Birthday Albums

August 31, 2007 at 10:49 am (Uncategorized)

I mentioned in yesterdays post about  my sons 13th birthday that I made him 2 albums as gifts. 

Here is what I did:

They were both 8X8" photo albums with 20 pages each.  I tried to keep them as simple as possible by using the same paper and stickers throughout each of them.

The first album was photos of his life.  I did one page of his birth (including a birth announcement I came across a few months ago!) 2 pages of his first year and then 1 page for each year. For each year I stamped a little tag with 1, 2, 3, etc.  Since it was a 8X8" album I could only do 3 or 4 pictures per year.  Picking the pictures was the hardest part! I tried to find ones that had as many of his cousins, friends, family, pets etc with him.  I kept it simple by journaling about each picture right around the edge of the pictures with a silver pen.  Then  I used clear dimensional stickers that said things like boy, family, friends, brothers, etc. I also had some little stickers that made little speech boxes.  So I wrote little comments like he was saying them and added those too. The final couple of pages I left blank except for the #13 where we can add pictures of his birthday party later.  I really LOVE to scrapbook, but it seems these days my time is sooooooooo limited.  So instead of doing really elaborate pages that I love to do, I seem to put together a simple album here and there.  I know they could be fancier.  But for now, they are done!  LOL We can enjoy them and although fancy projects are great, having something to look at on your 13th birthday is great too!

The 2nd album was filled with messages from important people in my sons life.  About a week before his birthday I sent out an email to family and friends asking for them to email me a birthday message for him.  Then I took the emails and printed them on white paper and cut them out.  Can you even imagine what that is going to mean to my oldest son when he is 30?

 I also printed out a bunch of quotes about growing up and printed those on white paper and included one quote per page. For decoration I used some cute little stickers that looked like stamps that all had pictures of little boys on them.  Here are the quotes I used:

“We grow neither better nor worse as we get old, but more like ourselves”
 May Lamberton Becker

“A grownup is a child with layers on.”
 Woody Harrelson quotes (American Actor, b.1961)

Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.
Henry David Thoreau

Too many people grow up. That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don’t remember what it’s like to be 12 years old. They patronize, they treat children as inferiors. Well I won’t do that.
Walt Disney

You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.
Abraham Lincoln

We’ve had bad luck with children; they’ve all grown up.
Christopher Morley

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.”
 Mark Twain quotes (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835-1910)

“Remember that as a teenager you are at the last stage of your life when you will be happy to hear that the phone is for you.”
 Fran Lebowitz quotes (American Writer and Humorist, b.1950)

What lies behind us, and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
~ by Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.”
 George Sand (1804-1876)

"A man loves his sweetheart the most; his wife the best, but his mother the longest."
 ~ Irish Proverb

A wise son maketh a glad father
~ Proverbs 10:1

Children make your life important.
Erma Bombeck

Few things are more satisfying than seeing your own children have teenagers of their own.
Doug Larson

There is always a moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.
Graham Green

There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.
Hodding Carter

The world is but a canvas to the imagination.
Henry David Thoreau

I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.
Bill Cosby

The Bill Cosby quote was his favorite!  He LOVES Bill Cosby and when he saw it he said "WOW, you got Bill Cosby to send me a message!"  LOL  We all got a good laugh out of that!  I ended up getting a lot of great messages sent to me from friends and family all over the United States!  I know these are both books he will treasure his entire life.  I think this was a great way to document and celebrate his leaving childhood and entering the teen years!

The added bonus of doing these albums is it was a trip down memory lane for me as I worked to prepare them!


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Last Chance to Save!

August 31, 2007 at 10:00 am (Uncategorized)

Just a reminder…Today is the last day to SAVE on the

August Special Offer!!

Free Memory Trigger E-Book
with Times Tales Deluxe purchase!

If you have been thinking about getting this for the new school year today is the day!

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13th Birthday Treasure Hunt!

August 30, 2007 at 10:46 am (Uncategorized)

Yesterday was my oldest sons 13th Birthday!  He got his real birthday present a month early I still really wanted him to have something to open on his actual birthday….So I figured why not come up with 13 things!  LOL  Then I realized if you have 13 gifts you might as well have a treasure hunt to find them!

The 1st clue was found on the dining room table when he came down for breakfast… (This is what those T.P Tubes were for!)

Here he is finding out he is going to be going on a treasure hunt!
1.     Today is your birthday!  So what shall we do?  A TREASURE HUNT is what I have planned for you!  Here’s your 1st prize and your 1st clue.  Look under a couch to find clue number two!

Looking under the couch was harder than it sounded.  We have 3 couches and it took him awhile to realize I was talking about the one upstairs in the school room! hehehe…

He did find a plastic sword he had been looking for hidden under the cushions of the family room couch!  LOL

Whew, finally the right couch!

2.     You found it, well done!  Now what’s the next word?  Look near the aquarium for the clue that’s your third!

3.     Hooray, you are good!  You found number three!  Want to find more?  Look under “the big bed” to find number four!

4.     Now isn’t this fun? Do you need to revive?  If not look near the Dictionary for clue number five!

5.     Your doing so well!  What’s your next pick?  Look under the stairs for clue number six!
This one was fun because they knew it had to be in the toy closet under the stairs…but the looked and looked and could not find it!

See it on the shelf there over his head? Walked right by it when he went into the room!  LOL

Finally…he looked UP!

6.     Your almost half done your in treasure hunt heaven!  Look in Your sister’s closet for clue number seven!

This one got him too!  For some reason he read closet, but heard play room?  LOL 

Finally he realizes closet…means closet!

7.     Here’s your next clue…to keep you going straight.  Look on Mom’s desk for clue number 8! (His sister had already seen this one first thing when she got up, so she led him right to it!!!)

8.     Eight down you are awesome!  Your doing quite fine, look behind the treadmill for clue number nine.

9.     You’re quite a pro! You make this look quite “zen”….Near Mom’s recliner is clue number ten!

It’s not underneath…

Where is it?

He’s almost touching it! LOL  Look under his hand! (I am a good hider apparently!  LOL)

10. You make this look easy, so let’s make this clue HARD….Eleven is near where Mom’s keeps her keys to the car! (This one could have been hard because my keys end up in one of 3 places…He guessed the right one 1st!)

11. Very good!  Keep going,  you are almost done, I hope that you are having fun!  The 12th clue is sitting where you can plainly see, it’s on a bookcase near a picture of ME!

12. This is your last clue, the hunt must come to an end….For the 13th clue…ask your friend! (His best friend had slept over for his birthday. This was the 1st he realized his friend was in on all this!  He told him to go check the top of the fridge...)


Here he is with his gifts all found!

What was inside?

1.  13 pennies
2.  13 nickels
3.  13 dimes
4.  13 quarters
5.  13 dollars!
6.  13 pieces of gum
7.  13 coupons for 13 extra minutes on the computer
8.  13 sugar daddy’s
9.  1 coupon for 13 minutes help with chores from Mom
10. Card with 13 things we love about you written inside
11.  13 coupons for stay up 13 minutes late
12.  Album of messages from friends and family saying Happy Birthday.
13.  Photo album of the first 12 years of his life!

Our little Superhero uses his best patience as he waits for the gift to be opened.

Lots of goodies to open!

FINALLY he gets to help open one!

What is it?

It is his album of Birthday Messages from friends and family! (I will post more about the albums later.)


Giving his baby brother a hug after reading the message from him…
Here is what my 3 year old dictated to me for the album….

"You are a nice brother , you are a good brother, you are a fun brother.  You are a big boy and I love you!"

The final gift is the photo album.

Pictures from the day he was born & his birth announcement!

Ahhh…Memories.. Four pictures from each year of his life! 

Here he is with his bounty of gifts!

Me and my gang….

This was very fun day I think he will remember for a very long time! Now my other kids are requesting treasure hunts for their birthdays!  LOL  Looks like we have a new tradition!

I asked him later if he had thought it was just going to be a normal day since he had already gotten his BIG gift…He replied.  "Mom, no day with you could ever be called normal!"  I love that kid!  LOL

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August 29, 2007 at 11:00 am (Uncategorized)

Here are 13 reasons why I am absolutely sure my oldest child is NOT turning 13 today!

#1.  Although I was not born yesterday I am quite sure he was!  I was there, it could NOT have been 13 years ago!  No way!

#2. Just because he is as tall as me does not mean he is 13!

#3.  Just because he wears a bigger shoe than me does not mean he is 13!

#4.  Just because his voice is so deep I thought he was his father the other day it does not mean he is 13!

#5.  Just because he is trustworthy and able to start venturing out into the world a little on his own does not mean he is 13!

#7.  Just because I can only comprehend half of the stuff he knows and says does not mean he is 13!

#8.  Just because all his friends are 13 or older does not mean he is 13!

#9.  Just because I sometimes say "You are almost 13 years old "insert whatever I am lecturing about here"…"  does not mean he is 13!

#10. Just because the visor on my car states it is now safe for him to sit in the front seat (The thing he is most excited about!) does not mean he is 13!

#11.  Just because am in no way too young to be the mother of a teenager does not mean he is 13!

#12. Just because he has been counting down to this day for months does not mean he is 13!

#13.  Just because it is August 29, 2007 (13 years from the day he was born….) does not mean he is 13!

Here we are Mommy and son! 

(Okay, now that I look at this picture of us from a few weeks after he was born…
maybe it has been 13 years!  LOL)

"A man loves his sweetheart the most;
his wife the best, but his mother the longest.
 ~ Irish Proverb


Click HERE to see pictures of him growing up (too fast!) through the years….

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NOT Back to School Day!

August 28, 2007 at 10:39 am (Uncategorized)

Night before last we had a terrible lightening storm.  This is a very rare event here.  We usually get 4 1/2 inches of rain per year and we got 3 inches in one night! Needless to say all three of my kids were huddled in "the big bed" trembling.  (Not to mention the dog and 2 cats!  LOL)  It was pretty crowded and we all ended up staying awake pretty much all night and then falling asleep all together at about 6:00 a.m.  When I got up at 10:30 a.m. I went to look outside and see if we had any damage from the storm.  There were a couple high school kids loitering in front of my house and I realized it was the 1st day of school! (We live near a High School.) I couldn’t help but wonder how all these poor kids were functioning at school since I knew they had weathered out the same storm we did!  They had to be exhausted.  My kids were still sound asleep upstairs in the bed together. 

I think this story shows the stark contrast between traditional and home education.  Home education is gentle.  It meets the need of the students.  My kids needed sleep a whole lot more than any book learning at the moment.  I cannot even imagine how stressed out we all would have been all night if I had known I had to get them all up and ready for the first day of school with that storm raging!  These kids in front of my house were probably showing up at school about the time we fell asleep!  (High School starts at 6:45 a.m. here Can you even imagine??? Oh, and I am not even going to blog about the fact that we all know these kids were NOT suppose to be in front of my house out 10:30 in the morning…they should have been in class! LOL)  Let’s face it, do you think any of those kids are really at their optimal learning potential at 6:45 a.m.?  From what I have been told the start time has do with being able to use the same buses for High School, Middle School and Grade School.  It is not becasue of any concern over how well the kids function that early in the day!  (High School starts at 6:45, Middle School 7:45 and Grade school 8:45.  Then they all get out an hour apart also. This somehow makes it easier for the buses to run and less buses are therefore needed.  Therefore saving money.) When you are organizing school for thousands of kids at one time the individual child just cannot be the priority.  Things like learning styles, sleep patterns, personalities, etc. all become irrelevant.  You either fit in with the system or you don’t.  I know there are a lot of well meaning people in the school systems, but this is just the way the system works.  I know for many kids the system works just fine.  I think of my oldest son though and know this kind of situation would have been a nightmare for him.  He is a very bright, very intense kid.  He needs a lot of sleep and a lot of grace from the people around him to get through the day!  LOL  If he would have started school today after the night we had he would have been a big ole’ crank pot!  He would have made a bad first impression on his teacher and all his classmates.  He probably would have become annoyed with all of them and decided to write them all off for the year!  Now, don’t get me wrong he’s a great kid, but having the advantage of having a teacher who knows exactly how much sleep he got last night and how much grace needs to be extended to him is crucial to his learning! I know that sat some point he will have to go out in to  "real" world where he is not catered to.  Through homeschooling we have been able to work with him as he matures and gets to a point where he is ready to enter the "real" world successfully. (And it has been quite a process!) 

So as you prod through your school days Mom remember this! You can offer something to your children that no other school can.  Continuity.  You can relate to what they are going through moment by moment because you are are there moment by moment!  For some kids this is not as important as others, but imagine how wonderful learning can be if it is not only customized to your interests and abilities but to your special needs at well! And then it is delivered with love, grace, joy and concern for your individual well being & growth!


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Paper Gift Bags

August 27, 2007 at 11:19 am (Uncategorized)

Since we are in birthday mode around here I figured this is a good time to post instructions for one more type of gift bag.
The measurement on this can vary depending on how big you want your bag.  Basically you just need a rectangle of paper.

This measurement can vary.  However big you make the fold is how big the bottom of your bag will be.

Here is one I made.  This one I just folded the top down, stapled it and added a ribbon.
These can be made from wrapping paper, scrapbook paper, brown craft paper, old posters.  The size of your bag can vary to fit whatever you are wrapping.  If you make them out of brown craft paper they can be stamped and decorated.

Here are my daughter and my friend Faye making bags last month when we were on vacation. (Hi Faye!)

Folding and taping.

So fun!

Click HERE to read my post on making cloth gift bags

Click HERE to read my post on making "Wrapping From Scraps & T.P Tubes"

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Wrapping From Scraps & T.P Tubes!

August 25, 2007 at 10:35 am (Uncategorized)

We are getting ready to celebrate my oldest sons 13th birthday next week!  I have a few fun things up my sleeve and for one of them I need a few small packages to wrap goodies in….Here is what we came up with:

Rectangle of fabric, Toilet Paper roll, glue… (You don’t really need spray glue.  A glue stick should work fine.  I just happend to have spray glue on hand.)

Tie ends with a little ribbons and…Voila!

One is fun!

But five are fabulous!!

These are a great way to use up scraps of fabric and ribbon.  If you want to get really fancy you can cover the tube (over the fabric) with bits of lace and trim.  The first one of these I ever saw was made from a satin fabric with all kinds of lace over it.  It was beautiful and very Victorian.  All from a Toilet Paper roll!  LOL

These are a great way to wrap up cash and can also be used to hold candy and trinkets for birthday goodie bags.

I’ll blog next week about what we are  wrapping up in these.  Stay tuned!

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The Messiest School Desk

August 24, 2007 at 10:47 am (Uncategorized)

This happens every Summer at our house…

Yep, that’s my school desk and BOY is it messy!  LOL  Here is a common conversation in our house all Summer.

KIDS –  "Mom, where does this go?"

ME- "Just put it on my school desk honey!" 

Repeat this conversation 200 to 300 times and the next thing I know my desk runneth over!  LOL 

I still have not sat down and made any plans on what we are doing for school this year…I have a lot of plans in my head, but in order to get them on paper "the desk" has to be cleaned first! So "soon" I must attack the box of stuff for the thrift shop, the shredding, the stack of art supplies, the bargains from the used curriculum sale, the books, books and more books…I am quite sure there is a mystery or two in there also!  LOL 

Oh, and once I get the desk cleaned I will have to turn around and take a picture of the rest of the school room….It is pretty frightening creatively cluttered too!  LOL

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Potty Training Drop Out!

August 23, 2007 at 2:18 pm (Uncategorized)

My 3 year old just announced that he is "done" with the potty!  Yep, less than 5 days and he’s a potty training drop out!  Sigh….  I can teach them to read & write.  I can teach them to do Math I don’t even understand, but if there was a school I could send them to for potty training….They would be there!  (Thank goodness this is the last one I have to train!)

At least we got some cute pics before he announced his retirement! LOL

I guess he’ll learn someday….

The weird thing is he had been doing really well.  Then out of the blue he just announced he was done….Go figure?  He is about the only human on earth who is more stubborn than me, so I guess I will just wait and see if any interest returns.


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Crock Pot Scalloped Potatoes

August 23, 2007 at 10:22 am (Uncategorized)

Earlier in the month I posted about the great All Day Macaroni and Cheese recipe I had gotten.  The kids had been asking me to make Scalloped Potatoes but I avoid turning on the oven at all costs during the Summer!  So I thought I would try the same basic recipe for the Mac & Cheese and make Scalloped Potatoes!  It turned out great!  Here is my improvised recipe:

Approx 8 medium potatoes washed and sliced.
4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 (12 fluid ounce can) evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup.
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
chopped ham (As much as you want to add for your family.)

1. In a large bowl mix sliced potatoes, and all other ingredients reserving 1 cup cheese for topping. 
2. Transfer mixture to crock pot that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese on top.
3.  Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or until potatoes are cooked through.

We served it with Caesar salad for a yummy meal!

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