I talking about when I said “yeast”….check that out on my post Saturday, Baking Day http://holykneeshomeschoolacademy.com/2014/03/22/saturday-baking-day/ .

April Menu is up!!!!

I got it done….and just in the nick of time.  I’ve got lots of new soups this month, and some lighter fare a couple times for breakfast.  We have a tendency to start doing a LOT of smoothies for breakfast from May to October…it’s Florida – It’s HOT!!!

I also am trying to add more Mediterranean style dishes into the mix.  I love the flavors….and with a farmers market 15 minutes away – i HAVE to use all of the fresh produce!!!! 🙂

Recipes will be coming forth as I photo and have them kid tested. 🙂

meal plan april 2014

Let me know what you think.  I have a special meal for the first day of Passover, but for the life of me am stuck on what to serve for Easter.  What are you serving??????

The Three Sisters

In the Iroquois legend, the Three Sisters are three beautiful wise sisters who live together.  They can not exist one without the other.  The legend is a story to teach the young ones how to plant.  You plant corn, beans, and squash in one mound.  The corn grows straight and tall, the beans wind around the corn, and the squash shade the bottom.  These three sisters thrive together.

It’s a pretty story, isn’t it.  So when we were studying Florida Indians, we decided to plant the Three Sisters in our pallet garden.  They were planted in February.  Only some pallets got all three sisters, some only got two, and some only got one.  It really depended on how many seeds came in the packet.  In fact, right now there is a half used packet of corn and a half used packet of beans on my desk…waiting for me to get more squash.

At first our Three Sisters project was doing very well, but I noticed today that on the pallet that was planted first (Dimples pallet) some of the leaves have started to yellow.  I’m not sure, but it might be a red ant infestation….even with Rudy the Rooster and several doves picking at the insects all over our yard, the ants are still a huge problem.  I’m going to have to go outside and check to see what it is.

Three Sisters This is BAM!’s pallet after one week.  If you look close, you can see a couple of bean plants popping up.


This is Dimples’ pallet after 2 weeks, he was the first one planted.Kissy3siswk1And this is Kissys’ pallet after 1 week 3 days, she was planted second.

Please forgive the hearts, mustache, and kisses over the pallets.  The kids painted all over them, and of course they painted their names. 😉

Argh…here there be Treasure

With our study on Florida, we have covered the native peoples, the native habitats, and now we are learning about the Spanish explorers.  We’ve been talking about, reading about, and watching videos about men like Ponce de Leon and Hernando de Soto.

I’m always looking for ways to bring school alive, so I decided to take a tour at a local Museum called Gilberts’ House of Refuge. The House of Refuge is one of 10 that were spaced every 20 miles on the East coast of Florida from Miami to Daytona Beach.  The sole occupation of the Keeper of the House was to keep provisions stocked in the house, and to walk their 20 mile stretch of Beach after every storm, looking for shipwreck survivors. We are so blessed and lucky, because we live close enough to the sole remaining house to take a tour!!!!!

After our wanderings of the museum, we drove a little further (less than a mile) to my absolute favorite beach in our area…. Bathtub Reef Beach.  The beach is encircled by a reef of small worms, it’s shallow enough that the kids can walk all the way out to the reef – only they are not allowed to walk on the coral.  The kids were playing in the water, rolling in the sand dunes, and in general having a wonderful time. To our great pleasure and surprise, there were two men in the water with metal detectors!  This completely enthralled the kids as we had been watching videos all week about Treasure hunting in Florida, in preparation for our museum trip, and as part of our Florida History.  The kids approached one of them and asked what he was searching for.  They were slightly disappointed that he was looking for rings and jewelry that people had lost on the beach, but this is real life, not a movie. 😉

The next week, we thought we would make our own treasure maps.  So that’s what we did for art!!!



037This is the map that Eyes drew….take careful notice of the Kracken in the right hand corner taking the ship down.  I think we watch too many videos about mythological creatures.  LOL

036 This is Smarty Pants version.


Here is the one that Dimples made.  After they drew and colored them, they had to tear the edges to give it that “aged” look.


This is Eyes’ drawing again….while he’s coloring it.  On this one you can see he has a monster on the left hand side that lives on the land, as well as the monster in the Ocean.


After they tore the edges, they put a tea bag in water and then rubbed it gently onto the map to yellow it some.  This one is BAM!s’ artwork.

Treasure MapsAfter the tea was completely applied, we let it dry, and PRESTO! CHANGO! Instant…ahem…Treasure Map!  This is Kissy’s map.  I know, I know, her Florida looks like a finger pointing down, but at least she added Florida!!!  She was the ONLY one who did!!!

Take an afternoon and make a treasure map with your kids…it was fun, and silly, and they learned!

If you are ever in Stuart, Florida go take a tour of the House of Refuge.  You won’t regret it.  For more information, go here  http://houseofrefugefl.org/ .

And if you are in Stuart, you absolutely MUST go to Bathtub Beach, or just check it out on the webcam http://www.evsmartin.com/bathtub/ .It’s a wonderful place for kids and for snorkeling!!!

Homeschool Science: Making Slime

There are some really fun times homeschooling, and Making Slime had to be one of them!!!!

I got the idea off of Pinterest (of course) and we had a blast!!!!

Oooeey and gooeey and bright – bonus, it’s a chemical reaction!!!  Here’s what you need (get ready, it’s complicated – LOL):  Borax, School glue, food dye, water, stir sticks, and cups.

Making Slime 025                                                                                                       First put some glue in a cup.026 027Now put an equal amount of water and stir it all about. Put some water in a cup with some borax and mix that well.  Add it to your glue mixture – slowly.  Stirring as you go.028 029

Add food dye of your choice and stir.  As you’re stirring, the borax glue mixture will start to solidify into slime!030 031When they’re done, let the kiddos take it outside and play with it for a while!  Just don’t let them put it on your driveway.  It’s sticks and it stains!!!

This is where I got the idea:  http://www.theidearoom.net/2009/07/make-glow-in-dark-slime.html

When Did I Become Old?

No, seriously….when did I become old??????

I originally decided to post this blog because I walked in to my room one morning and Barbie was blasting music so that she could hear it in the shower.  I covered my ears to walk through the room.  Really????  This from the girl who would blast Nirvana at the top of the stereo volume while she was getting ready to go out?????  The main thought in my head was “When did I become old???”

me in 1973                                                                                                        Me in 1973 (wasn’t I cute?)

Now, I am one that is not ashamed of her age.  I am proud to be 41, no, wait, I am 42! (Do you do that too?  Forget how old you are?  I do it all the time? Another sign I’m getting old????) I’m happy where my life is at right now.  I am a homeschool mom of 6 and my eldest is 15.  That doesn’t bug me.  I have some laugh lines. I have some gray hairs. I even have a couple of wrinkles by my eyes, and I’m getting the dreaded age spots.  But I don’t dread them.  I welcome them!!!

So why did that thought irritate me to no end.  I really don’t understand why.

And then “IT” happened.  I was taking BAM! to a doctors appointment about an hour away from our house.  Eyes got car sick, so we had to stop into a local retail store to purchase some new clothing.  (Yes it really was that bad). And the cashier at check out asked me the question that brought me to tears.  She smiled sweetly and asked, “Are you 55 years old or older?”

I gasped.  I looked at her like she had 3 heads.  And then I exclaimed, “um….NO!” She didn’t even look abashed.  She just rang me up.  I paid for my purchase, went out to the truck, and promptly broke into tears. Now, admittedly, it was a tough day.  Traveling with 6 kids all by my lonesome that far.  Eyes vomiting all over the car.  And taking BAM! to an appointment to discuss having a tumor removed.  But none of that made me cry.  Being asked if I was 55 did.


Me this past weekend (I still think I’m pretty cute! lol)

I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I think the reason it affected me so much is that I’ve NEVER been asked if I was older before!  NEVER!!!  I’ve been accused of being younger before plenty of times.  In fact, when I was pregnant with Barbie a hostess in a restaurant read me and my mother the riot act for being a teenager and pregnant (hugely pregnant).  I was 26 and had to pull out my drivers license to prove it to her.  Shortly after Barbie was born (I mean like 2 days later), I was in a grocery store and had an old lady tell me that as a teenager, I was way too old to be playing with dolls.  (Yes, she was that cute, and yes she accused me of being a teenager).  This kind of thing has happened to me all of my life.  As a 6th grader, a teacher yelled at me for being on the wrong playground and promptly grabbed my hand and took me to the kindergarten playground.  Even in my late 30’s people were telling me that I looked no older than my 20’s.  (and no, they weren’t flattering me).

So, I guess I’m old.  Or, at least, starting to look older.  That doesn’t bug me that much.  It really doesn’t.  As long as someone doesn’t ask me if I’m 55+ in the next 13 years, I should be ok….maybe….possibly….

Hoarders….Buried Alive or Dead?

I’ll admit it….I’m addicted.  I’m addicted to the tlc show Hoarders Buried Alive.  Most of the time I just watch it because, to be perfectly honest, it makes me feel better about the condition of my house. My messiness doesn’t look near as bad compared to some of the houses they show on there.  However, after seeing several episodes, I’ve noticed a recurring theme.  The people featured on the show have made a choice.  They’ve chosen things over their family, their friends, even themselves.

As I watch, I am particularly saddened.  Yes, because of the destruction the hoard has caused in the families and lives of these people, but I am saddened even more by the fact that we are ALL guilty of this in some form or another. I know for sure that I have been guilty of it.  Papi pointed it out to me a couple of days ago.  When we first got married I had a little side table.  It had a faux gold base that was angels holding their hands up, and on their hands was a faux marble topper.  It was cracked and broken in pieces but I refused to get rid of it for any reason.  Even though it caused arguments between Papi and I on a regular basis (He hated it!).  So why keep a piece of broken furniture if it was causing discord in my marriage?  Because it belonged to my Grandmother.  I lived in Montana as a young child, and my Florida Gramma lived in ….well, Florida! When we moved to Florida, we lived in her house for a couple of months until we could find a place to live.  This tiny little side table sat at the entrance of her porch in between the porch door and the living room door. I LIVED on the porch.  There was a swing there.  I would set a soda on this little table, grab a good book and sit on the porch and while the steamy hot afternoon away.

Regardless of WHY I wanted to keep the thing, it was a THING.  It wasn’t a friend.  It wasn’t a family member.  And the memories of my Florida Grammy and her amazing porch swing were and are not in the side table.  They are in my heart and mind.  They are in the heart and mind of my father and all of his siblings (theirs was a large family as well).  They are in the hearts and minds of all of my cousins, and my brother.

I looked up a well known bible verse on this topic.  Do you know which one it is?  If you’ve been in church for a little bit, you know it.  I was surprised to find a song with the title Where Moth and Rust Destroy by a band named Tourniquet.  Never heard of them?  Me neither.  I’m definitely going to let Barbie know about it though!  She loves Thrash Metal and they are definitely it!!!  (one of the featured soloist is former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman.

Check out the lyrics:

The world is quick to tell us
The media compels us
For me to have and you to not
Is the difference in our lot
If you must compound your joy
Then you must acquire this toy
Just remember this – a kiss is just a kiss
A smile is just a smile
The things you own will not atone
Or spare you from the life you’ve sown

Where moth and rust destroy
A land of tears and sadness
When those who put their faith in things
Find out it’s only madness

Enjoy all that He gives you
But make sure you can see through
The haze that blocks the clarity
Of seeing the eternity
Of things that last and things that don’t
Of choices we should make, but won’t
If you will just incline your ear
There is something you must hear
Heed his words and you’ll be free
From loving more than Me

Where moth and rust destroy
A land of tears and sadness
When those who put their faith in things
Find out it’s only madness

Choose – you must choose
You must choose
Who you serve

Just waiting in the darkened wings
The voice that says to trust in things
Aspire to acquire – aspire to acquire
Light the sacrificial fire
Death to things

Don’t let the treasures you store up here on earth replace the people in your lives.  Invest your time and money in THEM, not the latest toy!

Aramaic Bible in plain English says: Do not place treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moths and corrosion disfigure and where thieves break in and steal.

To purchase the CD – check here….   http://www.amazon.com/Where-Moth-Rust-Destroy-Tourniquet/dp/B00008IAI2

Guest Blogger, Guess Who????


Mom’s name is Jesica.

My mom loves God.

God loves momy very much.

My mom ask God in her hart.

With my mom i’m pretected.

Mom reads the Bible about 2.00 hours.

We have a cute marker board that I bought at Walmart several years ago for about $30.  It’s hanging in our Breakfast room.  Every day I write on it.  I write what we’re having to eat that day, what the weather will be that day, and anything special we’re doing that day.  I also have a line that says, “Nothing to Do?”.  Underneath it I write suggestions for if the kids are bored.  The kids know that if they say, “There’s nothing to do.” or “I’m bored.”, then they will be directed to do what is on the marker board.

Smarty Pants is the worst at this.  This child believes that he can do nothing of himself, he must be entertained at all times, especially by something electronic.  If I have said no tv, no computer, and no mp3 players, then he goes insane.  A couple of days ago, the “Nothing to Do?” board said, “Write a blog post.”  Guess who said, “I’m bored.”?  That’s right, Smarty Pants.

I posted exactly what he wrote, errors in spelling and grammar and all!!! The line that touched me the most???  “With my mom i’m pretected.”  Why does that matter so much?  Because he has spent from the time of 8 months old til he was 7 bounced around from home to home, both foster and biological.  He’s never felt safe, because he never knew for sure he was staying.  He’s been kicked out of homes for throwing temper tantrums (at 2 mind you), or just because the foster parents were done.  He has always felt that it was always his fault he was being passed on, never the adults.  For him to say that I “pretect” him, well, that just makes all the trying times worth it.

I hope you enjoyed our first guest blogger!  There will be more guest bloggers soon, I hope!