Sunflowers

Two posts in one week. Wow. Crazy. I know. But I wanted to share some pictures I took of the Sunflower fields while we were at Ijams. They are blooming and there are 70 acres of them. So enjoy the pictures.

© 2019 Dianna Auton
© 2019 Dianna Auton
© 2019 Dianna Auton
© 2019 Dianna Auton
© 2019 Dianna Auton
© 2019 Dianna Auton
© 2019 Dianna Auton
© 2019 Dianna Auton
© 2019 Dianna Auton
© 2019 Dianna Auton
© 2019 Dianna Auton

Our June in Review {Homeschool Mother’s Journal}

I can’t believe the month of June is already over and we are already at the end of the first full week in July. Our June was busy and July is going to be just as crazy.

In my life this month…

In June we took an impromptu trip to the Big South Fork and visited the Blue Heron Mine Camp. It was tons of fun.

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We also finished prepping for my eldest daughters trip to Guatemala which is literally days away. I know it’s so close and yet I feel like there is so much to do. Then my youngest daughter will be heading to camp a week after her big sis goes out of the country and so our middle daughter will be home with us. Although I think she is looking forward to some one on one time with mom and dad.

In our homeschool this month…

I’ve been working on the school plan for the fall and the girls have to be registered with our covering by August 1st which means I have to have the basic plan and payment in by then. So I’m trying to get that finished up as well.  As you can see its super busy in my house.

We are planning on starting school August 21st.

Places we are going…

So as I mentioned above our oldest is heading to Guatemala this month, our youngest is heading to camp and we have a family vacation coming soon as well. So I am really looking forward to that. 🙂

What I’m reading…

I just wrote a post about my reading goals this year. So if you would like to see what I am currently reading check it out here.

A little musical inspiration…

In cased you missed it: on the blog…

To see other posts for the Homeschool Mother’s Journal Check it out here.

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Week 2 in Review

Week 2 went pretty well for our homeschool. The girls are starting to get into a good routine on how to get their work done in a timely manner.

We completed week 2 of Mystery of History Volume 4. We talked about sailing around the Cape of Good Hope. It was a really scary thing for new travelers to experience as Europeans had never before made it that far before. Especially after hearing the legend of sea monsters and boiling waters at the Equator.

We listened to the music of and learned a bit about the life of Georg Freidrich Handel. Here is a sampling of his Water Music piece for you to enjoy.

We also studied a little more of the Classical Art Style and discovered a great resource for FREE art masterpieces coloring pages.

We are still in the areas of Spain, Portugal and Italy for both History and Geography. We are looking forward to next week as we branch out and start heading West with Christopher Columbus.

At the end of our week we headed out to the Zoo and the kids fed a Giraffe, watched the Bird show, and pet Monty the Python (obviously the zoo keepers had a sense of humor).

Here are a couple photos from that day.

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There was also an Asian festival in our city and we checked that out as well.

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How was your week?

Family Time @ the Knoxville Zoo

When you have a family you are always looking for ways to enjoy some time together that won’t break the bank. Normally a Zoo trip will cost close to $100 for a family of 5. But this past weekend we were able to go for $5. You heard me right. It was Dollar Days at the Knoxville Zoo. On this type of event you have to purchase tickets ahead of time so a few weeks back my hubby sends me a text asking if I would like to go to the Zoo.  For that price I would have been stupid to pass it up. So I said yes but the hard part was we couldn’t go Friday or Saturday due to previous engagements that had been made so what did we do? We skipped church and got our tickets for Sunday, shhhhhh don’t tell anyone. 

This was my first time at the Knoxville Zoo since I was in 2nd grade.  Let me just say, I didn’t remember it at all. Honestly, the only thing I remembered from that trip was the bus ride to the Zoo because I sat with my best friend for that year, Beatrice. She was an adorable little red haired girl.  Anyway, we had a really good time.  Because it was cold (since its November and decided this past week that it would finally feel like November) many of the tropical animals were not on exhibit. However, some of our favorites still were.  I love watching animals play and interact with each other. Because we went early in the morning, due to the fact that this event was sold out and we didn’t want to be in the late crowd leaving, some of the normally really active animals were less than active.  But its ok, the kids still had a great time and we got to enjoy some animals that we didn’t get to see at our old hometown Zoo back in South Carolina.

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I think the next time I go I would like to go when it is warmer and on a less busy day so that we can really stop and look and learn.  But for the most part it was the time spent with my family that I loved the most. Listening to Boo laugh at the River Otters because one decided to show off for her. We loved our time at the Zoo and looking forward to enjoying it again when its warmer.

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Now that I have shared our weekend adventure I’m going to do a shameless promotional plug.  You know, because the holidays are coming up and because I can since its my site.  ha ha ha.

For those of you who don’t know. I started creating some super simple downloadable and printable Homeschool Flash Cards to help supplement your educational journey.  I sell these exclusively at CurrClick.

Currently up for grabs are the following 3 products:

NEW state flash coverNEW art style flash cover newNEW Important Dates Flash Cover NOW

You should definitely head over and check them out.

Also keep in mind my book is available for purchase in both print and eBook formats.  This would make an awesome stocking stuffer and you can pick that up at Amazon.

Greenville, South Carolina

Years ago when I started posting about our homeschool I started some “field trip” posts. After moving my blog a couple of times to different platforms I lost many of the pictures so when you go back and look at the posts all the pics are gone. So I thought I would revisit them and just add the pics to a new post. That way I can add the pictures I want to them. Smile  Today I’m going to tell you about a great city in South Carolina. I called it home for 12 years and it is still one of the prettiest little cities We’ve ever lived.

There are so many things you can do there or that is within driving distance. One of the benefits of living here was the fact that we were only a 4 hour drive to Charleston and the coast and just an hour of two to the Smokey Mountains. The city itself is beautiful with trees nestled between buildings and the Reedy River flowing through the middle of town. It has all the benefits of a large city with that homey small town feel.

Here is a link to the city’s website so you can check it out for yourself.

This is at Falls Park in downtown. It’s beautiful there.

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The Greenville Zoo is a great place to visit. This was taken the year our Giraffe exhibit opened. It was pretty awesome. We went quite a bit because the tickets at the Greenville Zoo (at the time were only like $8 for adults and $4 for kids). It is a smaller zoo and would only take us about 2 hours to walk through unless they were doing talks, or special events.

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Here we went and seen the Drive play. Probably about 2010 or so. The kids were so little. But we enjoyed the minor league games much more than the majors.

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This was from our recent trip back to SC this past July. We were on the bridge that is over the Reedy River Falls. It is a very unique bridge and gets lots of attention from tourists.

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This is just up from the falls. In the background you see the foot bridge that crosses the river and the building beyond that is the Peace Center where the symphony plays as well as lots of big plays and productions that you can find in most larger cities. I remember when The Phantom of the Opera came and also Wicked.

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This is in the Children’s Garden which is just a short walk from Falls Park just up the Reedy River. I used to bring the girls here all the time. There were story times, fun toys and lots of learning activities throughout the year. They have statues dedicated to many favorite storybook characters. I have a picture of Boo when she was much smaller standing next to Peter Rabbit.

There is so much more to do there as well. It’s a great place to visit and if you ever head through the Upstate of South Carolina you should definitely check out Greenville.

It’s Fall Ya’ll

Oh how I love fall. The leaves changing. The crisp cool air. The pumpkin and apple everything. You just can’t get away from it. Especially living in East Tennessee. Being in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains ensures I have a very beautiful and colorful fall. Of course the days begin to get shorter but with this being the beginning of the holiday season. I can work with shorter days. Of course my all time IMG_2680favorite thing happens too. Daylight Savings time will come to an end and we will be back on NORMAL time. My body will be so happy.  I must say that the “invention” of Daylight Savings Time was the only thing I wish Mr. Ben Franklin had not suggested. My body can not handle all this back and forth. However, I am looking forward to the morning of November 1st to give me just one extra hour of sleep. Can you tell I’m getting older? And here I just told my hubby last night that I’m not getting older as fast as he thinks I am. But alas when you start looking forward to bedtime almost as soon as you wake up in the morning you have to admit that getting older is exactly what is happening.

Along with fall comes all kinds of fun activities around town. Fall festivals, apple picking, pumpkin picking, hay rides and so very much more. I am looking forward to the hiking that we will do this fall and the trips to see the leaves change in the mountains (which I missed the last couple of years due to working a lot).  Pictures of the kids on said hikes and grabbing another family pic here or there.

As far as homeschool I’m putting together some fun fall crafts for the kids to do along with some recipes for home economics as well. As an update my girls are doing really well in school this year. Seems like we are finally overcoming some “difficulties” that we have been struggling with in several areas. We are really excited about where we are headed in our school journey and even though we still are having difficulties we are overcoming them and comprehension of the issues is very important. My two high school students are finding that the majority of their school work is really not as bad as they thought even though math can cause some challenges. However they are discovering that they are actually understanding it so much more now. My 5th grader has progressed quite a bit in her struggling area, so much so we are going to add another area to focus on as well.

I’m excited to see where the girls will go from here on out. Plus they are helping me so much more and I’m seeing some independence starting to show up in each of them.

Now here is a look to the future of some book reviews I’ve got coming up. I just can’t stop reading and I want to share them with you. As well as some books I have read or am reading for my own personal time.

Book Reviews Coming:

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Books read so far this year (for personal reasons):

You can also see what we are reading personally, for review, or in our school by following me on GoodReads.

So tell me what is currently on your “night stand”?

(There are no affiliate links in this post. All links are just to share with you so you can find the books online and read their summary. I will make no money if you click on the links.)

Oh and add the dates October 11th-17th to your calendar. Over at my Facebook page. I am hosting an event in celebration of the Adventure Bible’s 25th Anniversary. ZonderKidz is giving away a prize pack full of fun goody’s to one of my readers/fans. So head over and RSVP to join this week long celebration and find out how you can enter to win.

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Hiking in East TN and other stuff

I love where we live now. The beauty of the mountains are right outside my window and the Great Smokey Mountains park is about an hour drive from me. You know what that means? It means hiking more is what we are doing. That is one of our family’s favorite past times. Over the past few weeks since I am home full time again we have taken the opportunity to do more stuff with friends and even just with the five of us to be a family. We used to do it all the time and then our situation dictated that a change needed to be made and so, certain things had to be put on the back burner. But God opened the door for us to start becoming more active again. And I must say, I have missed this time with my family and friends.

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This past weekend we went hiking at the Laurel Falls trail in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. It was beautiful. First off let me say that its going to take some time for us to get back into hiking shape so we started with a shorter trail. It’s a 2.5 mile hike. It was invigorating. Seeing the gorgeous mountain views was breath taking. In a few weeks those same views will be full of fall color.  I can’t wait to go back and get more photo’s then. The falls was really pretty and Andy saw the back side of a bear as he was walking up the trail away from us. The kids and I didn’t see it but our friend and his son did.

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We spent the day hiking with some dear friends and then had a relaxing picnic lunch grilling at one of the beautiful picnic areas next to the water. It was so much fun. I forgot how much fun it was to relax and just enjoy fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ. These are the times that refresh the body and soul.

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Boo enjoyed a sleep over with our friends daughter and the other two came home with us and we had a relaxing evening at home. Geek Girl passed out in the car. I can’t say that I didn’t blame her because I was ready to do the same.

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I hope you enjoy the photos from our weekend get away and if you want to see what else is up with us you can follow me on instagram. Where I post pictures of our family adventures, inspirations and lots more fun stuff.  I also got my hubby hooked on instagram. Head over to his profile and let him know I sent you.

And remember you can pick up your very own copy of my devotional book Simple Devotions for Women.  It would make a great stocking stuffer for all the ladies in your life.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies & Cade’s Cove

This past week my family and I got to go on a little field trip not to far away from home. We were blessed with tickets to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies located in Gatlinburg, TN and decided to make a day of it.

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This was our first time at this particular aquarium. I love learning and my kids enjoy seeing new animals. So this was a fun experience had by all. The aquarium only takes a couple hours to go through unless you stop for some of the classes/shows that they have throughout the day. We got the opportunity to pet different sea creatures as well as observe different ones as well. We pet a horseshoe crab. We let little fish feed off the dead skin on our hands. And we pet a manna ray. Boo wasn’t going for touching these creatures. And when the little fish were nibbling on my hand she was worried they would eat my rings. She was too cute. I think one of her favorite parts was the shark tunnel and the jellies.

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She absolutely hated the HUGE crab. I mean they were seriously HUGE about as big as me. Which is absolutely crazy. I had never seen a crab so big. Boo thought they looked like giant sea spiders and walked way around them to avoid them. Boo’s most favorite part was the penguins. Of course who doesn’t love penguins. That is one of Andy’s favorite creatures. They are so cute. But I think his love for the hose animals stems more from his love of the movie Mary Poppins than anything else. It was pretty cool that they had name bands on their arms. So you can actually see what each penguins name was.

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One of the most interesting creatures we saw was a Sea Dragon. I had never seen one before and it looked like a cross of a sea horse and some kind sea plant. It was super cool.

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After we spent a couple hours at the aquarium we headed down the road a ways and visited Cade’s Cove. In my memory this was the first time I had been there. Of course I may have been there as a kid and not remembered it since I lived in East TN for 8 years when I was a little girl.  Cade’s Cove is a really cool historic area of an old farming community.  It consists of  6+ cabins/homesteads, 3 churches and a mill (visitor center) and numerous walking/riding trails.

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The area is picturesque. It felt so tranquil. What I would not give to live in a place like that where you were surrounded by nature and nestled into a valley of the Great Smokey Mountains.  Even as overcast as the day was it was still beautiful and I can only imagine the scene with flowers blooming and the sun shining. Lucky for us the rain that threatened held off until the very last 15 minutes of our driving tour. Of course we got out and did view some of the cabins and churches. It would be pretty awesome to hike the cove though.

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On the drive to the cove Andy and I were talking and we both mentioned that we hoped we would see bears. That was the one thing I wanted to see more than anything, because I had never seen a bear in the wild. And God just showing us how much he cares even for the little things we ask provided that to us. We not only saw a bear we saw a mama bear and her cub about 30 feet below the road scrounging for food. She didn’t seem to mind that a number of people had pulled over to the side of the road and were taking her picture. She and her cub just went about their business. It was amazing. God is so amazing.

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If you are ever in East TN I highly recommend stopping in both places. It was an awesome Saturday.

Return to Fort Loudon

We had so much fun at Fort Loudon that we went back on a Garrison Day. It was so awesome. We went back in early November and it was a cold day. Here are a few pics and video of our time there.

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Boo carried the flag of the Fort for the soldiers. She did an awesome job. I was so proud of her.

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They went through the whole raising of the flag ceremony and then marched back down the hill and posed for pics with their honorary soldier for the day.

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Below is a video of the firing of a cannon while at the fort. Let me just say it was much louder and you could feel the concussion of the blast. It was pretty cool.

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While there we took a family pic. You just can’t pass up the scenery that we saw there. It was a perfect opportunity to see it.

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I hope you enjoyed this post. I’ve got some catching up to do so there will be several posts this week.

Field Trip Friday: Fort Loudon (a photo post)

We recently took a trip to a nearby state park where we got the opportunity to visit Fort Loudon. This is a fort that was originally built by the British forces from South Carolina to defend the western border of South Carolina during the French and Indian War. We watched a 30 minute documentary on the history of the fort and toured the small museum then we were able to walk out to the fort and look around. It’s in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains and oh what a view.

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