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Friday, December 30, 2011

Dollywood Christmas Lights

We got season passes to Dollywood this year. I am really glad we did. We sure enjoyed all our visits to DW this year. Another great thing about homeschooling is that we are able to take advantage of the many non peak times they are open. We can also go in the middle of the week. Today the kids got an eye opener. It was crazy. It was very crowded, lines were longer. We had to park at Splash Country. (Thank God for trams.)

Here are some pics. I have to say this is the most beautiful time of the year to go. I am glad we pushed through and went anyway. I normally don't do crowds etc.



I saw this pretty sunset, while I was waiting on the kids -they were in line for a ride. I thought it looked neat.



The lights at night.



The steam train-showing the lights.


With the flash.


Many of the trees were decorated all the way to the tops, it was so pretty! There were purple, trees, blue trees, multicolored trees, they were just awesome.


Buildings throughout were covered in lights.


This fountain just glowed. I love this picture.



We had a really great time.



Our favorite ride was the Polar Express 4D Experience.


Love my new Cruz tablet

I got this right before Christmas. (For our school.) Our library now has ebooks so I really wanted to be able to take advantage of it. Plus I can download my kindle books to it. I can web browse, listen to music and watch videos. (I haven't figured out the videos yet.)

Here I downloaded a bear pattern to make a bear for Lexi. Cool that it is Wifi. And I don't have to have my laptop set up to have the tutorial with me.

Dollywood Mobile Pictures

I love being able to send some pics from my phone straight to my blog.
We went to Dollywood today. It was really crowded, we had to park in overflow (Splash Country parking.) Thank God for the trams.

The lines were long-and the kids are not used to that-since we homeschool we always took advantage of going during the week during non peak times.

Going at Christmas and seeing the lights-was so beautiful though. I am glad we went.
Here is dd on the bumper cars.

Just one of the funny signs they have there. I thought is was cute.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Highlights-Newletter

So as we bring 2011 to a close, I wanted to hit the highlights of what has been going on with us. For those of you that keep up and visit regularly you will probably remember some of these photos. So this sort of serves as our end of year newsletter.

This makes 7 years of homeschooling for us. (Beginning when Peyton was in K.) Well if you count official years that is. The kids are doing well in their studies and are staying busy in all their activities. This fall we began studying America and will continue on this subject until Fall of 2013. Then we will get into Ancient History.

I have stayed busy with homeschooling, household duties, helping out in our women's ministry at church and in my spare time working on my various hobbies. This year I also began playing around a bit with digital scrapbooking, trying to work on photography (just get better in general) and I made my first stuffed bear. (Yes I was pretty proud of this accomplishment.)


Some Christmas Cards I made this year. (If you didn't get one in the mail, sorry-I did not mail out many-but you can see it here.) Hope you had a great Christmas! ;-)


This is a fleece throw Lexi made to help kids in Crisis.


Here is one that Peyton made.


Lexi was in gymnastics this past Spring. She finished up 3rd grade.


In the fall she began Cheerleading for our local PeeWee league football. She also began 4th grade.


She turned 10 in November. She is a wonderful help around the house. She loves to sing, play with her dolls and stuffed animals, and loves to cook and craft. She really has a heart to give to others and do for others.


Peyton started the year playing Upward Basket Ball. (And I was excited to finally get an action shot that wasn't a complete blur. I am finally learning how to work the M mode on my camera a little more.)


In April he turned 11 years old. In May he finished 5th grade.


During the summer he decided he was ready to make the decision to be baptized, to receive God's forgiveness for sin, and to give his life to the Lord.


This summer and fall Peyton played football for the PeeWee league. It is the last year he was eligible. He is going to miss playing, but did not want to go to public school in order to keep playing. He also began 6th grade.


Gary stayed busy at work. In his off time he fishes and works around the house, and helps Peyton with BB and Football. He also teaches Jr. Church each week at our church. This year he joined a local fishing club and entered a few tournaments. He competed in 16 and they won or placed in (means they got money) in 8 out of the 16 tournaments. He finished first in 6 of them. (Well he and his partner that is.) So at least he is paying for his gas and other entry fees, lol.

They actually won 1st place in the 1st tournament of the year. And cashed in $425.00. You can read more about that here.

Here is my scrapbook page I made at one of our moms' night crops. (We usually get together at least once a month to work on scrapbooking.)


Gary and Peyton entered a tournament during the summer and they placed 2nd.


In November we had to put our dog Buddy down. His health began deteriorating much more rapidly and we felt that his quality of life was gone. We had him for 13 years, he is very missed in our home.

Dixie, Lexi's dog, AKA "the baby" is doing well, she turned 2 this year, and she loves to run, play and be petted.


So that is our highlights for the year. We wish everyone a wonderful 2012. We hope you all will keep in touch. I am looking forward to turning a new page on the calendar. I look forward to new opportunities to learn new things, to watch my children as they grow in the Lord, and to take in the wonderment of all God's creation. I also hope for many opportunities to be used by God to make someone else's world a better place to be in.



Friday, December 23, 2011

Cherokee Caverns

Tonight we took the kids to Cherokee Caverns. They opened especially for Christmas and put some lights inside, with a Santa and a tree. They had some hot dogs and other food that you could get and eat by the fire. We didn't eat there. It was fun, it only lasted about an hour.
Here are some of our pictures.

Entering the cave.

This was in a tunnel. You walk on a platform while the top sides spin around. There are high
fluorescent colors on the wheel. (I barely made it in the tunnel before I was almost sick.)
I don't do motion things like this well.

I think Lexi got her fill of it.

I am so glad I was able to capture some of the beautiful colors in the cave.
When I used Auto it made them all drab. (Thanks to the night scene mode I got better colors.)
Not sure why the blur, I think it is b/c the shutter stays open even after the flash and then if the kids move it blurs. (That or I was not still enough.) But I was using a IS lens.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Anticipation and the week before Christmas.

Here are some pics I took of the kids on Monday. We went shopping at BPS for dad. (Sshh!) He isn't supposed to know. Good thing he doesn't read the blog, and isn't on FB.




I am calling this picture...."Wishful Thinking".


I got a virus, my throat has been hurting really bad ever since Saturday night. So by Monday morning it was hurting so much, I knew it had to be Strep throat. I haven't had it in years, but remember the pain associated with it.

So I go to the Dr. only to discover it is not actually Strep, but a virus. Unfortunately it hurts like Strep, but there is no z-pack or shot that will make you feel much better in 24-48 hours. Instead this virus runs a 5-7 day course.

So I go ahead and opt for the gargle that is supposed to help your throat. (Since I am in dire straights.) And this stuff is like a Pepto bismal consistancy with a hint of orajel type stuff. So it feels like you are gargling pepto. (Then your mouth and throat get a little numb.) While the taste is terrible. (It actually does bring some relief for a full 20 minutes.) I am also supposed to gargle with salt water. (And I am eating Tylenol as often as I can. I have a little tickling type cough-that really hurts when I do cough, so I try not to.

Anyway I hope that I will feel my old self soon. Today was a little better than yesterday.

The kids have done well getting their work done very independently this week. I have had to help a little in math, read over a story Peyton had to write and read 2 chapters out loud today. (That was rough.) But other than that, they have been on task, and have allowed me to rest and sleep in when necessary.

Picture edits

I wanted to play around some more with my pictures. The black edges is called Vingette.


I added a little HDR effect in Piknic. I wanted it to look more icy and translucent.


My favorite fall flowers. They are so vibrant and colorful. I added the edge vingette and also a HDR effect to bring out the strong definition.


I  added a frame and also slight HDR effect to the flowers. (And the verse.)


I added the vingette effect this time in white. (To get the white hazy look.) and added the frame and verse.)


I really love this one. Especially if you see the original picture. Nothing really exciting about it. This has the HDR effect, along with a little sepia toning and I framed it.


Just so you can get an idea. (Here is the original picture.) Of course this picture makes him look much more pettable. LOL