Thursday, December 30, 2010

Knitted Cell Phone Case and Other Pictures

I knitted a cell phone case!  I had to rework the pattern a little because I couldn't find the purse frame the pattern called for (very frustrating by the way).  I ended up putting an I-cord in the casing, leaving it open at one edge so that I could be hooked to a bag clip or over the wrist.  It also works as a drawstring so the phone doesn't fall out. 

I needed something to put next to it to show size so I grabbed my sunglasses, which by the way fit in it perfectly!

Since I am uploading pictures anyway, here are some new family shots:

My family :)

A Book Review - Tandem by Tracey Bateman

As a new Blogging for Books reviewer I was so excited to get my first book, read and review it.  In my house, nothing ever goes like planned.  I read through the list of available books and then was called away from the computer.  When I came back the next day I didn't reread the book descriptions, I went from memory, which is never a good thing with me.

I received my book and was excited to get started reading while Abby took her afternoon bottle.  After the 2nd chapter I had figured out it was a vampire novel.  Bleh!  I am not a big fan of vampire love stories, but I did love Anne Rice as a teenager so I decided to keep plowing ahead and hope for the best.  After the 4th chapter I couldn't put it down.

Somehow the author manages to weave vampires, a saucy mystery, a romance (not with the vampires so much) and a little Christianity into one book.  Tandem seems to be the 2nd book of a series (Thirsty being the first) but it can absolutely be read alone.  I fell in love with the main character, struggling to find her own identity while caring for her ailing father.  I empathized with the main vampire character even if she did appear to be a little stuck up at times.  Several of the other characters surprised me, so I'm not giving away the story :) 

If you want to read a little on your own you can see the first chapter HERE.  Although I will try to choose my books selections more carefully in the future, this was a pleasant surprise.

DISCLAIMER *****I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas

A little late, but better than never, I suppose.

We have had a wonderful holiday here, celebrating the birth of our Saviour.  Norman and I always try to keep the focus on the real reason for the holiday and again this year I was reminded often of why we were celebrating.

Sunday evening we met with a group from church and went Christmas caroling.  I love to Christmas carol.  I always feel so blessed afterwards.  There was snow on the ground and flurries in the air making the atmosphere just perfect.  We ended the evening with pizza at Joe's in Newton.  I love their new addition.  The fireplace is delightful!!!

Monday evening, I fixed a dinner for Norman's mom, sister and her family and cousins.  It was nice to have the house packed with people.  I carefully dressed the table and used the good dishes.  It was somewhat embarassing to discover that we only own 4 butter knives.  LOL  So we shared, we were only using them for butter anyway. 

Wednesday evening we gathered up our crew, plus a spare, and met some friends at McDonald's for supper.  Afterwards we visited the park in Olney for the light display and the little ones were able to sit on Santa's lap.  It was very nice.  I love to look at the lights through the eyes of a 3 year old.  Bear was enchanted to see all his favorite characters all lit up in the park.  I think he met some new ones as well.  I have very fond memories of driving through that park during the Christmas season.

Thursday we braved the crowds and made a trip to town for movie rentals and last minute shopping at Walmart.  By that, I mean, the boys got gift cards from Grammy that were burning a whole in their pockets.  LOL

Friday we celebrated Christmas here as a family.  Norman was off work and we decided to do gifts on that day so we would have the whole day to spend together.  Norman blessed me with a cricut.  I enjoyed the 2+ hours that I was able to scrapbook but was depressed to realize how far behind I am!  I wonder if I will ever get to Abby's pictures??  The rest of the day was spent with games and Rock Band.  Too bad I've had a cold for a week and couldn't sing.

On Saturday, the boys and I stayed home while Norman went to work.  Normally we would have went to be with my parents or grandparents, but I just didn't feel that we would be welcome this year and didn't want to deal with the stress.  Christmas shouldn't be a time of family strife, so I proposed to make it stress-free, for my family at least.  The boys and I tried to build gingerbread houses (an epic failure) and then spent the rest of the day playing Xbox and watching movies.  When Norman came home from work he showed us all how to be gingerbread house architects.  LOL  Another movie and we concluded the day in bed. 

Today (Sunday), the boys and I are lazying around the house again.  Norman deemed the roads slick on his way to work so I didn't chance getting all of us to church.  I have really enjoyed spending so much time with my boys.  Normally we would all be doing our own thing in separate rooms, but for this weekend at least, we have made an effort to be together and enjoy things together.  I feel very blessed by that. 

I will be honest, and admit that at times loneliness has crept in.  I don't understand why members of my family have chosen to treat me the way they have.  I don't understand why they do the things that they do.  It makes me sad that I wasn't a part of the hustle and bustle (but don't miss the stress!!!!) of the family gatherings this year.  I realize that I don't get to make choices for other people.  They make their own decisions and choices, the words that they speak and the things that they do are their own.....yes, those choices frequently affect me and my family, but I refuse to let that get me down.  New traditions are being made.  Love was shared.  Christ is remembered.

I hope that all of my readers and friends have had a wonderful Christmas, regardless of the circumstances you find yourselves in.  Here, we are looking forward to a wonderful New Year......every day, week, month and year is a gift from God and I intend to use it to its fullest potential :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Penny for My Thoughts.....

I doubt that they are worth a penny though :)

I've been baking, a lot.  With 3 hungry boys and a growing dh I can't seem to keep snacky type things in this house.  LOL  Almost everyday, Cooker Bear and I mix something up.  Bear loves to cook.  I think it is mostly the mixing/pouring aspect but that's ok.  I suppose that there is some form of educational value in there somewhere but for the most part he thinks it is fun and it keeps him busy for a minute.  He is always so proud when Daddy complements him on his cooking.  Ever humble though, he always shares the credit with me or whoever else helped.  Such a sweet little fellow.

I finished the big project I've been working on lately.  A tied, orange and blue quilt, ordered by a friend as a Christmas gift.  Dh delivered it today.  I have a stockpile of dishcloths for sale and a hat or I decided to knit something fun.  I came across a pattern for a knitted cell phone case.  Cute as a button and made out of sock yarn.  Using up a little bit that was left over after a pair of socks came off needles, it looks fantastic.  I think I can use the pattern and more little bits to make me and Abby some headbands.  I love sock yarn and there are always bits left after a pair comes off the needles so this is a fantastic way to use it. 

Currently, I am using a twin sized flat sheet as a tablecloth.  With all the leaves in my table (and it makes it seat a "roomy" 6) none of my other tablecloths fit and it isn't a "standard" size.  So I ironed some fabric to make a tablecloth.  I am going with a 9-patch pattern of my own design.  We will see how it turns out. 

A new book I am gaining much inspiration from is Marie Osmond's Heartfelt Giving: Sew and Quilt for Family and Friends.  My favorite project from the book is a ruffled shower curtain.  Marie does it in pinks and black.  I can't imagine all the testosterone that lives here going for those colors but I might try something in blues or greens.  I love it :) 

I am looking forward to the New Year.  Many changes are before us, but I am at peace with all of them and ready to embrace our future.  We are together and happy, that is all that really matters!  Stay warm, my friends!!!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


My real-life friend and fellow homeschool mommy blogger, Vicky, has blessed us with a Christmas gift!  Head on over to her blog and check out the Family Meal Time Conversation Starter Cards that she and her family have come up with.  We all know how important meal time is but sometimes it is hard to get the conversation going.  Vicky says her children feel left out when she and her dh get to catching up.  At our house my dh and I can't hardly get a word in edge-wise because of the kids.  LOL  We all have challenges.  I love the idea and look forward to using them.  Thanks again Vicky!!!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I'm waiting on Greg to get up (he is not a morning person) so decided to update on school around here.

*knows all his shapes and colors
*knows most body parts
*is familiar with positional words and directions
*learning left from right
*learning letters A-F
*he can count to 20, but we are working on number recognition
*basic addition (he understands 1+1, 1+2, etc)
*he has most of his favorite storybooks completely memorized and can "read" them to you.  He is getting new books for Christmas.  I hid all the early readers so I would have something new he could read while learning phonics otherwise I won't know if he is reading or reciting.  LOL

We finished up modern American history.  I love American history.  We started ancient history.  I hate ancient history.  We are using Diana Waring's new series available through Answers in Genesis.  She makes history interesting and even I am not bored.  Right now Greg is enthralled with Louis Lamour books.  Our library card expired so that is a problem, but he is reading from our extensive stash of historical fiction and biographies...the stuff he really likes.  Right now he is reading Davy Crockett's autobiography.  He says it is very good.  Math, language arts, spelling, and handwriting are going well.  We are reading Men of Science, Men of God for science and Minn of Mississippi as our read-aloud so that is covering science.  Diana Waring has science topics woven through her curriculum so after the new year we will pull some stuff from there as well rather than do science separately.

I guess that is about it.  Everything is going well.  After so many years of homeschooling we finally have a good routine and so everything just kinda gets done.  There are crazy days and days when it takes longer than others but for the most part everything is fairly stress free. 

Now Greg is late getting up so I get to go be the bad mom.  LOL  Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter Weather

***To my readers on facebook ***  I know most of this is old news to you, but I do have other readers that don't live around here or aren't with me on facebook.  Feel free to read on or skip :)

It snowed Sunday.  If you ask me if I like snow I say yes.  Almost always.  I like snow.  It looks pretty, I like to feel it float down on me, I love the peaceful feeling that seems to envelope everything when it snows.  However, I hate to drive in snow.  I hate to be driven around in the snow.  I hate for people I love to be driving in the snow, or away from home when it comes.  So, I guess really, I like snow when I am home, everyone I love is home, and nobody has to go anywhere for the forseeable future.  I think you can see the problem there. 

Snow causes me major anxiety.  It had just begun snowing when Norman left for work Sunday morning.  By the time I got back up at 6:30 it was really coming down and there was a good coating on the lawn and driveway.  It wasn't blowing, no visibility problems, so I decided to be brave and go to church....a 30 min. one-way drive from our house.  Unfortunately, Norman had fallen on a patch of ice in the parking lot of work (along with 7 others in 25 mins.).  Fortunately he met us in Newton and went to church with us.  Poor guy couldn't straighten all the way up, or hold any weight in his right arm, but he was being a trooper.  Anyway, by the time we came home, it had started blowing.  We had plans that night.  A beautiful candlelight service and supper with friends.  I wanted to go, but didn't want to go.  Norman said we would go to supper, as it was only 5 miles from home.  We made it down our long drive, couldn't see for a good part of the drive, made it to our friend's house.  Had a quick supper and everyone headed for home.  We were gone less than 2 hours and our driveway was drifted completely shut.  We drove through the grass at the road end and managed to make it 2/3 of the way to the house before becoming completely stuck.  So we walked the rest of the way (not far really, couldn't have parked that close to Walmart).  Very thankful that we were home, warm and together.

By morning the snow had stopped and the blowing had stopped, but the snow fairy had NOT dug the van out of the driveway.  Things being what they are currently with extended family, the boys started digging.  Norman tried to push the van out with his truck.  Finally he got a come-along and chain and managed to get it out after all day of working on it.  The boys shoveled a lot of snow.  LOL  Norman couldn't get in to see our doctor on Monday because she was out of the office so he stayed home from work on Tuesday to see her.  Lee got out of school on Monday but had to go back today. 

Now, our driveway is passable.  I am still afraid to drive down it.  LOL  I hate to drive in the snow.  I haven't left the house since Sunday evening.  I have no idea how bad it is out there (and I hear the roads aren't bad at all), but I really have no desire to find out.  Grocery shopping will need to be done at some point though. 

I wonder what the odds are of me being able to stay home for the rest of the winter?  Not good since I have to take Lee to the bus every day, LOL, but you can't blame a girl for trying!!!!!  I suppose that God made snow so pretty so that we would be able to tolerate all the inconveniences that it brings.......I will try to remember that next time!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Christmas Traditions

I've never really made a specific effort to create family traditions for holidays around here.  We usually go south for Thanksgiving.  Otherwise, I don't think that there is anything we "always" do for any holiday.  With all the upheaval around here lately I feel that needs to change.  So change, it will.

This year, the kids and I are going to make gingerbread houses.  I can honestly say that I have never made a gingerbread house.  Not to overwhelm us, I will be buying the kits from walmart.  You know, the ones you only need to decorate.  I am cheating but that's ok.  Maybe I will do better next year.

I would love to hear about some of your family traditions....specifically for Christmas or New Year right now, but I will take anything.  Comments please!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Gabby Mom

Just a heads up (to anyone that cares) - I have been selected as a Gabby Mom for 2011 by TEACH magazine.  I will be given products of interest to homeschoolers/homemakers/moms to check out, use and the reviews will be posted here on my blog.  I should be receiving my first item soon so keep an eye out to see what I've been up to. 

And if you don't know about Lorrie Flem or TEACH magazine, you can see what all the fuss is about HERE.  Lorrie has some of the most outstanding homemaking products/articles/advice I have ever heard.  This is great stuff and I know that you will be thankful that you checked it out.

These Boots Are Made for Walking...

I LOVE boots.  With that said, I have never actually owned a pair of above the ankle boots.  Love the looks but my whole life they were either too expensive or wouldn't fit over my fat calf.  I've always had a fat calf :(  Anyway, in high school I would borrow my younger brother's cowboy boots on Friday/Saturday nights before he turned 16.  They always seemed to fit.  I loved those boots. 

Anyway, Norman blessed me this weekend with a pair of boots.  Almost to the knee, supple brown leather boots.  I wore them today for the first time outside the store.  They are pure bliss.  Something about a boot......

Cute pink sweater, A-line denim skirt and those fantastic leather boots.  I almost felt like a million dollars.  I graced Newton Tire Center, the aisles of Newton IGA and the Jasper County Health Department in my new boots.....I doubt that anyone noticed, but I sure felt beautiful in my boots today.  Thanks babe!  Now Mommy has shoes as nice as Abigail :)