Jennifer

About Jennifer

Jennifer is a homeschool mom to 2 energetic boys. She, her husband and boys, love playing outdoors exploring new places and making new friends! Being a homeschooling mom, she considers travel a perfect extension of her children's education. You can find Jennifer tweeting about life and her adventures at @jennparkerson.

Move It Monday – Week 1

Today is the day, our first move it Monday!  We are so glad you are here and have decided to join our 40 Mile Challenge this month.  Did you get you heart pumping this morning or will you start this evening?  Come on, you can do it, so get off that couch, stop folding those clothes for a few minutes and get moving!

RunKeeperHow will you track your mileage this month?  Will you use a pen and paper, your computer or an app. on your phone?  I use an app. and my favorite is RunKeeper. It’s super simple to use and pretty accurate in tracking distance and calories burned.  It will track any activity and then when you have completed your activity you will receive a report online and/or on your phone that will tell you your average time, calories burned, pace and so on. If your friends join, you can track each others progress through the program.  It’s great, very feature rich and worth checking out.  If you decide to join add me, RunJP, as one of your friends so that we can be virtual exercise partners! Oh, and you don’t need a phone to use RunKeeper.  You can upload information from your Garmin or just manually enter your time and distance and RunKeeper will take care of the rest. Now, GET MOVING!

 

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Handheld Water Bottle Running Shoes Runner's World

40 Mile Challenge

It was a regular morning in our home.  Breakfast needed to be made, kids needed managing, the dog wanted some attention and yes, the coffee needed drinking when all of a sudden he sprang it on me.  My husband said, ” Let’s run 40 miles in April.”  I responded with, “I can’t run 40 miles, I can only run 13.1…barely.” Then he clarified by saying, “No, we will spread it out during the entire month.”

Now, I am pretty consistent with my running when I’m training for something but since I’m not training for anything at the moment I need the motivation.  My husband, Tyler, has not been getting regular exercise since he went into A-fib so this will be great for both of us.  There are 4 weeks during the month of April which means we would only need to get in 10 miles a week.  That is totally doable. Of course, the challenge would be a lot better with friends so why don’t you join our 40 mile challenge?  If you complete 40 miles of heart pumping activity during April with us you will be entered into a drawing to win a $5 Amazon gift card. So, you will be getting in shape, making some friends and you may get a little spending money to download a few tunes if you complete the challenge.  Let’s do it!

40 Mile

Here are the challenge rules:

 

  • You can walk, run, row, swim whatever it takes to go the distance and get your heart pumping.
  • You must get your mileage in on a weekly basis throughout the month.  You cannot get all of your miles in during one day, week, hour whatever the point is to develop a routine for you to move your body on a regular, consistent basis.
  • Check-In on Mondays.  We will call it Move It Mondays.  Each Monday post your total mileage from the previous week. If you go over 40 miles that is totally fine.

What do you think?  Are you ready to join us? Of course you are, so fill up your water bottle and let’s get moving!

 

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Studying The Bible With Your Kids

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thouroughly equipped for every good work. ~2 Timothy 3:16-19

I believe it is my responsiblity to to make sure my children know and understand the bible, the Word of God, so that they will be thoroughly equipped for every good work. I also believe that learning the bible should be fun and engaging for me and my children. I’ve tried several studies but have found my favorite to be Grapevine Studies. Let me tell you why.

Grapevine Holds Their Attention

The lessons are simple and engaging. I read a passage of scripture, talk about what we read with the boys and then ask them to draw me a picture about it. I’ve tried other studies where there is a short to medium verse that is read and then a story and description pertaining to the verse but by the time I’ve reached the second sentence the boys are fighting, crying or asking to go play outside. At this age short and to the point is what they need. Usually, throughout the day they will ask me questions regarding our morning study and when that happens we are able to study the scriptures even further.

Drawing Helps Them Learn

My children love to create and one of their favorite forms of creativitiy is drawing. They draw on paper, on canvas, on the fence and yes even on the walls. With Grapevine Studies they solidfy what they learned during the lesson by drawing about it. Now, I am not an artist so I like that with Grapevine we draw by stick figuring. My teacher’s edition ebook gives me examples of stick figures to draw for my kids. I usually draw them on our little white board then the boys draw the same and then embellish quite a bit. They absolutely love it!

They Want To Build Their Own bible

Once the study has been completed and the pictures have been drawn we place the boy’s pictures in their very own folders. The boys drew on their folders so that we know who each folder belongs to, and because just writing their names on them didn’t look right according to my oldest. When we have company over they like to pull out their folders to show everyone what they’ve done. They also explain the stories which is great because this is teaching them how to share the bible with others. They are also very quick to let everyone know that they are making their very own bible. I love it!

Will they be missionaries? I don’t know. I do know that studying the bible with Grapevine has given them the knowledge they need, in a way that they understand, so they can tell others about Christ.

You can download a free sample lesson from Grapevine here. You and your kids will love it!

 

Grapevine

Yes, I Run Half Marathons

There was a time when I thought half marathons were for those people who were in super shape.  Seriously, running 13.1 miles is just crazy…so I thought.  I changed my entire way of thinking about marathon running the day I started training for my first half marathon in 2010 and then completed my first half marathon, Disney’s Princess 1/2 Marathon, on February 27, 2011. So, if a girl like me can train and finish a half marathon so can you!

runjenn

Why did I start running?  Well, I was sick.  Every month I would develop a sinus infection.  I would have about a week, if I was lucky, of feeling okay and then I would get sick again. I went to the doctors and took the antibiotics they prescribed, it was the strong stuff, and I would just get sick again.  I visited the allergist twice a week for allergy shots, 2 in each arm.  The ENT performed surgery on my sinuses and the sinus infections still came back.  I visited the Chiropractor and I will say that I had some relief after that visit but the infections continued to return.  I had a facial massage and that helped some as well but the infections came back.  I tried the homeopathic route of teas and such but even that didn’t help.  So I decided to do something drastic, I was going to do a triathlon. Yes, I was going to train all by myself and then swim, bike, run my way to health. Then I overheard this girl say she was going to run Disney’s Princess 1/2 Marathon with another girl I knew.  I thought to myself, you know, running with people would be a lot better than swimming, biking and running without people so I introduced myself.  Well, I introduced myself and then invited myself to train and run with them.  That is how I started my hobby in running, started getting healthy,  and that is how I made two wonderful friends!

How did we train? Thankfully, one of the three of us is very motivated and likes schedules and order so she became our trainer.  She found the Hal Higdon Half Marathon Training Program and tweaked it for our schedules. So we took the schedule and ran with it….literally.   During the week we would run by ourselves.  For me this was super hard.  I was not a runner and running was torture.  However, the more I did it, the more my body got used to running and the easier it got.  On the weekends my girlfriends and I would meet in the mornings around 7ish to do our long runs of the week together.  We talked, we ran, we walked and we laughed together.  Seriously, does it get any better than that?

Did you all survive the half marathon?  Yes, we survived!!   I highly recommend Disney’s Princess Half Marathon.  There were fireworks, a fairy godmother, pixie dust, bands, Disney characters and port-o-potties.  Lots and lots of port-o-potties.  After the race it was really hard for me to walk but I could and I did.  I took a warm shower after the race and my “trainer” soaked in a bath of ice.   I was sore for the rest of the day but my “trainer” said that the ice bath really helped her.  Ice baths scare me so I don’t know if I will try it after our next race or not.

Are going to race again?  Oh yes, I’ve actually ran/walked two other races since Disney’s Princess 1/2 Marathon in 2011.  In fact, this Sunday I will be running a half marathon that I have been training for.  Training hasn’t been going as well as I expected due to illnesses in my family but it will be a fantastic race!

kjw

Did running help you get your health back?  I’m glad you asked.  Yes, yes it has.  Running really helped in clearing up my sinuses and now I can say that my monthly sinus infections are a thing of the past!

If you are interested in training for a half marathon you should do it!  It will make you feel great inside and out and the sense of accomplishment you feel after the race is awesome.  Oh, and there are metals involved.  After the race you get to wear some pretty awesome bling around your neck.  Everybody LOVES bling!

Disney's Princes Half Marathon

 

Road Trip to SeaWorld!

We love road trips. We need road trips because sometimes we go a little stir crazy and just need to get out.  We purchased SeaWorld tickets for 2012, you know the kind, you buy a day and come back all year.  We weren’t sure if we would actually get our monies worth so I was a little hesitant but I am so glad we took the plunge.  My boys love SeaWorld, they love looking at the animals, they love playing at Shamu’s Happy Harbour and they learn.  Yes, going to SeaWorld is an educational experience for us and since I’m a  homeschool mom that makes me super happy.

We could spend all day at the Manta Aquarium. My kids love looking at all of the different types of fish and plant life in the first aquarium at this exhibit.  They are so unique, so colorful you will be mesmerized. Next, we lookup and watch manta rays as they swim above us.  Once, we saw a ginormous manta ray swim overhead.  My boys were so excited and so was I when we saw it. Once my boy’s necks start hurting they know it’s time to move on to view the giant Pacific octopus, the starfish, the sea dragon and yes, more manta rays.


Each time we get home from our SeaWorld outings my oldest wants me to find information for him about at least one of the animals we saw that day.  So we go to the library, we go to the bookstore or we go to our computers to find the information he is curious about.  I love it which is why we will be renewing our membership for 2013 and look forward to sharing our adventures with you!

 

Pumpkin Kisses

Wondering what to do with your left over pumpkin pie filling?  Why not make a Pumpkin Kiss?  I had quite a bit of filling left over after making a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and didn’t want it to go to waste.  So, I grabbed the puff pastry I had in my freezer and made this tasty desert.

What you will need:

Muffin Tins – we used our mini-muffin tins

Pumpkin Pie Filling – we used Libby’s recipe

Bakes’s Joy Baking Spray

Puff Pastry Sheets – we used Pepperidge Farm

Round cookie cutter or cup.

What To Do:

Thaw your puff pastry sheet according to the directions.

Spray your muffin tins with Baker’s Joy Baking Spray.

Lay out your thawed pastry sheet.  Using the round cookie cutter or cup cut out circles of the pastry making sure they are large enough to place inside of your muffin tin.

Place the cut out pastries inside of the muffin tins.

Pour the left over pumpkin pie filling into the pastries.

Place pastries in oven that has been pre-heated to 350 degrees.  The time you leave the kisses in the oven will depend on how large your muffin tins are.  We used the small tins and cooked our kisses for about 20 minutes.  Once the pastries start browning your kisses are done.

Enjoy and please let us know how your kisses turn out!

 

 

BEECH Retreat Giveaway

Homeschool Creations is giving away a ticket to the BEECH retreat.  This is a little getaway and conference just for bloggers.  It gives bloggers the opportunity to connect with and learn from other bloggers. I would really love to win this ticket as I am new to blogging and need all the advice I can get in order to get my blog up and running.

If you would like to learn more about the BEECH retreat and which speakers will be teaching check out the BEECH retreat website by clicking on the image below.

Halloween 2012 – Good Times!

My boys LOVE Halloween.  They love imagining, they love dressing up, they love running around and they love receiving and handing out candy! People come from all over just to trick-or-treat in our neighborhood and it is such a blessing!  The kids dress up, meet new people and are able to have  fun with family and neighbors.

This year my youngest wanted his mommy and daddy to dress up with him.  He dressed up as superman so naturally he wanted me to be wonder-woman. I put on my wonder-woman “outfit” and when my child saw me the first thing he said was, “Mommy, you need to put on the little blue shorts, red boots and put your hair up. ”  My response, “Yeah, that’s not happening.”

Guess which superhero I am standing next to.

Superman, The Black Night and a Sniper.  Watch out!

 

We also had fun with food.  We made chili, which was super yummy, and then we made some tasty treats.

We found our ideas on pinterest, of course! You can click on the image to link to the recipe.

Here is our puking pumpkin….

….and our sugar cookie fingers.

We had such a blast and I think the kids did too!

 

Family Fun Night

We needed a night  to unwind with just our family.  No TV, no ipad, no appointments, no distractions just us.  At first I suggested family game night but the boys weren’t really into that.  Then I suggested a lego party.  Their eyes lit up and the party began!

The rules for our lego party were simple.  Each person had to create their own master piece and then they had to tell everyone about it.  So, with the rules in place we each grabbed a handful of legos and began creating.

I am not a creative person but even I was able to create a little something.  What do you think is going on here???

My husband made a helicopter with blades that bend.  Yes, he is the creative one of this parenting duo.

 

Caleb created a cruise ship that had a pool inside the cruiser’s room.  I would love to ride on that cruise ship!

 

Here is Ethan’s creation.  He couldn’t settle on one so he made a lot of little creations.

 

If a picture is worth 1,000 words than a video is worth more right?  Click on Caleb and Ethan’s pictures to see what they have to say about their lego masterpieces.