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Sorry I’ve been gone so much!

The Waterfall we hiked down to.

One thing I’ve learned is that a time comes when you have to decide what needs to come first and what has to take a back seat.  For instance with Jk’s foray into teenagehood, and the addition of facebook so she can talk to her friends from church and family across the country, I’ve found I need to be on there to watch out for her safety, and to keep her on task with schoolwork when she is on the computer and not chatting it up during school time.  We have also started using facebook chat to see if she can follow my directions and cook.   I often get calls from my older daughters when they want to cook something they like that I make.  They often get frustrated when it doesn’t turn out like moms because they forgot one of my instructions, so I thought teaching Jklyn how to follow my instructions on how to cook something without me standing over her was an important step.  This is important since my health issues are making it more and more impossible for me to deal with the stairs in our house, and keep me sick and in pain a great deal.  Tonight she made ham, hashbrown and eggs by herself just by following my instructions step by step over chat, and they were delicious.  Other days in the last few weeks she has baked cod, baked salmon, and made a delicious Shepherd’s Pie, all following my step by step instructions on Facebook chat.

Another thing that has kept me from here is that I’m still working on things for a Cross Stitch Business site.  I make a point of taking a couple hours a day designing cross stitch patterns to sell on it.  I am up to about 140 designs now, and I’m still waiting for my husband to take some time and help me get the site and set it up.  This is one of the most important things I’m doing since it will help our family finances when it takes off.  Until then I keep working on things so I can offer the best on the site.

Over all these I try to deal with my health and my relationship with Christ Jesus the most.  Making sure I’m daily in God’s Word, and reaping God’s wisdom and instruction from it is important to me, especially since it is through my relationship with the Lord that I’m helped to get through my health issues daily.  I also spend time reading a devotional, because it gives me another insight on what God teaches in the Bible.  I’ve tried to share the ones that speak to me the most here on my blog when I can’t be on here.  I hope they have encouraged and touched you as much as they do me.  With my health, my husband found a new medicine that is reported to have good results with patients who have fibromyalgia, severe arthritis, and bone spurs, all of which I have.  I’ve been taking it for about 3 weeks and I have seen an increase in my energy level and an improvement by 10 minutes on how long I can stand or walk before the pain is too much.  That allows me to fold a whole basket of laundry, or iron 2 or 3 things before I have to go back and rest my back with heat on it.  I did learn something about leaning back on a heating pad for too long, as I burnt my lower back to the point of blistering one day when the pain was severe.  Now I try to limit myself to 5 minutes at a time and then change positions to alleviate the pain until I can use the heating pad again.  The blisters have healed, but now it looks like I have a map of the world on my back in bright red.  Can’t wait to see the doctor and explain this one…lol!

Another thing that keeps me away is homeschooling Jklyn and trying to use good days to do things with her that I normally don’t get to do.  We already took a hike to a waterfall in a nearby state park.  I was excited about this new medicine making me feel better and decided to test myself.  I should have picked an easier test.  I made it down to the waterfall, and barely made it back up from it.  But it was worth it all to see my daughter, my granddaughter, and my husband enjoying the water and nature.  I hope to blog our adventure and share the great pictures I took of it soon.  As I’ve said before Jk is slightly dyslexic, and when she struggles with learning she tends to find distractions, so teaching her means keeping focused on her all through her school time.  We have moved a desk size table into my bedroom and a 4 drawer rolling cart that fits under the table, for her to do school at, so that I can rest my back and see her working at the same time.  Having only been into this school year for just under a month now, she is already testing her limits and feeling the struggle of her learning disablility.   She has started back to Homeschool Choir though and is volunteering to watch the Orchestra Director’s son while the Director is in teaching the Orchestra.  Jk also gets time to do P.E. in the Church Gym with all the other Homeschooled kids from the choir.  She loves this day more than any.  She is taking on Beginning Algebra this year, American History, More Grammar and Vocabulary, Reading, and we have started doing Creation Science for her Science time, but in a way that will allow her to cover many areas of Science from geology, to astronomy, animal husbandry, biology, and more.   We still have some English books to get for her, but I’m keeping her busy with reading, writing, spelling and vocabulary until we find the ones we need.   I have challenged her to use her new vocabulary/spelling words in conversations with her friends and family on facebook.   She really gets a kick out of this because it really challenges her friends, and gets funny responses from our family and friends.  She does have to use it in the context of what it really means, so sometimes her conversations take funny twists.  Imagine using the word “tyranny” in a conversation with your adult uncle or aunt or an older brother or sister.  Another thing she likes to do is use the Spanish she has learned to speak to those who have no clue what she is saying.  She tried it with me until I answered her in German.  I had 4 years of Spanish in elementary school, but what I remember is sparse.  I had 2 years of German in High School and I can remember a little more of it.  But I can read and pick out enough familiar words to translate what she is saying.  She tried it with her Uncle Bob, and thought she would stump him…that is, until he answered her in Spanish, and used words she hasn’t learned yet.  It was hilarious to see the look on her face.  I reminded her that the true test of her language abilities is to speak to someone who does know the language, not those who do not.  I think she met her match in her Uncle Bob.

You can see my list of things to do is long, and doesn’t include cleaning and such around the house.  We are looking forward to the next 3 months and visits from various family members each month, including a surprise visit for Jk at Christmas if all works out.  Just this cleaning is a real challenge since I have now been limited to 10 to 20 minute spurts before my pain is unbearable.  But it has to be done, and I know to get it done right I’m going to have to buck up and deal with it.  This week I’ve been focusing on laundry first, then getting the ironing done.  My husband was a sweetheart and did the kitchen and diningroom floors for me last Saturday.  I appreciate his help.  Jklyn has taken on the dishes, and really helps with the cooking she does.  Dyslexia causes problems with her organizational skills and other things so cleaning is one thing she struggles with.  That is normal for those with dyslexia, and so we have to have her make a list of steps to take just for cleaning her room and bathroom.  She has been trying to keep the livingroom vacumned and picked up on her own though.  Because of my health, our dream house has become a challenge in more ways than I can say.

Well, that is what is going on with my life right now.  I’m sorry I haven’t been here as much and I hope you all understand.  Please keep me in your prayers, because it is those prayers that keep me from the common pitfalls that happen to those with fibro, like depression.  It is those prayers that the Lord  has heard that have helped him know that I need him.  I really appreciate them so very much!

Two happy girls looking for frogs in the stream close to the waterfall.

 

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Dear Lord, Can We Please Have 48 Hour Days?

I always have to keep this in my mind and heart to keep me throughout each day.

There never seems to be enough time to get everything done, and I’m always making lists, whether mentally or on paper, of what I need to get done.  I could use a  few 48 hour days to get things done.  My day usually starts out with getting up by 9 at the latest, usually though nearer 8 in the morning.  I have to call Jk to go get what I need so I can take my meds.  Because of this Jk usually cooks breakfast for us now.  Then it is a matter of waiting for the meds to kick in so that I can move around with minimal pain and swelling in my back and legs.  Once that kicks in my day officially begins.  First we tackle Jk’s schooling, This takes up anywhere from just the morning time, to up until my husband gets home from work, depending on how Jk is approaching her schoolwork.  Yes, she like every other child has her good and bad days.  Because of her dyslexia we have days of frustration, and days when everything seems to click just right.  On her bad days we don’t get anything else done.  On the good days she works quick and that usually leaves me the afternoon.  We usually sneak lunch in somewhere along the way. On those good days I play catch up on things I need to get done.

Today was one of those days.  I got 3 chapters read in a book that I nned to finish and review.  I also cut out 2 shirts to sew for my husband, and 4 “Selena Gomez”-style shirts to sew for Jk.  That pretty much took up the afternoon for me, because I don’t use a pattern and have to lean over my bed to lay them out and cut them. I finished about 20 minutes before my husband got home, and had to take more meds for my pain and laid down.  I decided while Jk thawed the hamburger out for dinner (Shepherd’s Pie), I would get a little blog in while I wait for my meds to kick in again.  After that I’ll go down stairs, and cook dinner.  All this time today I’m also doing laundry, and folding clothes, washing the bedding from my bed, because my husband likes to eat snacks in bed…you know those midnight type of full meals that most men call snacks. Then he wonders how crumbs get in his side of the sheets…imagine that?!  So I decided to get them done so he could start the process of covering them with crumbs once again.  I now have them in the dryer and the last load of laundry in the washer, and feel like I have done pretty good for the day,. even if I still have to cook, fold clothes and make the bed.

Even with this I still have so much more to do, and could really use a few 48 hour pain-free days to do it in.  There is still parts of the house to clean, things to sew, over 30 books I need to read and review, awards to blog, mending, and so much more to do.  But I know when my back and legs have reached their limit and today they have.  Once dinner is done, the bed is made and the clothes are finished being folded and put up, I will consign myself to doing things that I can work on while sitting in bed, like reading, blogging, catching up on emails, facebook, and other sites that deal with my book reviewing.  I will probably stop around 1 a.m., and try to get a few hours sleep before starting the whole process over tomorrow…always feeling at the end of the day like I haven’t been able to get enough done, and wishing that tomorrow would be another day where I have enough freedom from pain to do a little more than I did today.  That is why part of my daily prayers to the Lord always seems to be…”Dear Lord, Can we please have 48 hour days?”  More hours to get things done that need to be done.  More hours to depend on God to help me through, and more of a chance to live each day to the fullest.  More hours in the day to thank the Lord for his love, help, and strength, that helps me get through each day. 

 

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Heroes for My Daughter…By: Brad Meltzer

Heroes for My Daughter…By: Brad Meltzer

Genre:  Inspirational Non-Fiction

Reviewed by:  Bonita L. Ledzius

Reviewed on:  June 12, 2012

Publisher:  Harper Collins

Published in: 2012

Did you know that Marie Curie didn’t stop working on her research even after contracting radiation from her research?  Did you know that First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once visited a tent city for veterans of the military to check on their condition…on her own?  How about Golda Meir, past Prime Minister of Israel?  Did you know that she was one of eight children and that she was also one of the only three to survive?  These are just three of the many facts that Brad Meltzer shares about the people he feels should be heroes for his daughter.  “Heroes for My Daughter” is over-flowing with many amazing facts and reasons for the heroes Meltzer picked to be heroes.  Some are facts that are taught in school, but many are facts that are not taught but should be.

I confess I’m a fan of Brad Meltzer’s Decoded show, but knowing that I wasn’t sure this book would be that good.  Often we tell people…”Stick to what you know best!”  After reading this book, I have to say that I’m glad Meltzer didn’t stick to what he knew best!  I am glad that he used his amazing ability to dig for the truth to uncover some equally amazing facts about the myriad of people in this book.  From the letter to his daughter in the beginning of the book, to the last page I was emotionally bound to the “Heroes For My Daughter”.  I was excited about sharing this book with my youngest daughter, but found that I loved it just as much as she did.  There are facts in this book, that I had never learned in school, and even recent stories about women I had never heard of who are true heroes.

I wouldn’t just recommend this for young girls, but for both parents as well, and also for single adult women who need heroes to look up to and pattern their lives after.  I may not agree with all of the people Brad Meltzer chose as heroes, but even on these few he have excellent reasons as to why they should be heroes. Meltzer chose heroes that were achievers who looked pass each of their successes to their next challenge. Some of the heroes he chose showed great compassion, or great perseverance, showing that it is important to overcome adversity, or help others overcome their adversity.  All in all, I loved Meltzer’s perspective on each hero, and on his reason for writing the the book. Our daughters need to have heroes who show moral fortitude, and perseverance and grace under pressure.  This is a must read book and should be added to every school library!

Rating…G…This is a great read on your own, but is also a good one for parents to read to their young children.

Copy provided by:  Publisher…Thank you!

 

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So Much To Do…So Little Time!

 Lately there has been a lot of to-do over an attack on women here in the United States…mostly aimed at Stay-at-Home Moms like me.  The “liberated” women feel we don’t really do anything, and don’t consider what we do as “work”.  In the same way many Stay-at-home moms feel that these liberated moms need to spend more time being  a mom and wife at home.  In the middle are those moms who do both, or have done both…this is where I have fallen in the past. Truth be told, I’ve been in all 3 areas now.  I’ve been that stay-at-home mom, the mom who stayed home that worked part time or worked full time from home, and I’ve been that mom who works full time outside the home.  Of the 3 the two that are the hardest to do are to be a full-time stay-at-home mom, or a stay-at-home mom who has to work part time or work from home at the same time.

When I only worked outside the home and didn’t have to do all the housework, deal with children’s needs all day because they were in school while I worked, or do all the cooking, I had only a third of the responsibility that I have now.  I was able to come home and cook every 3rd night since my husband and 2nd oldest daughter took turns cooking the other 2  nights, or because there was more money in the budget we could eat out more often.  We cleaned house on Saturdays as a family, each carrying an equal share.  With my youngest in preschool while I worked I didn’t have to deal with half the day of her needs, and when we were all home, my husband, older daughter, and I were able to split the time she needed in the evening and on weekends.  Things were a lot easier, and that made working easier.  The downside was I missed many of my youngest daughter’s milestones.  Before this time I had been a single mom, who worked sometimes 3 jobs to support my daughters, and that was hard because I had to do all the cleaning, cooking, and still work while my daughters were either in school or at a babysitter.  I missed even more than.

As a stay-at-home mom, working part-time or full-time work-at-home jobs I carried both my work load and all the normal mom and wife responsibilities.  I worked either in theater and had to take my daughters with me so I could keep an eye on them, or for a while I worked as a home reader for Focus on the Family, which meant getting my daughter off to school, walking to the office, picking up mail, then walking to the office and dropping it off when I was done coding it to go to the proper office, walk home and pick up my daughter at the bus stop, then spend the rest of the day, cooking and cleaning, doing homework with my daughter, sewing, and whatever else was necessary for each day.  I didn’t have a dryer, so I often had to sneak in a load or two of laundry, and hang them on the clothesline to dry.  I often ate no breakfast and snuck in a light lunch of fruit and a salad just to get through the day.  My ex husband didn’t think what I did counted as work, so when he came home he expected me to carry all the house chores including mowing, weeding, caring for the garden, and dealing with my oldest daughter’s need.  He would just come home and sleep or watch sports on television.  I often went to bed at 2 or 3 in the morning when my house work was done, and rose at 6 to get breakfast for the two of them and prepare my daughter for school.  I really never had time to read a book, relax, and I can’t even tell you of one television show or movie that I watched back then.

As a stay-at-home mom now, my cup is full and overflowing!  My to-do list for just this week and next is unbelievable.  Here is what that list looks like…

1.  Do laundry…this is a daily thing with my daughter and husband, even more when my granddaughter is here.

2.  Clean the top floor of the house which includes the home office that I don’t use, 2 bathrooms, 2 bedrooms, the hallway and staircase, and my sewing room.  This means dusting, wiping down glass, picking up toys, clothes, school things, trash that doesn’t seem to make it to the trash cans, cleaning the toilets, showers, tubs, mirrors windows, sweeping and mopping.

3.  Clean the main floor, which includes the kitchen, livingroom, a bathroom, and formal diningroom.  With this there is sweeping, mopping, cleaning the fans and lights, vacumning both the floor and furniture, carpet cleaning, dusting, window cleaning, glass cleaning, counter cleaning, appliance cleaning, cleaning the refrigerator, cleaning out cupboards and the pantry, besides the normal routine of doing dishes, and clearing counters and tables off.

4.Clean the basement, the staircase down to it, and organize the basement closet.  This entails me to do more sweeping, mopping, clearing out things, dusting, cleaning windows, and straightening up all the things that Jk and my granddaughter have played with.  The storage closet has to be organized to make room for emergency supplies, and I have shelves to fix in there that the kids have broken.

5.  Clean the front porch, which entails me to sweep it, wash it down, water the herb garden and cut some of these herbs to dry for use.  No one likes to do this job because of the bugs and spiders that collect on it.  Since I’m not afraid of spiders this has fallen on me.

6.  Sew culottes and shirts for my daughter to wear to camp next week.  I have 6 outfits and a one piece bathing suit to make.

7.  Sew summer clothes for my granddaughter.  Her mom is a single mom, who doesn’t sew, and can’t afford to replenish her clothes for summer and for school next year.  So grandma said I’ll do the summer clothes so that my daughter could concentrate on getting her school clothes.  This is what happens when a father isn’t involved in helping with his child, physically, emotionally, or financially.

8.  I have a stack of books to read and review for 3 different sites, and they need to be done this month.  I’m talking like 20 books.

9.  Cook meals.

10.  Work on crocheted and sewn Christmas gifts for family this year.  This includes about 8 prayer shawls, a couple of ponchos, a couple afghans, 2 quilts, and some fabric books and crayon holders.

11.  Make a couple of dresses for a friend’s granddaughter.

12.  Sew 2 new shirts for my husband.

13.  Homeschool Jk through the summer for things she has struggled with this year.

14.  Shop for groceries, and put them away.

15.  Do Ironing.

16.  Do all the mending for the family, tears, buttons, and hemming.

17.  Clean and organize closets.

18.  Write reviews for two books I’ve finished reading, and submit to 3 sites to publish online.

19.  Watch my granddaughter, entertain her while Jk is at camp.

20.  Get Jk ready to go to church camp next week.  Clean her clothes, sew her clothes, and pack her clothes.

I could go on and on.  This list doesn’t include my  blogging, writing poetry, practicing my guitar and singing, tring to get a prayer shawl ministry at the church, or doctor’s appointments for the family including my own for my health issues.  There is so much to do and so little time to do it in.  In the past I would have conquered this list in no time flat.  I had health, energy, and youth on my side.  But now it is impossible and I have to decide what to put aside.  The house cleaning seems to take the most loss.  My health issues make it difficult for me to do certain things like wiping the floor boards, bending down to clean lower cabinets, and anything else that means bending near the floor or sitting on the floor to do.  No one likes to clean toilets so I have to do that.  I have to keep the fans clean because of my allergies, so that has to be done.  Tubs and shower cleaning are split between Jk and I.  She does her bathroom and I do the other 2 in the house. Jk tries to help, but she is more apt to make messes, than to clean them up.  She likes to do it quick, but not right, which means I have to go back over what she has done.  I find this easier than getting upset with her all the time.  She has really become better at it.  She likes to cook, and so does breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner for us, but she is still learning to cook so I often have to help and guide her through dinner.  She has taken over the dishes for me, so that helps.  She does help with the laundry, often changing them over because it hurts my back to bend over to do it.  I fold the clothes, and everyone is responsible for putting their own up.  My husband will help with dinner sometimes and usually makes sure Jk does her chores right.  If I ask he will do some of the cleaning, but usually just gets in my way because he wants to do the things I can do.  But I appreciate his wanting to be helpful, just as I appreciate Jk’s help.

Everyone wants a perfect home, and thinks you should be able to keep it perfectly clean, and that is the way I used to be.  I was almost obsessive compulsive about it.  But with Fibromyalgia and Arthritis I have had to change the way I think about cleaning.  I’ve had to accept that I can’t do all the things I use to.  I’ve had to decide to be happy with a lived in house that is free of germs.  If a magazine or book is left somewhere, I have to be happy with that as long as the table below it is dusted.  If the dog is laying on the carpet, I have to not be annoyed by the thought of it shedding and be happy that I have a new vacumn cleaner made to deal with dog hair, and that Lady is a good family dog who seems to sense when any of us are sick, and who loves to just be loved by the family.  You see I’ve had to learn to give and take, to compromise in my feelings on what is done and how it is done.  I have to take one day at a time, and do what I can in it.  I have had to learn to work on something until my back hurts unbearably, then sit with my feet up and a heating pad on my back until I can get up and work again.  There are a lot of things I need to get done, and very little time to do them in, but I will do what health and time allow me to do.

Being a stay-at-home mom is far harder than any of the others.  I didn’t even include all the things that most stay-at-home moms have to do that I no longer do.  They are taxi drivers for their kids…We have only 1 car so that has been crossed off my list for now.  They are usually changing diapers, caring for babies, toddlers and school age kids at the same time.  They are pulled in a myriad of directions, as they deal with homework for different aged children, cook dinner, deal with sibling rivalry, getting kids to do chores, disciplining, consoling, and loving their children, while dealing with a mental list of things to do to prepare for their husband coming home.  A lot is said about them sitting home eating Bon-Bons and watching soap operas.  I can tell you from experience that this isn’t so.  Most women turn the television on to hear adult voices to keep them sane, since most of the time they are communicating with children and teens who have their own forms of language.  They may eat Bon-bons or other candy, but it isn’t constant, but for that sugar rush that will help them get things done, or because they have no time to stop for lunch or breakfast.  Moms of toddlers are often stopping to be the playmate for their child, to remind those little ones of safety issues with a “don’t do that”, and dealing with naptimes for these little energetic children.  They are rocking babies to sleep, feeding them, and it never stops.

One thing that it is hard to make people understand.  When you work outside the home, you are working 9 to 5, then going home.  Your “work” is done for the day, and you don’t have to deal with it until the next day, and you get paid for it.  Stay-at-home moms don’t get paid a cent for what they do.  Their job never ends even after their kids grow up and leave the house.  A stay-at-home mom doesn’t win rewards, bonuses, or promotions for what she does, and rarely even gets a thank you or any form of gratitude for what they do…SACRIFICIALLY, every day.  They don’t get me time, not even when they are in the bathtub.  I can tell you, children do not care when a mom is in the bathroom for any purpose.  They will not walk in on dad, but don’t think twice about walking in on mom.  I know, because in my house my daughters think that when I’m in the bathroom for any reason, they believe this is the time to talk about their wants, needs, problems, and so much more.  I often say to them…”Does this look like a conference room?”  It’s like they have you cornered at that moment, and they know it is the best time to ask for anything, because all you are thinking about is being alone.  If you add to all this the nursing and doctoring moms have to do, and being the family receptionist, scheduler, and therapist, a stay-at-home mom’s life is pretty full to the point of overflowing.  She is an amazing woman who can change a diaper, repair simple plumbing problems, build shelving, do room design and fashion design, along with a myriad of other jobs at the same time.   She is a chef, an entertainer, a multi-tasker, a personal assistant, and Wonder Woman, all wrapped up in one.  When she goes out in the Job World, most employers don’t even consider what the Stay-At-Home mom has been capable of doing.  They just consider her to be the stereo type of a housewife. and never consider the talent it took to do all she does daily.  The thing is she will be all these things the rest of her life, without notice, without pay, and without thanks.  So the next time you ask your mother or your wife,  to do something…think about all the things she is already doing for you, and show her some appreciation for it daily.  The best way to show you appreciate her…HELP!  Do some of the things on her list and do them right without being asked.  Make a mom night, where she can sit and watch television, while other members of the family cook and clean without her help.  Send her out for a spa day once in a while.  Husbands, take on the kids when you get home, whether outside to play, or inside playing a game, just give mom a break from them.  Also husbands, realize that when you get home and your wife wants to vent, it is because she needs to hear an adult voice, or needs to feel adult love and compassion from you.  She needs to feel that she is loved and appreciated.

If you are a stay-at-home mom, realize your potential, your gifts and talents, and realize what a special woman you are.  The world could not turn without you there in it!

 

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John Branyan – The Three Little Pigs – YouTube

As a homeschooling mom, who has worked in Public Schools in the past, I know that the biggest problem in schools today is that they are not teaching the basics like they should.  Schools are so full of propaganda and junk that our children are being dumbed down in them.  The serious part of this video is the fact that our vocabulary is down to 3,000 words, where in the 1700’s it was extremely larger among children.  He makes his point by telling a fairy tale as it would have been told back in the 1700’s with the addition of one pig who is from the American colonies.  It is hilarious!  I hope you enjoy it, and yet think about the importance of a good education based on learning the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic.  Just click on the following link to watch the video, and be ready to laugh until it hurts!

John Branyan – The Three Little Pigs – YouTube.

 

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Jk’s latest research blog on Mississippi

County Map of the State of Mississippi

Jklyn has researched a great many things in the past few weeks, but wasn’t sure what she wanted to post on her blog.  She finally decided to write about a state that I lived in as a young child, a state I loved living in and have many great childhood memories from.  That state is Mississippi.  Here is a link to her latest blog post… http://allinthelifeofjk.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/first-expl/    I hope you will check it out and please feel free to write her a comment about her post, including suggestions for how she can improve her writing.  She loves to hear what people think of her writing.

Beach on Mississippi Coast

Mississippi State Bird

Mississippi State Flower

 

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Jk blogs on Indiana

Today while I took a much needed nap, Jklyn did her research and blog post on the Great State of Indiana.  If you have a moment please check it out.  Here’s the link…  http://allinthelifeofjk.wordpress.com/

Spring in Indiana

Falls in Anderson, Indiana

Covered Bridge in Bean Blossom Indiana

Autumn color in Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana

 

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