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Monday, March 28, 2011

Goal Planning Monday 3/28/11

It's been a rough... while.  And a full month since I've blogged.  A lot's happened since then.  Not all bad, just busy.  Some bad, some that makes me sick to think about, some that just makes me wonder about the future of humanity in general. While pondering the Great Questions of Life, though, I'm going to try to get back into the swing of things, starting with Goal Planning Monday courtesy of Mama Manuscripts!

My Goals for This Week:

1.  Get out of bed BEFORE the kids.  Does wonders.

2.  Recommit a portion of my day to study and meditation on the Word.  I'm so so so very bad about this.  :( 

3.  Blog.  At least every other day, preferably every day. 

4.  Get off of the computer more and walk the kids through their studies, especially with their writing.  

5.  Evaluate and journal about... many things.  Many, many things the Lord has laid upon my heart in the last week or two.  I need to pray and figure them out.  See where He's leading me.  

Lots going on in my head this week.  I'm going to try to get it all down.  Stick with me! 

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal 2/28/2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week...   Today is my Daddy's birthday!  Happy Birthday Daddy!  I also found some good friends that I haven't seen in FOREVER on Facebook!  This particular couple introduced my husband and I.  I'm looking forward to catching up with them.  

In our homeschool this week...  We're keepin' on keepin' on!!  We did start purposefully doing memory work this week.  We're using the Scripture Memory System from Simply Charlotte Mason to help us keep track.  We're using it for everything, not just Scripture work.  Took me a couple of hours to set it up (printing off the cards, cutting them out, ect., then copying what I wanted onto index cards), but it was worth it.  :)  

Places we're going and people we're seeing...  Not planning on getting out this week.  Hopefully. ;-)  Didn't get out last week, either.  Some weeks, you just gotta stay home and chill.  I did go to Dairy Queen last night, does that count?  

My favorite thing this week was...  Seeing how much the kids LOVED their new Latin!  They're really picking it up rather quickly, too, I'm surprised.  Right now, it's just primarily vocabulary, so we've added what we're learning to our memory box, just to make sure it sticks. ;-)  

What's working/not working for us...  I'm having my reservations about CQLA.  I'm thinking, though, now that LA time is behind us a few hours, that it's not the curriculum, it's the lack of preparation they have in grammar and writing.  :(  I really feel I've let them down in this regard.  I know that they're young, though, and it's not too late to fix it and catch them up.  It does drive me up a wall when I have to go over basics every. single. day, though.  Like indenting.  Apparently, my kids are allergic to indenting paragraphs.  (((pulling out hair...)))

The other thing we're having, um, "issues" with is computer work.  You might remember my post on it a while back.  Well, I'm still a HUGE advocate, but we're getting to the point where we want to be on it ALL of the time.  Actually, we want screen time, period.  If it's not computer time, they want to watch a movie (we don't have TV, just movies).  So, we're cutting back on it.  Their spelling, vocab, and typing will be just fine until I detox them a bit, and can introduce them back slowly, with the computer being a tool, not a toy. 
Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...  There is so much out there.  So many theories, philosophies, ideas.  It's so overwhelming.  Touting one particular philosophy as the gospel truth within homeschooling circles doesn't help, either.  I guess I'm still feeling bad about the kids not doing so hot in grammar.  I feel like I could've, and should've, pushed them a bit more when they were younger, but everyone said to wait, slow down, use gentle learning...  Maybe I could've avoided this.  Maybe not.  I dunno.  

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...  

Do you have one of those kids who, no matter what you recommend, is sure he'll just HATE it?  My 8 year old is like that.  I've been trying to get him to read about King Arthur forever, sure he'd adore it.  He decided that since Mom wanted him to read it so badly, it must be horrible.  I finally put my foot down and made him crack the book.  ;-)  Guess what?  He loves it.  ((sigh)) So... this is for him. :) 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Vision Forum giveaway from Modest Mom!!

Great news!! The Modest Mom is giving away a set of the new Family Strategies audio messages from Vision Forum!! These 20 audio messages from Doug and Beall Phillips will be sent directly to your in box for you to listen to, and they include such topics as:

How to Organize Your Home to Promote Family Unity
How to Cultivate a Love of Reading with Your Children
How to Make Mealtime Meaningful
How to Prepare for a Year of Home Education
How to Take Children Safely Through an Airport
How to Involve the Whole Family in Family Worship
How to Address the Plague of “Jive Talk” in Your Home
How to Encourage Masculinity in Sons
How to Encourage Femininity in Daughters
How to Handle a Social Worker Visit
How to Wage War on Sibling Rivalry
How to Use Household Decorations to Teach Character
How to Talk to Your Children about Miscarriage
How to Involve the Whole Family in Hospitality
How to Build an Entrepreneurial Spirit in Your Children
How to Watch a Movie As a Family
How to Cultivate a Love of Meaningful Poetry with Your Children, and Why Doing So Is Important
How to Prepare Your Children to Listen to a Symphony
How to Take a Road Trip with Your Family
How to Select the Best Locations for Family Vacations

If you are a Christian parent living in the twenty-first century, you need to think strategically about your family. Settling for the priorities and practices of the world is a proven formula for disaster. As parents, we must do more than settle. We must self-consciously choose. This requires strategic biblical thinking. It means self-consciously building your family culture. And whether the subject is entertainment choices, home décor, travel, music in the home, or dealing with antagonistic relatives, it means that wise, Scripturally-informed parents must think creatively as they aggressively engage impediments and obstacles to success.

Hurry and join this giveaway, it ends Sunday night, February 28!!

To check out Vision Forum and their other wonderful products, click this link or my affiliate button to the right. :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Homeschool Snips & Tips Wednesday 2/23/2011

OK, here's my Homeschool Snips and Tips tip for this week:

If you've got a larger than average family, or even if you're just homeschooling more than one, or are thinking about it, chances are you're going to get overwhelmed at some point.  Think about it:  I've got six kiddos.  So far.  All but 2 of them (the twins) are different ages.  All are going to be at different levels at some point.  Try as hard as I did to keep my oldest two on the same "level," they had other plans, and now one is pulling ahead in one area, the other in another... ((sigh))

But, if I tried to plan 6 different classes, for 6 different kids, at 6 different levels--I'd seriously lose my mind.  

I figured out early on (thank goodness) that I was going to have to find something that simplified our school.  I could NOT have 6 different sciences, histories, language arts, ect, going on, and still manage to keep my brain on straight. We absolutely had to be on the same page.

After much, much, MUCH searching, researching, and asking around, we settled on
Tapestry of Grace. It was perfect for us. There are many products similar to Tapestry of Grace out there, but this is by far my favorite. Let me tell you why:

1. I'm an avid reader. I'm the kid who would drive everyone nuts by not letting go of the cereal box in the morning until I had read every. single. thing on it, just because it was there. BUT... I hated reading in school. Reading short stories out of those readers seemed so pointless to me. And, frankly, the stories were boring, and, if they did happen to be out of good books, there was only a snippet of the story. Reading real, classic, wonderful literature, in whole books form, is much, much, SO much better! My kids enjoy reading, and it's not a "class," it's a way of life.

2. A chronological study of history. Let me just say... I hated history. I mean despised it. I told my husband very early on that he would be the one teaching it, since he loved it so much.

I've since changed my mind. ;-)

The way I learned history, and the way most American schoolchildren do, was disjointed. You start with social studies, then maybe jump to American History, then perhaps to modern events, then back to world history, then back for at least another year of American, perhaps a year of government, if you're lucky, and you go to a good school, maybe some political science...

It didn't make sense to me. We jumped all over the map. When I started schooling my own kids, I knew I just couldn't do that.

Eventually, I learned about a chronological study of history. That makes SO much more sense to me!! Now, we're seeing the big picture. It flows, like a story. And children, especially young children, they "get" that.

4. Different children learn in different ways. Some are visual, some are hands-on, some are auditory. Most are a combination of all, but no one is exactly the same combination. Tapestry of Grace provides resources and activities, from Lapbooks to teacher's notes to help you lecture, to video and book resources, it's all there to make sure that everyone is covered. That's really, REALLY important when you've got a houseful of learners you need to teach.

5. K-Mom teaching. Every day, I realize how much I missed with my own education. I have to relearn a lot. Things I either forgot, or never learned to begin with. With Tapestry of Grace, that's expected. They understand, and they've provided a bunch of resources to help you do just that, from the teacher's notes included in your week plan, to Tapestry Teachers Training (which I HIGHLY recommend, by the way!!).

There's so much more that I could say about Tapestry of Grace, and I probably will, in another post, but my main focus of this one is to find a curriculum that makes your life easier, not harder. That's what Tapestry of Grace does for us. It's been an absolute lifesaver for our homeschool. Without a doubt, I would crash and burn without it.

You can Explore Tapestry of Grace for free by clicking the link and using a free, 3 week sample. Enjoy!!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Goal Planning Monday 2/21/2011


So, I've decided to participate in Goal Planning Monday though Mama Manuscripts, mostly because I could use the accountability. ;-)  So, here are my goals for this week:

1.  Blog daily.

2.  Get the laundry caught up.  Again.

3.  Finish watching the Tapestry Teacher Training DVDs.  

4.  Read The Core by Leigh A. Bortins (and actually finish it!!).

5.  Get up and have a private, quiet time with God and a cup of something hot every morning.  (I'm definitely a sleep person... this one will be hard.)  Gonna work on this for a month straight, until it's a habit.  

So, what are your goals for the week?  Head over to Mama Manuscripts and link up!  


♥ Daddy and his girls ♥

The Homeschool Mother's Journal 2/21/2011

In my life this week...    I've been incredibly busy.  More on that in a moment, but I know that I've been behind in my blog, and I promise to get caught up this week! 

In our homeschool this week...    We got our Tapestry of Grace and all of our books for this unit in the mail last Monday!!!  ((happy dancing!!))  Which is why I've been MIA on here.  If you use Tapestry, you know that it's NOT an open and go curriculum.  Unfortunately, the kids wanted to open and go.  So, I spent the better part of last week getting the kids used to their new Math U See, lots of drilling, teaching them about CQLA, starting our new Apologia Botany book, and then adding Tapestry into there, too, because they were dying to.  I was quite busy.  

My dear, wonderful, beautiful Katie has decided that the books we get with the Upper Grammar level of TOG are just not enough for her.  :-P  She sped through them at the speed of light already.  For the whole unit.  (Thankfully, I only bought a unit at  a time, or else she'd have read through the whole years worth!!)  So, we're onto ordering (or dreaming about, at least) the alternate resources and the Dialectic level books.  I loving having such avid readers!!  I do wish it wasn't so expensive, though... 

Places we're going and people we're seeing...  We went into Wichita this weekend, hoping to find a used bookstore to help support Katie's reading habit. :-p  We found the most WONDERFUL bookstore, although it's not all used (some is, some isn't) that is just right up our alley!!  Eighth Day Books is a book lover's PARADISE, and a homeschooling mother trying to educate her children with a classical philosophy could just totally and completely get lost in there.  (And did... until her beloved kept texting her to hurry up.  I promised to be back, though!!)  We're going to be there quite a bit, I do believe. :) 

My favorite thing this week was...  Seeing the kids get so excited at starting new stuff!

What's working/not working for us...  Spencerian Penmanship.  Well, for my son at least.  My daughter is doing SO well on it.  Patrick, however, despises it.  DH came and put the foot down, and we're switching back to A Reason For Handwriting.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...  How do you decide when your child's ready to move up into the Logic or Dialectic level?  One minute I think Katie's there one minute, gone the next.  She's definitely in that transitional stage, I think.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

We're learning about Ancient China this week.  Thought you might enjoy learning along with us! 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fixing the College Debt Crisis

Here's a very nicely done video passed on to me about fixing the college debt crisis.  In other words, not coming out of college tens of thousands of dollars in debt due to student loans.  Hope you enjoy!!  The young lady who created it is in a contest.  Whoever gets the most watches on YouTube wins an ipad.  What a wonderful graduation gift for this young lady!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

HP Photosmart Printer Giveaway!!!

Hey guys, I've got a new giveaway to tell y'all about!

"@paperandcake is giving away an HP Photosmart Printer! Go enter to win!"

Go check it out, enter to wind, and let me know if you do!!  

Friday, February 11, 2011


It's snow, not sand. ;-)  I played with the sand/snow setting on my camera.  What do you guys think?

Projects from Mommytography's 365 Project

Mommytography has a BUNCH of really neat challenges on their Mommytography 365 Project blog. Here's one I'm going to be joining:

The point is to find a creative way to display the particular shape for the challenge. This one is a heart. :)

 Yes, that's hair. ;-)  Katie just loves the Valentine's Day heart hairstyles we get from different places.  (This one is from Adopt A Do, very cute stuff over there, and even a YouTube Channel for tutorials. :))  She asks me to do them all the time, and today was the perfect day for one. :) 

The next project I'm going to feature is Literature to Life.

OK, this is actually a pretty heavy passage. If you read it from the beginning of the chapter, it's talking about the blessings we receive when we are obedient to God.

If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on eary.  All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:

You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.
The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock--the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.
You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.

Deuteronomy 28:1-6

OK, so that's the context.  The next question is:  What does this verse mean to me?  

Does it mean that my life will be one of ease, if only I'm obedient?  Of course not.  Christ was obedient to the Law, the only One who ever was, and His life was far from easy.  So what is God telling me here?

I've been pondering this all week, and today I had to go grocery shopping.  As I was unpacking my groceries, I was praising God for the ability to buy them.  A few months ago, we seriously didn't have a dime to our name.  My beloved had been laid off this past summer.  He was working with a man we knew, contractor work, but wasn't getting paid much, for many different reasons.  We had to suck up our pride and go on food stamps.  It was a heartbreaking decision.  We were on SNAP for 5 months.  We were humiliated.  But, we were also humbled.  Things that mattered SO much before, didn't matter at all now.  It was no longer that we couldn't afford a new TV, new mattress, video game system.  We couldn't afford toilet paper.  We were seriously that broke.  

So, what does this verse say to me?  Not that times will be easy, but that God will provide, through my obedience to Him.  We might not have had a dime to spare, but we did have food.  And shelter.  Because we had been convicted to become debt free, we had bought our tiny little trailer on contract, and it was paid off shortly after my husband lost his job.  Trust me, people are much more willing to help when your expenses are as low as they can possibly be already.  Our van was also paid off, and we were already living very frugally, trying our best to become good stewards of our money. 

Eventually, God provided a new home, a new job, and a new community for us.  And the following photograph represents how much God has blessed us, how he's refilled our basket and kneading trough.

We have been blessed enough now that we no longer need food stamps!!  We never renewed our benefits, and we're paying for all of our own food now. :)  All of our bills, all of our curriculum, all of our...everything!  What a blessing to be self-sufficient!!  

And God, in His goodness, even provides a little bit extra.  ;-)  When He fills your bowls and troughs, he doesn't just fill them, he makes them overflow!!  Notice the Sonic cup?  Not a necessity, but just a little treat. 

My King is just amazing!! 

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week...  we've been busy busy BUSY!!  Running here and there, snapping photos, burning CDs, running ragged!

In our homeschool this week...  we're getting ready to start school again!  Well, we never really stopped, but we've been piecing it together as we went.  Most of our curriculum is in, so we've been getting ready, organizing, and gathering supplies.

Places we're going and people we're seeing...  WalMart.  And Hobby Lobby.  And JoAnn's.  A lot.

My favorite thing this week was...  taking all of the pictures of my babies for Mommytography 365.  I don't have NEARLY enough photos of all of my babies!!  

What's working/not working for us...  our schedules and routines.  Gotta get better on sticking to them, and thinking I might have to rework them slightly. 

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...  while I'm sure it's possible to homeschool for free or for cheap, sometimes, it saves a lot in the long run to just put out the money and get what you need.  I wish we had done years ago what we're doing now.  Things would be running much more smoothly.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...  While I can't recommend *every* video put out on this YouTube channel (for instance, while the Cleopatra video is great, there's some barely dressed women at the end of it...), this one is pretty good. It's basically a history lesson put to pop music (this is Gwen Stefani's Harajuku Girls), and, while we don't listen to that, my kids have really taken to the videos.  :)  They're purely secular in nature, though, so be aware.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


OK, so I wasn't exactly going for this... I was trying to get one of my sweet twins hugging and kissing on each other like they love to do (when they're not throwing things and beating on each other, that it...)  But, they weren't having it tonight.  Instead, Delaeney wanted to investigate my camera up close and personally, and this is what we ended up with.  Ain't she a doll??

Pslams for the Grieving Heart

Three years ago today, a dear, sweet MOMYS lost her precious little one, Emily.  I remember when it happened.  I had just gotten into the large family message board "circuit," if you will, and immediately was hearing about Amy and Emily.  I was pregnant with my Sean, and remember crying for days.  As I got to know Amy via the boards, and now her blog and Facebook, I realized what a sweet soul she is, and imagine what a sweet soul Emily was.  I look forward to meeting her in Heaven.

Today is the third anniversary of Emily's death.  God called Amy to write this beautiful 30-day devotional for grieving families called Pslams for the Grieving Heart, and now, she's giving it away for free.  You can download it at her blog, Raising Arrows.  Amy is an incredibly gifted writer, and I encourage any who are grieving in this season of their lives, to take this offer.

The Homekeeper's Journal--2/10/11

In My Kitchen this week ………  We're going to be growing herbs!  Just as soon as I figure out how!!  LOL  The kid's Botany textbook from Apologia came in yesterday, and one of the projects is to grow herbs to make soap with.  We'll be getting some pots, peat moss, ect. this weekend to start.  I'm thinking Lavender, but does anyone else have any ideas of what herbs go well in soap?

Foremost in my thoughts this week ……..  School.  With ordering all of our books and getting them all in, self-doubts are always right around the corner.  Is this what will work?  Or did I just blow a BUNCH of money for nothing?  ((sigh))

I’ve been so busy with ……..  Learning to scrapbook!  We're beginning to scrapbook to learn in our school, and it always helps if Mommy knows what she's doing.  Which I don't.  So I'm learning to scrapbook to learn... it's a never ending cycle. ;-)

Could someone please ……..  put a Starbucks in Ellsworth?  I could really use one.

I’ve been wanting to do this for so long ……..  Take the kids to Disney.  I'm wondering if Patrick would be willing to try to hit the Ultimate Homeschool Field Trip this year? 

If I manage things just right ……..  I might make it to the end of the week without losing my mind!  ;-)  But probably not. 

February's Fantastic Finds

Today's Fantastic Find for February is Funnix!

Funnix is a reading program developed in part by Seigfried Englemann, author of such reading curriculum "classics" as Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Reading Mastery, and Horizons. I haven't read Reading Mastery or Horizons, but ...100 Easy Lessons is a very gentle approach to reading, although, truth be told, it can be very dry. I don't know anyone who's actually made it to Lesson 100, although if you do, you're reading at a 2nd grade level.

So, Funnix is developed after those programs, and is computer based. MUCH better, since we found ...100 Easy Lessons so dry, and my kids just love Computer Time! It's still a very gentle approach, teaching kids slowly through their letters, sounds, and writing, and teaching them the basics of reading left to right.

Each kid is going to be different. I started my first two on ...100 Easy Lessons way too early, and we bombed it. I figured I wouldn't start Sean until he was 6 or 7, maybe 5, if he seemed interested. But, Funnix was offering a free download of their $249 program through the month of January. Since it was free, I downloaded it. Sean wanted to start right away! And for an almost-4-year old, he's doing quite well! I was shocked. The program will definitely work with later learners, too, and with those who are older, but have difficulty reading.

is a large download--2 GB. I mean, it's huge. It comes with 3 different programs, Lessons 1-40, Lessons 41-120, and Funnix 2, plus PDF downloads of 2 workbooks and a Teacher's Manual.

Funnix has lowered their prices, which makes it MUCH more affordable to everyone! What would have cost you $286 before (the $249 Funnix program, plus two optional workbooks), now will cost you only $42.50! But, they're reworking the site. It should be up in a couple of weeks again.

I strongly recommend Funnix. It's a sound program to help a parent give their child a strong foundation in their reading.

Life in a Shoe Giveaway... Homestead Dryer Rack!!

Big families can incur big expenses.  Expenses that smaller families take for granted.  We think of things that smaller families might not.  (Or, should I say, we now think of things that I didn't even bother to think about when I had 2 babies!)  One of those things is laundry.  Specific to this giveaway:  dryers.

Dryers are EXPENSIVE to run.  Especially when you're running one every day, for at least 1, maybe 2-4 loads a day.  Depending on who's sick, and who's potty trained, or who's potty training.  Yeah, you get my drift.

So I LOVE when blogs give away something to make my life easier and cheaper.  We do have a clothesline, but it's February in Kansas.  Not happening.  Enter:  Homestead Dryer racks!!  Go check out this awesome post and giveaway at Life in a Shoe, and make sure you enter!  I swear, even if I don't win, I might have to get me some of these...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

365-40/Wordless Wednesday

Homeschool Snips and Tips-- 2/9/11

My tip for this weekly link-up is: Computer time!!

Every kid has something they struggle with. For my Katie, it's math, hands down. She is having a heck of a time memorizing her math facts. It's really holding up her math. Drill is fine, and good, and we do drill routinely... but drill gets really old.

My Danny is scary-smart about computers. Really, he's like evil-genius smart when it comes to technology. When he was mad at us, he made his way into my DOS system on my laptop, and would've probably crashed me somehow, if Patrick hadn't stopped him. We're teaching him to use his powers for good instead of evil.

Sean is quite obviously a visual learner. The kid can remember just about anything... if he can see it. If you're telling him, it's in one ear and out the other.

What do all three of those have in common?? They all use computers to help them learn!!

My kids have their own computer. We just got it, rather cheaply. It's an HP laptop, and we paid about $380 for it at Best Buy. (Seriously, if you're going to get your kids a computer, do you want a top of the line, all the bells and whistles one?? Probably not, because, as responsible as they may be... they're still just kids.) When we got it home, they weren't allowed on it for about a day and a half. Why? Because Mommy was "customizing" it. ((insert evil laughter here))

I put on a trial version of Safe Eyes, for one. Like I said, I have an evil genius who has also learned to upload videos of himself to Youtube and sign into and buy downloads from Amazon. Yeah, we need security. I'm not sure about Safe Eyes yet. I think I just really don't know how to use it. I've got to explore more. It would be great to hear what you all use, too!

After I did that, I downloaded any software I wanted. We're not using Teaching Textbooks anymore, it didn't work well for us. But, I wanted some math on there, and Katie needs something to help her learn her facts. We decided on Math Rider for that. We also downloaded Mavis Beacon Typing onto their computer. Now they don't have to take my computer as soon as I'm into something to finish school!!

I didn't add Sean's stuff onto the kids' computer, because I have to be sitting right there doing it with him, anyway. He is using Funnix to learn to read. I wasn't planning on teaching him how for at least another year, but Funnix was free to download in January, so we got it, and he wanted to try it right away. That was the end of that, and he's truckin' along now!

The next thing I did with the kids' computer was to bookmark the things I wanted them on, and block the things I don't. They're not allowed on Amazon, YouTube, or Facebook, for example. They are allowed on a bunch of educational sites, and Katie has a membership to Always Ice Cream (a safe, educational games site for girls... if you check it out, please use the friendship code "SunC99Amazing". Katie gets more $coops to spend if you do!). In my next post, I'll be listing a big list of educational websites for you to try. I also bookmarked the Tapestry of Grace Loom, so that they can try the sites out there.

I bookmarked the ones I wanted the kids on, and explained the rules. One of our rules is that the kids are ONLY allowed on the sites that I have bookmarked. If you use computers for learning, make SURE your kids know, understand, and FOLLOW internet safety rules. Also, we never, EVER allow our children to have the computer or a smartphone while they're alone. They are only allowed to use them in a common area (such as the living room), never in a bedroom or other private place. Do I think they're looking up bad things now? Of course not, they're young. But... they won't be young and innocent forever, and it's best now to develop good accountability habits, rather than wait for something to happen.

I know a lot of people don't like to use computers with their schooling. For us, it's a wonderful tool. As the Maxwells on say (and I'm paraphrasing...), the internet is not going anywhere. It's best to teach our kids well, and teach them early, how to use it as a tool, and use it responsibly.

Besides which... now they're not bugging me to use mine! ;-)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Branch Of Wisdom

I'm starting a new weekly post, thanks to A Homemaker's Heart. Counting your blessings is always a good thing, and something we're trying to instill in our kids. Patrick and I have realized that we can be amazingly discontented with God's provision... it's something we are working hard on. So, to help me along, here we go...

My blessings:

1. My beloved husband, who I've been married to since St. Patrick's Day, 10 years ago.

2. My beautiful firstborn, Katie, who is joy to my heart and sunshine to my soul.

3. My amazing son, Patrick (or Danny... depending on who you're talking to...), who is a constant source of entertainment.

4. My sweet little Sean... it's hard to get more adorable than him.

5. Beautiful Caeleigh, who I get to know more and more deeply every day.

6. My bubble of laughter Delaeney, and her monkey-faced smile.

7. Precious little Liam, our sweet baby boy, and his sweet baby kisses.

8. Having a warm home to be in and to come home to.

9. Having an amazing man who actually does come home every night, and isn't out running around. He enjoys being a family man, and I know we are not just the center of his world, but we ARE his world.

10. Tax returns. :) Need I say more?

Every week, I'll post 10 new blessings. I hope you enjoy them, and consider joining me!


The first of my Mommytography photos!   (Yes, I realize I forgot yesterday.  Had eye doc appts for 3 of the 6... took MUCH longer than I thought it would!!)

One of my 6 favorite subjects... Liam!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mommytography 365

 I am participating in the 2011 Mommytography 365 Project! For this year long project I will be posting an image a day, to get me out shooting, using my camera and learning new things with it daily. Anyone interested in photography can join, no need to be a Mommytographer. We have teens to adults, male and female, as well as people from all over the world. Come join the fun!

With our tax return, we decided it would be much more cost effective to get me an awesome camera than to keep trying to afford family pictures done professionally.  Plus, then I'll have an awesome camera to take pics for my blogs (another one of which will be starting soon, so stay tuned!).  So, we got ourselves a Nikon Coolpix p100, and I'm off!!  Downloading software, playing with effects... I'm having fun. :)  So, when I saw this, I thought it looked like tons of fun.  Come back and see my pics every day, starting tomorrow! 

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Modest Mom Giveaway--Supermom Vitamins!!

Caroline over at The Modest Mom is hosting yet another fabulous giveaway!!  This time, it's a prize pack from Beeyoutiful, maker of SuperMom Vitamins (a FAVORITE of mine!).  The prize pack includes:

SuperMom Vitamins
Liquid Chlorophyl
Miracle Salve

It looks like an awesome Giveaway...  Make sure to head over to The Modest Mom to check it out!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Children's Book Review and Giveaway-- Billy Blue the Caribou

See, I promised y'all a book review, and here you go!!

Billy Blue the Caribou is the most adorable little book by S.E. Smith. Mrs. Smith originally came up with the story to help teach her young developmentally delayed daughter that differences are wonderful, and to encourage her. Soon, she realized that it appealed to a much larger audience, as all seven of her children loved the story!

Billy Blue the Caribou is the story of Billy Blue the Caribou, Rose Red the Hammerhead, Yellow Ty the Dragonfly, and Purple Pat the Tabby Cat. As they spend the day together playing in the park, they come to realize that learning more about what makes them different is so much fun! The hand-drawn pictures in the book are just simply adorable, and, although it's definitely for young children, my 9, 8, and 3 year olds all listened attentively and very much enjoyed the book! We would very much recommend this book for any child's library!

You can get Billy Blue the Caribou on Amazon for $12.75 (the book is eligible for Super Saver shipping, so I'd put it with another book order to save there). Half of the profit of the book sales go to Mrs. Smith's local crisis pregnancy center... always a worthy cause!!


You can win it from me!! :) Here's how to enter (leave a separate comment for each entry):

1) Leave a comment here.
2) Follow me on Google FriendConnect (scroll down on the right hand side of the page)
3) Follow me on Networked Blogs on Facebook (again, on the right hand side of the page)
4) Post this on Facebook
5) Post this on Twitter
6) Blog about this giveaway (+2 entries, make sure you leave 2 comments telling me you've done this)

Entries for this giveaway must be in by January 23, 2011, at midnight, CST.

Have fun everyone!!

******And the winner is:  Michelle!!  ******

Congratulations Michelle!!  I've sent you a message telling you how to redeem your gift!

Stay tuned for more gifts from By Their Fruits!

More awesome giveaways!!!

Hi everyone!! I'm planning on getting more into my blogging soon, please be patient with me!! We have a new baby, which makes 4 kids, 3 yo and under (for another 2 months...then Sean turns 4 LOL), and we just moved out of state, along with some other life-happenings... ((sigh)) BUT... thought you guys might want to hear about a couple more giveaways!!

Amy at Raising Arrows is having a wonderful giveaway! She's giving away 4 family registrations to the BIGGIE Homeschool Conventions, put on by Great Homeschool Conventions: Midwest, Northeast, Midsouth, and Southeast. Check out her blog for details and to enter!

Also, The Modest Mom is giving away a free Hand Lotion Bar! If you've never heard of these, make sure to check out her Review and Giveaway, and enter to try it out for yourself!

Have fun and good luck!! By the way, more book reviews and giveaways coming soon!