Can You Start Again?

Can you? Can you hit the reset button in life? What about in homeschooling? This is where I am in life. When I started this blog my boys were eight and five.


In my last post, FIVE YEARS AGO!!, they were twelve and nine.

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They are now fifteen and twelve!


I would love to say that we have been having quite the adventure and were flourishing in our home school journey. But sadly, we haven’t. Nothing traumatic or life altering has happened to us. We are all fine and healthy. And for that I am extremely grateful.  No, it has just been life. Instead of thriving we have just been merely surviving. What do I mean by that?  When I started homeschooling, I had all these grand ideas of what it would look like and how perfect it would all be. But it wasn’t and it isn’t. Life is hard! Homeschooling is hard! It’s not for the faint of heart. When the math isn’t clicking and the tears are falling, I want to give up. When the house is a mess and we’re behind on EVERYTHING, I want to throw in the towel. You get the picture. It seems like we have been so focused on the academics of it all that we have left out the fun. That seems to happen more when the kids are older.  I’m not happy about that but that’s the reality. So now, here I am wondering, with less than four years left with my oldest and seven with my youngest, can I begin anew? Can I hit refresh? Can I bring back in the fun?  I really want to try. My boys are worth it. So what does “starting over” look like? More field trips? More projects? More fun family time?  I know one of the major areas I need to work on is organization. That is where I am going to start. I hope you follow along with me as I endeavor to hit the “reset” button.

Where did the time go?

Here we are starting school for the 2012-2013 school year and my last post was FALL 2011!  WOW! Did I only blink my eyes or what!  One day I’ll get this blog up and running. Maybe.

We started school yesterday and I snapped a few quick pictures to chronicle our day.  T-Rev did not want to get going in the morning.  Now granted this IS 08:00 in the morning and he is usually up and running around by 07:00 every day.  He said the thought of school just made him tired.  Ummm….not sure how to take that considering I’m his teacher.

CB on the other hand was up bright and early.  He helped me get the school room ready for the day, watched as I made breakfast and was eagerly waiting at his desk when it was time to start.  Oh what a difference a few years make!  T-Rev was once like that. Sigh.

I made muffins and bacon for breakfast.

Still not awake…

A picture is worth a thousand words.  Look at the differences in their faces.  Too funny!

Lesson plans for the year.  I’m a little scared!  Excuse me while I go hide under my covers for the next 179 days.

I have been revamping the school room this year.  I’ll try to do another post on the room as a whole soon but something I did different this year was use these tables as desks.  I just couldn’t find anything that was big enough that each boy could spread out.  So I found these tables at Sam’s.  They each have one and I placed a plastic filing cabinet underneath each one.

I placed a cheap plastic silverware holder in the top drawer to hold school supplies.  Works way better than a pencil box!

The desks are in an L-shape.  That’s my chair on the other side.  Now I can toggle back and forth and we all have plenty of room.  (Ignore the mess on the shelves, it’s really not there…just a mirage I tell ya.)

One of our traditions is to have hot chocolate during the school day.  I make it the old-fashioned way using Hershey’s cocoa powder.  The boys love it!

Now he’s awake! 

Lord, please give me strength and energy for the upcoming year.  Please guide our days. Amen!

…and let there be plenty of coffee!!

Fall is my favorite season!

I just love the change in the air during fall.  It is my absolute favorite time of the year. Not too hot, not too cold, just perfect!  We recently had a “fall party” with our homeschool group.  It was a grand day.  We had beautiful weather and lots of yummy food.  We met at a park and had a wonderful time of fellowship and games.  We started out by eating (my favorite part).  I made a pumpkin cheese ball (recipe below.)

T-Rev and CB helped carve the pumpkin I used in the story I read to the kids (more on that to follow.)




Once everyone had their belly full, I read the kids the story of The Parable of the Pumpkin.  If you’ve never read it, you should.  It’s a wonderful book for the young and old.  It tells of how we “shine” when we have the light of Christ in our hearts.  Here is a link if you’re interested in checking it out.


After the story, we had the kids design “Fall Fairies” with items found in nature.  It was cool to see all the different creations!

After the craft, we played “Fall Fun Games.”  The first one (that I don’t have any pictures of) was Ring the Pumpkin.  We used sewing rings to ring the pumpkin stem.  Next was Scarecrow Relay.  The kids were separated into three teams.  Each team was given the supplies to make a scarecrow.  The first team to build the scarecrow won.  This was a great hit!  After the game was over, the kids had a grand time playing in the hay.

It was a really fun day!  We’ve had lots more fall fun that I’ll post about later.  In the meantime,

Happy Fall Y’all!

Recipe for Pumpkin Cheese Ball (Taken from Taste of Home Recipes)


  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) spreadable chive and onion cream cheese
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 celery rib or broccoli stalk
  • Sliced apples and assorted crackers


  • In a small bowl, beat cream cheeses until smooth. Stir in the cheddar cheese, paprika and cayenne. Shape into a ball; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm.
  •    With a knife, add vertical lines to the cheese ball to resemble a pumpkin; insert a celery rib or broccoli stalk for the stem. Serve with apples and crackers. Yield: 2-1/2 cups.



He will cover you with His feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 94:1

I love this picture…it speaks to me on many levels.   When I look at it, I think of my boys and how I want to protect them from the world.  I want to shield them from everything that could bring them harm.  However, that is impossible.  But there is One who can.  He not only shields them but me as well.  He’s my protector and deliverer.  This world can be so heavy sometimes…I’m glad to know that I don’t have to lift it’s burden all by myself.  He is always there covering me.

Getting Real

So I began this new blog with the intention of creating beautiful posts about an ideal life that I fantasize about.  I wanted to present a wonderful world like  the ones I have seen on  various mothering/homemaking/ homeschooling blogs on the internet. Oh you know the blogs I’m talking of, the ones that portray Proverbs 31 type women.  The ones that depict the daily life of women who seem to have it all together.  Picture it, Mom is making homemade bread in a spotless kitchen while the children are quietly sitting around the table working on schoolwork, all the while listening to classical music. Oh and by the way she also is the owner of a successful home business.  How many of you out there look at these blogs and think to yourself, ” I am not measuring up in this mothering business.  I must do more, be more, perform more.”  Well that was me.  And I thought that if I created a blog with the purpose of recreating the fairytale lives of these other women, then I could be  “put together” just like them.  Well the truth is, there is no such thing as a fairytale or perfect life.  And I’m sure that these other blogs are only posting the “good stuff.”  They also have THOSE days.  So while this blog will be about our Winsome Days,  it will also chronicle our not-so-winsome days.

New Beginnings

Welcome to Winsome Days, my new home in cyberspace. Why “Winsome Days”?  It’s always been my dream to create a more lovely and comforting home and life for my husband and sons.  This blog will be my journal of my attempts to make that dream a reality.  Welcome to my journey!

C.B.’s Baptism

There are times in a parent’s life that bring sheer JOY.  A child’s baptism is one that is right at the top of the list.  Recently, my little C.B. was baptised.  I was one proud Mama!  My baby will one day spend eternity in heaven with Brian, his big brother, and myself.  Words cannot describe how happy I am.  I feel truly blessed to have my little family.  We’re not perfect but I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. Thank you God for giving me a wonderful husband and the two best kids ever!


Long Christmas Post!

Wow what a busy, sometimes crazy, but overall wonderful year 2010 has been! I wanted to send out Christmas cards this year with a letter describing our year.  However,  life got too busy and before I knew it Christmas was already here.  So in lieu of sending out letters, I’m going to do a blog post. 

The boys are growing like weeds.  T-Rev is in 4th grade and CB is in first.  They have both been taking music lessons and are becoming quite the musicians!  T-Rev plays the guitar and CB plays the piano. They also started karate this fall and have just tested for their yellow belt.
Brian has switched roles in the agency he works for.  He is now dubbed their “IT/Sales Manager/Do It All” man. This means he has a great deal more responsibility but he doesn’t have to travel nearly as much.  So that makes me a happy camper.  He is also very involved in our church and small group.  He also volunteers with the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief when he is able.
As for me, I’m still home schooling the boys and working as a nurse on the weekends.  I’ve become the secretary of our homeschool group which has been a lot of fun. 

God has blessed us this year with good health, stable jobs, and a close knit family.  I thank Him everyday for His mercy and grace.

Christmas was a lot of fun!  We’ve had decorating, baking, parties, church programs and family.  What more could one ask for? 

We started out the season the week of Thanksgiving by decorating the tree and house. 

The first of our parties was our Homeschool party.  Our group, CLHE (Christ Led Home Educators), has a Happy Birthday Jesus party every year.  We pick a mission to bring gifts for Jesus to.  This year we picked a local shelter for battered women and children and brought different items to donate.  We started off the party with lots of great food.  We then decorated cupcakes and made ornaments.  We then played lots of games and ended with singing “Happy Birthday to Jesus.” 

We also had several other parties during the month of December but unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures. 
Next was our trip to Dublin.  We were able to go to Dublin for the weekend before Christmas and spend some time with all sides of our family.  We don’t get to go home often, so when we do we really pack in a lot.  We started out at my dads on Saturday, Sunday morning church with Brian’s parents, and Christmas with my Mom on Sunday night.  It was great to be able to see our family.   Just wish we could spend longer visiting and catching up with everyone.
 The Fantastic Five
 I love these guys!
 This was too cute!  My Dad and Laura (SIL)  were standing side-by-side and eating at the same time.
 Jeff!  Need I say more!

 Uncle Luke and Aunt Laura gave all the grandkids these really cool fort-building kits.
 Mama, Chess, and A.
 Me and two of my “little” brothers
After returning home, the boys and I made mini gingerbread houses.

 The finished project!
 On Christmas Eve, we loaded up the van with our hot chocolate and drove around looking at Christmas lights.  Just the thing to get us in the Christmas spirit.

 Every December 1st we start our Advent calendar.  Each night we open a box and pull out a piece of a nativity scene and read a portion of the Christmas story from Luke.  On Christmas Eve, we place baby Jesus in the manger and read the entire story. 

 Cookies and milk for Santa
 Mama and Uncle Chess came to spend Christmas with us.  The boys woke up at 5:30!  When they went to wake Uncle Chess they scared him half to death.  It was hysterical but I guess you had to be there.
 The boys with their train that Santa fills with candy every year.  This year it was filled with Skittles, Jelly Beans, and mini Twizzlers.
 “Merry Christmas everybody!”
 “Oh what can it be?”
 “Bond, James Bond”

Do you know the show “Punkin Chunkin” on Discovery channel?  Well Brian saw the commercial for it and the big burly, biker guy was wearing this shirt.  Brian thought it was hilarious and wanted one.  Now wonder if he will wear it?

My beautiful Mother and Me

 One of the most wonderful things about this year is that we actually had a White Christmas.  My first ever! 

So that was our Christmas!  I hope each and everyone of you had a wonderful Christmas and here’s wishing you a happy New Year from our house to yours!


This past October, we surprised the boys with a trip to Disney World.  We’ve never been.  I had never been and I’m 37 years old!    Mind you, we’ve never been on a family vacation at all and T-Rev is 10 years old! So needless to say, we were all very excited. Here are some of our pictures.  I was too busy looking at everything and taking it all in that I didn’t get as many good pictures as I would have liked but these are a few of the better ones.

In the first few pictures was when we were telling the boys where we were going.  They had been asking for years, “When can we go to Disney World?”  All their friends had been going and telling them all about it.
Brian and I just kept saying we could not afford it so we wouldn’t be going any time soon.  All the while we were secretly planning the trip.  On the day we were leaving, we packed the car without them knowing.  They were playing in the back yard and I went to them saying we were going out shopping.  They were not happy.  In fact, T-Rev was pretty put out with me because I was making him leave his friends to go shopping for “furniture.”  When they got in the van, we had put Disney books in their seats.  T-Rev took one look at his and said, “What do I need this for?”  I said, “Someone who is going to Disney World needs that book.”  Then he said, “Well I don’t need it because I’m not going to Disney!”  Then CB says, “Yeah, you said we couldn’t afford to go.”  Brian and I had to convince them that we were really going.

“We’re not going to Disney!  You guys are tricking us!”

“Yeah!  You said we couldn’t afford it.”


Magic Kingdom:  Where dreams come true!

These next ones are from one of our favorite rides.  Can you guess which one? 

To me one of the best parts of going to Disney was watching the parades.  They were awesome!  I wanted to get in the middle of them and dance right along.

Since it was in October, DW was decorated for Halloween.  Magic Kingdom was having Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween.  Although we didn’t pay the extra to see the special parade or go trick-or-treating, we were able to enjoy all the other decorations and festivities.

Face Painting
T-Rev “before” shot

CB “before” shot

The “after” shot

The Tree of Life in Animal Kingdom

You just never know who you’ll run into in Disney.

They had wonderful shows througout the parks.  This was the Lion King.

It was a wonderful week!  We were able to enjoy great bonding family time doing nothing but having fun!  What more could you ask for?


Today is a very special day! Today my little boy asked Jesus to live in his heart!
I can imagine the angels singing with praise. My own heart soars. It truly amazes me how my God is so faithful to answer a mother’s prayer!

Dear C.B.,
Your Dad and I are so proud of you! We love you very, very much. But always remember, as much as we love you (to the moon and back), your Father in heaven loves you more. Today you have made Him and us extremely happy! Thank you for being a wonderful son!
Mommy and Daddy