Sunday, August 31, 2008

In Case You're Bored (or interested)...

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I've been posting updates and pictures on our homeschool blog "Our Homeschool Creations" lately on what we're doing each week in school.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Winner of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine!!

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I scribbled painstakingly wrote each of your names out on a slip of paper, verified the number of entries, put them in a beautiful drawing basket (a.k.a. shape sorting bucket), and let my girls draw a name. Of course I could only go with the first name they drew - otherwise you all would be winners since they thought it was so much fun that they kept drawing names just to read them all.

I want to thank each one of you for stopping by and throwing your name in the bucket. I appreciate your visit and making this a fun contest for everyone.

So, without further ado, here is the lucky winner of the one year's subscription to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine digital edition:

Robin from Word of Truth Boy's Academy. Congratulations, Robin!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Maybe it's Just Me...

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...but this little doll scares the bejeevies out of me. And I keep finding her in random places all over our house, thanks to my children.

It might not be so bad if she didn't talk. And blink. And just....I can't quite put my finger on what it is about her that disturbs me so much.

And so help me if she starts talking in the middle of the night...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Change to the Chrysalis

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This is partly a wordless Wednesday post - but, I just have to say we saw this happen THREE times at our house today. We were even trying to rush one to our friends school for them to see, and ended up pulling over just to watch it all since it happens so quickly.

Each time I watch it I am amazed at how wonderfully creative our God is. The pictures might be a little cloudy through the container, but you have to see this little bug MOVE!! I kept my camera in the same spot once he started turning, so you are seeing how it all happened.

The "F" word

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Before you panic and run away from my blog, it's not that "f" word, but an equally nasty word in our house.


And it was spoken recently when a little friend came to visit. Round these parts, we like to use the more delicate word of "toot". You know, pretty it up a bit. It already stinks, so we might as well try to make it sound a little better, right?

The girls had a friend come and visit for the morning and at dinner that night our kids were talking and said the friend had farted on Laurianna's bed. And they giggled.

We had a little talk about how we don't like using that word (kids heard blah, blah, blah) and then we had to go round and round about why we don't like that word. Because you know there were a million questions.

"Why can't we say fart? Fart, fart, fart."

"But ______ said it, so I can say it too!"

"Fart, fart, fart."

Yes, the discussion went rather well, as you can see. Finally all the farty talk subsided and the girls went back to talking amongst themselves, Rick and I tried to carry-on something that resembled conversation and about 5 minutes later we heard Laurianna whisper to McKenna,

"It's the 'f' word!"

I about dropped my fork, because my brain had already gone so far past the prior conversation with our kids, and my mind was madly scrambling trying to figure out where in the world she would have heard the other word.

I ever-so-calmly (umm...not so much) asked her to repeat what she had just said, so she did. I asked her what she was talking about, and she replied, "The 'f' word is 'fart,' and the 's' word is 'stupid'."

Which is lovely, but I can just so picture my kids running down the aisle in church in the near future yelling, "_________ said the 'f' word, Mom!" and the stares that will follow that one.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Favorite Bible Verse

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Here's a good laugh for your Monday morning. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Let's Talk Chinese

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I swear (and no pun intended - well, ok, maybe a little) that we do not teach our children naughty words. In our house the "s" word is "stupid" and we are not supposed to say it. Of course the kids try to circumvent that lovely rule by saying, "You're the 's' word."

It's working well, it is.

The past few weeks we've been studying China in our geography lessons thanks to the Oympics and the girls have really been excited to learn how to write things in Chinese, eat Chinese food, learn all about the country...and they want to speak in Chinese.

To help them out, I put in a Chinese language CD from Chick-fil-A and let the kids listen to it in the car while we were out running errands. When we got home for lunch they decided that they were going to speak to each other in Chinese during the meal. With their vast knowledge of the language, they had it whittled down to two key words: Yes and No.

If you've read my previous post on this subject, you might recall that the Chinese word for "Yes" is "shi" and "No" is "Bu shi". When spoken these two words sound suspiciously a LOT like two words that one would not want to hear coming out of the mouths of young (or any) children. They are oblivious to how the words sound, or even what the other two words are or mean.

Lunch went a little something like this:

M: "Laurianna, would you like a sandwich."

L: "Shi."

L: "McKenna, would you like some more raisins?"

M: "Bu shi!"

And it went on and on and on. The voices of my children VERY loud and emphatic. Until I was hiding behind the kitchen counter trying not to laugh out loud and wondering how I could best divert the kids from their desire to learn a foreign language.

So, next week we are going to practice phrases like: "I love God" and "Jesus loves me". Or counting from 1-10. Anything other than "yes" and "no" thankyouverymuch.

And hopefully they will revert to a "Yes ma'am" and "No ma'am" shortly.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why Cupboard Locks Were Invented

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Our recent trip to New York and Kaleb's discovery of Grandma's cereal cupboard brings home the reminder of how lovely cupboard locks are.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Some Tidbits About Me (Or How I Might Bore You in Under 50 Questions)

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I've been tagged by a friend from college, Sara-Anne. She and I recently got back in touch via Facebook, a lovely, yet sadly addicting place to hang out - especially if you haven't chatted with many of your college friends in close to (gasp!) 15 years.

1. What time did you get up this morning? too early

2. Diamonds or pearls? diamonds

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Clifford's Big Movie (free movie, people!!)

4. What is your favorite TV show? Bones or House

5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Toast (my homemade bread, yum)

6. What is your middle name? You guess...and good luck, it's foreign and starts with a "D"

7. What food do you dislike? spam and velveeta

8. What is your favorite CD at moment? anything that keeps the kids happy and quiet in the car

9. What kind of car do you drive? Couldn't fit all the kids in a car if I tried - so, an Odyssey

10. Favorite sandwich? A good BLT

11.What characteristic do you despise? audible nail biting - is that a characteristic?

12. Favorite item of clothing? capris or a layering tank - not by themselves, of course

13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? a tour of Europe: Ireland, England, Italy, France.....wherever!

14. Favorite brand of clothing? anything cheap and flattering (love Anne Taylor Loft, especially when I find it at a bargain store!)

15.Where would you retire to? A lake/woodsy area

16.What was your most recent memorable birthday? memorable - ummm...I remember I turned 35, does that count?

17. Favorite sport to watch? anything boring on the weekends so I can nap well. :)

18. Furthest place you are sending this? Well, you'd all have to tell me where you are checking in from wouldn't you?

19. Person you expect to send it back first? no one really

20. When is your birthday? 5-23

21. Are you a morning person or a night person? lately a night person. Thank you Olympics

22. What is your shoe size? a whopping size 10. 9 1/2 if I am ever-so-lucky (and the shoe sizes lie)

23. Pets? none - Rick is allergic to cats

24. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? we are in the beginning process of building a new house!!!

25. What did you want to be when you were little? a teacher

26. How are you today? Thank the Lord SO much better than yesterday

27. What is your favorite candy? Kit Kat or Peppermint Patty

28. What is your favorite flower? Tulips

29. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? Labor Day Weekend - Graham Cooke is coming!

30. What is your favorite pastime? reading and scrapbooking

31. What are you listening to right now? the Olympic announcers

32. What was the last thing you ate? Chinese - we ordered out tonight

33. Do you wish on stars? that would be a nope

34. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? an unbroken green

35. How is the weather right now? Fairly warm today

36. The first person you spoke to on the phone today? My husband

37. Favorite soft drink? A lovely Dr. Pepper or a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee (I know, not soft drink, but luv, luv, luv them!)

38. Favorite restaurant? one in which I sit on a date with my hubby

39. Real hair color? dark brown

40. What was your favorite toy as a child? a doll of some sort

41. Summer or winter? Fall or spring. :)

42. Hugs or kisses? hugs, because my kids think kisses = let's lick Mommy

43. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate, with chocolate cookie chunks. The more chocolate the better

44. Coffee or tea? Coffee, please!

45. When was the last time you cried? This morning

46. What is under your bed? My wedding dress, the hiding wii fit, a portable crib and a digital drum set (not sure how that ended up there?)

47. What did you do last night? Olympics

48. What are you afraid of? Wrecking my car again...probably since I seem to have a past history that would suggest this could be a problem.

49. Salty or sweet? sweet

The Nose Picking Machine

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While driving around town today, McKenna asked rather thoughtfully:

"When we all get to heaven and Jesus gives us our new bodies, will He give us name tags too?"

(probably not, huh?)


We've been visiting Rick's family this last week and Zachary told us today that he was homesick.

awww...that's sweet, honey.

When I asked him what it means to be homesick, he said, "It means I have a headache."

On our way to church, McKenna was apparently busy concentrating on something rather ungodly: nosepicking.

"I wish that there was a machine that would be able to pick my nose that that I wouldn't get my fingers dirty."

Yes, that would be called a TISSUE!


Head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7 for some more Tiny Talk Tuesday.

Friday, August 15, 2008

In 3.2 Seconds Flat

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It never ceases to amaze me how things can go from fairly calm and normally functioning to completely off the wall in no time at all.

I was still basking in the mommy-glow, all proud of Kaleb because he was sorting toys today. All by himself. I was rather impressed that he picked non-Duplos out of the Duplo box, put them in the other toy basket and then picked up his room (while Zachary was running around avoiding that chore of his).

But he, being 20 months, actually sorted his toys. Impressive, no?

Even moreso impressive, my oldest three seemed to be contendedly playing together. Little did I know that they had discovered Zachary's old potty seat high up on the shelves in the basement, climbed up and pulled it down and had it set up as a port-a-potty of sorts in the boy's room.

Unfortunately I discovered this only after McKenna had decided it would be fun to use it for some, ummm...rather stinky business.

Just makes a momma proud, it does.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Last Names

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While sitting around painting today and talking about relatives (after an extended family reunion this last weekend) the question pops up...

"What were Adam and Eve's last name?"

You got me there. Not a clue how to answer that one.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Walking the Dog

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One of my recent favorite pictures of our little bug.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The If Onlys

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As a mom there are many times at the end of my day when I look back at my day with the kids and start the "if onlys".

If only I hadn't yelled at them.

If only I had reacted differently.

If only I laughed more.

If only I spent more time with the kids.

If only I sat down with them when they asked.

If only I had disciplined them differently.

If only I had encouraged them more.

So many if onlys. And they can be crippling. Horribly so. To the point There are times I feel that I have somehow done irreversible damage to my children. That they will be scarred emotionally, in therapy for years, and it will be all my fault because of one (or more) of those "if onlys".

Recently I was reading a book by Tracie Peterson called A Lady of Secret Devotion. At the end of the book there was one part that literally brought me to tears and just put so much into focus for me. I love it when God finds little, unexpected ways to speak to our hearts!

"I wish I could go back in time and do things differently."

"But perhaps if that were the case, we'd only make new mistakes and suffer other kinds of sorrow...I think we're probably better off putting our focus and efforts

"I'm sure your right...I must fight against the regret that would see me defeated. I cannot change what has happened, but it needn't separate me from a happy future."

(emphasis mine - p. 362).

The regret that would see me defeated. The lies that the enemy would have me believe. Trying to cripple me in my relationship with God and my relationship with my family.

Because those lies, those regrets, do not belong and have no hold over me as I am a child of the King. I need to lay those "if onlys" down each and every day - the moment they try to pull me down.

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not percieve it? I am making a way in the desert and astreams in the wasteland."
Isaiah 43: 18-19

My Father goes before me - each and every day. Bringing life into a place that is dry and thirsty. Creating an oasis for me. An abundance that will spring up and spill over into my family. No "ifs" - only Him.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Giveaway!!

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A few months ago I purchased a digital subscription to The Old Schoolhouse magazine. I love it so much, that one of you lucky ladies will win a full year's subscription to it!!

Are you interested? Keep reading to see how you can win your own digital subscription to this great magazine.

I have had quite a few magazine subscriptions over the years and inevitably they end up piling up on my end tables, get shoved in drawers, thrown away (gasp!), or sadly find themselves hiding under a bed somewhere. When The Old Schoolhouse magazine went digital, I subscribed right away. It's all about convenience at times, isn't it?

Each digital issue features everything that the paper version features - and MORE!! Rather than having to dog-ear pages of my magazine, tear out articles, or find storage space for past issues, I can now:

  • link immediately to URL's and emails that are mentioned in articles or advertisements (This is one of my favorite features! While going through the summer issue I found even more sites to visit...and here I am on vacation browsing through my issue).

  • save the issue directly to my hard drive to look at whenever I want to

  • access archived issues

  • share articles by emailing them to friends

  • print pages and articles that are important to me

  • search articles for specific words or phrases - and find them all with the click of a button!

The digital version of The Old Schoolhouse magazine has other great benefits too. The paper version of the magazine is $25, but the digital version is only $16.95 (that would be a savings of 32%). Each issue of TOS magazine is delivered right to your inbox - no more waiting around for the next issue to arrive. As soon as it's available, you have it. There are four quarterly issues and also 19 FREE digital gifts.

I've been browsing through my Summer '08 issue of TOS and here are just a few of the many things offered in this issue:

  • Teaching your children to love reading

  • Great product reviews

  • Adoption: domestic and international stories

  • Teaching the special needs child

  • Working with gifted children

  • Unit Studies: flight and aviation

  • Contests (need I say more?)

  • Real Science: Intelligent Design and Creationism

  • Current legal issues in homeschooling

  • Handling attention challenges in children

  • and these are just a small glimpse of the scope of the articles!
As an added bonus, subscribers to The Old Schoolhouse digital magazine also receive The Teacher's Toolbox, an additional monthly resource delivered right to your inbox that supplements the magazine. It includes bonus downloadable items, ideas for field trips, teaching ideas and encouragement for homeschool families.

Honestly, I can't say enough how much I am enjoying my subscription to The Old Schoolhouse magazine. While every article might not apply to me, I have gleaned so much information from it, and love that I can always access past issues at the touch of a button.

Are you ready to win a FREE YEAR??

If you would like to win a one-year subscription of the digital Old Schoolhouse magazine, here's what you can do:

Chance #1. Leave a comment on this post (or on the duplicate post on Homeschool Creations blog). Please be sure to let me know how to get in touch with you - if you comment as "anonymous" it makes it a little difficult to find you. :) Leaving an email or blog address makes it much easier to find you. And an entry on both sites is perfectly fine...and each will count as a separate entry, so go visit my other blog too!

Chance #2. Get your name in an extra time by posting a quick little blurb about this giveaway on your own blog. Be sure to let me know so that I can come and visit you also! If you have more than one blog and want to post it on them all, be my guest!

Chance #3. If you send someone over to enter the contest, tell them to let me know who sent them when they leave a comment and you will earn an extra entry. Refer away!

This contest will run for the next 2 weeks and a winner will be drawn on Wednesday, August 27th, so feel free to pass along the information to others.

The Schoolhouse Planner Review

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I was recently sent a copy of The Schoolhouse Planner to review and post about to all my bloggy friends. I'd been eyeing this lovely little planner since before it was even released.

image courtesy of TOS

Me and my love for organization. The love of forms, forms, and much more. And those loves have not been disappointed.

This planner is amazingly comprehensive. Think of a form that you might wish for in a planner and more than likely it is already contained in the 247 page e-book that you download for $34.95 from the Schoolhouse Store. It comes as an interactive pdf file that comments and markups can be added to and data can also be typed and saved into the various forms.

Very nice.

The Schoolhouse Planner starts out with a calendars so that you can view your school year at a glance. Each month of the school year comes with various resources that include recipes for easy dinners, articles for homeschool families on a wide variety of topics and resource lists with quick web links. There are also an unbelievable amount of forms for homeschool planning and household organization (73 to be exact, but who's counting?).

A glimpse into the forms provided for homeschooling:

  • annual plans and goals
  • curriculum planning
  • grading tools
  • weekly planning
  • craft, field trip and activities logs
  • website log
  • nature journal and science lab sheet
  • and so much more...

And forms for household organization:

  • housekeeping reminders and schedules
  • important contact infomation
  • babysitter guide
  • menu planners and pantry inventory
  • chore charts (for kids and adults)
  • budget and financial sheets
  • address book
  • gardening plans
  • prayer journals
  • guided Bible reading
  • and more!

I was truly amazed by the completeness of the topics and articles covered. I never expected to have a copy of the Bill of Rights, Emancipation Proclamation or the Declaration of Independence in a planner...and those are just a few of the many "quick lists" of information available. Articles that are included in the planner (once a month) cover topics such as unit studies, teaching writing, solving science struggles, and chore training tips.

If you would like to see a peek of the planner you can follow this link and it will give you a little teaser of what you will be getting. The Schoolhouse Planner is divided into three main sections: monthly plans, homeschool forms, and household forms.

The great thing about this planner is you can print off only what you need or want to use. The forms will always be available to you whenever you choose. Using this planner along with your printer and a binder will enable you to pull so much together in your household and have it located in one convenient place.

And if you don't hear from me in the next little bit, it's more than likely because I am printing off forms and having far too much fun organizing!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cardboard Testimony

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I saw this video on youtube the other day and all I can say is ... is so amazing to be a part of God's family and see how He loves on each one of us!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Capturing the Love

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A few days after our tenth anniversary, a friend of ours was in town and we got together with her to take pictures of just Rick and I.

Because the last decent picture that involved the two of us in quiet bliss existed in the realm of B.C. - before children.

We snuck away for about an hour and despite my husband's belief that he doesn't do well taking pictures, Lisa took some amazing shots of us (check her out at Destination Photography). Sorting through the many pictures is taking some time, because there are too many that we really, really like. And just not enough wall space to put them all!

Other than having a recent picture I just wanted something that would show IT.


That after 10 years of marriage and 4 kids...there would be something that captured just a moment for us. The fun in our relationship.

The night after our shoot, Lisa emailed me a little "preview" of the pictures to come and I seriously sat at the computer and cried happy tears. Because everything that I had hoped we would have as a result of our time with her was completely pulled together in this one photo:

It's us. Having fun. Remembering how it all began years ago...just the two of us. Capturing the love.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Moment of Calm

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Really - what is there to say?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Speaking with an Accent...

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Over the last month, I've been reading The Secret Garden to the girls. I found a great audio version, radio theatre actually, put out by Focus on the Family that I had for them to listen to after we finished reading together.

We haven't finished it yet, but I caved anyway and let them listen to it when we had a long car ride the other day.

Several of the characters in the book speak with a Yorkshire accent, so of course on the theatre version they also do.

After hearing Ben Weatherstaff, the gardener, start talking, I overheard McKenna tell Laurianna, "Hey! Ben is speaking in an oyster accent too!"

That one got an outright laugh.

Head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7 for some more cute kiddo talk.

Monday, August 4, 2008

My One Year Blogiversary

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It's been almost one year of blogging for this momma! This special occassion calls for a CELEBRATION!!

I'm pulling together some giveaways for you all - and I'll post more on that soon! I'm also working on a new "face" for my blog too - so don't be surprised if you log on soon and see a different look.

Stay tuned!

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