Collage Friday - Taking Time To See Beauty (and a LEGO Update)


"Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy." 

This is one of my favorite quotes. To know that it is from Anne Frank is even more amazing. How could she find beauty in her circumstances?

In the past year there have been some not so beautiful things I have witnessed: a friend's husband with Stage 4 Melanoma, a friend from church hit by a drunk driver - he's paralyzed now, the death of a wonderful woman I knew from Ovarian Cancer, a homeschooling dad of two gone because of cancer. 

Perhaps it's my age, or maybe these events, but I'm trying to seize every moment and see the BEAUTY around me

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This week was all about that. 

I think it started Monday evening when my son and I were in the front yard. He was watching a rabbit at the top of our driveway, and as he approached the rabbit, two other rabbits bounded out from behind him (scaring us to death!) and ran across the lawn. Grant and I laughed so hard! 

Or maybe it was Saturday night as we were eating dinner (our bird feeder is right outside the breakfast room window) and spotted an Eastern Towhee for the first time ever at our feeders. The kids stopped, went to the window seat and just watched the bird. My husband, who isn't usually home when we spot birds during the day, was delighted by their inquisitiveness and wonder.

While throwing the ball in our yard this week we heard two Barred Owls calling to each other in our woods. It does my heart such good that my children stop to enjoy these things. It brings them happiness, and in such a busy world this seems like a small wonder.

What I'm Reading

I took time sunny times outside for myself this week and began reading Desperate - a book I'd heard so much about and finally ordered. I'm so glad I bought it. I have been reading through the book, watching the videos at the end of each chapter, and journaling along the way. 

You must read this book. 

Our family is learning to SLOW DOWN and appreciate the beauty in our world.

I am so thankful, because I know that life can often be short.

I want my children to receive my full attention, free of stress and meaningless activities. I want them to mature into adults who can appreciate beauty and raise their own children in a similar manner.

This is the best way I know to pass on the Godly values I hold so dear.

While we did a lot this week, our favorite thing was preparing for and attending the Georgia Renaissance Festival. We went with my friend, Jeni (The Blog Maven) and her adorable children. It was a day of fun, beauty, and learning


Learning at The Renaissance Festival

There were so many things to see and do at The Renaissance Festival. We were greeted at the gate by Henry VIII and Anne Bolyn, along with ladies in waiting and other members of court.

We watched a glass blowing demonstration (very cool!), a woman spinning yarn, and got to drum a bit, too.

All of the workers at the festival spoke in authentic voices, greeted us with "M'Lord and M'Lady" and made the experience so enjoyable.

The relationships made with our friends made the day wonderful. 

I had met Jeni online last summer (after using her featured pins on Pinterest in your sidebar tutorial) and she was gracious and generous with her knowledge of blogging and design. We met again at The BEECH Retreat (now Story Social Media) in Florida, where I enjoyed a class she gave about effective blog design. 

She lives a couple of hours from me and we said we would have to meet to do something with our kids.

Our children got along well, and it felt like we had known them for much longer than just a day. I know we will get together again!

Renaissance Notebooking


We received a study guide from the Renaissance Festival. I read through it with the kids (most of it was a review, since we spent the bulk of the year in this period of history in The Story of the World.)

As I read through this guide, I had the kids notebook as a review. I created pages in The Notebooking Publisher Web App (oh, how I LOVE this!!) at Notebooking 

I also added pre-made pages from The Renaissance (also from Notebooking Pages).

I know I sound like a big commercial, but we use Notebooking Pages on a DAILY BASIS in our homeschool. It's the best money you can spend it you want to notebook across all subjects.

And, if you are unfamiliar with Notebooking, you can get the eBook, Notebooking Success, to explain it to you!

We had pages about Customs & Mannerisms, Food, Clothing, Greetings, Sports, Games, and more. 


Anna has been asking me about archery and getting a bow and arrows for a long time (ever since we studied Robin Hood last year!). 

Her dream came true at The Renaissance Festival. She got a very nice bow and two training arrows, along with a set of instructions.

I don't think she's come inside very much since we got home!

I was able  to order Teaching Archery to Kids and also get a couple of targets. I think this will provide hours of fun and learning for both kids.

LEGO Update

There was (of course) lots of LEGO learning going on here. Some was just free play (using the pieces from the LEGO StoryStarter set), but we did break into something new this week.


The LEGO Education® Energy Add-On pack is wonderful!  We learned about hydro, solar, and wind energy. Grant build a basic car and we talked about potential and kinetic energy. I will be sharing more about this in the coming weeks. Needless to say, very cool, and VERY educational! It comes with complete lesson plans.

LEGO provided our science for the week, and it was meaningful and interesting.


Blog News

This week on the blog there is a free unit study about Tchaikovsky, along with a giveaway of The Story of Swan Lake from Maestro Classics.

I am also very excited to share iBlog with you - this book is a comprehensive resource for bloggers, with over 300 pages of information about all topics involved with blogging. The chapter I authored is "Growing Community Through Your Blog".

I do hope you can purchase and enjoy this resource!

How was your week?

Did you take time to appreciate the beauty around you? 

I hope you link up your weekly photo collage post!  Please remember to include photo collages.  Also, link back to this post or include the Collage Friday button (in my sidebar) in your post. Once you have signed the linky, please visit others on the list to gain ideas and offer encouragement.  I love the Collage Friday community!  (I reserve the right to delete any links that don't comply with the guidelines.)

Happy weekend!