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Living to Learn and Learning to Live

Updated: 2016-11-06T05:17:32.959-05:00


Following our Journey!


6 years ago, I began this blog - and it has been a fun 6 years to document.  I hope to continue blogging about our family, homeschool adventures and whatever else pops into my mind, but I will no longer be doing it at this website.

I've sent this web address out to many people - friends, family and the link can be found on my etsy site and sent with all my orders.

However, I've found it necessary to chose a new blogging platform, one that will allow me to password protect specific posts.  Unfortunately, the blogger platform doesn't allow that.

You may or may not have noticed I've removed posts that have documented our time with our host children over the past year and a half, but the rest of our silly, zany family fun will stay on.  I can't delete this blog - there's too many memories and stories!

If you'd like to continue following our story, get in touch with me and I'll share the new website with you.

Momma Roar



She's 8.  My oh my, where did the time go?Yesterday, our Noelle turned 8 and we celebrated with both sets of grandparents. She chose black beans and rice for her birthday meal and brownies instead of cake!Her oldest brother tolerate the rice and beans, but it isn't something he really enjoys.  However, her younger brother had to continually be reminded that this was the meal his sister chose for her birthday and he needs to be kind and eat it without complaining.  He ate a few more bites and stopped.A few minutes later, he walked up to me, with those big brown eyes, and so sincerely stated, "Mom.  I will eat the brownies for Elle, because I know she wants me to."Wow, what a sacrifice!  hahaThe grandparents went together on a gift and we added a little more to it.Here she is peeking inside the bag!  I think she's excited!YAY!  A sewing machine!  Mommy has an apprentice now!From big brother!Gifts from brothers! I've never told the kids they had to give something to their siblings, but each time, they just find things in their rooms, that they've seen the other admire, and they wrap it and give it with such joy and pleasure.Here, she's opening a drawing set from big brother.  She said she had always wanted it and that he had never drawn in it.  In his driest voice, big brother corrected, "Yes, I did."  She was still thrilled!When the kids turn 8, we go into the local Christian bookstore and pick a picture with a verse for their rooms.  (Here's the one from when Q turned 8)Making her wish!It goes so quickly!I believe her wish may have had something to do with a certain someone coming Tuesday evening.  It has been 4 months since we've said goodbye to K and tomorrow night, we get to bring her home for 4 weeks!  Christmas in America!You may have noticed some ornaments on the tree - the kids made them out of Le.gos.  We are waiting for K to arrive to hang the rest of the ornaments on the tree![...]

6 years later


The kids love to act out plays.  Last week was Lor.d of the Ri.ngs - with C as Gol.lum in a rather questionable wardrobe (no pictures, sorry!)

If you aren't familiar with Go.llum, click here.

But tonight, they chose to do the Christmas story.

It sent me back 6 years, and I had to do a side by side contrast for ol' times sake.


Journey to Bethlehem


A local retreat/camping center holds a "Journey to Bethlehem" outdoor nativity walk sort of thing.This past Saturday, we joined T's two sister's and their families as well as his parents to experience the journey.After arriving to sign in and pay our taxes for the census, we headed out by wagon to various stops.  Each stop featured a part of the Christmas story and it was a very meaningful evening.In the "market" where the kids were given a coin to buy crackers and had to search for the lost lamb - which is why the pictures are blurry and some aren't looking! :)  Followed the shepherd's children, looking for the lost lamb, to this campfire.And then we saw...We followed the star...And found baby Jesus.E and her cousin M, 9, taking in the moment.A very beautiful journey.[...]

My baby turned 6!


Yeah, I can still refer to him as my baby, because when I started this blog almost 6 years ago, this picture was the first one I ever posted of my kids.And now, that little baby in the cradle, is 6!Last night, we had our parents over for a get together to celebrate his big day!  Thankfully, the stomach bug that hit poor C on Thursday, disappeared and he was healthy and ready to go on Friday!His siblings were as excited, if not more, for C's big day.  This is partly because Big Brother was hoping Little Brother would get Le.gos or a game that they could play together.  And Sister is just excited for a party and loves organizing!Could this be the gift we've been waiting for?  (Sorry for the blurry pictures - there was too much bouncing and I couldn't get my settings changed in time! LOL)I think it is!WOOHOO!!Time for cake!Yum![...]

[forget me knot] by mommaroar


To date, I've completed 28 orders!!Most custom orders come through fa.cebo.ok and while I have many pictures there of the bags and totes I've made, I've realized a few people who read this blog aren't on fb.  So, I'm uploading a few to share with you here.We are so thankful for the support of friends and family in this way! Something new: In addition to the Just 4 Dolls sleeping bags (for 15" and 18" dolls), there are now these smaller sleeping bags for 9" dolls and animals.This is not all of the purses and totes, but quite a few to give you an idea of the variety of fabrics and purse/bag styles! I've had so much fun making every single one!And when a sweet friend (bloggy friend I've never met) emailed and said she loves her bag and when she uses it, it reminds her to pray for us and our adoption journey - it made the time spent totally worth it!  And, I pray for each person I'm creating the bag for as I cut, sew and iron!Add caption[...]

Trick or Treat (better late than never!)



And the time flies...


Okay, so it has been nearly 2 months since I've posted - whoops!

School is going really well for the 3 kiddos and myself!  We are almost halfway through our year!

Q and E both played soccer this fall - it is fun to see them progress in skill and enjoy themselves and their friends.

C is eager to play soccer and make get his break this spring!

Q and E are also taking piano lessons and continue to progress - Q amazes us the most with his abilities.

Outdoor fun and games as well as Leg.os are what the boys do in their free time and E enjoys helping me cook, sew and even clean!  What a little helper she can be!


10 - TEN!


We wanted to have a party for our oldest.  We aren't "party" (haha) people and we usually just invite both sets of grandparents for birthdays.  But he turned 10!  TEN!  We wanted to let him invite some friends and host a movie night, borrowing our neighbor's 10'x17' outdoor movie screen and projector.  We also decided, to invite the families of those friends! We had neighbors, cousins - all totaled over 50!  :)  It was a beautiful night!Q and my dad!Q and my mom!Q and T's mom!Q and T's dad!A big and serious game of kickball in the front yard!  So thankful to the other dads (and mom) who helped to keep the game running smoothly!I *do not* decorate cakes!  I do, however, enjoy eating them!  I ordered this size because it said it would feed 60.  We have 1/3 of it left.  Shucky darn...what will I do with all that? ;-D   Did I mention the serious game of kickball before serving cake?  If not - you'll see evidence of the seriousness on my hubby's shirt sleeve! Eeww!  ;-)  And I'm so embarrassed by those candles!  I had forgotten to pick some up so they are candles that have been used several times!Do you see our youngest (camo hat) pointing to the piece he wanted?  The hockey puck?  He was not so lucky to get that piece, as we started cutting on the opposite end.  We should hit the hockey puck later this week or maybe today! ;-DI know! I know!  Two cake slicing pictures in one post has to be a blog faux pas, but I had put this one in to show the enormous screen in our driveway!  Awesome, isn't it?  We have the most amazing neighbors (and amazing friends and amazing families!)  We are so BLESSED!Speaking of awesome friends - here's one of the best!  And his awesome wife was the lone mom helping in the kickball game - and was more than willing to take pictures for us that evening!  M&B - you rock!  And had I remembered to ask, I know you would have shown up with some totally awesome candles for that cake! ! ! !   These two are a pair!And now, for random pictures with no captions necessary! :D  (Below - that is not E on the right, but her cousin!)The Grandpas!  This will be Quinn (left, T's dad) and Colin (right, my dad) in 55 years!Yeah, the last one cracks me up, too! [...]

Summer Vacation!


School has been out for almost 3 weeks now and I've been to the beach with some girlfriends, went to a Phillies game in Baltimore and I've been sewing!The beach was wonderful...thanks to grandparents and my awesome hubby, I had 4 days to only take care of myself.  I was so spoiled!  But I'm happy to be back in my reality and I really did miss my kids and hubby!We enjoyed a day trip to Baltimore to see the Phillies lose to the Orioles.  Prior to the game, we took the kids to the Baltimore Aquarium and had a really fun time.  The ticket holder behind us (with a season ticket) treated us to a ball stamped with the 20th Anniversary of Camden Yards logo!  Awesome!  I love that my kids have their Phillies apparel on and the boys are wearing hats - one camo, one Cummins (truck engines!)As for sewing, I've been trying work at getting "Ready to Ship" items into my etsy store. Last week I stayed up a wee bit late (1:30am) to finish a bag that I had planned to take to the beach.  The next morning I awoke and decided I didn't need a new bag, so I figured I'd put it on etsy.  Normally, my bags are listed as "made to order" so this was my first bag that was truly ready to ship.  I first posted the picture on fa.cebook and later in the day I posted it to etsy.  Only 20 minutes after posting to etsy, a friend of a friend purchased it after viewing it on fac.ebook!  I was leaving for the beach the next day and my sweet hubby offered to keep my business afloat by running it to the post office (after depositing a check from a previous order)!  :-DHere's the bag that sold last week on etsy:And here's the duffle bag I made (which I used to tote my things to the beach)The duffle was my biggest project to date - but so much fun to make.  I can't offer them for sale yet, because 2 of the inside seams are not "finished" because I do not own a serger.  Another item I've been sewing are these cute Teddy Bears![...]

School is out for the summer!!


This week we finished up our school year and completed our state required 180 days. Most of our curriculum ended last week so we added in some end of year projects, like the "Our Garden" project below.

Happy Summer!


Fish Tales!


I'd say we're off to a successful start to fishing this year!  We finally got an evening to take the kids and this was the biggest one caught!  And Q did it all himself!


My big baby!


Our eldest is having a birthday!  He's 14 - FOURTEEN!

That's 98 in dog years!  He can't go up steps so well anymore...can barely jump up on the couch or chairs.

But at that age, I wouldn't want to be jumping or climbing either!

Above is what he does most of the time!  He's a great dog and he's great with the kids.  We still refer to him as a puppy and his nickname is Puppers!

His sight is going and he doesn't hear so well.  But his sniffer works and he is still the best vacuum around - despite his many missing teeth.  Poor guy.

We won't celebrate with cake or presents and he probably won't even hear us sing.  But he's cute and I haven't been posting very here you go! ;-P

Happy Birthday, Riley!


High Rollers!


C has the soccer goalie gloves on because they were playing hockey - they call themselves: White Timber Wolves! ;-D




Had I asked my son to give me a poem today, I'm sure he would not have complied.

But this afternoon, as he was playing, a poem came to him.

I found him in the school room scribbling as quickly as he could.  He told me he was writing a poem, so I left him alone to work.

He came to me when he was finished and read it to me.

Clever!  And since I was at the computer, I typed it up for him (and me) to have!

And the author has granted me permission to post it here!

I once saw a fish go swimming by,
For it had wings, it could fly.
I went along,
Singing a song,
“Swimming fish, Flying fish,
I don’t know which!”

Q - 4th grade


The Things They Say...


Just taking a moment to record some memories...

We were heading out the door when C (age 5) held the door open and told me to go first.  His daddy responded to his kind gesture with, "Chivalry, is not dead."  I told C thank you and as he closed the door he said, "You're welcome.  By the way, who's 'chivarly?'"

* * * * * 

After eating lunch:
E (age 7): I feel cold.
Q (age 9): I feel full.
C (age 5): I feel like I need to burp.




Friday Fifteen!


Yes, I'm still here!

So, here's a list to get you all caught up (since I've had so many comments wondering where I am...oh wait, no I haven't - but here it is anyway!)

1 - Gorgeous, 70+ degree temperatures have prompted school to be held outside.  Achievement testing at the beginning of the week prompted "Spring Break!"

2 - My kids are growing up so fast.  Our oldest will be TEN in 3 months and is growing up right before our eyes.  Our daughter's piano ability and reading skills have taken off like a bullet and our youngest has started to read.

3 - The Foo.d show, "Sweet Genui.s" drives me sweetly insane.  There is only one judge.  How can these contestants be okay with that?  And that judge drives me bonkers!  And yet, here I sit watching it!

4 - Our dog, Riley, will be 14 in May.  He's no longer able to go up the steps by himself and he's not putting much weight on his back right leg anymore.  It makes me sad.  But, at 98, I'd have a hard time doing steps, too!

5 - Will be joining my hubby on a business trip soon!

6 - This weekend is St Patty's Day.  I'm debating making an Irish Stew or serving homemade pizza with spinach.  Knowing no one, except me, likes spinach on their pizza, I'll probably go with the stew!

7 - Wow, can you believe I finally posted this month?

8 - Come on, leave a comment, you know you want to!

9 - We thought our desktop computer crashed this week, but after saying a prayer, it turned back on.  Thank you, Jesus.  I will be spending the majority of tomorrow transferring files to an external hard drive in the event it decides to commit cyber suicide.

10 - An ad for "So Slimming Jeans" should not feature a size 2 (or below) model...just sayin'.

11 - Wow, 11.  Aren't you glad I posted!?!

12 - Books I'm reading: -Marc Gungor's "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage" (we were fortunate to attend an event and I love his humor!)  - Richard Stearns' "The Hole in the Gospel" (a great read!) and -David Platt's "Radical" (another challenging read, similar to The Hole...")  What are you reading?

13 - I've done laundry every day this week, simply to hang it out on the wash line.  Clothes, sheets, blankets - soon I'll be emptying out drawers just to hang out laundry! ;)

14 - 10 years ago, I was finishing up my final year teaching Physical Education in an inner city elementary school, pregnant with our first child.  Never did I expect to be homeschooling a 4th grader, 1st grader and PreK student 10 years later!

15 - Have a great weekend!  Until next time...April, maybe! ;-D


What's better than chocolate?


Valentine's Day Jammie Pants! :)


Only God


Only God can
turn a MESS into a MESSAGE,


The Tooth Fairy visited again!


After a busy fall with E losing 4 teeth in the span of about 2 months, I was hoping the Tooth Fairy could have a nice long vacation before coming back.

But this weekend, we had a need to call on her services.

But it might not be from a mouth you suspect...let's talk teeth!

She's looking about the same, besides, she will have to drink her meals out of a straw if any more teeth come out!

He looks the same, too.  But, he hasn't lost any lately...he's probably due again soon.

And what about this little guy?  Nah, he's only 5, that's too young to lose a tooth.  

Oh wait, what's that gap I see in the bottom row of teeth?  Well, look here.  Bubba lost a tooth!  I guess that is what happens when you are the youngest of three children and, when you get a little extra help from a bump to the mouth!  It happened back in October or November and he tried very hard to listen when we told him not to wiggle it.  But, curiosity won out and he popped it out this weekend.

Please don't let my baby grow up so quickly!


5 years ago...


Five years ago, a friend sent an email through our homeschool board inviting us to follow her blog, journaling her homeschool adventures.I had never read a blog before.  But in that click, I knew I wanted one!I quickly signed up for a blogger account and made my first post...hitting 'submit' and sending it into cyberspace...all the while curious if anyone would read it.To look back now, I am overwhelmed by the connections I have made - to fellow homeschoolers, stay-at-home moms, moms that craft, moms that like to cook, snarky moms, moms who have older children and are a source of encouragement and serve as a mentor to me.The coolest thing?  5 years have gone by and I am honored to continue calling them my friends. Some people who don't blog, don't get it.  It seems like such a foreign idea to them that you'd desire a connection with someone whom you may never meet.  But, I know that God has set this little ol' blog here for a reason and I'm thankful for that each and every day.  And thankful for all the friendships I've made.5 years ago, my kiddos looked like this:I love to look back at the pictures in those early years of blogging.Never did I imagine that I'd still be typing up new posts 5 years later.  Not that I didn't think I'd have enough to say, just didn't know if I'd have the time to share it.  ;-DSome of it is silly, some is of our school time, some is just the kids.  A few scattered posts might even be inspirational - but they are mine and I'm happy to still be here 5 years later. [...]

Momma's got a new bag!


This week has been a harder week than normal because T has been gone since Monday.  My days feel normal, because I'm used to being here with the 3 kids all day, but the nighttime routine has been harder.

Yesterday was our busiest day with Co-op in the morning and a full evening of events at church.

I needed to take our laptop to church so the kids could watch a movie while I practiced in our bell choir from 8-9 last evening.  I had been using a tote bag from the medical practice that delivered our babies, but I yesterday I needed a distraction and a creative outlet.  I sat down at my sewing table with a plan to make a bag to hold our laptop, cables as well as a movie (and maybe a few snacks).  I wanted it to of course be functional, but it also needed to be stylish.

I had no pattern - I only had the dimensions of my laptop and an idea in mind.  A few hours later, I was feeling re-energized and pretty lucky to have such a cute bag (if I may say so myself) to carry my laptop.  I like it so much, I think it will carry just about anything, not just the laptop.

I have a few slight modifications for the next one, but I think I may try to type up a pattern to sell as well as make a few more of these cuties.

Excited for T to arrive home tonight - and we're following his travels on flight tracker, aka T Tracker!  Now to straighten up the house so it looks like I did more than just sew a new bag this week! ;-D


100th day - 100%


Today was Fourel Academy's 100th Day of School.

Didn't know our school was named Fourel Academy?  You see the title at the top of my blog?  Living to Learn and Learning to Live.

Four L's = Fourel  :)  Witty, huh?

Back to the story.

Today was our 100th day of school and I didn't even spend a minute on pinterest looking for ideas.  Well, that isn't entirely true - I spent many minutes on pinterest - I just wasn't looking for ideas for our 100th day.  ;)

Again, back to today, and on to God.  Guess what?  God planned our day for us.

3 of Q's spelling words today were: Centennial, Century and Centimeter

And he measured triangles finding their area in square centimeters.

And E's math was counting cents!

We've been plugging along for 99 days and BAM!  On our 100th day, we happen to be on a schedule that allows us to have 100 - CENT - flash before our eyes many times!

Our biggest lesson for our 100th day - seeing God in everything we do!

And knowing He's with us 100% of the time!