Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yes, We are Alive!

LOL I think that I have become that terrible blogger that I know, the one who never updates. Sorry guys!

Let's see........what's new with us......
1. Bear is potty trained! Yep, we did it while we are on vacation over Thanksgiving. Not exactly the most ideal time, but Norman was on vacation so there were extra eyes. I was still putting him in a diaper at night but about a week later he refused to put it on and has been dry at night with only one exception since.

2. Norman got a deer with his shotgun. Not exactly the best news ever unless you are us, but there ya go. LOL

3. Christmas has come and went. We are kinda glad that it went since we had the stomach flu the whole time. Yuck! Makes it hard to be jolly when someone is throwing up all the time. Since we have all had it now, I think that we should be good for a while.

4. Baby is doing good. At my last appt. the doctor found the heart beat right off the bat so that was reassuring. I have an ultrasound in a little over a week. Hopefully we will be able to see the sex and even better would be to find out it is a girl! LOL

Not much news I guess.....and I am sure that I am leaving something out. I'm on facebook all the time. Sorry guys. Between that and sewing and knitting I have trouble keeping up here. I will try to do better. Bear will be starting "tot school" next week so we will have more posts for that too.

Have a great New Year's!

Saturday, November 07, 2009


I do apologize about the lateness of my posting lately. I wish that I could say that I have been terribly busy, but really it is just the normal stuff around here. LOL Honestly, I just find facebook a lot easier to use and spend my writing time over there.

We had a birthday last week! Norman Matthew (aka, Bear) turned 2. He loved his birthday. I think that his favorite part was when the waitresses at Ryans sang the birthday song to him. We had a small party with friends and family and then went trick or treating. Bear got tractors and horses and seemed very pleased with all the attention. For Halloween Greg was Akmed the Dead Terrorist (from Jeff Dunham comedy) and Bear was a dinosaur. Lee put a mask on and carried Bear around for us.

I have been feeling well. Poor Norman has had some medical issues (severally abscessed tooth-infection spread all the way up his jaw!) but seems to be back to normal now. It was a very long couple of weeks for him though.

My pregnancy is progressing normally. I always hate this part when I start to feel better but can't feel the baby move yet. It is almost like it isn't real. LOL At the 12 week doctor's appt. yesterday though, my doctor said that everything is progressing normally and honestly, this isn't my first rodeo :) I am looking forward to feeling the baby move soon though. Norman bought a cute little pink Minnie Mouse onsie and hung it up in the living room....hopefully for good baby girl vibes :) LOL He is so funny but it sure would be a blessing to have a girl this time. I need someone to hang out with while all the testosterone people go do hunting/fishing/playing stuff. LOL Course, I will get the girl that wants to do all those things. Oh well....we will love whatever we get. God has truly blessed our family.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fall is Here

In South-Central IL, fall has arrived. Generally I like fall......cooler weather, baking, bonfires and hay rides. This year is no exception....but it seems colder this year. Dh laughs at me.

We are all good. Football ended up not working out. Apparently Lee is too small.....we really wish that someone had bothered to tell us that before all this time. Practicing 6 hours a week to be able to play 2-3 mins. a game weekly isn't exactly anyone's efficient use of time. We were under the impression that this was YOUTH football where everyone would get to play. Apparently not. But that's ok. He is willing to wait till high school.....some growing time and different coaches. Greg wants to play JFL next year but he is awful small too....we will see.

Soccer is wrapping up. I think that we have 3 more practices and 3 more games. For the most part the boys are back into taekwondo. That makes me happy :) I love my taekwondo family! Greg tested for a received his 2nd degree black belt last week. It has been a difficult journey for this one and we are very proud of him for sticking it out and never giving up.

I am feeling well. A little morning sickness and I have trouble eating lunch, but breakfast and supper are no problem. So I am managing well. I finally have my "intro" appointment with a nurse practitioner today. Trying to talk to people at that office is like pulling very difficult teeth. It can take all day and talking to 3 people on the phone to get an answer there. LOL Good thing that this isn't my first rodeo :) Hopefully it won't take another 3 weeks to get me in to see the doctor. If it does he will completely have missed my whole first trimester. LOL I guess maybe he doesn't care, but seems a little odd to me......6 weeks to wait to see a doctor. Like I said, good thing I know what I am doing.

Bear is growing by leaps and bounds. He talks all the time. His favorite thing to say is "I said no"....generally after he already said "no" about something and you ask again.....but sometimes he just wanders around saying it. LOL He is obstinant too....maybe the other ones were as well. Time tends to erase all that stuff. There is a reason moms can't remember anything. It is preservation of the species.

Well, that's enough about us. Got work to do. And places to go today, on this wet, wet day. Welcome fall!

Saturday, October 03, 2009


For those of you who are observant blog readers, you have noticed the new ticker in the left hand side-bar. For the rest of you...........

No, this wasn't planned. In fact, 2 weeks ago my dh had a vasectomy. We decided that "we" were done having children. It wasn't that we wouldn't have loved more, it just looked like more fertility treatments were in our future and we just didn't want to do that again. Our family seemed complete and we were both at peace with the decision after much prayer and discussion. Almost immediately after, I started feeling blah. Really blah. Go to bed at 6 and sleep like a rock and please don't wake me up ever kinda blah. And it didn't go away. I had taken a pregnancy test a few days before dh's procedure because my cycles are whacky anyway and it was negative so I refused to take a test again for another week....
Blah turned into "I really don't feel good....peeing all the time.....eating peppermints". I really should have know. LOL So I tested on the 30th of September and got a positive. Spent the last few days having bloodwork and an ultrasound to confirm.....and I am over 7 weeks along! So I was pregnant when I took the last test, it just didn't show. This is the furthest along I have ever been when I found out I was pregnant.

It took a few days to adjust to the news but we are now delighted and excited and overwhelmed (ME!) at the thought of a new little one.
God is GOOD. His plans are always better than ours are. We are so excited to be seeing the way He is working in our lives right now.
So prayers our way for a healthy baby and safe pregnancy are appreciated. It looks like I have a due date of May 20th, 2010. Sounds like a good day to have a baby, doesn't it?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tot School

I haven't done a tot school post in a while....and sorry, I don't have pictures, but here is what Bear has been doing for school:

playdoh - with cookie cutters and small rolling pin and butter knife
"writing" with pen and paper
beans/rice/lentils - scooping/pouring, etc.

My goodness, he has decided that he wants to be read to all the time. We are having to fight about it because I can't just sit here and read to him 24 hours a day. He wants me to though! Some of his favorites right now are:
The Wheels on the Bus (a book version of the song, we sing it!)
The Grouchy Ladybug
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
John Deere Alphabet Book
The Little Engine That Could
The Digger Book
The Little Engine Book
Pajama Time
O Me, O My, O Dinosaurs
And we will be going to the library tomorrow to trade the 2 we borrowed for more. If he will let me (The Wheels on the Bus is his FAVORITE - a library book LOL).

He also loves playing in the sandbox that my dad filled for him the other day. Greg and Bear are out there right now. There is something about a sandbox that makes little guys (and medium sized guys!) very happy :)

TV Shows:
Bear still won't sit for most shows and I don't push him. There isn't any need for him to sit in front of the TV for hours at a time. He likes Imagination Movers and Handy Manny on Disney. Sometimes they will buy me and Greg a little school time, sometimes not.

Potty training is really a no go. He doesn't want to wear the pull-up but he doesn't want to use the potty. We are trying to feel our way around this. I didn't have any trouble training the other two.....I guess the last one has to be difficult!

For more tot school ideas for your tot, be sure to check out Carisa's site!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Molly's Money-Saving Digest - October

If you haven't ever checked out Molly's Money-Saving Digest, this month is the perfect time to do it! The theme for October is "What Can We Learn From the Great Depression?".

As always, Molly includes many practical resources in her digest. This month these include part 2 of a couponing article by Amy Howard (very practical!), Keeping a Positive attitude (very important during difficult times), ways to purchase yard-sale items and resell for a profit, frugal meal planning and a weeks worth of the author's family's meals (with recipes!!!), parenting advice and making something out of nothing. I loved those articles (especially making something out of nothing....I can feel ideas brewing!) but my favorite part of this issue is the anecdotyl stories from those who lived during the Great Depression. I find it inspiring to realize that life can be lived fully and joyfully during difficult and trying times.

Once again, Molly Green has treated us to a wonderful bit of lifestyle changing wisdom. You can check purchase Molly's Money Saving Digest HERE.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Proverbs 22:17-21

Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise,
And apply your heart to my knowledge;
For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you;
Let them all be fixed upon your lips,
So that your trust may be in the Lord;
I have instructed you today, even you.
Have I not written to you excellent things
Of counsels and knowledge,
That I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth,
That you may answer words of truth
To those who send to you?

Yet, another good reason to have the Word of God hidden in my heart. I want to be able to share God's goodness, mercy and truth to those who come before me. God, help me as I strive in this goal to become closer to You!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Why Scripture and Bible Study are So Important

2 Timothy 3:15-16
....and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

Acts 17:11
These were more fairminded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

I Peter 2:1-2
Therefore laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

I am choosing the following verse as my theme verse for my life:
Psalm 86:11
Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.

This verse is the goal for my life....I have such a long way to go!
Titus 2:3-5
the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things - that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

I have such a long way to go! The Word of God has been washing over me lately and I feel like such a new person :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Some Thoughts

God's holy Word is an instrument He uses to guide, comfort, correct, rebuke and teach us.
When we love God with our mind and commit His Word to memory, He uses those pieces of Scripture as instruments for our growth in Him. When we store His Word in our mind, God draws from what we know and uses just the truth we just the time we need it.....and in just the way we need it!

Elizabeth George
Loving God with All Your Mind

I just finished the above book during my quiet time today and found this to be an important truth. I hope that it encourages you, like it did me, to find time to hide God's word in your heart.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


As I look out my window I see: grass in the front yard and it looks like rain

Sitting next to me: a glass of water and Sadie my cocker spaniel

I hear: the sounds of the washer and dryer - and Sadie licking herself!

I smell: nothing really

I am reading: 2 Samuel, Loving God with Your Whole Mind (Elizabeth George)

Projects I am working on: quilted tote bag, knitted hood, decluttering the house

What I am looking forward to: a trip to the zoo

I feel: content and happy

Almost Time for School

This year, those words send dread to my heart.

Usually I love the beginning of school. New books, schedules and things to learn (yes, I am a nerd!). This year, school means that Lee gets on that big yellow bus at the end of the driveway. I don't like that......not one little bit.

I am attempting - for myself and the sake of the rest of the family - to control my emotions and steer my attitude in a direction that will lead to JOY. So, here is a list of things I am thankful for this year..........

1. I still have Greg and Bear at home
2. Lee will know his bus driver in the morning and many of the kids at school already
3. We have orientation tomorrow night so we can meet all the teachers
4. Lee and I can't argue anymore about how much work I assign
5. Greg is very excited about school this year - he gets to pick science topics :)

For school this year - Greg is in 4th grade. We will be using Sonlight Core 4 as our spine for history/reading/read-aloud/Bible. We are jumping off the Intermediate Language Lessons wagon (although I still love it!) and giving Writing Tales a try for language arts/grammar. All About Spelling (Greg is on book 3) and Italic Handwriting round out Language arts. Greg will be finishing up Saxon 3 and moving into Saxon 4/5 sometime around Thanksgiving. For science we will begin studying penguins using Hands of a Child's lapbook as the jumping off place.

I bought a cute little science experiment book for ages 3-12 about creation. I am hoping to occassionally have some stuff from there to use with Bear. I am also setting up tot-boxes (like tot trays except with no tray). You can see how that works HERE. So far, I haven't set up much in that area and I really need to get to work on heart just hasn't been in it this year.

So, I think that we are ready for school :) Lee is ready and I am ready for the waiting to be over with....lets just get it started and move on . Prayers for the 1st day (Friday 21st) are appreciated! Have a great day!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Getting ready

As always, we were busy this week. Monday - Wednesday was the usual stuff (cleaning, taekwondo, dietician). Thursday the boys and I had dental cleaning and Norman did some car shopping......we found a 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan that we loved but the price was a little high. Then we had lunch on the go and made it to Newton to register Lee for school. Then back to Effingham for Taekwondo and Lee's birthday dinner at Ryan's (a week early).

Friday, Mom, Bear, Lee and I went shopping in Mattoon while Norman and Greg went fishing. The day ended with a very grouchy Bear and an exhausted me. Saturday we got up bright and early to go to Newton and get football equipment. Then to Effingham for groceries and school supplies shopping. Then home, where I spent the afternoon suffering from grouchy kids and a migraine. Bear wouldn't nap and we both collapsed in bed sometime after 7. I feel better today.
As a side note - don't go to walmart on a Saturday! I almost always shop on Monday afternoons so I didn't realize what a mad-house Walmart is on Saturdays. It was packed and Bear wasn't the only kid in there screaming at the top of his lungs. It was miserable.

School supply shopping is expensive! I have almost hit the dollar total for each kid on what I have spent on Lee for school registration and supplies. While homeschooling, I spent about $500 a year for both kids. So far, for Lee, I have spent $70 to get him registered and first 20 days lunches and another $150 in school supplies. And I spent another $50 on clothes the day before for him. Throughout the year will be more money for lunches (or extra grocery money for lunch from home). I think it will end up costing me more to send him to school than homeschooling ever did! Not to mention the increased sports (that cost $$$) and extra curricular activities (that cost $$$). I am wondering if I should just send them my bank account number??? Crazy stuff. Unless you qualify for reduced rates, lunches, etc. it is NOT cheaper to send them to school. It might look that way, but it isn't.

Today we are heading to church. I am hopefull for a quiet afternoon at home. Maybe everyone can be in a good mood today!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I Samuel 1-7

This past week I began reading through I Samuel. Our Sunday School class is studying this as part of the Bible Bee competition being held later this our church the older youth class is with the adults.

***I feel like I need to add here, that I haven't been having a quiet time for a long while....I am so blessed to have spent the last week's worth of mornings with God. If you aren't having a quiet time right now I urge you to try to find some time in the morning. I guarantee that your day will be blessed for it!***

I thought that I would share some thoughts I gleaned from my notes this week on the above passage. I may not do this every week, but it helps me to cement things in my head and I hope it blesses someone else!

As someone who has suffered secondary infertility, I feel a real kinship with Hannah. I remember the longing for a child, and at the time, I already had 2.....I can't imagine her longing! I find it interesting that after Hannah poured her heart out to God that she felt comforted as she left. God works in amazing ways and we very rarely have to wait to know if He heard our prayers!!!! God did allow Hannah to conceive but I imagine that feeling of comfort she had as she left the temple probably meant a lot to her. The strength of Hannah's character also amazes me. She promised God that if He would give her a son, that she would return that son to Him. When Samuel is born, she gave him to God, just as soon as he was weaned (probably around age 3). Can you imagine giving your son to a priest far away to raise as a BABY??? The son that you longed for and pleaded with God for??? Hannah kept her promise and God blessed her for it with more children. Hannah continued to love her son. She made him a new coat every year and took it to him when they went to temple. I have a feeling that Samuel knew exactly how much his mother loved him.

Even as a child Samuel worked in the temple. The examples that were around him were not good (Eli's sons), but God blessed his work (I am sure his mom was praying for him!) and his favor with God and man increased. God spoke directly to Samuel, at a young age, giving him insight into what was going to happen to Eli's family. I have noted that God will only put up with so much disobedience before the punishment begins. I feel that I have been disobeying God in many areas for long enough!!!!!

Next, God spoke to Eli about the evil that was in his family. As God ordained, Eli's sons were killed in a battle with the Philistines. When the news came to Eli, he fell over, broke his neck and died. Eli's daughter in law also died in childbirth after hearing the news. The ark of the covenant was captured by the Philistines. They quickly learned that there were consequences for having possession of the ark of God! After 7 months of possession, they had enough of the illnesses and destruction taking place and sent the ark of God back to Israel. 50,070 Israelite men were killed after some dared to look inside the ark of God. God always punishes disobedience in His people!!!!

Samuel once again urged Israel to return to the one true God. How many times does God have to chase me down and drag me back to Him? I am ashamed to say too many times. After they turned back to God and served Him he enabled them to defeat the Philistines. Samuel was made judge over them.

That's about it. If you would like to comment, please do. I am always open to learning more about God through discussion of His word. I am eager to begin this weeks study. I tasted a little of what I will be reading in Sunday School and can't wait to read it for myself!

Have a great week!!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Big Dreams, Creative Designs

Dreams and Designs
by Donna Campos

I am not the "creative" mom. I try but it is a struggle and I have to work very, very hard to come up with even a mediocre arts/crafts assignment. Donna Campos is a very creative person. Her creativity shines in her book Big Dreams, Creative Designs.

Donna incorporates children and arts and crafts stuff into making useful things that are very practical to our homeschools. Included in her book are ideas for making a school calendar, puppet theater, desk partitions, index card activities, file folder timelines and more. All of her projects use things that are very inexpensive and readily available. Donna encourages her readers to think outside the box and use the things that are available in your home. She also encourages readers to take her ideas and run with them, expanding them and making them your own. My favorite chapter was on how to repurpose household furniture for easy organization and storage of homeschool "stuff". You know, the stuff you don't know what to do with....or that isn't easily available to use. That stuff!

If you are looking for new ideas for your homeschool, take a look at Donna's book NOW at The Old Schoolhouse Store. It is available for $12.45

Monday, July 13, 2009

Working On

I managed to get chores and household stuff done in short order today. Probably had something to do with the fact that Bear and I got up just before 6:30 today. So we started early and stayed busy.

Something is killing my zucchini. I am terribly sad about this. I thought it was bugs but I wonder now if they have a disease. We picked 2 a few days ago and the middle of one was a little weird.....not really bad, but not normal. I ate it anyway, LOL, but I wonder if they have a disease. The tomatos and peppers are thinking about blooming. Let me tell you, this garden has been nothing but a problem from the beginning. We may never pick a tomato from the silly thing :( I am afraid to dig up a potato and see what they look like.

I finished the big project of dividing the boy's rooms over the weekend. Today I made signs for the doors so they would know when they came home what was up.....they probably would have figured it out but..........
I also got new chore charts made. We rotate chores every 6 months so that nobody is doing the same ones all the time. They will begin with the new when they get home Thursday.

I am working on 2 book reviews. One for here and one for TEACH magazine. Watching Tougher in Alaska. I have always wondered about living in the desolate parts of Alaska. Probably not tough enough :) I know my limitations.....I like running water, sewer/septic systems, electricity. Still, I wonder.

Talk later!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What's New

Hello friends!!!!

We had a wonderful July 4th weekend. Norman and I went to the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert. Yes, I did stand on a chair (to take pictures!). No, I did not take off my shirt.....(private joke). LOL It was a great concert. I am so glad that we went.

The boys stayed in KY for the last few days. We are going to fetch them on Thursday. I hate making a quick trip like that.....all the driving in one day makes me tired, but it has to be done. I miss them terribly.

Saturday we will be hosting our 3rd annual 4th of July taekwondo/friend cookout and fireworks show. I know it isn't the 4th but we were gone, remember? So it will be this weekend. I am sure it will be great fun.

School supplies are already out. Can you believe that? They were putting them on the shelves July 5th at Walmart in Paducah, KY. I am not thinking about that now.

Our side-by-side refrigerator decided it didn't want the water in the door to turn off so we have a slow drip leak.....thankfully it quit running a stream. That would have been terribly unhandy. The repairman should be here tomorrow.

So, I guess that is all here. I have some more TEACH reviews to do and possibly another one for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. As always, it will be a busy week. Looking forward to enjoying every minute of it.

Have a great week!!!!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Preschoolers - Creating a Rich Environment and a Fun Place for Learning

Will you be "homeschooling" a preschooler this fall? Are you looking for activities to keep them occupied while teaching the older ones? The Old Schoolhouse has just the aid for you.

I received Preschoolers: Creating a Rich Environment and a Fun Place for Learning for review this week. As most of you know, I have made it through 2 preschoolers and am just beginning with another. I remember being frustrated years ago when I couldn't find age appropriate activities that made me feel like they might actually be learning something. I wish I had this resource then!

Written by several home-educators, this book is a tool to help you teach, occupy and integrate your preschooler into the daily life around them. From dealing with chores, educational ideas and encouraging free play all facets of preschool life is covered here. I loved the activity suggestions and plan to integrate many into our year (probably sooner!!). Although we aren't ready for them, I am excited about the file folder activities and games for early learning. I can't wait to use them with Bear.

Preschoolers: Creating a Rich Environment and a Fun Place for Learning will be available very soon from The Old Schoolhouse Store in ebook format.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Yes, we are still alive! I finished and started some projects over the last week or so and have been cleaning/organizing and gardening so that is my excuse for not blogging.

We are getting ready to head to the garden in a few minutes. Although the weeds almost took over, we managed to thwart them and have most of our plants. We have baby zucchini and tomatoes. Dh tilled a section and we hope to get the sweet corn and green beans planted TODAY.

I finished the knitted wrap for my friend's birthday. And I finished the lone sock. And 2 baby hats (one white and one camo). I started a cowl (kinda neck wrap/hood thing), but had to restart because I got it twisted. I am having a lot of trouble not twisting 312 stitches to get them joined in the round. LOL I also cut out the pieces for a quilted purse I am making. Busy, busy!

I reorganized the kitchen school stuff. Still need to work on the living room. I am thinking of buys bookcases. We definately need some. I made myself a little reading nook in the dining room. Just a chair and a desk-turned-end-table. Put a twice folded red tablecloth on it and a pillow on the chair. Added some books to the table and it looks so relaxing. I can look out the window and just "be". What a blessing for me!

We are visiting family over the 4th. The older boys will stay at their uncle's house for another 2 weeks after we come home. I plan to reorganize/declutter/decorate their bedrooms as a suprise while they are gone. We are turning the playroom into a bedroom for Lee so they will be separate again. I think this will be for the best with Lee at public school, they both will need some alone time and will allow for different bedtimes. Bear isn't ready to join Greg yet, so he will have that room to himself for a while. LOL

I need to get the laundry on the line and head to the garden. Have a wonderful weekend!!!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

School Organization

Sooooo, I have finally wrapped my mind around the fact that Lee won't be here for school this fall. But, just because I am losing one doesn't mean that I have any less work to do! LOL

Anyway, I need to get stuff organized. I am trying to set up a planner for me and an assignment book for Greg. I am also trying to get activities organized for Bear. He will be 2 this fall and I think he is ready for some more guided learning stuff. I am going to try to get several activities set up in small boxes or bags so that we can get out one at a time. Maybe we will try to do 2 a day or so. I think that I will start with him a week before "school" starts so that he is in the routine.

I need to go through school stuff and see what we have that we haven't used in a while. You never know what you will find stuck on a shelf around here. LOL

Otherwise there isn't much going on. 4-H projects are mainly done. Greg doesn't like to bake chocolate chip much effort and they are gone so he knows how I feel :) Tomorrow Greg takes his cooking project and Lee takes his forestry project to judging. Greg will take his rabbit on Saturday. Then we are done with that for a while.

The rain here has been abundant. I haven't even been out to the mud-pit.....sorry, garden, in several days. We still haven't planted green beans or sweet corn. I also need to replant pumpkins, cucumbers and spaghetti squash. But I would sink if I was out that today.

I am still walking like a crazy woman :) I am up to 3 miles at a time. I have lost 21 lbs. so far. I definately feel better!

So, that is what is new with us. If I decide on a planner set up or get everything organized I will let you know! LOL

Friday, June 05, 2009

Current Events Around Home

Have you ever seen Mary Jane's Farm Magazine? This is the cutest magazine. It is girly, but practical. This issue showcased plums....from how to grow them to cooking with them. Makes me want to plant a bunch right now :) It is a magazine for the farmgirl in all of, gardening tips, craft ideas and home decorating. Everything is in here! I love it and am still drooling over my issue. It was the first but won't be the last!

How does my garden grow? Well, the hail Tuesday didn't help it any, but upon inspection this morning I think it will live. Actually the potatoes look fantastic. Only 1 cucumber is up and no pumpkins yet. I may go out and replant them tomorrow rather than wait.....the planting season is growing late. I pulled all of my red onions...there was only a handful. I don't know why we can't ever get a good stand on onions. Everything else looked ok. My flower beds look so pretty this year. I planted several perrenials so hopefully it is continue to look pretty for years to come. I need to get some more things to put in my hanging basket....the hail was hard on my wave petunias.

Otherwise, laundry is on the line. The guys are going fishing today so Bear and I are going to shower and then head to JCPenneys for a sale. We will probably end up at Menards and maybe Walmart for some beautiful fabric I saw yesterday.

Have a wonderful weekend girls!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

How I Homeschool - Ebook

by The Old Schoolhouse

Have you ever wondered how other homeschoolers arrange their days and fit everything in? I do all the time! How I Homeschool takes a close look as 12 families share about their homeschooling journeys.

Each family is different and in different situations. It is amazing to me how many different ways there are to schedule a day! Finding what works for your family is the key, but it sure is nice to see what others are doing.....maybe you will find something that works BETTER for you.

Some of the contributing families use box curriculums. Some are "relaxed eclectic". Some have one or 2 children....some have 8. There are families that are just beginning their homeschooling journeys and a couple that have one or both parents that were homeschooled themselves! If that isn't "proof in the pudding" I don't know what is!

I always gain something from reading about the schedules of others. It always helps me to tweak mine. I laughed as I read about 2 families that didn't start their day until 10:00 a.m. That wouldn't work for us, but it reminds me that every one is different and there isn't a "wrong" way to homeschool.

As we went through our state-testing this past week I have realized that homeschooling is such a wonderful way to teach your children. Even though I see where I have went wrong with Lee (and learned from my mistakes - I hope) he did fantastic on his tests....above grade level on most things. If I made mistakes (and there were many) and he still did well, what does that say if I manage to get everything right next time? Homeschooling is such a wonderful way to interact and cement information for children. If you feel bogged down by the process or just need some fresh ideas for your school in the fall, head over to the TOS store and check out How I Homeschool. It should be available for purchase soon!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Testing went well. Lee tested at or above grade level for everything. I was worried for nothing. LOL I was a statistic touter for years, but let me tell you, it is different when it is your child being tested. The what-ifs just keep coming. Lee is very excited to be entering Jr. High. I am excited for him, although I will miss him dreadfully while he is gone. We drove by the school today and I am hoping for a meeting with the principal before registration. Many thanks to my commenter.....I appreciate your view and experiences.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I hate change. However, our family is currently undergoing a very difficult change. It is a change that has been a couple of years in the coming and although I am hesitant to make it, my mother's heart knows that he is ready.

Lee will be going to public school next year. Tomorrow I will take him to be tested (a requirement in our district for any homeschooler entering public school). We will need to meet with the school's principal. Registration is in July. School starts Aug. 18th.

I would homeschool my children all the way through their school years and be blissfully happy. However, I am not able to provide the sports opportunities that my children (all boys) yearn for. Lee loves football so he will be playing in a junior league this fall. I think that he is also interested in playing in the concert band.

Greg and Bear will still be home with me for a few more years :) I can't bear to part with all of them yet. I think that although difficult at first, Greg will benefit by being able to develop his interests without the overbearing presence of his brother.

Lee and I have had some personality conflicts this year. I think we may be too much alike. Norman thinks that I don't like him very much, but that isn't true. I love him very much and I want the very best for him. I will always be here to help and guide him along the way. I am so proud of him and the deliberation he took to make this decision. He didn't make it lightly. He knows what he is giving up by being gone during the day but he is ready to spread his wings a little. It is time.

So, if you think of it, pray for us this summer. I am hopeful that the transition will be smooth. I am praying that we will enjoy this summer together. I am looking forward to what exciting things God has in store for us this year.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Don'tcha just wish I would get with the program and post more often? Me too! Our internet has been wacky over the last few days and the weather has been so beautiful that we have been outside most of the time.

I weeded the potatoes and onions yesterday and planted tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, okra and a sweet potato today. Maybe there will be a garden after all!

Poor Norman had to fix the fridge today. We had a terrible water line leak but it was external (looked like a mouse bite - Where's Tiger???) but he got it fixed up quick and was still able to go to the lake this afternoon with the older boys. His PT is going well, although I am beginning to wonder about these people....they keep saying 2 more weeks, 2 more weeks - they started that 4 weeks ago and he is looking at 2 more weeks at least. We are thankful for insurance!

I finished a beautiful wrap that I was knitting on and am making good headway on the lone sock. I found a pattern for a hood that I want to make but first I have some baby knitting to do. My brother and his wife will be having a baby in September. Looks like a boy! No girls around here for the forseeable future.....I was hopeful though! I am gonna make some hats and a blanket I think.

The new diet is ok. I am walking alot. I have lost a total of 15 lbs. so far. I have walked 19 miles of my 100 mile goal (by July 24th). I need to start strength training - maybe today. Bear and I will walk after he wakes from his nap.

Otherwise, we are normal here. That's good, right? Talk later!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Congratulations to......

Lana - the winner of my Vision Forum DVD giveaway! I will be contacting you via email for your address and Vision Forum should contact you when they ship your DVD. Thanks for taking part in my giveaway everyone!

For more information about the new DVD series Reclaiming Our Culture click HERE.

Have a blessed day!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Tot School

With my husband on vacation this past week, we didn't do "real school". The boys were too busy fishing, building rabbit hutches and playing with dad for school work. That's why I love homeschooling so much!

However, the little guy never stops learning! So I thought I would share what he has been up to this week:
Can identify nose and eyes on my face and sometimes on his
We practiced red and blue using full powerade bottles - for some reason he was fascinated with them!
He learned how to say bobber, blue and another word we aren't allowed to repeat (DAD!)
He loves to push his stroller down the driveway
Shopping with grandma can be fun - especially if mom buys you a tractor book
He learned how to climb into the bar stools and turn on the sink water (while mom was at the dentist) - nothing is sacred now

I think that is enough for one week! He loves to tickle mommy and it is so funny that even though he is scratching me, I can't help but laugh. He is also fascinated by toliet paper. And he just woke up - gotta go!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Vision Forum Giveaway

I am offering one of Vision Forum's new DVD titles as a giveaway to one lucky winner. Thanks Vision Forum!!!!
Check out their new titles HERE.
Leave me a comment and let me know which one you would like to receive.
I need your full name and what title as a comment to this post by May 12th. I will contact the winner by email for their address. I will need that information from you on May 15th so check your email (or here) on the 13th to see if you won. Vision Forum requires your name and shipping address by that date (I will forward to them) for the offer to be valid.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Welcome spring!
We have finally had some dry sunny days after all the wet cold ones. Would you believe that most of our garden stuff has died? All that is left is the potatoes and onions. We are going to have to buy all new plants, but that's ok. It is still early enough. Last year we did the 2nd planting the 2nd week of June and most everything turned out ok.

Norman is on vacation this week so school is on hold. It is going very well though. I am pleased with the progress that everyone is making.

Mom and I have been shopping a couple of times this week. Kitchen gadgets are the death of me, but I did get some clearanced sheets.....Egyptian cotton is a wonderful thing!

Well, I don't think that we are going to be making that trip to St. Louis (zoo) but I guess thats ok. The guys have been fishing the last 3 days and having a great time. They didn't get home until 1:00 a.m. last night (or this morning!). I assume we are working around the house today. Rain tomorrow.

I hope that all my readers have a good week!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Beautiful Day

Sorry that the posting has been infrequent here lately. Emotionally I just needed some time. I am feeling a lot better. I am insulin resistant. Treatment includes medication, diet and exercise. The diet is not fun, but we don't always get to pick the way things work out. I can absolutely live with a diet that makes me a healthier person. I praise God that I am able to change the direction that my health was heading. Some of the other medical/emotional issues haven't been resolved yet, but that's ok. One thing at a time :)

Within 24 hours of the diet I started feeling better. It is amazing to me how much more energy I have. I gave myself a week to get acquainted with the diet and am starting a low intensity weight program and walking routine tomorrow. My goal is to walk 100 miles between now and July 24th (next doctor's appt.). I would also like to lose 24 lbs (that is 10% of my weight). So those are the small goals I have set for myself.

The potatoes are up in the garden! And some of the onions. I planted spinach and lettuce this evening. I planted sweet italian basil and parsley in the herb bed after I weeded and cleaned it up. I gave the flower bed a good one-over and planted some zinnias there - which I am fairly certain immediately died. Oh well. I will get some more.

School is going good. It seems less stressful for me to school the boys one at a time. The other one plays with Bear. School does take a little longer, but that's alright. We will continue to work through May and maybe the first week or so of June. Then we will be off school until August. Greg will be going to camp the first week of August so we will start after that. Norman has his first vacation starting Thursday. I think that much fishing will take place during that time. I am hoping for a trip to St. Louis also :)

I think that is all the update that I can give for now. I will try to post more often, but with my new-found energy I am staying fairly busy. Have a beautiful week!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ponderings After Yesterday

Can you imagine your dreams being taken away and there be nothing you can do about it? That happened to me again yesterday. I suffer from PCOS and it is worse. Worse means it isn't responding well to the medication, more weight gain (and more difficulty losing it), more severe hormonal problems, less chance of having more children. Women with PCOS don't get things easily to begin with. Monthly cycles are sporadic but very heavy when they come. Most of the time I wish I could stay home. Although I am depressed, typical depression medications must be put off until my hormonal level is stabilized. The medication that I should take to treat PCOS (and possibly alleviate some of the other stuff), makes for terrible stomach problems and the need to be very close to a bathroom at all times. Terrible stuff.

So now, in my hormonally unstable state, I am trying to make the decision to have more children or not. I didn't want to make this decision. I want to be normal and see what happens. But medical intervention will be needed and the decision impacts steps that can be taken for other treatment options. Norman is fine either way (he may even be leaning toward no more children - he wants me healthy).

I want me healthy too. I wish I could diet and lose weight. I wish that I didn't have hair in all the wrong places. I wish that I didn't want to stay in bed all day............I wish I had some energy. I don't want to be overweight. I don't want to be tired. I don't want to be depressed. However, I find myself in this situation now. I have always tried to make the best of it, but I am tired of doing that too.

Please pray for me, if you feel led. I need all the help I can get. My precious sons deserve to have a mother that is "here". My husband deserves a wife that isn't so moody and pessimistic. I deserve to be healthy.

Also, Norman and I go to see the orthopedic surgeon for his knee today. Prayers for wisdom for the doctor are appreciated!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Apologia Science

Have you ever heard of Apologia?

Apologia is one of those companies that you hear about almost as soon as you begin homeschooling. For great reason!!

I don't like science. Sorry, but I don't. Apologia makes science easy for this science hating mom to teach.

Exploring Creation with General Science is Apologia's standard science course for 7th graders. Beginning with a Brief History of Science, each module covers a beginning science topic. The modules are packed with information, but very easy to read. The "On Your Own" questions make the student think a little deeper about the information being learned. The experiments use household products and are easy enough for the student to do on their own. Each module is followed by a test to check for retention. This is a wonderful beginning course. Apologia follows this with other great courses. In the upper levels the courses can be used to as AP college courses. I doubt that there is a better upper level science course available.

Apologia offers elementary science also! We checked out Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day. Again, this is a very thorough course, teaching children about zoology in a manner similar to Charlotte Mason. Jeannie Fulbright encourages the use of notebooking to aid in the retention of information. Experiments using household materials are included for hands-on-learners. We have also used Exploring Creation with Astronomy and love how easy it is to use. My boys learn so much and have a lot of fun doing it.

Apologia has changed hands recently (same great materials though!) and have incorporated other wonderful resources to their product list. I just received my new Apologia catalog and all I can say is WOW. They are offering online courses and have teamed up with Clay and Sally Clarkson and are offering their materials as well. Be sure to stop by their website and sign up for their mailing list. You don't want to miss everything this wonderful company has to offer!

Alphabet Alley

Safety in children's toys is an issue that we all think is very important. Alphabet Alley is a company that takes the safety of children seriously. I was sent the Baby Playset Magnet set. This is a great product! Unfortunately, Alphabet Alley discontinued this product due to higher safety standards. However, please, take a look through their website. I previously reviewed the Noah's Ark Go-Fish card game and 2-By-2 Matching Game. They also have stickers, games and wooden toys. Everything that I have seen produced by them has been the best of quality and a wonderful asset to our educational toy selection.

Take a look and see what Alphabet Alley has to offer your little ones!

Good Morning!

It is a beautiful morning! I am excited to begin the day.

Today may find the boys mushroom hunting rather than schooling - shush - we will have to see. Maybe we can get some bookwork in before Dad wakes up. Dad needs to call the doctor about his MRI results and deal with some insurance stuff. Lee has computer class in town this afternoon but taekwondo has been canceled for the weekend.

I am in a sewing mood. I don't know what to make, but I think that I might make a purse or handbag (what is the different anyway, is a handbag bigger? Then all my purses are handbags. LOL).

I thought that I had a lot to say this morning, but I guess that is it. My last product review for the TOS Crew will be done this evening. It has been great fun. If you would like to apply for next year's crew you can go to the TOS Crew blog to see the application. I have enjoyed the opportunity to see so many great homeschool products and learn about different companies and meet fabulous people.

Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Sunday's shopping Deals


2 jumbo packs Huggies diapers
1 jumbo pack huggies wipes
2 easter baskets
2 bags easter "grass"
1 skintimate shave gel
1 cover girl mascara
1 cover girl foundation
2 candy bars (that didn't make the picture)

My husband has the receipt, but the total was around $54 before coupons. We spent $2.05 in cash and got back $29 in ECB's for next time.

Some Pictures

Let me tell you, uploading these pictures is a pain. If any of you know how to do it quicker please email me! I tried to do a slideshow but blogger wouldn't accept the code! I would put up more pictures if it wasn't like pulling teeth to do it.


The boys building the rabbit hutch.


The bunny - Bucky - that lives there now.








Sunday, April 05, 2009

Schleich Action Figures

Are you looking for a fun, sturdy, life-like toy for your child? Schleich is a great company!

We got several great animal figures in the mail. The figures are made from sturdy, thick hard plastic. They are very life-like. Bear and Greg have both been playing with them so I feel that they are appropriate for a wide age range.

Schleich also makes other products for imaginative play. Just previewing their website, I see the barn for the farm animals, knights and castles, and dinosaurs.

Keep Schleich in mind when searching for quality, imaginative toys.

Generations of Virtue

Teknon and the Champion Warriors

When this book showed up at my house, my husband immediately saw it and started reading it. My husband is not a reader of too many things, but he really enjoyed the book.

Teknon and his father (with the assistance of other warriors) must defeat evil while sharpening his own character and maturity. Teknon is placed in many different situations where he must make a decision. His father always takes time afterwards to point out the moral implications of what he did, good or bad. My husband found this to be a very interesting book and he read it all the way through. I think that it is definately a boy book.

Lee also read the book after his father. Lee is almost 12. From what my husband has said I probably wouldn't have let him read it, as the themes seem to be very "adult" in some situations. I encourage every parent to read it themselves and be ready to discuss what is read with your son. My husband and son had many interesting discussions based on this book! Also, Lee found the book very difficult reading. We finally slowed him down to one chapter at a time and then discussion because he was missing the hidden character training themes in the book. I will probably encourage him to read it again when he is older.

This is a book best used by father's and sons together. I also believe that twelve is almost too young to understand what is happening in the book. So definately pre-read it. Be ready to discuss it. Generations of Virtue also publish a father/son guide that is probably very beneficial.

The book is availabe for $13.99 and the set (with guides included) is available for $42.99.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Good Saturday Evening

I seem to wear many hats around here. I am mom, teacher, homework helper, cook, housekeeper, laundress, gardener, nanny, confidant and friend. In my spare time, I love to write, read, knit and bake. I hope, in the months to come, to spend more time sharing the "other" me....the one who loves to learn and share what I am learning. If that interests you, please continue to come back. Sometimes I don't post as often as I should because, well, I have many jobs and I must prioritize.

This coming week will be busy. When aren't we busy? I suppose one day when they are all gone I will get to spend a whole week at home amusing myself, but this isn't that week. Oh well!

Monday I get to go to the dentist at 8:00 a.m. with all 3 children to have my root canal restoration finished. I didn't want to wait until Norman could watch them at the end of the week so the olders are watching Bear during my appointment. Unfortunately it is supposed to rain so they won't be able to walk him in the stroller downtown like I had hoped but that's ok. They will find some way to amuse themselves and hopefully the appointment won't take long. We will come back home after that appointment and try to get some school done. I have a post about school floating in my head. Hopefully I will manage to get it down sometime. Anyway, we do have taekwondo in the evening so that will mean another trip to town.

Tuesday will find us with school work, house work and Lee's computer class in the evening. Is it too much to hope for that it will be nice and warm on Tuesday? Some terrible person on the radio today said something about SNOW. That can't be good.

I believe that we will be homebodies on Wednesday. I guard our days at home. Seems like they are pretty rare. I take them when I can get them!!!!

Thursday and Friday finds us with Norman home. Assuming that we aren't buried in snow I have no doubt that they will be mushroom hunting at least sometime in those two days. Hopefully Norman will have an appointment about his knee...the MRI results are due on Monday. I am eager to know if they can fix it.

Saturday will be filled with prep work for Easter breakfast and lunch at my aunt's house after church.

Did I mention earlier that I am a chauffer? I am. According to Norman I am a terrible driver so watch out! Maybe I will see you on the road this week, or I will get a chance to visit with you in "web-land".

Take care my friends. Enjoy your family and friends. Take the time every day to kiss them all and hold them tight. This season will pass and I imagine you will miss it....just like I will.

Thoughts on Motherhood

My children are finally on the mend - double ear infections all the way around. I have had a little time to think. Enjoy!

I am a mother.
I frequently find my identity through my children and my husband. When you are a mother, most of your efforts are in the background, never to be seen by the populace. There are very few awards for mothers. My reward is seeing my children grow and learn about the Lord.

I am a mother.
When you ask what has been going on around here, don't be surprised if it is boring. Also, don't be surprised that I go on and on about every-little-detail of life around here. Everything that happens here is important to me because I am a mother.

I am a mother.
My children are not angels. Everyone has their faults. However, I do see how much they have grown in different areas of need. I realize how far they have come and choose to praise them for that rather than grouch about how much farther they have to go.

I am a mother.
To the outside world, I am not important. The menial tasks that I perform everyday must be repeated frequently but I never fail to spend the time to snuggle with the baby, admire a bunny and bandage a booboo.

I am a mother.
I am trying to follow a God-given mandate to raise my children for the Lord. I follow Jesus as best I can. I am eager to sit at His feet and soak up His word. I lean on Him daily during the trails that always come.

I am a mother.
The most wonderful, precious job in the world.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Tot School


We have been sick all week. When I say we, I mean the short people. Lee is better and did do some math corrections and reading one day but that has been the extent of "big boy" school.

Tot School however has continued on, because little people never stop learning. As sick as Bear has been this week, only one day did he lay with is head on my shoulder. It broke me mommy-heart :(

The rest of the time he was busy with his balls and books. His favorite book right now is BAby Einstein Let's Look!. I got my copy from Books-A-Million for $8 last fall. It is an oversized boardbook. There is at least one picture on each page that he points to and I tell him what it is. Even though he knows. Over and over. And he gets angry if you won't say Tiger when he points to the tiger or Bicycle when points to the bicycle or Nemo fishy when he points to the striped fish. It can't get very annoying. But that's ok. We are working on vocabulary, sizes, shapes and counting. He loves that book. He tried to sleep with it the other day.

I am taking the younger two to the doctor today. We are going to be better by Monday. Did everyone hear that???? We will be better by Monday. I don't think that I can take much more of this.

Hopefully school and tot school will pick up some sort of order next week and I will post about all of that. Today, I don't remember what order is.

Have a good weekend!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Let Freedom Ring

The Philadelphia Faith and Freedom Tour
The Birth of America's Liberty

I get so sad when someone tells me that they don't like to study history. History is the most exciting of subjects! I could live and breathe history every day and never learn enough.

The problem with the typical study of history, I believe, is that textbooks are BORING. They really are. The best, most exciting way to learn history is through living history and breathing history. To truly understand what happened in the past you have to make yourself understand how those people felt and lived.

My father loves to read about the Civil War. As a child we traveled many summer vacations throughout the southern US stopping at almost every Civil War battlefield along the way. As a concession to my mom (who loves old, historic houses) we also visited the homes of famous people along the way. Many of these battlefields, museums and homes had "living history" exhibits with people dressed and acting in the period that they represented. That is the ideal way to learn history.

If you can't travel for whatever reason Vision Forum has a great resource that can allow you to "live" history right in your home or car. Let Freedom Ring is a 13 CD listening tour of multiple historic sites pertaining to the founding of our wonderful country. You get to be part of a "bus tour" going from place to place with wonderful guides teaching you about the cultural, religious and historical heritage of different landmarks.

This is not a boring textbook type history course. I was captivated while listening. If you close your eyes you truly feel like you are right there on the tour yourself. I learned so many interesting tidbits, although I have repeatedly studied this time-period of history (most recently this year!). At $45, the 13 CD set is a value and much cheaper than a family vacation!

If you are looking for a way to interest your students in the study of early American history be sure to check out Vision Forum's many resources. I would also encourage you to travel to a nearby historical monument and just soak in the history. There is something about standing on the ground that a historical moment took place......I can't really explain it, but history is so very exciting! Give it a try!

Sickness Runs Rampant

Around here anyway.

Lee got sick and feverish Thursday. Bear and Greg got it Saturday. Greg still has it.....Bear and Lee are wimpy and I think that Norman is sick. Ick!

Effingham Taekwondo hosted its first tournament Saturday and I think that it went very well. I was busy, busy, busy all day but it was well worth the effort.

Today I am housekeeping and resting. Laundry is going, dishes are washed, bills are paid and living room is picked up. I am hoping we will be back in the swing of things tomorrow.

Would you believe we had SNOW yesterday??? It snowed for about an hour but thankfully none stuck. I am hoping the potatoes and onions are warm in the earth and that they weren't harmed. The frost this morning made all the green grass white. I gather maybe it will get warmer this week. Mom says it is gonna rain off-and-on all week. I guess spring is here!

I have been listening to some great Vision Forum CD's these past few weeks. This evening I will take a second and let you know all about them!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

ProCard International

Are you struggling to maintain health, dental and vision insurance during these tough economic times? ProCard International can help!

Procard offers discount cards for a million different medical, dental and vision providers across the US. I don't have enough room to post all the testimonials that I read about this program today. You can see them HERE.

They also offer a great work at home program that can be done in just a few minutes. If you are interested in that you can go HERE. I know that I am thankful to be able to make a little extra money to help our family out. Doing small things at home can sometimes net large results! Procard International is a great company to work for. Very helpful. They are able to keep their overhead costs low because of work-at-home associates like me and they pass the savings onto their customers.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Taekwondo Tournament

Tomorrow is Effingham Taekwondo's first ATA tournament. We are so excited and very busy. If you want to see what it is all about you can check us out HERE.

If you are in the area Saturday March 28th and want to see in person what we are always doing you can stop by Teutopolis High School and say hi!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I am my father's daughter....

I am a farmer's daughter :)

I love the smell of freshly tilled earth. Yesterday we spent good family time outside tilling the year and planting potatoes. We bought 25 lbs. of seed potatoes and have about a third of them planted. Today we planted 3 long rows of red onions. I cleaned out my flower bed and herb bed. I am all ready to begin planting my new herbs and flowers that are growing under lights in the bedroom.

Bear loves to be in the garden. He helped plant potatoes and onions. He was so cute! Hoes, wooden stakes and hammers became guns this afternoon while we were planting. I love to see my sons having fun!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Frugality and Creativity in the Home

Vision Forum wants to help all of us weather the current economic struggles. They are offering a great sale on products specifically designed to assist us to use our God-given talents to enrich our families with as little expense as possible.

The Backyard Homestead and the Bread, Candlemaking and Soapmaking DVDs look very interesting. I love to bake bread and have always wanted to know how to make candles. Definately something to check out!

I found a new website

It is pretty rare that I run across a "new" website that sells curriculum and interests me, but I found this one and thought that I would share. They also have an affiliate program if that interests you.

Great Deals on School & Homeschool Curriculum

It looks like they have a lot of teacher resources that might not be applicable for homeschoolers, but I found several interesting preschool products. I think that it is always a good idea to keep your eyes open for new things to use while teaching and thought that I would pass this place along!

Tapestry of Grace

Tapestry of Grace is a multi-level, integrated, 4-year classics based Christian curriculum for the whole family.

I have spent many years hearing about TOG but I hadn't ever had opportunity to check out their products. So I don't forget, you can do that now by seeing the samples that they have on their website!

The new Tapestry of Grace is completely digital. When you purchased the digital version you download it straight to your computer. Due to some copyright issues, this is a rather complicated process, but not difficult (I managed with no problems and am not computer literate)! It is my understanding that they have streamlined the process since I did my download so I am sure the issues are being resolved. The TOS crew was able to bring downloading issues to light for them as we were trying out their new product! I am sure that will make the process easier for those who follow.

Anyway, you purchase the Level and Units that you would like to use. We chose Year 3 Unit 2 (begins with John Adams through the pre-Civil War). Although the rest of the program is "there" the security measure only allow you to open what you have purchased. Interesting, huh? Anyway, your unit begins with an overview of the topics that will be covered. Then each week is laid out with the weeks topic and the resources to be used for each "grade" level. Writing assignments, study questions, teachers notes, worksheets (for literature and grammar), beginning geography information and supplements for the literature assignments are included. This is a very thorough curriculum. As far as I can tell, they have covered everything!

There are 4 units in a year and each digital unit costs $45. That makes the total yearly cost for a unit $180. This cost doesn't include the books that they are required to read. There are also supplements for map work, writing and literature at an additional cost for each year/unit. The whole year's worth of Units are available in print for $225.

I found the lesson plans to be difficult to navigate. There are decisions that need to be made by the teacher as to the level children are assigned, what books they are going to read, etc. I just didn't have time to make those decisions so frequently. I also don't have the time to acquire the needed resources (either through purchasing or the library). Although I found the downloading simple I just can't function with lesson plans on my computer; nor can I assume the cost of printing them. I can't justify the cost for "just a teacher's manual" although I do agree that it contains much in the way of background information and teacher's notes. I feel that I couldn't purchase this item and then have to spend more money on the books that are needed for the program.

With that said, I know many people who love TOG. If you are wanting to keep all of your children on the same page historically, then this is going to be a great option for you. Each student learns the same material at his level. For large families, I know that it is very helpful to keep the students together (until this week, my older boys have always been together).

I would encourage you to go to TOG, check out the different samples and run through the download tutorial. Read the other reviews at the TOS Crew blog. Feel free to ask the authors questions about their product. This may be just what YOUR family is looking for.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hey, Take a Look!!!!

Little Bear is being featured with some other cuties over at the Totally Tots website! He is the 3rd picture with the black backpack on. It is as big as he is! LOL

Hip Hip Horray!!!!!

My Sonlight order is here...........
My Sonlight order is here..........

There is something about getting a huge box of fantastic books that makes my heart go flitter-flutter. I can't wait to start pre-reading them :)

Thanks Sonlight for the speedy service (would you believe I ordered on FRIDAY?????)!!!!!!!!

New Bible Cover


I made this a week or so ago to go over my new hardback Dake Large Print Bible. Let me tell you, that Bible is huge! I can't imagine what a cover for it would have cost so I made one out of stuff that I had laying around here. It bunched up a bit because I bought the wrong kind of interfacing and had to hand sew most of it (machine wouldn't sew through the interfacing) but otherwise it turned out well. I am pleased with it.

Also, I love the Dake Bible. The notes and word definitions are invaluable. I am so glad that I got the large print because I don't think that I could have read the small print.....It was definately worth the money I spent for it.

Anyway, I have some other projects that I am thinking about working on but right now other things need me more and with the great weather we are having I will probably be outside working in my herb and flower beds.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tot Food - Breakfast


Carisa at Totally Tots asked me to share my little tot's meals. I would love to do that, although I will confess that our meals aren't horribly exciting. We do strive for nutrition and some variety. We can't wait for summer so that we can eat from our garden! Until then we are making do with last year's abundance :)

This morning Bear and I had our usual breakfast. I dice a potatoe and saute it in a little oil until almost tender. Then, I add some sausage and cook until both are done. I sometimes add some onion (today we had some red onion). I scramble 2 eggs in a bowl and add to the mix, cooking until done. I serve this masterpiece on shredded mexican cheese and taco sauce.


Growing up and until I was pregnant with Bear I hated eggs. I would eat eggs maybe 2 times a month. While pregnant this time I craved eggs and this was my favorite way to eat them. Sometimes I would eat this creation 2 times a day! I guess I needed the protein! Bear and I usually share this 2-3 times a week (I still like eggs).

Enjoy! To see more Tot Food creations, be sure to stop by Totally Tots.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Homeschool in the Woods

History can sometimes be boring and seems to lack hands on activities. I am always thrilled to find ways to make history fun and hands on. Homeschool in the Woods does just that with several different projects.

We had the opportunity to make the New Testament LapBook. Lapbooks are an arrangement of file folders containing mini-books with information learned during a unit, in this case, the study of the New Testament. In general, lapbooks seem to be enjoyed by younger students, but my 11 year old son always loves to do them as well.

The New Testament lapbook contains many different graphic information organizers to enhance your study. I love the New Testament newspaper, chronicling the different miracles that Jesus performed and the Armor of God model.

I am eager to tell you that Homeschool in the Woods has many different fabulous products. We love the timeline figures! Also, be sure to check out their Time Travelers series and History Activity Packs.

History is fun! To learn more ways to make it exciting be sure to check out Homeschool in the Woods.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One 2 Believe

If you missed my previous review of One 2 Believe's nativity set, please refer to the left side-bar.

This time around we received the Noah's Ark set. A plastic ark comes complete with 8 pairs of animals and Noah (with a staff). Although the set warns that it isn't appropriate for children under 3, my little Bear has been playing with the animals after I took away Noah's staff. The figures are made of hard plastic and are very durable. The ark is made of lighter plastic but so far has withstood the strains of toddler play. All the figures will fit inside the ark for easy storage. My son loves the little figures. The elephants are his favorite!

We have been very pleased with this toy and as before, One 2 Believe has a full line of Bible-based toys that are perfect for you youngsters.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


SpellQuizzer is a online spelling program that will help you help your children with their weekly spelling lists.

Are you tired of the repetitious reading and writing of the spelling lists, with a new one every week? So was Daniel Hite. A softward developer, Mr. Hite created a software program to help his children with their spelling words and now you can benefit as well!

SpellQuizzer allows you to create your own spelling lists or import a set of standard lists for each grade level. As the parent, you create the list by typing the word and either creating a prompt or recording a audio of the word. When your child is ready to practice, they hear the recording or see the prompt and type in the word. If they misspell the word, the correct spelling is immediately reinforced.

SpellQuizzer is very easy to use. I had it set up and ready to go in less time than it took to download (about 15 mins. on my medium speed internet). I will say that it makes spelling time much less stressful for a mom and student that hates going over the same words again and again.

SpellQuizzer is available as a free 30 trial download and then may be purchased for $29.99. There is an updated version also, so if you have previously used SpellQuizzer you might want to check it out as well.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


It is almost spring.....I can feel it in the air! I love spring. I get so excited about playing in the garden and beautiful flowers. I can almost taste zucchini, okra, fresh tomatoes and sweet corn. I started some lettuce and spinach in the house this week and the lettuce is already sprouting....YEAH! I always wonder exactly how that miracle works.....I can see God's hand in every part of it.

I can also see God's hand in every part of my life. He is right here next to me, walking with me and strengthening my life. He keeps me on the path He has ordained for my life. Very few things in life are easy, but like a seed struggles to grow, I struggle to reach for the goal that God has placed before me.

Take a few minutes and think about the goals that God has placed before you. Search Him and seek His will in every part of your life. God loves you and cares for you greatly. He will work miracles in your life if you will let Him.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Blog Giveaway

I've got another giveaway!

My dear friend, Crystal Wetherholt, is hosting the grand opening of her new website, Savoring the Shades of Women. I can't express how cool her new website is. She has teaching videos, great articles and a detailed message forum.

For her grand opening I am giving away the 2nd CD in her A Child's Heart, God's Garden series.

In order to win you need to:
1. register as a user on her forum and post in the introductions (linking to my blog)
2. after you check out Crystal's website and forum, please post a comment on Crystal's blog and let her know what you think of everything (tell her that Carie sent you) - Crystal has a great blog giveaway going also
3. check back in here and comment letting me know that you did that - I will be checking - with your email address so I can contact you if you win!

Good luck to everyone! Crystal's ministry has touched my life in so many ways. I know that she will be a blessing to you also!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Beyond Five in a Row

One of the first curriculums that I heard of was Five in a Row. Five in a Row is a literature based unit study. Beyond Five in a Row is a little different. Geared for ages 8-12, BFIAR uses 4 literature selections per semester; 2 fiction and 2 nonfiction. It is suggested that a chapter take 1-2 days. There are MANY activities per chapter revolving around history, science, art and literature topics.

We had the opportunity to review Volume 3. The first book is Neil Armstrong - Young Flyer by Montrew Dunham. Chapter 1 activities include learning about tri-motor airplanes, history and geography of 1936, aluminum and alloys, the eardrum, dialogue - correct punctuation, numerical phrases and there is a detailed writing and discussion question. This is all from the FIRST chapter!

Beyond Five in a Row is a very thorough unit study program. All you need to do is supplement with math, grammar and spelling program and you are ready to go! Five in a Row also has programs for older and younger students. If you are intrigued check out their website!

Saturday, February 28, 2009


I seem to title a lot of posts "Saturday". Kinda boring but it seems to work for me.

We are busy around here. I guess we are always busy around here. That's ok though. Grocery shopping is done for the next few weeks. I bought some seeds to start here in the house for the garden. I can't wait to eat fresh veggies again. Nothing compares to stuff you pick out of your own garden and cook......canned and frozen and "fresh from the hothouse" just doesn't compare. It seem funny to be thinking of working in the garden when it is so cold and dreary here. We had such warm weather for about 2 days and then BAM back to winter. I am tried of winter.

Are you still working your way through reading the Bible in a year? I am plodding along. I finished Genesis, Exodus and Matthew. I am almost through Leviticus. I think throwing Matthew in there is helping me get through Leviticus. LOL That is usually where all my good intentions go down the drain. I know the information has eternal importance or God wouldn't have seen fit to include it, but I have trouble processing and applying it. So I am just reading it and mulling over it and letting it go this time instead of trying to figure out how to apply it. Maybe later I will need to apply it. For now I am just reading it. I do know that I couldn't have ever made it to heaven if I had to follow all those rules! Maybe that is the truth in Leviticus......I can't do anything on my own to get to heaven. Jesus had to come and save me! I need Him! So there you go, my Bible truth for the day. LOL

Many of the bloggers that I read online have decided to stop writing lately. That makes me sad. I can't help but wonder where I would be today in my online walk and in my life as homemaker and homeschooling mom if it wasn't for those bloggers. Sometimes that was all the encouragement that I had. I hope that others will step up and fill the void so that others will be encouraged in their walk as a child of Christ.

This week will be busy. Got more reviews. Hope that you aren't tired of them and that they are helpful to some. I know that I love to hear about new products. Also, for mothers of younger children, I have found a great new blog....I will work on cleaning up my blog and getting things in the sidebar tomorrow, but the blog is titled 1+1+1=1. She has an interesting idea called Tot School. I really wish that I had this blog 8 years ago.

So have a good weekend friends!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Heads Up!

Helping All Kinds of Special Kids

Heads Up! is a company that I don't think that I would have ever run across in my daily homeschooling adventure. Right now, I don't have any special needs kids. We don't deal with ADD or Dyslexia here.

Heads Up! is a company dedicated to provide expert information and products for struggling learners. They strive to assist a number of learning difficulties.

I received their large frames (6 colors), small frames (6 colors), readers (6 colors and clear), Double-time (2 colors) and top of the line (2 colors). The frames are designed to assist a reader in focusing attention on one certain spot. The different colors are available because some students are aided by certain colors more than others. We found the double-time and top of the line to be the most helpful ME mainly. I am a very distractable reader. I found the markers to be espcially helpful in Bible. My focus is able to stay on what I am reading and not the other verses or notes around it. I can only imagine how beneficial this must be for someone who is struggling with more than a jumbled mind :)

Heads Up! offers many other products for speech therapy, developmental delays, autism and sensory issues. If you are looking for something to help your struggling learner, please check out Heads Up! and see if they have something that can help you. I imagine that you will find just what you are looking for.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Molly's Money Saving Digest

In the current economic trouble that seems to be hanging heavy over all of us I have been so very blessed to receive the March issue of Molly's Money Saving Digest. Molly is Molly Green, contributor to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Molly's TOS articles have been a great blessing to me so I wasn't surpised that her Digest was full of great, practical information as well.

The theme of the March issue of the digest is Making Money from Home. Several of the articles included tips, tricks, and testimonials to aid in deciding if/when and how to work from home. There aren't any schemes here! This is all practical, usable advice.

Other articles in the digest included brown bag lunches, items on sale this month, budgeting advice (a continuing article), frugal decorating, special March/April dates and frugal ways to celebrate and how to raise business-minded children. Molly and her contributing authors make living frugally look fun and free rather than confining and boring. I consider myself fairly frugal (in the areas I want to be anyway) but came away with several new ideas that I can't wait to try out. I am sure that Molly and the gang will be able to assist you as well.

You can get your own copy of Molly digest electronically from the Old Schoolhouse Store for $4.95.

Math Tutor DVDs

Are you looking for a different way to explain math difficulties that isn't tied to a particular curriculum? Enter Math Tutor DVDs.

I received 2 DVDs: The Basic Math Word Problem Tutor and The Algebra 2 Tutor.

These DVDs are simple and no-frills. Each DVD (2 DVDs per set) contains several lessons. For example, we watched the Adding Decimals segement on the Basic Math Word Problems DVD. Each lesson builds on the one before it. The lesson is presented with just Jason Gibson and a white board. The problem is given and he writes the solution as he works it on the white board. The concepts are each reviewed repeatedly. I loved that each segement contains many different review problems. Mr. Gibson explains in detail each part of the lesson. His voice is VERY soothing. He doesn't rush through the lessons or hurry anything along.

I appreciate that the lessons are presented by a man. I know that sounds silly, but it is wonderful when my boys can see a concept presented by someone other than MOM. LOL The only thing that I noticed that others might have a problem with is that Mr. Gibson seems to like to count on his fingers. I count on my fingers all the time so this doesn't bother me in the least....but I know it would bother some. So there is your warning! LOL

I am thrilled to have been able to try out these DVDs. I imagine that we will refer to them frequently in the future. There are DVDs for all different math concepts from basic math to physics and calculus. The DVDs are available from Math Tutor for $26.99 each.

Vision Forum coupon

Vision Forum will be sending out a $25 coupon (off an order of $75 or more) Wednesday. If you are not currently on their mailing list, make sure that you get signed up HERE. Scroll down the page to the newsletter membership box. Make sure that you get signed up and confirm your email before Wednesday so that you don't miss out on this great opportunity.

Vision Forum has many practical items and learning tools. We love the "toys". Jonathan Park has to be our all time favorite CDs in the car. The teaching in them is fantastic! You can't hardly stop listening. I don't know how many times we have sat in the driveway to finish one of the episodes :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Reflections on the Past

I went to the cemetery today.

My best friend, Denise Marie Clark, was born 32 years ago Valentine's Day. She only walked on this earth for 14 years. For reasons that remain her own, she took her own life on Oct. 16, 1991. We were just into our freshman year of high school. I cried at her grave today.

The fall of 1991 was filled with life-altering moments for me. I started high school in August. Always terribly shy (and according to my freshman health teacher, introverted), I BEGGED my mother not to make me go. I did great as a student, but the required social interactions were terrifying to me (I am still not sure how I managed so well).

About 3 weeks into school I started dating a guy that I had pined over for almost a year. I am still not sure what I was thinking......probably wasn't, but he decided that I wasn't "enlightened" enough and it ended just about as quickly as it started. He made sure that all his friends knew about my "inexperience". A couple forward ones were kind enough to tell me. I was devastated.

I went to homecoming with a girl-friend. I clearly remember that evening trying to talk Denise into coming with us. She had a fight with some other girls earlier that evening and had come for the football game but decided not to stay for the dance afterwards. Waving goodbye to her still haunts me.

She took her own life on the following Monday morning. I never talked to her again. I found out from some gossiping people at school. Sat with another friend and cried on the school steps. Never occured to me that I could go home. I even went to school the day of the funeral. We left school and went to the funeral, graveside, dinner and then all trooped back to school like good little students. Why did we do that? What were our parents thinking?

Denise is buried on a hilltop near her childhood home way out in the middle of nowhere. The road is barely gravel. As I drove out there today I remember what it felt like driving out there then. It was cold that day. My friends and I huddled together at the graveside (the funeral was held at the Catholic church - the first time I was ever in a Catholic church). I remember not wanting to intrude upon the grief couldn't be as intense as theirs. I remember the drive back to town. The ladies of the church that served us lunch were very insistent that we all ate......and we did. I realize now that we were all in shock. How could this happen?

I have always wondered why she felt that she had to do that and why I missed that she needed help. The guilt of being a terrible friend has laid heavy on me. I miss my friend terribly.

Today I cried. The whole way to the cemetery and the whole time I was there. It was cold today too. I was all alone as I straightened flowers and asked why. All alone at that little cemetery. I cried more today than I think I ever have. Something inside of me let go.

My thoughts turned to those few months in the fall of 1991. Looking back I see that those things that happened impacted my life. I don't remember the rest of my high school years as clearly as I remember those 2 months. I learned survival by burying my feelings. I learned to never trust. I learned that things must sometimes be done in order to keep relationships (however wrong that thinking was). I know now that those things aren't true, but the damage done by my thinking during those years has haunted me the rest of my life. I am trying to overcome, but I am not sure that I ever will.

My God is a god of new beginnings. Today I think that I have finally laid my past, all the horrible things, experiences and decisions at that cemetery on the top of that hill in the middle of nowhere. God has granted me an opportunity to start over emotionally. I can make decisions based on God's will in my life. I am worthy of good things. My life has meaning.

Thank you for listening to my rambling. I have no doubt that it has no applicable meaning to anyone else, but I wanted to be able to look back - have my children look back and know that I was able to let go of my doesn't have to haunt us (ME) forever. God is merciful - great - and worthy to be praised. God is powerful and strong. God overcomes the terrible things that sin brings into our lives. My god is an AWESOME God!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another Award

I must just be splendid :) As most of you know I am reviewer for the TOS Crew. My crew-mate Sheri gave this to me! Thanks Sheri!

I don't have a lot of time to read the blogs of my other crew-mates.....just two, so I am going to nominate Crystal and encourage you to read Sheri's blog. To see the great reviews that my other crew mates are doing (and some products that I am not reviewing) you can go to our Crew Blog. Enjoy!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Why I am Choosing Sonlight - Again

This is an article about why I am choosing to use Sonlight again this year rather than another curriculum. There are pros and cons of each that I looked at, but Sonlight really is the best fit for our family.

The other curriculums that I was looking at:
My Father's World Books
Living Books Curriculum

My homeschooling method is mostly Charlotte Mason with a little Classical and Relaxed thrown in. I roll with the punches and take things as they come. We follow rabbit trails (as seen by the 18 months it has taken us to get through Sonlight Core 3).

A Sonlight Catalog came to my house just after we decided to begin homeschooling. I was fascinated! I studied the poor thing until it fell apart and then waiting for the new one to come out. I didn't order though. I felt that Sonlight was too expensive for our family. My husband would have a fit if I spent that much money! I was sure that I could just as easily put together something similar using my own (not-so-frazzled-yet) brain and the library. I tried that for several years. Then I pieced together a year using Veritas Press as a base. Veritas Press is VERY classical and moved at a pace that was too advanced for us. The teacher's manual wasn't very user friendly. As a student I probably would have done well with VP but my boys were beginning to hate history, so we let that go. I ended up spending a ton of money that year on a lot of stuff that we either didn't use or hated.

The next year we used My Father's World (the 1st grade set and the 2nd/3rd grade American History). We really enjoyed the 1st grade set but there wasn't enough scheduled reading for Greg (who was learning to read). We did the American History together. The resources that they include in their curriculum were great (and many are similar to what Sonlight offers). The problem that I had with them is that there aren't scheduled reading assignments for the students to do themselves. MFW uses a "book basket". I have no doubt that this works for some families but it didn't work for us. I needed to know what they should be reading to reinforce history and science topics. By the end of the year I was weary of being "tied" to the library (we don't live in town and the library often meant a special trip - 30 mins. one way - for us).

I don't really remember what we did the next year. I was trying to put stuff together myself. I have doubts that they learned anything in history.

One day during that year the Sonlight catalog showed up again. By now, I realized that I had been spending more each year than Sonlight cost. So I jumped. My husband didn't fall over. We have had a wonderful year. Everything for history, Bible reading schedules, read-alouds and readers are laid out. The instructor's manual is wonderfully detailed and easy to use! There are reading discussion guides if you choose to use them (sometimes we do, sometimes we don't). We also used Sonlight science 3 that year, but I found the experiments tedious. We like to follow rabbit trails with science so we are going to do that this year, but if you need science laid out for you and love experiments, then you will love Sonlight science. I do like the reading assignments and discussion questions for Sonlight, but we decided to do something else. Everything that we need to read is HERE AT THE HOUSE when we need it. Trips to the library became fun again. Reading assignments weren't dictated by library due dates. School became fun again! The best thing about Sonlight was that my oldest, a self-proclaimed reading hater, loves to read the Sonlight books. He may not read anything else, but he doesn't complain about his reading assignments and frequently discusses what he is reading with me. He is finally reading at grade level. My mother's heart is so happy!

I looked at Living Books Curriculum this year. It is a pure Charlotte Mason approach. read-alouds and readers are included. The price is comparable. LBC uses the language arts books that we already use. The problem is that LBC teaches American History concurrent with Ancient History. My boys have enough trouble keeping up the way it is so I think that it would be best if we just stick with one historical time period at a time.

So we will be using Sonlight Core 4 this year. I wish, wish, wish that I had taken the plunge to do Sonlight when we first started. I imagine that I appreciate Sonlight more because of the other things we have tried though. Sonlight has a 18 week Love-To-Learn guarantee. You can try them and get a refund if you don't like them! I am pretty sure you will like them though once you give them a try. You can check them out HERE. The new catalog comes out in April..........oh, the agony of waiting!!!!