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!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Beans and Salsa

Not together, 'cause I think that would be gross. I canned 7 quarts of beans, 5 quarts of tomato puree and 10 pints of salsa today. So that's what I have been doing!

Sorry the postings have been short lately. I have been very busy. It seems that when I get a second away from canning something, I am drowning in laundry or housework, or sick. It has been non-stop the last few weeks. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though! My husband has requested that I make and can him some tomato soup. When I get that done, I will probably can another batch of tomato puree and then I am DONE with tomatoes. WooHoo!!!!!! The beans are still trickling in, but as long as I can keep the boys picking and breaking then that isn't too bad. We are wanting to can some beef stew, veggie soup and chili but that can wait until later. I am beginning to feel relieved!

I am knitting hats for the family for winter. That is my current project. I have gobs of fabric in the bedroom though to be made up into jumpers for me and quilts for the boys. So that is what is in the works around here. I am eagerly looking forward to cold "stay shut up in the house" kinda weather. I hear that the winter is supposed to be unusually cold..........I haven't decided if that is good or bad yet. I definately don't want a repeat of the ice storm from last year.

Enough rambling! It is late and I have to get to bed. If you need an article to kick yourself in the pants regarding work, check out Candy's latest post.

Have a great night!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

HOAC Colonial America Lapbook Review

I just posted a review of HOAC Colonial America Labook. To view the review, go HERE. If you wish to check out In the Hands of a Child go HERE.

Online Kids Creation Science Class

Felice Gerwitz will be teaching a kids Creation Science class online, every Monday beginning Sept. 22 through Oct. 28. If you would be interested in having your children attend you can go HERE for more information.

HERE is the fall line-up for Cindy Rushton's Talk-A-Latte series.

I would love to have the boys take part in the online class but with our FL trip upcoming, I just don't see it happening. That doesn't mean that you need to miss out though!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Kris is giving away a Country Home decorating book. She used this book for the decorating ideas in her home and through the pictures I have seen of her home, it is beautiful. If you would like to enter the giveaway, or check out her blog, you can go HERE.

Friday, September 12, 2008

It's Raining, It's Pouring, The Old Man is Snoring!

Literally :)

Dh and the older boys are still in bed, but the baby and I have been up since 6:30 (which isn't really early, but I am still trying to get over this terrible cold) and boy has it been raining! I got up sometime in the night and closed down the windows and really haven't had a chance to open them back up again. Our satelite signal has been lost most of the morning and my poor little Sadie (who absolutely despises rain and wet grass) won't go outside for her morning yard tromp. I hope it quits raining soon, I don't know how big her bladder is! She will go in the rain, but she really, really dislikes it!

Yesterday we picked the garden clean again and I spent the whole day canning stuff. I canned the 5 half-pints of catsup that I made the day before, 11 quarts green beans and cooked/canned 5 quarts of spaghetti sauce. If there is enough tomatoes again at one time before the "season" is over I will try to make one more batch of spaghetti sauce. I really need 2 more, but the tomatoes are slowing down so I don't really see that happening. And I will make more salsa, which requires fewer tomatoes at a time. I figure I can get at least a few more batches of that.

School is going good. We have 22 days under our belts. I divide the year into 6 "quarters" so we only complete 30 days a quarter. #1 is almost finished! Yeah!!!!! I have been tweaking as we go, but overall I am very satisfied with the way things are working out. We must work really hard to be done with everything but reading before lunch, but the boys are getting the hang of it and have quit most of the complaining.

I was going to blog yesterday about Sept. 11, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I don't know about you, but it seems like yesterday. I know that I have blogged about it before so I just didn't this year. I think for the most part, I have dealt with the lingering emotional issues caused by Sept. 11 for me. I can see God's hand so perfectly in my life since that time.

I suppose that I had better go round up the older boys and get school started. I think we will do our reading snuggled on the couch rather than at the table today.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Salsa, that is :)

We have stayed busy canning and freezing the bounty from our garden. Over the weekend, while I was sick, we froze 24 bags of sweet corn and canned 13 quarts green beans and 5 pints pizza sauce. Yesterday, I cooked up a new salsa recipe. Boy, is it HOT! But really, really good. It only made 5 pints and we have already eaten 1. I will definately need to make some more of that. Today I am trying my hand at catsup. My mom always made it when I was growing up so I am confident that it will turn out.

I am using my crock-pot for doing most of the cooking down of the tomatoes for everything. I don't know why I didn't think of that before! I let the pizza sauce cook all night long and ended up with a fantastically thick sauce. I love it! Poor crock-pot is barely getting washed before it is being loaded up with tomatoes again :) I need to get started on spaghetti sauce soon. I won't be able to use the crock-pot for that unless I go get my mom's. So, I guess I will need to think that through.

I did a lot of housework today. Decluttered the desk some, but it still needs work. Straightened up the school stuff. Dh and I have agreed on a solution to some of the school work clutter. We are going to buy another pantry cabinet and a skinny bookshelf to put in the kitchen. The top of the pantry will be used for pantry stuff and the bottom will hold the boy's current book "drawers". The skinny bookshelf will hold all those books that find themselves living on the table, chairs, countertops, floor and barstools. There are many, and they reproduce while I am sleeping.....I swear they do! I doubt we will get the purchasing and installation done before we leave for FL but we have a plan.....with us that is the main part of the problem.

I still need to fold one load of laundry and finish the catsup. I hope I am not up late canning. Oh well, I have a 7-day library book that I need to read so I guess I can work on that while things are simmering...........Why, oh why do I check out 7-day library books?????

Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Fall Talk-A-Latte Line-up

Cindy Rushton's fall Talk-A-Latte season is getting ready to start with a big BANG! I am so excited to see so many wonderful seminars coming up.

September 12-13–A Simple Journey to Debt Free Living
October 10-11–Training Sons…Training Daughters
November 7-8–Let’s Make a Memory
December 12-13–A Crash Course on Spiritual Warfare!
PLUS! Our first students class! Creation Science Class with Felice Gerwitz

As you can see, the classes are starting SOON! You don't want to miss any of these great seminars, but I absolutely know how finances are.....we are still saving for that trip to Orlando! Anyway, I would recommend A Simple Journey to Debt Free Living, if I had to pick only one. You can register for it HERE. If you are like me and can't wait to get ALL of these fabulous seminars into your IPod, then click HERE for a ticket to the whole series of seminars.

These seminars are GREAT! I am still listening to the seminars from the Ultimate Homeschool Expo! The way that these seminars are set up, you can listen LIVE from your computer - in your own house, in your pjs if you want. There is a member site, where Cindy posts loads of great goodies (ebooks, articles and bonus audios) that are only available to those who have a ticket. All the links to the speakers and any free gifts that they are giving away are there also. Then, you can download the audios into your Ipod (mp3 player) and listen away to your heart's content. The BEST part is that EVERYTHING stays on the website, forever, and you can access it at any time that you need/want it. It is the conference that just keeps on giving! I have been blessed beyond measure by these seminars and know that you will be too.

The money that I spend on these seminars is worth every dime - and the price doesn't even come close to their beginning value - not to mention the loads of freebies that you always get with the membership site. Everytime I plug in my IPod I am blessed again by the wisdom and encouragement of other homeschool moms. They are right there with me, sharing my struggles and burdens as we walk this road together. All the topics are relevant, timely and God uses them to encourage me in so many different ways. I encourage you to give them a try and see how God uses these wonderful seminars to bless your life!

Friday, September 05, 2008


What started out as the sniffles has turned into a full blown cold/flu thing. Bear is sick and I feel terrible. I hope to pick up with blogging again next week. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Kindergarten Curriculum

As promised, here are my curriculum suggestions for Kindergarten :)

First of all, I want to encourage all new homeschooling moms to take a deep breath. And another. Now, your children will not be deprived in any way if you snuggle on the couch everyday and read fantastic books together. That is all you have to do. I know that is VERY hard to swallow. I know. I was the frantic-first-time-homeschool mom. Ask my oldest son. I was a drill sargeant. We did flashcards for 5 mins., reading practice for 10 minutes, math worksheet, then counting practice and then more flashcards.....on and on. You get the idea? He hated school. With my 2nd son, I was already homeschooling the older one and just didn't have the time to spend 2 hours drilling flashcards (and by then I knew it wouldn't work anyway!). So Greg got 2 worksheets every day; one phonics and one math. We would spend 5 minutes with Alphaphonics and then he would be included in Lee's history, science and literature....ALL of which were basic read alouds and coloring pages. He loves school. So, take it from me......reading is all you really need to do.

However, if you feel compelled to DO something, take a look at my preschool suggestions. Most of them still apply here. We use Alphaphonics to teach reading so if your child is interested, then I would suggest that. I also used Modern Curriculum Press's Kindergarten math book with the older boys, one page a day. I don't know if I will get that technical the next time, but it was a good value and worked as a "gentle" beginning for math. We use Math-U-See for math after that, so we will probably look into the primer for kindergaten.

Other suggestions:
Five in a Row (we didn't use this, but I really like the looks of it)
Sonlight K
My Father's World K

***As a thought, all of the above are basically focused around reading GREAT children's books aloud to your children. You can save a BUNCH of money by just getting great books from the library and reading them, over and over, to your children. Read the books, discuss the books, live the books. Throw in some children's history and science books if it makes you happy. Sit on the couch or lay on the floor (or better yet, a blanket in the yard) and read together. Don't forget to let everyone (even the big ones!) look at the pictures. I would also suggest that you read "bigger" books to your children. When Lee was 5, we read the whole Little House on the Prairie series during bedtime. Take a look at Madeline, House on Pooh Corner and Charlotte's Web as well.

Don't forget Bible. If you are still using a Bible storybook, you should continue with that but throw in at least one day a week of reading passage from the Bible. We use KJV and my children haven't ever had any problem understanding it. I firmly believe that children become accustomed to what they are exposed to. I would also encourage you to sing hymns with your children. We own several children's praise music CDs that are fantastic and really get God's word into their little hearts. If you aren't memorizing scripture together as a family yet, now is the time to start. HERE are some verses to start with if you are stumped.

Simply Charlotte Mason is a wonderful site dedicated to helping parents educate their children via Charlotte Mason's method. To read more you can go HERE. Cindy Rusthon also has some fantastic articles about learning through "living books" HERE.

Spend this year as you did last year. Learn the habits of reading and living together day by day. Share your life with your children and explore the world together. Enjoy your children! This year will be gone so fast that you will wonder where it went.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

God's Bountiful Harvest

It truly is God's harvest this year. After the flood we were so afraid that we would end up with nothing but God saw fit to provide us with a wonderful harvest this year.

So far we have:
7 pints Sweet Dill pickles
7 pints Bread and Butter pickles
6 pints Lime pickles
6 bags shredded zucchini (freezer)
2 bags chopped sweet peppers (freezer)
12 bags sweet corn (freezer)
12 quarts green beans
7 cantalope

***And*** We have been eating very, very well :) Okra is fabulously yummy :)

The beans were finished just a little while ago. It was my first excursion with a pressure canner. My mom came to supervise and it went well. I did the 2nd batch myself :) I also have pizza sauce in the crock pot for the night and will can it tomorrow. We also have more corn to process tomorrow. Our beans and tomatoes are really just starting to produce now. I imagine that I will be VERY busy for the next few weeks.

Thank you for your wonderful provisions God!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Renewed Priorities

I have been sharing my struggles in my sin areas, laziness and anger. This evening while reading God's word God spoke to me TWICE! You can bet that I listened!

Judges 10:10
And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God and also served Baalim.
Judges 10:15-16
And the children of Israel said unto the Lord, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day. And they put away the strange gods from among them and served the Lord: and His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.

Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:29-31
For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
Proverbs 1:33
But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

Lord, I cry out to You today because I am a sinner. Only by Jesus am I worthy to come before you. Please have mercy on me.

I rededicate myself to You tonight, Lord. All my goals, actions and thoughts are going to be funneled into learning about You and teaching my precious children about You.

I feel that God has called me to this. I have never really felt like a Bible scholar. I have "application problems". I learned this evening (although I probably already knew) that if God gives a command and I ignore it (or conveniently forget it) that I am sinning. I know that the Lord is mighty and just. I want to be for Him, not against Him. Blessed be the name of the Lord.


This week only you can purchase Cindy Rushton's Organized Mom Super Set for half price! This is a fabulous resource and an incredible value, at $49.95. Click HERE for the special price. It is not at this price on the website....you must use this link.

Included in this set are:
Homeschooling the Easy Way Vol. 1
Let's Get Organized
Make Your Own Brain in a Binder
The Ultimate Mommy Menu Planner
Getting Back to God's Design for the Godly Home
Homeschooling the Easy Way Vol. 2
Christ-Centered Christmas
6 of Cindy's audio workshops
2 of Matthew's audio workshops
Organization 911: Help for the Messy Mom Seminar Set
Let's Get Organized for the New School Year Seminar Set (Cindy's newest seminar)

This set is normally $99. You are getting this for HALF price! If you are looking for a little help in the organization department, then this set is what you are looking forward. Remember to use THIS link.....the website does not reflect this special "friends only" price.

Please share how this set has encouraged you!