Tag Archives: prom

First Mural Club then Prom!


Wednesday was a big day for my big kids.

It was a day that began with a Mural Club outing with their Mural Club advisor at the Murrysville office of their cyber school and concluded with Prom.

All three of my older kids have enjoyed being part of the Mural Club at school. This club, like most of the clubs that are offered through their cyber school, meet virtually for the majority of their meetings. For Mural Club the kids log on to a virtual classroom weekly and are led by their teaching in creating a painting. My kids have all really enjoyed the skills they have learned from Mrs. Gibson, and have enjoyed the friendships formed through this club.

Once a year the students gather in person to create a piece of artwork at one of the two school buildings and is the highlight of the year for the Mural Club members. Here are two previous murals done by the Mural Club.

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Grace was the designer of both previous murals and was actively involved in Mural Club before graduating last year. When it was decided that Mrs. Gibson would be traveling out our direction for this year’s Mural Club outing she invited Grace and Olivia, two Mural Clun alumni, to join in on the fun.

We arrived at the Murrysville office at 11:00 am and discovered that it was just the McCleerys and Hudaks attending. With 6 students painting it was decided that rather than a wall mural they would each paint individual canvases that would hang together creating the school’s initials…21CCCS. (For 21st Century Cyber Charter School.)


While the Mural Club got creative I took the boys next door for a Momma/sons date where we enjoyed a milkshake.


When we returned great progress had been made and the Mural Club was finishing up their works of art.


It was neat to see the different directions everyone took with their paintings.


It was also fun to see that despite the differences in their creations, how well they coordinated.

Side by side they looked great!


Nice job, Mural Club!

From there the big kids joined the Hudak family at their hotel room to get ready for Prom.

Prom at 21st Century Cyber Charter School is open to juniors and seniors and their dates, but the high school students at co-op thought it would be fun to all go as a group, so the juniors in the group each invited  a younger classmate (Rusty) or older graduates (Grace and Olivia) as dates to the prom so they could all go together.

Even though it was just a group of friends attending together they had fun with the idea of “prom-posals” and made it official at the co-op picnic a few weeks ago.

Wednesday night was one of the many times I wished I could clone myself, as I had to leave to take Tyler up north for his baseball game and couldn’t hang around to watch them get ready for prom and drop them off at the dance. Luckily I am blessed with dear friends who graciously stepped into the role of surrogate mom to my three oldest and helped them get ready for prom, took photos for me, and made sure they arrived at the dance.

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They had a blast dancing the night away with their best buddies and all said that it was a fun night with friends!

Grace and Olivia’s Senior Prom


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Friday morning Grace woke with excitement coursing through her veins. It was Prom day!

We have cyber schooled our children for 12 years and the most common question asked after, “What about socialization?” or “How can you stand having your children home all day?” is:

“Don’t you feel like your kids are missing out on the best parts of school not being in a traditional brick and mortar school?”

And I have always been able to answer, “No,” because I don’t. God called us to this model of schooling for our children, and it is the best parenting decision we ever made.

I have felt that through this model of schooling we have really gotten the best of both worlds…all the best parts of homeschooling and the better parts of public schooling.

Through our awesome co-op group, we have been able to compensate for those parts of the public-school experience that they might have missed in their early years like talent shows and holiday parties, Valentine exchanges and field trips.

Our transition to 21st Century Cyber Charter School four years ago was really the missing piece in rounding out our cyber schooling experience. At this school, my older kids found a college preparatory learning experience that mimics a post-secondary learning environment far more effectively then what we saw happening in our local public school.

“But what about prom?!” a young girl from church asked us a few years ago, “Your poor kids won’t get to experience prom!”

I tried to explain that I really didn’t place a lot of value in the prom experience, especially knowing how little of value is found at a high school prom, but I understood what she was saying. She felt it was a rite of passage my kids would be denied.

We didn’t know if prom was in the cards for my teenagers but weren’t concerned given the fact that through our church they have been able to participate in a Spring Formal each spring since they were 14, which offers all the fun of prom without the filth found in some of the local schools’ proms.

But as the end of the school year came closer Grace received information about 21st Century Cyber Charter School’s prom. They hold it the Friday afternoon before graduation so families already in town for graduation don’t have the added burden of two trips.

In the months leading up to prom the seniors began submitting ideas for the prom theme. It would be held at the local country club and the senior class eventually voted a masquerade theme for senior prom.

Grace decided that rather than spending money on a formal prom gown that she will never wear again, she would instead wear the same dress she wore to Spring Formal… her custom-made Downton Abby dress she received for her 18th birthday. (Beautifully made by my dear friend, Wendy.)

Since it was masquerade themed Grace and Olivia decided they would each make their own mask, rather than buy one.

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The mask reveal!

Both girls decided to coordinate their masks to their dresses. Using leftover fabric left from her dress Grace made this beautiful mask that matched perfectly! Olivia created a mermaid themed mask that matched her and her dress perfectly.

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The one thing that doesn’t work out quite so well with a cyber school prom, especially when your school is located 5 hours away, is asking a date to prom. You can’t exactly invite a boy to prom, ask him to travel across the state, and book a hotel for a night or two, just to escort you to prom. 😊

But it didn’t matter to Grace. The Hudaks were staying at the same hotel, and I don’t know that there is anyone else Grace would rather share this experience with than her best friend, anyway.

An hour before they had to leave, Grace and Olivia met in our hotel room to begin getting dressed and dolled up.

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The end results were beautiful!

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What lovely young women they both are.

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A friend shared this quote in the graduation letter she wrote Grace and I think it perfectly exemplifies both these young ladies:

“She was beautiful, but not like those girls in the magazines. She was beautiful, for the way she thought. She was beautiful, for that sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved. She was beautiful, for her ability to make other people smile even if she was sad. No, she wasn’t beautiful for something as temporary as her looks. She was beautiful deep down to her soul.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

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After a few pictures, we dropped off these two prom princesses at their senior prom and headed over to the bowling party where the rest of the family was spending the day.

It looks like Grace and Olivia had a wonderful time at prom. Here are some of the pictures they took:

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The venue was beautiful!

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Grace and Olivia with Ms. Cloetingh, Olivia’s learning coach and the girls’ mural club teacher.

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Great food and lots of dancing= Awesome Prom!

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Both girls with their learning coaches. Love all four of these pretty ladies!


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The girls enjoyed the “Make your own mocktail” station.

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And then there were ice cream sundaes for dessert…Yum!

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Happy Prom!


Almost there, ladies!  Graduation is just 24 hours away!

New “Do’s”


A few weeks ago the girls came to me asking when we could go shopping for Spring Formal, the annual formal dance put on for the youth of our church. This year’s formal is being held in March instead of May, so our tradition of dress shopping while the boys are at the annual Father/Son campout wasn’t going to work. Instead we picked a free upcoming Saturday and put it on the calendar.

Around this same time the girls came to me asking if they could get their hair cut. This week Grace turns 18 and next month Molly will be turning 16. In honor of these milestone birthdays they decided they wanted a new look.

We decided to combine the two tasks and have a mother/daughter day. I was struggling with weakness in my arms and eyes so I said a prayer I would have the physical strength to make it through a day of dress shopping with four girls. (Grace and Molly invited Tatum and Olivia to join us since they will also be attending Spring Formal.) Gracie became the designated driver since my eyes weren’t cooperating and we began our day at Great Clips for haircuts. We were the first customers there when they opened and we had the place to ourselves.

Both girls brought pictures of the looks they were going for. Molly bravely decided to cut off all her hair into a cute pixie cut and Grace decided to chop of 3-4 inches off into a bob…which she was then going to color when we got back home.

The “before” pictures:

The “after” pictures:

They both LOVED their new looks. 🙂

I thought they both made good choices picking styles that were adorable on them. Molly’s new pixie cut left her looking like a little woodland fairy.

Next we picked up the Hudak girls for a day dress shopping. First stop: Goodwill.

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Here Grace and Molly  found their Spring Formal dresses for $3.50 each. What a deal!!

The theme for Spring Formal this year is 1920’s Hollywood and they both found simple black dresses that fit the style of that time that they could then have fun accessorizing.

Then it was onto Sears and a few more shops as we looked for dresses for Olivia and Tatum and fun 1920’s headbands, shoes,  and beads.


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Stopping for a group selfie…

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I love these silly girls!


We found some cute accessories and both girls were able to put together their complete look for under $20.00 each.

 After a quick lunch with their friends we dropped of the girls and then headed home to show off everyone’s new looks to the boys and to color Gracie’s hair. We purchased a box hair dye and I colored it for her. She has never colored her hair before and was a bit nervous that the result wasn’t going to live up to the image she had in her head. The color she chose was a golden light brown. She decided to go darker because of her beautiful dark eyebrows.


The end result:

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She loves it!

The girls then tried on their 1920’s looks for Spring Formal.



Love it!!!


Spring Formal



“Cinderella is proof that a new pair of shoes can change a girl’s life.”

Friday was the Spring Formal church dance. Grace attended last year with her friend, Olivia, and had a blast. She was eagerly looking forward to attending again.  This year Molly was old enough to attend as well so on Friday the girls prepared for a fun night of friends, food, and dancing.

Gracie’s friend, Olivia,  came over early so that the girls could get ready together. Olivia’s sister also came over to play dress-up even though she wasn’t old enough to attend the dance this year.


Wanting to make it special, Olivia’s mom and I  prepared “spa food.” We had fruit, sparkling cider, cheese and crackers and cucumber sandwiches for the girls to enjoy while we did make-overs and curled hair.


Miss Lana also made each of the girls a “Dance Survival Kit” to take to Spring Formal.


After they were all ready to go we did a mini “photo shoot.” They girls all looked beautiful. The fun the girls had dolling up and getting their pictures taken proved that Kate Spade was right when she said:

“Playing dress-up begins at age five and never truly ends.”



Best Buddies



Whatever you do, don’t call Gracie “short!” 🙂


Sister giggles



Gracie’s flowing, floor length dress made her look like she stepped off the set of  Downton Abbey.


Miss Molly


It was time for the dance!

After we were done with photos it was time to drive to the dance. It was being held at the Twentieth Century Club in downtown Pittsburgh. The Twentieth Century Club is a beautiful, turn of the century building that made for a magical venue to hold Spring Formal. After parking we quickly met up with kids from church and made our way into the dance. The girls found a table to drop their purse and supplies at and headed onto the dance floor where they enjoyed three hours of dancing with old friends they knew and new friends they made.


Keeping their heels, heads and standards high!


A beautiful night!



Yes, Molly, I will be showing this photo to your father..



These beauties prove that…

“Being yourself is the prettiest thing you can be.”


The dance was fun but now is done.

It is midnight, Cinderella… time to go home. 🙂