Come to the Summit!

Come to the Summit!

Are you thinking yet about what to do after the Christmas excitement is over?!  ‘Cuz only weeks after the hustle and bustle of Christmas and the new year is the best thing this side of the Mississippi.  The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit.  It’s a boatload of encouragement, refreshment and renewal!

 

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If you’re wondering what it is, here are some recaps of past Summits from different attendees:

And here you can see for yourself what attending The Summit looks like.

And now, for the first time ever, there is a way to attend The Summit FOR FREE! Here’s how:

  • Round up 5 friends who have never been.
  • Print off 3 of these registration forms.
  • Fill in the info for yourself and your 5 friends.
  • Collect the money and write one check to cover the registration for those 5. (YOURS IS FREE!)
  • Mail to:

Winter Summit
c/o Roxanne Parks
2612 Meadow View Road
Edmond, OK 73013

Now, you might be thinking, “I don’t have 5 homeschooling friends, but I would love to meet some like minded ladies!” We would love to have you at The Summit, and to help you get there we are offering a $10 discount code. When you register, simply apply the code “Pennington10“.

Okay, who’s ready to win a $50 Amazon gift card??? Anyone can enter and there are multiple ways, so be sure to increase your chances by visiting each blogger who will be attending The Summit!

AND as a special bonus, one lucky winner will receive the cost of their registration refunded in a drawing on January 1st!

Simply, leave a comment on this post to enter. Then, hop on over to the the other participating blogs to enter there, too. You will be given one entry per blog, for a maximum of 5 entries. One winner will be randomly chosen on Wednesday, December 17 to receive the $50 Amazon gift card.

See you at The Summit!

Candy Crushing

Candy Crushing

Our weekend started off with a bang.  Since we don’t celebrate Halloween, we decided to christen our new rec room with a movie for the whole family on Friday night.  We all crowded in there and I surprised the kids with 2 huge bags of candy.  We very rarely buy candy so when I announced that they could eat all they wanted there was a collective outcry of jubilation.

And within about 30 minutes there was a pile of teeny candy wrappers on the coffee table that would eventually challenge Mt Everest in height.

The theme of the night: Laughter with a Sugar High.

The next morning I had planned to work on filling etsy orders and help the boys clean out their closet.  But when I went into my bathroom to get dressed for the day and started the daily search for my favorite essential oils I broke under the pressure.  Two hours later I emerged from the bathroom with reorganized oils and a clean bathroom.

While I worked I could hear the kids calling out, “Where’s MOM?!  I can’t find her!”  But my drive to get that bathroom in ship shape overshadowed my drive to help them find their one lost shoe or figure out where the last of the candy went.

I took all of the whole bottles (that the oils come in) off the shelves and organized them in a drawer that was empty.  Can you believe I actually have empty drawers in my bathroom?  I think I deserve some kind of award for that.  Anyway, then I refilled my diluted rollon bottles and organized them on my shelves by the way they are used instead of alphabetical, which is how they were before.  And I must say that even though I am only 2 days into this new system, it’s working much better.

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It will make it much easier for the kids to find oils when they need them.  Not that they don’t know the alphabet, but they don’t necessarily know what oils to use if I am not there to make suggestions.  This way they at least have an idea what to try when they can’t sleep or feel a cold coming on.

Speaking of oils….if you don’t know….I am having a romance with Thieves.  As I get ready for winter I am stocking up.  We love the cleaner and diffusing it all winter, but I have now discovered their lozenges which, in my humble opinion, are better than cough drops and throat soothers and any number of hard candy combined.  I have been using them even when I am well because they make my breath nice and, if I am being completely honest, they keep me awake during church.

Monday01

I am sorry to say that I have a slight issue with staying awake during a long service and need something in my mouth to keep me from the strong temptation to check my email or worse, play a game.  Candy Crush and I are going to have to break up anyway if I can’t get past this level.

I love these lozenges so much that I am sending a bag of them to everyone that joins Young Living through me this month with a Premium Starter Kit or Premium Starter Kit with Thieves.  PLUS I am still sending you my favorite reference book.  Y’all….don’t wait.  You want this for the winter months!

Click HERE now to get started!

And have a great week!

Time and Texts….Oh the Mystery

Time and Texts….Oh the Mystery

I can’t believe how quickly October is flying past.  While it will be remembered as one of the worst times in my life, it is also God’s mercy that I look back and realize that weeks have slipped by without my noticing.

When that happens I always think of those newborn baby days that seem soooo long then you realize your baby is 6 weeks old and you can’t imagine how that is possible.  Time is a weird thing, huh?

This past weekend I took my three girls to the beach for a weekend of encouragement and refreshment.  We had been planning it for a couple of months and while we missed our sister, it was a wonderful time for the four of us.  We watched DVDs from the True Woman Conference and talked about what God is doing in each of our lives.  I loved hearing how each girl was being blessed by the teachings and what they were learning.

beach01

One of the conference sessions was about the history of feminism and it was so funny to hear the different perspectives from the four of us.  For my girls it was a fascinating history lesson but for me it was a flood of memories.  I remember hearing “I am Woman Hear Me Roar” over and over on the radio.  I remember Virginia Slims telling women that they deserve their own, thinner cigarette.  I used to roll up strips of paper and pretend I was smoking…..”I deserve this,” I would think as I took a long, pretend draw on my symbol of adulthood.  Oh how things have changed!

But the main focus of the conference was about putting our eyes on God and not ourselves.  Embracing who we were created to be instead of fighting for our freedoms.  It was amazing and the timing couldn’t have been better.  All four of us walked away with a sense of knowing that we are safe in the arms of a loving Father who leads us with a wisdom that we can’t fully understand.

And to watch it all with the ocean waves splashing in our view……that made it perfect.

God knew exactly what we all needed.

Of course.

My boys were at home fending for themselves (aka eating nachos and playing wii) and texting me constantly.  “Hola Mamacita” and “Where is the ketchup?” kind of texts.  One of my boys really loves to text with me, but he doesn’t really get text etiquette.  He will say something to me, “What are you doing right now?” and I won’t see it or reply right away.  After about three seconds he will text again, “Hello????!!!!”  But if I am driving or running or sleeping I still won’t see it.  So three more seconds, “???????????????!” and so it goes for 20+ more texts from him.

But in typical homeschool mom fashion it has led me to mentally develop a class on texting, phone calls and other social interaction.

Bam!

Some challenges are much easier than others.

This week I am frantically finishing up the last of my book to send it to my editor for feedback.  All of this family drama has put me behind, but God knew this was coming and He has given me this extra week to say what He wants to say in the book.  I only THINK I am writing it.

Have a great week and may God minister to your heart the way He has mine over the past few days.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook for more encouragement!

 

 

Who Says I Can’t Pull Off a Surprise?!

Who Says I Can’t Pull Off a Surprise?!

I am writing my Monday post on Tuesday because, well, I’m tired and it was a long weekend.

I remember in college I could stay up all night for a week then recover with a nap and some cold pizza.  Now I require three days of sleep and chicken soup (without the noodles) to get over staying up until midnight.  Which I did on Saturday night.  You would think I’d learn not to do that but I was hanging out with some of the most amazing women and I decided it was worth the sacrifice of being coherent for the next week.

On Friday I drove 8 hours to Oklahoma City for my husband’s law school graduation ceremony.  I didn’t tell y’all I was going because I didn’t tell him.  It was a huge surprise.  It’s not that I don’t trust you all and I am sure you would have kept my secret, but I couldn’t risk it.  My 9 children already knew about it and just keeping them from spilling the beans was all I could manage.

I rented a zippy little red car and drove myself to Oklahoma.  Considering a 15 passenger van has been my mode of transportation for the past dozen years I felt like I had been released from some kind of prison.  I was all in and out of parking spaces like I hadn’t a care in the world.

James was so, so surprised and it was fun to pull it off with my son.  The graduation ceremony was beautiful and I am so glad I went.  It was better than any church service I have been to in a long time.  On Friday night after the first part of the ceremony each graduate took a turn sitting in a chair while the faculty prayed over them.  How often do you see THAT at a law school graduation?!

On Saturday after the actual graduation I went to a meeting with the Winter Summit planning team.  I hope y’all will go to the Summit in January either in Texas or Oklahoma!  It’s going to be an incredible weekend of refreshment and encouragement.  You do not want to miss it!!

Then on Sunday came the dreaded 8 hour drive home.  It was rough.  I got about 2 hours down the road and it felt like I couldn’t drive any more.  I kept stopping and walking around then I’d drive another hour or 2.  Stop.  Walk.  Repeat.

I finally got home around 6:00 PM and was so glad to see my family that I fell asleep.

Have a great week!

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More Cleaning and Organizing

More Cleaning and Organizing

I just can’t stop!

Friday was quiet.  We have been getting small jobs done around here and prepping for school to start. I got some shelves cleaned off and straightened and the school books all stacked and ready for me to go through.

On Saturday I was planning to get some more work done around the house and help my son get ready to go to Oklahoma for the week.  But then I heard about a barn sale that was full of junk and I couldn’t resist driving an hour to see what they had that I couldn’t live without.

I came home with a broken old fridge, an old metal slide and a few smaller things.  Uh huh.  Because my house isn’t full enough already.

I’m not sure yet what I am going to do with either of those two things but they made my heart skip a beat when I saw them and I knew we were meant to be together.  I’ll figure something out.  True love can’t be denied.

On Saturday night I felt a little cold coming on.  So I decided to skip church on Sunday morning.  I didn’t want to start a sore throat epidemic.  I kept gargling with Thieves and apple cider vinegar and I took Vitamin C and tried to drink lots of water.

But because I am not one to sit still, I told the kids that if they would help me do some cleaning then I would give them the afternoon off to do anything they wanted (at home that is).  They jumped at that and we all pitched in to get some more organizing done.

The 2 girls set about cleaning out some kitchen cabinets while the little boys and I reorganized what used to be the nursery but had become a room with a bed and treadmill.  It’s a tiny room and with the treadmill right in the middle of it we should have renamed it “The Ugly Room.”

So I moved the furniture, cleaned out the cabinet and drawers and by 1:00 it was a whole new space and there were 3 trash bags full of junk to be tossed out.  Really, that always amazes me how much stuff I have that I never use.  It’s kind of shameful.

Here’s a picture, but not because it’s a beautiful room.  I show it to you because I love seeing other people’s houses (really, I would walk through all of your houses and just look around if I could) so here’s my little room.

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I made a “wall” with the white cabinet and put the treadmill behind it.  Whoever is treadmilling can look out the window or see the TV (it’s right next to me in the picture so you can’t see it).  We just use this room for working out and as an extra bed (which we seem to need a lot).

Once that was done and all of the trash taken out and my bedroom cleaned up from everything we dumped in there I let the kids do whatever they wanted (I believe they watched movies) and I took the world’s best nap.

This week my guys are gone off to school and I have the place to myself.  Well, if you count being home with 6 kids being by myself.  I like to clean things out while James is gone so he doesn’t get distracted by the messes.  When he gets home it’ll all be back in order and ready to start school next week.

There.  That’s my weekend.  What did you do?

I Shoulda Looked for a Watering Hole

I Shoulda Looked for a Watering Hole

In case you missed it last year (or the year before that) this is when I start to complain about the heat.  You would think that I have an affection for it after living in Texas my whole life, but no.  I despise it with a passion.  Them’s strong words but it’s how I feel.

Last Thursday James whisked me away for a romantic getaway.  And when I say romantic I mean 2 days with 5,000 other homeschoolers and a guest bed at my aunt’s house.  It was more about keeping up with a full schedule and less about roses with candlelight dinners.  But we do have the 4 hour car ride to look back on with fondness, if you like long, intense discussions about how we can be better parents and what to do about making a budget for next year.

One thing I struggle with when I travel in the summer is getting dehydrated.  I try to be careful, but there’s something about it that throws me off and by the time we were back home on Saturday night I was in pain.  My old-lady bladder was irritated and a headache was looming.

Getting dehydrated is no laughing matter (even though this blog post is funny!)

This is not my first experience with dehydration.  It happens to me several times every summer.  I know what you’re thinking, “Why doesn’t she just drink enough water?!”  I really wish I knew the answer to this question.

I expected my usual few days of recovery, so I flipped through my essential oils reference book to see if I there was an oil I might try.  Turned out that I had several of the oils suggested….just one of the many advantages of having a good stock.  I put one drop each of lemongrass, Thieves, spearmint and chamomile into a carrier oil and rubbed it over my bladder. Then I rubbed EndoFlex over my kidneys and drank 1/2 cup of NingXia Red followed by 8 oz. of water.  I felt better in about 5 minutes….no kidding!  In the past when this happens I feel awful all night and have trouble sleeping because of it.  I did the whole protocol again before I went to bed.  I didn’t want to risk it flaring up in the middle of the night and missing my much needed beauty sleep.

It really is a blessing to have remedies for these kinds of issues.  When small things come up I always see if I have an oil that can help me get through it more quickly.  In this case it knocked it right out and I was extra careful all day Sunday to be sure I drank enough water.  Maybe someday I will think about it BEFORE I leave for my trip and avoid it altogether.

Today is the fifth morning in a row that I have to get up and go out early.  It’s been a challenge to find time for exercise.  On Thursday I went for an evening walk instead of morning and on Friday I dropped James off at the convention we were attending and I went for a jog around the mall next door.  This morning I did a quick TTapp DVD and I will try to go for a bike ride later.  I have learned that there is always something I can do, even if it’s just jogging in place for 10 minutes or crunches on the floor.

If I, the laziest person in Texas, can do it then so can you!  I am rooting you on from my air-conditioned bedroom with a tall glass of Sonic ice in my hand.

Have a great week & stay cool!

An Easy to Build Outdoor Game

An Easy to Build Outdoor Game

For last weekend’s graduation party, we decided to build a new game.  We had all ages coming, so we needed something everyone could play.  I bought a sheet of plywood and some 2x4s and told my oldest son what I had in mind, but let him tweak it however he wanted. Here’s a picture tutorial for you…..

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Cut a sheet of plywood in half & draw three sizes of circles.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Just use whatever you have for the circles.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Drill a hole inside of each circle.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Just make sure it’s big enough to fit a jigsaw blade into.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Jigsaw out the circles.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Easy.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Make each half the same.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Get out the 2x4s.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Cut four the size of the plywood, about 4′.  Four at 3′, four at 4’4″ and the last two will be the finished width when you’ve attached them.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

You can change the sizes.  You just need four frames that are exactly the same.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Screw them together.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

1, 2, 3, 4.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Screw those to the plywood.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

It’s a great job for a son.  We attached one more 2×4 between the frames along the back for stability.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

One hour – done.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Two colors of paint is more fun than one.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

I used a daughter for this job.  We sanded the circle openings a little bit first.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

I didn’t take pics of us painting the X on the front, but it was just painter’s tape and a sponge roller.  Nothing hard. Then we sewed little bean bags with fabric scraps.  They should be loosely filled.  That’s a great job for an 11 year old.  You could use balls if you don’t sew.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

I made the numbers with plain paper and a die cut machine then just glued them on.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Then play.

 An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

At any age.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

This was a hit for our party.   After a while the older boys played by hiding behind the boards like forts and pelting each other with the bean bags.  The younger kids ran around with the bean bags, there were lots of variations on the game.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

It took a few hours and the total cost was $37 (but I already had paint and other supplies).

Have fun!

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Graduation – Check!

Graduation – Check!

A high level of activity over the weekend has put me into a state of joyful exhaustion.  We have been building toward this weekend for the past 18 years.  Graduating 2 of our daughters has been such an emotional ride.  Happiness at being finished with their schooling and such grief that it’s over.  No more days of mommy school outside on the patio, weaving weeds into wreaths for our hair while we learn.  Although I have to admit, we haven’t done that for years.

This makes 5 graduates under my belt with only 4 more to go.  It’s a weird feeling having graduated more than half of our children.  I should have some kind of sash with badges on it for each child.  I could wear it to homeschool conferences.  And Miss America pageants.

We had about 50 people here for a small ceremony and dinner, then ended the night with the worst fireworks display in history.  The founding fathers would have been ashamed of our shabby little show.  Even the sparklers were a dud.

We didn’t do a ton of preparation for this party.  The grass was mowed and the porch was swept, but no big decorations or fancy table settings.

The girls did set up a table with some of their memories and accomplishments.

homeschool graduation -- The Pennington Point

My little cuties…..

homeschool graduation -- The Pennington Point

After James and I said a few words the girls thanked Mom and Dad and all of the guests, then sang a song they wrote together.

 homeschool graduation -- The Pennington Point

We served up some delicious bar-b-que and sides.

homeschool graduation -- The Pennington Point

I ordered brisket, chicken, potato salad and beans from a local place and we added chips, green salad and both wheat bread and gluten-free bread.  We also had a trough full of cold drinks.

homeschool graduation -- The Pennington Point

The morning before the party we put ice cream into mason jars and put them in the freezer.  We filled little bowls with various candies and toppings so they would be ready to serve.  We made labels for everything and had it all ready to go.  When it was time to serve dessert we put the ice cream into tubs of ice, opened the toppings and it was ready!

homeschool graduation -- The Pennington Point

We had trail mix, gummy bears, dark chocolate m&ms, milk chocolate m&ms, peppermint patties, peanuts, sprinkles, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce and whipped cream.  Oh…..and cherries of course!

homeschool graduation -- The Pennington Point

As the sun went down and about 30 the people were still around, we pulled out the fireworks, also known as “an hour of lame”.  I thought I was ready with 2 new lighters and plenty of ammo.  My friend Sara also brought some fireworks to add to the what we bought.  But she and I have no idea what we’re doing when it comes to pyrotechnics and nothing we bought amounted to anything exciting.  Plus the lighters weren’t working right so it took about 5 minutes to light each one, creating a serious lull in the festivities.

I tried to keep the crowd from revolting by handing out snacks, but it didn’t work.  There was quite a bit of complaining, mostly from me and Sara.

Despite the lack of fireworks excitement it was a wonderful evening.  Great friends.  Great conversation.  Kids playing together.  Celebration.  What more could I ask for?

homeschool graduation -- The Pennington Point

Have a great week!

Sweating is Not My Thing

Sweating is Not My Thing

We have been working in the yard for the past few days getting ready for a big party tomorrow.  Two of the girls are graduating so we are having a small ceremony with family and close friends.

I don’t like yard work.  I am not one of those people who enjoys sweating and getting my hands in the dirt.  I hear people talk about how satisfying it is to get their hands dirty and all I think is, “Yuck.  Haven’t they heard that cleanliness is next to godliness?!”

I also don’t like tomatoes.  Just a random bit of info that I thought you might need to understand that I don’t care for yardwork.  It seems like people who love that also really like to grow tomatoes.  That’s just my assessment from the other side of the glass.  By that I mean inside the house where the air-conditioning is.

What DOES interest me is having a beautiful yard.  So sometimes I do actually have to sweat and get dirty for that to happen.  Thankfully I have a full crew so our family rallies together like a little machine and gets the job done.  Then we jump in the pool.  Because lounging in the cool water does interest me.

An as an update on our green swamp, it is crystal clear and staying that way.  I used the advice from a website called Trouble Free Pools. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but now it’s going fine.  It has been freeing to be able to do this myself without the help of the expensive pool store chemicals.

Back to the graduation prep, there’s also plenty of inside work to be done.  Bathrooms have to be cleaned and stocked, tablecloths have to be ironed and someone has to cut a watermelon half into a Pinterest worthy fruit bowl.

Being a true Texas gal, I am ordering bar-b-que from a local place that slow cooks it all night into a melt-in-your-mouth slice of heaven.  The whole meal is going to be gluten-free in honor of the 2 graduates who both are GF.  It’s been a challenge, but I’m up for it.

I decided on an ice cream bar instead of cake.  This morning I’m having one of the kids scoop ice cream into small mason jars so it will be ready to just pull out and serve.  No bowls and scoops and drippy messes.  Seriously y’all.  I am making it as easy on myself as possible short of hiring servers and landscapers.  Which I tried to talk James into but he insisted it wasn’t in the budget.

He and I don’t see things the same way.  I see a whole week’s worth of exhausting work ahead and he sees coming out of his office on Friday night to a beautiful yard and prepared food.  But then, I see the money in the bank account as just magically appearing, and I don’t think he sees it like that at all.

I am looking forward to hanging out with my people and laughing about the old days.  There’s nothing like an evening with the people who knew you when you were 12 to keep a girl humble.  It will come as no surprise to any of them that I don’t like to sweat.  When I was in the second grade I insisted on signing up for girl’s softball then cried through the entire first game because it was hot.

It’s gonna be fun.

Have a happy fourth!

Am I Sleep Walking Now?

Am I Sleep Walking Now?

It’s the age old question asked since the cavemen chiseled wheels out of enormous rocks and attached them to sticks: WHY does driving all day make you SO tired?!

I spent all day Saturday and half of Sunday driving home from Kansas City.  My children, so precious, slept in the car so they felt just fine when we got home.  I listened to an audiobook for a few hours, but that started numbing my mind and making me feel drowsy.  Thankfully I had my Sonic ice and Mandisa albums or I might have fallen asleep at the wheel.

When we finally got home I announced that we would take 30 minutes to “speed unpack.”  It was a whirlwind of half eaten packages of food, blankets, dirty laundry and cords.

Oh the cords!  I miss the days of cordless travel.  Now we’ve got phone cords, car chargers, earbuds, computer cords…..plus I travel with an extension cord because apparently hotels haven’t figured out that we need to be able to plug 14 things in at once.  Why on earth do they still just have one lamp base outlet for the whole room?!

Within half an hour we had literally put away every single thing from the trip and, as much as I wanted to hang out with my kids that I hadn’t seen all week, I fell into a nap that even Sleeping Beauty would not have believed was possible.  And I slept for the next 24 hours, breaking only to go for a walk at 6:30 the next morning.

I don’t actually remember it.  I only know that I went for a walk because I found selfies on my phone from 2 miles down the road.  I’m pretty sure I slept walked the whole thing.  I hope I didn’t do anything embarrassing.  Like take my shirt off in the middle of the street.

But the rest time is over because this Saturday we are having a graduation for two of my girls and I have lots of planning and preparing ahead.  We’ll be having 45 people over for dinner on Saturday night plus have a bit of a ceremony.  This is our fourth graduation.  This one will be much smaller than what we did for our son a few years ago.  We try to do whatever fits the personality of that child and the 2 girls that we are graduating this weekend wanted a smaller affair.

After that I.AM.SITTING.DOWN.FOR.A.WEEK.

I may spend all of Monday and Tuesday in the pool.  I have a lounger that has been begging for me to spend some quality time with it.

Have a great week y’all!