Tuesday, March 8, 2011

1st Birthday of the Year award goes to.......

Nathanael!  Otherwise known as Nate the Great.  Nate, my 3rd son, and fourth child,  
was my first homebirth.....6 years ago. 
Really?  It's not fair that time goes so fast.  
Wasn't this just yesterday?  

Well, I can't escape reality.  He's six years old, and loves cowboy boots so much that I'm not sure what we'll do this summer when it's time to wear shorts.  Can you get away with wearing cowboy boots with shorts when you are six?  Since his old pair were quite worn out, we thought that a new pair would be just the thing to get him for his birthday.  Rob left work for a bit to meet me at 
West of Ole England to help him pick out a new pair.  A quick, but fun excursion.  


As per Nate's request, his birthday dinner menu looked like this:  
hot dogs
hamburgers
chips
cake
icecream
Dr. Pepper

Mommy added:  baked beans
baked potato salad

Healthy, huh?  Nate also ordered a lemon flavored cake with white icing, monster trucks and cars.  Thank goodness for Google!  I got some ideas in no time as to how to put that cake all together.  

And thus begins the birthday season!  Next up?  Me!  :-)  I used to be first.....

Monday, March 7, 2011

Crafty Classroom Giveaway!

The Crafty Classroom has a wonderful giveaway this week!  While you are visiting her blog, be sure to check out all her fun ideas and homeschooling hints.  This site has a wealth of information and it'll quickly be one of your favorites! 

Here's what she is giving away:

A program for 2-3 year olds. It uses colorful books, songs, games and activities about animals to introduce the alphabet, numbers, shapes & colors. This program is designed to excite your child about school. Each day has different ideas to keep your child busy as well as the flexibility to work at your own pace. Bible time will introduce creation and other Bible stories that will give a Biblical foundation. You will also learn some Biblical characteristics by looking at animals

Secondly,
A homeschool program targeting students in K3-K5. The programs Biblical focus is on the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians. The student will learn Bible verses and stories that teach different “fruit” and character qualities. In this program the student will master letter sounds using a vertical phonics approach. Math concepts cover counting, number recognition, colors and shapes, measurement, ordering, and more.
They will explore the body, nutrition and healthy habits for science. Each lesson tries to target different learning styles. There is a variety of different worksheets and activities to keep learning fun and engaging. There are “Bigger Step” options for those students who are ready to do some book work and are ready to read.


Lastly,
A program developed when a homeschool mom couldn’t find a cursive program that she was 100% satisfied with. As a result, The Joy of Handwriting was born. She took the best methods and ideas that she thought would work best and developed a program that is high quality and easy to use with kindergarteners as well as older elementary students. After having such good success with her own kindergarten student she wanted to make it available for others to try. The program was originally developed for cursive handwriting, but updated with a manuscript version

Good luck!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Why Bother?

I have hesitated to blog lately for many reasons.  The first reason being:  there are tons of blogs on the net to fit all kinds of personalities.  The blogs I love to click through happen to be along the lines of
inspirational like this one,
crafty blogs like this one,
or food blogs,  like this, for example.  

While I love reading blogs, and I do like to blog, I still hesitate.  Why?  The question for me, is 'Why Bother'?  With so many top notch blogs out there, who needs mine?  Another reason I hesitate (and it's a big one for me) is I don't want anyone reading this to think I'm bragging about where I have been with my kids, what I made for dinner or what crafty thingy I have made lately.  Truth is, I'm NOT crafty!  I just happen to love copying OTHER people's craftiness!    I love finding new ideas for cooking.  And I love passing it all on because, let's face it....worn out moms like me need all the inspiration we can find!  So, I may not have beautiful words of wisdom, or an original thought in my head, but what I do glean, I pass on to you.  It's not about me.  Please believe me!  I guess my blog is sort of like my journal.  I find great ideas for life and I need to remember them and pass them on.  

OK.  I DO have ONE GOOD reason for blogging.  My Mother!  She loves to keep updated on her grand kids, and this is a great way to do that for her.  So, for that reason alone, I'll keep at this.  :-)  And hope and pray that nobody takes this blog as my "bragging page".  'Cause it certainly isn't meant to be that.  :-)  :-)  OK?  :-)

Whew!  Guess what?  My sister and her 5 beautiful children are coming for a visit very soon!  I'm beside myself with excitement!  I can't wait to hug her neck and all the nephews and nieces, too, of course!  We have plans.  Yup!  One of those is to get all 10 of our children together for a NICE cousin photo.  (Nice meaning no dirty fingers or faces, combed hair and .....matching outfits.  

Well, ok, matching shirts, anyway.  I lucked out at Old Navy with cheap polo's and free shipping.  Since I typically buy new polo's for my boys for Easter, I figured the shirts can do double duty.  Cousin photo AND Easter.  'Cause they were so cheap, I outfitted my nephews with some snazzy matching polo's as well.  Still have to figure out what the 3 girls will wear.  

 Photo location: thinking of the possibilities.  Here are a few choices for a green location.  

Which location is your favorite? 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy Monday!

I ended up having today off work and I thoroughly enjoyed it!  I usually work from 2pm-11pm on Mondays, and it always feels like a bad way to start the week of homeschooling.  Not today!  Today was relaxing and fun!  And I have a photo to prove it! 

Happy President's Day!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Meet....

...Gary!  (What ELSE do you name a snail, but Gary?)


Doesn't God make the perfect things to occupy little boy's time?



....snips and snails and puppy dogs tails....

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Activity Bags

Campmeeting is just around the corner and I found just the thing to encourage quiet sitting.  Although generally I have found the less we take to church with us, the quieter my younger boys are, I will make exceptions for campmeeting services because they tend to run muuuuch longer.  It's hard for ME to sit still sometimes.  ;-)  When I saw this pattern for activity bags, complete with crayon pockets, 
I just had to make them.  

This pattern is free from Moda Bake Shop
I didn't order the fabric they used mainly because I have never ordered fabric online before.  (Stupid reason, huh?)  I think I will definitely order soon, though, because I paid a whole lot more by shopping at my nearby JoAnn's.  The choices weren't as adorable, either. 

Pretty much, the choices were puppies, or puppies.  We went with puppies.  
 The outside has a crayon pocket on the front...


...and a double patch pocket on the back.

The inside is fully lined with a magnetic snap AND another pocket!  


Gotta run....the heart shaped flat bread I made for the Valentine's party tomorrow is nearly gone
so I hafta make more!

AND, my parents arrive tomorrow for camp!  So excited!  But....lots to get done.  
Have a blessed weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

For the love of bread.

Have you ever had an "I can make thaaaat" moment?  I had one such moment a couple weeks ago while sitting in a hair salon thumbing through a magazine, waiting for my client to get her hair washed and styled.  I saw an ad for this...


Another picture in the ad showed the dough all rolled out flat like biscuit dough, and being cut out with a circle cutter.  Surely I COULD make these!


Double light bulb moment!  I can use a HEART cutter and make cutzie little sandwiches to take to the Valentine's party!  Tonight was the night to try it out.  I used my favorite bread recipe, but didn't double it like I normally do....'cause....it COULD have flopped and I would have wasted a lot of honey!  And freshly ground wheat.  BUT......Ta-da!  It worked!


The hearts sliced beautifully and were light and delicate.


A little mayo and tiny spoonful of leftover chicken salad.  Isn't it cute?  Yummy!




Oh yeah....yummy! 

Never have met a carb I didn't like!  Before you leave, take a look at my cousin's blog HERE and read about how her sweet little daughter, Carly, accidentally bought an iTunes app for $349.99, and how she learned a lesson about God's mercy and forgiveness.

Valentine Shtuff.

I promised to show our Valentine "boxes" (that aren't actually boxes at all) that the boys helped me make for their party this Friday with the homeschool group.  Now that they are finished and my creative juices started flowing, I had other ideas that I wish I had thought of first.  (Like covering the entire canister with brown paper and cutting out  individual Scooby's.  I would have liked to have a brown velvety ribbon or maybe strips of faux leather for the handle, instead of the red ribbon I found in my Christmas stash.  The possibilities are endless, of course!

Sticking a mouse through the slots in the lid.
Cover the canister in mod podge.  Apply whatever decorations you want and cover everything with 2 coats of mod podge, letting it dry between coats.


We also finished our mousy valentines to pass out.  I found this idea at the family fun website and changed it a little to suit my little guy's abilities to assemble.  You can see what we used here.


The body of the mouse is a white heart folded in half.  

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winter Paradise





Truly, we live in paradise!  Although I was raised in Pennsylvania where we were never bored in the winter, I'm finding it hard to beat the winters in South Florida!  We met a couple families at nearby Halpatiokee Park and enjoyed God's creation via long meandering trails that eventually led to beautiful waterways.  The boys were like magnets to the water.  What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?  We live about a mile from the beach, but that isn't all Florida offers!  This is the other face of Florida:  woods, critters, bike trails, cypress and Australian pine trees.  I love it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Long Live the Vikings!

Christmas money comes in handy if you save it for the after Christmas sales.  The "littles" have had their eyes on these "How to Train Your Dragon" viking battle kits for months, now.  Today we discovered two of them on the clearance shelf for less than 1/2 of the original price.  SCORE!   
They were more than happy to open their wallets!


You don't think I would let them play with the toys without testing them first, do you?  
I mean, these things can be DANGEROUS!   
The toys passed inspection, but the jury is still out on the question of whether or not these toys are safe in the hands of 4 and 5 year old boys.  However, no blood was shed today, so it's all good!  Wait....there WAS blood shed today.  Eli sliced his foot in the woods (barefoot...doesn't the boy listen to me?) while building a fort for the vikings.  But that's another blog.  

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bee in My Bonnet

I love stumbling across new blogs.  I love the ideas I find in these blogs!  I love the GIVEAWAYS I find at these blogs!!!  What could be better that finding both in one blog?  Check out the adorable stuff HERE.  Enter for your own chance to win a sewing pattern from 



So, instead of doing what I SHOULD be doing...

(putting these guys in bed)    

Help?

Want one of these babies?  Well, my daughter does, and she has a chance to win one!  (with your help!)
Go to THIS link and vote for Rebecca!!  Please?  She's a few votes shy of the most votes and the drawing is in 10 days!  Your votes will help make her a happy, happy gal!  (Her profile says "Beginning the Journey by Allana Martian)  How exciting it would be for her to win! 




Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Valentine Fun With Oatmeal Canisters!

We have all made these Valentine's Day shoe boxes, right? 
Time to think outside the "box"!  Stay tuned!

Wordless Wednesday

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mulan Madness

"Mom, we can't find Mulan!"

Reeheeheeeeaaally?"

Well, let's just say that I'm glad I ran into this timely blog today (not that I'm a neat-freak, 'cause anyone who knows me, knows I'm CLEARLY not THAT), and this blog was a real blessing, too. Thank you, Lord for providing me with what I need before I even ask!

Creative or Obsessive?

You've never shopped a Goodwill until you've shopped one with Zack! Everything in the store that's made of clear glass or plastic, can be used as some sort of aquarium or fish tank in his opinion.
"Can I get this, Mom? It would make a great..."

"Let me guess", I usually interrupt him, "a fish tank?"

I found this tiny self contained beauty on my kitchen window sill. Zack put it there so the sun could encourage algae growth. It's small, so I'll tolerate it. How small? See the penny? And the tiny snail inside? This is the packaging that his iPod shuffle that he got for Christmas came in. Re-purposed as a tiny aquamarine world. So cute. :-)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Neckless: The Audry Amaka Story





I love books! Who doesn't? It's a longstanding dream of mine to have a wall of well-stocked bookshelves in my family room someday. As of yet, I don't have the family room, bookshelves or even the books to fill them. So.... Did I mention that I love the library? Well, I used to, anyway. Maybe it's just our particular library, but I have a hard time finding GREAT books for Nate and James to read. So.... I was THRILLED when a certain young man named Brent Vernon published his first book, because I was sure it would be good. I was even MORE thrilled when I discovered how FANTASTIC this book is!






Written AND illustrated by Brent, Neckless is about a little giraffe who is born without a neck. (Hence, the name of the book.) Cute, huh? The book is full of tongue in cheek humor. It's full of adorable artwork. It's also tall on life lessons. (pun intended) "Take what you have and do something good with it." That's the lesson learned in this book which is 31 pages long.





Here is Audry just after she is born. Don't you love her mama's expression when she sees that her beloved daughter has no neck? Do you know what a Black Mamba is? You will after reading this book that's not just for girls!



Without reading the book, I knew it would be good. So when Brent announced on Face Book that the book was ready for purchase, we rushed over to his mom and dad's house to get our very...own...signed...copy. Yay! Then we headed over to Winn Dixie for groceries but had to sit in the truck and read the book first! I see children's books in Brent's future! One can hope, right? So, adding to his talents of singer/songwriter/puppeteer, Brent can definitely add successful book writer! I hope someone donates a copy to our local library. It sure could use it!



Did I mention Brent is from our sleepy little town? I have known him since 8th grade. My little fame by association claim. YOU CAN GET YOUR OWN COPY here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

You See.....I See

You see.....what I'm about to have for lunch or dinner. Wrong! (in fact, I had roast beef, mashed potatoes and corn, none of which came out of a can, so HA! Don't hate me.) I don't buy this stuff, mainly because of words on the back like monosodium glutamate, mechanically separated chicken (what?), and tocopherols, to name a few. My spell check doesn't even like those words.

I served this to my dear client for dinner. She wasn't feeling well and this is all she wanted. Hey, she's 91! What the Dear wants, the Dear gets, even if it includes MSG! I almost threw out the empty container. Glad I didn't!


I see.....a 15 ounce container with snap on lid complete with air holes! Perfect for a bug or insect! Boo-ya! Nate and James are gonna love me when I pull this baby outta my hat cupboard! Maybe I should wait until I collect two of these before I unveil? Double the love.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Re-Purposed Sundress

"Mom, what should I do with this dress? It doesn't fit me anymore!" These words were from my daughter who was cleaning out her drawers and closet. Usually, she will pack away a few bags of clothes to give to her cousin, but THIS dress.....well, she couldn't part with it! She wore it a few times with a cute little white sweater and it looked very sweet on her. One look at it and I felt like Gru in Despicable Me. "Light bulb!" Doesn't it just look like it longs to be re-made into an apron? Well, it did to me. Rebekah agreed to that idea happily, knowing it would give her a chance to wear it over and over in the years to come. I took it to work with me and got right to...well, work!


I think this was one of the easiest projects I have ever done. I cut off the entire back of the dress, just inside the seams on the front. I opted to leave in the lining, to make it more absorbent for drying wet hands. I attached one big pocket, made by using a big piece of the back of the dress. A cute ruffle was made from the discarded back lining. Then I sewed a seam down the center to divide it into two pockets. To close the side seam, I turned the whole thing inside out and sewed the side seam including the pocket sides, with right sides together.


When the pocket and sides were done, I cut the length of the dress to a more appropriate apron length and hemmed it. Rebekah purchased a package of pink bias tape thinking it was ribbon knowing it would be stronger than ribbon, and I used it to create back ties.


White lining from the back of the dress was used to make a white ruffle for the top of the pockets.


There it is! I can't tell you how many times she has said, "Mom, I LOVE this apron!" (I'll post an actual picture of her wearing it soon.)


Answers, anyone?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A New Perspective

There have been times in my life when the road feels rough and stretched out endlessly before me; choices have left me feeling confused and I just want to stop and get off this merry-go-round called "life".



With a little change in perspective, might I feel differently? Are there helping hands assisting me when I least expect it? Am I surrounded by friends who care? Is there a loved one walking along quietly beside me?


I need to take time to see the beauty in God's creation around me. It really is the little things that shout the nature of God's character!


Even though the climb has left me weary, I will always keep looking up. If I look down, I'll only see "da-feet".


I'll find the support I need by taking the time to see what's already there: the smile of a precious child, a warm embrace, a change of scenery that refreshes my soul, a memory shared with a loved one.


I might feel like I am teetering on the edge, but the Bible promises me in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."