Tuesday, May 24, 2011

11 Years of Pink Shoes {Sweet Shot Tuesday}

I was making some room in Maggie's dresser for her summer clothes and came across the corner of one of her drawers where I always stuff the things I want to save for her.

One of those things was her first pair of shoes.

And both pairs of her ballet slippers.

I then noticed her pink Converse that she now wears.

I lined them all up sat there in the floor with them thinking about what they represented.

11 years of learning.

11 years of growing.

11 years of pink in my life.



Be sure to check out even more Sweet Shots this Tuesday over at Darcy's:
Sweet Shot Day

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Year 5 of Our Homeschooling Journey {in Pictures}

There were a few things we did this year here at McManus Academy that I did not get around to posting about and so I am giving them their very own post now to commemorate the end of another homeschool year. Year 5.

Junior Docent Day at The Hermitage {a.k.a Andrew Jackson's crib}

Junior Docent Day at The Hermitage

Wacky Tacky Day


Spring Break in Fort Desoto Florida

Spring Break Fort Desoto FL.

Maggie's Trip to Land Between the Lakes with LCA

Maggie's Trip to Land Between the Lakes with LCA

Maggie's Drama Production "Calling All Zeros"




Field Day

Field Day 2011

Celebration Night {Awards for their Celebrate Literacy books}


I never thought we would Homeschool this long.

I even remember saying "till High School".

Now here I am planning for Tyler's Sophomore year of High School.

God has been so gracious to fill in the gaps and thankfully His mercies are new for me every single day.

Here we go...year 6!

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Worship {It's what I do}

"My heart is confident in You, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart!" Psalm 108:1


I'm linking up here today with Darcy:

Sweet Shot Day

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Monday's Mindless Ramblings ...on Tuesday

Yes, I realize it's no longer Monday...a little migraine ruined my plans to get this out yesterday but I was not tossing it so here you have it...

Monday's Mindless Ramblings...on Tuesday.

A couple of days ago I took this picture while at a red light.





All three at once.

Severe storm warnings everywhere.

Now today it is 57 degrees and I am wrapped up in flannel pajamas and thick fuzzy socks.

Tennessee is officially the strangest weather capitol of the world.


Somehow I lost a whole post on my blog.

I am so bummed and trying not to have blog bitterness.

It was about cicadas.

We have a few around here.

When I say a few I mean like a few thousand.

Anyhoo it posted and I even posted it on Facebook.

Then poof...gone.

It was more of a Homeschool focused post and it included this video.

I will warn you...there is mating involved.

Seems that's the whole purpose of their little invasion.

I wasn't prepared when I watched it.

I had a certain 8 year old commentating over my shoulder.

"What's he doing to her?!"

"He's on top of her!"

He's MAULING her!!"

I panicked..couldn't even hit the pause button.

He walked away and my husband and I almost peed our pants laughing.

Ok, now that I've shared that I think I can move on now.


We recently made the decision to dump our hefty cable bill and get Netflix.

I thought this was a wise decision.

That was until I found 249 episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show.

I may need a Netflix intervention soon.


We are finished with our Homeschool tutorial for the school year.

We are just wrapping up Math now.

Actually I'm considering if I want to rush and finish or stretch the remaining 20 lessons we have out over the summer.

Teaching 3 different grade levels in this subject is a challenge.

Especially since Algebra was one of them this year.

So we get behind.


My 8 year old can do this so I'm going to consider this year an accomplishment regardless.


I had to renew my license last month when I turned 35.

I kept getting odd looks and double takes when asked to show my I.D.


I now know why.

Apparently having two toddlers back then not only zapped my energy but also any sense of fashion or style that I had.

I'm just surprised I never ended up on one of those ambush makeover shows.


Starbucks happy hour Frappuccinos have just about ruined me.


This little jewel {mocha coconut} was just too hard to say no to with it's slashed in half price tag.

So I said yes.

Four days in a row.

Thank God it is over.


Tomorrow I will venture to Cincinnati with a group 36 people.

29 of those will be teenagers.

Seems I volunteered to be in charge of the class trip at LCA {homeschool tutorial} this year.

This was not one of my sane days obviously.

In all seriousness these are some of the best students I've ever had the privilege of being around so I know it is going to be an absolute blast.

We will be hitting the Cincinnati Zoo, King's Island, and The National Underground Freedom Museum.

And the indoor pool every single night to wear them down.

If I'm not back in a week...send someone looking for me k?


Speaking of LCA...the class of 2011 graduated this week.

One of the most precious moments I have ever witnessed.


Rachel and Emily are two of my sons best friends and he is already hating the thought of another school year without them.


My sister built these for her apartment in Nashville to hold her bikes.

They are in her kitchen and double as bookshelves.

I found these to be extremely neat.


So did The Nester on Instagram.

I squealed.

I am immature that way.

It is why I cannot attend Blissdom. Ever.

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Trying Something New with My Girl {Pottery}


Yesterday Maggie and I participated in a Mother Daughter pottery class at the same studio where Tyler took a 6 week class.

Maggie has an artistic gift and I wanted her to have a try at the wheel.

The last time I threw on a wheel was 5th grade in Fine Arts class.

My mom still displays my {uneven} masterpiece.


After watching Wendy, the studio owner, demonstrate for us I just knew I had this.

After all, what could be hard about it right?

If Demi and Patrick could do it so could I.

I forgot two things.

Centrifugal force. {It's a beast}

And the lack of muscular male sitting behind me to help keep the clay centered.


We were each given a blob of clay and once centered, the wheels were spinning and the messy magic began.



My girl is so creative.

Seriously she was born to make things.

She is so brave to try new things...not over thinking how it should be done...or what the outcome should be.

She already gets that it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.

I missed that memo...


Here's mine.

I'm a chicken.

No wait...I'm a perfectionist.

I'm probably both.

Regardless, I'm thinking this does not make for a good "potter".

I was afraid to do anything creative with mine.

Played it safe all the way.

I also may or may not have embarrassed my poor daughter by asking the teacher to come help me get the wobble out of mine 59 times.



After cleaning up, the time came to remove our pots from the bats.

Again, my daughter totally rocked at this.

Me? Not so much...messed up my base a bit.

{Let it go Talysa}


Our pieces will now be glazed in the color of our choice and we will pick them up in a few days.

For me, just the time spent with my girl...doing what she loves...that's good enough for me.

I hope she feels the same way.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's complicated. {my relationship with cicadas}

The cicadas have arrived here in middle Tennessee. I say that like they just rolled into town on their little cicada Harley's wearing leather chaps and all.

It does sorta sound like they came in on something with a motor for sure.

I am not real thrilled about this little historic invasion. I can handle finding their little exoskeletons.


Even though they are everywhere.


But when they sound like an army of black hawk choppers waiting to greet my feet wherever I step??

All bets, for handling myself in any sort of civilized manner, are off.

I may or may not humiliate the poor souls that have to claim me.


The nerdy homeschoolin' momma within can't help but think they are the coolest things ever.

And can't get to my magnifying glass fast enough.

How exactly do they know how many years have gone by while they were down there sippin' on tree sap and waiting to mate?

(Do cicadas have hormones? Yikes. Can you imagine??? Kinda like 17 years of high school down there)

Sorry...where was I?

Oh yeah...the fact that they are obviously math whizzes is just as extraordinary as their life cycle.

Did you know that the cicada has the longest life cycle of any insect, ranging from 2 to 17 years?

Or that they undergo an incomplete metomorphosis? (No pupal stage)

When the nymph is fully grown and the temperature is just right, it tunnels to the surface and goes through its final molt... the shedding of its hard outer skin.


Then it emerges as a winged adult. When the wings dry and harden, the cicada flies in search of a mate.


Leaving us a little something to remember them by.


How about you? Do they creep you out or do you find them fascinating??


We have taken the opportunity this week to get to know as much as we can about these fascinating creatures while we have them around.

Maybe you would like to as well so I thought I'd share this superb video I found.

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Knockouts {Sweet Shot Tuesday}


Knockout Roses.

My kind of flowers.

Dig a hole...

Watch them grow.

No pruning.

No deadheading.

No special food.

No hassle.

No maintenance.

My kind of flower.


Sweet Shot Day

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I am spoiled. {Mom's Day 2011}


This morning I woke up to this. My sweet husband cooked this for me.

He even let the kids sleep in so I could have not only a fabulous meal, but a little "own self time".

Did I ever mention that he has a Bachelors Degree from the Culinary Institute of America in NY?

That omelet made me wanna slap my momma.

But I refrained...it was Mother's Day after all.


He went on to work and left me alone with my food and peace and quiet.

When I finally made my way downstairs I found this on the table.

A Mandavilla for my patio and a really sweet note expressing his gratitude for all I do.


The fact that it is on a Presidents place mat cracks me up.

We are such homeschoolers.


The first kiddo to wake was my Magpie.

Move over Martha Stewart...this girl is on her way.

Remember her photography?

She has the craft gene for sure.

It obviously skips a generation in this family.

Pictured above is a handmade picture frame with our photo in it, bracelets, and keychain.

All handmade Maggie originals.

Even the sweet card she wrote telling me I'm the best mom in the whole world was handmade.

So special that girl of mine.


Aidan woke up second and his gift to me was a banana served on a paper plate.

"Cause I know you like bananas mom."

That kid is ridiculously cute.

I love his heart.


My mother in law was nice enough to come over and babysit our poodle {long story...involves surgery and possible cancer..can't be left alone right now} so that my family could treat me to a Mother's Day dinner. It was delicious.

These three kiddos will never know the joy they bring to my life. In fact I almost feel like I should celebrate them on this day. They are the reason I do anything. I told them each today that if I had the choice to be anything in this world that I wanted to be, I would not want to be ANYTHING but their mom.


Dessert sampler. I may or may not have eaten that entire cheesecake on my own.


The day ended just as perfectly as it began.

Feet up.

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Saturday, May 7, 2011

This Mother's Day...I have my mom.


This Mother's Day I am especially grateful.

My mom no longer lives in Florida.

She and my step dad moved here to Tennessee last month.

For the first time in 8 years...I have my mom here with me to celebrate this day.

I won't be sending her a card and gift in the mail.


I will be spending this evening in downtown Nashville at my sister's apartment eating pizza and watching Steel Magnolias...just us three ladies.

I am so excited.

A night of tomato smothered carbs and Ouiser Boudreaux.

Yes please!

We told her we were taking her out to eat.

We lied.

My sister and I bought her a new sewing machine for Mother's Day.

She is super crafty and needs a machine to channel all those creative juices.

Plus I need some new throw pillows. :-)

In the last month she has become my yard sale, thrifting, and antiquing partner in crime.

I am loving it.

I am also loving the friendship I have found in our relationship that goes beyond mother and daughter.

I pray one day that my Maggie and I will share the same sweet bond.


Happy Mother's Day to all of you beautiful ladies!

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Celebrating beautiful {non - tornadic} weather in Tennessee

Storms, floods, and tornadoes.

Tennessee has seen it's fair share of all three in the past few weeks.

The rain alone has been enough to nearly send a person spiraling into a depression but add the tornadoes and it is almost too much for the nervous system to bear.

On Easter Sunday we left church and were eating lunch at our local Mexican spot. The sky became VERY black and my spirit uneasy. I told my husband that I had a really bad feeling about the clouds moving our way.

I could not take my eyes off the window and could not bring myself to eat.

Someone came in and said there was a tornado 5 miles out, headed straight for us.

I knew it was true. No need to check my phone. The ominous clouds, the rotation I could see, and the sudden desire to vomit said it all.


Easter tornado

A local photographer captured these shots. And he gave permission to share. Thanks Murray.

We happened to be on East Main St. so this is as close as it gets to seeing what we actually witnessed that day.

Something snapped and I went into crazy momma bear mode.

Our church was a mile away with a basement.

I went outside to see how far away it was and decided we could make it.

We left our fajitas and all on the table.

My husband is still a little bitter about those I think.

To say I drove like a NASCAR finalist would be the understatement of the year.

As we made it into the church I looked to my left and saw this funnel cloud headed straight for us.


We ran in and got inside a closet in the basement and prayed.

Hard and loud.

Thankfully the funnel cloud never got below treetop level and we were safe.


Emotionally not so much.

Tornadoes make for a great diet though.

Fast forward a couple of days and we have the largest tornado outbreak since 1974 across Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia.





It is almost too much to take in.

All of this hitting at a time of the year when Satan loves to comes knocking with an armload of "end of the homeschool year fear and doubt" for sale.

Half price.

My nerves have been literally shot.

So yesterday when we woke up to glorious rays of the golden stuff I knew my soul and mind needed to be out in it.

Soakin it up.


I think we covered Math, Writing and maybe Spelling???

Who knows...who cares...some things can't be found in books.

Like sanity.

We loaded Bo in the van with us and headed for the walking trail at the park.


The contrast in these clouds and the ones above are simply stunning.

Just in case you were wondering Lord...I prefer blue skies and white puffy clouds.


I let the kids do whatever they wanted.

No worries of mud or wet clothes.

Ok, so I worried...but I didn't let on at least.


We explored every little flower, spider, bird, bee, etc. that we could find.


First honeysuckles of the summer.

I remember thinking these were the coolest things ever as a kid.


Aidan noticed our shadows so we had to get a cool group picture.

"The shadow proves the sunshine" - Switchfoot


The walking trail passes by the playground so we stopped a little while for some fun.


Words cannot express how good this day was for my soul.

It felt so good to be spontaneous and not care about one single thing for at least a couple of hours.

Not weather. Not school.

Nothing but the sun on my face, sweet laughter in my ears, and a momentary hand holding or two.


Too often I let worry and anxiety creep in and steal my joy.

How easily I forget...

He is the God of storms.

The God of tornadoes.

The God of unfinished curriculum.

The God of blue skies and big puffy clouds.

"My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

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