Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ice in South Georgia!

Hey, look! It's ice on the south, really....take a look.

I haven't seen icicles since last winter when we were in Atlanta. Aren't they just so pretty? Not very big, but we don't see these here very often. The only reason we had these was because our neighbors sprinkler was on the night before and it froze on the trees. Maybe I'll just do that more often!

Happy Birthday to Leah

Happy Birthday to Leah. She's 15 today and ready to take on the world. It seems only yesterday that she was a baby and relied on me so much for everything. Now, she's becoming a beautiful young woman. The Lord is working in her life and I'm happy to see the lady she will soon be.

Decorating for her party:

The cake and birthday wishes: (mom didn't get to make the cake this year :( )

The wrapping of Leah: (the foam wrap comes from Claire's. This was really funny!)

It was a great time!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Orange is the new Pink!

Well, I don't know if that is true with all of the "officially-dubbed fashionistas" out there - but according to my daughter, who originally wanted to go with a pale pink and chose this bright orange instead, it's the new pink.

Needless to say, I was leary, VERY leary, about painting her room this color. I mean....look at it! That's orange - Orange Julius orange! I kept asking her if she was SURE she wanted to paint her room that color. She kept assuring me that she was positive (ever seen the movie "...." where Batty says "even fools are positive!" Yeah, that fits here.

The next morning I went to get her up and noticed a glow coming from her room. Through the closed door I asked why she'd slept with the light on. She said, "Mom, it's not on."

Now on to the detail decorating. We've got to do something about downplaying these really bright walls.

Friday, November 21, 2008

101 Things to Be Happy About

I was inpired today to create this post. Over the years, I've gathered ideas about how to be happy and listed them on my computer. I try to find happiness in the little things but, like everyone else, I forget sometimes. I hope this list will be an inspiration to you.

1. A beautiful sunset.
2. waking up to the smell of coffee in the mornings.
3. the birth of a child
4. a hug
5. a smile
6. your child’s first word
7. holding hands with the one you love
8. the smell of French fries
9. making your goal weight
10. fitting into that smaller size
11. the smell of fresh, clean laundry
12. teaching your toddler to sing
13. walking on the beach
14. no dishes in the sink
15. a phone call from a friend
16. not having to make dinner
17. a clean house
18. the sound of a child's laughter
19. laughing with your significant other
20. laughing with your children
21. fresh clean sheets
22. a cup of hot tea
23. a good book
24. a good movie
25. the kids are being good
26. the loss of the first five pounds
27. making new friends
28. a sunny day
29. the smell of cut grass
30. the soft patter of rain
31. nothing to do
32. eating ice cream
33. listening to thunder
34. a nap
35. an autograph
36. a night alone
37. family game night
38. reading a great blog
39. listening to your favorite song
40. dancing with your husband
41. dancing with your children
42. sitting in the grass
43. eating stew in the winter
44. the birth of a grandchild
45. success of a new recipe
46. a night with friends
47. a note from a friend
48. a field of flowers
49. learning something new
50. giving to charity
51. volunteering
52. eating cheesecake
53. the smell of a new car
54. sleeping late
55. breakfast in bed
56. good dreams
57. meaningful conversations
58. fingerpainting
59. getting a manicure
60. getting a pedicure
61. a massage
62. having someone play with your hair
63. getting your back scratched
64. discovering a new talent
65. the smell of cookies baking
66. holidays spent with family
67. life
68. hotdogs over the bonfire
69. roasting marshmallows
70. grilling out in the summer
71. staying in
72. going out
73. a new outfit
74. your old jeans
75. a pair of comfy socks
76. eating chocolate
77. organizing a pile
78. family dinners
79. a toast
80. a sense of humor
81. sensitivity
82. buds in the springtime
83. new life
84. watching wildlife
85. festivals
86. a completed project
87. being in love
88. a hot shower
89. pizza the next day
90. reading a book together
91. chocolate milk
92. winning the lottery
93. a bubble bath
94. comfortable silence
95. an epiphany
96. learning a new joke
97. a new pair of shoes
98. discovering a new route
99. swinging on the front porch
100. taking photos of your kids
101. being yourself

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Check these out!

Check out these really cute bows made by Monica! They're having a giveaway here! Go see what's there. You'll love it!

And Monica makes the awesome bow hangers too. Aren't they sweet? I like the Diva one - it shouts Ainsley all the way! And pink and green are her colors.

Homeschool Memoirs #14: Award The Categories

What a fun post! Let's see if I can come up with some interesting awards for my family.

Check out Homeschool Blog Awards if you want to play!

Best Painter: Dad

He has so many talents it's hard to name just one. He works hard with two full time jobs, rarely sleeps because he's providing for the family, teaches history to our girls because he's a history buff, orders fantastic pizza from Dominos, and likes to debate about politics. But, his passion is his artwork. He's done murals, model cars, real cars, signs, garbage cans, tool boxes....basically anything he can get his hands on. And did I mention he's a wonderful Christian man and father?

Most Improved: Zach

Zach is the one we would consider most improved. He works really hard at his job and loves his family unconditionally. Went through a rough time for a while, but now he's on a good track, finding the Lord again, and discovering who he is. (This photo is a few years old - he's almost 22 now) I got your back, Son!

Funniest: Kyle

Kyle, at age 20, is most definitely our funniest child. We've said over the years he could be the new "Jim Carrey"! He's goofy to the point of being "slap stick". He loves to tell jokes and make people laugh. There's not been a dinner at the table yet where I haven't nearly choked on my food from laughter. You can even see it in his eyes!

Most Devoted to Horses: Elizabeth
Elizabeth is our horse lover - and that's putting it mildly! She loved volunteering at a local rescue barn in the Atlanta area and leading the little kids around (her sister, in this photo). She really has a heart for this animal and can spout off trivia about them like she was the inventor of the breed. She's also a great artist, like Dad. Her medium is usually pencil and her equine drawings are just amazing! She's actually considered a professional artist now - she sold some of her artwork at a local art show that she entered when she was 13. She was quite proud of herself, and so were we! Visit her blog at Wild Horsefeathers!

The Next Best Super Model: Leah

Leah is our resident model and performer. She's started taking modeling classes and has done a couple of fashion shows already. She's also discovered a love of performing on stage in plays. Currently, she plays a part in the Charles Dickens' classic "A Christmas Carol". We're expecting great things from her. She can take care of her dear ol' parents when they are old and gray and she's rolling in the dough! See her blog: Inside and Out.

Most Talented Drama Queen: Ainsley

At three, she is a combustable combination of all the kids rolled up into a little package of dynamite! She has her big brother Zach's sensitive side, brother Kyle's goofyness, sister Elizabeth's artist abilities, and sister Leah's flare for the dramatic. She loves, loves, loves to be the center of attention and now aspires to be a model like sister Leah. Keep an eye out for this one! 'Nuff said!

Congratulations to all the others out there who have just won these prestigious awards!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Tidbits - November 18

This is my first attempt at having my own regular "column" on my own blog. I guess we'll see how it goes.

Tuesday Tidbits is about, well, tidbits of this and tidbits of that, every Tuesday. Stay tuned as I'm working on adding more regular columns shortly. Tuesdays will be my time for everyday ramblings, I suppose you could say.
So, on with the show. Today's topic: Twittering
I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to talk about today. Sometimes I have so much to say and other times it's all jumbled in there together and I can't sort out what's what. So, I figured I'd say a few things about this new Twitter thing. Ok, maybe it's not that new to you, but seeing as how I just joined, it's a new toy for me.
When I first began blogging not too long ago I was simply amazed that people were so curious about other people they didn't know or had never met before. Blogs have grown like weeds since the concept's inception. Now - there's this new thing - Twittering. People actually want to know what you're doing at any given minute of every single day. Amazing! Is my life and times so interesting to others? I don't know...but I can say I'm fascinated at what others are doing! The strangest thing about it for me is that I don't know these people beyond the Net. So far I have no immediate friends or family that I follow or is following me - I don't even know if they know that Twittering exists!
Well, anyway, for me the world just got a little smaller! And if you're still reading this rambling...thanks! Let's Twitter!

Monday, November 17, 2008

FOR TODAY: November 17th
Outside my window it is a bright sunny day. No clouds in the sky - but I know it's chilly out there!
I am thinking about our hectic schedule this eveing: modeling at 5:30 and a full show rehearsal at 6:00.
I am thankful for my older girls being such indepent learners!
From the learning rooms we're doing Algebra...again.
From the kitchen: there are dirty dishes waiting to be done from this morning's breakfast. Did I just post about organization? Oh, well...that comes in the afternoon!
I am wearing a bright pink t-shirt with gray sweats and comfy socks.
I am creating my recipe list for our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
I am going to sit and play Collapse when all the chores are done!
I am reading a book by Nora Roberts.
I am hoping I have time to put on some makeup before heading out the door!
I am hearing classical music coming out of my computer speakers. We like to listen to classical while schoolwork is being done.
Around the house I see that Ainsley did not pick up her toys like Mommy said to. But, nap time is more important for Mommy's sanity so I'll leave her alone for now.
One of my favorite things is talking to my husband in the middle of the day.
A few plans for the rest of the week: get the program for the play finished.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

Gettin' Organized in the Middle of Chaos!

Let's face it: we're homeschoolers, life is chaotic. School is a way of life, not just something we do from 9 - 2. We all need help and great ideas for staying organized - me especially. I would love to hear what others do to keep their days, weeks, months, years organized and running smoothly - well, as smoothly as we could hope.

Our family seems to have very little time throughout the week during the school year. There were times when the household chores simply had to be put on the back burner. Scouts, theaters, music lessons, dance...all of these take priority, right? Only problem is....I get very cranky when the house is a mess! What happens if someone shows up unexpectedly on your doorstep and you haven't mopped the kitchen floor in two months and the laundry is piled halfway up the wall?

I know, I know....I've heard homeschoolers say that people will just have to understand that we're homeschoolers and we live, work, and educate in our homes - it's a mess. But, I simply can't live that way.

A couple of years ago I came across a website that really helped me get organized with household chores. If you're a homeschooler, you have probably heard of this site. If you haven't, you must go there!

I downloaded Donna's family chores schedule. It lists chores to do daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. Wow! What a difference. Now, we're not so overwhelmed with the day to day things that need to get done and I'm not always in a tizzy (is that a word?)!

I've taken this and adjusted it slightly to fit our family and it has worked for us very well!
I'd love to hear from others about how they organize their day!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window it is a bit foggy this morning. It looks a little chilly, but when I went out on the front porch it was actually warm.

I am thinking about my date with my husband and kids tomorrow evening. It's been a while since we've gone to see a movie and I'm looking forward to it!

I am thankful for my husband who works so hard so that I can stay home with our children.

From the learning rooms - We have two Algebra assignments to complete today since we missed yesterday's. However, we have a lunch date today with Dad and some out of town friends so I don't know that this will be accomplished!

From the kitchen it looks to be a simple dinner tonight. Something along the lines of a casserole maybe.

I am wearing my pajamas!

I am creating new daily themes for my blog. It helps keep me organized and focused and hopefully someone will like what I post!

I am going back to the theater this evening for play rehearsal! The two older girls are doing "A Christmas Carol" this year - one is a character in the play, the other is tech crew.

I am reading a book by Nora Roberts.

I am hoping I get everything done this week!

I am hearing the sounds of the girls waking up and moving around. The dog's nails clipping on the floor. The quiet hum of the refrigerator.

Around the house I see things that need picking up, a few dishes in the sick that need washed, a pile of laundry that needs putting away. But, oh, here I sit blogging away....

One of my favorite things is talking to my husband after a long day.

A few plans for the rest of the week: to get through our weekly assignments and get our chores done!

Here is picture thought I am sharing:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mom Help!

Oh, do I LOVE this topic as, I'm sure, do other homeschool moms. We need a lot of help, right? Ok, maybe some more than others. There are those who make it look so easy! Can I have a piece of their pie, please?

So, what gets me through the day? What keeps me from going insane? Let's see....
1. The thought of a good book at the end of the day. I like to curl up in a quiet spot (even if that means shutting myself in my room) and reading until I drift off to sleep.
2. Knowing that SOON I can put my pajamas back on and curl up with hubby on the couch to watch a little tv.
3. My new found friend - blogging. I love to see what other moms are doing and I'm learning a lot!

4. A nice hot bubble bath - which I haven't had for quite a while and may be the reason my family has been complaining that I'm having hissy fits lately. Well, if they'd just pick up their clothes and rinse their dishes so the food doesn't dry on them, I might not have hissy fits! ....Excuse me for a moment, there's playdough in the 3 year old's hair and the dog has a sock that does NOT belong to him.....

Obviously, I don't get these things nearly as much as I However, I do have a date with my husband coming up very soon. Maybe that will provide a little down time.
I can't wait to see what other moms do for their down time!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Coupon Shopping

For the last several months I've been searching for ways to save money that we spend everyday. Since my dh was medically separated from the military we took quite a paycut, especially when he couldn't find a job right away. We were desperate and needed to find ways to cut expenses.

I came across this website after God gave me the idea to try using coupons. I've been hooked ever since!

This site teaches you how to use coupons along with the current sales at your local grocery store. Teri loads a database of the sales each week and helps you match the sales with the coupons in that week's newspaper. You can even shop at local drug stores like CVS or Walgreens.

Since I've been doing this for a few months, but coupon file has grown and I usually have more than I need. Unfortunately, I don't live in an area that has good coupon flyers in our newspaper so I have relatives who live in larger cities mail me their coupons every week. I also occassionally purchase coupons online using CouponMaster. They clip the coupons for you for a small fee. (These come in lots of 3 so you may have extra)

Normally I don't spend over $75.00 a week for groceries. That's just the budget I've set for ourselves and it works for us (We have five in the household right now - the two older boys being on their own). Last week we splurged a little and spent $205 on groceries. But we saved $96 of that - almost HALF my grocery bill!
We don't even save that much when we shop at Walmart. We used to go to Walmart to get things a little cheaper, but using this method it's MUCH cheaper to shop for our groceries at Publix!
I encourage everyone to try this and I would love to know your results!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs #12: Let’s Play A Game!

This week's theme at Homeschool Blog Awards is Let's play a game. I haven't kept up like I intended to but I will try my best to do better.

We play a few games now and then. There are times when we have a family game night. We like to play clue and monopoly. We use these as learning experiences for the older ones.

We've been thinking about trying Risk. I've heard this is a great strategy game and makes you think - kind of like chess? Which is another one I, myself, would like to learn. Of course, I don't think I could beat my husband at any strategy game - he's really good at that!

We've started playing I Spy again.... Ainsley is old enough now that she knows her colors and loves to play it whenever we go somewhere. But it always seems to be the same thing with her! "I spy something green!" And before we can answer.... "It's the trees, Mommy!" It reminds me of the scene in Finding Nemo:

"Uhh, It's orange with white stripes..."

"It's me."

"Ok. It's small and orange, white stripes...."

"It's me."

"Ok, Mr. Smarty Pants. It's...."

"Me. And let me guess, the next one, it's me...."

We also love computer games. Ainsley has started playing Jump Start Preschool and loves it! I think Santa is going to bring her a Leapster for Christmas.

Overall, we're pretty spontaneous! Not all of our games our educational. Some are just for fun! We've been know to have a rousing round of Uno or Chicken Foot with dominos!

I look forward to seeing what games others are playing!


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Catching Up

As usual life gets in the way and I don't always find the time to blog. When I don't, I miss it though. Here's what we've been up to....

A little school work.... Ainsley is learning her alphabet. We try to work on one or two letters a week while reviewing previous letters at the same time. Here, she's playing the Jump Start Preschool games. She loves the computer.

A little fun time with the local homeschool group teens. As you can tell, we have mostly girls. These five have been together for the last several years through the homeschool group and Girl Scouts.

And I finally have all my kids under one roof. The three girls are, of course, still at home. The boys though are off on their own. The one of the left, K, is in the Air Force. The one on the right, Z, has a family of his own now and works hard in the local community. (This photo was taken after much struggling and complaining and elbowing and tickling!)

I hope everyone has a great week!