We’re reading, multiplying & standing on our own two feet!

Yesterday was not the best homeschool day. We were about 15 minutes into it when I said… forget it! At first I felt stressed out about it, and then the most peaceful feeling came over me…. it’s okay. It’s okay to have a day where Jayden isn’t clicking with the program.

That is the joy of homeschooling.

So, I let it go and we continue on….

Happenings going on in our homeschool life –

Jayden is currently learning 3 digit by 3 digit multiplication and doing GREAT! The only problems he has is when he forgets about the number that he carries over, and I’m trying to figure out a great way for him to grasp this step and not forget it. We’re still having issues in the writing department and am probably going to just buy a 4th grade writing curriculum that will help with special needs children…. if there is one! His biggest issue is getting his ideas to go from his brain onto the paper. It’s November and we haven’t had the most structured start to the year, but we’re making it and we LOVE this journey.

Ella is now adding and in the beginning stages of reading. We’re using the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and WOW! The results are QUICK and AMAZING!!!! She feels so proud of herself, which she should!!! These are the two main things we’ve been focusing on with preschool. I have lots of scanning to do with all of the things she’s been working on so that I can start compiling her yearly homeschool book.

Jayden and Ella have been spending a LOT of time getting ready for the bug fair happening Tuesday with our homeschool group!!! We’ve been learning LOTS about dragonflies and butterflies and are compiling poster boards for the fair. Once they’re all completed I’ll upload pictures.

I hate that I haven’t had the time to be updating much on here about our lives – especially our homeschool adventures, but my plate has been so full! I’m taking 12 credits this term and am keeping a 4.0 GPA, so with my homework load, my photography sessions, my custom art orders and homeschooling and being a mama to these kids and a good wife to my husband, my blog {and reading blogs} has fallen into the cracks a bit. I was looking at my blog today and thought… how sad – this is basically my only form of journaling our lives and there’s hardly ANY blog posts from this year…. and it was Aliyah’s first year! Thank Goodness for my Cozi calendar or I’d have no memories recorded.

Oh, MY ALIYAH!! I have to get my bragging on…. she’s GORGEOUS. She’s turning 1 this month and is cruising all over the house by pushing things, and stands on her own two feet and dances to music with her hands flailing in the air – but refuses to walk. It’s okay with me, because that just means she’s still my little baby that needs me to carry her. It’s so crazy how different each child can truly be. She only has 2 teeth, but I think she’s working on more…. since she screams the majority of the night.

All in all we’re doing great and just inching towards the goals we’ve set. Gino and I are working on a dream board and have our goals set and know what we have to do to get there. It’s almost exciting to think that where we are is just a temporary thing, and while it’s a great and amazing thing, we have SO MUCH TO LOOK FORWARD TO! I really lucked out with marrying him. He just knows how to keep our minds focused on the future and what matters.

I know Aliyah’s 11 months already, but I haven’t done 11 month pictures… so here’s her 10 month picture I did. I know it’s so mean that she’s crying, but I LOVE her cry face.

AND I’ll leave you with a video – at the end Aliyah’s tongue comes out just like her two cousins… SO CUTE!


You’re so vain…… you probably think this blog is about YOU!

Why is it that when I am hurt inside and I voice it I’m wrong?  Why is that every other person thinks they have a right to judge how express myself and tell me that the way I go about things is wrong?

This is MY blog.  This is where I JOURNAL MY FEELINGS and it’s not always beautiful, and it might be about certain people, but THIS IS MY PLACE!  If people have an issue with the things I write about on my blog then they have no business being here.  I am not a hermit that hides inside of myself with my feelings…. my feelings are put out there, voiced with words and displayed for anyone to read them.  Blogging isn’t for everybody, but blogging is for me.

I’m tired of people always throwing me voicing myself online in my face.  THIS IS ME…. THIS IS WHO I AM.  Stop coming here to psychoanalyze every single blog post that I write, because believe it or not… YOU are not the sole focus of my life.  And if you find yourself in a blog post of mine and don’t want to be…. then don’t do things that tempt me!

The end.

That’s the point of faith

I’m preparing myself for my church’s semi-annual conference this weekend.  I think we live in some pretty amazing times to have a prophet living on our earth and Heavenly Father speaking through him.  I absolutely love my church and feel so blessed to be a part of it. I have been spending a lot more time than usual studying my scriptures, praying for understanding, and really feeling strong things within me.

I’m a girl that struggles with faith.  I like the seen and not the unseen, and things need to make perfect sense to me.  I sometimes will pick things apart and think to myself…. ‘Really?’ If there were a God would he really expect us to walk so blindly in this life trying to find Him?  Yes, things like this absolutely enter my mind…. and a lot!  But, I can’t shake the feeling in my soul when I am sitting at church, or when my children do something that makes me feel so blessed to be their mother.  It all boils down to love with me….. I just don’t see how there could be love with no God.  So, I have to walk in this life grasping to the wonderful things that God has put on this earth to help guide us back to Him.  I have to realize that it might not all make sense, and I might not be able to wrap my head around it all – but that’s the point of faith.

I’m searching for balance in my life.  I have what I would call an ideal life with a borderline perfect husband and three kids that make me who I am and who I strive daily to be; three kids I couldn’t imagine my life without.  I have a passion in art and creating and growing and being and life – a passion that hasn’t always been there.  I have school for myself and my children and it is very time consuming….. and then there’s a household to run.  Not to mention…. being a MOM.  I think I struggle with living in the moment and putting my full attention to whatever I’m doing.  If I’m working on homework I feel guilty that I’m not with the kids, if I’m with the kids I feel guilty about homework…. it’s something that I need to work on.  I need to allocate my time better and only have certain times for art, certain times for homeschool, certain times for my homework and so forth…. I need balance.

The creative bug has been soaring inside of me lately, and I’ve just been trying to go with it.  I want to create a coffee table book of all of my art pieces I work on.  If you haven’t checked out my {etsy shop} yet, that’s where they’ll be for sale.  I’m using art to speak the quotes that I love and feel are important.  I love words.  I love words so much, because they’re such a powerful force in our lives – in ourselves, in our relationships – almost in every aspect of our lives…. words touch all.  Words are my inspiration in just about everything.

Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher. Simply Stated.

I dream of journals.  I dream of a really beautiful, expensive, perfect pen and a blank page.  I think my problem lately has been that it’s just about the blank page though.  I have struggled to actually put things down – where do I start?  I finally started my scripture journal thanks to the ridiculously amazing Red Headed Hostess.  Seriously – she is downright INSPIRING.

I’ve decided to just pick topics that I really want to learn about and dive into every scripture on those topics.  My first topic is patience, because Lord knows I need patience more than anything.  Parenting might come so easy to others, but it doesn’t to me.  I know I’m not a bad mom, but I know I’m not the best.  I struggle with patience and am grateful to know that there are many books, scripture verses and Ensign talks that will help me become what my children deserve….. an extremely patient mother.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not so impatient my kids are unhappy… it’s just I’m not as patient as I would like to be.  AND the #1 google search that brings people to this blog is “Being a mom is hard.”  People, being a mom isn’t all rosy flower petals…. sorry!  If you happen to think that it is then you are living in denial.  It’s okay to admit that it’s hard.  It’s okay to admit that you need to better yourself ALWAYS when it comes to parenting.

I went on a little trip and chose to listen to inspiring things instead of music on my trip.  I got so much out of everything I heard, but one thing has stuck in my head so strongly – our journals, library and pictures are some of the most precious treasures that we can leave behind.  How true is this?  If we spend our life trying to learn and grow and find all sorts of quotes, scriptures and philosophical things that help us in our journey, then sharing it with the generations to come is the best thing ever.  SO – I have a new goal… I’m determined to complete a set of marked scriptures and a completed set of journals for each child of mine.  I feel like I will know in the end which scripture and which journal belongs to which child.

Something keeps coming up in a lot of my readings: who you surround yourself with is who you will become.  I keep finding quotes like this in almost everything I’ve been reading.  My favorite one is from Oprah {who I have never watched on TV except when the Twilight cast was on… weird huh?}

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”

I almost felt like God was trying to say something to me.  I sat back and thought…. I’m pretty happy with the people I surround myself around…. but then I started thinking about people I don’t hang around.  People I should be reaching out too, but instead found myself JUDGING.  YES, I found myself judging people I really don’t even know.  Even more interestingly enough is that I was judging these people right along with people I was surrounding myself around.  So, here’s a big AHA moment – if your friends are judging other people and you find yourself doing the same thing right along with them then are these friends that are more than likely going to lift you higher?  HECK NO!  These types of friends are going to be judging you on everything in your life and probably talking about it with another one of their friends {that they are judging}.  It’s sortof a vicious cycle.

I am REALLY focusing on who I am surrounding myself around.  My absolutely most favorite book EVER {The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews} says this:

“I will choose my friends with care. I am who my friends are. I speak their language, and I wear their clothes. I share their opinions and their habits. From this moment forward, I will choose to associate with people whose lives and lifestyles I admire.”

Can you get any more deep than that?!  These are the little golden nuggets I want my kids to read about and apply to their life.  I’ve always been highly selective on the people I allow in my life – and people sometimes think I’m stuck up, but that’s not the case.  Unfortunately, sometimes my friends choose to be friends with people that I see as a person I would never admire nor want to be like so I choose not allow those people in my life.  I hope that my children will choose the people that they surround themselves with, because I want them to only be around people who will lift them higher.

Quotastic Beauty – GIVEAWAY!!!!

It’s official!  The {etsy store} is up and running and I couldn’t be more excited!  There will be  a lot more added over the next couple of days, and things I’m so excited to be offering!!  If you missed the prior posts on what I’m doing –

It’s no secret that I’m love photography, and pictures – and I don’t think that it’s too big of a secret here that I LOVE LOVE LOVE QUOTES!  I’ve decided to team the two up together and start an etsy store offering things like this

and this

Basically, I’m offering custom work to take your pictures and turn them into a piece of art with words that are dear to your heart to last a lifetime.  I envision these art pieces being past down generations and truly cherished.

I will also be doing custom work with just words and no pictures like this:


and custom cards and announcements kindof like this one

These are just things I’m so passionate about and I truly enjoy digital art and designing.  So now I offer my work to others through my new etsy store{Quotastic Beauty}.  The products that I’m offering are so sentimental and personal and make the best gifts if not for your own home and soul.  I created Quotastic Beauty to take memories to a completely different level for my clients. I want their pictures to tell a story to keep alive for generations to come.

I will be offering one of my readers a $50.00 gift certificate to my etsy store!!  Here’s what you need to do –

Leave a comment on this post telling me what you would like to have from the store for your entry.

Additional Entries:

  • Become a follower of my blog {Enchanting Havoc}
  • Follow me on twitter
  • LIKE Amanda Garibay Photography’s {Facebook Page} {This will be the same Facebook Page for Quotastic Beauty}
  • Tweet about the giveaway!  You can do this once a day through the duration of the giveaway.  Copy & Paste this tweet: Come win a $50 gift certificate to the new Etsy Shop Quotastic Beauty by @EnchantingHavoc http://j.mp/rmG82l

Make sure for each additional entry that you leave a separate comment.  GOOD LUCK!!!!


5 years of being a mom of an angel

I really wasn’t in the mood to blog about yesterday.  Not because I didn’t have 110 million emotions flowing through me, but because I just didn’t have the words.

One question that I know gets asked a lot in people’s lives is “Where do you see yourself in five years from now?”  Had you asked me this question 5 years and 2 days ago I would tell you that I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now.  I had dreams, I had plans and 5 years and 1 day ago on September 5, 2011 my baby died.  She left me and went to heaven.  The plans that I had changed, and changed real quick.

Yesterday we sent our annual balloons to heaven and I held Ella in my arms as we watched them float up into the sky.  She asked me, “Where is Mya, Mommy?”  How do you explain to a 4 year old little girl that her sister died so that she can live her life with us?  As we watched the balloons float into the sky I told her the story of Mya.  I told her the story of how not only do I now have a baby girl waiting for me in heaven, but I have a beautiful, perfect, amazing little girl living with me right here on earth…. thanks to Mya.

I’ve gone through my healing process and I’m okay.  But I love her, and I miss her, and this is something that will never change.

We all have our journey–let’s let each other live it

I wish I had a picture of my face right after I passed my accounting final with flying colors and realized that I was DONE.  No, not forever, but for the term!  I have three weeks of fresh air ahead of me.  LOTS and LOTS of projects are being planned with the littles and a REALLY big project that I am so ridiculously excited about that I can hardly contain myself.

My little Miss Aliyah is already 9 months. I think it’s painfully hard for me to process this.  I’ve been drooling over the few pictures I edited from her 9 month pictures.  I have a few more to do – story of my life when it comes to editing!

She’s addicted to food this one and her little rolls on her thighs tell the entire story without me having to go into detail.  And her face? I can’t kiss it enough.  Her cheeks are squishy and her double chin is delicious!
I’ve been going through one of those inner growth spurts that I love to go through so much. I’m really weeding out a lot of negativity and working REALLY hard on not only what I’m thinking, but what I’m saying.  I’ve been searching for this Ensign talk about having the voice of an angel or something along those lines.  It talks about not talking bad about anybody and speaking how you would speak in front of God.  I may be a tad off on this, but this is basically the jist of it and if you know what talk I’m talking about PLEASE leave a comment and let me know.

When you read these words how can you not just realize that our judgments on our friends and acquaintances is uncalled for?

“You know my name, not my story. You know what I’ve done, not what I’ve been through.”

My story will never be your story, and you will never have to walk my journey.  That is the beauty of LIFE!  God has put us all here to journey through our own trials and grow in our own ways.  Sadly, we’re all too busy down here worrying about each other’s journeys.  I think we as humans fail to realize that our salvation isn’t dependent on each other’s.

I recently was having a conversation with an acquaintance of mine and cringed through our entire conversation.  She goes to church and thinks very highly of her little family, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard a positive thing come out of her mouth.  She put all of her energy into talking bad about all of the people in her life including her husband.  I sat there thinking to myself how constructive is this?????  Then I thought… hmmm…. I probably in a way do the same.  I’ll talk about the choices that other girls make with their children, judge them on how they treat their children, but how is any of this MY business?  It’s not.

I’ve been reveling in my head why this is the way it is.  Why we feel as women to gossip behind each other’s back and form judgments on somebody when we aren’t on their journey….. they are.

We will NEVER be able to truly understand the thoughts and actions of others.  They are always thoughts and actions that are helping that individual along their journey.  The mistakes they make are mistakes that they will hopefully learn and grow from.  So, lately, I’ve been focusing on worrying about me and mine and not so much about her and hers.

I’ve been putting a lot of energy into launching my new etsy store.  There’s a lot of work that goes into launching this thing, but I seriously am busting out of my seams with excitement!!!!  I never thought I’d ever be able to dabble in the world of arts, but I’ve found my nitch in it by combing two thing that I fancy quite much.  I have this passion for words.  It’s how we communicate for the most part, it’s a love language, it’s what not only I but so many people yearn for.  I could spend hours engulfed with positive quotes, positive reading, reading about love and hearing one’s song.  Words represent and entirely different art to me.  Combine that with photography and I swoon.

I’m going to start doing custom art pieces combining people’s pictures with their words, their vows, their songs, their favorite quotes – or they can use my examples.  I want to create an art piece that they will hang in their homes and treasure throughout their lives.  This piece right here is our first dance on our wedding day, our song incorporated into it and now this picture has a completely different feel to it.  

My little Diva turned 4. She’s been giving me glimpses into what my life is going to entail when she reaches the teenage years. She already is just wanting to hang out with “older” girls and has attitude that I can’t grasp. Listening is right out the door, but her beauty…. oh my goodness. This girl gets more and more beautiful every day. Ella and her cousin are refreshing to me.  They remind me of summer nights, running through the pastures with my cousin {her mom} and family.  That’s how it’s been this summer – we’ve soaked up the peacefulness of our surroundings. 
Lately I’ve wanted more of a family feel in my life. I’ve wanted my kids to experience the bliss that has been embedded into my soul that I felt when I’d spend summers up at my grandparent’s. They live in pure beauty, and when I pull up to their home I have a sense of home. The smell comforts me and I end up feeling instantly creative inside, because that’s how it is there. This quote says it all…. how can I have my kids experience that if I don’t take them up there? They live not even 5 minutes up the road from me – and that’s now what I do. I go up there and soak up the beauty, and sit back as my children get a nice dose of what childhood should be like. And every once in a while I get to see a moment like this and I can inhale a breath of love and infatuate over my children.

It’s rejuvenating up there. It’s been exactly what my soul has needed.

Schools In Session!!

We have got some exciting and fun things going on here at our homeschool.  We’ve really been enjoying Time 4 Learning for the main core subjects like Language Arts and Math.  For History we’ve been doing Story of the World, which has been SO MUCH FUN….. even for me!  I have to admit that going into fourth grade with Jayden this year I was a little nervous, but it’s all unfolding together perfectly.  I am seeking out advice in this post though….

Hopefully I get a few homeschool moms to peek on in and shed a little light on if what I’m doing is the right thing.

There’s so much curriculum out there…. like a ridiculous amount that I have a really hard time choosing between.  I have found with Jayden the thing that works the best is Time 4 Learning, because they teach him in a way that he enjoys and it clicks.  I always check to see what things he’s going to be learning on there so that we can discuss it further, or I can have worksheets on that topic printed.

I’m working on vocabulary building mainly just by reading books and getting a vocabulary list from books printed out and now I’ve discovered Vocabulary Spelling City to help with this as well…. I’ve known about Spelling City before, but I just recently learned about the premium membership and have been asked to do a review on it!!!  I can’t wait to see if this helps out with the vocabulary department.

I’m curious what other homeschoolers do for vocabulary?  My son has a communication disability where we really struggle in a lot of areas.  I’m really hoping that I can find a great special needs group to give me advice.

I know having him home is the right thing to do with him, and so far we’ve done okay…. I just hope that I’m covering all my basis here!!

I’ve been given a premium membership to VocabularySpellingCity.com for a candid, personal, online review.

VocabularySpellingCity.com helps students study word lists using 25 different learning activities such as Crossword PuzzleHangMan, and Handwriting Worksheets.  Parents can create their own spelling lists, find published lists already available on the site, or use any of dozens of  free teaching resources such as sound-alike words, and contractions.  Be sure to come back in three weeks to read about my experience.

There might be more free memberships available for bloggers.  If you’re interested, find out how you can review VocabularySpellingCity.com.

all around it’s just a crappy situation

Everybody in my family knows me as the girl who speaks her mind.

The only problem with this little tag on me is that I can’t speak my mind to them.  If you’ve read the history on this blog you might see the continuing issues of me not talking to this family member or that family member.  We have a major issue in our family with communication.  When someone has an issue with another in our family they usually will call everybody BUT that member to talk it out and hopefully have the person who has NOTHING to do with the situation step in and relay the message that SO AND SO IS PISSED or in other words isn’t thrilled with the way things were said/done/whatev.

It’s seriously a problem, people.

So, I’m the girl who has no problem speaking my mind in life except for when it comes to my family.  I fear that if I open up my heart to share how I feel about something that the person will cut me out of their life for a long period of time.  So I keep my mouth shut, brew it up inside and harvest bad feelings.

It’s a vicious cycle, but it’s one that is constantly going.

Here’s a moment that I wish my blog was private from my family and that they didn’t know about it, because I have to release the things that I feel inside and guess what…. that’s what my blog is for.  So I don’t know if these words will be read by anyone in my family, if they even read my blog…. but I have to get this off my chest.

My sister is getting married.

It’s not a secret on here that we went over a year with not talking to each other.  It was stupid and I’d say that we both handled the situation badly, but in the end here we are…. close {really close} and happy sisters again.

My sister has not asked me to be in her wedding.  Hurt doesn’t begin to describe how I feel inside, because I’m her sister….. I’m her lifelong friend…. I’m the one that will always be there no matter what, because THAT’S what sisters are for.  I’m the one that will always be there when the whole world goes out.  A sister is a forever friend, and I’m heartbroken that she doesn’t see me that way.  I’m heartbroken.  There really aren’t any other words.  We started becoming close again 6 months before her wedding, which is PLENTY of time to add me back in…. she just never did.  Heck, even her friend made alterations to her wedding to put my daughter in it after all her wedding party had been set.  It’s NEVER too late to add the people who matter, the people you love into your special day that you will remember forever.

I can’t imagine my wedding day without my sister standing up there by my side.  Had I not had my sister in my wedding, I can honestly say that it would be one of my life’s biggest regrets.

I feel replaced.  I feel like Ella has been replaced.  While this might not be the case, it’s how I feel….. and it’s crappy.

We’ve just been indulged in life a tad

Summer arrived…… time for blogging sortof diminished.  We’re all doing great though.  I completely got myself in over my head with summer term at school and ended up having to drop my science class.  Pictures?  Ugh. I pretty much put myself in a hard spot to where I actually had ZERO… and I mean ZERO time to edit pictures.  I have a lot of personal pictures I need to go through and edit and photo books to create.  I think that the 3 weeks of school I get off I’m going to dive into some MAJOR picture editing and hopefully complete 1 photo book.  Good goal.

I’ve gone through a lot struggling this past month with feelings of overwhelmingness {yes, I do know that it’s not a word}. I realized that I needed to seriously declutter my life, structurize my life, make my home a haven for not only my family but myself.  And I’m not there…. Lord knows I’m absolutely not there, but I’m kicking some major butt up in here.  My garage has always been this place of hoarding.  So, not necessarily new stuff, but stuff I’ve tracked from one house to the next and just didn’t know what to do with it all.  Okay, okay, so I have this ridiculous amount of beautiful new picture frames that I’m hoarding in there as well… you got me!  Back to the stupid crap that follows me everywhere I go…. it’s in the garbage.  Yup.  I tossed it!  The kids room?  Basically almost everything in there was put at the bottom of the driveway with a free sign on it and it was all picked up within 5 minutes.  My niece Sydni came to spend 2 1/2 weeks with me to help me get it all done and we’re still going strong!!

I already feel like 110% better.  I’m on this throwing away kick that makes me think twice now about buying useless crap.

Our homeschool starts back up August 15th; well, Jayden’s does while Ella goes to a week long gymnastics summer camp for 3 hours per day.  Ella’s homeschool preschool starts up the following week.  I feel like with all the decluttering and organizing that’s been going down is going to make it all run so much smoother – or at least my sanity will through it all.

Aliyah is 8 months old.  Those words typing onto the screen make me cringe inside, because my baby is growing up.  But my goodness I love her so much and have soaked in every second out of her chubby little self!  She has 2 teeth, says dada, mama, tries to wave, claps, army crawls, has had her first ER visit {thought it was ear infection, ended up being an enterovirus} has love in her little eyes every time she looks at any of her siblings or parents and is nothing short of pure joy in our lives. I absolutely LOVE this little princess! 


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