On the Road with HTHL: Open Highways- New Adventures!

Welcome to my first On the Road with HTHL post of the 2017 Homeschool Convention Season!

Date: February 19, 2017- February 26, 2017

Cathlamet, Washington- to- Bismark, North Dakota

Bismark, North Dakota to Rapid City, South Dakota

Hello 2017, you are not what I expected!

After the 2016 Homeschool Convention Season had ended, we rode the wonderful emotional roller coaster of seeing our daughter become a wife to a wonderful young man. The wedding took place just before Thanksgiving, and it was such a blessing to have all of our children and their wives present.

On the Road with HTHL
Yes, my hubby and I can STILL gross out our kids!

Immediately after the wedding, we sold our home in northern California and said goodbye to friends and family.

On the Road with HTHL
Because we were under a time crunch, we met friends and family at Baskin Robbins to say our final goodbyes.

We bought a home in Washington to move closer to Forrest’s parents. However, delays, delays and more delays ensued.  We officially moved January 15, 2017.

On the Road with HTHL
Move Day to our new home in Washington

Our new Washington home was originally a Baptist church, and then it was converted to a home about 20 years ago. Over those 20 years, it housed 180 foster kids. Needless to say, the house is in need of repair. Not cosmetic stuff, but the kind of repairs that require friends like electricians and plumbers and prevent you from actually living at the house. So since, January 15,  Forrest’s parents have graciously opened their home to us and have kept our bellies full while we worked on the house. Convention season was approaching fast, and Forrest had no time even to begin to reestablish his landscaping business.

On the Road with HTHL
The new mailbox and pretty flowers were part of my birthday present from my hubby.

That’s when Forrest and I had to make a prayerful decision we didn’t want to make. We needed to divide our tasks. BusyGirl and I would hit the convention trail without Forrest, and Forrest would continue to get our home ready for living and build his landscaping business.

On the Road with HTHL
A snowy view from our deck.

In almost 20 years of marriage, Forrest and I haven’t been apart except for the occasional women’s or men’s retreat. We both dreaded the separation but knew this is what God was calling us to do.

On the Road with HTHL
Look who is joining us on our journey! This is Paisley. She is the Pink Zebra mascot who keeps the HTHL van smelling beautiful.

Our last date before I left, we took up a booth at a local restaurant and talked for hours.

On the Road with HTHL
Last date with my hubby before the beginning of convention season. #marionberrycobbler


Sunday morning, it was pouring rain as we said our goodbyes and prayed. The pic below was our second to the last kiss. Sorry, you don’t get to see the last one.

On the Road with HTHL
Second to last kiss… you don’t get to see the last one:)

I need to tell you that I’m a weenie when it comes to driving in the snow. In the weeks leading up to my departure, I watched YouTube videos about auto emergencies and driving in the snow.

I left at 6:00 am from my in-law’s home to pick up BusyGirl who wanted to sleep in our new home even if it was in her sleeping bag. Rain, sleet, and cold winds blew. I will admit, not riding shotgun with my husband left me feeling a tad vulnerable. I prayed and sang Hillsong United’s song, When Oceans Rise. This adventure is going to be a walk of faith!

On the Road with HTHL
I’m not a fan of driving in the snow.

I picked up BusyGirl, and we began the day in prayer. The HTHL van slipped down Highway 4 which hugs the curves of the Columbia River. The sun rays glistened peacefully on the ripple-free river.

On the Road with HTHL
Columbia River the morning we left.

BusyGirl and I made a Starbucks stop and put my Christmas gift card to good use. It was a great way to start our 600-mile trek eastward. The weather forecast was clear, and we expected to arrive in North Dakota in two days but left ourselves plenty of time in case we had to face road closures.

On the Road with HTHL
Have Starbucks…will travel.

The passes over the Coastal Range were a little challenging. I repeated Forrest’s words to myself, take it slow; slow is safe. God gets the glory! We made it through both passes.

On the Road with HTHL
Going slow through the passes.

The day before we left, a good friend of mine moved from southern California to Spokane, Washington. I felt she needed a proper welcome to Washington. So we stopped by her new home and surprised her with a bouquet of flowers and smiles! It was so much fun! Her squeals of joy and disbelief of our arrival made it worth the detour!

On the Road with HTHL
Love this lady!

We arrived at Missoula, Montana about 9:30 pm and got ready for our first night of sleep in the HTHL van. When we are on the road with lots of miles ahead of us, we decided early on that hotel stays are just not worth the money. We have a better sleep in our van.  More miles also means an early wake-up call. It is hard for us to justify paying full price when we will be spending less than ten hours at the hotel.

On the Road with HTHL
BusyGirl Taste Testing Montana Snow

Before bed, we enjoyed a cup of hot tea and FaceTimed with Forrest. I welcomed the new normal. At least I can see him via technology. I miss him already.

On the Road with HTHL
The new norm for a couple of months.


In the morning, we brushed off the snow that accumulated on the HTHL van, checked the weather for changes, and made tracks across the beautiful state of Montana with its spectacular snow covered buttes and frozen lakes. BusyGirl is a DIY queen. She found a way to rig our popcorn so we both can have easy access.

On the Road with HTHL
My DIY BusyGirl came up with this! My opinion? Excellent use of a bungee cord.

Snow lined roads gave way to barren landscape. This convention season and tour will be quite different than last years. Mother and daughter are traveling alone which changes the dynamics of travel. First of all, BusyGirl and I love show tunes. We sing, act out the parts, and don’t care if the people in the car next to us think we’re weird. Second of all, we would rather go to a museum than do any other activity. Third, we both love to go on educational bunny trails via the internet. And fourth, we enjoy our spa nights.

On the Road with HTHL
Crisppy cold air and clear skies! Praising God!

Before we left, Forrest prayed for BusyGirl and me. Part of his prayer requests was that BusyGirl and I would share many memories and ice cream cones. #prayersanswered. BusyGirl and I  enjoyed our first ice cream cone of the trip in Miles City, Montana.

On the Road with HTHL
Ice cream and memories!


We spent another night in the HTHL van and awakened to a beautiful sunrise on the outskirts of North Dakota. I posted on Facebook that we arrived a few days ahead of schedule to North Dakota safely, and our host family quickly contacted us and invited us to their warm home. I gladly canceled our hotel reservations.

On the Road with HTHL
Made friends with a local North Dakota dinosaur.

Our host family is delightful and hospitable! BusyGirl couldn’t wait to see her friend from last convention season. The two of them already had plans for long talks and a shopping spree at the local mall.

On the Road with HTHL
BusyGirl’s homeschool bud!

I couldn’t wait to see my friend too! Like two war veterans, we enjoy reminiscing about homeschool days of yore while looking towards the future. I would love this lady to join us on the convention trail. We’ll see what the Lord has for both of us!

On the Road with HTHL
My homeschool bud!


In the warmth and peace of our host family’s home, BusyGirl completed her assignments, and I worked on the finishing touches of all my workshops.


Late on Thursday, we set up for the North Dakota Homeschool Convention. It was wonderful to see our vendor friends and catch up with each other. Vendors sacrifice a lot to serve. One vendor almost got stuck in the pass. Their car tire blew when the snow was coming down hard. Another vendor friend of mine met me with tears in her eyes. She just received word that her mom was being placed on hospice. She served the whole weekend with a smile on her face and then caught a plane on Sunday morning to see her mom one last time. She had eight beautiful hours by her mom’s bedside. I have learned so much about how to serve from these amazing people.

On the Road with HTHL
2017 North Dakota Homeschool Convention


The best part of a homeschool convention for me? When a mom and her first-grade son comes to your booth and says, “You changed our homeschool and not just in the subject of writing.”  Or a mom who attended my workshop last year and tells me about her homeschool journey and how she applied what she learned to her life. I love meeting the new homeschool families, and there are a lot of them! It is so nice to see homeschooling grow.

On the Road with HTHL
We are Here to Help Learning! How may we serve you!

New Convention season means new workshops! This year, I added seven more workshops. (Two workshops not pictured: Dream Bigger and The Science of Learning)

All of the new workshops answer the frequently-asked-questions I received from parents during the last convention season. It was a joy to present five of the workshops to North Dakota Homeschool families!

On the Road with HTHL
New 2017 workshops!

I love the leadership team in North Dakota. They have such a passion for families to enjoy every aspect of freedom in homeschooling. The convention came to a close, and we packed up the HTHL booth and said our goodbyes.

Meanwhile, back at home, Forrest reported that we have a shower! He also began tiling our bathroom floor, and two rooms are now electrically safe. You can see his handiwork on our kitchen in the picture below. Yup! That’s my hardworking man.

On the Road with HTHL
Our kitchen is a work in progress!


We attended Grace Lutheran Brethren Church with our host family. We enjoyed Sunday School and worshipping with this body of believers. After church, we all went to HuHot just like last year. Eating at HuHot two years in a row now makes it a tradition! We said our goodbyes with hugs and fist bumps!

On the Road with HTHL
We are so thankful for our host family!

My windshield wipers cracked from North Dakota’s 16-20 degree temperatures. We stopped by an auto part store to have them replaced. BusyGirl and I cranked up some Les Miserables tunes and sang our way across North and South Dakota and then got a hotel in Rapid City, South Dakota. I tackled laundry, and we both enjoyed our first spa night together.

On the Road with HTHL
Miles and miles of barren, bleak, and beautiful South Dakota terrain.

God invites us to journey with Him. Our “yes” answer to God’s invitation starts the adventure, and it’s when lessons get learned. It’s where we battle fears, put aside our wants, and we do our duty as God’s precious child. I will admit, without Forrest by my side during this convention season; I pray more. I seek God’s wisdom more. I am a more attentive child of God. My prayers for my comfort wanes for God’s plan.

Next week, we will spend some time with our two sons who live in Colorado and then it’s off to TPA Homeschool Convention in Wichita, Kansas.

From Our Home (On the Road) to Yours,



Hope to see you on the convention trail! Click HERE to see where HTHL is going!

Up next:

TPA March 10-11, 2017


  • Friday 2:00 pm-Managing Anger & Conflict In Your Home
  • Saturday 2:00pm-Educational Life Hacks For Students With Dyslexia, Dysgraphia Or Dyspraxia
  • Saturday 3:00pm-Keeping Your “SmartCookie” Challenged
On the Road with HTHL
March 10-11, 2017

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