Sunday, January 30, 2011


Times are hard economically for everyone right now.  I've got a way you can earn a little extra money, without doing anything that you don't normally do.

Meet SWAGBUCKS.  Swagbucks is a search engine, just like Google or Bing.  You search for the stuff that you always search for and you randomly earn "swagbucks".  You can download a toolbar to each of your computers for ease of use and continuity of login (You wouldn't want to be searching while not logged in!). 

What can you do with Swagbucks?  Well, you can enter contests, giveaways, or save them up to buy things.  The list is extensive.  I save mine up.  When I get 450 swagbucks I "buy" an Amazon . com gift card ($5).  It takes about a week to get the gift card, then I go apply it to my Amazon account where it waits peacefully with all of its friends for me to decide to buy something.  Right now, I have $15 just waiting for me, all earned since the first of the year and I am 5 "bucks" shy of another $5.  I didn't do anything but search for stuff I was looking for anyway.  Can't beat that, can you? 

There are other ways to earn Swagbucks as well.  You can take surveys.  Buy stuff from online stores through swagbucks . com.......I bought Abby some shoes last fall from Diapers . com but I entered their store from my swagbucks page.....and I got double points (for example, spend $25, get 50 swagbucks).  Also, you can refer friends.  If you sign up from my referal link then I get to claim the first 1000 swagbucks that you earn from online searches (searches only).  You get to claim them also, so we are both getting 1000 swagbucks.  Cool huh?  Of course I would love for you to sign up under me and you can do so by clicking the links in this post, or by clicking the swagbucks ad in the left sidebar.  But don't let helping me stop you from signing up.  You can also go to swagbucks . com. 

I hope that this helps some of you earn a little extra cash.  We all love a little extra cash, especially when you don't have to do anything special to get it.  Blessings to all!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Our Current School Stuff

I could go through the list of educational stuff that I do with the babies but suffice it to say that they play....a lot.  We read, we color, we practice letters, numbers, shapes, biggest/littlest, get the idea.  Bear will start "formal" preschool next year.  I will post about all that stuff next year :)

For now, we are focusing on Greg.  He is 10, 5th grade.  Just finished Saxon 54....I will be ordering the next level (65 I think) sometime next week.  We are using  A Reason for Handwriting to learn cursive.  He hates it, I make him do it anyway.  It is what it is.  For science we are using Creation Science unit study by Media Angels.  Very thorough and he seems to like it.  We are also basing writing assignments and spelling words from that study.  Works for me.  That brings us to history.  I like Sonlight.  Actually, I LOVE Sonlight.  We finished up Core 4 in December.  We can't afford to buy another core right now.  So I am improvising.  I borrowed Diana Waring's new Ancient History curriculum available from Answers In Genesis from a friend.  It is nice.  It is geared with activities for all learning styles.  We skip most of them but that is ok.  I read the lesson to him on the first day, then he spends several days listening to material on the provided CD's, does the Bible reading assignments, we discuss the discussion questions, do timeline/map work.  Then he chooses a research/report topic from those given.  I have been giving him 3 days to do the report and he presents it at supper that night for the whole family.  That is forcing him to work on his thought organization and accountability. The whole history units are taking us 2-3 weeks.   He is reading books I assign that we are still working on from Core 4 (we got behind on that reading somehow) or Louis L'Amore.  He really likes westerns.  Our library card expired and I don't have any money for that either so I guess he will be reading my books for a while.  For read-aloud right now, we are reading through D'Aulares Greek Myths.  I thought he would like that but he doesn't.  Go figure! 

How our day goes:
I get home from taking Lee to the bus at about 7:45 a.m.  Greg gets up about 7:15 so I encourage him to get breakfast and get dressed when I get back.  School is supposed to start at 8.  Sometimes it is 8:30. 

At 8 a.m. Greg and I would sit down, I would read read-aloud, history lesson and we would work through the science lesson.  Then I would teach the math lesson and go over any spelling for the day.  After that, Greg is on his own to complete history CDs, Bible reading, regular reading, math worksheets and lessons, handwriting lessons, grammar corrections, spelling practice, etc.  The papers go on my pile and I will stop and grade/correct them as I go through the morning.  If he applies himself, he is almost always done by 10:30. 

Bear starts begging me to play with him at 8 a.m.  I send Greg to get started on independent school work (I have all sheets, etc in a folder for each day so he can do that).  At 8:30 I manage to get away from the kids and we do read-aloud.  Then Abby wants a bottle so he works some more on his own.  I manage to get her asleep and put down and we read through history (or I start CDs).  Abby starts screaming so I quickly teach the math lesson.  I get her calmed down, convince Bear he can play with her or alone and manage to get science taught.  Greg finishes his independent paperwork and begs for a break.  I let him take one.  He comes back around 10 and works on math.  Then he convinces me that he will do his independent reading later.  He disappears.  Throughout the day I remind him until he finally gets tired of listening to me and just DOES the 30 mins. of reading. 

How's that for keeping it real?  You can tell if there is something special planned for the afternoon because Greg will just sit down and do his stuff.  You can tell when Dad is home because the schedule goes almost exactly like the ideal scenario.  The rest of the time, it is a crap shoot.  LOL 

Greg says he is staying home for school next year (6th grade).  He is wanting to try Switched on Schoolhouse on CD.  Hmmmm.......I guess we shall see.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Legwarmer #1 and Other Stuff

This is the 1st legwarmer for Abby.  How would I NOT have thought of this before?  They will be so sweet under her little skirts and a wonderful use for leftover sock yarn - I suppose that most of her legwarmers will match a pair of my socks :)  Norman measured her ankle to mid-thigh as 7 inches....the pattern I was using was for a newborn so I had to work several more increases and gave it 12 inches in I finished it up I was so afraid that the top would be too loose, but it just fits.  Perfect!  Which means that she won't have much growing room but they should work for this winter and we will see about another pair next winter.  AS SOON AS I get the 2nd one done I will make her model them for ya'll. 

Abby learned how to "pull-up" to stuff today.  She cries once she gets there though because she doesn't know what to do or how to get down.  Had family for supper tonight and Norman fixed the goose that he hunted a couple of days ago.  He is really liking goose hunting.  LOL  I had chicken. 

Got a birthday party tomorrow - for our cousin Gabby, yes, Abby has a cousin named Gabby :)  Gabby turned 1 today and was one of those here for supper.  She is smaller than Abby, considerably.  I know that Abby is very big for her age, but it is days like this that I realize how much bigger she is.  LOL  Such a little monkey.

Anyway, it is getting late, but I wanted to share the picture.  Hope ya'll have a good night!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

True Treasures - A Giveaway!

If my review of True Treasures peeked your interest you can enter to win a copy, courtesy of Homekeeping Heart!  Head on over HERE to read her review and enter :)

AND We Love to Homeschool is also giving away a copy - you can go HERE to enter :)

Good Morning!

I hope that everyone is well today!

Norman got up at 4:30 a.m. to go goose hunting.  In a boat.  On a lake.  It is very, very cold out.  I am fairly certain he will return an ice cube.  But he is hoping to get a goose, the 2nd time he has gone out :)

Regular laundry is in the dryer, diapers are in the washer.  Bear and Greg are still sleeping.  Lee is in the shower, Abby is in her highchair next to me, growling.  She got her first tooth in!  We were beginning to wonder.  She is pretty proud of it.  And she said Dadda, twice to me yesterday.  Daddy is pretty proud of that. 

Nothing exciting here happens until after I get Lee to the bus stop.  Then the pace picks up!  If I can get the little 2 settled doing something quiet, Greg and I start school.  Otherwise, he starts working on the stuff he can do alone while I feed Abby or play with the littles.  Sometimes 15 mins. playing will make all the difference in the rest of the day.  After I get "my" part of school done (I'm going to be doing a school posting soon!), I work on lunch, Motivated Mom chores or play some more depending on how things are going.

After lunch, which is almost always sandwiches or leftovers, I try to finish up any chores that are left, get something out for supper and put Miss Abby down for a nap.  Abby doesn't believe in naps (8 months old!) so sometimes this is in a exercise in futility, but I give it a good shot.  If she naps and if Bear feels that I have paid him enough attention up to that point (which is rare because he is 3), THEN I will try to get some sewing or quilting done.  You can see my current projects in the left hand sidebar.  I knit at night while watching TV with the family. 

Norman gets home from work around 4, with Lee (he meets the bus at the bus stop for me most days).  We usually eat supper early, around 4:30 or 5 and then I finish kitchen clean up and we settle in for the night. 

So, that's a little about us and how things operate around here.  I have a school post up my sleeve, for anyone interested.  I am also hoping to finish at least one of the legwarmers tonight so pictures of those to come shortly.

Have a great day friends!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

True Treasures: 10 Years of TEACH Magazine

As most of you know, I've been in a dark place lately.  A couple of weeks ago, my wonderful husband recognized that I needed a break and sent me to town with some "mad" money to hang out by myself.  I grabbed a book before I left......True Treasures:  10 Years of TEACH Magazine by Lorrie Flem.  Once in town, I went straight to Starbucks, ordered a large Caramel Macchiato and sank down in a huge armchair with my book.  I only made it 2 pages before tears were flowing down my cheeks. 

Homemakers know that staying home all day is hard work.  I realize that the rest of the world believes that we are all sitting around eating chocolate and watching soap operas (I do eat chocolate, but not all day.  I do not watch soap operas, wouldn't even if I did have time).  Each day I am mom, wife, cleaning lady, teacher, pretend doctor, bottle holder, diaper changer, remote control wielder, laundry washer/dryer/folder/putter-awayer, train track builder.....the list goes on and on.  While doing all those things, I am giving advice, prayfully answering questions, kissing real booboos and giving pieces of my heart to everyone I meet.  So much goes out of me every is like "the force" is leaving my body.  God's love is the force and I am thankful that I am here to administer His grace, mercy and love to those around me....but sometimes I get empty.  Sometimes I get so dry that I can't soak up God's word on my own.  I need a human touch.  Frequently, TEACH magazine and Lorrie Flem have been that human touch.  Lorrie and those that share with her, use real life experience and God's words to encourage and lead those of us who are seeking back to godly womanhood.

True Treasures is the BEST of the first 10 years of TEACH magazine.  The articles are laid out on 2 page spreads; short little tidbits to help even the busiest of wife/mother.  She has divided the articles into sections so that you can quickly find the encouragement you are looking for.  Parenting, marriage, mothering, homemaking and serving others are all addressed.  I honestly believe that it would be impossible to come away from this book without having received encouragement.

True Treasures is available for $19.97 at .  While you are there, check out the other wonderful resources that Lorrie offers.  Also, please note that TEACH Magazine is changing names.  It is the same wonderful resource, with a more fitting name I believe.......Eternal Encouragement Magazine.  Use coupon code GabbyMoms to get $4 off True Treasures :)

If you want to read what others think about this wonderful publication, feel free to check out The Gabby Moms to see other reviews written by homemakers just like you!

***Disclaimer: I received this product for honest review from TEACH magazine as part of The Gabby Moms blogging program.  All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lots Going On

As usual, there has been a lot going on here.  I suppose I can quit saying that when I am dead.  Anyway, I am very thankful to have been HOME a lot this winter.  I have kept the "running" to a minimum and stayed in the house.  Some of that was due to the depression that I have been under, some a conscious decision that I have made. 

I remember when I was a new mom, early in our marriage.....I hated to stay home.  I would find excuses to go, my mom's, the park, a friend's....sometimes we would just drive around aimlessly.  In the evenings we would drive to town, eat fast food and wander walmart.  It seemed so lonely and depressing at home. 

I realize now that some of that was due to my attitude.  Some of it was due to marital and financial problems we were having at the time.  Some was due to depression.  Some was due to my laziness....I didn't want to clean, cook or "deal" with these babies.  If I wasn't home, then the problem could be ignored for the most part. 

God placed many wonderful, godly people (mostly women) in my life around the time that Greg was born.  I can honestly say that their guidance helped keep our marriage together, introduced me to homeschooling and brought my heart back around to my home and family.  God is good!  I wish many days that I had learned more during that first year of marriage, when we didn't have children.  I wish that I hadn't wasted so many years when I could have made better memories for my children.  BUT, I praise God every day that I am where I am now.  I can understand some of the struggles others are having and no matter how "bad" things get, I know that God is here, He is working, ever present in my life and family.  He has brought us a long way so I know that nothing is too big for Him to handle.

One of the godly women that was placed in my path was Mrs Lorrie Flem, editor of TEACH magazine.  TEACH isn't a magazine about homeschooling, but about mothering, godly womanhood and homemaking.  An occasional article about homeschooling will be found in it's pages, as homeschooling is a big part of mentoring in our children's lives. 

I can't hardly believe that TEACH has been publishing for 10 years!  I must have found Lorrie early on, but it still doesn't seem like it has been that long :)  Please, if you are looking for godly encouragment on your role as wife, mother, and woman of God, check out TEACH.....their magazine has a new name....Eternal Encouragement.  I think that is fitting, as Lorrie gives encouragement about the things that have eternal implications in your life, my life and the lives of our families.  Anyway, I will be reviewing True Treasures: 10 Years of TEACH magazine later this week.  Please come back and see what this wonderful publication has to offer YOU!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Little About Me.....

Since I am determined to keep this REAL and most of you don't know me in "real life", I thought I would list out some interesting tidbits about me, in no particular order :)

***I love to wear skirts/dresses but don't do it all the time.
***I wish I had a dress that required a hoop skirt (other than my wedding dress).  And I WOULD wear it somewhere :)
***I wish I had a bonnet.....although I know people would laugh if I wore it.
***I knit funky socks, and wear them, and they rarely match the other stuff I am wearing.
***I LOVE Italian and Mexican foods.
***I love bookstores.  I love that Books A  Million has huge armchairs that I can sit in and look at books before I buy them.  I LOVE that BAM has a coffee shop so I can sip coffee while sitting in the huge armchair and looking at books.
***I LOVE JoAnn's.  If JoAnn's had a coffee shop I would live there.
***I buy fabric and yarn with no idea what I am going to do with them.  That is why I frequently have 5 yard pieces of fabric (that is the amount required for a full length dress). 
***My hair used to be naturally blonde....I am now a natural brunette that acts like a blonde :)
***I am obsessed with HGTV
***I would love to travel to Oregon on a wagon train.
***I would love to live in a pioneer log cabin.
***I would miss facebook.
***I hope to someday go to Alaska.
***Norman might leave me there.  LOL
***I wanted 10 kids.
***Most days I want to string up the 4 I have.
***Have you ever heard my philosophy on snow?
***I LOVE the color pink.  I think that pink looks fantastic with chocolate brown.
***I hope to retire to a place in the mountains.
***I enter 2 times every day to win the HGTV Dream Home in Vermont.
***If we win, I want to live there for at least a month
***I don't ski and don't want to learn to ski.
***I clean when I am mad......I am generally a very happy person :)
***As of tomorrow, Norman and I will have been married 15 years.
***I love him more now than I did 15 years ago :)
***We had a rough start, but I would do it all over again.
***I hope someday to live in an assisted living community (they cook, they clean, they drive, I just exist!).
***I would like to go tomorrow.
***The kids are ready to drop me off.
***Norman is fairly certain that I am crazy.

That's enough for today.  Have a great evening!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blogs, Lies and Real Life

How's that for a title?

I've been reading blogs for a while.  Started when the older 2 boys were real little.  That is where I learned early homeschooling, household scheduling....that is where I got encouragement.  Some blogs I have followed for close to 10 years now. 

Unfortunately, it has been brought to my attention that one of the blogs I have followed forever, one that led me to higher housekeeping goals, encouraged me to cloth diaper.....frequently stressed me out because I didn't feel that I could "measure up" to this person.......she was living a lie. 

I find it interesting that someone would make themselves an authority on homeschooling and housekeeping.  I guess I get the desire to BE better than you are.  She made this perfect life look easy though.  I often felt bad because I couldn't get my kids to do the chores hers did and my husband wouldn't eat the nutritious foods that her's did (even though she claimed if I kept putting it on the table he would eventually learn to love it).

In learning that she was "padding" her life a little I am learning to let go of a little guilt.  I've been striving all these years to be just like her......but now I see that I can only be just like me.  That's all God wants us to be.  I'm naive.  Although I always try to be truthful (and if anything make myself look worse than the truth), I understand now that people lie on the internet - even about the mundane, like school schedules and housework. 

I've got to rework my sidebar.  Her link is still over there, although she has taken her blog down after her "cover" was blown.  I will be reworking my blog links.  I need to add some new ones anyway.

Please remember that you, God and your dh are responsible for the workings of your house and homeschool.  You don't need to be like me, and I don't need to be like you.  I think we will all be happier if we quit beating ourselves up anyway. 

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

I Know God is With Me, But......

This is kinda a personal posting, but if my sharing helps someone else, I am very glad to do it.  Sometimes it just helps to know you aren't alone.

Depression has an interesting way of sneaking up on people.  Sometimes it is the smallest things that make me just want to throw in the towel - and suddenly I realize I am depressed and have to look back and wonder when it all started.  Today's revelation was brought on when a friend commented about paying off one of his last 3 debts.  I could only wish we had 3 debts and that one was newly paid off!  LOL  But it is more than that and I know it.........

My battle with depression began many, many years ago.  I never felt like I was good enough and my people issues didn't help matters any.  I prefer to keep things bottled up.......I don't ever really remember exploding.  I just figure out how to deal with it.  Probably not well, but that is how it goes I suppose.  I graduated high school, got married, had Lee.  I don't really remember being excited about graduating high school, just resigned to my future.  My wedding day was the best day of my life, but even it was shadowed by hurt and disappointment, as the people I hoped would want the best for me were not supportive.  They couldn't even pretend to be happy for me and as much as I tried to ignore that disappointment, it still clouded my otherwise wonderful day.  Because of my choice of husband, we had no financial help in the wedding arrangements (aside from dh's mother who helped when she could).  Life doesn't seem to work out the way you want it to sometimes.  I have a feeling this is turning into a pity party, so I'm moving on.

After Lee was born, Norman lost his job.  We were getting ready to lose the house we had bought and had nowhere to go.  A last hour miracle financed us a trailer on my parent's ground.  We had nothing.  I don't remember fighting a lot but its hard when you don't even have the money to buy groceries.  Norman bounced from job to job while I tried to go to school.  The fighting started.  We drifted apart.  When I found out I was pregnant with Greg, I decided I had to either give this situation everything I had, or get out.  I decided to stay.  Greg was born and I hit the bottom.  I can honestly say that was the worst year of my life.  Norman got a great, steady, financially wonderful job shortly after Greg was born.  However, he had to work away from home.  There were many days that I didn't get out of bed.  Still, my memories of that year are a haze.  So many wonderful opportunities with my oldest 2 children slipped through my fingers.  Great friends and an amazing God got me through that year and helped me get out of that dark place. 

Depression is a very dark place.  Often, the depressed person knows they have a problem (I hate when people say if you know you are depressed, then stop)......they just don't know how to fix it.  Fear places a person in a place of inability......inability to think, to do, to plan.  Inability breeds and grows. 

I've struggled some since then, but I can honestly say that things have never been as bad as they were then.  I wish I could say that I have conquered depression!  Maybe people who don't care what others think, maybe they aren't affected as much.  I don't know. 

Our current situation is a mess.  If you are a personal friend, then you know what is going on, otherwise HERE is the quick story.  Feeling abandoned by the people that should love you the most is the worst feeling.  I don't wish that on anyone.  Loneliness has crept in.  I look around and want to change the house, bring in a breathe of fresh air, but what is the point?  We, God willing, won't be here that much longer.  But what if we are?  What if this house never sells?  What if we can't get financed for another house?  What ifs......they sneak up on you.......a person of fragile emotional bearing is very vulnerable to the "what ifs". 

God holds me up.  Every day I feel Him and I know that without Him I would be nowhere. Sometimes I need a little reassurance though.  A little earthly reminder that things are going to be ok.  I am trying to remember that sometimes you don't get that.........sometimes things that we can't control happen. 

A little change will do me good, and maybe a little more in a direction that can help our future.  Right now, there are so many variables.  I am thankful for the things we have and hope that the future is bright. 

Sometimes I just want to cry.........

Monday, January 03, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake Blanket - For Sale

I just finished making this adorable Strawberry Shortcake blanket.....and it is FOR SALE!

The design side is cotton print, the reverse is chenille.  It measures a generous 36 inches by 54 inches, perfect for a little girls toddler bed or as a throw for a bigger girl.  Price is $30 plus shipping, if necessary.

I am in love with it!  Don't despair for Abby, I have more Strawberry Shortcake material set aside to make something super cute for her :)

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Welcome to the New Year!

To start us off, a picture of my favorite little girl....
She is sporting a new sweater dress (Old Navy), new tights (Walmart - the heavy cotton ones), almost new boots (Pedipeds, she got them last month) and the new headband I finished knitting for her last night.  It is made from the same yarn as the cell phone case I showed pictures of in the last post.  Someone asked where I got the yarn.....I am fairly certain that is from Knit Picks because that is where I get almost all my yarn.  I have no idea what the coloring is called though as I have had it forever and the label wasn't on it anymore.  It is a sock yarn (and machine washable) if that helps :)
Trying to get organized this year.  I say that every year.  Some years are better than others.  Four children really aren't any harder than 2 or 3 but there is more of everything......more toys to put away, more clothes to wash, more hands to keep out of stuff, more people to take places.  In the end it takes more mental energy if nothing else and I don't really have any to spare :)  I bought the Motivated Moms planner this year.  I looked at it last year and regretted not getting it all year.  So far I've only used it 2 days but I am liking it.  Daily chores are listed for the whole week on the left (in the layout I got) and bigger chores are listed by day on the right.  Plenty of room to write in your own stuff (appts., etc). 

Looking forward to some changes this year.  I normally don't look forward to change, but this is a good one so I am taking it.  Lots going on here, so if you feel led please pray.  I will share as stuff happens :)

My sewing/knitting business is taking off.  I'm not rich yet :) but staying busy and I love it.  It gives me a reason to create.  Lots of plans in my head.  I visited the quilt shop for some fat quarters last week and came home with more ideas.  My priorities for MY stuff are: denim quilt for Lee, chenille quilt for Abby and a new diaper bag for me.  We will see how it goes while working on orders and packing, etc.  I am staying flexible!

God has been so close to me this year.  I am looking forward to another year of seeing what He has in store for us.  I hope that all of you have a wonderful year as well!