Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Fresh Start

Wow! It's been an exciting year - full of surprises, blessings, and challenges! As I mentioned in my last post, I have decided that in honor of the New Year, I am going to simplify my life. There are many things in my life, that while not all that complicated on their own merit, combined they cause me to miss out on many of the fun things in life.

So those things are being cut out. No turning back now! The first to go is my gift basket business, angelbugbaby. I love doing it, but truthfully, I don't have enough steady customers to justify going on any further. I have a few faithful customers (whom I appreciate more than they will ever know), but for the most part, my customers are sporatic. One here, one there...and it just takes up so much time and money to provide an inventory for just a few folks here and there.

I have loved being able to stretch my creative legs, and put together custom gift baskets that are usually the hit of the party. But it's time to move on to other things. And although this blog was originally designed specifically for angelbugbaby, it quickly morphed into a blog about what I love most anyway - family! So I'm not sad, just redirected! :)

To celebrate this new beginning, I have created a new blog - Six Hearts Over Texas - specifically devoted to our family of six, homeschool adventures, my random ramblings, and other things I learn along the way.

If you're a previous follower, or just browsing and interested, please join me over there!! I pray for nothing but happiness and blessings for each of you in the New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Twas the week after Christmas...

Wow! It's been a wild month!! Whoever said that homeschoolers don't get enough socialization, were OUT OF THEIR MINDS!! We've had Christmas Parties, Park Days, Bowling Days, and Library Days. Somewhere in there, I had to fit in some Christmas shopping, tree decorating, hosting a Christmas Eve dinner with our family on my husband's side, and volunteer work. I think it's fair to say that I'm WHUPPED!

All the stress and excitement associated with Christmas always leaves me feeling sort of lost in the days after. I get very overwhelmed with birthdays and holidays, and it all comes to an end the day after Christmas. I love Christmas time! I love the decorations, the food, the music, the scenery, and sharing stories with the kiddos about the birth of Jesus and what His sacrifice means for us. I love eggnog and sugar cookies! I love getting down my Christmas China, and filling it with Brown Sugar Glazed Ham and Mom's Dressing!

The truth is, I love everything about Christmas...except the end. I hate taking down the's so depressing!! I hate storing all the decorations and the giant inflatable Santa in the front yard. I hate how bare my living room looks without all the strands of cranberry garland and glittery white lights! But most of all....I hate January. I hate the dieting, the bitter cold, and the lack of interesting homeschool arts and crafts ideas!

The only upside to January is that it's the opportunity for a new beginning - a new chance to start anew with resolutions to be better people than we've been in the past. So in an effort to avoid the feeling of hollow emptiness that surrounds me after Christmas, I have decided to JUST GET OVER IT!

I will make a pledge to get off my butt and make some resolutions that I probably won't stick to. I pledge to search the world over for the coolest January crafts (no pun intended) for our homeschool lessons. I pledge to put away the tree and the eggnog, and light a fire and make some cocoa instead. I pledge to continue sharing stories with the children about Jesus and the man he became after his birth.

In the days to come, I will sit down and come up with some things that I will resolve to either begin or end. My life has a lot of room for simplification, and I think that's where I am going to start. I want to figure out the things that I can do without first. Then I will think of some things that I need to focus more of my attention on.

Even though my beloved Christmas season is over, from the bottom of my heart, I wish everyone a very Happy and Blessed New Year!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday full week in the new house, and I'm finally starting to get my new kitchen organized! Last week, we lived on Sonic, McD's, and delivered pizza. This week, I actually have groceries in my pantry! Woo Hoo!! Here's my plan for the week - Keeping it Super Simple!!

Sunday - Crockpot Beans and Cornbread

Monday - Leftovers

Tuesday - Rosemary Chicken, Caesar Salad

Wednesday - Pizza at Church

Thursday - Spaghetti / Garlic Bread

Friday - Chili Dogs

Saturday - GAME DAY! Tailgate Fare! :) GO HOGS!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bible Curriculum / Daily Schedule

I was just reading through my last few posts and realized that I didn't post about our Bible lessons that we do every day. This is only because I use a pre-packaged Bible curriculum (Alpha Omega LifePacs) and there's no lesson-writing, planning, etc. So it doesn't go in my Lesson Planner. And when I'm posting about my Learning Objectives, I am typing directly from my Lesson Planner. I apologize! I will try to remember to include them from now on!

I thought now would be a good time to also post our Daily Class Schedule. I welcome you all to share your Class Schedules with me as well! Whether you're a school teacher, or a homeschool teacher, I welcome any and all advice - as long as it's in the spirit of being helpful - not hurtful, of course! :)

Here's what our Daily Schedule looks like:

7:00am - 8:00am: Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth/hair.
8:00am - 9:00am: MORNING CHORE HOUR!!
9:00am - 9:10am: Pledge of Allegiance / Music - Patriotic Songbook
9:10am - 9:30am: Bible Lesson
9:30am - 9:40am: Math Drills
9:40am - 10:10am: Math

10:10am - 10:30am: Snack Time

10:30am - 11:15am: Science
11:15am - 1200pm: Spelling

12:00pm - 1:00pm Lunch Time

1:00pm - 1:30pm Grammar / Usage / Mechanics
1:30pm - 2:15pm Social Studies
2:15pm - 3:00pm Reading / Quiet Time
3:00pm - 4:00pm Snack Time / Free Time
4:00pm - 5:00pm AFTERNOON CHORE HOUR

As you can see, we're done with school by 3pm every day. Please keep in mind though, that this schedule is a goal, but it's flexible goal. I find that by having a schedule posted on the wall in our school room, that Trey is better able to stay focused on his current lesson. He doesn't have to let his mind wander about - wondering what's coming next.

On the rare occassion that he doesn't get all his work completed in the specified time alottment, I do one of two things: I either 1) let him keep going if it looks like he just needs a little more time, or 2) if it looks like he's shutting down, I'll scratch the whole lesson and come back to it another day.

What's the point in homeschooling if he hates learning as much as he did in public school? The whole point of the decision to homeschool was to rekindle that love of learning that he started out with (as well as keeping him away from that negative socialization factor). So far, he still loves coming to our school room every morning, and he always eagerly asks, "So Mom, what are we going to learn today?!" That one little question alone, makes my heart sing!! :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Trey's Lesson Plans October 26 - 30

We were supposed to attend a play about the Jackie Robinson Story this morning, but I wasn't feeling well, so we ditched. I felt horrible all day about it, but thankfully Trey and Lindsay had forgotten about it and never mentioned it. I just hate to disappoint them on field trip days. :(

We also have a field trip planned at the Fire Station on Wednesday. We're really looking forward to that. It was a last minute decision to go, so I don't have any fun fire activities officially planned. But seeing as how October is Fire Safety Month, I'm sure I will be able to come up with some fun activities for our specials.

Our Learning Objectives for this week:

Math: Estimating Sums and Differences using 2 different techniques - Rounding, and Front End Estimation. Practice Multiplication Facts.

Science: The Digestive and Nervous Systems, and How Our Bodies Defend Themselves. Discuss the functions of each system, main parts of each system, why they are important and how they work together with all the other systems studied thus far. Discuss how microorganisms inside our bodies called pathogens cause disease and how our immune system defends us. Discuss various ways we can help our immune system by staying healthy and making good life and food choices. EXPERIMENT: How some diseases can spread. Using flour, dark paper and a hand lens. Dip hand in flour. Shake hands with someone else. Both people press hands to dark paper to show how pathogens (like flour particles) can transfer to others.

Spelling: Focus on spelling words in which the base word drops its final e to add ed, er, or ing.

Grammar: Adjectives and Adverbs

Social Studies: Focus - Northeast Region. Land and water in the NE; Niagra Falls - a place of beauty and power; St. Albans, VT - the NE produces many products, such as maple syrup; Chesapeake Bay - crabs and shellfish help support the economy of the NE region.

Reading Skill Lesson: Drawing Conclusions (Winter of the Snowshoe Hare by Gillian Richardson)

Reading Selection Focus: Marven of the Great North Woods by Kathryn Lasky

Specials: Health/PE (Sense of Smell, Touch), Creative Writing (write your own ghost story), Handwriting (cursive practice), Art (Free Art - Halloween Theme), Cooking (Catty Cupcakes - Halloween)

Lesson Plans Trey- October 12 - October 23

Wow! Have we ever been busy for the past 2 weeks!! Field trips, bowling days, holidays, you name it - it's probably found it's way on our calendar! And we're also still in the last stages of selling our house, so we've had inspectors, realtors, insurance guys, appraisers, and I'm pretty sure someone's grandma, show up unexpectedly for various house-selling-required visits.

October 12 - 16

Monday was Colombus Day, so since the public schools were out for the day, we also took the day off. We did discuss some of the facts that we learned during the prior week's Columbus Unit Study, but for the most part, it was a FREE DAY and we love those!!

Tuesday was our field trip to the Police Department. Unfortunately, it was raining cats and dogs, so we didn't get to do some of the things they had planned for us due to the department having to pull all boots to the streets to help fish people out of ditches.

Bowling Day was Thursday.

Our Learning Objectives for this week:

Math: Review Comparing Numbers, Order Numbers, Problem Solving, Rounding Numbers. Review Multiplication Facts, and Column Addition/Subtraction.

Science: Begin Study of Human Body Systems. Discuss the Skeletal and Muscular Systems, their functions, and how they work together. Identify the difference between organs, cells, organ systems, and tissues and how they work together. Identify18 different bones in the human body. Discuss the different types of joints and their functions. Review the difference between voluntary and involuntary muscles. Discuss different types of muscles and their functions: Skeletal Muscles, Smooth Muscles, and Cardiac Muscles.

Social Studies: GOOD CITIZENSHIP UNIT: Police and Our Community.

Reading: Discuss Different Poetry Selections

Grammar: Action and Linking Verbs

Spelling: Focus on words with silent letters.

Specials: Handwriting (cursive practice), Art (word line drawing), Map Skills (directions - N,S,E,W + NE, NW, SE, SW), Health/PE (Bowling, Fingerprinting Activity / Stranger Danger - Police Unit Tie-In).

October 19 - 23

We had a field trip to the Pumpkin Patch planned with our homeschool group, however we got rained out, so we were sad we didn't get to go. We are rescheduled for November 11, but that's the day before we close on our house. So we don't know how that will go yet.

Our Learning Objectives for this week:

Math: Mental Math Strategies (addition/subtraction), Review Multiplication Facts

Science: Continue Unit on Human Body Systems. Focus: Respiratory and Circulatory Systems. Discuss functions and how these systems work together to deliver oxygen and nutrients to cells throughout our bodies. Talk about the heart. Identify the 4 chambers of the heart and their functions. Identify the 3 main parts of the circulatory system, and explain why it is so important to move blood through the body.

Spelling: Review Lessons 7 - 11. Cumulative Test on 100 Review Words

Grammar: Main Verbs and Helping Verbs / Irregular Verbs - Present, Past, and Past Participles

Social Studies: Regions of the United States, Regional Resources, Climate

Reading Skill Lesson: Making Judgements

Reading Selection Focus: John Henryby Julius Lester

Specials: Creative Writing (If you could have any X-Men power, what would it be and why), Handwriting (cursive practice), Art (Paper Torn Pumpkins), Cooking (Making Play Dough), Map Skills (continue directional studies).

Menu Plan Monday

Menu Planning...right. With all that's been going on lately, I haven't really been posting about our menu plans. I know, I know...I was a slacker before, so what else is new? MOVING! PACKING! SELLING OUR HOME, AND BUYING A NEW ONE!! All the truly "fun" things in life, designed to drive us crazy. Quite possibly designed specifically by God to test our faith, endurance, strength, and patience. I seriously hope it's the former and not the latter, because if it is...I'm failing miserably!

Here's what we had last week.

Monday: Chili / Frito Pie

Tuesday: Pot Roast / Potatoes, etc.

Wednesday: Chicken Enchiladas / Salad

Thursday: Lasagna / Salad

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: GAME DAY!!! Tailgating Food: Chips, Southern Queso, Cocktail Sausages, Wings

Sunday: Beef & Broccoli Stir-Fry / Rice

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Homeschool Lessons Revisited...

Well, we got off to a great start in September with home school! Trey resumed his 4th grade coursework that he began back in the Spring, after a short Summer break. We've spent the last few weeks reviewing everything that he had completed before the break.

We had planned on working throughout the summer, and ideally, that's the plan we coulda, shoulda, woulda stuck to if it hadn't been for the remodel. do what you have to and move on, right? So far though, he's doing a great job of picking right back up where we left off.

I can see that he's forgotten a few things over the summer, like some of his multiplication tables and some much needed Spelling skills. But overall, I have to say, my little man is actually maturing and handling his ADD very well. He is really working hard to stay on task and get his work done, and I couldn't be prouder of him!!

I've also started Lindsay in Pre-K lessons. She's doing great! She loves painting, coloring, arts and crafts, and doing her worksheets! Addie also works with her after school on writing her name and other letters of the alphabet. I made a bunch of file folder games (some of them are quite difficult), for her to work on while I work with Trey one-on-one. I'm telling you...this little girl is a firecracker!!! She's sooooo smart!

Here's a look into our learning objectives for the past few weeks:


Week 1 -

  • Review all previous coursework in all subjects except Social Studies.
  • Complete Unit Study on US Consititution. Choose one Founding Father, Research, and choose a method by which to make a presentation to the family. (Trey chose James Madison, and the method of dressing up as the character and acting out a first person narration of his life.)

Trey doing research on James Madison

Week 2 -

  • Review all previous coursework in all subjects except Social Studies.
  • Continue Unit Study on US Consititution - Focus on Bill of Rights.
  • TEACH Field Trip to the Four States Fair : Discussion about animals, how to care for animals, the process by which milk gets from the cow to the grocery store.

Week 3 -

  • Begin forward progression of coursework.
  • Math: Ordering #'s, Problem Solving
  • Spelling - Focus on Consonant Diagraphs
  • Reading - Skill Lesson: Theme / Main Ideas
  • Science - Changes in Ecosystems
  • Social Studies - Wrap Up US Constitution Unit Study
  • Bible Lesson - Jesus as a boy, and Jesus as a Man
  • Grammar - Pronouns - Personal vs. Possessive
Week 4 -

  • Math - Rounding #'s, Critical Thinking
  • Spelling - Focus on f sounds: "f, ff, gh, ph" spellings
  • Reading - Skill Lesson: Context Clues
  • Science - Changes in Ecosystems
  • Social Studies - Unit Study on Christopher Columbus
  • Bible Lesson - Jesus as our Savior, Plagues, Passover
  • Grammar - Interrogative Pronouns (what, who, which)
  • Cooking Class: Muffins

Trey's Yummy "Blueberry Blitz" Muffins!!

In addition to all of the schoolwork we've been working on, Trey was also eager to get started back into our TEACH Homeschool Group. We have several field trips planned, as well as Park Days and Bowling Days each once per month. We also have TEACH meetings on the 1st Thursday of every month, and while there, I get to chat with other homeschool moms, attend various workshops, and Trey gets to spend even more time with his friends.

For Lindsay...

Week 1 - we didn't do many structured activities because we were still trying to get used to the idea of how school worked. : ) We did review our Alphabet and Numbers, and worked on some painting and other crafts.

Week 2 - Lindsay still wasn't into the whole idea of going back to school just yet...but since she tagged along with us for our Field Trip to the Fair, she learned all about animals, etc. We completed a mini-book titled "At the Fair, At the Fair, What Will I See?"

Week 3 - I added her desk to our actual homeschooling area and we are learning school rules and etiquette such as raising hands, etc. I use Teachers Book Bag from Currclick for most of our activities.

  • Language / Handwriting Practice: Letter A - "A is for Animals"
  • Math: Animal Matching, Feeding Times, File Folder Games - Counting Bears
  • Moving and Grooving: Animal Dance
  • Creation Station: Animal Mix Up

Week 4 - We attended a play of Charlotte's Web at our local theater to wrap up our unit on animals. Lindsay also sat in on our Unit Study of Christopher Columbus. We have lots of Columbus crafts and activities planned, as well as the following:

  • Math - Addition
  • Language / Handwriting Practice : Letter C
  • Moving and Grooving - Park Day, Buried Treasure Game - hide the treasure, use clues to find the "x" that marks the spot of the treasure!
  • Cooking Class: Muffins
  • Health/Manners: Healthy Eating Choices / Small Bites vs. Big Bites / Help plan snacks for the week.

So, as you can see, we've been very busy the last few weeks!! Thankfully, we've accepted another (really good) offer on our house, so hopefully the chaos will soon be over and I can again begin posting regularly on our homeschooling lessons. : )

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Can't we just switch it to Tuesday???

OMG, I am such a slacker! I have absolutely no excuse! I kept thinking there was something I needed to do yesterday, and I just plain forgot about it. UGH! Here we go again, a day late...

Sunday: Breakfast for Dinner!! Thanks to the hubs!

Monday: Burgers / Fries

Tuesday: Alice Springs Chicken (make extra chicken, cube)

Wednesday: Pizza at Church

Thursday: Chicken Spaghetti (using made ahead chicken)

Friday: Taco Salads

Saturday: BBQ Sandwiches / GAME DAY FOOD - GO HOGS!!!!!

And that's about it....I left out the lunches, breakfasts, and snacks this week because of my time restraints today...maybe one day I'll be able to get it together and actually post on Monday!!!

Please go by and check out other menu plans at I'm an Organizing Junkie!!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

OOPS! I did it again!! I forgot Menu Plan Monday!!!

Darn! I knew I would do this...I just have soo much going on right now!! Well, better late than never, right?? Ok...well, here's my menu...albeit a day late!! : ) I'm going to try something different this week. Since we're homeschoolers, I like to plan for all of our snacks, etc., that way there's no question about what the kiddos will be eating and when. I do a carbohydrate type food for our AM snacks, and a Fruit or Veggie (most of the time) for PM Snacks.

I find that when I plan this way, the snacking isn't quite so irregular, I am less tempted to buy junk food, and I can save tons on my grocery bill because the kids know that there is something planned for them and they don't go on an all out raid of the pantry!! I actually still do the 5 week Menu Plan I mentioned in an earlier post...boy, does it save me a lot of headaches!! I usually switch it up in the Spring/Summer months so that the menus fit with the seasons...who wants to be eating hot soup on a hot summer day, right??'s what we'll be having this week:


Breakfast: Cereal

AM Snack: Yogurt

Lunch: FAIR FOOD!!


Dinner: Chicken Fajitas

Dessert: Popsicles


Breakfast: Sausage Biscuits / Jam

AM Snack: Cereal Bars

Lunch: Leftover Fajitas

PM Snack: grapes

Dinner: Lasagna / Salad / Breadsticks

Dessert: Ice Cream


Breakfast: Buttered Cinnamon Toast

AM Snack: Cheese and Crackers

Lunch: BLT Wraps

PM Snack: grapes

Dinner: Kielbasa/4 Bean Soup (CROCKPOT) and Rice

Dessert: Popsicles


Breakfast: Vanilla Cinnamon Pancakes w/ Warm Maple Syrup

AM Snack: Popcorn

Lunch: Peanut Noodles with Grilled Chicken

PM Snack: Carrot Sticks with Ranch

Dinner: Meat Loaf / Mashed Potatoes / Corn

Dessert: Brownies


Breakfast: Sunshine Smoothies

AM Snack: Muffin

Lunch: Chicken Noodle Soup / Crackers

PM Snack: Chocolate Pudding with Graham Cracker Sticks

Dinner: Mexican Chicken (make 1 / freeze 1)

Dessert: Ice Cream


Breakfast: Muffins

AM Snack: Cheese and Crackers

Lunch: Chicken Club Lettuce Wraps

PM Snack: Tootie Fruitie Parfaits

Dinner: PIZZA (Family Movie / Game Night!!)

Dessert: Brownies

Saturday: GAME DAY!!! GO HOGS GO!!!

Breakfast: Cereal

AM Snack: Popcorn

Lunch: Make Your Own Sandwich Bar

PM Snack: Chocolate Pudding with Graham Cracker Sticks

Dinner: TAILGATE FARE...Cocktail Sausages, Chips & Cheese Dip, Veggie/Fruit Tray

Dessert: Chocolate Chip Cookies

And that's all, folks!! Be sure and stop by I'm an Organizing Junkie for hundreds more menu ideas!!! Ya'll have a great week!! : )

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Crock Pot Wednesday


I love my Crock Pot! I especially love it during weeks such as these when everything seems to be going wrong. In an earlier post, I mentioned that we had accepted an offer on our house. Well...guess what?? The unthinkable happened, and the lady backed out because she finally sat down and figured out what her payments would be. Why on earth she didn't do that BEFORE she entered into a contract with us??

UGH! Bygones, right...So anyway, our house is back on the market. We again have realtors calling to schedule appointments...and most of their clients want to schedule it right about dinner time. So instead of eating out - which is nice at first because of the Zero Clean-Up Factor, but incredibly expensibe for a family of 5 - I have started to use my Crock Pot more often. I love it because I can fix it in the morning, and go about my daily Super Mom activities without a worry in the world!

Here's my CrockPot Recipe for the week. Be sure and check out Debbie's blog, Dining With Debbie for more awesome CrockPot Recipes!!

Slow Cooker Oatmeal (aka: Fall in a Bowl!!) - recipe originally found on I usually substitute the water for apple cider if I have it, and I also used whole milk. We LOVE this recipe, and you can't get any easier than this!! Fix it before bed, and your breakfast is ready when you wake up! PLUS, it makes your house smell WONDERFUL!!!!

2 cups steel cut oats
2 cups diced apple
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 cups water
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons butter

Combine the oats, apple, cranberries, almonds, pecans, water, milk, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and butter in a slow cooker. Cook on Low overnight or 8 hours.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Menu Plan Monday!!

This is my second week to participate in Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie. So far I love it! It has really helped me stay on top of my menu-planning, and I absolutely LOVE getting ideas from other bloggers about the all too common worry: WHAT'S FOR DINNER???

Here's my plan for the week:

Dinners - Even though we've accepted an offer on our house (after only 4 days on the market, Woo Hoo), I'm still going to be using my crockpot for a few things...I just love the convenience of it! Fix it and Forget it!!

Monday - Roast Chicken (make extra), Carmelized Carrots, Salad

Tuesday - Mushroom Jack Fajitas

Wednesday - Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Corn on the Cob

Thursday - Tacos - (Taco Bowl for the hubs - low carb)


Saturday - Game Day!! Brats, Chili, Nachos. Go Razorbacks!!!

Sunday - Potato Bar (use some leftover chili/cheese,too!), Salad


Monday - Ham Sandwiches, Fruit Salad

Tuesday - Chicken Pot Pie (using leftover/made ahead chicken from Monday Night)

Wednesday - Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Carrot Sticks

Thursday - BLT Roll-ups, Applesauce

Friday - Ravioli Casserole, Pineapple Chunks

Saturday - Game Day Food (see above)

Sunday - Fish Sticks, Fries

Breakfasts -

Monday - Sausage Biscuits

Tuesday - Pancakes

Wednesday - Cheese Toast

Thursday - Breakfast Pizza

Friday - Sunshine Smoothies

Saturday / Sunday - Cereal, Fresh Fruit

Well, there you have it! Don't forget to stop by I'm an Organizing Junkie, and check out the other (over 200??) bloggers who link up their menus as well!! Helpful and LOTS OF FUN!!!

Ya'll have a great week!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Get Ready, Get Set...CLEAN! (Long Post Alert!!)

With the start of the new school year, and with our house in the final stages of sale, I have found myself a little overwhelmed with keeping our house picture perfect. We've had realtors calling to schedule showings - not all of them giving lots of notice. If you've ever had your house on the market, you know what I'm talking about.

I sometimes get asked how I manage to keep our house looking picture perfect while it's on the market, while at the same time trying to homeschool 2 children. I think I've figured out a good plan for our family and thought I'd share it here.

First and foremost, I am a firm believer that children need chores. I saw an idea at Life is Not a Cereal for a reward system, and I thought this would be a good starting place for inspiration. Her kiddos are a little younger than my main chore-doers, so I had to devise my own plan (I am not posting my actual charts, because I do not want to take away from Jenni's idea - she's the brains behind this whole idea - I just had to tweak mine a little to fit our chore needs). But I loved the Treasure Chest / Jewel system so much, I decided to incorporate her idea into our plan. I went to Oriental Trading Co. and found these neat metal Treasure Chest Banks. While there, I also purchased a large supply of Marti Gras coins (the jewels were just soooo expensive). I had to make the slits in the top of the banks a little bigger, but it was nothing my kitchen shears couldn't handle!

But I began to notice that my children needed more than a choice of what chores to do, so I made them each a list of REQUIRED chores to be done daily - broken down into morning and afternoon chores. For each chore, they earn a coin. If they want to earn extra coins, they have to pull a card from our Chore File, which has various different options for chores, as well as the details about how they know when that area is clean. I've found that if I don't do this, they will rush through them without actually cleaning anything.

Also posted on the fridge, alongside their Chore Lists, is a Reward List...similar in theory to Jenni's from Life is Not a Cereal. I asked the kids what rewards they'd like to see, and we sat down and made the list together. They "spend" their coins for various "priced" rewards. We have "inexpensive" rewards like Bubble Bath and Makeover with Mommy (for the girls, of course), but we also have "expensive" rewards like a trip to Chuck E. Cheese. This way, they view their reward as a goal to be reached by being responsible family members, they get a nice math lesson in "money" and "counting," AND they learn to save up for the things they want the most.

This is working beautifully, by the way...even our 3 year old is participating! And they all love receiving their coins, and putting them in their banks!!

Trey (almost 10) is homeschooled so his morning chores include making his bed, feeding the dog, taking out the trash, and unloading the dishwasher. His afternoon chores include unloading the dishwasher (again...we have a lot of dishes), picking up his bedroom, sweeping/mopping the kitchen, and helping Lindsay with one chore.

Addison (almost 9) attends public school, and has less time in the morning, so her morning chores only include making her bed, and clearing the table after breakfast. Her afternoon chores include picking up/vacuuming the Living Room, picking up the kids' bathroom (until she's older, I still do all the gross stuff), folding clothes, and setting the table for dinner.

Lindsay (almost 4) is in homeschool Pre-K. Her morning chores include clearing her breakfast station, getting dressed without reminding, brushing her hair and teeth by herself, and making her bed. Her afternoon chores include using the Dustbuster to pick up crumbs, etc., Windexing the windows/glass doors, and picking up her bedroom.

These chores are done EVERY DAY. I've found that it is much easier to clean a little every day than have to spend an entire weekend getting it done. Besides, it's FOOTBALL SEASON!! Who wants to be cleaning when the Razorbacks are playing??? GO HOGS!!

In addition to their everyday chores, each family member is officially responsible for doing their own laundry. Each person has their own laundry basket with their name on it, and they have their own day of the week in which they do their laundry. Since Lindsay is still a little one, I still help her with hers, but she is required to be there and do most of the work. She's gotta learn sometime, right?? There is also a laundry basket in the kids' bathroom for towels. Since I'm home, I do my husband's laundry for him unless I'm sick, etc. I do towels and sheets on Sunday.

If everyone is responsible, and adheres to their daily chore lists, my chores can get done more efficiently. Every morning, after Addie gets on the bus, I do a load of dishes, put something for dinner in the crockpot, and wipe down all the counters and kitchen sink. I grab a few paper towels, my Swiffer Duster, and hook a bottle of Simple Green to the front pocket of my jeans (FINALLY a use for that tiny little pocket!!). Then I make my way to the back of the house, checking each room to see if it needs attention. My rule of thumb is to do a general pick up on my way to the BACK of the house (with a trash bag in hand), and do a thorough cleaning on my way back to the FRONT.
I then throw everything into the trashbag I've been carrying, and take it outside. I keep a caddy full of cleaning supplies in each bathroom as well so I don't have to carry that all over the house.

Addie usually gets on the bus at 7:20 am, and I'm ALWAYS done by 8:30am. We start school at 9am sharp. This gives us a nice clean house to start our day with. We're usually in the homeschool classroom, or kitchen for most of the day. So their bedrooms don't usually get messy until after school time. Hence the reason I listed that chore as an afternoon chore. (Ahaa!! Method to my madness!!!) :)

This method has worked well for us. I only hope we can keep it up during the moving/transistion process!!! :) Feel free to post your own cleaning schedules/ideas!! I love reading from others how they manage kids, house, etc.! Happy Cleaning Ya'll!! :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Ok, so I figured I don't have enough to do with homeschooling 2 children, running to the public school bus with another, and all of the other necessary daily duties of a stay-at-home/homeschool mom - who also happens to have her house on the market with realtors calling frequently to request a showing. So I thought I'd add another fun thing to my weekly routine. MENU PLAN MONDAY!!!

Ya'll all know how OCD I am by now, I'm sure. And you all know how I love to when I found this weekly blog assignment at I'm an Organizing Junkie, I actually viewed it as an opportunity for some ME own personal Calgon moment, if you will. Is it sad that I get stress relief from planning more stuff to do?

Anyway...this is how it works: Every Monday, I will (attempt to) share my menus for the week. I will probably not have photos, as meal time at our house usually resembles your local zoo feeding time. But I may get a few here and there! For more ideas on menus and planning (not to mention incredible organizing ideas), visit Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Dinners - This week, I'm doing a lot of CrockPot type meals - just because they're easy to walk away from if the realtor shows up unexpectedly and kicks us out for an hour. :)

Monday: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup - Cornbread

Tuesday: Pork Tenderloin / Homemade Mashed Potatoes / Green Beans

Wednesday: Chicken Enchiladas (using extra made ahead chicken from Monday)
Thursday: Beef Stew / Cornbread

Friday: Pizza - (Friday is our Family Pizza & a Movie Night)

Saturday: GAME DAY FOOD: Cheese Dip, Chips, Brats on the Grill (GO RAZORBACKS!!!)
Sunday: Baked Pork Chops / Roasted Herb Potatoes

Lunches -

Monday: Ravioli / Crackers / Milk

Tuesday: Leftover Chicken Noodle Soup / Crackers

Wednesday: Grilled Cheese / Carrot Sticks

Thursday: BBQ Sandwiches (with leftover pork tenderloin)

Friday: Ham and Cheese Pinwheels / Raisin-Carrot Salad
Saturday: Game Day Food (see above)
Sunday: Leftovers

Breakfasts -

Monday - Doughnuts

Tuesday - Blueberry Waffles

Wednesday - Fruit Smoothies

Thursday - Eggs / Bacon

Friday - Muffins

Saturday / Sunday - Cereal / Fruit

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Here We Go Again!

Well, it's that time of year again! Addison and I went for Meet the Teacher Night on August 19, and she started the 3rd grade on August 24th. She is still attending the Math and Engineering school. She loves her new teacher (although she really misses her teacher from last year). She loves being in school - I think she has a certain (hereditary??) obsession with school supplies. Since this school works a year ahead of other public schools, we had a long talk about how much faster the 3rd grade moves than the 2nd grade. I'm not worried...she's firecracker smart. She's constantly blowing the curve, and she loves learning new things, but I felt a responsibility to at least make the speech, you know?

Addie before Meet the Teacher Night

Also new to her this year is the bus. Mind you, we live maybe a mile from the school...if that. And if they had sidewalks, she could, theoretically, walk - if I wasn't such a paranoid parent who refuses to let her children out of her sight by themselves. I rather enjoy our short trips to and from school because we always act silly and I inevitably embarrass all the kids with my somewhat rusty 80's dance moves, so I was a little reluctant to give up our little trips! But Addison really wanted to ride the bus like a "big girl," so I chose to let her ride.

This picture perfectly captures her personality!

This has actually turned into a blessing for both of us. Addison loves being able to gain a little "big girl" independence and walk in the front door and say, "I'm Ho-ome!" And I love being able to let the other kids sleep while Addie and I spend quiet time together eating our breakfast and doing her hair. Our mornings are not as rushed, and I'm not as stressed. So what first began as a guilty feeling of lost time with Addie, turned out to be a blessing of more one-on-one time together. I still secretly wish I could homeschool her, but I am content that God has a plan for us all and for now His Plan has her in public school.

First Day of School!!!

Trey will pick back up on his lessons on Sept. 14. For those who don't know, he began the 4th grade back in April. We took a couple of months off over the summer so we could focus on remodeling our house. We're almost done with the house, and we can't wait to get back into the swing of homeschooling again.

Our first Homeschool Association meeting was held on September 3rd. It looks like there will be a LOT more field trips, learning opportunities, elective classes, choir opportunities, etc., and LOTS of new members! So we can't wait! Trey will be a member of 4H this year, as well as Choir. We're looking into Orchestra, as well; although we're not sure if we can afford it yet. We will also be attending Park Day and Bowling Day-each once a month. Who says homeschooled kids aren't socialized?? I swear, Trey and Lindsay's social calendars are more full than Addie's. Crazy, right?

The only thing I really worry about with Trey is his dress. He would stay in his pajamas all day if I'd let him! And some days he has! I'm thinking of enforcing a dress code this year! How funny would that be?

Here's wishing everyone a wonderful school year!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Been a Long Time...

Wow, I didn't realize how long it had been since my last post until I started talking to the hubs last night about possibly starting a blog for him. I started telling him about all the ins and outs, and how much time it takes. Then it hit me....I've been so busy driving myself crazy that I haven't had the time to write about ANYTHING in over a month!!

So, for those who are interested, here's what we've been up to in the last month.

Some of you may have noticed that I have a business making baby gifts and gift baskets, but I also have branched out into baby shower/event planning. In May, I got my first "gig" as an event planner!! It was a baby shower for the daughter in law of a former co-worker. It turned out beautifully, and I can't wait to do another! Everything went so smoothly - I couldnt' believe there were no last minute crises to take care of! It took a lot of time, but I have to OCD and over-organizing actually paid off this time!! :)

On another happy note: the hubby's diet is going GREAT!! He has lost over 40 pounds doing the low carb diet. Me? Well, not so much. I lost 5 pounds in one week after I made the vow to get back on (and stay on) my thyroid medication. However, as evident in the past, it's too difficult for me to diet my way while the cooking for the hubs on his low carb diet. I HATE the low carb diet. I would much rather do a low cal/low fat diet. But it's just too difficult!! I know - I'm a wienie!!

I'm not blaming him whatsoever - in fact, I'm sooooo proud of him for sticking to his plan! It's just that by being at home full time, I'm responsible for making his lunch and dinner. He calls me on his way home from work and asks me (very politely) if I would mind frying him some bacon and eggs (my favorite), or a ham and cheese omelett (another favorite) with some sausage (another favorite). I'm weak...I admit it. But I haven't given up. It's just going slower than I had wanted.

I even tried doing the low carb diet since it was evidently too difficult for me to cook his meals and try to stay on my diet as well. You know? If you can't beat em, join em, right?? But after a few days, my blood sugar dropped and I started shaking and seeing stars. I figured that was no longer an option. SO....I've decided to take a few days, do some soul-searching and a lot of praying, and try to figure out what my best plan of attack should be.

I have continued to work on my menu plans to incorporate things that both of us can eat, but I haven't had time to post them, as there has been another huge project I've undertaken.

My in-laws' swimming pool needed resurfacing, and my father-in-law is not the type to hire out work. He's the incredibly talented builder of the family and has always been up for a challenge. It's just that this particular challenge needed more hands on deck than he had. So, I've been over there every day for the past 10 days scrubbing, plastering, sanding, re-plastering, re-sanding, and vacuuming just to get the surface prepared for a new liner. Then we dropped the liner in, got it all nice and perfect and then realized it was in backwards. Ya heard me! Backwards!!! UGH!!!!!

So then we had to start all over. Finally, we got the liner in and began stretching, pinning, pulling, smoothing, and filling. Did I mention that he owns the largest residential swimming pool available?? It was, and remains a NIGHTMARE!! If I have any bit of advice for anyone thinking of taking on a project like this, it would be: DON'T!!! Please hire it done! It will cost more, but it will save you many headaches and muscle aches, not to mention sunburns from the depths of hell!

They have a cabin that my father in law has built from the ground up, and have decided to make it their permanent residence. So we have decided to purchase their house. If for no other reason than to enjoy the fruits of our labor on the nightmare of a swimming pool! LOL! That means we have to get our house ready to put on the market. So we've got lots of projects to accomplish this summer. Hopefully, we'll have a post in the next year about our brand new house with the accompanying swimming pool!

So I guess I won't be posting very much this summer, as I am also homeschooling Trey throughout the summer months. We are very, very busy bees this summer!!! I wish everyone a very happy and relaxing summer!!! Please pray for us as we have soooo much work to do! :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Diet Menu Plan - May 4 - 10, 2009

Some of you may know about the 5 week menu plan that I've been doing. And while it worked like a charm, I've recently decided to go to a weekly menu plan because our diet has changed dramatically. My husband is on a Low Carb diet, I am on the exact opposite kind of diet that involves low calorie options and portion control paired with lots of exercise. And then there are the children who don't need to be on any kind of "diet". So it's very frustrating!! The 5 week Menu Plan assumes that you will reuse a lot of the same items throughout the 5 weeks...thus preventing one from having to spend as much at the grocery store. Clearly, both types of our newly improved diets require more fresh (and more expensive) ingredients. The goal has now changed from saving money to saving ourselves. :) I'm sure if I sat down and really put my mind to it, I could formulate a Low Carb 5 week Menu Plan, but I'm gonna take it one step at a time for now. :)
Trust me...I've done every diet out there. I don't like the Atkins/Southbeach type diets because they've never, ever, ever worked for me in the long run. The trick to the low-carb diet is variety. I get too bored with eating the same old stuff every day. Meat, cheese, eggs; meat, cheese, eggs; meat, cheese, eggs..................AAAAAARRRRGGGHHH!! It doesn't help that I am addicted (seriously, folks) to bread, pasta, and all things sweet.
But since the hubs is really doing well and is trying his best, I've decided to support him the best way I can. And that is by fixing him meals that he will enjoy, despite the fact that I can't have most of what he's having, and the children don't WANT most of what he's having.
So here is my solution: Each week I'm going to challenge myself to find low-carb items for the hubs to eat. My goal is to make sure he has variety, and also adapt them so that I can use them in my diet. I know this will be difficult, so I'm not promising to have cross-over type dishes every night, but on those nights, I will have a low-cal dish alongside it or just eat a Lean Cuisine type meal.
I've recently visited Organizing Junkie where there is a Menu Plan Monday meme going on. I seriously thought about joining, but I really, truly believe that if I get too caught up in reading scrumptious recipes, that I'll be too tempted to stray from my diet. So here's my list::
Pan-fried Pork Chops seasoned with salt, pepper, Cavenders Seasoning (Gary's favorite)
Broccoli and Cheese
(I will bake my pork chop instead)
Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breast topped with cheddar cheese
(I will leave off the bacon and cheese on mine and bake it alongside the others)
Stuffed Peppers (1 lb. ground beef mixed with 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, 1/2 can rotel - stuffed into peppers and baked on 400 for 30 min - add cheddar and more parm on top, bake for 10 more min). (Slice up an extra bell pepper and bake alongside for tomorrow night)
Fajita Chicken Salad (iceberg lettuce topped with fajita-type chicken, roasted bell peppers (from last night), and ranch dressing.
Pepperjack Chicken
Grilled Chicken Breasts topped with Pepperjack Cheese and sauteed mushrooms.
Green Beans
Burger in a bowl (I found the recipe here.)
Sunday: (Mother's Day) - not sure if we're eating here or not, but here's the back up plan in case I end up having to cook!!
Pot Roast ala Crockpot!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Small Talk Six -May 2

Today's topic for the Small Talk Six is 6 Things That You Always Wondered about Your Teachers or Professors. You can view the pre-scheduled list of topics here. Stop by and join in the fun, or just read what others posted this week at MomDot! Here's my 6:

1. How did Mrs. B. manage to find the Fountain of Youth? I swear that woman was 112 when she taught me!! And she would always tell all her students: "You know, I taught your (insert old relative here)." And she's still teaching!!!

2. Same teacher: How on EARTH did she manage to keep that bee-hive hair do up on her head all day?! I used to swear it was a hat that she took off at night and replaced every morning before school!!

3. Was Square-Dancing really a requisite in 10th grade PE or did Mrs. S. just need some comical relief??

4. How on earth did Mr. O manage to muster the patience to deal with my obvious lack of ability to learn Physics. I think the toothpick bridge requirement was his idea of payback!!

5. In college: What went through my World Lit teacher's mind when I walked in for the first time take the final!!

6. Same teacher: What went through her mind when I made an A on said final?? LOL!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tot School - April 20 - 24, 2009

Lindsay is currently 3 1/2 years old

Tot School

Tot School last week was a little sparse in the picture department. My foot has been really bothering me lately, and I'm having trouble walking. What's wrong, you wonder? In an act of infinite gracefulness, I stepped on a piece of broken glass last year sometime. Evidently, the surgical skills of my husband and I are lacking a bit, because I am in excrutiating pain when I walk. The only plus is that by the afternoon, it's so numb that it doesn't hurt as bad and I can actually get things done. I've never gone to the doctor about it because, well - I don't have to explain that to other moms, I guess. I just tend to put my own problems on the back burner until the whole kitchen burns down. :) Anyway...I've now realized that by ignoring it, I may have done myself more harm than good. So....I'm having surgery this Thursday to correct the damage I've caused to my foot and will be on crutches for 3 weeks. No biggie...but I've never walked on crutches before so this will definitely be a challenge. Ya'll pray...I'm not scared, but Gary is. He's never had a surgery and worries himself sick when I have to.

ANYWAY...Tot School. Right. We had a busy week, even if most of our time was spent just talking to each other. We talked about Earth Day and the importance of recycling. We looked at pictures of the earth and I showed her where we lived on a world map. We made promises to do better when we throw things away and we will really try to get things to the recycling bin instead of the trash can. We had lots of little talks about our planet and how we need to take care of it. We touched on climate differences a little, but it was kind of over her head, so we moved on.

Here's something I did get pictures of: Our "Fuzzy Weed-Stamped Flower Garden"!! One afternoon, we were sitting outside playing in the grass. Lindsay brought me this weed that I'm sure everyone has in their own yards, right?? She called it a "Fuzzy Weed". After I finished sneezing, I collected several more from her and grabbed some paint. Here's what we ended up with!

First - Grab a "fuzzy-weed" like this from your yard (or if you're the super-mom-type who would die if she found a weed in her yard, go steal one from your neighbor!)

Second, choose your paint colors - we used yellow, orange, green, purple, light blue, red, and pink. I used the Crayola Washable paints, and they worked like a charm when it came to clean-up time.

Next, dip your "fuzzy-weed" into the paint and stamp it on your paper (I used 11 x 13 poster board), to make a flower. Play around with it...the more paint you put on your "fuzzy-weed," the fuller the petals on your flowers. I loved the effect I got when I used a very small amount of red almost looked like a hibiscus flower!

Finally, use the stem of your "fuzzy-weed" to make the flower stems and leaves for your garden!

Clean up was really easy - I tend to stay away from painting because I detest cleaning paint brushes!! But this proved to be very easy!!

For those of you who noticed my hypocrytical use of styrofoam plates while teaching Lindsay about Earth Day...I know! I know!!! I'm really sorry!!! I bought a huge supply of them a few months ago - before our new promise was made. :) I am trying to change, I swear!!!

To join in the weekly fun, or simply read other Tot Reports from other moms, visit Carisa's blog: 1+1+1=1.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Please Don't Call Me Sweetie!!

Today is my first post with's Small Talk Six. Each Saturday, a new topic is given in which you respond by posting 6 words, phrases, pictures, paragraphs, etc. You can view the pre-scheduled list of topics here. This week's topic is 6 Things that Others Do to Make You Personally Uncomfortable. So stop by and join in the fun, or just read what others posted this week at MomDot!

Here's my list...

1. I have a real big issue with violation of personal space. You know what I'm talking about...the people who stand 6 inches from your face when they want to talk to you. And don't even try to back away...they'll follow you!!!

2. Please don't call me sweetie. My hairdresser does this, and I really wish I had the nerve to ask her to stop. She's just such a nice person - she was really sweet to my little girl and I just can't find the words.

3. Poor driving while my children or I happen to be in the car. I hate to get in the car with folks who don't pay attention when they're driving. I'm a nervous passenger anyway, so please don't make it worse by running red lights, or expressing your road rage while we're in the car.

4. Cell Phones! This is a biggie. I absolutely detest the use of cell phones in public. Here's an example of why. My husband and I went to a traditional Italian restaurant for our anniversary a couple of years ago. I was excited because this place was known for it's quiet, intimate atmosphere; and with 4 kids, we don't get a chance to connect much anymore. Unfortunately, there was a lady a few tables away from us who had evidently been stood up by whomever she was expecting. Instead of leaving, she immediately began dialing everyone on her address list and complained to them about her predicament in the loudest, whiniest voice I could imagine. It was almost too bad to be true when she started screaming into the phone when her friend couldn't hear her due to a bad connection. Needless to say, our perfect night was ruined before the appetizers came. GGrrrrr.....

5. I also hate it when someone blows their nose in front of me. I want to vomit everytime. So please excuse yourself and go to the restroom to do so. Or just give me a heads up first! Trust me - I'll leave promptly!!!

6. Lastly, I can't stand to go to restaurants, etc. with people who are rude to the wait staff. It is sooo embarrassing to me! You never know what that person has already been through that day, and I really don't want to wonder if they've spit in my food.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Believe...

Beliefs. We all have them, but can we all articulate them upon request? If you're like me, you are usually able to pick from a list when presented with a specific question. Do you believe in God? Do you believe in capital punishment? Those questions are fairly easily answered for me. But the little things take a little more time for me to formulate...that's why I was thrilled to receive the following in an email from my sister Lisa this morning.

I Believe...

That just because two people argue, doesn't mean they don't love each other. And just because they don't argue, doesn't mean they do love each other.

I Believe...

That we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I Believe...

That no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I Believe...

That true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.
I Believe...

That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I Believe...

That it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I Believe...

That you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I Believe...

That you can keep going long after you think you can't.

I Believe....

That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I Believe...

That either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I Believe...

That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I Believe...

That money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I Believe...

That my best friend and I can do anything, or nothing, and have the best time.

I Believe...

That sometimes the people you expect to kick you When you're down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

I Believe...

That sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I Believe...

That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had,
and what you've learned from them..... and less to do with how many
birthdays you've celebrated.

I Believe...

That it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others.
Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I Believe...

That no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I Believe...

That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I Believe...

That you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life Forever.

I Believe...

Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I Believe...

That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I Believe...

That even when you think you have no more to give, if a friend cries out to you.... .... you will find the strength to help.

I Believe...

That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I Believe...

That the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

I Believe...

That you should send this to all of the people that you believe in. I just did.

I Believe...

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; They just make the most of everything.

Thanks to all the wonderful people who help me throughout the journey of my life...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Girl's Day Out!!

Last Friday, the girls and I had the day to ourselves. The guys went to the cabin to help out with some more of the building phase. So the girls and I decided that we would get out of the house for a while and have some fun!

First on our To-Do List was Chuck E. Cheese. They had a really great time. The highlight, though, was when they impressed everyone with their cool dance moves (that they obviously didn't learn from me). Addison took off as soon as the tokens hit her hand, and I didn't see her again until it was time to eat the pizza. Lindsay didn't want to get down from the clock ride.

Then came the shopping!! I was looking for an outfit for Easter, and the girls had fun sifting through all the beautiful jewelry we came across. They got bracelets, and hair bows, and all the typical "girly" stuff that any mini-fashionista would be proud to own! The funniest moment, though, occurred while we were in one of the "Mommy Stores." From the minute we walked in the door, Lindsay was obsessed with the manequins. There was a group of them posed in front of the doors showing off the newest spring fashions. Lindsay politely walked up to them and said, "So...what's up girlfriend? Hi ladies!" I got a little laugh out of that and moved on.

I found some really cute things and headed for the register. It was crowded - I was 4th in line, with a couple of women behind me, but I didn't mind because I was just excited about this rare opportunity for me to get something new. :) Of course, I was really hoping Lindsay wouldn't notice the half naked manequin beside us wearing nothing but a thong. I swear this is a respectable store...I don't know what they were thinking putting that manequin up like that!! But both of my smart little observant children noticed right away!! Addison just snickered under her breath and was obviously embarrassed. Lindsay, on the other hand, was very interested. I know my face had to be red, but I tried to ignore it in hopes that maybe the shiny new necklace I was now dangling at her would catch her attention.

No such luck...she immediately walked around the back of the manequin with a look that could only be described as a cross between utter disgust and absolute hysteria. Then came the pointing, snickering, and the eventual proclamation that...

"Mommy! That lady has a wedgie!!!"

Ok, my face has to be at least 4 shades of purple at this point! Addison was trying her best not to laugh. But it eventually got the best of her and that just multiplied Lindsay's quest to make sure that everyone in the store was aware of the "lady's" unfortunate situation, while she continued to try to help the "lady" dislodge the offending material from her rear-end.

As a mother, I often find myself blushing over some of the observations of my children in public places. Thank goodness it was an all-women's store. I'm sure everyone in line was a mother who had probably experienced some degree of public humiliation at the hands of their beloved children. They all got a good laugh out of it anyway!!

By the time we made it out of the store, I needed a little time to let the blood drain from my face. Sooo................................
We decided to top off our day with a trip to Coldstone Creamery...FOR DINNER!! This is something I have never done before as a mother, but I couldn't resist! We were having such a good time, and it reminded me of some of the times that my sister, Lisa and I would spend with our Aunt Jeannie. We used to spend summers with her at her beach house outside of Galveston, TX. When we were little, she'd fix us waffles with ice cream on top for breakfast as a special treat. It was memorable to say the least! Aunt Jeannie died in a car accident in 2000, and never met my girls. So I was so happy to be able to share a little part of her with them.

Her ice cream kept falling off the cone, so I got her a bowl.

But she was determined to get it IN the cone!

Obviously, they liked the ice cream! I can only hope that they enjoyed our Girl's Day Out as much!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tot School - April 6 - 10, 2009

Tot School

Yes, I know I'm late with my Tot School post...I've been really busy this week getting Trey appropriately transitioned from the 3rd grade into the 4th. It has really been quite a week!

Last weekend, we went to the cabin that my (very talented) father-in-law is building in Arkansas...himself. No really...ALL by himself - well, for the exception of Grandmommy. My brother in law Rick helps out when he can, and so do we...but that's about all the help he's had. :)

It's been 4 years of working through every weekend/vacation he takes off work, but Gary Sr. is about to get it finished!! You can't tell by looking at the primer on the exterior, but eventually, the entire house will be a pale yellow with white trim, and pecan trees will line the drive. This is the backside of the house. The front side overlooks the river, and has two large dormer windows that will make for an even more scenic view. The porch wraps around 3 sides of the house, and there will be french doors leading onto that from the master bedroom. This will be a perfect place for them to spend their retirement! (And in case you were wondering, yes, that is an outhouse out there to the is only temporary -thank goodness!!- until they get all the plumbing done which will come later in the building phase).

Grand-daddy always takes special time to show the kiddos what he's doing and he lets them help whenever they want. Here, he's showing Addie how to measure a board correctly.

Lindsay loves taking "Nature Walks" and looking for rocks. A few months ago, we found 2 huge pieces of sandstone with a vein of quartz crystal running through each piece, and she is always eager to find more! In these particular pictures, I was trying to convince her that digging up Grandmommy's carefully laid stone path outside the cook house wasn't the greatest idea. She didn't agree. Sorry Grandmommy!!

This is the "driveway" that leads up around a bank of woods and into the area where the house is being built. Lindsay and I love to take our walks here.

She loves sitting on the huge wrap-around porch and looking out over the river. I can't wait to get her into a canoe this summer!!

Later in the week, we made a "Counting Catepillar." I just cut out 1 medium and 5 big circles out of construction paper, and let Lindsay tape them together. We curled pipe cleaners around our pencils and made the antennae. I wrote the numbers 1-5 on each circle and counted out the corresponding numbers of colored pom-poms. She was supposed to match both the correct color and number of pom-poms to the corresponding circle. It took her a few tries, but she got it in the end! :)

I also found a letter matching/memory type game in one of her workbooks. She had so much fun with it, that I decided to make a bigger (better) one as a file folder game that she can play anytime. :)

The goal is to find the matches to all the letters/numbers so she can place them on the cookie sheet. You can't really tell, but on the left, there is a "placemat" that has a photo of a traditional place setting. That was made into a pocket to store all of the "cookies."

We also played the coolest game called Hullabaloo!! All of my kiddos enjoyed this game! It was a hoot!!!

Well, that was it for us for Tot School for last week. For more Tot Reports from other mom's, visit Carisa's blog, 1+1+1=1!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Big 4th Grader!!!

Well, it's official! Trey has begun the 4th grade!! I'm so proud of him! He really buckled down and finished the 3rd grade curriculum, and is ready to begin the 4th grade. Of course, I was really hoping and praying that he would do so, and he didn't let me down!!

You see, I thought I was being really proactive and organized, and ordered our 4th grade curriculum early so we could beat the rush. When I got to the Homeschool Curriculum Shop website, I was pleased to find that they now offer a lease option. Gary and I decided that this would be a good option for us because we don't have the room to store all those textbooks anyway. The website stated that "upon returning the required materials," we would receive a credit towards next years purchase/lease. I thought can't beat that, right?? Well, I was wrong.

5 weeks after ordering, we received our curriculum (just about the time I was beginning to panic). We opened it up to find that the Math books we ordered were on backorder with no idea as to when they would arrive. On the invoice, they had also noted where I had ordered Saxon Math instead of Harcourt Math- which I didn't...Trey does not do well with the Saxon learning style. Thankfully, I saved every page of my online order as I completed it and was able to convince the customer service representative that THEY were the ones that had made the mistake. (They tried to tell me that there was no such option on the order form!!) Anyway...they also included on the invoice that the lease is only for 13 months. Which, even in my own opinion is a fair amount of time, but their website led me to believe that we could keep it until we were finished with the grade and return it in order to receive the credit. After all, the lease option WAS the same amount as the purchase're just given a list of items you have to return, like the hardback textbooks and (photocopied) teacher's guides in order to receive the credit. So they wouldn't be out any money if we decided to keep them forever! Actually, they would make money, because all of the teacher's guides and answer keys were photocopied. If we had purchased them, we would have received the full color paperback or hardback editions.

Back to the original problem...the lease is only good for 13 months. I did the math, and found that there was no way that Trey would be able to finish the 3rd grade and the 4th grade in that amount of time. ALSO...we still don't have our Math books! So how is he supposed to start the 4th grade without the Math books?? I was basically informed that we could choose to extend our lease for $20 per month, and the 13 months on the math will begin upon receipt of the items (whenever that is). So we're supposed to go ahead and begin the 4th grade without math, OR we can choose to spend $20 per month to extend the lease however many months it takes them to 1) correct my Math order, and 2) ship them from the backorder log.

I chose to go ahead and begin the 4th grade without the Math. I went ahead and tested Trey out of the 3rd grade minus Math. He will continue to work on his 3rd grade Math until the 4th grade materials arrive, and begin 4th grade work on all other subjects. He will not get the summer break that he was looking forward to, but we will only have school 4 days a week...for the exception of online math games and occasional unit tests.

So I am not exactly thrilled with my experience with Homeschool Curriculum Shop, and they are aware of my feelings. I should have done more research, or called and spoken with a rep before I placed my order...but you live and learn right? I DO however LOVE the quality of the books - everything is brand new (which coincidentally would not have happened had I not ordered early). I also like the option of choosing the secular package: only because it coincides with the public school scope and sequence. There is a possiblity that Trey may end up going back to public school in the future and I wasn't impressed with the Christian core curriculum I ordered last year. As stated in a previous post, all of the material in that curriculum was a review from the 1st grade of public school, and it didn't work for his style of learning. For $579 (including tax/shipping), we received all core subject textbooks, workbooks, answer keys, as well as a guide for Physical Education and Health. I will just teach Bible lessons separately. I will have to return everything except the consumable workbooks we received. The P.E. book will also have to go back. We will receive $110 towards next years lease, or we will have the option to "cash out" and receive half of that. Which looking at the photocopied answer keys, and everything we have to return, I don't think is a fair amount. That means we're paying over $500 for workbooks. I'm not sure how we will handle this yet...luckily, we've got 13 months to figure it out. LOL! In my opinion, the Purchase Option is a good deal...the Lease Option is not. Shoulda known, right??

Moral of the Rant: Don't trust website descriptions! RESEARCH AND ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS!!!

I knew that homeschooling was going to be a learning experience for me...since I've never done this before. I had no idea, however, that so many lessons would be learned so quickly. :) I continue to be extremely thankful for the opportunity that I've been given to homeschool my son. We have grown so much closer, and I can see the light returning to his eyes as we reverse the damage done by the one particular public school teacher who found pleasure in humiliating him at every opportunity. He truly believes that he is JUST as smart as other kids, and now understands that his learning style is different, but his learning capability is JUST THE SAME!!

I am also very thankful for the many resources available nowdays for homeschool parents! I can't imagine doing this without the homeschool support groups, internet, or the awesome curriculum that is now available. I am also very, very thankful to my husband for working as hard as he does so that I could quit my good-paying job and stay home. Without him, I don't know what we'd do!! I thank God every day for allowing us this amazing time together!! It is such a wonderful blessing!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tot School - March 30 - April 3, 2009

Tot School

Wow! We had one of the best weeks ever! The weather was beautiful almost every day last week!! So beautiful, in fact, that I couldn't bear to keep the kids inside all day. So nearly every day last week, we went outside for most of the day. Most of Lindsay's tot school was done inside in the mornings, while it was still a little too chilly outside.

Theme: WEATHER!!
We just kept it simple this week. Rather than simply teaching her about the weather, I wanted Lindsay to really experience our theme up close and personal! This theme is one of my favorites because I LOVE sunshine!! Without it, I would surely go insane.
Prior to last week, I had made a bunch of weather cards using an April Lesson Plan I bought online. On Monday, she and Addison helped me make a box to display them. Each day, Lindsay got up from the breakfast table and ran over to the front door to peak out the side-lights to see what the weather would be. I would ask her to choose the correct weather card from the box to show me what the weather was. Then we would place a matching weather card on our calendar.

We talked about the rain...

And she made a raindrop (that I had outlined for her) out of blue thumbprints and "swirlies"...
We talked about clouds...She did a worksheet (on desk above) which had to do with counting clouds and being able to circle the correct number that corresponded to the number of clouds in a given row.
This is something I felt particularly proud of...I handed her a coloring page with a cloud on it, and asked her what color she thought clouds were. My 3 year old little Einstein told me that clouds could be pink, purple, blue, orange and white...rainbow clouds. I laughed and said, "oh how cute," and dismissed it. Later on that evening, while (still) playing in the yard, she pointed to the sky and said, "Look Mommy! Rainbow Clouds!" It was a beautiful sunset and all the clouds were, in fact, "rainbow" colored!
I taught her a song about clouds in which she got to use her cloud stick. It included an appropriate amount of wiggling and giggling! :)

We did some color sorting...nothing to do with "weather" persay, but she REALLY likes to sort M&M's!!

We talked about the wind, and made a beautiful windsock!

On it, she colored herself and Mommy playing in the flowers.

She decided to hang it in the big Elm tree in the front yard. I thought it looked very pretty there!

And we spent a LOT of time discussing the aerodynamics of a Dora the Explorer tricycle! (LOL...just kidding!!)

For more Tot Reports from other moms, visit Carisa's blog at 1+1+1=1. Y'all have a great week!!