Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What's New?

With us, you ask? Well, we made it through Christmas. It was wonderful to have my husband home for the first time in 8 years for the whole day! Visiting family was equally stressful and enjoyable. I don't know exactly how that is possible, but that is the best that I can explain it. We were home by 5 watching a movie (Hancock with Will Smith - the boys love Will Smith) and in bed by 8 (dh had worked 16 hours previous - he didn't get home until 8 a.m. Christmas morning). It was relaxing and fun to spend time with just the 5 of us.

Since then, I have been cleaning, storing new items, decluttering old junk and making goals for the new year. I love a new beginning! Today I cleaned my room and bathroom (not the closet, but that is another thing to tackle) and the boys bathroom. Even though the whole house isn't clean (when does that happen???) I feel refreshed and satisfied that all is good in the world. I am baking some cookies that Norman bought from a fundraiser.

If you know us in real life, you know that I have been struggling with a recent decision that my oldest son, Lee, has made. He wants to play football, but that requires him to attend our local public high school. So in 2.5 years, he will begin his freshman year away from home - unless, God willing, he changes his mind. So, I have had my emotions all over the place as I struggle with his decision. I am praying frequently! But I know that God is in control and capable of guarding and guiding my son, no matter where he spends his days.

For now, though, things are the same in my happy little world. I am choosing to go on and not allow this to drag me down. We are beginning a unit study in January that I am very excited about.

I have a giveaway that I will announce on Jan. 1st. You won't want to miss this, so make sure that you come back by! And bring a friend!

Have a happy day!

Question about the SchoolHouse Planner

The Schoolhouse Planner has blank planning pages so you can put in the dates to start it wherever you want. That is the great thing about it, it is totally customizable! I don't have my copy in front of me, but I believe that the "big" calendar pages (the only thing in it that is dated) goes through 2010, but like I said you can date your own monthly calendar pages so it will absolutely work after that.
Hope that helps you!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Alphabet Alley

I love products for little hands! I am thrilled to have been introducted to Alphabet Alley.

Christian Toys for little girls and boys! Alphabet Alley is a faith-based
company that produces high quality toys for the early childhood market. We use
all original graphics to illustrate solid values in a fun and entertaining way.
Children choose Alphabet Alley products because they are fun! Parents, teachers
and schools choose Alphabet Alley products for their educational, motivational
and spiritual values.

The 2 products that we have had the opportunity to play with are the Noah's Ark God Fish Card Game and the Two By Two Matching Game. Both are made from sturdy, high quality materials. The Two By Two Matching Game pieces are perfect for little hands and there aren't too many pieces, just enough! The Two By Two Matching Game has received The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval for 2008. The little critters on the pieces are sooo cute!!!! Both of the games have been well received here!

I know that Christmas is over, but we all need gifts/resources throughout the year, so I encourage you to take a look at Alphabet Alley the next time that you are looking for something for "little hands".

Math Mammoth

Blue Series

I was blessed to be asked to review the Blue Series of workbooks for Math Mammoth. The Blue Series of workbooks is arranged topically and is meant to supplement an existing math program. We found the workbooks very helpful and well laid out. A topic (such as multiplication) was presented sequentially. Plenty of examples were given as well as multiple practice problems. I think that they approach for memorizing math facts is very reasonable. I am not sure why I never thought of that!!!

The Blue Series is available for grades 1-5, but works with older children who are in need of review. I think that the books are very affordable (multiplication 1 was $4.95) and you may use them multiple times within your family. I received my copies via ebook download, but they do have them printed as well (for additional cost).

Math Mammoth produces other math products, including a full math curriculum. They offer a free tour of their website so make sure to check them out if you are in need of some math assistance.

Critical Thinking

Building Thinking Skills Level 2

Critical Thinking is a company dedicated to helping parents teach their children to think effectively. When their catalog comes in the mail I study it like it was a final exam. LOL We have been using Building Thinking Skills Level 2 all year with my son Lee. The workbook enables children to think through an idea or situation and teaches them how to express what they are thinking. The book begins with different shapes in different positions. The student is asked to describe the shapes and their relationships to each other. Each exercise is short and fun.

We have used many other of Critical Thinking's products over the years as well. Math Detectives encourage students to take a concept that they have learned and to apply it to daily "real life" situations. Reading Detective helps students to expand reading comprehension and encourages children to pay attention to where the information is at in the reading selection. Punctuation Puzzlers teaches proper punctuation with funny little riddles.

Critical Thinking provides different products for grades preK-12. Many of their products are available as workbooks or computer software. Building Thinking Skills Level 2 is for grades 4-6 and is available for $29.99

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We are one of many.....

who are currently under ice.

Gotta love ice, I suppose. It comes quietly and looks beautiful.....and causes untold damage. We are very blessed this time, that the power stayed on. Norman tried to get to work, thought better of it rather quickly and called in for bad roads; the first time in over 8 years. Enjoying an evening with daddy is such a hardship :)

Daddy is doing baby Bear duty (nap, supper, bath and playtime). And he blessed me by helping with supper (hamburgers, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and green beans). Greg and I had strawberries and whipped cream as dessert.

We are snug as bugs in a rug.....safe, warm and ready for Christmas.
I pray that your family is also safe and warm. I pray that you all remember the real reason for this season of family and celebration.

Next week I will ponder goals for the new year (I prefer goals over resolutions!).
Have a Merry Christmas!!!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I am sure that most of us have had the opportunity to enjoy a puppet show somewhere (ask me about Nemo!). Some of us have even had the opportunity to use puppets. I love puppets! Kids love puppets! I would like to introduce you to Puppetools, an online resource for parents, teachers and students to enhance the use of puppets in your Sunday school class, educational group or homeschool!

Puppetools is a collection of puppet examples, ideas for integration with a subject and patterns. There are HUNDREDS of examples and patterns available for download/print. Any kind of puppet that you would possibly need is available here. The ideas for use were invaluable. I never imagined that puppets could be used in so many different ways/circumstances. Members also have access to a message forum. Members can share the different ways that they have used puppets, therefore allowing everyone access to all the ideas! Fantastic! I think that is the best part of the website, but I like to pick people's brains :)

Here is the list of benefits and costs from the Puppetools website:

COST / BENEFITSSubscriptions Overview
1) $20.00 TRIAL SUBSCRIPTION: Designed for INDIVIDUAL USERS who just want
2) $99.00 REGULAR SUBSCRIPTION (up to 30 users) Designed for small &
large GROUPS such as families, home schoolers, classrooms, scout troops, 4-H,
entire schools, and non-profit organizations with educational missions. This is
the best way to derive the greatest benefit as the group subscriptions as up to
30 people can share the cost and enjoy the ride. Need access for more users? No
Problem -- you can simply add more users anytime in lots of 50 and the cost can
be as low as $2.00 PER USER for an entire year. The purchaser (account owner)
may assign up to 15 administrators per account --all other users will receive
regular access.
Subscription Details
* 1 year to train and master Puppetools - the "Language of Play"
* Access Puppetools' online Educator Work Area* Access Puppetools'
exclusive practitioner video library
* Access extensive research on play and education
* Access hundreds of puppet images, concepts, and patterns
* Access readings from the 200 page Puppetools Manual
* Access our global community forums - learn with teachers around the
* Put Puppetools to work in just days--for many it's just overnight
* Learn fast, flexible puppet design and construction--in just
* Discover how a single paper hinge creates a limitless resource
* Engage playful, energized conversation for lessons and activities /all
* Use puppet know-how and techniques without acting, scripts, or
* Effectively harness Play and spark motivation, participation, and
* Discover the deep impact of play on students and teachers

It is my understanding, however, that an annual FAMILY membership is only $20 a year! Check out the website and be sure to ask Mr. Peyton if you have any questions about this great resource.

Avoiding Homeschool Burnout

I am suffering from homeschool burnout.

This tends to happen every year around this time, so I thought that I would share some ways that I am able to overcome and finish the year with a florish - maybe my suggestions will help you finish your year with a BANG!

1. Take a Break - Our homeschool will be taking a break from Dec. 24- Jan. 3. Feel free though to take a break any time of the year. It is better to take a few days off than to drive yourself - and the kids - bonkers!

2. Mix things up a little - A little change in your routine can do wonders for everyone. Typically we do history/science/geography/read-aloud in the afternoons. For the month of January we will be doing these topics during the morning and math/spelling/english in the afternoon. Life wouldn't work this way all the time, but a change for a bit is good for everyone.

3. Throw in a unit study - We tend to study history chronologically (loosely anyway) and science topically. During January we are going to ditch our history, science, geography and english programs and do a unit study. This year we are going to use Further Up and Further In to study through The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis. (Review to come soon)

4. Try to get outside - As homeschool mothers I think we have a tendency to chain ourselves to our homes. There are always things to do; lessons to prepare, clothes to wash, floors to sweep, things to dust. It is important for us to get OUT. Go to the park or nature area. Visit the library or YMCA. Sit in the yard. Throw snowballs at your kids (if you get snow!). Find something to do outside the 4 walls of your home. I guarantee that your outlook will be improved when you return......and all your chores will be patiently waiting for you!

I hope that these ideas inspire you to continue on. Keep running the race! Your children will grow up too fast.....make every moment count.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Crayola Art Studio

from Core Learning

Crayola Art Studio is a digital art platform. The artist can create with paint, pencil, chalk, crayons or markers. Greg, my budding artist, enjoyed exploring the different mediums while creating his masterpieces.

Core-learning also produces other educational software, including math and language arts, art and creativity and health. There are demos of their software selections on their website.

We prefer hands-on materials for art (well, not me, but Greg does), so the program didn't excite us the way it would have a computer oriented person. Greg did have fun with it and it was very easy to use. Core Learning has several other programs that looked interesting and easy to use as well. Take a peek at what they have and give one of them a try!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Current News

Hello everyone!
No this isn't a review post. This is a "just about us" post. Maybe you like the others better? Oh well!
We are doing very well. We are thankful to be over that nasty stomach flu. Christmas cookies are baked, Christmas decorations are out and Christmas presents are bought (and almost all wrapped). Norman and I agree that is a 1st for us. We are usually scrambling for something that last week before Christmas. Now if we buy anything else it will be "just because". We also have Christmas plans hashed out. Norman is off on Christmas this year! That hasn't happened in several years. So we are going to my parents at noon and his mom's in the evening. Christmas cards are mailed. Christmas cheer has been spread. We have much to be grateful for this year!

The weather here has truly been frightful. Ice, ice everywhere! We are supposed to get more today and rain on top. Snow on Sunday and Monday. Might actually have a white Christmas. I know it is hard to believe, but that rarely happens where we live in IL.

The boys are growing like little weeds. We are buckling down in school after I realized some gaps that needed filled. Little Bear is a busy little fellow. Yesterday I turned on the radio and he was "dancing" with his dad's shoe on backwards. Lee and I laughed until we about fell over. He is such a ham. Every day I thank God for my boys. I realize that soon they won't be here sharing my days with me. That is a lonely thought!

I guess that is enough about me for a while. Expect some more reviews over the next few days. I have several to get done before the end of the year and am hoping to "piggy-back" them so that I have a week off. Sorry if you don't want to read them......I will think of some thing better to talk about soon.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Assessment and Learning - K-12 and Higher Education Tutor in Math

ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces) can provide you with
the instruction and support you need to homeschool your children in mathematics
for grades 3-12. ALEKS is accessible from virtually any computer with
Internet access, making it a flexible and mobile educational solution for your

ALEKS is a Research-Based Online Math Program:
Complete Curriculum
Solution for Math - One Subscription Allows Access to All Courses
Textbook Required
Artificial Intelligence Targets Gaps in Student Knowledge
Assessment and Individualized Learning for Grades 3-12
Automated Reports
Monitor Learning Progress
Unlimited Online Access - PC & Mac Compatible

Our family had the opportunity to try out Aleks for one month. We have been blessed beyond belief by this opportunity. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but Aleks surpassed my wildest expectations.

After signing up for Aleks, your child will be given an assessment test (the parent will determine what level to place the child - that can be changed later). The beginning of the test walks the student through using Aleks. Both of my boys had no trouble. Then the test, 20-30 questions. If they don't know the answer there is a button for "haven't learned that yet". The children aren't graded during the assessment. Afterwards, a graph shows what they know and what they need to work on in that level.

During the actual learning portion there were Quick Tables in level 3 (I think also in level 4 and 5). These are fact drills. They are "timed". This frustrated Lee but Greg took to it really quick and at the end even Lee had to admit that they were fun. I let them work on these for 15 mins. and then moved them on to the lesson. The student will only work on the things that were indicated in their assessment. You or the student can decide the order. A problem is presented and an explanation of the problem is available. Then practice problems are given until the lesson is mastered. At that time the student can move to the next skill. If you need to quit, the program remembers where you are and you can pick up where you left off next time.

It is very easy to see the gaps in math knowledge with this program. I knew that we had some gaps, but I honestly had no idea how many! The boys didn't seem to have any problem working through their lessons. I did stay available to help, but wasn't needed very much.

Aleks can be accessed from any computer (home, library, etc.). It is very easy to use. There are parent reports and parents can request that the student be re-assessed at any time. The only flaw I found was that as you work through the skills, there doesn't seem to be any review of previously taught material. This isn't a problem if Aleks is used as a supplement, but should be considered if you are wanting to use it as a complete math program.

Aleks also has levels for higher math learning. I briefly tried out the Fundamentals in Accounting. I was an accounting major in college. I failed the assessment miserably! But the lessons seemed to be well explained and thorough.

A subscription to ALEKS is
$19.95 per student, per month, or
only $99.95 every 6 months, or
only $179.95 every 12 months
Family discounts are available.

Aleks is offering my readers a Free One Month trial (rather than the 48 hr. trial offered on their website). If you are looking for some help with math, I urge you to go over and give them a try!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Trigger Memory Systems

Trigger Memory Systems are the producers of Times Tales and Clean-n-Flips.

These are wonderful systems. Times Tales uses a story format to help children visually and mnemonically memorize their multiplication tables. I can't explain exactly how it works, but just reading through the story in the prescribed manner over the course of a few days really seems to help my children recall their facts.....even the hard to remember ones. The creator suggests that children as young as six can learn their multiplication facts effortlessly. The story seems a little immature to my 11 year old, but he seems to be helped by it as well.

The Clean and Flips are visual chore charts. Each room is broken down into different steps and there are check boxes so that your child can mark when he is finished with a particular step. Each step has a picture so that non-readers can use the charts as well. Everything is nicely laminated and well made, so that they will last the abuse that our household gives. One chart has the kitchen, bathroom and living room, another children's bedrooms and yet another for laundry. The charts even came with a dry-erase marker for easy marking/removal.

I am very impressed with these products. Times Tales is available for $29.95. Both may be viewed at the Trigger Memory Systems website.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Little Man in the Map

The Little Man in the Map
written by E. Andrew Martonyi
Published by Schoolside Press
Available on the publishers website for $19.95

The Little Man in the Map is a unique book the teaches US geography using visual clues on the United States map. Beginning with "the little man", formed by Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana, we learn the rest of the 50 states relating their position to the "little man". I admit, that I haven't ever noticed the "little man" but this is definately a unique way of using visual clues to learn a sometimes difficult subject.

A teacher's manual is in the works. I was able to preview the unfinished version and find that there are many interesting and detailed activities for a wide-range of grade levels. With the use of the teacher's manual, I think that this is a comprehensive USA geography program.

Also, the author has a BLOG, where he shares interesting tidbits of information relating to the book.

You can see more about this book (or order a copy) at Schoolside Press. They are also offering Free Shipping right now.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Waiting for Bed

Silly title, huh?

I am printing out tomorrow's bulletin for church so decided I would check in. Today I cleaned the house, fixed lunch, did laundry, baked a pecan pie (yummy), sorted coupons, wrote a review, read another book (for review) and addressed Christmas cards. If you are expecting a Christmas card from me, it will be to you by the end of the week (I am waiting for stamps).

Tomorrow we are going to participate in a candle-light service at a neighboring church. I haven't ever been before but friends say it is a wonderful experience. I am excited. Somehow, I feel more "Christmasy" this year. I guess I am usually so frazzled and busy that I forget to just experience the feelings of Christmas. I am so thankful for online shopping! I am done shopping and ready to go :) I am also getting to do all the little "Christmas" things that sometimes seem to get overlooked. There just seems to be less stress this year. I am very thankful for that.

Next week, we are spreading Christmas cheer at my mom's. The boys are going to put up her tree and then we will bake some cookies.

Printing is done. I need to hit the sack. Have a blessed evening!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Nasty Stomach Bug

I had heard it was going around, but was hopeful we would somehow miss it. No such luck. Since Tuesday, one or all of us have had it. Greg was last but seems to be the quickest to recover. Praising God for that! We may all be well enough to make a trip to town this afternoon.

So, today I am cleaning up. I have the dishwasher running and a load of laundry going. Bear took all the books off the bookshelf while all the rest were sick (he was sick Tues. and feeling good by the time it hit mom and dad!) so I got most of them put back up. The living room is still cluttered, but that's ok. We have lived there for over 2 days :)

I need to make a batch of oatmeal cookies. Dh ate the ones for my neighbor plates last night. He was feeling better!

Thankfully most of my shopping is done! T-2 weeks till Christmas. The kids are so excited!

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Spears Art Studio Inc.

K-8 Christian Art Curriculum

I will admit.......I have been sitting on this one. Now, I really wish that I hadn't!

I am not an artsy person. Hated art class, art appreciation, art museums....everything to do with art. My idea of "art class" is to hand the boys colored pencils and a how-to-draw book and hope all goes well with them. I know it isn't right, but that is how it goes.

****Before you decide that I am a rough heathen of the worst order, I love to sing, play flute, and create using fabric and yarn. I love to sew and knit and frequently "play" with patterns. I cannot, however, paint, draw or sculpt. It always ends badly.****

Diane Spears led me through understanding why, as a Christian, we should study and produce art. She encourages me to "relate art, its appreciation and skills to my relationship to God and His Word." I hadn't ever thought of art as a ministering tool, but she encourages me to see the hearts of my children through the art they create.

Diane has created a completely comprehensive teacher's manual. She explains everything, giving a lot more information than the student needs just for the benefit of the teacher. All the art terms are defined and she includes a complete scope and sequence for K-8. Each month has a theme and the projects revolve around that theme (included a theme scripture for each month). The projects increase in difficulty and understanding so the curriculum can be used every year K-8 without the student repeating a project. She uses materials that are readily available to limited budgets. Basic art supplies (good paper, crayons, colored pencils) will accomodate most projects.

I was relieved to see that she included evaluation criteria and tools. Not only do I evaluate the student's work, but the students are encouraged to evaluate their own work (at grade 8) and the class is encouraged to critique the work of others. Diana includes resources and guidelines for doing this as well.

Art history assignments are woven into the themes. Diane encourages the use of art available at the library or on internet. The assignments have a certain piece listed, but others may be substituted if necessary. Recipes for baker's clay, glue glaze and other "art supplies" are included in the manuel.

The lessons revolve around a calendar school year (Sept. - May) but don't necessarily need to be used that way. Diane allows for major holidays and the art opportunities that are presented at that time.

I previewed the lessons for December and January. In December all students are instructed in making an advent calendar. Weekly lessons include creating a picture of mother and child, lessons in learning about lines, patterns and color (stained glass for older grades) and ornament and gift projects. I really wish that I would have previewed this before now! We are going to start working on some of these before Christmas.

The theme in January is snow. Each grade will produce different pictures folowing different technique and style guidelines. Students are instructed in how to draw winter trees and also in how to use shape and color. Grade 8 uses a paper quilt square to do this. I can even do that!!!! Different painting techniques are also explored.

This curriculum is very thorough and complete. I am actually excited to begin an art program here in our home. The amazing thing is that all of this instruction is contained on a CD-rom disk. Isn't that amazing!!!!!

Diane also offers high school curriculum and supplies on her website. The cost of the K-8 CD-rom is $39.95 shipping included. The curriculum is also available in hard copy.

Feel free to check out the free samples available at her website as well.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Vision Forum Sale Ends Tomorrow!!!!

Just a reminder, if you were wanting to check out Vision Forum's 50% off sale (and $5 shipping!) then Dec. 5 is the last day!

I am such a Vision Forum fan. They have great gifts for boys....manly gifts and the quality is always spectacular. Be sure not to miss the sale :)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Jealousy and Envy - At What Cost to Your Family?

Today I was reading James (chapter 4) with the boys during Bible study. The discussion was about jealousy and envy and how these can destroy relationships.

As humans we have needs. Then we have wants. Generally our needs don't get us into to much trouble as there is very little that we truthfully need. Food (beans, rice and water), shelter (not a mansion) and clothing (thrift store will do) are the basic needs for life. Where we, as humans, get into trouble is with our wants. We want better food. We want a nicer house. We want fancy clothes. And then there are the gadgets! The biggest problem with this occurs when we see our neighbor with a new car, home improvements or larger grocery budget (not to mention that new ipod, cell phone or laptop computer). How does that make us feel?

Are we thankful for the blessings that God has bestowed on them? Do we compare situations and find ourselves wanting?

The commercialization of our culture doesn't usually make the situation any better. We can see the new things just as soon as they are created. The TV/Radio makes sure to tell us that we NEED the newer option.

I have noticed in my life that envy and jealousy can have a very negative impact on my family. I see another family buy that new vehicle and I begin nagging my husband for a new one as well. A relative builds a beautiful new house and suddenly mine looks shabby in comparison. As the wife I get to choose how that makes my husband feel.

Husbands of a one-income family have a very large burden to bear, right off the bat. They must shoulder all the responsibility for finances. If they are sick, disabled or layed off then who will care for their family? Who will take care of the NEEDS of that family?

This morning, I was praying and began thinking about James 4. Envy and jealousy cause quarrels among people. They are the source of anger. The jealousy that a wife can feel can also destroy a hard working husband. We must always be careful that our actions and words affirm the blessings that God is giving us through our husbands. We must be very careful when speaking or referring to the blessings of others, that we don't speak ill of the blessings that our husbands have given us. If you have your 3 basic needs met, in any form, then you are very blessed indeed. Other things in life are just icing on a very good cake. If we are blessed to receive those things - what a blessing!

Thank you is a simple thing to say and I really believe that we should be saying it more often. Especially to our husbands.

Have a good night!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Rime to Read

Is your child having trouble learning to read?

If the problem is with short vowels, then I would like to introduce you to Rime to Read. Rime to Read is a series of short books, each focusing on one short vowel sound. If your child cannot read the short vowel word, then they can click on it and the computer will read it to you. The books can also be printed out, for use when the computer isn't available. The words rime, making it easier for your child to decode them. All sight words are listed in the back of each book and if your child doesn't recognize them, then you will need to read them to him/her.

I think that this program might be helpful for very beginning students. The parent must be active in the learning process (reading sight words). I find them useful for practice but not as a complete program.

If you have a beginning reader, check Rime to Read out for yourself and see if it is something that might help you.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Homeschooling ABCs

Are you a new homeschooler?

Would you like some help figuring out what you are supposed to be doing?

I have some help for you!

I would like to introduce you to Homeschooling ABCs, a six month class that takes you step-by-step through beginning to homeschool. Homeschooling ABCs is offered by Terri at Knowledge Quest. Terri has all the answers to the common questions and has everything laid out in a bite-sized format that takes away the intimidation factor. I spent years learning everything that Terri has laid out in the first 6 lessons!

Each lesson builds on the one before, beginning with what to do during the day, determining your child's learning style and choosing curriculum. No stone is left unturned in the lessons.

Terri offers this class for $10 a month. In addition to the weekly lessons, Terri offers over $200 in curriculum from great publishers throughout the lessons. After the first lesson, you can begin homeschooling your children! Every week you confidence will grow and before long, it will seem like you have always been doing this!

I wish that this class would have been offered 7 years ago!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I imagine that I will be fairly busy between now and Thanksgiving so I wanted to post my thankful list now.

I am thankful for:
God, my father, creator, protector and provider
Jesus who died for my sins
The Holy Spirit that leads me every day
My wonderful husband - we weathered the bad times and I am so thankful to be enjoying the good times with him!
My energetic boys - I am truly blessed to be the mother of 3 boys. God is teaching me through them every day.
My home - maybe it isn't my "dream" but it fits us just fine :)
Daily provisions - food, clothing, shelter
My husband's job - I hurt for those who are losing their jobs and am so thankful that dh still has his.
The freedom to homeschool in the USA
Family and friends - sometimes we don't all agree, but they are always there in good and bad
Our church home - we are small, but working hard for God!

I know that there are so many more things, but that is where my feeble brain is stopping. We feel so very, very blessed this year. It seems terrible to say that as I watch the economy tumble, but I learned a long time ago that money isn't the cure of all unhappiness. My husband says that it doesn't matter what we have as long as we have each other. That is so true! I am so thankful every single day for my family.

I hope that all of my readers have a blessed, wonderful Thanksgiving!

Powerline Productions

This is the company that produced the bible study I am currently using. Meredith Curtis has taken a thorough approach to her bible study Jesus, Fill my Heart and Home. I am learning so many different ways to apply God's word to my life and the running of my household.

You can read an interview with Meredith and TOS here.

It seems that this company produces many other products. Judging by how much I am enjoying the Bible study, I am anxious to check out the rest of her materials. This is a wonderful time of the year to practice putting Jesus at the heart of our homes!!!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine SUPER SALE

The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is having an amazing sale on subscriptions during their annual Black Friday Sale November 26 – 30. For those 5 days only, they are drastically reducing their one-year subscription price to $7.95! That's the price you would usually pay for just one issue at a bookstore!
This is their lowest price ever on the magazine and they want all of you to take advantage of this offer and share the info with your friends.
Please don't miss out. Your one-year subscription will pay for itself time and time again as you receive practical tips and Biblical encouragement to keep going strong in your commitment to homeschooling and to the Lord. Since it's a quarterly magazine, they even have a monthly subscriber's only E-Newsletter called Teacher's Toolbox that will give you seasonal teaching ideas and a free E-Book download! It's like joining a unit study of the month club! The free E-Books alone are valued at almost $250/year. It's really perfect for people who are homeschooling on a shoestring or just wanting to add in some little extras to your teaching.
Plus during the Black Friday Sale, they have all kind of bonus gifts when you spend $50, $75, $100, or $150. Some are electronic downloads that you can download immediately, while other are physical products mailed from various vendors directly to your home.
AND, their Win Big contest is going on so if you just happen to be customer 67,000, you will receive a prize package valued at almost $500 which includes a $150 gift certificate to the Schoolhouse Store! Who couldn't use that? And you can qualify to win it no matter how much or how little you spend!
Mark your calendars for November 26 - 30th and do a little shopping from your seat, not your feet at the Schoolhouse Store's Black Friday Sale!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Today - and our Thanksgiving Menu

I had a thought today while watching a commercial during NCIS. Actually I was sorting coupons and listening to the TV; but anyway, the commercial was commenting how quickly the end of the weekend was coming and how we needed a pick-me-up. I don't know what the commercial was for since I wasn't watching.

The good part of this, since I know I am NOT making any sense, is that I am ALWAYS on "weekend mode". Think about it. If I was working outside of the home, on the weekends I would be catching up with laundry, housework and other home things I didn't have time for during the "work week". There are very few days that I HAVE to leave the house. I am on a perpetual weekend! Isn't that a better way to think about it, instead of thinking that you are always working???? I love it!!!!!!

I got up at 7 a.m. and Bear got up at 7:30 this morning. We had breakfast and then I deep cleaned the refrigerator. I hate doing that and it was worse with Bear helping. He emptied the door cubbies and then sat in the bottom while I was trying to wash the shelves. Then he tried to get all the stuff that belonged in the fridge off the freezer. Finally I got it done! Reorganized and it looks beautiful :) Then I started making gift mixes (mainly herb mixtures) for gift baskets we will be taking for dh's father's Thanksgiving/Christmas reunion. More about that in a bit.
Anyway, I made:
taco seasoning (the stuff I always use!)
pizza seasoning (gonna make some for me)
garlic herb mixture for bread
ranch dip and dressing mix
chili seasoning
turkey noodle soup mix (I can't wait to try that out)

I got all that cleaned up and started lunch. Everything was done and I was just about to feed everyone when Lee came in and begged for brownies. I am a sucker for begging children. So while everyone else ate I made a new brownie recipe; peanut butter, cream cheese brownies. They turned out so yummy! I ate lunch, then we ate brownies and Norman went to work. I put Bear down for his nap (still there) and then re-emerged to put away coupons, sort coupons, load dishwasher, wash pans, and fold diapers. I still need to fold 2 loads of laundry but I do that on my bed and that is where Bear is napping.

The feeling of work accomplished is fantastic! I will add though that I am still in my jammies :)

We are having friends over to join us for Thanksgiving dinner before Norman goes to work on Wednesday. We are having ham (cooked with pineapple), mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, mac and cheese (ask Norman), sweet potatoes and bavarian dinner rolls. And pumpkin pie. Can't forget about the pie!

We are having dinner early because we are leaving for Norman's father's house Thursday afternoon. They have the annual family reunion on the day after Thanksgiving. So we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with them at that time. We will be down there for a few days.

I will be staying busy this week, but I think that the worst of the work is done until Tuesday evening. We have much to be thankful for !

Friday, November 21, 2008

One 2 Believe

Looking for a new nativity scene?

Looking for Bible based toys for those on your Christmas gift list?

Let me introduce you to One 2 Believe.

Our family was blessed with a nativity scene to review from One 2 Believe. The following is from the creator of these wonderful toys:

one2believe's passion is to help children learn important Bible lessons and
to have them come to faith in Jesus. Our goal is to provide fun ways of teaching
children about the greatest people who ever lived. Through the toys that we
design children will learn and play out exciting stories about real people. Our
toys teach children that there are real superheroes they can believe in!

one2believe has a great desire to support parents in their battle for
their children's hearts and minds. We pray that parents will take the lead by
engaging their children in faith and get them excited about Jesus. In
Phillipians it speaks about pressing on, at one2believe we believe that we will
either influence the world or the world will influence us.

We decided to check out our nativity set this week before Thanksgiving. I will start by telling you that we are very hard on nativity scenes. One year we lost baby Jesus and the current one is very scuffed up.

This new nativity scene is very sturdy. The pieces are larger than the normal ones and made from hard plastic rather than ceramic. I will note however, that baby Jesus is not attatched to the manager, so he is a choking hazard for Bear. Bear also tried to put baby Jesus in the toy box (where he wouldn't be seen from again). We decided that it would be better to keep the set up away from Bear until he is napping :)

One 2 Believe also has other toys that look interesting and fun for the kids. They have choices for boys and girls. The prices are all very reasonable.

If you are looking for toys for your little people, check them out!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Time 4 Learning

Time 4 Learning
$19.95 a month, $14.95 per month for each additional child

This week, the boys and I have been trying out Time 4 Learning, a online curriculum program. The website boasts complete language arts and math programs for grades preschool-8. They also offer history and science instruction.

Time 4 Learning offers programs tailored to homeschool families, after school learning and summer learning. They are focused on meeting your family's educational needs. The program may be customized to allow a student to work at different language arts and math levels.

The sign-up process was easy. I completed a brief survey for each child to help place them within the program. By the next day the registration was complete and we could get started.

Gregory loves the program. Working at 3rd grade level, he whizzed through the lessons. It seems that at the lower levels the lessons are timed (15 mins. per subject). I thought that was nice, so they didn't get bogged down, but Greg would have been more than happy to continue working.

Leland didn't enjoy it so much. He needs a lot more repetition than this program seems to have. He also learns best through a "hands on" approach and that isn't very applicable to a computer based curriculum. He did enjoy the science lessons and I had to remind him to get off-line several times when doing the language arts lesson.

I don't feel that I would want to use this program for a full curriculum in any subject. However, I do see its benefit as a supplement, especially in math and language arts. Both boys seemed to enjoy the fact that they were learning through games. I like to have complete control over the learning process so I felt like I was at loose ends while they were online. Also, this wouldn't work well for our one-computer family. It took all morning for them to each do 2 subjects (and that was with Greg being timed).

For parents who aren't as "control freak" as me, the program has detailed reports that can be printed out weekly so that you can keep track of your child's progress. As the parent, you do have the ability to preview the lessons so that you are aware of what your child is currently learning.

Of course, you will have to add in handwriting, and probably a writing program of some kind. Also, Time 4 Learning recommends daily read-aloud time for your family and independent reading for all reading children. That will round out the education, especially if you were diligent to choose reading based on what your children were learning.

Although I don't see this program working for my family, I believe that it would be a cost-efficient approach to learning if this is something that your family is looking for.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wonderful Day

Today was a beautiful day.

Not necessarily outside.

My family and I enjoyed a beautiful day together. Norman worked a double shift last night so he slept this morning. Lee and Greg did their schoolwork on the internet this morning, trying out a product for me. Bear played while I supervised school, worked laundry, picked up the bathroom, made Christmas gift basket idea lists and fixed lunch. The boys and I ate nachos together and then they played while I read mail. We got dad up and spent a few minutes with him then I loaded the dishwasher and put Bear down for his nap. The boys and I did our together reading: Exploring Creation with Astronomy, King George: What Was His Problem?, and Johnny Tremain.

Since I worked on my chores throughout the morning, I was able to spend some time this afternoon listening to a CD and knitting. Bear woke up sometime around 4 and then I fixed supper; french toast. I read a chapter from Boys of Grit Who Changed the World from Lamplighter books. Greg and Bear took a bath while I did kitchen cleanup, then we all watched Wheel of Fortune and Jepardy. I took a shower and then put Bear to bed. My DVR runs non-stop on Tuesday evenings so I am catching up on NCIS, House and Law & Order SVU. I figure I will hit bed soon enough.

For what it is worth, I hit 300 posts with the one before this. When I started this blog I had no idea that I had this much to say! LOL

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I have some more reviews to put up. I hope that you are all enjoying them!

Have a blessed evening!

A Child's Heart - God's Garden

Amending the Soil of the Child's Heart (Session 1)

My dear friend, Crystal Wetherholt, has blessed me with the opportunity to listen to her new seminar/CD series called A Child's Heart - God's Garden. Today, I had the opportunity to listen to session 1.

Crystal uses the analogy of a gardener preparing a garden as she walks us through capturing the heart of our child. First, Crystal goes through a list of "red flags" that should indicate to us that we have lost the heart of our child/children. Then she gives 10 possible causes for this breech and finally, she gives ways that we can recapture the hearts of our children.

All of this in the first session!

Crystal isn't a "here is what you did wrong, now fix it" person, either. Crystal's heart is very transparent in this series. She candidly discusses problems that she has encountered as she has raised her children; ways that she lost their hearts and how she was able to get them back. She gives practical advice to hurting parents and shows them how to seek God's will for their family and children.

When Crystal dropped these CDs off at my house the other day, I was so eager to listen to them! I have been praying lately about the heart's of my children. I know how I have messed up in my relationship with them and Crystal is gently leading my heart back to my children. I only wish that I had this message 11 years ago!

This message, and the ones to follow, maybe be found at Crystal's website. Her CDs can be purchased for $10 each and she can be scheduled to speak to groups. Crystal has a heart for women, mothers, and their children. If you feel that you have lost your children's hearts or if you are a new mother starting out, I urge you to listen to Crystal's message. Let God do His powerful work in your family's life!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cloth Diapering

I have a lot of people ask me about using cloth diapers. I have used cloth diapers with little Bear since he was 4 months old. I really enjoy it and don't find it to be that much work at all. We do use disposables at night (so I don't worry about leaking) and when we are away from home. A mega pack of disposable diapers will last us close to a month and since I usually manage to get them for free (from CVS or Walgreens using coupons and rebates) that really isn't an expense for us.

Candy has recently posted a great cloth diapering article.

When I first started using cloth diapers, I bought some from a lady on Craig's list. I got 20 diapers and covers for $50. The diapers were homemade and she sent the pattern, but I just haven't had the time to work it up. I am still using some of these diapers (Bear has gotten longer, not wider). I have also purchased some diapers, doublers and covers from Baby Best Buy and think that they are a great value....especially if you buy them in bulk. I just spent $76 - shipping included - for another 12 diapers, 12 covers and 18 doublers. I fully expect these to last through potty training.

If we are blessed with another child I will absolutely use cloth diapers. I feel silly for not doing it with the older too!

All About Spelling

All About Spelling
The Multisensory Program for Spelling Success

Any of you that know me very well, know that Lee struggles with spelling. Although he doesn't actually have any hearing problems, he doesn't hear all the phonetic sounds in words. When he was 3 he went to speech at the public school with no results and that is the main thing that lead us to homeschooling. Although his speech is much improved and he is a great reader (although he doesn't enjoy it), we still struggle with spelling.

All 3 of us love our current spelling program, so I will admit that I was hesitate to stop using it to try out a new one. I am so very grateful that I did! All About Spelling (AAS) is a very comprehensive program that seems to meet Lee's need to "hear" the individual sounds in words. The introductory letter that was sent with my package suggested that we begin with the first book, moving through quickly, until we reached where our student needed to slow down. We are zipping through Level 1, as suggested, but I can't begin to tell you everything that Lee is learning!

***Greg is also going through this program. It is also useful for him, but I will be using Lee as an example most of the time, because he needed the most help.***

AAS starts with basic phonetic sounds and then builds from there. So far, Lee has greatly benefited from segmenting the sounds in words. I think he finally sees the difference! The program is also forcing both of my children to master alphabetizing. They hate doing that, but daily reviewing (I never took the time before) has made great strides in this area.

This program requires very little writing (at least in the first level - the upper levels look similar). Everything is VERY hands on. This was perfect for Lee - a very hands on person. The student can see the way the sounds fit together in words and they are "touching" the sounds (through letter tiles) as they say them. There is also an audio CD to help them get the sounds right. My boys are learning the basic spelling rules and seeing how they can apply them to the words they need to spell. They aren't just memorizing a list of words, they are learning why they are spelled that way!

I am very excited, also, about the possibilities for beginning readers in this program. Since it takes such a phonetic approach, this is a wonderful companion to a phonetic reading program and can be used by much younger students than other programs. I imagine that spelling would be learned with much more ease if it was learned while learning to read. I am eager to try that theory out on little Bear in a few years!

I cannot express how grateful I am to have been able to give this program a try. Already, Lee is coming to a basic understanding of spelling and applying the things he is learning in his daily writing.

Currently, there are 4 levels of AAS. Two more levels are being added in 2009 and the program will be complete through high-school level.

If you have a struggling speller, please, take a look at All About Spelling. It might be just the thing to turn your student around!

Salem Ridge Press

I have been blessed to be doing some "free" reading lately. That doesn't very often happen for me! I want to share what I have been reading with you.

Salem Ridge Press offers reprints of children's books from the 1800 and 1900's. These are wholesome books with stories that kept me tied to the book until the very end. Each book promoted good and Godly character and 2 of them tied a little history into the plot of their stories.

Mary Jane: Her Book written by Clara Ingram Judson (originally published in 1918) is written for younger readers and listeners. The reader follows little Mary Jane as she goes about her day, exploring and learning in her home and surrounding environment. I thought that this was the sweetest book! In my house of boys, I didn't read it aloud.....I doubt it would be appreciated, but a little girl of 4-10 would probably find it delightful. I couldn't wait to see what Mary Jane was up to next. I am also compelled to follow the example of her mother in teaching and training Mary Jane just by keeping her near throughout the day.

The American Twins of the Revolution by Lucy Fitch Perkins (originally published in 1926) is the story of a boy and a girl, and their mother and servants, and how they are an aid to George Washington and the Continental Army. The fictional story is interwoven with many facts and made this book a winner for me. It is written for a slightly older set....I would say ages 9 and up, although it could easily be read aloud for all. This is an exciting story.....you won't be able to stop at just one chapter!

Glaucia the Greek Slave by Emma Leslie (originally published in 1874) is written for the older set. I haven't had the opportunity to finish the book yet, but the story is captivating. Church history is woven throughout the story.......historical notes, timelines, word definitions and maps have been added to aid in the reader's understanding. A great help to me!

I am excited to have been introduced to this publisher. Mr. Daniel Mills takes great care in choosing the books that he reprints and this care shows! I can't wait to read more of these long-lost gems. The books are available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble (.com). Check them out for your homeschool or as great literature for the reader in your family!

My Commenters

I had 3 comments when I logged on today! I was so excited! I know from my site counter that several people stop by each day, but it is lovely to hear from some of you! Rather than trying to reply to comments, I figured that I would reply to questions and comments here. I love questions (and comments!) so please don't be afraid to ask. If you don't want it published just let me know and I won't publish it.

I am so glad that my homemaking post was a blessing to some of you! I have struggled with housekeeping for so many years. I am not an organized person. I know that I am not lazy (most of the time anyway) because I am always busy with something! I have learned to accept that right now isn't the time to worry myself with how messy my house might appear. It is clean under all the toys, books and papers and we spend time every day working on it, but I feel that relationships with people (my husband, children, and people that I meet every day) are more important than how neat my house is. What kind of witness am I if I don't open my home to others because of toys on the floor and books on the table??? God has more important things for me!

Thank you to the commenter (sorry, don't remember your name) that recommended the books by Beth Moore and Brooke Shields for struggling with depression. I am hoping that the natural progesterone cream I am currently using will help even out my moods but prayer and time with God is the most important thing! I will add those books to my reading list.

Another lady asked whether I thought Primary Language Lessons had helped Lee with his aversion to writing. I believe that Primary Language Lessons and its successor, Intermediate Language Lessons have been the best thing for Lee's writing ability. They have introduced different "needs" for writing with letters, short stories, dictation and copywork and journaling. He really took off with creative writing and writes the best stories all the time. I just can't stop him :) Not that I want to!!!! You can check these books out at My Father's World.

I am getting ready to post some reviews for some great products I have been blessed to try out lately. There are some great products out there! Remember, if something doesn't work with your child, keep searching! You will find just the right fit out there somewhere!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008


As a homemaker, I come to my job with many goals and a few dreams. It has taken me many years to realize that I am NOT, and will never be, Martha Stewart. I don't like to clean that much and we believe in comfy as a decore. The fact that my house is very rarely spotless, doesn't make me any less a homemaker. I am a homemaker, just by nature of the fact that I "work at home". I spend my days cleaning spills, doing dishes, changing diapers, making beds and folding laundry. Between my daily doings and the chores the older boys have assigned, we usually manage to maintain a liveable, happy home environment.

As ladies, I think that we spend way too much time comparing ourselves to others. I did it too!!! We look at the other moms we know and think about how we don't measure up. Or we secretly "gloat" because for once we had it together while someone else struggled. This isn't what God wants for us! Once I realized that, a tremendous burden was lifted from me.

God wants me to do my very best in my home, for my family, every day. My best may be better or worse than yours. That's ok. God only asks for our very best!

Today is a cold, gloomy winter day. Our whole household has been struggling with sickness. I am tired - but not sick - yet anyway. I rolled out of bed at 6:30 and started the diapers that were soaking. Unloaded the dishwasher and started coffee before Bear woke up at 7. We enjoyed oatmeal for breakfast and woke the older boys at 8. Right on time! I moved the diapers to the dryer, started another load of laundry and we began our homeschool with reading Galatians 5. The boys usually eat breakfast while I read and then brush their teeth and get dressed. Then I read-aloud a chapter from Johnny Tremain. Greg went off to listen to his Spanish CD while Lee and I worked through a lesson in All About Spelling (review to come soon!). Then Greg and I did his lesson while Lee listened to his French CD. Bear sat in his highchair drawing with - I mean eating - a red crayon. As a mother, you can't always win! The older boys finished up with copywork, language lessons, and math while I held Bear and he drew with a pencil on paper.

My boys have daily chores. I will be honest and say that if they don't do their chores, this house is a WRECK. I am sure that says something about my homemaking abilities, but I DON'T CARE. See how easy that is???? After school work is finished, the boys did their chores while I started lunch. I may be a terrible housekeeper, but I am a fantastic cook (if I do say so myself - and I DO!). Today, we had home-made chicken and noodles (Amish noodles - I am not that dedicated), mashed potatoes (home-grown), candied sweet potatoes and fried okra (also home-grown). It was all very yummy! The older boys watch TV or play video games and entertain Bear while I finish up lunch. The 4 of us ate together and played "find that state" on the US map placemats. At 11:30 Bear and I woke up Daddy. He has been working very long hours and is also sick so he slept late.

During the morning hours, I have been grading papers and rotating laundry. Usually lunch is prepared in bits-and-pieces. That is how I manage to get things done around here. After Dad was up, the big bed was stripped and those sheets went in the wash. The rest of the laundry (washed-dried-sitting in baskets in the living room) was folded and put away. I finally got a shower. I cleaned the kitchen up while Dad played with Bear. After Daddy went to work, we read our history and science lessons while Bear ate cheese-balls in the living room. Sadie had her fair share as well.

Bear is down for his nap now. The older boys are playing in their room. They still have independent reading to do this evening. I looked through some books that I ordered, cleaned off my desk, packed some jars in the closet, made my bed back up and worked on some book-reviews.

My house isn't spotless. Toys and blankets are on the floor. There is clutter - I am working on it. I really need to give Sadie a bath.

The most important thing is that we are happy, reasonably healthy and that we are striving to do our very best. I hope and pray that what I have said here encourages you to keep striving toward your best. That is all that God wants from you! Put away the unreasonable expectations that others and YOU place on yourself. Love God, love your family and don't make your home an idol in your life.

Have a wonderful day!

Sick kids

Just when things were going so smoothly.........BAM!.....sick kids. Bear has a double ear infection. He is on day 2 of antibiotics and I am hoping will begin to feel better. He ran a temp all weekend and yesterday (Tuesday) sat on my lap and cried for close to 2 hours. The only thing that would give him relief was Similisan. Thank goodness for that stuff!

The older boys also have colds. They voluntarily slept with a vaporizer all night. Norman also came home sick yesterday and he may be the worst off of those three. I have been taking mega doses of Vitamin C and praying that I don't come down with it.

I have managed to get some house cleaning and schoolwork down regardless. I feel like I have been running a marathon though. I will definately be glad when everyone around here is healthy again!

I have some posts that I would like to do and if Bear is feeling better I might get at least one up tonight!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Terrestria Chronicles

I am hoping to be 1 of 15 winners forThe Quest for Thunder Mountain on the HSB Company Porch! You don't want to miss out on this great new give-away from the author of The Terrestria Chronicles!

Follow the link to HSB Company Porch and be sure to enter if you want to win :)


On My Needles

The best way to overcome depression, besides prayer, is activity! I am staying busy. Today was a "hanging out" at home day with dad so I took this time to put a camoflage hat on my knitting needles for Lee. I made a blue hat for Bear and a camo hat for Greg and this will be Lee's camo hat.

The pattern is a basic hat pattern, knitted in the round on double pointed needles. I love double pointed needles! They look so difficult to master and yet are so simple.....it makes me feel incredibly smart :) It really is mindless work though. That is my favorite kind.

We are going to have shrimp on the grill tonight. I did a mega-shopping session yesterday and stocked us up on much-used items. I feel better knowing that I have the makings of a month's worth of meals.

It is almost time to BAKE! I am eagerly looking forward to it. I didn't do much last year with the new baby so I am eagerly anticipating the great smells in my kitchen. I need to dig through my recipes and decide what to put on the list.

I hope that everyone has a great evening!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Media Angels

This evening I would like to introduce you to a wonderful Christian company, Media Angels. The book that they sent for my review was The Missing Link: Found by Christina and Felice Gerwitz.


Christina and Felice have written a wonderful book (the first in a series) that weaves a good old-fashioned mystery with some amazing creation science! I don't really like science, but even I found myself learning something along the way. I couldn't put this book down!

The authors state that this book is for 10-12 year olds, but I know that many adults would find it fascinating as well.

Also, Media Angels, Inc. is dedicated to publishing quality materials for parents and students. Their selections include many creation science titles and literature study guides.

Painless science is right up my alley (I am a history girl, remember???), so I am thrilled to have been introduced to this wonderful resource. The boys can't wait to read The Missing Link and I can't wait to get the rest of the series!


Sometimes some things just sneak up on you.

If you would have asked me this time last year if I was depressed I would have said absolutely not. Even when I was dealing with post-partum depression last December, I would have assured you that it was a phase and would be quickly over with. I never would have admitted to being depressed since May 2007.

Most things have a cause, or starting point. In May 2007 my husband and I had serious problems with my parents and brother. During that time, untrue accusations were made and unattainable expectations were laid down. My parents are unable to accept that things aren't always going to be the way that they want them to be and other people in this world aren't always going to fit into their "people form". They said many things that shouldn't have ever been said and many feelings have been hurt in the process. Mainly my sweet husband. The people that he looked up to and respected threw everything in his past in his face. I feared all summer long that he wouldn't make it out of the black hole that they dug for him.

He did. Not without scars however and it is those scars that are still haunting me.

Anyway, during that week in May, I spiraled into a terrible depression. I guess that I knew I was "down", but with a vacation in June and then an ultrasound in July, I had a LOT to be happy about and thankful for. I was thrilled about the baby that we had waited so long for and I put a smile on my face. Even I began to believe that I was truly happy.

And so we went. My little Bear was born in October. I went through the typical ppd in November but thought that I was back to my old self in December. Things were typically hectic with the holidays and Norman worked a ton of overtime, managing to avoid all major family holidays. I am sure my family was secretly relieved. I was truly sad.

With the holidays coming again I have had to readdress this issue and make some tough decisions in my life. For the health of my family. Those decisions are going to cause confrontation with my family. I hate confrontation.

I sat on the couch today and realized that since May of 2007 I have gained 20 lbs. I have no interest in homeschool, homekeeping or enjoying these beautiful children that God has so graciously given to me. I have taken to eating everything I see and watching mindless trash on TV. I am depressed. And the hole is rather large.

So now, I must decide to pull myself out. I have to figure out how to deal with the family issues that are haunting me and I must decide for myself and my family to get off the couch and back to the stuff that really matters.

The reason that I am posting this isn't necessarily to air dirty laundry or to make you feel sorry for me, but it is to remind all of my readers that depression is real. Depression can take over everything in your life and waste precious time with your family. Every single day is a gift and I don't intend to let depression get the better of me.

I am now going to post this, putting all my very human flaws out there for all the world to see. Please take a minute to look at your life and make sure that you are living it in the best, God-honoring way that you can!


My goodness.....have I ever mentioned that some days I should just stay in bed???

Norman worked a double shift again last night....3rd in a row. Bear slept with me. I rolled out of bed at 6 a.m. and showered. I was able to make coffee, start laundry and check email (quickly) before he woke up at 7. We turned on the news, I drank coffee and we both ate cinnamon raisin oatmeal.

Norman got home, I hung out laundry, the older boys got up and Norman went to bed. Greg did his chores and we started school. Bear decided that it was the best use of his time to SCREAM while we are doing schoolwork. Norman is trying to sleep and I can't for the life of me get him to settle down. He and I end up in the playroom while the boys finish their independent work. Lee, bless his heart, took Bear outside as soon as he was finished. Greg and I joined him and we read our history lesson in the grass. Fall is beautiful.

At 10:30 Bear and I left to vote, shop and go to the Health department so that he could get his next round of shots. This is where it gets really bad. Regardless of the fact that he slept the whole way home and for almost an hour afterwards, he is very, very grouchy. The tylenol that I gave him for the pain is making him very, very sleepy, but without his bottle he doesn't want to go to sleep. It is going to be a very, very long afternoon.

I have more reviews that I am ready to write. I also got another product in the mail today. I will probably be writing a review every day or so from now until...........I don't know when. I love being part of the TOS Crew! I am getting to see and try out a lot of great stuff.

I need to go comfort a baby. Have a wonderful day!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Homeschool Library Builder

As part of the TOS Crew I have been asked to do a review of Homeschool Library Builder.

Homeschool Library Builder is a website that is operated by 2 homeschooling mothers. It offers new and used books at discounted prices. Many of the titles used by literature based units (Sonlight, Tapestry of Grace, etc) can be found on their shelves. I was able to easily navigate the website. The book descriptions were adequate and most of the books offered reading level suggestions. I always find that helpful when selecting a book. The condition of the book is noted in the description so that there are no surprises when your package arrives.

Homeschool Library Builder also produces a monthly email newsletter which offers a seasonal selection of books. They also help to promote other small businesses! I thought that was great! They are also available for fundraising and have a "helping hand" program to raise money for different charitable causes. Your purchases will earn you "book points" through their Frequent Buyer program that can be used on future purchases.

This company truly seeks to help homeschoolers build their libraries. I found it very easy to place an order and right now they are offering FREE shipping (through 11-6). If you are looking for a place to buy great books at great prices then Homeschool Library Builder is your place!

***Edited to Add*** I received my shipment from HLB FAST! I couldn't believe that it was here already. The books were in the condition stated on the website and I am very pleased with my order and their service. This will definately be a company that I order from again.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Coming Up This Week

Tomorrow, we get back to school! I am sure that the boys aren't nearly as excited as I am, but it adds a routine to our days that we dearly need. Norman is working mega overtime this week (he already has in 17 hrs. in 2 day - that's OT only - 16 regular hours - 33 hrs. total plus 2 hrs. drive time daily......ugggg = not much sleep for him). It looks like he will work 16 hour shifts the rest of the week. So we may school outside so that it is quiet in the house for him. I think that the weather will be beautiful for it.

Tuesday I am going to vote. I am going to spend Monday evening/night praying about Tuesday's events......I just have a terrible feeling about the whole deal so I need to lay it in God's hands.

I have to deal with some family issues and am hoping to do that Monday - get it done and over with. Have I ever mentioned that I HATE confrontation?? And that you never actually get anything "given" to you???? Trust me, you will pay for it in spades in emotional stress.

Bear has an appointment (shots) on Tuesday so I am going to do some shopping then. I think that we are taking the week off from TKD and will restart next week at the beginning of a testing cycle. So that will be good :) I will get to stay home most of the week.

I have at least 2 homeschool product reviews to post. I am going to try to get those done Wednesday evening. I am working hard to get another product done as well. So there may be 3. If that interests you, check back Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

We weaned Bear from his bottle. Weaned isn't exactly the right word......jerked is more appropriate I think. We severed all ties with the bottle on Friday. It took him till yesterday before he realized that this wasn't a temporary "bad mommy forgot it" situation. He has therefore stopped taking naps (unless it is in the car). Bedtime hasn't been so bad, but he is temporarily sleeping with me (us when dh is home) so that I can get some sleep. So far, so good. He threw a horrible fit Saturday night, but was finally comforted by stroking my hair. He has always had a thing about my hair :) He is eating like a horse. All I get done is feeding him. He may gain 5 lbs. this week. Heck, I may gain 5 lbs. this week from all the stress (mostly from the family situation - a tiny bit from the "no bottle" situation).

So, it is business as usual around here. I also need to start thinking about Thanksgiving......and Christmas. Off to bed, I go before I get myself worked up into a anxiety attack!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

1st Birthday

We are home and settling back into a routine. I have major housecleaning to do! We are enjoying the last few days of Norman's vacation too!

Norman Matthew will be celebrating his first birthday tomorrow! I can't believe it has already been a year. He already looks like a "toddler" rather than a baby and I am so sad that he has grown up so quickly!

He really took to Nemo at Disney so he is having a Nemo birthday! Amazingly, we never owned that movie, and it is difficult to find now. I bought KMart's last copy :) He is getting a look-and-find board book, wooden stacking pegs, stuffed Nemo, Nemo bathtub toys, Nemo movie and Shamu bucket hat (couldn't find Nemo!). That seems like a lot, but he didn't get any souveniers on the trip because they were all for his birthday :) I figure he would like to unwrap them!

So, I need to get to work. I promise to be blogging regularly soon. I have lots of new reviews to post, so watch for that!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sea World

I wanted to make a comment about Sea World and forgot in my previous post.

We were so impressed with that park for many reasons. Right off the bat, they earned our respect. For those that don't know, Sea World is owned by Anheuser-Busch (the beer company). Anyway, we got there at opening, just like we had at all the Disney parks and we were greeted by the playing of our National Anthem. Disney didn't do that at any of their parks......its a small thing, but none-the-less.....

And, just before the Shamu show, the show "host" thanked all of the service people in the audience and had them stand so that we could thank them ourselves. I thought that it was impressive that they took the time out of their busy show schedule to do that and it really meant a lot to me.

Anyway, that is some things that really impressed upon me about the integrity of the company. I know they sold out to a foreign company and all, but anyway...........

Going to bed now!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Walt Disney World and Sea World

Well, today I am sitting in our hotel suite, typing away. I just got done packing up our stuff for our long trip home. This vacation has been wonderful and I am so very glad that we were able to come. Norman, the boys and I have all said that we will have to come back but there are several things that we would do differently.

First, next time we come, we may skip all the hype and just stay at the beach. Our favorites were Caspersen Beach near Venice and Siesta Beach near Sarasota. I have never been so relaxed in my whole life. Siesta Beach was my favorite....the sand was white, the slope was VERY gradual and the sunset was beautiful. Norman and the older boys spent hours searching for sharks teeth at Caspersen Beach. We have half a juice bottle to bring home!

Second, if we ever do choose to come back to Disney, we will completely skip MGM (Hollywood) Studios and Epcot. We were not impressed at all. We loved Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. So, that will be the plan for next time.

Sea World was fantastic. Our tickets gave us a 2nd day free and we went again today and spent a few hours, but it probably wasn't worth the $15 parking. We got everything done in one day. And it is absolutely worth it to see both Shamu shows (Believe and Shamu Rocks). They are different and NOT to be missed.

We also believe that it would be worth it to pay for a Disney resort hotel if you plan to go to Disney. We didn't realize, but resort guests get to enter an hour early and stay 3 (THREE) hours later. The crowds would be so much smaller!!!!! So that will probably be part of the plan next time.

Universal Studios got skipped this time. A lot of the rides had height restrictions that wouldn't have allowed Greg to ride. Next time, we will probably go there. We also skipped GatorLand....we are just too tired.

The mall at Lake Buena Vista (outlet mall) isn't worth your time. The only thing that redeemed them was that they had an Old Navy.....but I can go to an Old Navy in Terre Haute so........

If you want to see, my pictures are on facebook....sorry, though, close friends only. You know...the privacy thing. When I get home I may try to post a favorite or two here, but it is a pain to upload pictures on blogger and a breeze to get them on facebook....it just doesn't seem worth it to do it here. Sorry!

Also, I have learned that Starbucks is my friend!!!!! My goodness, I am addicted. There is one down the block and I love the Caramel Macchiato. Yummy!!!!!

I will be back up doing product reviews, homeschool posts and housekeeping stuff next week.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I Choose

  • to love my Lord and Saviour with my heart, mind and soul
  • to conceive, birth and raise any children God blesses me with
  • to dress like a woman
  • to dress in a modest style
  • to submit to my husband, allowing him to lead our family in God's will
  • to homeschool (with my husband's blessing) my children, training them in the way that they should go
  • to pray for the best and prepare for the worst

Every day that you and I live our lives we have a multitude of choices to make. Some of these choices are trivial and some have eternal value. All of our choices should reflect God's love and our obedience to Him. What do your choices say about you?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Note from Psalm

Psalm 27 (NAS)
The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?
When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, the stumbled and fell.
Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident.

One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, and to meditate in His temple.
For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.
And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me; And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice, And be gracious to me and answer me.
When Thou didst say, "Seek My face, : my heart said to Thee, "Thy face, O Lord, I shall seek."
Do not hide Thy face from me, Do not turn Thy servant away in anger; Thou hast been my help; Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation!
For my father and my mother have forsaken me, But the Lord will take me up.
Teach me Thy way, O Lord, And lead me in a level path, Because of my foes.
Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries; For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence.
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.

***I am waiting God. Show me!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Missing Friends

I am wasting time on the internet today. I am moody I guess. I just spent several minutes searching facebook for people that I used to know. How sad is that?

That got me to thinking though.......how do our relationships develop and grow and then die so suddenly? In high school I had good friends. Upon graduation it was like someone flipped a switch and "poof", they were gone. We all went our separate ways. We all grew up and developed into the people that we are today. Most of my classmates I don't miss at all and a few I miss terribly.

I guess that we learn, as we get older, to guard our relationships more carefully. They need to be tended and worked at, rather than dropped when it gets hard or inconvenient. I guess that is part of getting older and wiser :) I am melancholy today, aren't I? Oh well, I suppose I just need to get OFF the internet and get back to packing.

Wait! The packing is done! WooHoo! The cleaning, however, isn't :( So, off I go!
Have a good day!


I learn something new everyday. I really do. I set up a facebook account the other day to stay in contact with a friend who is moving. And today, I figured out how to upload pictures to facebook! Let me tell you, it is a LOT easier than doing it here. So, I will probably be doing most of the pictures over there. The photo album is accessible to friends only, so you will need to add me as a friend. You can search for Carie Shinn. If I find you non-threatening :) then you will be allowed to view my pictures! Fun huh?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Training Sons and Training Daughters

I just got my ticket to Cindy Rushton's new online Talk-A-Latte study - Training Sons and Training Daughters. We will be gone, but everything is recording and will downloaded to my IPod at a later date. I can't wait to dig into the great topics that she is covering!!!

Some of the topics include:
Mothering: Step Up to the Call
Training Sons
Training Daughters
Ministering to the Heart of Your Child, Teen and Young Adult

That is just ONE day's worth!

I can't wait to get started! Won't you join us? Feel free to check it out!

What is on Your IPod?

I thought that I would try a new thing every week where we can share what we are listening to. It doesn't have to be on your IPod, that is what I listen to most of the time. Please feel free to share what you are listening to on the radio, CD, TV, mp3...whatever!

I am still listening to the seminars from the Ultimate Homeschool Expo. I am slow....I know! I also added some country music and like to listen to that while playing outside with the boys.
I am also loosely following the news. That is scary stuff!

What are you listening to???

Saturday, October 04, 2008


It looks like Saturday again :)

We have finished planning for our upcoming trip. We will leave next Thursday morning. I will have my computer with me and will occassionally update about all the fun we are having.

Today, Greg has a soccer game. For some reason Lee's game got rescheduled for tomorrow afternoon. I don't want to go to a game tomorrow so I will see if a friend can take him. I am going to be doing laundry and start packing. And cleaning. I think that I will begin in our bedroom and bathroom since that will be "grand central" for the packing. Norman and the boys cleaned out the van yesterday and put the 3 person seat in the middle - leaving the other one out. Then Norman took it to town and vaccumed and washed it (3 times). It was dark when he got back but I am sure that it is beautiful!

I decided that I wasn't going to get on the internet this weekend, but habit prevailed and I was here before I realized it. Now, I am getting off here and getting to work! I am probably not getting back on until MONDAY. Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

As most of you know, I am part of a marketing focus group for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. In case you didn't know, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is a fabulous resource. They provide their magazine in a print and digital format for their subscribers. In fact, I did a review of the digital magazine if you want to check it out. I can't express enough how much this magazine has helped me over the years.

I wanted to tell you all about The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's Fall Special.

You can get two years of the magazine, 6 fabulous physical gifts (no downloads!) worth over $120, plus the current issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine that is full of ideas for the new school year, so you start receiving your magazine in a flash! It really is one of their best deals ever and you don't want to miss out. In fact, they've got a really cute Homeschooling with Heart totebag (valued at $13.95) for the first 1000 to subscribe. About half ofthem are gone, but you should still be able to get one if you hurry!(They will remove the info from the subscription page when the bags are all gone.) The total value is over $212, but you receive it all for only $39 - 50% off of cover price! Plus subscribers get their online monthly Teacher's Toolbox which focuses on a different topic each month, giving you words of encouragement, hands-on teaching ideas, book recommendations, field trip ideas, and a bonus download item.

This is a great value for your homeschool buck! I keep all of my back-issues and reread whenever I need a little "brush up" or encouragment. The articles include product reviews, unit studies, mom encouragment and so much more.

So, if you are interested in checking out this fabulous resource you can go HERE. Act quickly before they run out of these totes.....I hear that they are sooo cute!!!!!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Wednesday in Review

I am going to try, every Wednesday, to post a review of something that I have found helping in my home or homeschool. Sometimes, these will be curriculum reviews that I have been asked to do for TEACH magazine or The Old Schoolhouse magazine. Sometimes, it will be something that I have used independently and found useful. I hope that you enjoy the reviews!

Help Me To Teach

I was up way into the night last night checking out this resource. Normally, this is NOT something that I would have bought. Essentially, it is a search engine of web links to pages sorted by topic or subject. First, I searched for American History. I was amazed at the results! There were informational sites, timeline sites, game sites. A search for "math" revealed worksheet making sites, online review game sites and how to teach fractions sites. When I searched for "geography" I found sites on maps, cultures, and more games. Impressive!

I am a "hold something in my hand" type person. I am not sure how much of this I would use in my day-to-day teaching if it isn't something that could be printed out (and there was a lot that could be). However, I am exploring the possibilities of allowing my older son to use this site for RESEARCH. I hate letting him search using Google because of the possibility of questionable content, but these links have all be checked out by the site owner before posting. Fabulous!

Also, through this site I have found enough math review games, geography games and worksheet makers to keep us in math review for a while. Everyone needs math review, right?

I will admit that I came to this site figuring that I was not going to be impressed. Boy was I wrong! Help Me 2 Teach claims that you can find a whole year's worth of study materials using their site alone and I believe that to be absolutely true. The cost for the site subscription is 3 months for $15.95 and 12 months for $29.95. That is an unbelievable deal for 12 months of school! With a subscription you will also receive a monthly newsletter that is filled with more wonderful information (this month was fall and spring equinoxes) and topical links (hurricanes and tornados).

To try the site out, you may purchase a 3 day subscription for $4.94 or a 1 month subscription for $9.95. I am sure that if you give it a try that you will not be disappointed!

If you are interested in reading other reviews of this product, feel free to check out the TOS Crew blog!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Reader Help

If you are in Chattanooga, TN or Atlanta, GA will you please email me? I am curious about the gas shortages in your area. We will be traveling in that area soon and I am worred about getting gas while we are there. My email is carie_shinn@hotmail.com. Please put something in the subject line about gas prices or this blog.
Thank you!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Some Great Articles

Little Bear is teething and sleeping a little more than normal so I have a little time to read some great articles I searched out. They are linked below if you would like to share some encouragment as well.

The New Woman's Movement

How Do We Want Posterity to Remember Us?

If you are looking for modest clothing or patterns:
Common Sense Patterns
Colleen Hammond

That's enough for tonight. I am sleepy and must go to bed.

Chores and Housekeeping Schedules

We have finally hit on a chore system that works for us. We have used it for about 2 years now and I plan to continue it.I made a “chore chart” placed it in a page protector and hung it on a nail in the kitchen. Even my chores are on it. That way there is no excuse for the work not being done.

My older 2 boys are 8 and 11. They will do a set of chores for about 6 months and then they switch. That way there is no arguing about who has the harder chores. Everyone will get them eventually. The baby doesn’t have chores, YET.

Here is the list for this cycle:
8 yr. old
Daily - scoop litter box, feed animals, make bed, pick up bedroom
M and Sat. - vaccum living room
M - wipe down large appliances
M, T, W, Sat. - put away laundry
T - wipe down light switches
W - wipe down bath tub

11 yr. old
Daily - fetch mail, make bed, pick up bedroom, pick up bathroom, pick up living room, kitchen, hallway floors
M, T, W, Sat. put away laundry
M - clean appliances
T - dust
W - wipe down bath tub

Daily - lunch, clean-up kitchen, supper, clean-up kitchen
M - bathrooms
T dust/vaccum living room
W - focus on kitchen and dining room (clean/mop)
Sat. - organize desk, sort school stuff, garden
M, T, W, Sat - laundry

I don’t do extra chores on Thurs. and Fri because dh is home those days. The boys do their chores 6 days a week, after school and before lunch. It takes them about 30 mins. They are paid 75 cents a day for this. Large lawn/garden jobs are paid extra by my dh.

I work off a to-do list every day. If it is Monday, on my to-do list will be whatever jobs I want to accomplish in the bathrooms (wash floors, scrub shower, clean cabinets, etc.). General pick-up is done every week but the other jobs are done on an “as needed” basis and are added to my to-do list accordingly. Also, larger jobs like washing windows, clean my bedroom, decluttering closets, cleaning the laundry room, etc. are added to my to-do list as I decide they need done. I work them in through out the week. If nothing but the bare bones is done then the house stays in relatively good shape.

This seems to work for us. I love seeing what works for everyone else.

Soccer Saturday

It is Saturday, and the boys played Soccer.

But, I didn't stop by just to tell you that. Why did I stop by? Hmmmm......

We finished up canning for the week yesterday. We still have some stuff to do. When we are completely done I will post a list of what we did. So far I am counting 186 jars (not counting stuff that went into the freezer). That's a lot. We ran out of jars and had to borrow some from my mother-in-law.

Today, AFTER soccer, I did some cleaning up. Canning makes a huge mess and also makes me very tired so I am not as diligent about cleaning up my mess :) So, now it is mostly cleaned-up; except for the floor, but we are ignoring that for a few days (I never said I was the BEST housekeeper on the planet). LOL

I am going to get off here and post a reply to a question on Cindy Rusthon's blog about chore/housekeeping schedules. If you would like to read ALL the replies, not just mine, you can go HERE.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tomato Soup

First off, I hate tomato soup. So, why, oh why, was I making it yesterday? Norman likes it. He will take it to work in his lunches and eat in as a "midnight" snack. So I prepared and canned 13 pints of tomato soup. Norman said that it didn't taste the same as store-bought, but he thought it might be better! Fabulous :)

Today we are canning tomato puree, beef stew, apple pie filling and freezing some okra.

I will try to post later, some homeschool stuff.
Blessings to all!

TOS Crew

I am pleased to announce that I have been selected to be a part of The Old Schoolhouse's Crew! Over the next year or so, myself and 99 other selected people will be doing reviews of new and exciting products for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

I am thrilled to be part of this group. AND, all of my reviews will be posted here first for all my readers to see. So, you will be benefiting by my participation in this program as well.

I understand that our first assignment will be in October, so keep your eyes open for some great products!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Just When I Thought I Was Done.....

My loving husband brought me home 5 buckets of apples!

I grumbled a little when he and the older boys brought them in, but then I remembered that this is God's provision for us. I was afraid that I wouldn't get ANY apples at all this year, and we have been blessed with 5 buckets! for FREE! Praise God!!!!

So Thursday I will be canning any beans that are living outside (I have been afraid to look), making and canning tomato soup and canning apple pie filling and apple juice. And freezing okra (I keep forgetting about that!). My wonderful husband and fabulous children will be helping me and we will make short work of it I am sure.

In other news..........
***Baby Norman learned how to clap
***Gregory has a mohawk and temporarily dyed his hair red and blue
***Leland is NORMAL - and 11 - enough said

As is typical for me, I am working through some things. I have been worried about whether or not my children are drawing closer to God in our study time of a morning. I really struggle with not wanting this to be a "chore" but a learning and loving time spent with God. Norman wants the kids and myself to use KJV, which works great for me, but after all these years I just wonder if the boys need a simpler version for their private reading time. I am going to broach the subject with Norman and see what he thinks. I want my children to LOVE God and spending time with him.

I have a review that needs done and I need to finish some sewing for my mother-in-law. Those 2 things should be done by tomorrow evening. Then I need to clear off the kitchen cabinets to prepare for Thursday's doings. I am thankful for all of our harvest and God's bountiful provision, but I will be very glad when it is all put away in the cabinets and freezer :)

Have a wonderful evening!