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Kristen is a home­maker, home­schooler, and a home­keeper. Her experience includes nineteen years of practice, raising three kids, a husband, and a dog. Writing about her life helps her stay sane. She believes that sharing stories helps others by providing opportunities to share advice (and helpful hints) about homeschooling, and raising kids on the autism spectrum, while supporting marriages and families that are striving to thrive.

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Shannon Enos is a wife, recovering Pinterest addict, and homeschooling mom of two young girls. Her hobbies include analyzing music with her husband, pretending she’s going to finish that crocheting project she started 4 years ago, and making lists of things she has already completed just so she can cross them off. Shannon values truth, education, the arts, open minds, humor, and “Nashville" binges on Hulu. She believes that learning happens everywhere, whether you’re paying attention or not.

 

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image_6.jpgI love, love, love July fourth! I love the fireworks, I love picnic food, I love the red-white-and-blue. I love being patriotic! I grew up as a Navy-brat, and moved every three years, but we always celebrated the fourth. In fact, the best three July fourth celebrations I remember were celebrated in Stuttgart, Germany on Patch Barracks. The fireworks were incredible... so incredibly close... that part actually made me nervous. They were close. Did I mention they were close? I actually remember feeling heat and smelling gunpowder. Awesome.

So, what are you all doing? For the first time in a long time (very long time) we are attempting to celebrate with the masses. I wrote a few weeks ago about going to the zoo for fun, and how those plans seem to always go awry. So, we are planning (diligently making plan A, plan B, and plan F). We have food contingencies, bathroom contingencies, rain ops, etc. We have bug spray, bug screen, sun screen, hats, tents... you get the idea. In our pursuit of the celebration of life and liberty, we are are arming ourselves for defense against a meltdown. I'll keep you posted. We will be hopefully partaking in the Heritage Festival, and enjoying the celebration of independence outside! All. Day. No wimpiness will be tolerated... says the husband.

 

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In addition to our IRL participation in the festivities, I also love that there are so many cute things out there, in cyberland, to do, to be festive, to decorate, to cook. I so enjoy looking at the pictures of everything. The trick, of course, is to not get sucked into the perfection of it all. Does this happen to you? It happens to me all the time... the beauty of Pinterest, the perfect recipes, the artistic crafts... Yes, it is all gorgeous, and exciting, but don't set yourself up for failure. Most of the recipes do not end up looking like the pictures of the recipes. Sometimes the crafts don't turn out, either. Just remember, you are being creative and creating a festive atmosphere for your family, and that is where the love is. Your family will appreciate your attempts, and love you for loving them so much to be making red, white, and blue cupcakes, and jello, and hamburgers.

I've also read about communities doing a decorated bicycle parade, and having prizes for those dressing up with a patriotic spirit. This sounds so fun, that one year (some day) I totally plan to organize a neighborhood parade for the kids. I've been saying this for a few years, though, and here we are, another year when I didn't quite make it!  In fact, you may be reading this after the fourth, which is fine, because there will be a celebration next year, too, and I may have that parade thing up and organized by then. Also, there will be Labor Day, Patriot Day, and Memorial Day coming up... you know, soon. All of these holidays celebrate patriotism, too. Red-white-and-blue is always in style!! Time to start planning!

Books, too, are an important part of our repertoire for any and all holidays. We. Love. Books. I picked up three simple picture books about July Fourth at the library yesterday. We will read them together tonight and tomorrow. I don't have baby-babies anymore, but I still like to use picture books, because they read quickly, the pictures are fun and beautiful, and the information is still good. Instead of trudging through a textbook teaching the story of The Declaration of Independence, you can read the same information in a story book with pictures. I have a seriously (like diagnosed, for real, severe level) distracted ADHD child. She can't handle loads of info at once, and certainly doesn't have the attention for a long book. Story books, with pictures, is the way to go. My older, non-distracted child loves the art and simplicity of these books as well. And my oldest, autistic child still appreciates read-aloud time here and there. He says he is too old for it, but I find him usually hanging around, and looking at the pictures, and listening intently. It's sweet.

 

So, whatever holiday celebration y'all are planning this weekend, please enjoy it! And if you're reading after the holiday, then kudos for planning ahead for next year! I hope everyone enjoys their weekend, no matter what! Happy Independence Day! 

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