2008 Year in Review

December 30, 2008 at 9:26 am (Uncategorized)

My mom, sister, aunt and niece are coming today!  I know we will be very busy during their visit, so I will sign off for the year with one post from each month of 2008 that help to sum up our year.

JanuaryConfessions and Changes…I finally fessed up that my husband had taken a job 1200 miles away and the kids and I had been on our own for a year! How glad I am now that those days are behind us and our family is all under one roof again!!!!

FebruaryAre We There Yet? – We made it across country to start looking for a place to live near dad’s work!  Happy Birthday to me!

MarchHome Sweet Home! – We found a house…YAY!!!!!!! 

AprilYahoo!  We Are All Here! – Our family is back together after my husband and I spent 2 weeks packing up our house in Las Vegas!

May Dolphins in the Desert – I reflect on what it was like to live in FABULOUS Las Vegas for 4 years!

JuneMy Homebirths – After months of not thinking about much other than moving I reminisced about having my babies…

JulyPictures! –  The new house finally starts to feel like home when I get to do some decorating!

AugustMy Rent-A-Kid – A highlight of our year was when my rent-a-kid came for a visit!!!!

SeptemberAmerican Girl Club – We start out the new school year with our new American Girl Club!

October – I had two favorite posts in October BIG Church was about our experience taking our youngest to "Big Church" for the first time! Marriage was my thought on marriage after attending the wedding of 2 people I had never met.

November E-F-G – Catching up on what we have been doing for ABC Preschool class this year!

DecemberOh Little Town of Bethlehem – My favorite part of Christmas and the best  Field Trip of our school year was a walk through Bethlehem!

Happy New Year!


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December 29, 2008 at 8:00 am (Uncategorized)

I got a new cellphone yesterday.   My 14 year old dropped and broke his cellphone over the weekend (oops!) so we were out looking for a new one for him. While we were looking we found out that I was also eligible for a new free cellphone.  So I figured why not????  We both got the Samsung Rant.  To be honest I wanted mostly wanted to upgrade my phone because I wanted a better camera.  The cellphone I had was lousy. I got it last year when we were in the middle of moving.  I broke my cell phone while the kids and I were still in Las Vegas and dad was 1200 miles away.  I NEEDED a phone!  So we got one mailed to us somehow for free.  (I can’t remember the details! But, it was worthless! LOL  The pictures are so blurry it’s pathetic.)  Anyway… This phone too was free.  But, WOW is it FAR from pathetic!  This phone is amazing!  Not only does it have a 2 Mega Pixel Camera and video camera, it has Internet Access, email, TV, and MP3 player, a GPS, a qwerty keyboard, and an organizer.  I mean this thing has it ALL!  (I am still in shock that we got these for free!) 

This got me thinking about all the cell phones I have had through the year, so I thought I would reminisce here…

My first experience with a cell phone was in 1989.  I was working on a special project for ABC TV and we were given a cell phone to use for the project.  Yup, one cellphone for us all the share!  LOL  The thing was HUGE!  If I remember right it weighted 24 ounces!  In other words go get 2 cans of soda and duct tape them together and Voila, you would have a pretty good idea of how much the thing weighed!  (Imagine carrying that in your purse!) My boss (Who was a blast!) LOVED this little toy!  We kept it plugged in under his desk and it quickly became nicknamed the "shoe phone"  not only because it was as big as his shoe, but because when someone would call it the ring sounded like it was coming from his shoe under the desk!  Oh the laughs we got out of that!  (You have to keep in mind basically no one had ever seen a cellphone at the time so this was quite a novelty! So we made sure that anytime someone new was in his office we would all call the shoe phone!  As I think back about it that crazy phone really was bad for office productivity!  LOL)  So besides making the phone ring under the desk my boss also loved to send me out on errands carrying this mammoth thing!  One trip I remember in particular was when he sent me to the office supply store and then had me running around the store reading all the labels on office supplies to him over the phone.  Of course everyone was looking at me because again, barely anyone had ever seen a cellphone and they all thought I was nuts talking on a phone in the middle of the store!  (It’s hard to believe today, huh???) I kept telling him I needed to go because my arm had a major cramp in it holding up that HUGE phone.  What fun memories!  LOL   You can see a picture of it HERE

Fast forward to 1991.  This was the year I got my first cellphone!  Honestly, when I got my first cellphone I didn’t know anyone else that had one.  It was quite extravagant!  But, Los Angeles had been having a rash of carjackings and I actually had someone try to run me off the road one night on my way home from work.  (It was really the only scary moment I had in the 9 years I lived in L.A.)  Add that to the fact that a friend of mine at work had a home invasion robbery,  before the term was coined and I was just ready for a phone!  Now back then there were not cellphone stores!  In order to get a cellphone you had to make an appointment with  a cellphone broker.  I called the guy up and made an appointment for him to meet me at my work.  He came out with a selection of phones he thought I might like.  (It kind of reminded me of the old cartoons of the guy in a trench coat saying “Hey, mister you wanna buy a watch?  LOL)  So he brought out the phones and I bought one.  I paid $200.00 for my first cellphone!  (Yep, there were NO free phones back then!)  And my first contract was $30.00 a month and included NO free minutes!  That’s right!  I paid $30.00 a month just to have the phone!  If I made any calls I paid between .40 cents  and $1.00 per minute!  Needless to say that phone lasted a loooooong time because I rarely ever made a call on it!  Oh, size wise this one was much smaller!  It was about the size of the average home cordless phone today!  You can see a picture of it HERE, it’s #1.  Mine also had a antenna that was about a foot long that I had to screw on it to use it.  It doesn’t show that in the picture.

In 1994 when my oldest son was born we were very thankful to have that cellphone!  The hospital where he was born had no phone service because there had been a flood in the computer room and all the phones were out.  The Doctors were all given cellphones.  Most patients didn’t have cellphones.  I remember letting the lady in the bed next to me use my phone to call her mother and tell her she had her baby.  We were in the hospital a total of 10 days and our cellphone bill was $500.00 that month!  YIKES!  It was not like we were on the phone a lot either!  It just adds up fast when you are paying by the minute!

In 1995 we got rid of the cellphone!  (Can you even imagine now going back to NOT having a cellphone??? It really wasn’t that big of deal at the time since we rarely ever made a call on the cellphone because of the HUGE cost involved.  It was truly just there for safety sake.) I had quit work to stay home with our oldest and the cellphone was a luxury we couldn’t afford.  It was 4 years before we had a cellphone again!  Although, my husband did have a pager for work during this time. 

It was 2000 when I got a cellphone again. I remember because I was pregnant with my daughter and I worried about wearing the cellphone on the waist band on my maternity pants.  I was hoping I wasn’t frying the babies little brain!  LOL  By then they were doing free phones with a 2 year contract.  I remember though that the when I first got that cellphone the small Northern California town we lived in didn’t have any cell service.  So the phone was only good if we went into the city.  It wasn’t long after we got that phone though that we got cell service in town.

Then in 2004 when we moved to Las Vegas I went to using my cellphone as my exclusive phone.  We did have a home phone in Las Vegas, but I never gave the number out to anyone.  It was just in case of an emergency.  (My cousin who was a policeman advised us against going to cellphones only because at the time 911 didn’t have the ability to track a cellphone and he said if one of the kids called 911 from the house phone they would know where we were.)

When we moved earlier this year we decided we no longer needed a home phone.  (911 can track all cellphones now.) That was when we got my oldest son a cellphone.  (Actually he got dad’s old one and dad got a new one.) So now we are a 3 cellphone family!  It is hard to imagine life without cellphones now!  When my son broke his this weekend I wanted to get out and get him a new one ASAP!  I am so use to being able to be in contact with him at any given moment, not that he’s away from me much, but what if I need to call him to dinner?  I mean you don’t expect me to walk all the way to his room and actually talk to him face to face do you? LOL 

I hope all you young whipper-snappers enjoyed this old timers stroll down memory lane!


Happy Homeschooling,


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Christmas Eve

December 24, 2008 at 3:34 pm (Uncategorized)

I have no idea how it can be Christmas Eve!  But, it seems to be!  Wow, did this year fly by!  The kids were begging to open gifts, so we let them open what they got each other today.

Here they are being tortured by Mom taking pictures before they are allowed to open their gifts. :^)

Of course Christmas Eve calls for a special costume!  He told me "Mom kings like Christmas too!"  when I asked him why he was wearing his king outfit with his Santa hat.

Here is little Miss  Santa…

I think he was happy with his gift!  LOL

My oldest is giving me "the look" here because his little brother got him a shirt that says "I work out every day!’  and then has a Wii remote on it.  LOL  For some reason he thought I was behind it!

In a little while we will head to Christmas Eve service at church and then we are going to drive around and look at Christmas lights.  I hope you and your family are having just as much fun this Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas!


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Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2008 at 9:02 am (Uncategorized)

Whew, it’s 2 days before Christmas and I think I am ready!  The tree is up, the shopping is done, everything is wrapped, the cards are mailed.  Today the kids and I are doing some baking.  This is my favorite part of the season, the time when the "work" of the holidays are done and I can just enjoy being time with my family.  So I wanted to pop in and wish everyone a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!  Things are so busy around here right now that my blog is taking a back seat.  So, I am signing off for the duration of the holidays. 

I pray that everyone who reads this will take a moment and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Christ.  It is so easy to lose Him in all the busyness of Christmas,  but without Him we would not have a reason to celebrate!

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior,who is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2: 8-11

Happy Homeschooling,



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December 19, 2008 at 6:55 am (Uncategorized)

I LOVE to eat out!  It is my big weakness.  I can easily save money other places, but it is a struggle for me to pass up a good restaurant. So when a reader sent me a $10.00 gift certificate to the restaurant of my choice I was thrilled!  We used the gift certificate over the weekend and I wanted to pass the info on this neat site along. 

Here is how it works.  Before you go out to eat you go online and look for a restaurant that participates in the restaurant.com gift certificate program.  You can search by zip code, city, state, etc.  These are not going to be the big chain restaurants you see on every corner.  These are the mom and pop places that are trying to spread the word about their business.  Once you find the place you want to try you can purchase a gift certificate.  Here is the good part though…A $10.00 gift certificate cost $3.00 and a $25.00 one cost $10.00!  WOW!!!  That is a great savings!  Be sure to read the details for the restaurant you choose.  Each of them have different things to qualify for the discount.  The place we went required you spend $25.00 to redeem a $10.00 certificate.  (Which was no problem for a family of five!  LOL) 

If the place we ate is any indication of what the food is like you will be pleased!  Our food was GREAT.  I had Apricot Chicken and it was melt in your mouth yummy!  The rest of the family had steak and seafood and our total bill was $44.00 after the gift certificate! 

Oh, and right now they have a special deal for the holidays where you can send a $10.00 gift certificate for FREE to 3 people per day!  Now, how is that for a reasonably priced gift!

You will find all the details here.

Thanks so much Stacy for the gift certificate and for leading up to a great restaurant and website!

Happy Homeschooling,


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Oh Christmas Tree!!!!

December 18, 2008 at 5:34 am (Uncategorized)

With 8 days left until Christmas we finally got our Christmas tree up!  I don’t know why, but every year I drag my feet about putting the tree up. (The kids call me Scrooge! LOL)  There is just something weird about the thought of bringing a tree into my house! It’s not that my house is so clean and tidy that a tree messes it up.  (Not at all!)  It has more to do with the fact that our house is already crowded and messy enough without bringing a tree inside!  So every year when we start moving the furniture around to put a tree inside it makes me a little crazy!  But once we get it up I love it!  Plus it makes me happy to see how much my kids and husband enjoy the tree. 

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that we have a kid oriented tree.  The kids pretty much decorate it themselves.  It is nice now that we have a teenager and the top of the tree gets ornaments too!  LOL Our ornaments are a combination of things the kids have made and ornaments we have bought as we have traveled.  Instead of collecting spoons or magnets, we collect Christmas ornaments.  It is fun to remember all the places we have traveled over the last 20 years as we put up the tree. 

Here is this years masterpiece!

Oh, and you may have noticed that my little man has a new necktie!  It came in the mail from my sister yesterday.  He is VERY happy!  LOL  It goes SO WELL with his cowboy boots and mittens! 

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin  Scrooge

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Snow in Las Vegas

December 18, 2008 at 3:18 am (Uncategorized)

It’s snowing in Las Vegas!  My kids are so bummed that we are not there!  LOL  Four years we lived in Las Vegas and we only got snow once…and it was about a 1/2 inch!  LOL 

At least our friends are enjoying it!   You can see pictures here:



Happy Homeschooling,


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Oh Little Town of Bethlehem

December 17, 2008 at 7:28 am (Uncategorized)

Since we moved to a new State earlier this year we are making new Christmas traditions this year.  Last month I sent an email to our homeschool group asking everyone to share their favorite local Christmas traditions with me.  Several people recommended a neat Walk Through Bethlehem night that is put on by a church about 45 minutes from where we live.  We went this weekend and WOW, what an awesome experience it was!  Here 30 or so of my favorite pictures from our walk through Bethlehem…

My little man had a word with a Roman Soldier as we entered the gates of the city.

My two youngest are making olive oil.

The Weavers

My 2 little ones are learning about dyes used by the weavers.

The Temple

Food Market

Camels passing by…

My 14 year old is dying to know where a church gets camels?  LOL

Here the kids are learning about herbs, roots and extracts of the time.  These are myrrh and frankincense.

This lady was teaching about how to make fishing net from hemp twine.

Stone Carvers

The Tanner

These girls are stomping grapes to make wine.

These ladies are making bread.

Bread Oven

This lady is showing the types of flour used for the bread.

The Potter

This cute little girl with her chicken was at the basket weaver’s house.

The Basket Weaver

Pretending to draw water from the well.

Minting mites

A sweet little boy sharing his chicken with a new friend.  :^)

This is Joseph asking for a room in the Inn.  The Inn Keeper turns him away, but then the Inn Keepers wife thinks of the stable…

Here is the star!

And baby Jesus!

This was at the very end.  The man is asking all the children if they saw the King that was born that night?  He asks them if they believe He is the Son of God? Then he tells them to tell others that the King was born in Bethlehem this night. 

This was such a neat experience!  We all just loved it.  I had never really thought about all the jobs that people would have been doing that night in Bethlehem.  The fact that it was busy and crowded only made it more realistic!  I think that going to this made each of us think a little more about what life would have been like back then.  I know this is something we will look forward to every year from now on!

Happy Homeschooling,


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Christmas Meme

December 16, 2008 at 6:46 am (Uncategorized)

We are back from our long weekend and I am tired, tired, tired!  So I thought I would just pop in, say hi and answer the following Christmas Questions that were given to me by a friend.

   1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?  – Gift bags
   2. Real tree or Artificial?- Real
   3. When do you put up the tree? – Good question?  I will let you know when it’s up!  LOL
   4. When do you take the tree down? – The minute my husband will let me!  Usually after New Years Day.
   5. Do you like eggnog? YUM!  Although what I really like is French Toast made with Eggnog.  You HAVE to try it!
   6. Favorite gift received as a child?- Mrs. Beasley Doll
   7. Hardest person to buy for? – We don’t buy for that many people, so I can honestly say they are all easy.
   8. Easiest person to buy for? – My kids!
   9. Do you have a nativity scene? – Yes we have several.  One inflatable one outside, one for each kid, a tiny flowerpot one and one with Bible verses on the pieces that tell the story of Christmas.
  10. Mail or email Christmas cards? – Mail!  I LOVE Christmas cards and we send out a card, picture and letter every year.  Then I scrapbook a copy in our Christmas Scrapbook to keep a family history together in one convenient album.
  11. Favorite Christmas Movie?- It’s a Wonderful Life.
  12. When do you start shopping for Christmas?- I like to think I shop all year.  This year, I started the weekend after Thanksgiving!
  13. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?  – Sugar Cookie my hubby makes.  Yummy!
  14. Colored or white lights on the tree? – White
  15. Favorite Christmas song? – Mary Did You Know?
  16. Travel at Christmas or stay home? – Home.  My hubby has to cook, so we have to be home to eat the feast he prepares!  Plus the kids love being home to play with their new toys.
  17. Can you name all Santa’s Reindeer? – No!  But, I did get a trivia question right this weekend when I knew Donner was Rudolph’s father!  LOL
  18. Angel or star on top of the tree? Star – I have a cool quilted one that everything thinks I made.  But, I didn’t.  :^)
  19. Open presents on Christmas Eve or morning?- Christmas Morning.  The kids open their stockings.  Then we go around and each person takes turns opening one gift until they are all opened.  It makes it last longer.  :^)
  20. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? – The rushed feeling and extra traffic!
  21. Favorite Ornament theme or color? – Nativity
  22. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, pistachio salad, pumpkin pie.
  23. What do you want for Christmas this year?- A robe.  (But, I told my husband I will buy it at the after Christmas sales!  LOL)

If you decide to answer these questions on your blog let me know so I can come by and read your a answers!

Happy Homeschooling,


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5 Years Old!

December 12, 2008 at 8:50 am (Uncategorized)

My baby is turning 5 on Monday!  WOW!!!!  There is something about turning 5 that always seems like a BIG deal to me.  It is certainly the moment that I have to admit the baby days are over!  This being my youngest I am a little melancholy  about that!  On the other hand 5 is about my favorite age.  I love the way 5 year olds think and how they suddenly have a whole new level of understanding about things. They also remain a little bit naive and innocent.  Such sweet times!  So like with so many other times in my parenting career I am happy and a bit sad at the same time.  I just wish I could slow time down and make it all last a little longer…

Since our little man’s birthday is in December and it’s not a great time to get people to come to a party we decided to just do a family celebration this year.  We will be spending the weekend celebrating including hanging out at a local hotel that has indoor water play.  We are all looking forward to it, it feels a little like vacation even though it’s right here in town!  So, I won’t be posting again until Tuesday when our little break is over.   

I will leave you with my little man’s 5 year picture we had taken a few weeks ago.  This is SO him! 

He LOVES to dress up.  He always has, even when he was a baby.  We use to joke that he was going to grow up to be a Big and Tall Male Model.  (Since he weighed 11.8 when he was born!  LOL)  So when he saw this outfit he BEGGED me to get it for him because it has a tie like daddy wears.  The funny thing is that daddy rarely ever wears a tie. But, in my little man’s head daddy wears one every day!  LOL 

Here are some other of my favorite pics of my little man with his accessories!  LOL  He is SO CUTE!

Here he is on Leaf Day with his necktie clipped to his t-shirt and his skeleton gloves. 
The clasp for the tie broke the day this picture was taken and he has been begging for a new one ever since.  LOL He can hardly wait for Christmas to be over because I told him after he wears his new outfit to church for Christmas he can have the tie to wear.  Such a silly boy!

This is him when he was 2 and went through his "wearing dress shoes to bed" period.  He LOVED his dress shoes and would cry and cry asking to wear them over his footie PJ’s.  I really didn’t care that much, as long as he stayed in his own bed and didn’t come get in bed with me and start kicking me!  LOL  (Which he did nearly every night, then we would pull them off.)

Here he is at 2 in his sister pink sunglasses!  LOL
The boy is very secure in his masculinity! 

And of course every boy needs a cape!

Or two!
And of course if you don’t have anything else to make a costume with you can always make one with marker!  LOL

And if you don’t have a marker handy there is always T.P.!

And of course who can resist being Darth Vadar on occasion?

The whole dress up thing may be my fault.  I did start it when he was only 5 days old…

I’ll see you all next week!

Happy Homeschooling,


P.S.  If you read today’s Freebie Friday you probably know that I have resigned as the TOS Freebie Finder.  I had a wonderful year bringing freebie to everyone via Freebie Friday, but have decided that my schedule needs to be scaled back.  So from now on if you want to know what great freebies we are using at our house you will have to read my blog!  :^)

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