Friday, January 30, 2009


by Robin

People say that Florida doesn't have a change of season.... well, they are wrong. You can look at it one of two ways. We have nice, hot and hotter as seasons. That mostly comes from the mouths of those visiting from the North. But to those of us Floridians that have lived here several years or more, we have seen winter. Granted, I've never seen snow in Central FL, but some have. I have seen frost & hard freezes twice. So, we have winter but it only comes once every few years. LOL. Confused? Think of it as a "Leap" Winter.

Last week, we had 2 nights of hard freeze, resulting in damage to a handful of bushes & trees.



Basil........ hates cold weather.

Then, we had a pleasant weekend and I got inspired to fill up my main garden -- afterall, I could always cover it with a monster plastic tarp if we should get another freeze. (New section on the far left)

The wire is suppose to keep out puppies. Most the time, it does. (See the buried hose? That's new.)

This poor corner butterfly garden took a hard hit. I'll have to rework it and see if much is salvageable. It's so small, it's nice to rework plants & add more red mulch & edging in the spring.


It's been so dry around here for what seems like months that I finally invested in more hoses & sprinklers so we could survive until the rain kicked in late April/May. My garden loves me!


Yesterday, Orlando hit a record high of 85 and Melbourne a record of 87!!! Well, all that heat brought on afternoon t-storms, which was so good for my soul and the little plants. I missed hearing rain. Today, we had another ince of a good soaking. Behind all good winter rain (in FL) is a cold front. How could we be at 85-87 deg yesterday and only 58 today!! Tomorrow night, we'll be back down to freezing and you guessed it, I'm going to drag out my tarp.


I have to cover or I'll lose some valuable stuff. I have a tomato a couple weeks away from turning red!! I'll announce some new additions to the big garden as they begin to break ground. I removed my stepping stones to make complete rows. Long rows. I'm so excited like a kid in a candy shop.

Stay tuned if you're a gardener.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009


by Robin

Schooling, on top of each other, in pajamas.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


.......Yep, they did!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
by Robin

We're going to state!! Or as they say on American Idol, "You're going to Hollywood!" Insert plenty of jumping, screaming, high-5's, smiles, more screams.

I'm not even sure that I have words at the moment to explain how deeply proud I am of my son, his team and our coaches. I'm going to let many pictures talk for themselves but then I've added some Scripture that I picked out the other night.

Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live. Prov 4:4

What a way to live!! First, we received this warm welcome from the hosting high school.

The Loot for the winners.

We weren't able to use the gymnasium because another event was coming in so we were in the cafeteria. Much smaller but we managed to survive the crowding, heat, body odor and nearly 2 hr award ceremony. (Talk about clausterphobia!!) Sea of parents, coaches, other competitors. Four tables are to the right. Two teams run at the same time while 2 other teams are setting up. Runs are 2.5 min long. Cameras record each round.

Yes, those are all teenagers who've eaten, breathed and slept Legos for many years. They are part of the high school leagues and they volunteer their time to judge & hold competitions for other leagues.

Here are our 2 boys on their 2nd round, discussing levees and points. I'm very proud of my son. The judge accidentally awarded the team an extra 5 pts they hadn't earned and "Simon Peter" pointed that out to him. You can see in one of the two pictures that the other teammate is actually slightly frustrated about the loss of points; however, it was the right thing to do. (Edited: I may be wrong. I could have been the 3rd round where they had the levee discussion. I'm pretty certain I was standing here for 2nd round though.)


At the end of Round 2, my girlfriend, Pam, came and got me to show me the scores. We're Team 2307 in 2nd place. (left column) The problem is that we did not receive a 225, we got a 245!! Thank goodness that all runs are taped and subject to review. The young boy on the right, above, approached his coach and then the Supervising Adult Judge who reviewed the video. After review, the number was changed. Yeah!! Now, that put us into 2nd place Performance of Robot after the 2nd round.

The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it. Prov 10:22


After 3rd round, the kids were much more careful to pick through all their points before signing the sheet. Thankfully, this was a much nicer judge than the first judge we had (twice).


Here are the participatory medals for all the teams & their members. The judges each got one as well. Our host team/judges are the Pinks Team, hence the pink ribbons.

I have video of the awards ceremony and you can see them receiving their awards on another post in the future, but for now, here are the Thunderbricks with their 1st place Performance Robot Award. We creeped by our competition, Team DNA on the 3rd round by 10 points. Then, we were surprised by a 2nd place award for Technical work. YEAH! This automatically qualifies us for advancing onto the State Tournament finals.

TEAM DNA won the overall Championship award. We scored unusually low in our Teamwork portion and hence, it pulled down our overall score. Plus, our coaches said that each team is only allowed 2 trophies. DNA took 2nd place in Performance and so this was their 2nd trophy. We'll be seeing them again in a month.


Blessed are the people of whom this is true; blessed are the people whose God is the LORD. Psalm 144:15


The proverbs of Solomon: A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother. Prov 10:1

Here is our son, bringing us much joy!!!

Sometimes next week, I'll organized and upload video of Saturday's competition. Right now, I'm going to head to the garden to put in a semi-sprinkler system.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


by Robin

This Christmas, we received a lovely gift from my sister. It's called the Biblical Garden. This is very cool because it encompasses our love for gardening and the Bible.Photobucket

Everything comes with it but the water.Photobucket

You simply set up the dome, put a little peat moss in there, add seeds and wait for them to sprout.

We're about 10 days - 2 wks into it and so far we have a few things breaking ground.

Mustard seed broke ground first.

Then Hyssop

Then Joseph's Coat named after the boys with a coat of many colors.

Last for us was aloe which is cool because I've always wanted to grow aloe and wasn't successful with a cutting.

Because the frost was coming, my senior friend from church called me up to come get cuttings of her geraniums. I guess they're easy to start..... just stick them in dirt. I'd like to surround my pool decking with these vibrant colors. (This is not a product endorsement for Smart Balance, but if somebody from there should happen to see this picture, please leave a comment and I'll give you my address to send more tubs of it.)

This is just an extra photo. I'm not sure what type of cactus this is. It's soft & rubbery. I cut a lot of them back before they bloomed so this is the only flower I have. I can tell you that when you hit one with a lawn mower, you'll have a hundred babies all around. They are prolific!

Have a blessed weekend. We're at competition. I'll post results within 24 hrs after we know them.

Friday, January 23, 2009

DOG DAYS..... of Winter

by Robin

My friend Angela posted about her newly adopted girl, Pixie, on her daddy's lap while taking a car ride. Well, that got me to thinking about how our 7 mo Chihuahua pups sometimes pile up on their daddy.

And then that led me to this photo of Captain on "Andrew".

Which led me to the photo of when the pups were piled up on my lap. Tiki (little brown spotted one) has a gross habit of cleaning out Captain's ear most nights. He is chowing down too. There isn't a light cleaning. He's going for the gold down deep in the ears. It makes us all cringe! He is totally unashamed of his position as ear cleaner. (Probably because eating cat poo is his other dinner of choice.)

Meat is another thing they both enjoy. Look at Tiki smacking his lips! Cute. Don't look at the baseboards..... they've enjoying eating wood all fall/winter, too. They're pretty much piranhas.

Have a great weekend!! We're off to our Regional competition for Lego League. Pray we head off to state competition! Please. The host city happens to be in our county so that would be perfect.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

29 degrees

by Robin

And still dropping..........

We shall see on Friday what is left of the garden after two nights of this. We're running the pool filter to prevent freezing pipes from bursting.

Boy, I wish we had some rain about now. My kids barely remember snow from their 10 mo in Alabama.


You may NOT want to turn up your speakers but rather set them to a lower setting. Andrew screams to excite the dogs.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


The fabulous Roda's House tagged me and instructed me to do the following:

1. Go to the 4th folder in your computer where you store your pictures.
2. Pick the 4th picture in that folder.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag 4 people to do the same! (any readers feel free to do the same)

This is a picture of our Mako 248. It was under my 2008 folder, boat folder, the day Jack put Glyde Sticks onto the old trailer. I was goofing off and taking pics of our boat while it stayed tied to the dock.

But wait, there's more! Roda tagged me to answer some interesting questions, too.

8 TV shows I watch: (in no particular order)

1. American Idol

2. Sponge Bob

3. iCarly

4. Time Warp

5. Planet Earth

6. Blue Planet

7. How it's Made

8. Drake and Josh

8 Favorite Restaurants

1. Grills - seafood

2. Laggoonz - crab shack

3. Chilis - fahitas

4. Taco Bell - 7 layer burrito minus the dairy

5. Chinese (around the corner from Publix)

6. Pizza Hut

7. Your Place (country cooking, owned by friends)

8. Cracker Barrel - Big salad w/ grilled chicken on top

8 Things that Happened to me Today (really this week because it's early)

1. Talked with Mom about the inauguration

2. Fertilized the garden

3. Watched "Waterhorse" the other night. (nice family movie)

4. Trying Coffee-mate Vanilla Chai creamer with my coffee. Interesting.

5. Set out lasagna for dinner.

6. My homeschool ladies fellowship mtg was cancelled for tonight. Dreaded cold season.

7. Got up earlier than expected and did some dusting & window/mirror cleaning (this is an exception, not the rule)

8. Will watch the inauguration at noon!! Watched Eisenhower's inauguration ceremony & speech yesterday online. (history comparison lesson)

8 Things I Look Forward To:

1. This weekend's Lego League Regional competition

2. My first semi-solo at the new church

3. Cobia season

4. Parents coming down to visit

5. Birth of a new niece

6. Swimming in the pool

7. Scalloping this year for the first time ever.

8. Reading more books this year

8 Things I Wish for:
(Wish, as used in the Bible, means to "wait with expectation" like, I wish Spring will come. I know it will happen, and I am waiting with expectation for that event to occur!)

1. My boys to appreciate each other & earnestly attack their school day.

2. To be a better wife & mother

3. Finishing our school year

4. Our new President to lead with wisdom from God

5. Jack to get his dream bull dolphin

6. My puppies to finally stop teething, barking at the wind, be able to hold their bladders for several hours, stop fighting with each other.

7. Good hair days

8. Peace, joy & long lives for all my family & friends

I'm suppose to tag 8 readers... let me see here...

1. Renee

2. The Narrow Path

3. Angela (lots of good food here)

4. Steph's Little corner

5. Crowz Nest - Ginny

6. Knatolee (Happy Birthday Gordon)

7. Courtney - my cuz

8. Blessed Southern Gal - Joy

Saturday, January 17, 2009

We ruled at Apollo!!

by Robin¤t=ac68c084.pbr if the above video doesn't work.

They ended up winning the Performance & Research trophies today. They scored 225 pts on their 3rd & 4th runs. (in video above)


Friday, January 16, 2009

21st Century Children

by Robin

In our spelling test today, Andrew got the word /wee/ as in "The wee baby crawls along the ground."

Well, Andrew knew that it couldn't possible be the /we/ as in "We are going fishing today." So, he dug deep into the recesses of his brain and pulled out /wii/.

I guess when your young brain has been bombarded by advertising, especially holiday advertising, for the past few months, this is how you spell the unusual word.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

GARDEN REPORT - babies!!

by Robin

Florida's winters are its dry season, so gardeners have to be extra diligent to water as if we were in the middle of summer when we get daily thunderstorms. I have found that the more I up my water supply, the happier things are getting. Oh and those seeds I planted prior to NYE, they decided they would stop being dormant and pop out.

Here is my second Big Boy tomato baby that's arriving. I love this delicate stage where the bloom hasn't fallen off yet but there is something growing. Notice, there is one on the stalk behind (left) of it.

Below is my first and biggest Big Boy tomato. These seeds were sitting around in the shed, I found them and planted them in late August, I think. Wow, I can't believe it won't be long for our first tomato, if nothing else eats or kills it first. The size is close to a golf ball.

Here is my first baby cherry tomato blooming. I'm sooo thankful for this because it means I can stop buying so many big toms at the store to brighten up my regular salads. All of my plants have blooms and seem happy.

I know this is hard to see, but my intention is to show you a row of baby Sweet Bell Pepper plants. These were seeds I saved & dried from last year's crop. I should have plenty to choose from this spring. I have 4 rows of these (bed is about 6 ft long).

Here is a close-up of one of the babies.

I totally forgot to get pictures of my baby spinch, but they're happy clams too. I did not neglect to take photos of my bunching onions. It seems like my packet had twice as many seeds as last year's packet. The fall seedlings are by the house and the NYE seedlings are just breaking ground in the front. There is a misplaced baby cherry tomato in the middle. I may let that stay if it promises not to interfere with the light of the onions too much.

Oh and this is my new treat. My first time growing leeks. They are to the right of the bunching onions and there is no mistaking that they're gonna be bigger. They're still smaller than a pencil diameter but I can see signs that they'll be there soon.

Ok, this is my pathetic picture of the week. On the left is my Flat-Leaf Italian parsley. Right is thyme, which is in recovery mode. I have no idea why the parsley died other than to reason that it is an annual plant. I'm very thankful that I saved many of her babies, which are just out of picture range. I'll have to remember to save this fall's seeds & babies.

Here is a pic of the parsley just a month or so ago. See how it just up & died on me? I may end up filling the space with another herb. So many herbs, so little time.... or is that recipes.
My 3rd garden is going to be worked on when I get a minute this week or next weekend. Weeds are growing crazy and the cukes have died. My bean seedlings never sprouted, which is weird and my pepper bushes need trimming. I see a lot of blooms on them.

I know the rest of the world is feeling the artic blast, but this is a great time for planting in Florida. We are going to have 30's to 50's this week, but nothing in the freezing range for too long. My coast will probably never see freezing temps. The days are getting longer and it shows with lots of green in the yard. Even the grass seems happier. We finally had our long-awaited for rain today. I know it must seem crazy to the upper 47 states, but those of us living in the sub-tropical climate are seeing pollen season beginning. Yes, we washed cars this week and I could clearly see pollen!

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


by Robin


Morning steam off the pool. We reached 41 deg last night, maybe lower. (Ignore the green bottom)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Message by Robin

"In this no-fault age where seared consciences are mass produced by public education, we have already seen two or three generations come to adulthood having been thoroughly indoctrinated with the kind of self-esteemism that deliberately teaches them to believe they are never actually in the wrong, no matter what." (Pg 178 Quoted from a book , titled above, written by John MacArthur)

This post's message isn't to slam public school students but rather to illustrate one of the reasons why we felt God called us to homeschooling.

"Tale of Two Sons" breaks down the parable of the Prodigal son. The younger prodigal son is living in open rebellion. The father represents Christ Jesus. The elder son lived in secretive rebellion, being a hypocrite. He parallels the life of the Pharisees, which kept the law but had no tender heart for Jesus. Infact, they wanted to catch Jesus doing something wrong in order to murder him. Eventually, that crowd got their way.

It was God's will for our lives to take our children away from the crowds and let them live like individuals. Grow as individuals in their talents & gifts and sometimes pay the consequence of sin, as individuals. Afterall, when we die, we have to give account for our lives, as individuals. How can they learn this if they never get busted because they're hiding in a crowd? Or if we have teachers, God bless them, who are unable to discipline properly because of the pressure of political correctness. (don't get me started on that!)

It was important to Jack and I that our children learn about God & His Word. Their character would be better for it and they would understand things like sin, humility, selflessness and compassion on a regular basis, so that when pride & hypocracy hit them in the face, it would stink. I'm not saying that it can't be done in a public school environment, but it would be very hard to overcome that crowd mentality especially by middle school age. The elder brother in the parable of the Prodigal son (Luke 15:29-30) was jealous and filled with hatred toward his father although he never showed his rebellion openly. He finally snapped when the father forgave the openly rebellious son and threw him a party but the elder brother, who looked good on the outside, couldn't have a party with his friends. We didn't want "snapped". We saw "snapped" on the news at 6pm and it wasn't pretty. We saw "snapped" with the scribes and Pharisees who killed an innocent man, a Saviour, God clothed in humanity.

How can we ever teach our children that even their best work is filthy rags (Isa 64:6) when compared to God's perfection? We cannot work our way to heaven. Only Jesus' perfect sinless sacrifice can justify the ungodly (Rom 3:26). We have to admit we are sinners and head for home, like the Prodigal son. Only then will the Father come running to greet us, kiss our necks, give us a ring & robe and kill the fattened calf to celebrate and make merry (Luke 15). Oh what a day of rejoicing that will be!!

For us, it started with faith in God's will for us to be homeschooling. And I have been blessed beyond measure that both my boys have run to the Father in heaven. Jesus loves them and has justified them.

A good book to read on this subject is "Shepherding the Heart of a Child" by Ted Tripp.

Friday, January 2, 2009


Today is Jack and my 16th anniversary.

Baby, I love you sooooooo much and you know me so well. Thank you for my gift & very perfect card.