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 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 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!