Our Crazy Life, Always Changing!

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Prelude to this post. Throughout this post you will see photos from our move to Illinois, travels and random things I thought was pretty. I hope you enjoy the photos!

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It is hard to believe that it has been a few YEARS since my last blog post. I am always amazed how fast the years go now that I am an adult with 3 kids.  There are times when I wish we could just slow time down. Here is it, almost Easter already and Christmas seems like it was months ago. A lot has happened in these past few years. Army deployments, retirement from the Army and the big move back home to Illinois.  No more deployments!

We put our Florida house on the market the beginning of February 2017 and we moved from Florida at the beginning of May to Illinois. The sale of our house ended up taking almost 7 months, which was very frustrating. All the things we did to the house (besides putting in a pool) didn’t help with the sale of the house. Everyone wanted a pool! The family who ended up buying our beautiful home, loved all that we did to it and will be putting in a pool! Glad we found a family who will love the house as much as we did!

The kids had the hardest time with this move. They had really good friends, whom they played with or hung out with almost everyday. We had a great church there, with lots of activities and was growing so much that they had to add a new building.  Our middle daughter and son had a group of kids that they played with everyday. One set of boys are red heads and the other set of boys are blondies, I called them my red head sons and blondie sons! To be honest, I miss them a lot. All of them are very good kids! Our middle daughter had a few girl friends up the road where they would have a great time baking and having bake sales at the club house.  Our oldest had great friends from our homeschool group and church, whom she was always spending time with.

We lived in an area that had a grocery store, Walgreens, Taco Bell, Burger King within a 2 minute drive from the house. The last year we lived there, I allowed our girls to ride their bikes or roller blade, in a group a friends, up to Walgreens or the other places. They really loved doing this because it gave them a sense of freedom.  It was really cool for them!

For my husband and me, we were excited for the next chapter of our lives. Since we got married in 1995, my husband has been on active duty and we have been on the Army’s timeframe.  Now that he was retiring, we are able make plans farther out into the year and not have to worry about a surprise deployment or field exercise.

Knowing that we could plan vacations, we decided to take a few to celebrate our new found freedom!  We took a week and went to the Wisconsin Dells.  While we were there, my husband and son took an overnight canoe trip on the same river that we took our honeymoon on.  The next trip was up to Minnesota.  The girls were accepted into a military kids camp and since it was 9 hours away from our home, we decided to go camping close to the girls’ camp.  This was the first time our son got to go camping. The last trip was our biggest one. We drove out to Utah, spent a few days with our friends there. They took us to their cabin in Idaho and we had a great time.  My husband and I left our kids with our friends in Utah and then flew to Vancouver, B.C.!  There we met up with my parents and 2 other couple and we loaded on a boat that was headed for Alaska! I think I will make a whole blog post about that trip… so much to talk about.  It was an amazing trip and a great way to celebrate retirement!

In Florida, we lived in a very large homeschool friendly area and we knew it was going to be hard to leave our groups. I started researching for groups in Illinois but they were hard to find. Finally, I did find a couple and one with competitive sports, but that one is about 30-40 minutes away (because they are 30-40 miles away). In the end, we finally found a local group that we are using for elective classes and meeting people. We have really enjoyed this co-op but miss having sports to go along with it! Since our co-op doesn’t have sports, our two younger kids decided to play softball and baseball this fall. That was a fun experience. They had a good time.

This year, our oldest started high school. We had a lot of hard discussions and prayers about what we were going to do. Do we continue homeschooling where she fought me  to do work or do we put her back in public school or the local Lutheran high school? We decided, after lots of prayers, that she would go to the Lutheran high school and we couldn’t have made a better decision! She is thriving there and has enjoyed sports and other aspects of high school! She played volleyball in the fall, club volleyball from December through the 8th of April (the last day of the last tournament) and for spring. she is doing track and field. With everything that she is doing, we are please to say that she has all A’s!

I love seeing how resilient our kids are… from moving multiple times, making friends, moving away from friends, friends moving away, Daddy deploying over and over again, leaving homes they loved, and so much more! Our military life had so many ups and downs but we wouldn’t have traded it for anything. These experiences have only made all of us stronger and more resilient to all aspects of life. I believe that God has made us a path and is protecting us while we are traveling down life’s path.

Enjoy your path!

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Thank you for reading about our adventures! I would love to hear from you. Comment below and tell me some your favorite adventures. Remember this is a family site so keep it clean! 🙂 Thanks!

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Our Third Year Of Homeschooling

Yes, yes yes… I know!  Where have I been?  I have not written a word on here in so long. But I tell you it wasn’t for the lack of trying. This was our third year of homeschooling and we…

Source: Our Third Year Of Homeschooling

Our Third Year Of Homeschooling

Yes, yes yes… I know!  Where have I been?  I have not written a word on here in so long. But I tell you it wasn’t for the lack of trying. This was our third year of homeschooling and we tried something new.  This year, we decided to join a co-op.  What is a co-op you ask? It is a group of moms who come together, whom have strengths in different academic areas, and teach the kids of the group. That is the most simplest way to explain it!

Let’s Try Something New!

The co-op we joined was different then others around. It is not like Classical Conversations or Tapestry Of Grace where the curriculum is pre-packaged. The admin of the co-op chose different curriculums for the four different subjects.  It covered history, geography, writing, and science. Many hours were spent looking at different curricula to find which ones would fit the co-op. I have to say, it was a year full of fun, excitement and frustrations but they were all worth it!

With being a part of a co-op, our kids had to participate in class.  They did all sorts of science experiments, hands on history, gave presentations, had to work in groups and learn how to work together even when there was a disagreement.

The photo above only captured a fraction of what the kids did while they were in class at the co-op.  We mummified a cornish hen (which represented a mummy in Ancient Egypt), wrote in hieroglyphics, had multiple presentations, and made cookies. Yes, we made cookies!

You asked, “Would you do a co-op again”?  Absolutely! But, there was a lot of good and some bad that went along with our year.  The two years previous, we were pretty relaxed. If we didn’t feel like “doing school” we would have documentary day or baking day or home economics day (which meant cleaning the house and grocery shopping 🙂 ).  We had a relaxed homeschool but not too relaxed.  We definitely worked on our school work, but there was no sense of urgency, no stress, just a get-it-done type of attitude. I loved it, but I saw lots of flaws in this way of schooling (for us).

Our oldest is a very grade oriented child. She loves getting up in front of classmates and show off (for a lack of better words) how smart she is. She loved being the smartest kid in the class.  Now that we homeschool, she didn’t get to stand in front of the class and talk about all that she researched.  So, for her, co-op was like being back in public school.  Our middle daughter really loved our relax learning environment.  She is not shy to say the least, but she gets stage fright. But by the end of the year, she was so excited to do her presentations and talk in front of the class. It was great seeing her almost comfortable presenting her subject to the class!  For our son, this was his first grade year.  He was placed in the 1-4th grade class.  I was a little worried that he would not be able to hang academically with the older kids… but he blew that worry off the fence!  He did great and had no problem getting up and presenting.  Actually, he loved it!  He was so excited when he picked to play Joshua (from the Bible) as his First Person Narrative!  He did such a great job and totally stayed in character!

It was a great experience but we (well… more like I) had a hard time trying to balance everything with such a strict homeschooling schedule.  For me, that was the frustrating part of the co-op.  Going from a relaxed atmosphere to a “this assignment is due next week” atmosphere was really hard… for me!  I will not lie, it stressed me out.  Finally, towards the end, we missed assignments, life happened (it was crazy for a while there) and it was ok! The joy of homeschooling… GRACE and I needed a lot of it! 🙂

Como Se Dice?

If adding a co-op was not enough, this year we also added Spanish.  My friend, who is a Spanish teacher for local homeschool groups, lives in our neighborhood.  I had asked her if she would be willing to teach Spanish here at our house if I could find another family or two who would like to join us.  She agreed! I was so excited because this meant that I didn’t have to drive 30 minutes into town for her to teach our kids!  I only needed to find one more family, they had 5 kids who took the class with ours.

Spanish class was fun and the kids did a Spanish country report… and made food for that report! 🙂 It was fun to see what different types of foods the kids came up with.  Spanish was not our oldest’s first choice but it was a good introduction to learning a new language. I think this coming up year we are going to try German… since it is part of my heritage!

To Be or Not To Be, That Is The Question?

Oh yes, we just went there… The girls did a fun 6 week class on Shakespeare, that 2 fellow moms put together.  My friends did such a good job planning it, teaching it, and made it so much fun.  Who knew Shakespeare could be fun!  For the final day, the teachers planned a trip to the Shakespeare Theater in Orlando to watch the performance of The Tempest.  Our oldest wants to read more works by Shakespeare now! Thank you so much my friends!

Oh Where Did Those Shoes Take You?

I am so glad I did this.  At the beginning of the school year, a group of us (outside of the co-op and the homeschool group) scheduled monthly field trips to a local, privately owned, springs. It was an inexpensive monthly field trip in the great outdoors of Florida! The kids has so much fun with all the hands on learning! They investigated every thing from water ways, bugs, to microscopic organisms, to animal skulls and bones, and so much more! I am really happy we were able to go on a monthly field trip and that it was already planned out.  All we had to do was just show up!

Where Did That Rabbit Come From?

To add the our crazy life… We adopted a bunny!  Funny story. Our neighbors have a couple of bunnies, snakes, big dogs, and they just love animals!  While they were on vacation, somehow (while the animals’ caretakers were cleaning out a cage) the male and female bunnies mated.  A few weeks after our neighbors got back from their long summer trip, their oldest daughter’s friend saw that the bunny had given birth to 5 babies!  Both mom and dad bunny are show bunnies but they are different breeds.  That means, we can not show the bunny at the fair. That is ok, she is our little bunny and we love her. Her name is Agnes or Aggie for short.  Which is fitting seeing the our neighbors are alumni of Texas A&M… the Aggies.  It was such a beautiful thing watching Aggie grow up and get bigger! We got to hold her before her eyes were open! It was a beautiful thing! She is a mix with Holland Lop and Mini Lop and we were able to bring her home on October 31st! So cute! (P.S. if you are wondering what is on Aggie’s head, it is a faux raccoon hat!)

 

Oh The Places You Will Go!

To go along with our monthly field trips, we had a few other field trips throughout the year.  One of our favorite field trips was the Alafia Rendezvous. It is an encampment from the 1800’s. It is so much fun and this time, my husband was able to join us! I love it when he can participate in anything school related!  Of course we went to the library… what homeschooler doesn’t do that! 🙂 We took a fun trip to Sea World. I have to say, Sea World has to be my favorite amusement park in Orlando. We have been a few times since moving to Florida but this time we did things we normally didn’t do, which included feeding the sea lions! Yummmm, fish!  In the late spring we had a death in the family so we drove the 22 hour drive home to be with family.  While up there I took the kids down to our ole fishing hole! It was so peaceful out there.  Then to end our school year, we went to the FPEA Homeschool Convention!  Man, that was fun!  A highlight of that trip with taking the kids to Medieval Times.  It was fitting that we went there, because we studied the Medieval Time Period in our history class!  I loved watching their faces as the show went on!  It really got your heart pounding!

What’s Next?

I am looking forward to our next school year. We will be studying U.S. History big time so I am hoping to have some really cool field trips! So much to go out and see!

 

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I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment at the bottom! If you liked my post and would love to hear more of our adventures, please follow me so you get the newest post!

 

Healthier Pancakes

I can’t tell you how often we eat pancakes.  If it was up to our 5 1/2 year old we would eat pancakes every meal!  Since we like to eat pancakes so much, I have tried different versions of a main recipe.  I keep changing the recipe and trying different ingredients to make the pancakes more then empty carbohydrates.  Sometimes I add flax seed meal, wheat germ and even chia seeds and always add fresh blueberries or blueberries we have frozen.

Healthier Pancakes Copyright by Holly Hedman

Healthier Pancakes Copyright by Holly Hedman

Click here to read the rest of the article and get the recipe!

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Thanks for taking time to reading.  Please feel free to share my blog with your friends and family!  Also, I would love to hear how you liked the recipe.  Please leave a comment below.

Also, take a look at what we are doing now. Click Here

Want to keep you and your family healthy this year, check out my Young Living Essential Oils Facebook page. Click Here

Artificial or Not Artificial? That is the Question

Does it really matter if our foods have artificial food coloring in it?  Read on and then I would love to hear what you think!

Rainbow of Colors By Holly Hedman

Rainbow of Colors
By Holly Hedman

The other day, a friend from church asked if anyone knew of natural food coloring.  This made me stop and think for moment.  I could come up with a few alternatives to artificial dyes, but that was it.  So, this sent me to the computer to do some research because I wanted a decent list of items to use and how to use them since I really never thought about food dyes before.  We have truly been blessed with healthy kids and for that I thank God every day, but there are many people that are not as fortunate to be free of food allergies or have children that struggle with food allergies, for this is not an easy life.

Artificial food coloring has been around since the 1950’s.

Decades ago, food manufacturers started using artificial colors, because they were more stable then natural food coloring.  In fact, artificial food dyes are made from PETROLEUM (yes, I said petroleum… a by-product of crude oil.

Click Here to finish learning about why you should not eat foods with artificial food coloring!

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Thanks for taking time to reading.  Please feel free to share my blog with your friends and family!  Please leave a comment below.

Also, take a look at what we are doing now. Click Here

Want to keep you and your family healthy this year, check out my Young Living Essential Oils Facebook page. Click Here

Summer Workout!

Oh my, is it really that time again?

It is almost that time of year again, when we take off layers of clothes and are gearing up for our favorite summer activities; swimming, boating, water skiing, playing in the sprinkler and more.  But, are you ready?  Are you ready to get back in to shorts, swimsuits and tank tops?  Don’t worry, I have a great workout for you that you can do at home, takes about 20-30 minutes and you only need to do it 3 times a week to really see effects from the workout.

Click here to read the workout that I put together! 

But, before you go, here are some photos of correct form for some of the movements in the workout.  If you don’t do exercise with proper form, you could injure your body! If you are in need of the equipment I talked about in my article, take a look at Amazon.

Now, take a look at these photos then go and do the workout that I posted on Learning Tangent!

Triceps Extension 

Correct Form

Shoulder Press
dumbbells_militarypressArm Curls
dumbell curl

Lunges Lunges-Forward SquatsSquat-Exercise

Yummy Treats!

Every once in a while, for school, we have a baking day.  I love these days and so do our kids!  Cooking and baking are skills that are needed and I believe that both girls and boys should be able to cook a great meal and bake a yummy cake and more from scratch.   One day, must have been around Easter, we had one of those days… it was a baking type of day.

About to make a treat!

About to make a treat!
Copyright by Holly Hedman

 

Peanut Butter Cups!

I am not a big Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup type of gal… I never buy them for myself or eat them when we have them at Halloween.  But, my husband loves them.  The kids and I decided we would treat my hubby with a healthier (but it is still chocolate) version of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!  My husband was in Heaven with this recipe!

Girl Bunny making yummies!

Girl Bunny making yummies!
Copyright by Holly Hedman

No Oven Necessary!

Ingredients:

Almost done! Copyright By Holly Hedman

Almost done!
Copyright By Holly Hedman

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and salt in a food processor. Set aside.

Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler with the coconut oil. Add a thin layer of the melted chocolate to the bottom of each mini muffin cup, layer of peanut butter mixture and a top layer of chocolate.

Place them in the fridge or freezer to store or hide till they are set and ready to be eaten!  Try not to eat more then 2 in a day… OK… 3!  For someone who doesn’t love peanut butter cups… These are AWESOME!

*Quick little note.  The reason why I used organic or natural peanut butter is because it has less sugar the conventional peanut butter.  Seeing as you are adding sugar to it, this helps to make it not super sweet!

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Thank you for taking time to stop by Healthy Homeschool Family Blog!  I would love to hear from you.  Please leave a comment below and share with me what your favorite recipe is for Peanut Butter Cups!  Feel free to share this recipe with your friends and family!