Last weekend I went with five of my friends to one of the largest homeschool conventions in the world.  The drive to Harrisburg, PA, took us about 4 1/2 hours; we stayed in a motel for two nights.  It’s a great annual Mother’s Day present!

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This being my 15th year, we have a routine.  On Thursday night we stop for supper at a pleasant little town and eat at a very good hole-in-the-wall place called Brothers Pizza.  On Friday evening, we eat either at Old Country Buffet or at Outback Steakhouse, and then we show-and-tell each other what purchases we made and what bargains we found.

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There are always so many excellent speakers at the workshops that it’s difficult to choose; I heard Little Bear Wheeler (of Mantle Ministries), Jay Wile (of Apologia), Doug Phillips (of Vision Forum), and many others.

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Because my homeschooling years are winding down, I volunteer to work for 3 hours.  This allows me to have my registration fee refunded so that I can spend it on things I don’t really need.

I was a security guard.   I got to carry a radio.  I even got to talk on it once. This being the 3rd time I’ve done this job, I am SO good at it that the gentleman in charge asked me to come again next year (even though I have no need to attend because my Younger Son will be finished with high school). I am considering it!



My younger son and I are done with speech and debate class for the year…till I start working on speech and debate class for next year…which will probably be next week!

Snapfish sent a special coupon for folks who like to print out their photos, so I’ve been obliged to sort through the large volume of what I have in the hopes of making some sort of sense of it all.  Although the lighting was poor at our last speech tournament, I still enjoy looking at what we did in the evenings for relaxation–English Country Dance, of course!

I took this while I was calling a dance:


The 3-day tournament was held in a retreat center that used to be a live-in school.  So we all slept in the dorms and fellowshipped throughout its entirety.


But most of the time, we worked!


Life has a habit of just flinging a person from one large event to another, doesn’t it?  This past week, my husband and I put on our 15th Annual Homeschool Project Fair, located in our town.  It’s great fun to meet a lot of new people and to revisit some wonderful people whom we only see once a year.

We had 80 projects from homeschooled students of all ages, from all over western Pennsylvania (and one from the state of West Virginia).

Each child grade 3 and up were judged by two different people…the younger ones were only judged once-simply because the night before, I realized that we didn’t have enough parent judges!!

Each project had a comment sheet upon which students and parents could write nice comments if they desired.  Unfortunately, some unknown scamps spent a lot of time writing “COOL!!” on a huge amount of them; I desire thoughts that are a bit heftier than that!

Each student also had a scavenger-hunt-type worksheet, requiring them to go around looking at the projects for answers.  Those who answered all the questions correctly got jelly beans.

While my husband was finishing up the paperwork, we had entertainment from some of our speech club kids, both older and younger.

And every participant took home a certificate, a ribbon, and a candy bar.

One of the most shocking aspects about doing the fair this year is the fact that the internet is celebrating 20 years of existence.  Only 20 years ago.  I think of how I organized the fair the first few years, doing everything through the mail, the telephone, and by hand.  How far we have come in just a few short years!  Now I have spreadsheets and mail-merge and labels and a website; I don’t even have to personally sign the certificates anymore (even though it looks like I did).  Yay for progress!


Another great craft/gift idea is to “make” no-sew fleece blankets. Last year a church group made single-thickness blankets and passed them out to nursing home residents, which included my mother-in-law. She LOVES her blanket, and it even travels with her when she goes to the hospital.

This year our group of homeschooled students made blankets of two thicknesses to give to an unwed mothers’ home.

We mothers, at our own annual Christmas gathering, cut the fringes into the blankets.

Then the students tied the fringes together at their Christmas party.

Today I learned through Project Linus that there are MANY ways to finish off fleece for a blanket–all kinds of fringing, braiding, and cutting.

We chose to knot the ends, and in retrospect, we could have used a better knot, such as an “overhand” knot, as explained at All Kinds of Baby Stuff .  Ah well!  Next time!