Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

I say it every year.  "My New Year's Resolution is..."  ....fill in the blank.  I start with great intention and lots of dedication and motivation.  But, somewhere along the way, I always fall off the wagon.  Is it a lack of interest?  Lack of motivation?  Lack of support?  Probably a combination of things.  I like variety so I know I lose interest quickly.  I'm certainly motivated, but life seems to keep coming at me and I get derailed.  I have a great support system in my husband, but life comes at him full force, too, to he finds it hard to keep me supported.  *sigh*

What's a girl to do?

Here are a few tips that I've discovered while searching the Internet for help.  Maybe they'll help you, maybe they'll help me.

1.  Choose realistic resolutions.  (Seems simple enough.)
2.  Write down your plan.  (It helps me to see what I'm working towards.)
3.   Make small, attainable goals.  (You can't eat the elephant all at once.)
4.  Tell people.  (Tell friends and family.  They can be a great support system and may even join you.)
5.  Keep a journal.  (It may help you be accountable to yourself.)
6.  Set a schedule. (That life that comes at you is sure to get in the way!  Make a time for yourself.)
7.  Reward yourself with each goal.  (Don't binge...don't use food as reward if you're trying to lose weight.)
8.  Find support.  (It's critical for keeping your motivation and determination.)

So now, the question is...Can I stick to my resolutions.  Like so many others, my goal is to shed a few pounds.  I think though, that instead of my resolution being to lose weight, it will be just to eat better.  No more fries on the dollar menu, more water and green veggies.  That sounds a little more do-able to me.

I'd love to hear what your resolutions are.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Creamy Cranberry Coffee Cake

I've had this "thing" for cranberries lately so I baked a cake on Tuesday for my church's annual Cake Auction.  It looked and smelled so good, my husband wanted me to make another one tonight.  So, I did...

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Cream Cheese Layer
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold butter

In a large bowl, combine the first four ingredients.  Combine the eggs, orange juice, butter, and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients until well combined.  Fold in the cranberries and orange peel.  Pour into a greased 9-inch springform pan.

In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Add egg and vanilla; mix well.  Spread over batter.  Combine the flour and sugar; cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over top.

Place pan on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 70-75 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing sides of pan.  

Yield:  12 servings

I found the cake a little dry so you might try a little corn syrup in the batter to moisten it.  Also, if you have a food processor, use that to chop the cranberries.  Much easier than using a knife!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bottle Bombs

This came across my email this morning and since it's true, I thought I would share it on my blog and Facebook and try to reach as many people as possible.

A Bottle Bomb is made of Drain-O and Tin Foil mixed together inside a plastic bottle. The chemical reaction makes a build up of gases inside the bottle and it then detonates with a great amount of force.

People have discovered these bombs in their fronts yards. They look like trash and had intended on removing them. The detonation takes place 30 seconds after moving the bottle.

If you find one of these, PLEASE do not move it! Call your local police.

snopes.com: Bottle Bombs

Friday, October 29, 2010

Song Dedications for my children

I've dedicated these songs to my children. Every time I hear them I'm reminded that this is my wish for my children.

For my girls:

For my boys:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fair Trade

I'm a big advocate for Fair Trade.  My other blog - The Anti-Slavery Project - is about combating human trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children.  It's a huge issue in the United States (and globally, of course) but it doesn't stop there.  Another big issue is fair trade.  That is, slave labor.

Think it doesn't exist in the US?  Please, think again!  But, what is fair trade, you might be asking.  Fair trade creates a platform where producers receive fair wages and good working conditions.  It is assuring that the products you buy are made by workers who are not slaves to their employers.  In case you aren't aware, there is a full Fair Trade Movement going on!

Slave labor doesn't just mean "adults".  Many of the slaves are children.

Fair Trade principles include:

  • Fair price
  • Fair labor conditions
  • Direct trade
  • Democratic and transparent organizations
  • Community development
  • Environmental sustainability
Some of the products that are an issue for fair trade include:
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Spices and herbs
  • Plants
  • Nuts
  • Sugar
  • Cotton
  • Soybeans
  • Quinoa
  • Wine
  • Sportsballs
See anything that looks familiar to you?  Chances are, the food you're eating, the shoes you're wearing, or the soccer ball your kids play with were picked and/or assembled by slave children.

My challenge to you - my PLEA to you - is to shop smart this holiday season!  And then, learn to shop smart after the holidays are over.  STOP buying products unless the company is Fair Trade certified!

Here are some links to help you out:

And by the way, October is Fair Trade Month!

Foursquare Schoolhouse: Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF 2010

Click the picture above if you wanna join the party!!

Foursquare Schoolhouse: Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010


The Couch-to-5K ® Running Plan

I've been saying for a while that it's time I got in shape. I'm carrying around ___ pounds of extra weight (ha! did you really think I would tell?) for the last thirteen years. So, my husband and I have decided that we're going to do it together. There's nothing like having a partner to help you stay motivated.

I discovered this running program several months ago through a church friend and thought, "There is NO way I could do that!" I've had a history of heart problems for a long time and this past May I had open heart surgery. But, finally, I've gotten up the courage to begin my journey.

It started this morning at 5am when my husband's alarm went off. Scared the bee-jeez out of me! I rolled over to slap it off and hit his nose instead. Poor thing. That's what he gets, I guess, for dragging me out of bed at the witching hour - or whatever hour that is!

But, I dragged my overweight butt out of bed, threw on my PT clothes and....yep, I successfully completed my first day of Couch-to-5k! It dang hard, I tell ya! I know why they say to take a day of rest between runs! My body felt beat all to heck! But, like the moron I am, I felt great!

Tomorrow, I get my day of rest. Wednesday, it's Day 2 (or as they say it in the program - W1D2)!

Looking forward to a thinner more energized me!

Cool Running | The Couch-to-5K � Running Plan

'Star Wars (John Williams Is The Man)' a cappella tribute medley - Corey...

Call Response

BOCA CHICA, Dominican Republic – After several days of going hungry, Maria said she surrendered to sexual propositions made by several men in the park where she begged in this resort town in the south of the Dominican Republic.

Maria, 12, said she had sex with “many” of those men, sometimes for a dollar, while her cousins, 13 and 10, begged European and American tourists for coins.

“I was hungry, I lost everything; we didn’t know what to do,” said Maria, explaining her decision to sell her body on the streets of Boca Chica, Dominican Republic.

The three children told reporters from El Nuevo Herald and The Miami Herald that they left Port-au-Prince, Haiti, with the help of a smuggler after the January earthquake devastated the city.

Today, the children sell boiled eggs for 10 cents all day, walking in the sun along Duarte Avenue, a bustling runway for juvenile prostitution in the heart of Boca Chica, where newly arrived Haitian girls sashay, offering their bodies to gray-haired tourists.

The story of Maria and her cousins has become commonplace: Since the earthquake more than 7,300 boys and girls have been smuggled out of their homeland to the Dominican Republic by traffickers profiting on the hunger and desperation of Haitian children and their families. In 2009, the figure was 950, according to one human rights group that monitors child trafficking at 10 border points.

Several smugglers told the newspaper that they operate in cahoots with crooked officers in both countries — their versions verified by a UNICEF report and child advocates on both sides of the border.

“All the officials know who the traffickers are, but don’t report them. It is a problem that is not going to end because the authorities’ sources of income would dry up,” said Regino Martinez, a Jesuit priest and director of the Border Solidarity Foundation in Dajabon, a Dominican border town.

Martinez has denounced the problem from the pulpit, to community groups and to the heads of CESFRONT, the Dominican Republic’s Specialized Corps for Borderland Security.

Leaders in both nations, following the catastrophic earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000 people, pledged to protect children from predatory smuggling, a historic problem.

But the newspaper found that the trafficking of children remains, with reporters witnessing smugglers carrying children across a river, handing them to other adults, who put the kids on motorcycles and speed off to shantytowns. Border guards, charged with preventing this very operation, witnessed the incidents and never reacted, the reporters found.

Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive acknowledged there has been a lack of political will to tighten the porous 370-kilometre border between both nations, which he called a “no man’s land and an opening for bigger trafficking.”

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/trafficking+Haitian+kids+exploding/3717456/story.html#ixzz13OB1bYTc

Call Response

Friday, October 22, 2010

Main Dish Menu Planner

Printable Meal Planner
I thought this was worth repeating. I'm always on the lookout for neat ideas to help keep me organized.

If you plan meals {or even if you don’t!} and are looking for a cute way to organize your favorite meals and recipes, be sure to check out my Main Dish Menu Planner that I posted on our family blog ~ and the best news is, you can fill it in and save it on your computer!!

I also shared how I use the meal planner andplan out our meals a month at a time. This handy page has helped me save so much time when it comes to planning!

Thanks Jolanthe from Homeschool Creations

Main Dish Menu Planner

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Back in the Swing

I think I've figured out that once blogging is in your blood....well, it's your blood.  I've been away for a while and I MISS it.

However, some changes need to be made so I'm thinking of a new blog title and will change the look also.  I have so many things I like to talk about and that I'm interested in, I need something a little more "all-encompassing"!  Maybe you can help.  Got any ideas?  Leave me a comment....(I know, sneaky, right?)  ;)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Women of Faith Conference 2010 - Duluth, GA

Click Here To Play

This will be the first year I'm able to go. I'll be heading in with a group of fantastic ladies from my church. I hope to see YOU there!



Monday, February 22, 2010

How To Get a 5-Year Old To Clean Their Room

I admit it....my 5-year old daughter's room is usually a complete mess! I'm not the type of person who likes to live with a messy room, but I just don't always have the time to make sure the kids are cleaning their rooms. Sometimes I don't have time to clean my own room. I'm not necessarily a neat freak but I do function better when things are put in their place and everything is nice and clean.

I recently discovered a great way to get my child to clean her room without a lot of tears and tantrums. And believe me, she has them! It's called "Baby Steps"!

See this room? It's a complete mess! Actually, this is not bad compared to what it was before I took the picture. I couldn't even see the floor!

You've heard the saying "you can't eat the elephant all at once"? You have to tackle any big chore in small steps and it's certainly no different for the kids. Seeing her room in complete chaos and being faced with the chore of cleaning it up is quite intimidating to her.

So, we start small.

First, I tell her to pick up all the little bitty toys and put them in the red bucket. She has to let me know when she's finished.

Next, I tell her to hang her purses on the hooks behind her door. Let me know when she's finished.

Next put the dress up clothes in the bucket in the closet.

Then, put the stuffed animals in the bucket in the closet.

Put the shoes in the shoe hanger.

Put dirty clothes in the hamper.

Last, put the rest of the toys on the floor in the bucket in the closet.

We try to make it fun, too. Sometimes we do it to music. Sometimes we time her and see how long it takes her. Sometimes we use bribery - ice cream usually works well for us.
And after a few minutes....a clean room! Wow! Wish I'd have thought of this when my other four were growing up. Better late than never, I guess!

I'd love to hear how you motivate your little ones to clean.

Happy Day!


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Comment Luv

So, I just joined up with Harriet B and a bunch of other bloggers for some February Comment Luv. I luv comments, but I don't get them often enough! I'm not an everyday blogger but I do try to get on here once or twice a week. With my schedule it's nearly impossible for me to post something every single day. I guess I need to have a theme or a purpose for my blog, I don't know.
I do love to visit other blogs. I love to see who's out there and what they are doing. I guess that's why the blogosphere is so wildly popular. We all have a curiousity about what strangers are doing.
I hope you'll come along with me, Harriet, and the others and join in on a little comment luv this month! :) I'm sure you won't be sorry!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Little Bloggy Love

Valentine's Day is right around the corner. But instead of focusing on the traditional form of it, I'd like to see who everyone in the blogosphere loves - meaning, what blogs are your faves. Ok - I admit I have an ulterior motive. I love to read blogs and am always surfing to see who's out there. I thought this would be a great way to get others involved, too.

So, do you like to read blogs? What are your favorite blogs? Post at least three including the links and make sure you tell your faves that you posted about them. Sign up below with Mr. Linky.

My faves are:

1. Critical Mass: Rae Ann is so sweet and talented. Her posts just tickle my funny bone! And I love the updates to her blog.

2. The LPM Blog: This is Beth Moore's blog. I love the Beth Moore bible studies. I learned about them not too long ago when I joined one at my church. I love that her daughter's post on this blog too!

3. Homeschool Creations: I just recently came across and started following this blog. Wow! She has a ton of great ideas, product reviews, and giveaways. I absolutely love it, and so do a lot of other people! She has over 500 followers.

And I'd like to mention a brand new blog, Well-Watered Garden. This is the blog of my ex-husband's wife. She just started it last week and I thought I would help her gain some followers. (I know...some may think it's a little strange considering the relationship, but God teaches us to love our neighbors, right? In any case, I actually like her! She's a spunky, Christian woman and she's good to my daughter! ;) LOL)

And now, let's hear who you love to read!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Homeschool Day

In our house, just about everyday is homeschool day. After all, we ARE homeschoolers. It's my goal to add more of what we do every week. I always love seeing what others homeschoolers are doing, so maybe you'll be interested to see how we do things, too.

First, though, I wanted to show you a couple of books that we are really getting a lot out of. The first one is Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons. We LOVE this book! I admit, I was skeptical at first. There's a little bit of preparation on your part, first, but it's not bad. It's worth taking the time, though, to read through all the prep work. It makes a big difference. For me, it's hard to stop to take the time...I want to just rush right through it and get to the bottom line! I'm one of those "just-tell-me-how-to-do-I-don't-want-to-read-the-instruction-manual" type of people. But, I DID take the time, grudgingly, and read it.

We're only on lesson 16, but already I see great progress in Ainsley! She's reading, y'all! With only 16 lessons. I highly recommend this if your child is just starting to read or needs extra help.

Here's another book we love. I've had this one for years and years. We used it a lot when the four older ones were younger. We set aside Fridays as Fun Friday and did art projects all day. The kids loved it. Our favorite was a "stained glass" project made out of colored tissue paper. It was so pretty! The projects take anywhere from an hour to a week to do.

This month we're learning about the body. We found all of these printouts at homeschoolshare.com. They have a fabulous website and you can find a ton of stuff on there for just about any project.
One neat thing we did (I forgot to take a photo of it!) was a tracing of her entire body. I didn't have butcher paper that was big enough so we taped a bunch of printer paper together until it was big enough for her to lay on. Then, I traced all around her. We hung it in our hallway (the only empty wall space!) and as she learns new things about her body, she draws it on her outline. We just finished with her teeth - she drew ALL pointy teeth on the mouth. Kinda scary!
Next week, we'll do eyes.
What are you doing this week?
Happy Homeschooling!


Got this idea from Alyssa over at Bloggin 2 Noggin! Thanks, Alyssa.

We have a couple of family members who are allergic to certain foods and pollen. When I read about this on Alyssa's blog, I knew I had to share with you, too.

Allermates is a new company that makes necklaces and wristbands for kids who have allergies. The little characters are fun and colorful. Kids would love to wear these tags. Hey, even adults would love to wear them.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

First Day of College

Wow! Two more off to college! I can hardly believe it. It seems like just yesterday that we were starting our homeschool journey. How time flies!

Technically, we're not finished with their high school years though. After the first two jumped the next we decided to go a slightly different route with the next two entering high school. Their ninth grade year was spend in hard study on a semester system. We completed two full years in one school year with this method.

Now, as they complete their college courses they will also earn the rest of their high school credits. By the time they're 18 they will have graduated high school with college level courses AND have an associate degree from a technical college!

They grow up so fast, don't they? I'm pretty sure I was MUCH more excited than they were. Of course, being homeschool most of their school career, I'm certain they were a little unsure of what to expect. But, seeing as how their father works for the college, they've spent lots of time there already and know their way around. Lucky girls to have that advantage!

And now, there's just one left at home. Well, the college girls still live at home, of course, but I'm down to teaching only one. It's only been a couple of days but I'm already finding I have a little more time to spend with her. I'm trying a new approach with this last child - lapbooking. We did a Cinderella lapbook in the fall and she really loved the hands-on experience. So, we're about to embark on a Human Body lapbook. I'll post about that tomorrow.

Happy Homeschooling!


Monday, January 4, 2010


Like everyone else, I usually make the same resolutions every year. Lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier. While these are definitely goals I would still like to accomplish and ones I will still work towards, I think I'm going to set my sights on something entirely new this year. Actually, three somethings.
1. I'd like to read my bible more. This past year I've taken some bible studies at my church and discovered that I really love them! Like so many others, I'm especially drawn to Beth Moore. I began following her blog several months ago and really enjoy reading it. She is so down-to-earth and chases Jesus with everyday with every fiber of her being. I want to be more like her.
2. The second goal I'd like to concentrate on is my marriage. Don't get me wrong, I have a great marriage to my best friend. But sometimes we get so wrapped up in our everyday routines that we forget to take time just for each other. This year is going to be especially busy for us as four out of our five family members will be in college. The fifth member will be finishing her preK at home. And that doesn't include the outside activities of church and other things.
3. My third resolution is something I've been thinking about for some time. Human trafficking. I became interested in this some months ago when I watched a Lifetime movie, Human Trafficking. I was shocked and utterly outraged after watching that movie that I wanted to do something about it. After months of thinking about, I've started another blog to help raise awareness. So, that's my third goal for the year.
I hope you will visit my blog, The Anti-Slavery Project, and help me raise awareness of human trafficking.
I hope all of you will have your resolutions and wishes fulfilled this year.
Happy New Year!