Secret Keeper Girl Mother-Daughter Time


A couple of nights ago, I had the privilege of attending an incredible event called Secret Keeper Girl Pajama Party with my daughter, Emily.  We even wore PJ’s that I made myself!  I made matching ones for Emily and her sabertooth tiger, and a different set for myself. 


The 3-hour event was an evening for moms & daughters (ages 8-12) to have fun together while learning about modesty and inner beauty.  The focus was on teaching the girls (and moms!) that they are children of the King of Kings and are absolutely precious and loved – just the way they are.  They were taught that they are PRINCESSES with a Heavenly Father who is madly in love with them – whether they prefer being a “girly-girl” or a “tomboy”. 

“The King is enthralled with your beauty; all glorious is the princess within her chamber.” (Psalm 45:11a, 13a)

There was a lesson on labels and how we often label ourselves with things like “ugly”, “stupid” (the “S” word!) or “unloveable”, but those labels are LIES and God’s word tells us otherwise.  God made each of us to be different on purpose, so we need to stop comparing ourselves to others and feeling inferior.  Instead, we should take those labels OFF and replace them with God’s Word!



We had time to talk with our daughters about any labels that they are carrying and then to pray with them.  We also had a giant “popcorn” fight with huge inflatable balls, and even did the chicken dance!


We got to watch a fashion show – modesty style – with some cute, fun style ideas for the girls.  They even gave some great modesty tips like wearing a men’s or boy’s ribbed tank top under too-short shirts (the boy’s tanks are longer!), or putting leggings/pants under those cute (but too short) miniskirts or dresses (that look more like shirts).   They also taught some tests you can do to see if your clothes are modest enough before wearing them out.  Those tests can be found on the SKG website.  It’s all about keeping our "secret parts” – still a secret!  Let’s let our little girls stay little as long as possible, please.


SO MUCH FUN!  Check and see if there is a tour coming to your area and if so, take your daughter!  I think next year, I’ll make a full date of it and take her to a hotel for the night for some extended mommy-daughter time.

We found a dive shop!

We are so excited – there is a dive shop in our area!! I can’t tell you how much we’ve missed seeing this flag:


If you are a new reader you may not know that Rob and I met through SCUBA diving and it is our true passion! We used to teach classes together, and we miss it so much. Life happens and we just haven’t been able to do any diving for a few years, but we are hoping to get back into it.

Recently, Rob stumbled across Black Jack Tech Diving – a local technical diving shop. That means WRECK diving! There are lots of great wrecks off the North Carolina coast and we would love the chance to see some of them in person while we live here.  We went in to the shop to talk to them and they have a lot of fun wreck diving trips planned.  Hopefully we can get one of those on our schedule this year!

Science Detective Camp

A couple of weeks ago, Lovebug attended a “Science & Detective Camp” at a local children’s museum.  I had come across an ad for it in a local publication and I knew it would be perfect for her! She’s always been interested in detectives, spies, mysteries, and similar adventures.  This was a half-day camp for 5 days, and she had a blast!  Every day she came home with a new story to tell, and a project they had done.

Lovebug also got an extra treat when we saw what was in the classroom where the camp was held.  The museum has pet snakes and rats!

2146  2144

The rats were mostly there to feed the snakes, but a couple of them were there to keep, like that big white one.  She had just had BABIES!  They were these teeny tiny little creatures that the kids just couldn’t get enough of, especially my little animal lover.   Evidently Momma-Rat wasn’t too happy that the museum worker kept feeding her young to the snake (who was also pregnant!), but it’s the circle of life, ya know! After all, it IS Science camp!

The kids even got to hold the babies!

2151 2153

It was pretty neat to watch that the worker could put down one of the babies on the counter, and Momma-Rat would go pick it up and take it back to it’s cage.  She was careful not to just leave those babies laying around.

Want to see?


Back to the camp…

They made detective badges…


They made SLIME and learned about fingerprinting…


They made little creatures…


She even made “shrinky dinks” out of plastic cups (didn’t get a picture of that one), and of course made new friends!

They also got some play time in the museum where there are many different stations set up.  They have a grocery store, post office, dentist, fire station, Army area, etc.  Of course Bug enjoyed posing with the Army stuff and insisted I take pictures!



She said “Look, just like Daddy!!”



…then said “No, wait! I can’t smile! I have to be serious” (just like Daddy in his uniform pictures)



Then she found a hat just like Daddy’s favorite one!


It was a great week!  So great in fact, that I signed her up for another one! She just started it today.  This week she’ll be doing full days with half a day of Science and half a day of Art!  She was so excited to see so many of the same kids there again this time! I know she’ll have a wonderful week.

Spouse Retreat in Myrtle Beach


Emily and I had the privilege this past weekend of attending a retreat in Myrtle Beach! It was so fun! It was sponsored by the Army Chaplains and this one was for the spouses and kids of the deployed soldiers in our brigade.  They paid for the hotel, and most of the meals were provided as well.  We spent 2 nights in a hotel, and had a great opportunity to get to know a lot of other women/children.  During our stay, we attended some sessions taught by the chaplains.  These focused on building effective families and how we can best do that as military spouses.  While we were in the sessions, the children were well taken care of in another room full of toys, games, & videos.  They had a great time!  We also got some craft time in and I even made a necklace and bracelet! That was fun, and I see some beading in my future. 

We also had a lot of free time, so one afternoon we headed to the beach – of course!! The next afternoon, Emily and I headed to a local tourist area called “Broadway at the Beach”.  It is full of attractions like mini golf, an aquarium, a movie theatre, a museum, ropes course, boat ride – you name it!  There are also what seemed like hundreds of stores and restaurants.  We did some window shopping and then went to Ripley’s Aquarium where they had a shark exhibit and Emily got to touch a horseshow crab – very cool!

We had an amazing time!  We both made some new friends that we are already staying in touch with, and we got to have a great little vacation together.

We are blessed!

Here are the pictures! There are tons of them :)  The hotel, the beach, Broadway at the Beach, & Ripley’s Aquarium!

Learning to adapt when plans change

It’s hard when we change the plans on our kiddos sometimes, isn’t it? It’s funny that my daughter can be so easy going about some things, and so rigid about others.  She’s been completely fine with the foster kids coming and going in our home.  She’s ok that we don’t know which state we are moving to yet – just that we are going.

Then there’s the other side…

If the pants she wanted to wear today aren’t clean  – meltdown!

If I said we were going to the park, but it rains – big problem.

If we don’t have her favorite stuffed animal in the car with us and we stay out till dark – watch out!

The fact that Netflix says “just a moment” and it takes more than ONE moment….bugs her and she lets me know it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

This weekend, she is spending time with my parents.  The plan was for her to go over there Friday and come home Sunday afternoon.

Then, my mom called a couple days ago to tell me she got tickets to a rodeo (which my daughter LOVES!).  But it’s for Sunday NIGHT.  At bedtime, actually.

Lovebug is usually ok staying out late every once in a while as long as we can adjust for it the next day.  This was pushing it a lot since it’s out late and they will have an hour long drive home, but I knew the next day could be low-key for her, and it’s the last weekend she’ll spend with my parents before we move.

So I had a talk with Lovebug to see if she would still be ok with this.  I let her know that she would be coming home on Monday instead so they could go to the rodeo.

She flipped out!  “But I was supposed to come HOME on Sunday.  That wasn’t the plan! I like to have a plan!”.

It completely messed her up.  “But I don’t know what they are going to DO at the rodeo! I don’t want to go!” (she’s been to 2 before)

I talked her through it and reminded her that she loves the rodeo, what she would see there, and that this was her weekend with my parents before we move.

She finally said, “Can I just go think about this for a minute?”

We were in the car, in a bookstore parking lot.  Ummmm, sure. So she went to the back of the minivan to think.

She came back up a couple minutes later and said she was ok with it now that she had given it some thought.

I LOVE that she self regulated that!! She just needed time to get herself used to the idea and the new plan.  If I had accepted her first answer, she would have missed out on a fun time.  She thought it through, weighed the options, and made a decision.  I was so proud of her!

Thankfully, I know my mom will monitor her activity, sensory needs, and food intake, all of which are critical to making the late night work for everyone.

What do YOU do when you have to change plans for your child?  How do you prepare them or manage the situation? I’d love to hear from you!

Our song for Daddy!

Lovebug and I had to run an errand today and we were singing songs as we drove around.  We ended up singing “She’ll be coming ‘round the mountain when she comes”, and then we made up our own version for Daddy!! It’s sung to the same tune as the original.


He’ll be coming in a blue truck when he comes

He’ll be coming in a blue truck when he comes

He’ll be coming in a blue truck,

He’ll be coming in a blue truck,

He’ll be coming in a blue truck when he comes!


We will be so glad to see him when he comes

We will be so glad to see him when he comes

We will be so glad to see him,

We will be so glad to see him,

We will be so glad to see him when he comes!


We will give him a great big hug when he comes

We will give him a great big hug when he comes

We will give him a great big hug,

We will give him a great big hug,

We will give him a great big hug when he comes!


We will tell him that we love him when he comes

We will tell him that we love him when he comes

We will tell him that we love him,

We will tell him that we love him,

We will tell him that we love him when he comes


In 8 days and a wakeup he will come

In 8 days and a wakeup he will come

In 8 days and a wakeup,

In 8 days and a wakeup,

In 8 days and a wakeup he will come!


Bugs & Ice Cream

Tuesday was “Letter B” day here in school! After getting our other subjects done, we took science on the go, and headed to the local nature and science museum to watch the IMAX version of “Bugs! A Rainforest Adventure”. Just another reason I LOVE homeschooling! We got our work done in less than 2 hours and had the rest of the day for adventure.


It was a great movie with a bug’s eye view of the circle of life in the insect world.  It was perfect for Lovebug because she loves studying bugs! Her favorite one in the movie was the praying mantis – we got to see it devour a fly & a butterfly! We were the only ones in the entire theatre today – so fun! It was also good because my sweet daughter tends to talk constantly during a movie as she notices every detail or asks questions so it was nice to just let her go without asking her to quiet down.

Of course, no trip to the museum is complete without one of these:

2011-01-10 072

Remember those? I used to love getting this every time I went to the museum on a field trip as a kid.  Now it’s even made with natural coloring (YAY!) so Lovebug & I can enjoy it together.  Sharing this with her is so sweet as I get to share a bit of my childhood with her.

What? Don’t you like your ice cream freeze dried?  Come on, doesn’t that look tasty?  Maybe not, but there is just something irresistible about it.

2011-01-10 073

2011-01-10 074

After the museum, we stopped by Half Price Books to pick out a book on bugs.  My love of Half Price Books was reinforced yet again as I saw 3 different books on bugs there that I had just seen in the museum gift shop for more than twice the price!  I love discount books.  Lovebug picked out a Pocket Guide to Bugs that I can already tell will not leave her side anytime soon.

Christmas on the Square

This past weekend, Lovebug and I went to a local city’s Christmas on the Square! It was so much fun! The entire street was decorated with beautiful lights, programmed to the music (click here for video)

2010-12-18 059

They had bounce houses, a balloon artist, and a SNOW SLIDE!  First we watched Santa parachute in, which was fun.  Lovebug kept talking about how she got to watch Daddy skydive like that – she was so proud!  Then, we headed over to the Snow Slide to get in line early.  What fun! We would have done it over and over if the line hadn’t been so long.

Here is a video I took of her going down.  I was going down right beside and behind her.  Can you tell she loved it?

We wandered around the square for a while, browsed in a couple shops, and watched the hot air Balloon Glow.  Those balloons were so pretty at night, and we were able to walk right up to the baskets and chat with the people.  I’ve never touched the basket of a hot air balloon before, so that was fun.  I would LOVE to go for a ride in one, but you know those things cost around $250 per person for a ride?  OUCH!

2010-12-18 074 2010-12-18 081 2010-12-18 084 2010-12-18 091 2010-12-18 093 2010-12-18 070

We attempted to go for a carriage ride, but after waiting in line for 45 min or so, Lovebug desperately had to go to the bathroom! I felt so bad for her.  She just couldn’t wait, and the bathroom was far enough away, I didn’t feel right asking them to hold our place in line.  So, we bailed on the line, went to the bathroom and decided to jump in line for another Snow Slide instead! This time we went down holding hands – me facing backward and her forward.

What a great night!

2010-12-18 062

2010-12-18 064

2010-12-18 106

Fun with Frosty!!  It still amazes me that she is either completely terrified of these dress up characters, or runs up to hug them.  It’s one extreme or the other, and I never know which way it will go.

2010-12-18 107

Her HORSE balloon!

2010-12-18 109

Elliott’s Hardware

There is a local hardware store that has a post office located in the back of the store.  It comes in very handy this time of year when the line at the regular P.O is out the door and down the street.  I would think that every local knows about this little secret, yet of all the times I’ve gone in to mail a package I’ve never had to wait behind more than 3 people.  It’s awesome!

I took Lovebug with me the other day, and it turned into an adventure!

First, a pony ride 🙂



Then, she wanted to look at the faucets for some reason, so we headed down that aisle.   She saw THIS…..


….and practically SCREAMED while waving her arms, “Oh WOW! It’s a DOUBLE TOILET!”.  I laughed so hard before I had to explain to her that they were just placed next to each other for display.  I guess I really should take her out in public more often. Come to think of it, it might be a handy idea as long as you didn’t need any privacy.


Up front near the registers, she spotted an ice cream freezer cooler and stopped to peek.  She saw a push-up pop and remembered having one at the State Fair 3 years ago!! (Oh, to have her memory!)  I figured that must have been before we stopped eating artificial food coloring, but decided to check anyway.  To my surprise, it was colored naturally! So, I let her get one.  You would have thought she won the lottery!

This is what you get when you ask a child to smile while they are trying to lick their ice cream.  She looks like she’s growling at me.


I couldn’t ask for more

2010-11-17 002

Today at the park I asked Lovebug, “Do you know you’re beautiful?”.

She replied, “Yes. Daddy told me.”

I couldn’t ask for more.

I am so blessed to be married to a man that understands the importance of a daughter feeling loved by her daddy!

And that confidence leads to her continuing to try new things…like this really steep (fast) slide that she’s been very afraid of.