Friday, October 21, 2016

A Fantastic 60 Second Breakfast Trick and Recipe!!!!

We all know how popular green smoothies have been recently. It's no wonder, they manage to make your spinach and kale taste like milkshakes! I have such a fantastic, little smoothie recipe and suggestion for you- to cut your morning prep time down to ZERO and your clean-up to a ONE MINUTE snap!

I was browsing Pinterest like I always do, when I came across this great blog post about Green Smoothie Prep Packs on the blog: Clean Food Crush. 

The premise is, you take twenty or thirty minutes, let's say on a Sunday night to wash and prep your fruit and greens, portion everything out and seal them into individual Ziploc freezer bags. Then, every morning for the coming week, all you have to do is pop the contents of a bag into a blender, add a cup of coconut or almond milk and you're done!!!

I knew that these prep packs would be a great help to us in the mornings, but I didn't realize how DELICIOUS they would be, like eating a glass of chocolate-strawberry ice cream! I altered the Clean Food Crush's original recipe a bit to add some protein and healthy fats. I also customized our greens and fruit.  Here's what I did, I think this will become a favorite with you and your family too.

Noah's Favorite Green Smoothie Prep Packs

This recipe makes roughly five day's worth of smoothies if you use five gallon size bags.  Each Ziploc bagged portion is enough for at least two large smoothies. You can play around with the ingredient amounts, including the liquid to change the portion size and consistency. There was about twenty minutes of prep for five days.

Into each gallon-sized Ziplock bag add.....

1 & 1/2 Cups washed baby spinach

1 sliced banana

1/2 Cup to 1 cup cleaned and sliced strawberries depending on optional fruit below

Optional - 1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries. 

1 serving chocolate whey protein or other protein. We Like Designer Whey Protein, it can be found at Trader Joe's

1 Tbs. coconut oil

Once you have all of your ingredients in the bags, you can roll them up, which squeezes excess air out and makes the packs smaller. Next, carefully make sure that you close and SEAL each bag correctly and pop them in your freezer!

Once everything is good and frozen, simply take a bag out, (maybe use the back of a spoon to whack the bag and break up the chunks a bit) put everything into a blender with a cup or more of coconut or almond milk. We like it with unsweetened vanilla coconut milk. 

Blend everything up and voila! You're done!!!! MMMMmmmmm.....strawberry-chocolate ice cream that's dairy-free and good for you! You get the greens, the fruit, the protein and the healthy fats. Who could ask for more! :)


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Savoring Fall While It's Here

I was born in the right state - Michigan, "The Winter Wonderland." Ok, on the license plates it says "Water Winter Wonderland," but still, in the winter, it's a wonderland. (The water part is for the Great Lakes.)

To say that I am celebrating the end of hot summer days and looking forward to hibernating at home during fall and winter is an understatement. It is also, probably not the most popular opinion. I've done a little personal "market research" at cash registers lately, in line at the market, chatting with the women at the circulation desk in the library, and while passing neighbors on the street. Most of the people I have spoken to, the majority, do NOT want the long, sunny days to end. They are not as enthusiastic as I am about cooler temperatures, dark skies by 5:00pm, and snowstorms that shut us in. I get it. I understand where they're coming from, but I just can't help my teetering on recluse tendencies and a love for yarn, hot chocolate and slow days spent in front of the fire.

This is why I have been bonkers (in an angry way), about the "lingering post-El Nino heat!" What is this!!?!? WHAT is this!!!? Today the high was forecasted to be 79 degrees. It's October 17th in Michigan! What is this? Last Halloween, and the Halloween before that, I remember it raining and snowing and sleeting. Eighty degrees is not October in Michigan.

I promise to stop in two second, but the reason why I'm complaining, in addition to being worried about global warming, is the fact that I just can't take the heat anymore. It's been what? Nearly six months of 80's and humidity? I know that Floridians get that year-round, but me and my hair, we're not equipped for the humidity. Besides, all of my cute sweaters and boots have been going to waste!

In all seriousness though, I've been doing my best to pretend that it is a proper fall, and I know that cooler weather will be here soon enough. In fact, we're predicted to have (fingers crossed) a cold and snowy winter!

Here is what I've been doing to celebrate the most awesomeness season on earth................

Autumn themed jewelry! Before you poo-poo this idea as silly, BELIEVE me, autumn themed jewelry is not the new Christmas sweater.  It's totally acceptable.

Case-in-point, DearestMine's Autumn's Alchemy Photo Locket.  Lori from the Etsy shop DearestMine creates the most beautiful, enchanting, whimsical, lovely pieces of jewelry. Most are photo lockets, which I have absolutely fallen in love with. I shared my new "New York Lights" locket with you two years ago on the blog, and still today, it is one of my favorite necklaces.

Autumn's Alchemy caught my eye several years ago, and I'm so glad I finally went for it. Lori is a pleasure to work with. I made a custom request to have the Autumn's Alchemy photo put into a petite size locket and she promptly wrote back that it was no problem! My necklace arrived shortly, in a wonderful package and on just the right, long 28" chain. My pictures don't do Lori's work service, so please visit her Etsy store for a much better look and to browse all of the gorgeous photo lockets and more that she has to offer!

Product photography is not my foray. Here's a better one from DearestMine. 

Today's theme will be: WHAT AUTUMN JEWELRY CAN YOU BUY ON ETSY!  Really, in case you don't know, but you probably do, Etsy is great. I'm not a big Etsy shopper only because I tend to focus on the family necessities - clothing, shoes, coats, hats. When I was given an Easy giftcard for my birthday though, a whole world opened up! My Mother and Father-in-law were so thoughtful in giving me the giftcard. I had the best time choosing the following two necklaces with it. I adore them and want to share.

The first was this Mini Topaz Glass Acorn with a teeny, tiny copper leaf inside by Bullseyebeads. Beth, the artist, creates gorgeous and unique glass acorn necklaces along with glass cherries and other treasure. You are able to choose the color of the body of your acorn and the size. You can also customize it with a copper Oak leaf inside and/or a metal leaf on the cap. The coolest part, these hand-crafted little works of art feature a REAL acorn cap that Beth sealed with  museum quality wax. It's so cool!!!

Rest assured, acorn necklaces are not only for fall. Certainly there is room for them in winter, spring and summer too. <3 p="">

The second necklace that I bought with my Etsy giftcard was this jolly, little pumpkin from a shop called Ingrid's Creations! Isn't it the sweetest? I especially enjoy this necklace because I don't have a lot of bright and cheerful jewelry at the moment. 

Like the others, Ingrid's pieces are customizable. This necklace came with the choice of the glass leaf hanging off the pumpkin's stem or farther up the chain. I wear it all the time. All these of these fun finds are in a constant fall rotation around my neck. It's love.

Next in on my "get excited for fall" list - October window decorations! Last month I showed you my apple pie themed window decorations. This month I went for a classic, slightly vintage theme: Jack-0-Lanters. There is so much fantastic Halloween clipart to look at from the 20's, 30's and 40's. I had the best time trying to figure out this month's windows.

Oh, and you know what else was colorful this month??? We had our house painted! Jon and I were shocked at how quickly our exterior paint faded over the past five years. I suppose it's par for the course as we face south and get all day sunlight on the front of the house. We had everything painted the same colors as before except for a new, blue front door! I know this color might not see historic to some, but I did a bunch of research and indeed, during the 1800's many country homes had  doors of this color. I think it makes the little apple wreath that I made pop!

In my version of a rain dance, but for cold temperatures, I finally returned to crochet. It's been such a long time. I decided to start out with something easy, potential useful and cozy. The free pattern for the Serene Comfort Shawl by Lion Brand Yarn ticked all of the boxes.

It was easily whipped up in a few crocheting sessions, and the pattern was simple enough to work on while I mindlessly watch British mysteries on Netflix. Ahhhhh.....perfect.

As always, my photos don't represent how pretty this is in real life. You can see a much better picture from the  Lion Brand site in the top photo. They must have continued beyond the three balls of yarn, which you can do, as their example looks quite long. I love it! I think I might keep going and make mine longer.

My shawl was made with the three balls of yarn recommended by the pattern.  I'm pretty short in the torso and only 5' tall, so on me, this hangs down quite low but now that I look at the photo above, I want it long.

I sewed on these two little buttons that I had in my button stash for when I want my shawl to stay closed.

I even found the Lion Brand Homespun yarn (3 balls) on sale! I also had a 40% coupon for a regularly priced item and so I purchased my first crochet hook with a rubber grip. It made such a difference. I am going to slowly collect them.

And that's the scoop! Today I pealed twelve hard boiled eggs and made a new egg salad recipe from the Gracious Wife blog. It was really good, even without the relish. (I discover that our dill relish expired last year. Jon said he's eaten it at least three times this month already. Oy!) At any rate, the egg salad was yum.

Until next time, enjoy the fall!
Lauren :)

10 Crazy, Life Changing Things that Homeschooling Has Taught Me So Far

I haven't been able to write as much or as often as I've wanted to about our journey to becoming sudden homeschoolers. I think this is because, for every single day of the past year, I've been learning more and more life changing realities of what it means to homeschool. Each week and month that went by shaped my thoughts and opinions, and it always seemed like I was in the middle of a process.  We were busy living and learning our new life and I hadn't yet come to any solid conclusions.

Now though, I'm at a place where I think I'm getting a deeper, more complex and emotional understanding of what homeschool can mean. I see the ways that it has the ability to shape our present and future.

Before I share with you the crazy, life changing things that homeschooling has taught me, I want to put three things out out there:

A.)  I know what some of you are thinking.... I used to think the same thing,  that homeschool sounded interesting, but torturously difficult and draining. I had heard all of the cliche' concerns over home education, like: "what about socialization?" and "how do the kids get into college?" I listened to all of the responses to these questions, and good as they were, I STILL thought homeschool seemed a bit backwards and more like a hippie dream.

It wasn't until I spent a full year living in home education and reading many many books on learning  and education, (so many that the library inter loan almost banned me) that I TRULY understood that homeschool wasn't a foolish choice. In fact, I see today that it can be a wonderful, nurturing, respectful, amazing choice!

By the way, here are just a  few of the books that I have enjoyed reading the most this year:

Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life by Peter Gray

How Children Learn  by the late John Holt

A Path of Their Own: Helping Children to Educate Themselves by Lael Whitehead was fantastic! I know this might sound a bit shocking to some, but over time, UNSCHOOLING philosophies have made SO MUCH sense to me. More on that another time, but unschooling elements certainly come into play everyday.

The list goes on and on and would make this a much too long post. If you're interested, look up books by  Alfie Kohn , John Gatto , Julie Bogart, Pam Laricchia  and Sandra Dodd, again to only name a few.

B.)  All of that said, I think homeschool and SCHOOL are BOTH great options. I'm not black or white, A or B on the subject. I love schools and I love homeschool! My personal opinion is that some children thrive in a school environment and some at home, that we're each unique and different and how great is that? I've read about some amazing hybrid schools too, they take principals of unschooling and homeschooling and mix them into their organizations. Little "cottage schools" and learning co-ops and homeschool groups and math circles and super progressive education centers where you can explore your child's interests. It's amazing and it's all so out there in the word! I never knew that until I looked....

C.)  I have to be up front, for those of you who don't know, I did not CHOOSE to become a homeschooler. When hearing that Noah and I started homeschooling, so many sweet, caring people have said to me that they are impressed at what I have taken on, and that they "couldn't do it" themselves. The truth is, I HAD NO CHOICE and the truth is also, honestly, YOU COULD DO IT TOO, IF YOU HAD TO.  During the first week of 5th grade, Noah started experiencing overwhelming anxiety and panic attacks. He began what is called "school refusal," and for the next three months, we tried every single suggested solution under the sun to get him feeling better and back into school. Jon and I had Noah at appointment after appointment, doctor after doctor. We tried rewards and consequences and baby step plans. Nothing worked, and in fact, the stress and wear and tear on Noah and Jon and I just got worse. There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing your child depressed and panic stricken each morning, and feeling external and internal pressure to deliver your child to just the place that is causing him the feelings that he is not equipped to handle at the moment. Noah wasn't being "bad," he wasn't trying to upset us all or upset his school, but we weren't truly  listening to him. We thought we knew what he needed- to be back in school. Frankly, I wish I had listened to him years and years ago. From the very first day of his first year of preschool, Noah struggled with out of the ordinary anxiety in school. It was on-going and detrimental to his little body, mind and soul for such a long time. Pushing him to "stick-it-out" and stay in school never made him "tougher," never made him feel better and never made him "conquer his fears."

The stress of delivering a crying child to drop-off for nine years, nine years worth of phone calls to pick up your inconsolable kid, it really ate away at all of us. I had dreams of homeschooling sometimes, but every time they snuck into my head, I'd dismiss them as "crazy," as not a good option and as "giving in."

Although we came to homeschooling through tears and sudden, unexpected ways, I am incredibly thankful that it all happened, because it has opened up my eyes to understanding and options that I never even imagined were possible!

So now, we finally come to the main part of this blog post, the part where I tell you about the 10 CRAZY,  life-changing things that homeschooling has taught me. If you would have mention them to me a year ago, I would have never believed you! ;)

1.)  Homeschool has taught me to stop and question everything that I take for granted or do automatically - learning, parenting choices, the way I live my life and how I interact with other people.  This isn't about going around, being oppositional, arguing over every social norm, societal norms often stick because they work! Rather, it's about sussing out whether there are additional options and paths and ways to be in this world. Also, just as importantly, homeschooling has reminded me that it's not worth going blindly into ANYTHING. Questioning, learning, understanding, deciding- they are such important actions that I was not always taking.

2.) At some points in your child's life, investing in emotional well-being and your relationship is just as important, if not more important than chasing the perfect education. It's true. If we hadn't listened to Noah and worked to understand his needs rather then pushing what society tells us is the "right way," we'd still be struggling against the current and I fear that we would have destroyed any hope of a good parent-child relationship.

Homeschooling taught me to stop! Stop, slow down, take a deep breath and try to understand what my child was feeling and why. It made me realize that mutual respect, dialogue and empathy will get you much farther than punishments, rewards, deals and other authoritarian ways with some kids.

Homeschooling healed the relationship between Noah and I. Not that it was so bad before, but we have learned to co-exist in a place of less frequent power-struggles because he knows that I respect his opinion, hear his voice and trust him. We don't battle over homework or bedtimes or food or anything as often as we did before. Most importantly though, now Noah knows without a doubt that we're always going to be there for him and that Jon and I are flexible enough to consider what Noah feels is the best fit for him in this journey called life!

3.) Homeschooling taught me that I should have listen to Ricki ages ago. I've written about this before, but when we attended the funeral for our beloved neighbor Ricki, I was struck by the main message of the great eulogy that her Granddaughter gave. Basically - Life is too short, live on your own terms.  Ricki was giving and caring and did things for others ALL OF THE TIME, but she also said "no" to the invitations and people that just didn't work for her. She was honest, up front and set the boundaries that she needed. This is something that until now, I have never mastered. (I've tried, believe me, I've tried.)

Now I can politely decline invitations and asks of help when I have to, with half the guilt that used to plague me. Nothing like suddenly being thrust into the full-time "job" of homeschooling to make you eventually shout: "SORRY! I JUST CAN'T TALK!!!!"

That's the thing, it's like Cheryl Richardson's book: The Art of  Extreme Self-Care, you're just kind of forced by necessity to step away from some of the invitations and the potential new obligations to make time for all the other stuff that is going on in your life. In a way, the universe (and homeschool) gave me the message loud and clear that it was time to speak up for what I needed too. 

Now here are the juicy bits......

4.) Homeschool taught me that everything that I THOUGHT was true about education in America, is not the whole truth. Scandalous!!!! (Ok, remember that I'm not anti-school. I didn't pull my child from school because I thought I could do a better job or because I disliked our school. I actually loved it a lot!)

For example, would you be shocked to know that you DON'T HAVE TO BE PART OF THE OVER-SCHEDULED RAT RACE to get into college, let alone a good college?  You don't need homework or years and years of middle and high school or even a SCHOOL to be accepted into a university. It's true! I didn't know that! (Also, just food for thought, but college is not the only way to live a successful and fulfilled life.) Jon and I expect Noah to go to university and so does he, but homeschool taught us that there are so so many paths in life that are acceptable!

This post would be pages long if I went into explaining my reasoning on all of these points and sighting papers and statistics. Know that even 83% of UNSCHOOLERS go on to higher education. Homeschoolers and unschoolers often possess a drive and passion for their areas of study. Higher education understands this, and special admissions processes for homeschoolers are popping up more and more often at institutions around the country.

Last year I would lie awake in the middle of the night, WORRYING about HOW Noah would get into college. Now, I don't sweat it so much. Now I know that we have a lot of routes to take - he could go back to school at anytime or for high school. Noah could enroll with a fantastic private school in Ann Arbor, Clonlara, and take part in their homeschool program for high school. At the end of their program, just like any other school, if he fulfills all of the state's requirements, Noah will have a degree from the private high school. He could study hard with his tutor Kevin to do well on the ACT or SAT, and learn to be a strong essay writer and apply to colleges. He could find an interest, take classes at our local community college at 16, earn an associates degree there and transfer into a four year college at age 18.  I'm just rambling off different "paths," but it's so much more extensive that I ever realized.

The most important thing is not WHAT my child becomes in life, it's that he's happy and healthy and homeschool has taught me this!

5.) Since now I realize that you don't have to retain every single info bite that you are expected to remember in 6th-12th grade to get into college, and do well in life, I can chill out and focus more on fostering a love of learning in my child.

Learning is incredibly diverse. You can be a visual-spatial learner, a kinesthetic learner, an auditory learner and so on. Some people learn through reading and note taking, others through listening to audio books, some from watching educational videos and others- hands on experiments.

Through lots and lots of trial and error, I have surprisingly come to know that Noah dislikes online learning and that he much prefers workbooks and text books. I learned that he is quite an auditory learner too, loving being read to. In fact, when read to, he retains all of the information and spits it right back out to me or through typing with no problem! We are working our way through the classical "Story of the World" series and it's phenomenal doing our history read-aloud together. Everyday Jon also reads to Noah. He reads from the New York Times, which is a special part of the day just for the two of them.

How surprised was I that no, you don't have to reproduce the usual school method of listening to the teacher speak, reading your textbook and then filling out your worksheets to retain knowledge. Even simply having vibrant discussions on what we have read, truly fosters understanding and competency. I never knew that!

So when learning the parts of an animal cell became incredibly boring and a big drag on Noah, (even with the super awesome model we built and the parts-of-a-cell animated rap song) I felt completely fine taking a break and moving on to a different science topic of his choosing. Something that Noah found more interesting. There is time to cover it all when you homeschool. You've got the gift of time.

Remember when you were a child and you wanted to learn about something or master a skill? You probably read everything you could on horses, or figured out how use a hammer, nails and a saw to build a tree fort. I wanted to learn Japanese, so I did. At one point, I was fairly fluent in my Japanese speaking and writing. I wanted to become a good snowboarder, to write a blog, to know every single thing there was about the Beatles. I taught myself about 19th century American life and how to sew. Homeschoolers often get the freedom to find their intrinsic motivation in learning something, and that is priceless! When you have a personal investment in what you're learning, you learn more deeply.

Case-in-point, while the animal cell unit was a flop, (and I'm sure, if it ends up being a necessity or interest, he'll learn it in a snap at a later time) computer sciences was a hit! It's what Noah picked as his focus for the month. He spent the next four weeks finding and  downloading old, open-source Nintendo games. The developers opened these games up to people to "mod" or modify the coding. Noah gladly spent hours modifying the characters, their attributes and the world they travel through. It was really amazing!

Let's learn how light waves interact with water and prisms and about phosphorescence today. Ok!

6.) Never underestimate the need to NOT get up at 6:30am. Yeah, I feel a little badly about this one. Look, I do not take the gift of being able to be at home, homeschooling my child for granted even for a second! I feel very very lucky.

Jon and I woke up at 6:00am- 6:30 for over a decade. The alarm clock would buzz and I would bemoan needing to get up when that's the last thing that I wanted to do. We'd have to drag Noah out of bed too, especially on the school mornings when it was still pitch dark outside.

Then there would be a flurry of getting ready and rushing and breakfast and quick "goodbyes" and Noah and Jon would be out the door.

Homeschool taught me that unless we had somewhere to be, or something to do with a deadline, there was no reason waking up before we had to! The truth is....I regularly wake up and pop out of bed at 8:00 or 8:30. Even Jon wakes up later than he used to because he works from home now! For Noah, I sometimes let him wake up on his own, but most days I quietly go in and open his shade a bit around 9:00am or 9:30. When you have schoolwork to do and you're a homeschooler, it doesn't matter if you start in the morning, afternoon or the evening, you just do it! Some days when I know that Noah is over-tired or was up late the night before, I just let him sleep and get my housework done until  he comes hobbling out of his room around 10:30 or 11:00. He is indeed, becoming a pre-teen. On those days, no biggie, we just start and finish our work later. It's wonderful to feel well-rested.

7.)  You don't need to do seven hours of "school work" in homeschool, you can fit it all in, in two, three or four hours, and you can do it while laying on the couch in your pajamas! True story. Think about it, at school there is recess and lunch and time to travel between classes. There is instruction time and busy work time and time for the teachers to work with the other 20-30 kids in the class. When you break it all down, the super focused learning is only for several hours a day at most, at least for kids Noah's age.  You also don't need homework (yay!!!) because you are already just home! Hooray! No homework battles anymore!!!

We have our focused work time which is usually two hours in the morning. We might break for lunch and then have an afternoon session. The thing is though, sometimes I just spread our different subjects throughout the day. For example, the evening can be a great time for social studies and current events. We read from the New York Times and have family chats about it around the dinner table. Or just yesterday, we watched a movie on World War Two in the late afternoon. Each day is different.

8.)  You can drop everything and go on adventures. An amazing freedom comes with homeschooling!  Like last week when we thought we'd run up north mid-week for a couple of days to see the fall colors. No traffic, no lines, just freedom. Freedom and life learning. There's a lot to learn wherever you go- history, math, geography, it's what you make it!

Hey, let's go up north and see the fall color. Ok, bye!

9.)  If you want socialization for your kid, don't worry, just become a homeschooler.
I feel like it might be THE quintessential homeschool skeptic's question: "but HOW will they be properly socialized!!?"

Ok, let me tell you how - by playdates with old school friends and kids in the neighborhood. Through art classes and gym classes and chess class and one of the MANY homeschool-coops out there! Through Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and study groups and get-togethers with other homeschool friends. Through the CONSTANT field trips being offered with the FOURTEEN LOCAL HOMESCHOOL GROUPS THAT WE ARE MEMBERS OF. You guys, the opportunities are endless. Noah actually has more opportunity to socialize with kids of all ages in more varied settings than ever before! There's a homeschool theater group, every sport you could imagine, every interest covered including STEM groups, art groups, writing groups, and social get togethers.

Not a week goes by without an open playdate invite or three+  educational/social field trips that are organized across our metro area. We can't wait for next week when we are going to a Tween Homeschoolers Halloween get-together and potluck! There's also homeschooler's week coming up at Sea Life, an amazing aquarium nearby, where tickets for homeschoolers are on a deep discount and there aren't any mid-week lines. :)

Oh and let us not forget Noah's online friends from all over the world. They DO count too. I firmly believe that. Through online classes and even dare I say, "Minecraft servers," Noah has forged real friendships. One former online classmate's Mom and I even became online friends too! The world is a different place than it was when I was a kid. If my child is in a group online learning and solving problems, chatting and sharing with a new friend, who's to say that's not socializing or real friendship.

10.) Homeschool has taught me to find your tribe and you'll never be alone. I thought, in the very early days, that I would never find any parents who understood what we were really going through. I felt as though nobody could understand the stress and intensity that a family shoulders with a child who has anxiety and true school refusal. No one who could relate to the despair and the confusion, the embarrassment and the loneliness. Then- I joined the Facebook group: "Homeschooling Parents of ADHD Kids Support Group," and the "Secular Homeschoolers of Gifted Twice Exceptional Kids Group," and the "Homeschooling Kids with OCD and Anxiety" group, and the "Gifted Unschoolers," and the "Unschoolers Who Love Pokemon, " etc....etc....etc..... and before I knew it, I met a VILLAGE OF FAMILIES WHO HAD CHILDREN JUST LIKE MINE. :)

Yep. They were there all along and I didn't even know it. One of my favorite, favorite, favorite new pages is Tilt Parenting: The Revolution for Parents Raising Differently-Wired Kids. I love their Facebook page too, and the podcast. So much support and encouragement.

And there you have it! 10 Crazy, Life Changing Things that Homeschooling Has Taught Me. 
Of course I have my days where I have doubt, where I shake my head wondering what happened to the life that I was used to have. There are occasional nights that I lay awake worrying about college or 6th grade math, but they seem to be getting farther and farther in-between.

Beyond the ten things that homeschooling has taught me, I 've also learned that without a doubt, I am so incredibly grateful that life has given us this adventure, and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Until next time, go out and learn something because you love it!!!!
Lauren :)