Happy Minion Birthday Party!

Minion cupcakes

I have to admit that when we started planning my son’s 5th birthday party a couple of weeks ago, it wasn’t even on my radar that the Minions movie was coming out. Nevertheless, it came about that we had a Minion Birthday Party! First, my daughter found some cupcakes on a Youtube video she said she wanted to make–and they were Minions. Then, my kids bought my son a Minion hat as a present. Then, my husband bought a Minion balloon {Read More}

Road Trip to Niagara Falls area: Tips and Recommendations

Road Trip to Niagara Falls area

We took an awesome road trip to Niagara Falls and surrounding area a few weeks ago. I’m happy to share today about this trip–where we went, what we did, where we stayed and ate, and tips on what you should do if you get a chance to go there! I have also shared about other adventures that we took on this long road trip: to Quebec City, Maine post #1, and Maine post #2. We live near Chicago, so we {Read More}

Road Trip Through Maine: Boat Tour and Pemaquid post #2

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If you missed our first Maine post, check out Road Trip Through Maine: Acadia and Bar Harbor post #1 here.  Today I’m sharing about the third day we were in Maine.  Since the first two days didn’t work out to go on our boat tour in the harbor off of Mount Desert Island, we decided to stay a little longer in the Bar Harbor area and go at 10 a.m. in the morning. I’m so glad we did! We were really {Read More}

Road Trip Through Maine: Acadia and Bar Harbor post #1

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  We had a totally awesome road trip this year!  We headed from Chicago through Michigan and to Niagara Falls. Then we went through Canada to Quebec City. Next we drove through Maine to Acadia National Park and down along the coast. Finally, we spent a day in Boston. I’m happy to share today about our road trip through Maine, part 1. I had never been there before; I love Maine!!! We entered Maine from Canada. It was our 4th {Read More}

Blessings this Independence Day

Independence Day

I pray blessings for you and your family this Independence Day.  May the Lord continue to guide our country. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD. Psalm 33:12 We have been listening to  For God and Country (Adventures in Odyssey) and learning about how God has been our Lord in the past. I highly recommend these to you this 4th of July!   (This post contains affiliate links.)

Road Trip to Canada & Maine: Quebec City

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We have recently returned from our annual road trip, 8 kids, 2 parents in a 12-passenger van!  This year we traveled from Illinois through Michigan to Niagara Falls across Canada through Toronto and Montreal to Quebec City.  (We then traveled through Maine to Boston and back across to Illinois.) I will return in a couple of weeks with a special post on our Niagara Falls adventure. Today I’ll share about our time in Quebec City. We arrived in Quebec City, {Read More}

“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”

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My oldest 5 kids are performing in Spotlight Youth Theater’s Production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” this weekend and next.  We went to see it this morning, and it’s fabulous!  So fun and colorful and sweet. I’m so proud of my oldest son who is playing Charlie Brown in the “older” kid cast.  They also cast the leads with a “younger” cast for this production. Enjoy the Promo Video here: My favorite parts of the show were the {Read More}

Vacation Scrapbook: Visiting Hollywood

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I thought I had finished all the vacation posts of our California trip last summer, but I forgot Hollywood! One afternoon, we drove around to see the different parts of the Los Angeles area–Bellaire and Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, and Hollywood.  We drove by Grauman’s Chinese Theater, saw some Hollywood stars, and ate lunch at an outdoor Chick-Fil-A with sprinklers spraying water. I wanted so much to see the famous Hollywood sign, but no matter where we looked we couldn’t {Read More}

Vacation Scrapbook: Visiting Los Angeles

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Well, better late than never!  I’m finally finishing up our Vacation Scrapbook of our California vacation last summer.  The final leg took us from Monterey, CA to Los Angeles. We had a very interesting drive through some very different types of towns.  I have never seen so many grapevines in my life!  Once we got to LA the kids wanted to go to the beach, but we didn’t have any towels.  (My sister had provided the ones we used in {Read More}

Field Trip to Adler Planetarium

Adler Planetarium 5

It’s field trip season!  I love it when the long winter ends and we can finally get out to do things again. We finished our study of Exploring Creation With Astronomy by Apologia (with my elementary students), so it was definitely time to visit the planetarium.  Below are some pictures of our visit to Adler Planetarium in Chicago.  We saw two of the six shows and had time to explore some of the exhibits as well.  We got a membership {Read More}

“The Passenger” field trip to Chicago Lyric Opera

The Passenger Opera

My two oldest sons and I, along with a group from our Tapestry of Grace Fellowship Group (a homeschool co-op where we study history and literature together) went to the Chicago Lyric Opera’s production of The Passenger opera last week. The Passenger is a moving 20th Century opera about the horrors of Auschwitz and the lingering effects on both a prisoner and guard who had been in it.  You never know what to expect from music written in the 20th {Read More}

“The Children of Space” – A Movie my Son is in!

Three times a year my kids participate in a drama, dance, or singing class provided by Spotlight Youth Theater. They have such a variety of classes, and the showcases they put on at the end of each session are such fun! This last session my second son was in a film acting class, and here is his movie, written and directed by Sean Anderson.  They learned how acting for film is different from acting live on stage.  They did all {Read More}

Christmas Pictures 2014!

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Enjoy some pictures from our Christmas this year: Sledding down the hill: Mumsy in the kitchen: Poppy reading: Playing pool: The Tree! Working puzzles (and my music is on the piano): Performing at Christmas Eve service: Opening presents:    All the cousins! The lovely yard display my husband made years ago:

Merry Christmas 2014!

May the wonder of Christmas be yours this season! May you know the Peace and Joy that only comes through our Lord Jesus Christ! Have a very Merry Christmas from the Mayo Family! (Photo Credit: Kenneth Smith Photography 847-845-5549)  

10 Gifts to Buy for the Men in Your Life

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Men and older boys can be difficult to buy gifts for, huh?  I’ve been brainstorming some ideas for Christmas presents for these guys (and asking some friends for their ideas). Here are a few gifts that you might be able to get for those wonderful men and older boys in your life! Gifts for Men: 1. Phone and Tablet Cases 2. Season Tickets (or just one ticket!) to a sport or musical activity they enjoy 3. An Experience they can {Read More}

Come See “Oklahoma” the Musical! (And a New Hairstyle)

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We are about to enter Tech Week for the new Spotlight Youth Theater musical my kids are in:  Oklahoma!  It’s the first time it’s been performed with Spotlight, and we are so excited to be involved in it! My oldest has a small lead this time.  He’s Ike Skidmore.  My 2nd son (not pictured) is working backstage.  The next three kids are in it as well!  My husband is working Tech.  And I’m the ticket-seller! Please get your tickets today {Read More}

Weekly Wrap-up: Baptism, Birthdays, and Astronomy

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Weekly Wrap-up?  Ok, to be honest, it has been so long that I’ve done one of these posts that it’s really going to cover the last 2 months! Hope you enjoy! On August 30 my 4th child was baptized by her father in a nearby lake.  I’m so proud of her for making the decision to follow Jesus and identify with him in baptism! Is this little girl cute or what!  She has now decided she doesn’t need an afternoon {Read More}

Sfzorzando String Camp (Morton Arboretum & Naper Settlement)

Sfzorzando String Camp 001

A couple of weeks ago my violinists partcipated in their first string camp. I also had 2 of my little ones who haven’t played yet be in the Pre-Twinkles program. It was a great Christian camp called Sfzorzando String Camp. It was about an hour from our house–so that was the hardest part of it for me. Also, since I had kids in all 5 different levels, they finished at 5 different times of the day. So, we hung out {Read More}

Vacation Scrapbook: Visiting Monterey, California

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After we finished our time at my sister’s house (including my Mom’s funeral), we headed out to Monterey, CA for a fun vacation time!  There were 10 in our van and 6 in my sister’s car.  I counted to 12 (the kids) over and over and over during our time there.  And there always seemed to be someone missing that we had to search for! It was Father’s Day when we left town, so we stopped at a Father’s Day {Read More}

Vacation Scrapbook: Visiting My Sister’s Family

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One of the most wonderful parts of our California vacation was getting to spend time — five full days — with my sister and her family.  It has been four years since we last saw them.  We had never met her two adopted kids, and they hadn’t met my two youngest. They live in a beautiful community in the mountains about an hour from Reno, Nevada.  It was very pretty there.  The dads and kids spent a lot of time {Read More}