Confessions & Changes

January 28, 2008 at 10:31 am (Uncategorized)

I’m back!!!!  Well, sort of!  LOL

I did a lot of thinking while I was having my time away and have decided to make a few changes. 

One change is I decided to come clean with my readers as to what is going on in my life.  I have referred many times in the last year that I have been going through a challenging time.  Well, here is the story…

One year ago today my husband started a job 1221 miles away from where we live.  We were (and are) very grateful for the job.  He had been unemployed since the beginning of November and being a one income family we REALLY needed some income.  The "plan" was that the kids and I would stay behind and sell the house and join Dad as soon as possible.  Sigh…As most of you know if you live in the US the housing market is in BAD shape.  The area we live in has been hit particularly hard with foreclosures.  Soooooooooo we had our house on the market until the end of October and it was shown a grand total of 2 times.  At the end of October I decided to take it off the market.  Honestly I was tired of keeping the house "show ready" when no one was looking and I desperately needed to reduce something from my load.  With Christmas coming I was going to have to do all the shopping, decorating, baking, wrapping, and activities on my own.  I find the Holidays overwhelming anyway; I knew this was not going to be an easy year for me.

So, I probably don’t need to tell all the Mom’s that read my blog that 2007 was an incredibly HARD year for me.  Homeschooling, housekeeping, being all things to all people plus working part time has been more than a full load.  (I honestly don’t know how single parent’s do it!) It was a year of just making myself get up every day and putting one foot in front of the other.  I have done things this year that I had never done or even considered doing before. (Like mowing the lawn and changing the cat box!  LOL) One particularly funny night comes to mind.  I woke up one night and I heard a wind storm had blown in.  Normally I would just say "Honey, does anything outside need to be put away?" and go back to sleep.  But we had just gotten the inflatable water slide and I knew it was blowing around the back yard.  So I got up and ran outside in the dark and wind.  I decided I would just scoop the whole thing up and bring it inside.  Well, I didn’t think about the fact that it was wet underneath and wetness draws bugs in the desert!  So I scoop it up along with about a hundred of the nastiest big black bugs you can imagine! It was awful!  I was wet, covered in bugs and completely freaked out!  It is funny now, but I am sure glad no one was there to witness my attitude!!  LOL  I am sure there have been a lot of posts on my blog over the last year (Like the one about spreading 11 1/2 tons of rock with my son and his best friend.) where you all were wondering "Why on earth isn’t her husband helping?"  LOL  Trust me he would have been doing it if he had been here!!! 

So, what is happening now?  Well, we have the house back on the market.  It has been on for about 10 days and it has already shown once.  Which is encouraging compared to the last time we had it listed.  But, for the most part we are making plans to move without the house selling.  We may end up having to rent it, which honestly is NOT something I want to do!  (But, then again I didn’t really want to have my family apart for a year either!!!)  We are planning a trip to go see Dad in about 4 weeks and we will start looking for a place to rent.  So, the future is unsure, but all we can do is try to move forward and see where life leads us.

I am very grateful that Dad has been able to make lots of trips back in the last 12 months.  It is amazing to me how many things of importance happened while he was here, given the fact that he wasn’t here much!  Some of the events that happened while he was here was my daughter learning to ride her bike, my daughter losing her first tooth and my youngest potty training.  I am so glad Dad got to be part of those memories!  Plus he made it home to celebrate birthdays and big holidays.  It could have been much worse!

I can say that the positive of the last 12 months is I have truly learned "I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me." Philippians 4:13  I have grown in ways I never imagined.  No, It was not without my complaints!  I know there were times I drove my husband crazy and I am sure there have been moments that God was considering sending a lighting bolt for me!  LOL  I have learned so much about how God uses hard times to grow us into the people He wants us to be.  Don’t get me wrong, it has not been easy!  I have questioned and argued with God more in the last 12 months that I ever have in my life.  But, He has been faithful to me.  I have learned more in the last 12 months about God and myself than I ever could have imagined. However, I pray it ends soon because I miss my husband terribly!

Now, for more change.  I am realizing that I cannot keep up my blog on a daily basis the way I have for the last 2 years.  I love blogging and quite honestly it is one of the main things that has kept me sane this last year.  But, I just have to remove the pressure from myself of posting every day.  I may post every day and I may go weeks without posting.  I honestly don’t know what the future holds for my blog.  I am very much an "all or nothing" type personality.  If I can’t give something 110% then I would rather not do it at all.  But, I am resisting my "all or nothing tendencies" because so many of you have encouraged me to keep on blogging.

So, there you have it!  My crazy life in a nutshell….I would truly appreciate prayer. Prayer for our house to sell ASAP, prayer for my mental state, prayer for our family to be together soon.  Prayer, prayer, prayer!

Again, if you want to keep up with what is going on with us your best bet is to subscribe to my blog.  I am not going to post when I am taking breaks and such.  I am just going to post as things happen and try not to make myself crazy. (Okay, more crazy!  LOL)

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Time Away

January 19, 2008 at 10:58 am (Uncategorized)

I am taking some time away from my blog. I have things to clean, boxes to pack, articles to write, a garage to organize, traveling to do…Well, you get it!  LOL

I might spend a little time sipping Starbucks too!

I will leave you with the latest funny from my 4 year old…

Yesterday I got dressed up to go out to lunch and do some shopping with my husband.  I am usually pretty casual in what I wear.  I came out of the bathroom with my hair done, makeup on, earrings, bracelet, necklace.  My 4 year old was standing right outside the door and he looked at me with a curious look on his face.  Then he said "Wow Mom, you look.………(long pause)…..Sparklie!" LOL
I love that kid!

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January 18, 2008 at 12:29 pm (Uncategorized)




I wanted to let everyone know that the link for Spelling City in today’s newsletter is correct. However, apparently we have crashed their server! 

Please be patient. You should be able to access the website within the next few days. We have a large number of subscribers on this list and with everyone clicking at once we have overwhelmed them. 

Meanwhile here are a few other spelling sites we will hopefully NOT crash!  LOL

Free Spelling Lists

Spell It Right

Busy Teachers Cafe

Now take turns and play nice!  LOL

Happy Homeschooling,

Freebie Finder


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FF – January 18, 2008

January 18, 2008 at 12:00 pm (Uncategorized)

Welcome to Freebie Fridays!


I like school to be fun, so I am always on the lookout for fun ways to teach different subjects. We have done a variety of things through the years in regards to spelling. One of the best ways to teach spelling, in my opinion, is for the kids to do it on their own.  Recently I was introduced to a whole new way to study spelling and boy is it fun! is a great online place to practice spelling.  Can you imagine your kids actually having fun while learning to spell?  My kids have been doing this site for 2 weeks now and they are loving it!

The site has spelling lists already set up for 1st grade through 8th.  You can also register for free and create your own spelling lists.  The program speaks in a clear voice and can teach your child as well as test them on the spelling words you choose.  There are also options to view and print lists.  Of course the real fun is the games! This is a great way for kids to learn to spell independently! (Anything that gives the teacher a break is a good thing in my book!)

Now here is something just for you!  I came across this fun site the other day called You can set up a free account and then send an email to your family and friends to have them add their families birthdays and anniversaries to your account!  Then you will be sent email reminders of upcoming events.  With 15 nieces and nephews this might be the first year I actually remember everyone’s birthdays!

One last thing for you to check out. Over at the Company Porch there will be 3 winners for a set of Mike Lupicia books Comeback Kids.  

What do you have to do to enter the contest to win the books?  Just leave a comment!  Anyone can enter, you don’t have to be just a member of   You must be at least 18 years of age and live in the U.S. You can read official contest rules HERE. You can enter the contest HERE.

I’ll see you next week right here at – Freebie Fridays!

Happy Homeschooling,

Freebie Finder
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

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MLK Lapbook

January 18, 2008 at 10:55 am (Uncategorized)

Just in case anyone is looking for something to do for the MLK Holiday on Monday I thought I would re-run my post on the lapbook we did last year. 



We have a drawing of MLK Jr. along with quotes from his I Have a Dream speech.  On the bottom is a brief description of his life.

Folder #1:

Here we have a mini book my 5 year old put together.  A Vocabulary booklet made by my 12 year old son and a little booklet by my 5 year old telling one thing she learned about MLK Jr.  On the right side we have a pocket for additional worksheets and coloring sheets.  (Even the 3 year old contributed a coloring sheet for this one!)  the 2 booklets on the right are Martin and Me and a Q&A sheet my 5 year old filled out. 

Vocabulary Words:
Civil Rights
Non- violence

My daughter wrote:
I learned that he is very famous.  He tried to make all people be treated the same.

Martin & Me
This was a worksheet we found that compared your life with MLK Jr. 

It included:
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Brothers and Sisters
Activities Enjoyed
Father’s Occupation
Mother’s Occupation
Goal in Life

Folder #2
In this one we have an Acrostic Poem for Dr. King.  A picture my 12 year old drew of MLK Jr giving his famous I Have a Dream speech. and 2 clouds with info on the kids dreams.

Acrostic Poem:

Didn’t give up.
eally had a dream
illed on April 4th, 1968
Have a Dream was his most famous speech.
ave his life to try and stop racism.

Here are the sources we used for the printables in this lapbook:

I Have a Dream speech

Watch a video montage of MLK giving I Have A Dream Speeech

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THM ~ Organizing Your Homeschool January 16, 2008

January 17, 2008 at 10:04 am (Uncategorized)

Jamin!Homeschool Freebies
Jamin!, Freebie Finder

One thing I have learned about homeschoolers over the years is the we LOVE books! Big books, little books, all kinds of books! The only problem with owning a lot of books is storing them. So this week I thought I would bring you ideas for dealing with your ever growing collection of books!

The first idea is for organizing little paperback books. 
You know the kind – little narrow spines that tend to get lost on the shelves! Many times they are part of a series and you want to keep them all together. So here is an idea that is not only free but is a great way to recycle. Save cereal boxes, cracker boxes, etc. Use a knife or scissors to cut the box in an angle down the side.

Then you can cover it with scraps of wrapping paper, contact paper, or brown paper. You could also use spray adhesive and cover it with fabric. Here is another view of one tucked into a bookshelf after it has been covered in
silver wrapping paper and labeled.
finished boxes
These are great because the kids can pull down the whole set of books they are interested in. They can keep them all together and easily put them back. We have them on our bookshelves marked as Science, History, Holidays, etc. When we are looking for one of those little books we know right where to go!

Here is idea number two. How about some bookshelves made out of rain gutter? While the materials to make these won’t be free the idea is! The concept is to use vinyl rain gutters to make storage shelves that allow you to store books with the titles facing out. When these are put down low in a child’s room or schoolroom children will be enticed to grab the books and read them! I know it sounds a bit odd, but they look really nice. Here is the website where you can learn all about them for free and even see pictures of them.

Idea number three is the one I most want to do myself!  LibraryThing allows you to create a library-quality catalog of your books.  You can enter 200 books in their online system for free. You can catalog with Amazon, the Library of Congress or 229 other world libraries.  Because the cataloging is done online, you can also meet other people who have the same books as you do.  If you have a blog, LibraryThing will give you widgets to put on your blog to let people know what you are reading.

Happy Homeschooling!


This article is from this weeks issue of The Homeschool Minute.  If you are interested in getting The Homeschool Minute as well as the Freebie Friday Newsletter you can subscribe for free HERE.  I will be passing along FREE goodies for your homeschool each week in both of these newsletters.  (Not to mention all the other great info you will get from The Homeschool Minute!)

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Gingerbread Cookies

January 16, 2008 at 11:00 am (Uncategorized)

Yesterday we made Gingerbread Cookies.  We had some friends over to play.  So it seemed like a good time to break out the kit I bought on clearance after Christmas.

Here they are ready to begin!

The Little Artists!

Here is mine!  (Before I ate it.)
I haven’t eaten a gumdrop in years.  I had forgotten how yummy they are!

He is pretty proud of his.

I love it that my 13 year old is not too cool to do things like this!


At some point the boys decided to just eat the icing straight from the bags!  LOL

I bought this kit because I was planning on doing the Gingerbread Baby Lapbook with my 2 little ones.  But then someone carted off the book somewhere and I can’t find it. (My 4 year old is known for doing this.  Usually he can eventually remember where he put it, so he may be innocent in this case.)   I told them if they find the book we will make the lapbook.  So far no one but me is looking!  (What’s new? Sigh…)  So we may or may not have a Gingerbread Baby Lapbook to show you later.

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Making Choices

January 16, 2008 at 10:29 am (Uncategorized)

A comment from my post about A Rich Learning Environment.

Jan. 14, 2008 – awesome list

Posted by Anonymous

More amazing stuff! Thanks, and may I request a topic for your next blog: What basis do you use to make choices for your homeschool? Every day I am literally (but wonderfully) bombarded with all the coolest games, sites, lapbooks, notebooks, copywork, educational tools and neat things to use. How does one choose?


How true!  It is amazing to me to see how much stuff is now available to homeshcoolers!  When I started out doing this 11 years ago there was hardly anything available in comparison.  So, why it is a problem, it is a happy problem!  LOL

So how do I choose?  Well. for the most part my choices are dictated by price!  I don’t spend a lot of money on homeschooling.  That is why I am always on the lookout for Freebies!  When we do spend money it is almost always on used items or great clearance deals. 

One way I find good deals is by consistently visting Thrift Shops and Garage Sales..  You have to keep looking, but there are lot of good educational materials out there.  Off the top of my head I can recall finding a copy of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Math Mat Challenge and Leap Frog Sing Along Microphone.

The best place of ALL to buy used educational materials is at Used Curriculum Sales.  Here the link to my post from the last Used Curriculum sale I went to.  Don’t think you will only find books at these sales.  I have picked up puzzles, puppets, felt board sets, blocks, and much more through the years!

For things that I can’t find used or on sale those usually become Christmas or Birthday gifts.  Yes, I have no qualms about buy educational items for my kids as gifts!  LOL  For example last year the littles got a a Leapster for Christmas.  The games are expensive!  So I search for games at places like Big Lots and the clearance rack at Target.  (I think we have only bought one game for full price. And that was because my son had birthday money to spend.) I have gotten the others for under $10.00 by searching around for them. (I just bought Get Puzzled  for $6.00 last week on clearance at Target!)

I think the best thing to remember is that "Rome wasn’t built in a day".  You don’t have to buy everything at once.  Just always be on the lookout for good educational things to add to your home. It doesn’t happen overnight, but if you keep looking soon you won’t be able to walk through your house for all the fun items!  LOL

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Wordless Lapbook

January 15, 2008 at 11:09 am (Uncategorized)

This is the easiest and most important lapbook we have ever done!   We were introduced to the concept of the Wordless Book  when my oldest was little.  The basic concept to take 5 pieces of paper black, red, white, gold and green.  Each of the pieces of paper helps to explain the gift of salvation.  The great thing is it does it it terms easy enough for a child to understand.

So I wanted to make a Wordless Lapbook with my 2 little ones.  I am always looking for opportunities to talk with my kids about salvation and this is such a simple way of doing it that even my 4 year old can grasp the concepts.  The real treasure of this lapbook is discussing all the meanings and planting the concepts in the heads of my little ones.

Here is the cover:

Inside we made a 5" X 5" booklet out of each color.

Inside each of the booklets we put the Bible verse that explains that color.

We also included a little ABC of Salvation Booklet.

Here is the front:

Here is what you see when you lift the flaps.  We printed the Bible verses that back up the ABC’s on the front and included them under the flaps.

All of the info we used in this lapbook is below.  Please feel free to use it if you would like to make one.  These would be excellent to make with a Sunday School Class, Awana group, VBS or etc.

Black = Sin

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of god. 

On our own we fall short of the perfection of God.  Sin, or the bad things we do, cause us to live in darkness away from God.

Red = Blood

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.


It is through the sacrifice Jesus made by dying on the cross that we are saved from our sins.  Because Jesus blood was spilled for us we can live for eternity with Jesus in Heaven.



White = Pure


Psalms 51:7 “ …Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow”


Jesus makes us as clean and as white as snow!  If we accept Jesus as our savior God no longer sees our sins! 



Yellow = Heaven


John 14:2 "In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.


In heaven the streets are paved with gold!  The Bible tells us Jesus is preparing a place for us in heaven to be with Him.

Green = Growth


2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.


Green reminds of things that grow.  Grass, trees and plants are green.  They all grow when they are given the proper food, water and light.  We can grow like those plants by reading God’s Word, praying and obeying God’s laws. 



Here are the ABC’s of Salvation to print and include in the lapbook.  One we used for the outside and the other  we used inside.


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A Rich Learning Environment

January 14, 2008 at 10:59 am (Uncategorized)

I was talking to a new homeschool Mom last week and mentioned the concept of creating a learning rich environment.  She looked at me like I was a nutcase!  LOL  (Nothing new there, I get that a lot from new homeschoolers I meet!)  But, it did make me realize that although I think of a learning rich environment as normal maybe I should explain what I mean.  So what is a learning rich environment?

The idea is to surround your children with learning materials.  This way no matter what they choose to do they will be learning!  There are so many great educational items today, and I am always on the lookout for them!  We have letter, number and word magnets that go on the fridge, books everywhere, board games, play-doh, paper, stickers, etc.  We buy (and rent) educational videos.  Our car is loaded up with educational cd’s.  For the computer we have educational games.  We have puppets, puzzles, mad libs, etc.

I rarely ever use workbooks for “school” but my little ones love them.  They always think of it as a big treat to get a new workbook.  It is not unusual at all to find me working on my laptop at the dining room table with a little one on each side of me working on their workbooks. 

A rich learning environment is more than what happens at home.  We also choose to do educational day trips and vacations to enhance our kid’s education.  Learning truly is a way of life for our family.  One thing I love about this type of lifestyle is that anything my kids learn spontaneously is something I will not have to teach them!  LOL  So this is really a time saving concept for homeschool Mom!

A learning rich environment could also be called a kid friendly house!  This means that instead of the house looking like something out of House Beautiful it will look more like the pages of a teacher supply catalog!  LOL  But to me that is fine.  I love watching my kids learn and nothing is more beautiful to me than walking in a room and seeing my kids voluntarily learning.  There will be plenty of time for a clean “House Beautiful” type of home someday when they are all grown.  For now I will enjoy our educational lifestyle.

Here are a few posts that mention different educational items we have incorporated into our home:

How I Teach My Preschoolers

Keeping an Active 5 Year Old Happy!

More on Teaching the ABC’s

Phonics Fun

Fashionable Phonics

Global Puzzle

Weaving a Tale

Bean Bags

Felt Board Stories

Our Schoolroom

Studying Art with Children

Making the Most of Museums Visits

Teaching Combining Coins

Me and My Bean Bag


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