Bucket List

I don’t have a bucket list, but I’m thinking I should write one.  So far, since I stopped writing on this blog, I have done a bunch of things I could mark off such list, if I had one.

Last year I went to hunter’s safety course, and passed, so I could go hunting with my boys. Hunting was quite cold and not really on my list of things to do, but I did it. One of those things I never would have thought to put on my bucket list.

hunting hunting2 hunting3

Last December Eric and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary and our gift was a concert.  I had never been to a concert like that in my life. We went and saw Tran-Siberian Orchestra’s Lost Christmas Eve.  It was such an exciting and fun experience! 🙂

TSO2 TSO3 TSOticketsWinter lasted forever last year and I think this coming winter will probably do the same. It has been chilly these first days of October.  It’s a beautiful time of year though!  I love fall leaves!  Their smell, the crunch under my shoes and their beautiful colors!

Photography has been happening, though I haven’t been shooting a lot lately. :\ I did 2 photo shoots in September. One was a wedding and another was a maternity shoot.  Weddings are beautiful and I think I really love SMALL weddings! I’ve never shot a big wedding, but it’s not on my bucket list. 🙂 I get stressed out about small ones enough that a big wedding would just send me over the edge. hehe Anyway, it’s been an ok year as far as sessions go. I would definitely love more sessions.

This past July we went on vacation and had such a great time!  Vacation is NEVER long enough!  We decided to do a sight seeing trip and just enjoy the USA.  Our first stop was Colorado to visit my Aunt Cindy and Uncle Fred.  It was a visit that was too short, but we loved every minute of it!  My bucket list item from there was sitting on the summit of a mountain!  I had been to Colorado before, but never did that.  It was exciting, dizzying, and the road up the mountain was a tad scary!

DSC_0652 copyEric made a snowman in July because he could.

DSC_0496 copyDSC_0561 copy DSC_0582 copy DSC_0630 copyThe kids liked their mountain top experience ok, but Grace was a little freaked out over the heights.  Ryan experienced altitude sickness the worst out of all of us. He and Grace didn’t climb up to the summit of Mount Evans because it was freezing and scary. 🙂  Nathan came along!

We traveled through 16 states total on our trip and the kids still talk about it and what a great time vacation was this year!  I’m so glad!  It was such a fun, family time together!  I hope we can do another trip next summer and make more memories like that!

We started school in mid-August and I am enjoying the school year.  Of course, I was more excited about starting school than everyone else in the family. hehe  We are in Paths of Progress this year and are enjoying learning about different inventors this year!  Nathan is technically supposed to be a 9th grader this year, but i decided to just hold him back one more year.  I figure it’s ok if he graduates at 18.  🙂  Ryan is 7th grade and Grace is 5th grade this year.  These last few years of homeschooling have been so wonderful!  We love the Trail Guide to Learning series, and I am so thankful for them!

Maybe I’ll sit and write out a bucket list of things I’ve already done and things I would like to do in the future and make a page for it on my blog.

God is Good.


Hello, remember me?

Obviously, I haven’t been writing in my blog much lately.  I’ve been in a funk about writing.

Lots of ideas have come and gone over the last month and a half since my last posting.

Winter is really wearing on me this year.

DSC_8661Every day looks like this. *sigh*

Schooling the kiddos keeps me busy during the week.

This past week Nathan came down with strep throat.

Thankfully he is on the mend and no one else has come down with it! Yet. . .

My junk piles are crowding my house and my mind.

Today I managed to almost completely fill a 30 gallon garbage bag with junk from my craft corner.

Also almost filled another 30 gallon garbage bag with clothes and things to donate to the Thrift store.

The other day I cleaned out a bunch of old recipe books I don’t use and threw a bunch of junk paper away.

It’s refreshing!  I need to keep throwing things away and getting rid of thing we don’t need.

It’s amazing how it just builds up over the years.

We can sure stand to get rid of a lot more “stuff.”

Last week we made some maple syrup, but I’ll save the rest of that story for the next post!

If only it would warm up enough to get the sap flowing. . . 🙂

My kindle has many good books on it right now.  So many I don’t always know which one to read.

I decided to read a few of the devotional ones at the same time.

I’m reading one about Proverbs 31 and I’m sorry  the name escapes me right now.

Another one I started reading is a Lenten Devotional and there are hymns and a verse for each day of lent.

It’s really good and it gives a history of how the hymns came to be.

The other one I read from time to time is 101 Devotionals for Homeschool Moms and I love those devos too!

In fiction, I’ve really been enjoying books by Chautona Havig.

I’m waiting to get For Keeps (Aggie’s Inheritance) so I can have all 3 books in that series. The first one was so good!

Photography is still coming along, I guess.  I’ve been so uninspired lately.

You can see what I’m up to on my Photography Blog.

We did lose a chicken a few weeks ago. 😦

DSC_8214 copyCrazy Comb was her name.

It was such a sad and awful day for the kiddos.  I felt bad for them and for the chicken.

The chicken suffered so much and I’m only just learning what it probably was that killed her.

DSC_8658 copyUnfortunately, Grace’s pet chicken, Henny Penny is now afflicted by the same thing.

What I thought was egg bound (which really might have been at first) is something else called Egg Peritonitis.

It’s pretty sad to see.  I’ve been giving Henny some penicillian shots, but I don’t know if it’ll help her.

I haven’t been draining her (I’d have to research how), but she is rather swollen.

I feel bad for her and especially bad for Grace, especially since it’s her pet.

Another hen has a really weird egg bubble near where the eggs come out.  I’ll have to keep my eye on her too.

Ahhh!  Sometimes chickens are too much!

I always wanted to be a vet growing up. . . guess I’m getting my unofficial run at it now.

School is going pretty good lately.

Is it going as I planned?


But it’s still going well.

The kids love hearing the stories about Daniel Boone.

They love doing their read aloud time.  Especially Ryan! 🙂

Have I mentioned lately that we LOVE Paths of Exploration?

We do!

Math has been a struggle lately with Nathan and Ryan.  I’m trying to decide what to do.

That’s something I’ve got to talk over with my husband and move forward  with a new plan.

DSC_8325 copyDSC_8320 copyDSC_8318_1At the end of January and beginning of February I took the kids roller skating.

They had a great time both times!

I had a great time chatting with friends at both skates.

We couldn’t go to yesterday’s skate since Nathan was sick.

That was a bummer because the kids really enjoy it!

Hopefully next month!

So that about sums up what has been going on lately.

If you made it through this post, God bless you! 🙂

Thanks for reading, too.

Goodbye 2012

It has been a most interesting year!  God has been SO good to us  – again – and  I can’t thank Him enough for all the MANY blessings!

Here was what I had hoped to accomplish through this past year:  Organizing My Life in 2012

I didn’t go crazy and make a bunch of goals and, yet, I still failed at many of them.

Thankfully I can take that list I made from last year and start it again.   Why not, right? 🙂

My goals are still the same.

DSC_3888 My main goal is to be HERE, in the present, with my children.

I feel like a failure in this department and time is getting away from us.

The kids and I have made a goal to read through the Bible this year!

I’m quite excited about starting this with them TOMORROW!!

The thought occurred to me the other day and just seemed like a wonderful idea!

I found the New Year Bible Reading Challenge through Pinterest!

Join us if you’d like!  We would welcome the encouragement!

Another goal for the children and I,  is to memorize Scripture!

It’s been a fail for me/us since just after the beginning of our school year started in August.

Been reading through the book of James a lot and plan on memorizing the rest of it.

I have chapter 1 down pretty good and most of chapter 2, but I need to get busy!

God has much to teach me through His Word, but it does help to spend time in the Word!

DSC_4433 copy

 One goal I have accomplished is taking a photo per day this year!

Sometimes it was hard, but it was such a great experience!

My goal is to do the same starting tomorrow and improve more in my photography.

One of my highlights this year was meeting Tracy and Kristal!

 Such a blessing to meet internet friends in REAL life!

Not sure if anyone follows this blog much, as I haven’t been writing much these days.

That’s pretty sad.   😦

I was thinking about dusting off my pen and start writing in a journal again.

Some of my crazy thoughts I don’t always want to share on my blog,

but writing does help me sort my thoughts out and think things through better.

So while I may not be on here blogging as much, I will do some updates here and

will definitely be keeping up with my Em’s Photography Adventure blog.


We’ve been enjoying school a lot this year.

I’m so thankful for Paths of Exploration!

The kids are thankful too! 🙂

Now I must close with this last post of 2012 on Strobel’s Happenings.

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Have a blessed New Year!

Recent Happenings

I’ve been terrible about writing lately.  I wrote a couple posts this past month, but mostly just for myself so I didn’t publish them.  Just journaling  some things that have happened and I’ll cover them a little in this post.

October was a rather busy month for us.  School has been humming right along and I feel as though I’m ready for a break, but part of me wants to push through until we’re done with the Pilgrim Unit in our Paths of Exploration.  The kids are really enjoying the Jamestown Unit.  A lot!

Read aloud time always ends in “Awww, we’re done reading for today?”  So I know they are enjoying the story and are learning history.  This past Friday we watched a video on Netflix about Jamestown.  It fit perfectly with what we’ve been learning and it was neat to actually SEE that they are finding so much from that time in history where it all happened.

There’s so much we need to work on and I am in need of a printer/copier really soon.  I actually have needed it for a couple weeks, but haven’t got around to getting it yet.  So many choices and I’m not sure which one to get.  Eric’s been looking at them too, but we just don’t know for sure.  Yet.

In the past month we’ve done some field trips and have been enjoying most school days.  I’ve not been doing our Spell to Write and Read like I’ve wanted/needed to.  The kids still need this, especially Ryan and Grace.  Nathan just loves it, so he will be happy to do spelling.  It’s his favorite subject.  He’s a lot like me.  He comes up with ways to remember how to spell difficult words.  It’s fun to see his mind at work.

In the past month I’ve had Nathan tested for diabetes.  His blood sugar test was at 100, so the doctor wanted to have him tested.  Thankfully he failed the 3 hour glucose test. 🙂  My stomach was in knots for days over it.  God bless those that live with Type 1 Diabetes all their lives.  It would have been  a total lifestyle change for all of us.  I’m thankful it’s one we didn’t have to make.

Yesterday (Nov. 3)  I ran another 5K.  The YMCA’s Turkey Trot.  It was a fun run, but it was cold.  Thankfully the snow had stopped.  Yes, it was snowing as I was driving into town yesterday.  I ran with my friend Faith and met her friend, Jen.  We started out together, but they definitely passed me!  I shaved 24 seconds off my first 5K time.  So I ran this one in 30:35 (my first was 30:59).  I’m incredibly sore today!  The last 2 weeks have been terrible as far as weather goes.  Very rainy and cold.  I did run a couple mornings in the rain.  This past week I only ran once.  I’m trying to talk my husband into joining the Y.  The kids would love to go swimming in the winter and it would be a nice way to get out of the house and do something during the long winter months.  Sometimes I feel so trapped up here on the hill with no where to go and nothing to do.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how short life truly is.  I’m nearing 40 years old . . . My husband is so not ready to be 40 (he’ll be there next year, I have a few more to go).  It’s so amazing how life just goes by so swiftly.  There were times growing up that life was so slow.  Just crawling by, so it seemed.  Now here I am, hardly able to do all the things I want to each day.  I am sure I could remedy that by prioritizing my days . . . Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.   I definitely need to apply my heart to wisdom.

My sister-in-law lost her mother this past week.  My heart just aches for her and her family.  They have the blessing of knowing that they’ll see their mother again in Heaven.  She was a woman that loved the Lord and told everyone around her about Him.  I had met her once or twice, but didn’t know her very well.  The family’s testimony and their mom’s testimony is one of joy in the Lord and knowing that they will have a reunion some day in Heaven!  What a day that will be!


It has been nearly a week since I started this post!  We have finished week 12 today and we’ll be taking a break from our Paths of Exploration while we wait for our new printer to come.  There’s always tons of printing and our current printer is a junkie freebie that is out of ink and is useless.  So we will wait!  Until our new one comes in (and I’m praying it’s by next  week some time) the kids will continue working on their math and we’ll do some lessons in Spell to Write and Read (which has suffered a lot this year, but is still really needed).

We got out our Thankful Board  from last year, and have been enjoying writing down something we are thankful for each day.  Today Grace was saying how she’s excited about doing the Jesse Tree like we did last year.  I’m thinking the kids can go out and find branches for the tree today. 🙂  It’s to be a beautiful day here – a beautiful weekend in fact!  It has been cold for a while, so I am looking forward to 60’s and sunshine.

My first official photo shoot is on Sunday!  Senior Portraits! 🙂  I will post some samples – eventually!  I’m both excited and nervous, but the young lady is excited to have her photos taken and I hope I can meet her expectations!   I had my 2nd photo class yesterday and totally enjoyed it!  Tracy is a great teacher, very patient and kind!  I’m thankful I bumped into her through the internet/blogging world!

Well, this is becoming a novel.  I have some photos of what has been going on lately and I will post them at another time.  This is being written from my netbook and the photos are not on here.



School Days

This school year is just moving right along!  Today we finished week 7.  Woo Hoo! 🙂  I am excited about how fast school seems to be going.  I’m pretty sure it has to do with our new curriculum and how it keeps us going every day.  I love not feeling lost and actually having a direction we are going in.  The kids are learning a lot of new things this year.  I probably have said that so many times when I write about school.

Last week we finished up our Columbus Unit in our Paths of Exploration book.  It being the 6th week, we finished up some projects and enjoyed a field trip last Thursday.  We took a field trip to the Imagination Cruise that is put on by Jennings.  We met some other homeschool friends there and had a pretty nice time . . . until it started raining so hard that we had to stay in the boat.  It was so nice cruising along the Three Rivers of Pittsburgh on top of the Empress.  Just hanging out and chatting and taking in the sites.


My friends, Liz (who is also my running buddy) and Katie and their children were all there.

While we were on the Rivers, we saw where the replicas of the Nina and Pinta were parked.  Unfortunately we did not get the chance to see them while we were in town that day.  They left on the 3rd of this month.  So that is a bummer, but at least we got to see them as we rode by on our field trip!

Last week we also learned about the phases of the moon and I found this fun idea on Pinterest.  The kids had a fun time learning out the different phases of the moon and enjoyed the tasty snack while sculpting their Oreos just so.  It made for a nice activity!

This week we started our new unit on Jamestown!  It’s been a pretty good week, though today was not so good.  To be honest, I was just glad to finish the day and have the weekend off!  We did have a field trip again this week!  This time we went to the Pittsburgh Zoo!  It was a rather sudden field trip.  My sister in law asked me Wednesday if we wanted to go Thursday since the weather was to be wonderful (oh, and it was PERFECT)!  So we did!

I love taking pictures of everything the kids do and see.  Well, almost everything.  🙂  I had to be sort of selective yesterday since I realized my battery was almost dead and I had left my charged one at home!  Thankfully I made it the whole field trip and my battery didn’t die!  Anyway, the kids had a blast with their cousin and I had a nice day chatting with my sister-in-law.  We enjoyed all the sites the zoo had to offer.  I loved seeing the baby rhino!  So cute!  🙂  The sun was in and out of the clouds all day and it was a warm 75 degrees.  I got a tiny bit pink on my nose, but I didn’t mind at all!  I figured we all could use a dose of vitamin D before the long, cold winter sets in.

We are going to start using the S.O.A.P. Bible Study method daily.  I’ve been trying to figure out what to use and what to do for Bible Study time and this is such an easy method.  I recently purchased the kids some new study Bibles and am excited for them to put them to use.  It took me a long time to find just the  right ones for them.

That’s all for now!  I’ll write more as our school year moves along!

God Bless!

Grace’s Artwork

On Friday, I didn’t know what Grace was doing while the boys and I were having some

discussion time during school.  After we were done talking, she showed me just what she was doing.

We’re obviously learning about Christopher Columbus and she decided to draw him

from the picture of the book we’re reading out of.

I’m rather impressed with my 8 year old’s drawing!

She did great!

Week 3 Done!

Last week and this week have been great weeks of school!  We are totally enjoying Paths of Exploration this year!  I am so thankful for the structure and a new way for my children to learn!  It is fun teaching, too!  I’ve been more excited about school than the kids are, as I may have mentioned before.  🙂

We are having fun learning about Christopher Columbus and doing all the interesting readings, projects, word studies, geography, history and all that goes with it.  I love the hands on activities and art times that are involved with the lessons.

One child still complains about how “long” school takes each day, but I remind this child that we aren’t doing anything else until our school work is done.  It doesn’t matter how LONG school takes! 🙂



Some of these activities are easy for Nathan, but I think he is enjoying school.   I just questioned him and he said “I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but it is different.”  Grace said she “enjoys and loves it.”   And Ryan said “it’s great.”  They all say they like how the curriculum is going somewhere and they are learning new things.  This does my heart good!

I was drawn to this curriculum and it has been such a blessing to me and to the kids.

The kids have also done great with their math.  A couple days this week they have been up early and working on some of their schoolwork!  Oh, how I love this!  I’m pretty sure it won’t happen all year long, but I’m certainly going to enjoy it while it happens!  I’ve been bragging about them within earshot and telling them how proud of them I am.

Ryan, my struggling reader, enjoyed reading Meet Christopher Columbus so much today that he went pages beyond the read aloud assignment.  This is an excellent thing for him!

I love homeschooling this year!

Week 1 – Done!

My kiddos on the first day of school.

I know it’s a repeat picture, but I can’t help myself.

Nathan  listening as his brother reads.  He’s so serious, I know.

Really, he was listening just fine until he realized I was about to take a photo.

Ryan doing his daily read aloud.  This is during our first day of school.

I LOVE Paths of Exploration.

It’s such a different way of schooling, but a wonderful different.

Grace is here doing her copywork.  She likes to do this part.  🙂

Now, I love POE because it covers so many different topics!

We’re still trying to find our groove and figure out how to make it work for us,

but it is going wonderfully.  At least in my opinion.

Grace minced a clove of garlic for the kid’s cooking part of the lesson today.

Ryan was using kitchen shears and cutting of the gross pieces from the chicken tenderloins.


Nathan cried his way through dicing up an onion. 😥

He made sure he let everyone know he was not really crying.

I was just having fun teasing him a little about it.

This is the almost finished meal of Chicken Paella.

Sooo delicious I tell ya!

I ate a whole bowl and then a little extra.

And a little extra after that.

The kids enjoyed their time in the kitchen and it was fun helping them out!

Fridays are a nice, relaxing day where we just catch up on what wasn’t done during the week.

That’s probably one of the things I love about POE.  I also love how everyone is involved in the learning processes!

They all learn differently, but it kind of appeals to everyone.

First Day of School – Student Photo Week!


This morning during a break I took the time to get some first day of school photos!

Nathan   7th Grade.  I still can’t believe this!

Ryan   6th Grade.   Can’t believe this either, really!

Grace    3rd Grade.  My baby . . .

All 3 of them together.

A more normal photo of them. 🙂

They wanted to do this pose. Silly kids! 🙂

Our first day of school was a little crazy as we have started new curriculum, but

so far we like it!  Can’t wait to get more into it as the days and weeks progress!

Our Schoolroom


Last week I  wrote a post about our curriculum this coming school year

and joined the Not Back to School Blog Hop.  I’m not generally a blog hopper, but it’s neat to see what

other homeschooling families are using to educate their children!

As you can see by the title of my post, it’s School Room Week!

This is basically where it all happens, though this year we may do

some other things in the living room.  We’ll just see how it all works out!

The school bookcase and my organizer.

Everything is set up just so now!

The kid’s school bins with all their new books and notebooks just

waiting to get used next Monday!

Anyone else have kids that aren’t so excited about school?

Mine aren’t.  At. All. *sigh*

Well, I’m praying for an exciting new year that they will love!

Ps.  I am still pretty new to wordpress and if someone else uses it, could you answer a question for me?!  I want to put the Not Back to School Blog Hop button in my post, but I don’t know how to do it!  How do I do it?? 🙂  If anyone could enlighten me, I’d appreciate it!  Thanks! 🙂