What I Learned in 2008

Just a partial list of some of the random things I learned in the past year. I learned:

* That I have a compulsion to have a picture included in every blogpost and that without my laptop, my photo sharing skills are severely limited.

* That I have a very strong attachment to my laptop, and how I have it set up, and I miss it terribly now that it's STILL being fixed.

* That it really is as great as I imagined it would be to visit and stay at other unschoolers' homes.

* That I am shy on-line, like in real life. I am very good with one-on-one conversations, but typically am pretty quiet in a group setting. I realized that I rarely post on all the lists I've subscribed to, because I feel it's just like speaking up in a group converstion. I have no problem, however, in stopping by people's blogs and leaving comments, which seems so much more like talking to just one person. So, I learned that my on-line personna is pretty true to my real life personality.

* That my kids and I can take really long road trips, and have fun in the car!

* More about the nature of God, and my faith.

* That I need to keep on learning how to be more patient, more forgiving, more tolerant and accepting, more bold, and more myself. It will never be a done job.

* That my oldest son would like to go to college.

* That my youngest son seems to have a natural talent for pottery.

* That my daughter was seeing the world in much less focus than most of us, and that she needed glasses. I shared her joy and excitement at seeing the leaves on the trees so clearly.

* How to live more frugally.

* How to knit, again.

* How to foster pets.

* That the current legal "system" can be used to enforce a parent's will (no matter how harmful) on a child.

* A bit about Facebook.

* That I'm not that crazy about Myspace.

* All kinds of new crochet patterns.

* That I'm not as opposed to plastic surgery as I thought I was. (My eyelids always feel so heavy!)

* How to live without prescription antidepressants (at least for now).

* That every year, without fail, I will hide some Christmas present, and not be able to find it for Christmas.

* That I very likely will always need my kids to help me with technology.

* That my son and his girlfriend celebrated their one year "anniversary".

* Embroidery, again.

* That I love looking at the clouds and taking pictures of them.

* That although I don't like apple pie, I love a cut-up apple steamed and topped with cinnamon.

* A little bit about Facebook.

* That I really can't drink coffee without getting headaches

* That I still love living in Florida, despite the appeal of many other places.

* That my true nature is optimistic and hopeful.

* How to make and can kumquat marmalade.

* How to needle and wet felt from wool roving.

* How to play and win at several versions of Solitaire.

* That I could hardly make a comprehensive list of all that I learned in one year, so it would be impossible to record all that my children learn in a year! And that's okay! :)

Happy New Year! Hope it's full of love, laughter, and of course learning(I know it will be. ).


Friday FIll-in #104

1. I must LIVE before I die.

2. You can't stop once you start.

3. I wish I never had to buy a bra again.

4. Unschooling has helped me change my life.

5. I know the song Wonderful Tonight (Eric Clapton) by heart.

6. If I weren't so afraid, I would scuba dive.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to my son's band practice ending. Tomorrow my plans might include strawberry picking, and Sunday, I want to relax!


Hope your holidays are merry and bright! xo


Enough About ME Already,

Let me tell you about my dear husband with this "Husband Meme" I saw on Julie's blog.

1. He’s sitting in front of the TV. What is on the screen? Whatever channel he happened to stop on right before the magic remote put him to sleep.

2. You’re out to eat. What kind of dressing does he get on his salad? Italian

3. What is one food he doesn’t like? Pretty much anything from a box or can.

4. You go out to the bar. What does he order? What bar?! If it's the one were we wait for a table to be ready, probably a glass of wine.

5. Where did he go to high school? William Floyd H.S. in Shirley, NY - same as me. ;)

6. What size shoe does he wear? 10 and 1/2

7. If he was to collect anything, what would it be? He equates most collections with clutter, so anything he collects is useful, ie. tools and cookbooks.

8. What is his favorite type of sandwich? Hmmmm, I'm not sure about this one, but probably a good Reuben, or an italian hero with everything on it.

9. What would the Husband eat every day if he could? Nothing I can think of. He likes variety.

10. What is his favorite cereal? Frosted Mini-Wheats, or the Muesli he had in Switzerland.

11. What would he never wear? A dress, or anything right off the rack. Clothes need to be broken in by the washer before wearing.

12. What is his favorite sports team? None that I know of

13. Who is his best friend? Me?

14. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn’t do? Display "knick-knacks" on the kitchen windowsill.

15. How many states has he lived in? Three: NY, MA, FL

16. What is his heritage? Italian, and possibly Irish(the family history is a little cloudy)

17. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what kind? Yeah right! Like I'm going to bake a cake for my pastry chef husband! No, he gets an ice cream cake, either good old fashioned Carvel or mint chocolate chip from Baskin Robbins.

18. Did he play sports in high school? No

19. What could he spend hours doing? Cleaning out the garage and playing with our kids.


Friday Fill-in

1. Snow is beautifully quiet and calming.

2. I'm looking forward to being thinner and more energetic.

3. My husband is the best pastry chef ever!

4. One of my favorite old tv shows is Wonder Years (not really that old, but about "old times").

5. I'm done with cleaning (in my dreams).

6. The most enjoyable thing around the holidays is the time spent with family and friends.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to dinner at Chef John's house. Tomorrow my plans include going to the Hobe Sound Christmas parade, and on Sunday I want to go with my daughter to show our foster cat and kittens at Petco!


Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Gratitude is born in hearts that take time to count up past mercies.
Charles E. Jefferson

I hope you all had a wonderful day full of memories and memory-making that left you stuffed with gratitude! ;)


Friday Fill-in #99

Photo credit: Reagan Photography (edited by Tom)

1. The last band I saw live was Horizons.

2. What I look forward to most on Thanksgiving is the overflowing gratitude.

3. My Christmas/holiday shopping is started, but nowhere near finished.

4. Thoughts of FOOD fill my head! ('Tis not the season to begin a diet!)

5. I wish I could wear sweatpants and look sexy in them.

6. Bagpipes and the bassoon are two of the instruments my youngest son wants to learn to play.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to my son's band practice ending! Tomorrow my plans include celebrating my youngest son's ninth birthday and Sunday, I want to finish the earflap hat I'm crocheting!


Friday Fill-in #98

1. Please feel free to move about the cabin.

2. When I hug my kids, I can't help sniffing their heads occasionally.

3. My favorite thing to cook is whatever is easiest.

4. Lately, "Daria" is something I can't get enough of.

5. That's the thing I love most about my life.

6. When I'm in the store and I hear people being mean and threatening their little kids, it always makes me think to myself, what the heck?

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to chicken pot pie. Tomorrow my plans include taking my son to the pottery studio, and Sunday I want to plant something edible (which I never got to last weekend)!


For Me & My Freaky Friends

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
Bertrand Russell

The Corn Maze

Believe it or not, wandering around lost in a cornfield can be quite fun! It was a beautiful day last Saturday when we went to Long and Scott Farms to experience their corn mazes. The theme of this year's mazes is agriculture, so the larger maze resembled a tractor and the smaller maze was made to look like the John Deere symbol. We probably walked for at least three hours total, but I'm pretty sure it could be done in less time. It was a really fun activity for a fall day and a pretty good substitute for the pumpking patches I loved to visit up north each fall. I think we may be making this an annual tradition.
My "corny" kids.

reading the secret maze map

a cheery colored tractor and a hay bale tractor


Friday Fill-in #97

1. My blueprint for success includes lots of flexibility.

2. My daughter's Butterfingers was the last candy I ate.

3. The best facial moisturizer I've ever used is from Aveeno, don't know the name off-hand, but it's for sensitive skin.

4. A walk in the sun can be good therapy.

5. I'd like to tell you about how I became the Prince of Bel-Air. ;P

6. I think compassion is my strongest characteristic.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to finishing up some newborn hats for The Caps to Cap-Haitien Project. Tomorrow my plans include going to a corn maze with my kids and some friends, and on Sunday I want to do some planting while watching some of the air show that will be viewable from our house!


Thank You Lucy Burns...

...and thank you Alice Paul, and thank you to all the women who so courageously stood up for women and their right to vote. Thank you for enduring the hardship, humiliation, and even brutality, all to secure the right to vote.

The first three generations of women voters in my family ( my grandmother, my mother, and me)

Thank you to my grandmother, Florence (Grant) Ingerson, for telling me that women weren't allowed to vote when you were a child. I could hardly believe it was that way in your lifetime! Thank you for impressing upon me how much the "privilege" of voting meant to you. As I cast my vote in this presidential election, I was filled with gratitude to you and to all the women who came before me that made it possible for me to do so.

I am grateful and joy-filled that I live in a country where my voice counts. I have seen and heard so much dread and fear expressed during this election season. People on all sides are predicting terrible things for the future of our country, if their party doesn't win. I refuse to give in to that type of fear. As long as we continue to use our voices and our vote to participate in our government, we can ensure our country takes the direction we want. As long as we remember that our government really is us, not them, we will thrive.

(I do not like discussing politics, at all! So, lucky for you, this is all you will hear from me about it.)

Hands and Feet, Weekly Word Challenge (#59)

Hands, and

I decided to take this challenge after seeing it on Janet's blog. It is hosted each week by Tink. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to take new pictures each week, or if it's okay to use photos I already have that fit. I happened to have these two pix (that I love) already, so there you go!


Halloween Horrors

Pumpkins were mutilated, and guts were everywhere!

Aliens landed and creepy crawlies came out.

There was a Sumo Reaper/ Grim Sumo, and gangsta fairies.

But the scariest thing by far

Hope your Halloween was horribly fun!

Friday Fill-in #96

1. My favorite food seasoning is garlic.
2. Every so often, silence is music to my ears.

3. Lucky is the nickname of my son's first best friend when he was in school.

4. Being a good parent is something I take very seriously.

5. Many people are too fearful about the state of our nation, and what the election of either candidate will mean to our future.

6. Halloween candy was the last thing I bought at the store.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to sharing some of my kids' Halloween booty. Tomorrow my plans include taking our foster cats in for a check-up and taking my son to the wonderful pottery studio where he just started learning last week, and Sunday, I want to take a nice family picture (or two) for my MIL's birthday gift!


A Dozen Years Ago...

...our family welcomed Angelica into our lives and the world. I was overjoyed to have another female in the house, someone with whom to share the special joys of being a girl. And oh what a girl she is! Angelica has been such a joy to be with as she grows. She has a wonderful sense of humor and a style that uniquely her own. I admire her ability to "cut to the chase" and read people's true intentions and emotions, despite what they may try to present to her. I admire her strength and her willingness to try new things, and to do things only when she feels ready. She does not allow herself to be pushed or persuaded into doing things. She uses her heart and mind to determine what is right for her and stays true to that, more so than many people I know!

I could go on and on listing all of Angelica's wonderful attributes and talents and abilities, but what I love most about her is that she is Angelica! There is no other like her, and I am so blessed to have her be a part of my life.

Happy Birthday Sweetie!


Friday Fill-in #95

1. Right now, I'm feeling very antsy and tired.
2. Feeling healthy is where I want to be.
3. How does one go to sleep and get up at the same time every day?

4. Very little keeps me on track.
5. Please don't send me any more bogus e-mails about the presidential candidates.

6. Gratitude and hugs fill me with joy.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to creating some Christmas cards. Tomorrow my plans include taking some pictures now that I have fresh camera batteries, and on Sunday I want to get some pumpkins for carving!


Friday Fill-in #93

1. One of the best concerts/plays/movies I ever saw that I really didn't think I'd like was.....Well, I couldn't really say it was one of the best movies I've ever seen, but I was quite pleasantly surprised by Transformers.

2. Guacamole is a recipe my DH recently made that was delicious!

3. It's time for pumpkins.

4. A pina colada flavored ice pop is quite refreshing.

5. If I never hear the word maverick again, it'll be too soon.

6. To one side of the curving road was a picturesque waterfront park, and on the other was a house on a hill that looks like a gingerbread house with all the white Christmas lights outlining it

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to reading some new library books, tomorrow my plans include browsing the local flea market and a multi-family yard sale, and Sunday, I want to enjoy some outdoor fun with my family!


My daughter (Angelica) finally started her own blog! She's 11 years old and wants to meet people to talk to so check out her blog!

Things Are Looking Up

If you want good news for a change, my friend Gerri makes it very easy for you. All you have to do is view her Good News Network. It's all good, all the time! Gerri has been at this for 11 years now, and her commitment to focusing on the positive is stronger than ever. Just recently Gerri and her network were featured on a television show called American Crossroads. I highly recommend viewing the show, and also getting your "daily dose of news to enthuse" as Gerri says!

Daydream Believer, That's Me!

I saw this on Kelly's blog and decided to try it out.

Your result for The Perception Personality Image Test...

NBPC - The Daydreamer

Nature, Background, Big Picture, and Color

You perceive the world with particular attention to nature. You focus on the hidden treasures of life (the background) and how that fits into the larger picture. You are also particularly drawn towards the colors around you. Because of the value you place on nature, you tend to find comfort in more subdued settings and find energy in solitude. You like to ponder ideas and imagine the many possibilities of your life without worrying about the details or specifics. You are in tune with all that is around you and understand your life as part of a larger whole. You are a down-to-earth person who enjoys going with the flow.

The Perception Personality Types:


Take The Perception Personality Image Test at HelloQuizzy

It's About Time...

...that I write about our Live and Learn experience this year. I'm just finding it so hard to put into words. The Live and Learn Conferences have been a part of our lives for the past six years, since we attended our first one in South Carolina. Ever since then, it has become something that our family looks forward to for the entire year. It becomes as anticipated, if not more so, than Christmas. We count down the months, the weeks, the days, until we are finally able to join with the most amazing people in celebrating our unique lifestyle.

Live and Learn has been first and foremost a celebration for us. Our decision to unschool has brought so much joy to our family, but that joy is unfortunately not shared with most of the people we are surrounded by daily. Much of our interactions with others become limited, because of their limited understanding of our choices. It's hard to celebrate your freedom with people who are still imprisoned by their choices, choices they may not even realize that they have to make. However, when we attend the Live and Learn Conferences, there is an overwhelming sense of understanding and acceptance that allows us all to freely celebrate our freedom! Our joy is shared by others who also seek to share the same joy!

A Live and Learn conference is peaceful, yet at times joyfully chaotic. It is calming, yet at the same time very invigorating. It is the comfort of the familiar, wonderfully mixed with the excitement of the new. It is reuniting with old friends and finding new ones. It is authentic, unpretentious, and defies complete description.

I think that I have been procrastinating writing about this year's conference, because it was the last Live and Learn conference, and I am not eager to close this chapter of our lives. I am eternally grateful to Kelly Lovejoy and her family, and all those who helped coordinate the conferences. The opportunities provided by Kelly's vision were unmeasurable. Yet, I am now provided with and opportunity to do what I can to ensure that the spirit of Live and Learn lives on by continuing to connect with other unschoolers in new ways. I am excited about continuing to develop the connections made at Live and Learn.

Knowing that there is no Live and Learn next year challenged me to go outside my comfort zone in a big way. I talked to more people this year than any year prior. I also made plans to get together with people on our own. Because the conference drew people from all over the country (and world!), this meant that we would have to do some significant travelling in order to maintain our connections. Well, I am happy to say that we already started!

Following the conference, we drove up north to visit family in several states. Then, on the way back down to Florida, we actually stopped and visited with friends in Virginia and Georgia. Gerri and her family were kind enough to let us stay at their beautiful lakefront home while we explored Washington D.C. We had a wonderful time at their house, and they made us feel so at home, as if we had been neighbors for many years. Our other stop was with Madeline and her lovely family. Once again, we were made to feel so at home and welcomed. A BIG THANK YOU to both families for being so gracious and helping to extend the "unschooling celebration" that was started by Live and Learn! I can't wait to get together again, and to share our home with you! I'm also looking forward to reuniting with other Live and Learn friends through visits and smaller unschooling gatherings that will allow us to continue to share our joyous freedom!

Here are a few pictures from Live and Learn and our post-conference travels. You can see more here.
Getting down at the Masquerade Ball.

The Karaoke stars sing "I Will Survive" and "I'm Walking on Sunshine"

Some of the beauty that surrounded us at the Blue Ridge Assembly.

Sunrise and flowers at Gerri's house.

Some of the talent show at Madeline's.