Chris and I had the wonderful opportunity this past Saturday to go and hear both Larry and Brenda Farris speak on their experiences in homeschooling their 3 boys. 
Extraordinary story...Extraordinary couple!

They shared plenty of laughable, touching and monumental moments in their homeschooling lives.  But most importantly what Chris & I gained from that evening is that while we are teaching our own children we need to be more "in-tune" with the Spirit of God.  And to be sure to stop and ponder {often... no, Always} on those precious moments as they occur!
To Larry out there, if you are reading this, "We Got It!".

Another wonderful thing we experienced that evening {outside of homeschooling} was that the host, Laree Duncan had such a beautiful home and...
on her walls was the EXACT color I am wanting to paint our school/playroom!
It was so nice to be able to point that out for Chris to see instead of trying to explain to him the exact color of green I am wanting.
Thank you Laree for sharing your gorgeous home with us!

Oh and if you are looking for a cool way to set up your children's is another really cool thing Laree shared with us.  She mentioned that she got the idea from a TJEd book.  I believe that would be from the Home Companion.
Check it out...

Each envelope is programmed for each room in her home.

In each of these envelopes you will find laminated cards identifying each job/chore/service opportunity (depending on how you look at it) within that room...
such as these examples below:
I never did ask what the (A) & (B) were for but I presume that it may classify the level of difficulty.
(A)'s being easier than (B)'s.

These cards are then divided up between the children and placed into another set of envelopes below the "rooms" envelopes and labeled as "IN".
When the chore/job/service opportunity is completed...the card then gets moved to the "OUT" envelope.
Each child has their own set of "IN" & "OUT" envelopes as you can see in the picture below:
Laree mentions that she purchased the envelopes at a teaching supply store.
Laree didn't have these laminated.  But I'm thinking that you could experiment in laminating them & in using a exacto blade (or razor blade type tool), you could carefully slice open the tops of the envelopes.

Once again Audrey Dexter (the amazing woman behind the scenes), you put together a wonderful night!
Thank you!!!
Absolutely Nothing!

But it has everything to do with what has been going on over here.

Let us begin with where we left off...
Dyxon's Birthday.

That cool lucky little kid was still receiving gifts in the mail...
long after the candles on his cake were blown out.
He's such a corn ball.   Look at him cheesin' it up for the camera. 
He cracks me up!
Guess who will be going as a Pirate for Halloween?
Yep, this guy!

Check him out here doing his
"super cool" slam dunk
with his new birthday basketball hoop!
Lovin' that face!
Watch out Michael Jordan!

As for me...and Chris...
we are completely
Overwhelmed with decluttering...
can't wait for when the refurbishing and decorating steps kick in!

But none the less, we are enjoying the freedom it has been offering us.
Things are more mellow and peaceful without the visual clutter.
Ignore the red basket of large stacking blocks on the stack of chairs (still looking for a place for those), the laundry basket on the shelf, vacuum cleaner that was left out and the panel on the frontdoor.
Just keepin' it real folks!

We could really use some new flooring and a brighter color on the wall
(I'm thinking a green that Land of Nod has would be pretty ~ especially with some black furniture).

I guess that means black paint needs to be put on the list too.  Already have plans to make something like this in black (via Ana White):

Happy Birthday Dyxie Doodles!

Today we celebrated your 4th birthday.
What a wonderful 4 years we have had with you. 
It was so adorable how all day you continued to remind me that you were not yet 4 until we had sung "Happy Birthday" to you.

How cute you were in believing that the song is what signified the change.

And so, we set off to go make your cake.
But not just any cake... a
Chocolate Cherry Jubilee Cake!
mmmmmmm, delicious!
And, when asked what you wanted for your Birthday Dinner...
You chose:
pasta salad and cheese crisps.
Not a bad combination, if you ask me.
Leave it to you to be so creative!
Happy Birthday Dixie Doodle Dandy!
We love you!