Monday, December 17, 2012

Open Eyes and Heavy Hearts

This isn't a typical Monday morning for parents across the country. This morning parents will hug their children a little tighter and watch them walk into the school buildings with a lump in their throat in some cases. After the eye opening terror last Friday in Connecticut we've all had our eyes opened to the unthinkable fear that someone would harm young, innocent children for no obvious reason other than their own inner battles.

I've read status messages on Facebook all morning from friends who were debating sending their kids to school today. They wondered what more or less their kids should know. They looked at empty car seats after drop-offs thinking of parents with empty bedrooms. I look at our Christmas Tree and wonder how these parents will get through the holidays. I would crack. I know I wouldn't make it having to look at the presents and stocking and bedroom. I'd leave the decorations up as long as possible living in that eternal moment of 'the last time they were here'.

My heart breaks today for parents everywhere because we're all together in this fear today. You never know when your time will come. You never know when that last goodbye will take place or the last trip to the ice cream parlor will occur. You do all you can to keep them safe and happy and protected and prepare them for the world. You have to cherish each moment and keep it in your heart forever and trust that there is a better place waiting that welcomed all of the little angels and their guardians on that sad day.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Why I Homeschool. . .

*I never edited this post nor did I stop and rethink anything typed. I sat here for an hour reading posts on Facebook and email messages and watching the news and my mind was full so I did what came naturally - I wrote. I judge no one here...I'm simply speaking my mind and trying to explain why I choose to homeschool. My main point in this is that suddenly many are thinking homeschool is the answer because bad things happen and the truth is that while they do, you can't keep your child safe forever. At some point you do need to let them go with the knowledge you've given them and hope and pray they know how to handle things. Sadly there are situations where they are not in control and it can happen anywhere as we've learned this year: school, the mall, a movie theater, their own neighborhood. You need to do what YOU think is best for your child after putting all of the reasons out there. And that is what was going around my brain before I wrote the following:

Photo by WolfC ~

With the horrible tragedy in Connecticut this past week I've had people commend me because I homeschool. There was also a shooting at a local highschool just minutes from my house. I've had people ask me how I do it because they're curious now after these horrible events. It's funny how so many rolled their eyes or asked why I would do this to my child and now they're wanting to 'do it to their child' but for very different reasons.

On Friday when the news was saturated with images of crying parents and frightened children my son and I sat and watched. Yes, my 7 year old was with me because as horrific the situation it is reality and you can't live in a bubble. Details were of course not gone into. . .even I didn't want/need them but the main parts were brought up and his only reply was, "Well I'm glad I'm homeschooled so I don't have to worry about that."

The irony is that the night before I sat at a party with other homeschool moms talking about WHY we homeschool. Sheltering our kids from reality was never brought up. As horrible as this was I don't want my child living in some bubble thinking the world is rainbows and lollipops. I don't want him afraid to go outside but he needs to have a sense of reality for lack of better word. Not everyone is your friend and not everyone can be trusted. We grew up being told not to talk to strangers for a reason just as now-a-days kids are told not to put every picture on Facebook text everyone and anyone and such.

Homeschool has taken on many different forms. My son attends a cyber charter school so I'm not teaching him, just assisting and doing homework with him just as though he were actually attending. The difference? The curriculum is more challenging, we can take more or less time on subjects, we can do more with his learning. . .it gives us a freedom with his education while still challenging him and meeting requirements. I still smile when I think back to how he was helping a friend with her homework last year - she was a year ahead of him.

I homeschool my son because I want a better handle on his education. I want him to learn and be in a situation where he IS learning not where he's in a classroom with 20 other students and has unanswered questions. If he is having trouble with something we can go over it. If he's finding something easy to grasp we can run quickly through it. If I choose to teach my child something different than what the schools feel is appropriate I may do so. If my child wants to eat a turkey sandwich or peanut butter cookies or have a piece of cake I will allow him unlike schools pushing processed lunches, banning snacks due to allergies/federal guidelines.

I homeschool my son because I want him to have the same morals, manners and behavior that was expected of me. I may lay the foundation but a day with other kids certainly can change that especially in a world where parents don't care if their children use foul language. Children now-a-days scare me. They're a different breed in some instances. They're mini adults with their electronics and schedules just running around doing what they want while parents are forced to work and let them raise themselves.

I homeschoool my son because I can. I had planned to work full time once he was in school but after meeting other homeschool families I wanted what they have. I wanted their close knit relationships. We don't have the biggest house or newest vehicles. We don't eat steaks every night and wear designer clothes. We make sacrifices so that we can do this and I'm thankful for my husband's support.

I know that many families achieve what I desire for my son and send their children to school. I know that sending them to school doesn't mean they're doomed to be awful and horrible little children but I just want to be a part of his life. I want to do all I can to make this time mean something. I want him to learn and be able to do things he wouldn't be able to otherwise. He's able to be in a theater group and do amazing things for local charities. I see too many children raised by teachers rather than parents.

I homeschool my son in the hopes of raising him to be the best he can be not to keep him at home in a bubble and afraid of the 'big bad world' or too naive to know what the real world is like.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A New Past-time

We're soda drinkers. I admit I know it's bad for our teeth and I've seen what happens when you put a nail in a glass of Coke or pour it onto your car so I can only imagine what is happening to my teeth as I taste each bubbly sip. My son also loves soda but mostly the bubbly part which is why I started buying carbonated juices but $5 for 8 cans was getting to be a bit much so...I asked for a SodaStream for my birthday.

That was in July and here we are in December and I just NOW had to get a new CO2 canister! How's THAT for economic! And we ALWAYS have at least one bottle of 'something' in the fridge. Our current favorite flavors are the all natural Rootbeer and Grape.

I have to admit it's saved us money and I've been telling everyone I know about how cool it is to have such a nice selection of beverages to make at my leisure. I'm sure they're no better for my teeth considering the sugar but the selection of all natural flavors do make it a nice alternative to the usual stuff and I like to think they're a 'bit' better; meanwhile, the MyWater flavor syrups are definitely healthy. Just a slight 'hint' of flavor so I don't mind when my son ends up drinking an entire bottle. lol It's even getting me to drink more water because those syrups to flavor water are nice but as my son says, "I just like those bubbles!".

Another model with a bit more 'oomph' is the Fizz that has a gas level indicator so you're not guessing when you have to replace your CO2.

When you get your SodaStream don't forget to get extra Sodastream 2-Pk. Carbonating Bottles (Google Affiliate Ad)!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Happenings

With the holiday season upon us there are so many local festivities for the entire family to enjoy in the Lehigh Valley!! Check out what I've found and feel free to comment with any others that you're aware of or any reviews of places you've visited!

ArtsQuest's popular holiday marketplace returns for another season! Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem showcases aisles of exquisite handmade works by the nations finest artisans, the heart-warming sounds of live Christmas music, delicious food and more. Click here for a $1 off admission.

Location:  1700 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard Allentown PA (see directions page for more info.)
Dates:  November 23 - 25, 2012 and November 30, 2012 through January 6, 2013 (closed Christmas Day)
Time:  5:30 to 10 PM
Cost:  $6 per vehicle in advance - $10 per vehicle at the gate

The Crayola Experience or as I'll always call it - The Crayola Factory
The following is from their website

Q: How much is admission?
A: Admission is $12.00 per person. Any children 23 months and under are free.
Q: What forms of payment do you accept?
A: We accept cash, Visa, MasterCard, or Discover. No personal checks can be accepted as payment.
Q: What is your address?
A: 30 Centre Square Easton, PA 18042. To ensure your arrival via GPS, please make sure Centre is spelled correctly.
Q: Where can I park?
A: There is a municipal parking garage located behind our facility between Pine and Ferry streets for a fee of $2 per hour. There is also metered parking available on the side streets. We do not validate tickets for parking.

The Ice Cream Lab presents Sundaes with Santa!  Holiday music, games, crafts, stories and make-your-own-sundaes. Reservations required. Taking place at 1 and then again at 4 p.m. on Dec. 22. Tickets: $12, child; $10, additional child; $5, adult. Ice Cream Lab, 350 S. Best Ave., Walnutport, 610-767-3551. 

The State Theater in Easton brings a holiday classic to life with a production of the Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker. 

Unfortunately I'm unable to get into their website at the moment for ticket information/availability but here's their contact info:

     State Theatre Center for the Arts 
     453 Northampton Street 
     Easton, PA 18042-3562 

Phone Directory: 
     Administration Office: 610-258-7766 
     Fax: 610-258-2570 
     Box Office: 610-252-3132 
     Toll Free: 1-800-999-STATE (7828) 

Koziar's Christmas Villiage  
Exhibits featuring thousands of twinkling lights, outdoor train depot, visit with Santa, more. 6-9 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 5-9:30 p.m. Sat., 5-9 p.m. Sun. Through Jan. 1. Tickets: $9; $8, seniors; $7, children, 6-12; free, children 5 and younger. 
Located at: 782 Christmas Village Road, Bernville, PA.

Happy Holidays! 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Holiday Shopping at Kohls

I'm not a shopper. I actually hate shopping and going this time of year while magical with the decorations at the stores and happy children going to see Santa is cute but the crowds have me wishing I would have stayed home...which is why I usually do.

I love shopping online. It's so easy and convenient and while I do 'some' Cyber Monday shopping each year you can find goodies all year if you search around a bit. If you're getting ready for the holidays Kohl's has
quite the selection.

Trees in every size, color and price range. . .

And while you're there get a few ornaments: