May Peace Prevail on Earth

While self-reflecting on this bright, sunny Autumn morning, I thought of peace. May Peace prevail on earth.

AMAZING PEACE by Maya Angelous

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.

At first it is too soft.

Then only half heard.

We listen carefully as it gathers strength.

We hear a sweetness.

The word is Peace.

It is loud now.

Louder than the explosion of bombs.

We tremble at the sound.

We are thrilled by its presence.

It is what we have hungered for.

Not just the absence of war.

But true Peace.

A harmony of spirit, and comfort of courtesies.

Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.

We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and Nonbelievers,

Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.


We look at each other, then into ourselves,

And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation:

Peace, My Brother.

Peace, My Sister.

Peace, My Soul.

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Aran Cabled Shrug 90% completed

No such luck... I didn't get to work on the shrug as planned on the 2-hour scenic drive to home yesterday. Instead, we had thought-provoking discussions over articles published in HEM recently. Some were meaningful, insightful, some we couldn't relate, and others were too radical even for us to digest.

Despite somewhat busy morning with dh leaving for 10 days, I managed to knit a few more rows. The shrug begins to take its shape and form. DD#1 can't wait for its completion. It would complement her fishy costume, I guess.

The pattern called for 11 skeins of Crystal Palace Kaya Wool. Instead, I bought 9 skeins of Trendsetter Granito #9 Floral Multi, knitted with size a 10.5 circular needle. I am down to 2 skein left with a partial sleeve and the band to complete. That is probably enough as I plan to knit the collar and band with Bernat bamboo yarns. Itchiness caused by wool does not appeal to our 11 year-old. Who would blame her? The bulky plied wool shrug, in random shade throughout, will be fun-to-wear for the cold months ahead.

P.S. The color palette is actually much more pale than as pictured.

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OOOOOOPS...I left all my business attires behind!!!!

After a long morning of cuddles, hugs, kisses, fussing over what to bring, loading the station wagon, breaking the coffee carafe to take on the trip...dh finally drove off the driveway, headed out of town around noon to Phoenix, Arizon. An hour later, while the sun finally made its way peeking through the gloomy sky, dh called. "Guess what? I left all the business clothes (included the ones I had to iron at 11 pm last night) on the dining chair. Only stuff packed in the car is my t-shirts and sweats!" Comically, you say. This is a relatively important trip of the year; a "make or break it" type of business trip. So be it...dh is not about to turn around. Here I'm pondering on whether or not to pack all the stuff left behind and ship it to him overnight! Then, again, if he were a female, he could welcome such opportunity to buy a new wardrobe...surprise me, hon!
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We Met Jeff Hopkins, a children illustrator today!

Seriously...we met a master illustrator and storyteller, Jeff Hopkins, this morning...on our virtual field trip. He shared some good tips on how to become an illustrator. Interested? Look no too may meet Jeff at Meet Me At Te Corner.

Want to make a video and don't know where to begin? Download this how-to video, courtesy of Meet Me At The Corner.
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Quandry or Opportunity? "I'm bored. There's nothing to do!"

"I'm bored. There's nothing to do!" Let's take a closer look...Next time, when your precious one whines, try not to belittle him/her with "What do you mean you're bored", "Clean your room then", or "I can find million things for you to do! In short, these are all powerful quandaries that impede our intimate relationships with our children.

What were we thinking? Yes, we have been guilty of such disrespectful acts. Our family has bad days. We like to think we aren't alone in our predicament. Homeschooling is not an idyll of familial harmony. Specifics of others' bad days may be different than ours; we all have them. They are the days when siblings are quarrelsome and cranky instead of collaborative and compassionate...
chores unfinished...more spills...more Yu-gi-Oh/Pokemon cards laying around and ruined...more laundries...more pine needles and cones on the yard...more DIY and non DIY repair...we wish no one drops by unexpected or uninvited because the house is not as tidy as we'd like...we wonder Are we trodding the road less traveled or just running amok!

In reading Sandra Dodd's insightful article
Bored No More, we're reminded of the reasons why we engaged in attached/grace-based parenting, whole-life, law of attraction journey. Long time ago, we learned a new paradigm: we can enjoy being with our children. What a foreign concept to many! We, evolved to-date as Radical Unschoolers, believe we are born to CELEBRATE, HONOR, and SUPPORT one another. We prefer to use RESPECT, TRUST, FREEDOM, PEACE and JOY in our lives with our children instead of the cultural norm of control, guilt, coercion, rules, and punishment.

Next time one of our children
has an episode of "I'm bored!", we'll be sure to welcome such learning opportunity.
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No Thank You, We Don't Believe in Socialization

Has the S word made your skin crawl? Have you or are you struggling with addressing the issue? Have you been questioned, challenged, confronted by loved ones, relatives, and friends and/or struggling with how to address the issue?

dh was cornered at a football game just this past Saturday. An helpful article written by Lisa Russell, a Generation X homeschooling mom/writer, came in quite timely and handy. Be sure to check out
No Thank You, We Don't Believe in Socialization, published in recent Home Educator's Family Times Newsletters.

Joyfulness is palpable in our lives...Joy in being together, joy in being with children, children’s joy in finding others who loved what they do, joy in feeling and being FREE. Our “LIFE is Good” means "Learning/Living In Freedom Everyday.”
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Exploding Comet 17P/Holmes Can Be Seen with Naked Eye Tonight, Oct. 29, 2007

Take a glimpse of this way cool, amazing Comet 17P/Holmes. More photos taken around the world recently may be viewed here. Our favorite view was taken in France. We'll be having our science observation tonight over home-brewed hot choco. Who said learning has to be conducted between 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (varies from district to district?)

Space Weather News for Oct. 29, 2007 Last week, Comet 17P/Holmes shocked sky watchers around the world with a sudden million-fold increase in brightness. It literally exploded into view, rapidly becoming a naked eye "star" in the constellation Perseus. Since then, the comethas expanded dramatically. It is now physically larger than the planet Jupiter and subtends an angle in the night sky similar to the Moon's Sea of Tranquility, the right eye of the "Man in the Moon." Photographers, this amazing comet is an excellent target for off-the-shelf digital cameras and backyard telescopes. It grows visibly from night to night and no one knows how large it will become. Stay tuned to for sky maps and the latest images.

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Spent a relaxing afternoon at Wave Pool in Thurston, OR, Oct. 28, 2007

This is our kids' favorite pool to visit when at Grandma Barbara's--Wave Pool in Thurston. It was just perfect, carefree afternoon. The pool wasn't even crowded. It was worth passing over The Mushroom Festival after all...

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Knitted Projects - finished and work in progress

In addition to a few knitted projects completed, here is a couple of pictures of the Aran Cabled Shrug I am working on for DD#1--beautiful as I envisioned it. I'm on Day 3 and hope to finish it today on my ride home from Eugene!

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The Miracle Worker performed by B.E.A.T. on Oct. 26, 2007

It was another beautiful FALL day. COOL families, 30 moms and kids of all ages, met at Starbuck at 9:00 am as planned. We lined up orderly, outside of Tower Theatre, behind another homeschool group, awaiting patiently for admission. We were seated by 9:20 a.m., ready for the performance by talented B.E.A.T. cast in association with the Heller Keller Foundation and The Tower Theatre Foundation. The show started promptly at 9:30 a.m. The script is based on "The Miracle Worker", written by William Gibson and directed by Mary Kilpatrick.

What a great performance it was! I couldn't help to cry towards the end of the show :0( I thought B.E.A.T. cast did an outstanding job in carrying out the theme. Next performance "The Wonderful Life" by the group is scheduled in November (set date TBA) and I've reserved a block for COOL. Stay tuned for next review...

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COOL Whoo-Hoo Potluck at Higher Ground, Oct. 20, 2007

Another fun day/evening hanging out with our COOL friends at Higher Ground, a local co-housing community.

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March of Dimes' Jail N Bail on Oct. 18, 2007

Chris Huyett, a local resident/advocate for March of Dimes, was desperately looking for volunteers to help at a local fundraiser two days before the event. This is one of the two biggest March of Dimes fundraisers of the year. Finding people with generous heart to donate money has not been difficult. Chris can't seem to find anyone who has time to spare. So, we RUers rose to the occasion and (selfishly) share that homeschoolers are great assets to our community/society.

The Peery clan welcomed such opportunity. We recruited another COOL friend, Katherine A, for the good cause. The fundraiser was held at Scanlons in Athletic Club of Bend, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. As "wardens" and "clerks of the court", we fingerprinted and took mugshots of the "jailbirds." Jailbirds were turned in by their anonymous friends or relatives and found "guilty" of "crimes" committed. They needed to raise "bail money" in an hour in order to get out of "prison." It's hilarious to listen into the telephone conversations "jailbirds" made to their friends and families...just picture the recipents' expressions on the other side of the line! Nokia cellular phones were provided. However, most "jailbirds" use their personal phones. Bell was rung when a "jailbird" raised over $1000; there were a few. Throughout the day, Chris was interviewed by two local reporters; the fundraiser event was filmed. Last year, Jail N Bail raised over $37,000 to help save babies from prematurity. This year, its goal was to reach $40,000.

All and all, we had fun helping. Plus, as members of Athletic Club of Bend, we ventured into some water fun at the indoor pool after a long-day of hard work.

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COOL KID'S CLUB taken on Oct. 15 & 17, 2007

A typical day of FREE "Day CARE" running out of a home in a CONCERNED golf community!!! Imagine that...HeeHee

More COOL Kid's Club photos will be forthcoming. Stay tuned...

OOOOH, COOL stands for "CENTRAL OREGON OPEN LEARNERS, our local unschooling families in Bend, Oregon.

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12 Exercises for Mindful Parenting

What if we substitute “child” with “partner” employing these 12 concious living exercises… hope you find it as useful as we do…

by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn
See Myla’s and Jon’s web site at

With these meditative techniques, raising children can be a spiritual practice.

  1. Try to imagine the world from your child’s point of view, purposefully letting go of your own. Do this every day for at least a few moments to remind you of who this child is and what he or she faces in the world.
  2. Imagine how you appear and sound from your child’s point of view, i.e., having you as a parent today, in this moment. How might this modify how you carry yourself in your body and in space, how you speak, and what you say? How do you want to relate to your child in this moment?
  3. Practice seeing your children as perfect just the way they are. See if you can stay mindful of their sovereignty from moment to moment, and work at accepting them as they are when it is hardest for you to do so.
  4. Be mindful of your expectations of your children and consider whether they are truly in your child’s best interest. Also, be aware of how you communicate those expectations and how they affect your children.
  5. Practice altruism, putting the needs of your children above your own whenever possible. Then see if there isn’t some common ground, where your true needs can also be met. You may be surprised at how much overlap is possible, especially if you are patient and strive for balance.
  6. When you feel lost, or at a loss, remember to stand still and meditate on the whole by bringing your full attention to the situation, to your child, to yourself, to the family. In doing so, you may go beyond thinking, even good thinking, and perceive intuitively, with the whole of your being, what needs to be done. If that is not clear in any moment, maybe the best thing is to not do anything until it becomes clearer. Sometimes it is good to remain silent.
  7. Try embodying silent presence. This will grow out of both formal and informal mindfulness practice over time if you attend to how you carry yourself and what you project in body, mind, and speech. Listen carefully.
  8. Learn to live with tension without losing your own balance. In Zen and the Art of Archery, Herrigel describes how he was taught to stand at the point of highest tension effortlessly without shooting the arrow. At the right moment, the arrow mysteriously shoots itself. Practice moving into any moment, however difficult, without trying to change anything and without having to have a particular outcome occur. Simply bring your full awareness and presence to this moment.Practice seeing that whatever comes up is “workable” if you are willing to trust your intuition. Your child needs you to be a center of balance and trustworthiness, a reliable landmark by which he or she can take a bearing within his or her own landscape. Arrow and target need each other. They will find each other best through wise attention and patience.
  9. Apologize to your child when you have betrayed a trust in even a little way. Apologies are healing. An apology demonstrates that you have thought about a situation and have come to see it more clearly, or perhaps more from your child’s point of view. But be mindful of being “sorry” too often. It loses its meaning if you are always saying it, making regret into a habit. Then it can become a way not to take responsibility for your actions. Cooking in remorse on occasion is a good meditation. Don’t shut off the stove until the meal is ready.
  10. Every child is special, and every child has special needs. Each sees in an entirely unique way. Hold an image of each child in your heart. Drink in their being, wishing them well.
  11. There are important times when we need to be clear and strong and unequivocal with children. Let this come as much as possible out of awareness, generosity, and discernment, rather than out of fear, self-righteousness, or the desire to control. Mindful parenting does not mean being overindulgent, neglectful, or weak; nor does it mean being rigid, domineering, and controlling.
  12. The greatest gift you can give your child is your self. This means that part of your work as a parent is to keep growing in self-knowledge and awareness. This ongoing work can be furthered by making a time for quiet contemplation in whatever ways feel comfortable to us. We only have right now. Let us use it to its best advantage, for our children’s sake, and for our own.

    Mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn is the author of Wherever You Go, There You Are. Myla Kabat-Zinn has worked as a childbirth educator, birthing assistant, and environmental activist. Excerpted from Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting. Copyright 1997 by Myla Kabat-Zinn and Jon Kabat-Zinn.
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Halloween "Treat" Ideas

It's only 6 days away...Check out this site for great nonfood Halloween ideas!

This site was created this year. Whole Foods in Seattle is working with webmama to get the program up and running. Let your Whole Foods (if you've one here you) know about the site and that you are interested in this for your area next year. The webmama has volunteered ALL of her time and energy to this project, meaning she is getting no compensation. However, she's in the process of making this a non-profit for the future. Her husband says, "You're working awfully hard to earn other people (the companies of the candy alternatives) money!"

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Harry Potter Friendship Lessons

I just did this really cool quiz on Which Harry Potter character are you? And here's the result:

Pretty cool huh? I really liked the new movie. From day one, I'm and have been a big fan because I think it teaches us a lot about friends. Friends really stick out for each other and are there for each other through thick and thin. Sometimes I feel out of this world facing my own monsters and challenges. But, with friends, I feel differently because we may face it all together. It's less of a burden.

"True wealth can not be found in your bank account. It can only be found in those you call friend. Those with whom you share your deepest feelings. And those who accept you for who you really are."~~Mary Vandergrift

"A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities."~~William Arthur Ward

Recently J.K. Rowling revealed that the Harry Potter saga was inspired by Christianity. This is no surprise, really, if she'd said different I'd have had to call bull pucky. It's the great battle between good and evil, the forces gather on each side, alliances are formed, there are betrayals, innocent ones die. And then Rowling announced that Dumbledore was gay. And for some great reason, I was not surprised. It fit just fine the way she'd written it in the book. He's an old, single man and the only real infatuation we read about is with a young man from his past. It fit. Now you're probably wondering why I am so fond of not only a book that some say promotes witchcraft, but also of a gay character. I have no good answers for you other than a) I don't think it promotes witchcraft and b) if God wanted me to worry so much about homosexuality, I think he might have listed it in the top ten. But back to Rowling...I think the reason that I was not surprised by either is because that's the beauty of well crafted backstory. It's there, but you don't see it; it's woven so faintly into the tapestry like a pale blue thread--you only pick up on it when held up to another blue cloth. Then you see it there and think "oh yes, of course that fits perfectly"

Have you seen the Lego HP spoof? You gotta check it out 'cuz it's soooooooo funny.
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COOL Kid's Club ventured out to Pageant Park today.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.~~Albert Camus

Another warm, sunny Indian-summer morning, instead of meeting at our garage, COOL Kid's Club ventured out to Pageant Park (between Drake and Harmon Parks.) It was just the right size of kids (not the typical 20 to 30 kids) for me to manage. There were Bennett, Chloe, Katherine, Peter, Sam, Ryan, and our three kids. Passerbys thought we were celebrating a birthday.

Harmon Park is a few steps away, right next to Pageant Park. The kids ran joyfully around open field and played "tag." Afterwards, they raked up fallen leaves and one-by-one piled them over the kids. They heard and felt leaves crunch under their feets and took in the beauty of fall colors with their bodies, from head to toes. Pageant Park, the smallest park in town, was a good place to take in the sights of the season. I just wish I remembered to put the memory card back in my digital camera!!!! There were many picture-perfect moments/opportunities I could've photos to share with you today.

Bend is taking on an amazing transformation right now. Whether we're hiking along a trail, driving through Oregon's back roads or cruising along its major highways, leaves of big leaf maple, dogwood, red alder, vine maple--all catch our eye with their brilliant colors and hues~~red, yellow, and sometimes pink vine maple, yellow western larch, willow, aspen, cottonwood, Bronze oaks, and a lot more-–including the omnipresent evergreens.

This is time of year often generates questions especially from kids "Why do leaves change color, anyway?" Here is one of the answers we found in our search: "The leaves of deciduous trees change color each fall due to a combination of environmental factors. During the summer months, a leaf is green because of the tree is making chlorophyll through the process of photosynthesis. As day length wanes in the fall and temperatures cool, photosynthesis begins to shut down, revealing "the natural color pigments of the leaves"--what we know as fall colors. Cool nights combined with dry, bright sunny days make for the best colors.

There you have it...another day of our revolutionary, fascinating science expedition.
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Swirl socks for Mom and MIL…and you?

A blog friend "sulala" knitted these beautiful swirly socks for Socktoberfest using Cider Moon “Glacier” in Pistachio. The yarn is so beautiful and squishy.

The colors were showcased with these swirls but don’t detract from the beauty of simple stockinette. The pattern shows off the DK weight and rich colors with some pizzazz. It reminds me a lot of Cat Bordhi's Coriolis socks in her latest book. I'm inspired to cast on a pair as I am going through second sock syndrome; employing my favorite seamless toes-up technique by Judy Becker's Magic Cast-On. Now, decision...decision...would I find the right yarns from my stash? Or do I need to head to the yarn shop?

Some day soon...I'll include all of my favorite links in my blog!

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Are you a Red Sox fan? Wanna-be? Future fan? Check out JOYOFSOX. The World Series kicks off tonight in the glorified landfill known as Fenway Park. The Red Sox comes off a drilling of the Indians 3 days ago to win Game 7. The Rockies have been off for 9 days, possibly killing any momentum or luck they had.

Who is going to win the Series--The Rockies or The Red Sox?
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Pumpkin Carving Fun hosted by Campfire COOL COUGARS 10.23.07

It was a gorgeous, Indian-summer day...perfect for pumpkin carving outdoor! Thanks, Erin Biskup & Myria Bury, our two local COOL moms, for the thoughtful planning. We LOVE Campfire!

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Parenting 101

If you respect your children, they will be respectful.
If you trust your children, they will be trustworthy.
If you are generous with your children, they will be generous.
If you are patient with your children, they will be patient.
If you model curiosity to your children, they will be curious.
If you are kind and gentle with your children, they will be kind and gentle.
We are easily conditioned.
But: If you are controlling of your children, they will rebel.
If you are disrespectful of your children, they will show no respect.
If you are distrusting of your children, they will lie and sneak.
If you are impatient with your children, they will dawdle.
If you force your children, they will resist.
If you are stingy with your children, they will steal.

This ain’t rocket science.
What kind of relationship are you looking for?
~~Kelly Lovejoy
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Chautauqua Unschooling Family Retreat, September 8-12, 2007

Chautauqua [shu - taw - kwa] Noun. Seneca name meaning child. An educational and recreational gathering lasting five days. Oregon Chautauqua, named after the original event in NY State, is held at an ocean retreat center near Lincoln City, Oregon.

At last, here is a fraction of the memorable photos taken sporadically during the 5-day family retreat.

There is nothing like it. Joy is manifest, everywhere. Imagine a place (with rustic log cabins, lodge, hiking trails, firepits, and a sandy beach) where children are treated with respect by adults, where needs are met without disapproving stares, where delightful people of all ages laugh, cry, dance, play ASSASSIN and other games, create, reunite with old friends and make new ones, confront their fears, act silly, talk politics, celebrate for who they are, line up orderly, volunteerily, felicitously for breakfast and dinner, eager to share their chore duties almost daily, visit one another at all hours, greet each other in their paths with smiles, help with each others’ kids, learn new ideas and put them to use right then, and feel completely at ease that this is a safe haven for kids with friends even if you have just met these strangers not too long ago.

Finally, parents are all in one place who understand that learning takes place in every situation, in different ways and resources. These are parents who actively practice to expand their horizons, to understand and discover on new levels, to watch and attest children as capable beings in making “good”, "right" choices for themselves.

Life is GOOD at Chautauqua! We look forward to our return for years to come.

Save the Date!
2008 Chautauqua: September 8 - 12, 2008

On a separate note, Oregon Homeschooler's Reunion will be on Saturday, August 30, 2008 at 12:30pm! Join us for a potluck in the park at Sellwood Park (SE 7th Ave & Miller St., Portland, OR 97202; click Here for a map.)

Bring your family, catch-up with old friends, and meet other alternatively schooled people. Afterwards, those who want to, may go out to a bar/coffee house/restaurant to party. This is a reunion for homeschooleers who are living post "schooling" lives and never stop learning. The goal is for homeschoolers, unschoolers, etc, to meet for a 10-year type reunion and see what other people in their situation are doing. The focus is on people who feel like they are now living adult lives: graduated college, living away from home, working full time, or any thing that makes you feel that you are grown up.

If you would like to attend, help, or otherwise get in contact with people, please email Katie at (replace the "at" with an @)

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Sleepin' w/The Sharks @Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, OR

A few of the wonders that attract visitors to Newport, Oregon: rugged beauty, fascinating marine life, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon Coast History Center, Newport Performing Arts Center, and historic lighthouses. That was not what drawn us to Newport this amazing weekend, April 21-22, 2007. We didn't even get to stroll through local art galleries let alone to enjoy a fresh-caught seafood meal with fine wines.

The kids and their friend, Irene Peaks, chaperoned by our friend Lynn Peaks, spent the evening with the sharks in the world-class Oregon Coast Aquarium, hosted by Campfire USA. Local sea life may be viewed both in- and outdoor. The inside galleries allow you to peer through viewing windows to observe jellyfish, salmon, and sturgeon in their natural habitats. "The Passages of the Deep" Exhibit permits you to walk through a clear underwater tunnel with 360-degree view of the creatures occupying 3 tanks. Tunnel sights include sharks swimming overhead/underfoot, and a sunken ship. Besides observing the antics of otters, seals, and sea lions as you wander through the aquarium's outdoor facilities you'll be met with delight by nature trails, a seabird aviary, a playground, and a picnic area.

While John (Lynn's husband) stayed at a waterfront hotel in the next town, dh and I stayed at a Travelodge in Newport. We spent next day (Sunday) together with The Peaks playing on the beach during low-tides. We wouldn't have planned better to visit 'cuz so happened it was the lowest tide ever, blessed with impeccable warm day. The kids didn't mind getting soak n wet. By 10 pm, they were sad to part from their friend while The Peaks stayed for another day. We did promise to return for an exhilarating coastal adventure. The Andersons recommended the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Nye Beach. It is known as "a hotel for book lovers." The rooms are named after such authors as Mark Twain, Dr. Seuss, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Allan Poe... With no phones or televisions, this cozy hotel is a great place to enjoy a quiet, relaxing getaway. Challenge: Can we be relaxed with 3 energizing kids?

The kids' photos were taken by Monica of Campfire and others by me. More will be uploaded when we locate the missing CD.

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Deschutes County Fair in Redmond, OR (August 2, 2007)

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DD#2 celebrated her 9th Birthday @Soba Noodle, downtown Bend!

It's better late than never...We're playing catch-up with sorting out/organizing all the past photos taken. Here are a few pictures We managed to capture on July 21, 2007.

If memory serves us well...DD#2 was surprised, thrilled, and ecstatic about how we celebrated her special day! Special THANKS to our dear friends, M, B, Mommy P and Daddy M who share these happy memories with us.
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YouTube stuff to appeal to Generation Xers

Generation X...followed the babyboomers. We found some spoofs of Schoolhouse Rock that should appeal to the cynic in all of us:

Dyfunction Junction:

Public School House Rock:

And who else remembers Time for Timer??

How did we live before YouTube?

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Celine Dion "I'm Alive"

A toss up between Faith Hill and Celine Dion...well, the sun is smiling...the branches are swaying...and we feel ALIVE. So, Celine it is!

Full Post Here's McKayla's 11th Birthday Party slide, taken on July 21, 2007

Friends help you "weather" the storms and enjoy the sunshine of life

The kids were deprived of sleep after staying up well after midnight. The Andersons and we attended THE HARRY POTTER PARTY at Barnes & Noble the night before McKayla’s birthday celebration. It was a waste of time. Many die-hard fans were irate because they had to be evacuated from the store at 11 pm and get in line once again for Rowling’s last book of the series release at midnight. We gave up and left at 11:45 pm. As it turned out, there were no special promos given out. All in all, it was most disappointing HP party attended—not extravagant, no elaborate thrills we experienced when we were in California in previous years. Oh, well…we’re glad it’s the last one!

No surprise to us, our friend, Jenn, had her place magically decorated--inside and out! It perked the kids up right away. McKayla’s all dressed up, perfect fitting for a royal princess as clearly evident from the slide. Thank you, Jenn & McKayla, for sharing these special memories with us!
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Check out my Guestbook!

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Benham Falls Hike with Campfire Troops

What a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Benham Falls. Our COOL friend, Erin Biskup, was kind enough and went out her way to give us a lift yesterday. The hike to the falls is an easy for kids, one-mile jaunt downstream along Deschutes River. This is one of the closest attractions to Sunriver. The magnificient ponderosa pines and a number of hardwoods make the trail a nice place to be at this time of year - Autumn. Though there were puddles and fallen hugh tree stump onto the trail, it did not deter us from enjoying our stroll past a spectacular section of untamed white water. Benham Falls was created when magma from Lava Butte splashed over the side, flowing five miles to the Deschutes. When the molten rock collided with the icy water, the churning rapids and crashing waterfall were created here. The silent river that suddenly turned into pure power and ended where a few rapids meet was quite impressive. We couldn't stop thinking of the Native Americans who once lived of the resources from the river and the forest. Mother nature is really one of a kind.

Here are some amazing kids, sibblings, parents, leaders, and friends of Campfire USA who came out for a relaxing hike.

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Learning is Living...Living is Learning

It is apparent to us how natural learning occurs every and every day in many ways.

We simply observe our kids and see the growth, the connections, the imagination, the wonder, the questions, the answers.

We were created to learn but so many of us are inhibited by the forced schooling whether at school or at home that they lose so much of that natural innate desire and ability.

We observe our children and others whom we are around and we really do our best not to judge or to compare. Some things are obvious and attributed to schooling or parenting while others are subtle and definitely all things are individual to the child.

We see the learning and it is awesome. So many people just don't give unschooling a chance--a chance to really see it flourish. We read so many emails from so many different groups that it can become a blur. We come across people who express desire to unschool but can't let go of the mindset, therefore, has been wavering back and forth while the kids are confused to say the least. We wonder why these people want to so badly but hasn't yet deschooled.

Why unschool? Well, we have all the answers for that question but only you may answer it for yourself. This lifestyle of learning is an awesome lifestyle. No inhibitions or forced learning, no scope and sequence, no grade or grade level, no test, no teacher, no school...just real life, real learning, real living, real people doing what they want and learn as they go. It's like we're living a big magical secret.

The enchantment with unschooling just grows and grows as long as you care to notice all the loving and learning happening. It is such a beautiful and wondrous way to live life.

"There is no difference between living and learning-it is impossible and harmful and misleading to think of them as being separate" ~John Holt
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YouTube: You Gotta Go to School

A "Schoolhouse Rock"-inspired look at the origins of the American education system. This was originally recorded with a live audience for "In The Loop" at Minnesota Public Radio in May, 2007. Music and lyrics by Jeff Horwich.

YouTube - You Gotta Go To School

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ATC Cards Day/Weekend...

After procrastinating for four long months, it is time to get the "ENABLE COOKIES" challenge fixed which was caused by McAfee Privacy Protection as we suspected. YIPPY...we now have our own BLOG as evident here! Really...How does one go about commencing a blog? We started with the idea that it ought to begin something really profound because it is, after all, our very FIRST blog entry...Nahhhh...Let's just have some fun instead! Like everything we try, we hope to learn and grow each and every moment in this exciting blogging world.

So often we are asked what we do all day. The assumption is that, as homeschoolers, we spend our day pouring over textbooks, doing "school at home". Nothing could be further from the truth. Take a glimpse into our lives by visiting our blog as frequently as you'd like. You may be surprised to see all the "learning" that is going on.

The Halloween Party hosted by COOL Kid's Club was a smashing success, attended by 10 COOL families. Three weeks of hardwork and detailed planning by the COOL Kid's Club did not go unnoticed. We didn't do a head count but were certain there were 10 families with 40+ people in our small home! Party started at 5 pm and ended shortly after 8 pm on Wednesday, October 17. Besides the haunted house maze, fortune-teller offering, many special treats awaited the kids, there was no shortage of good food and companies. Can you imagine what was on the dinner menu? Just to name a few...Dried Mummy Bones, Fresh Brains, Eyeball Surprise, Ghostie Toasties, Bloody Worms, Vampire Blood, Bat Wings, Old Rotten Pumpkin Guts, Pickled Eyeballs...we even saved the creative place cards for these to-die-for main courses and desserts. It was a memorable, fun-filled evening for all.

What will next year's be? Will COOL Kid's Club be around then to host another fabulous party? Who knows? "While the house is still tidy, perhaps we should have a Thanksgiving and Christmas party next week." suggested dh. No joke...he really was serious about that!

Moving on...we spent most of the weekend making Halloween Artist Trading Cards (ATC) for a swap hosted by our local friend, Chloe. This is our first official trade through Imagination Tribe. Many techniques were used in the making and we're quite pleased with how they all turned out.

DD#2 decided to give it a try after observing how much fun DD#1 has been having with making ATC cards. As always, DD#1 is a good "mentor." We'll take more pictures and upload them tomorrow.
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True learning-learning that is permanent and useful,that leads to intelligent action and further learning, can arise only out of the experience, interest, and concerns of the learner.
John Holt
Real heroes are men who fall, fail and are flawed, but win out in the end because they stayed true to their ideals, beliefs and commitments.
Actor Kevin Costner

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