Monday, August 30, 2010

Clever, clever girl!

Beep!  Beep!  BEEEEEEP!

Yeah, that's the sound of me tooting my own horn. 

Since becoming a homeschooling family, I am finding that it is necessary to find fun and interesting ways for the kids to learn. 

Take, for example, this week's Bible Memory Verse.  We have said it, put it to motions, and said it again.  Then, I came up with this clever idea.  (Yep, you heard that beeping again!)

I made my own puzzle. 

Not like jigsaw style, but the cut-apart-with-many-different-types-of-scrapbooking-scissors type of puzzle.  (WOOT! to G'ma Jimmy for the ginormous rounder of scissors!)

It was quite easy to create the document on my computer, print it out, and then cut it.  Each place where the words connected was cut with a different pair of scissors. 

It seemed to be a big hit, with little to no assistance required. 

I consider it a keeper.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Gotta Have It #1

When I purchased this little beauty at StuffMart, I had no idea how I would come to love her.
Adore her.
Depend on her.

She is my right hand when it comes to making our school things durable and pretty.

"She" is my Scotch Thermal Laminator.  I knew I needed something to make our classroom materials last through many uses, but I didn't want to spend a lot.  Nor did I want to run to the nearest office superstore and wait while they laminated in their commercial laminator, charging me an astronomical rate.  I was afraid that anything I could find at the StuffMart would be flimsy, fussy, and frustrating.  And honestly, I'd just rather do it myself!

But this beauty?  She's not flimsy, fussy, or frustrating.  In fact, in addition to the specific projects I purchased her for, I've taken to making lots of other things I didn't know I needed (my own posters, for instance) just so that I can laminate them!  And at only $24.99, I feel like I got a steal of a deal!

Scotch also sells laminating "pouches" to use with the laminator.  (Also very budget friendly!)  Don't let the word "pouch" freak you out, though.  I had thoughts before purchase:  "Pouch??  Like I'm going to have to stuff my items in there and then laminate?  What if I have tiny items that aren't the size of a piece of paper?  Will I be able to laminate tiny items?"  And there was much hand wringing, reading of packaging, and gnashing of teeth.

The pouches are actually two pages that are sealed on only one edge.  They fold open like a book and then you fill 'er up, fold it closed, send it through the machine, and then enjoy the beauty!  (Apparently the marketing department at Scotch liked the name "pouches" better than "only-one-side-attached-so-you-can-fill-easily-laminating-sheets."  Who would have thought?)

If you, like me, are a homeschooling momma, then you gotta have one of these things.  And, if you like your papers, photos, documents, or anything else smaller than a letter sized page to be shiny and laminated like the pros, then you gotta have one of these things.  However, if you are a document forger or one who makes and sells illegal driver's licenses, you don't gotta have one of these.  Uh-uh.  (My lawyer required me to say that last part! -- Gotcha.  Like I have a lawyer?  Seriously, people.  Hello?  Is this thing on?) 

Go forth and laminate...

This is not a paid endorsement.  Scotch Brand has no idea that I have fallen in love with their thermal laminator.  In fact, if you called up Scotch Brand and asked about me, they'd have no idea who you were talking about.  "Hello, Mr. Scotch?  I'd like to talk to the Greyhaired Momma, please."  Whoo, I'll bet you'd hear a pin drop!  I have decided to take on this job of informing you, my adoring public, about some of the things that I have bought, used, and liked, loved, or decided I just gotta have it!  And, all for free.  Yes, you're that lucky!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Like it. Love it! Gotta-Have-It!! **

Since moving, we've purchased a few new things.  Some of these things are household goods that I have come to like.  Or love.  Or have decided that they were definitely a good purchase (Gotta-Have-It!).

So, since I have such a generous spirit, I thought I would share with you these purchases and give you (free of charge, of course) my unsolicited opinion of these items.

None of the manufacturers of these items know that I'm doing a plug for them.  Matter of fact, they don't know me from Adam, and probably don't give a whit about me.  However, that will not stop me.  I'll still spill.  (Basically I'm just saying that I've not been compensated in any way to make these statements -- however, if the opportunity came up, I wouldn't be opposed to considering it!)

1940s DIAL SOAP vintage comic illustration advertisement woman 
(This is just a picture -- there will be no mention of Dial soap.  Do they even make Dial soap anymore???)

So, keep watch, friends.  You're gonna get some unsolicited opinions, and possibly one or two great new household items that you'll like, love, or decide that you Gotta-Have-It!!

You're welcome.

** Yes, I know that I STOLE knowingly borrowed these titles/descriptors from a very expensive, albeit tasty, ice cream shop.  I'm not ashamed to admit it. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010


As it is "Back To School" time, either the kids or I repeatedly get asked, "Are you ready to go back to school?"  To which we proudly answer, "We homeschool, but yes, we're ready to start."

As you might already know, or can now guess, we've decided to homeschool our children. 

Some people say something like, "Oh."  Or, simply do not reply.  But the vast majority responds with, "Why?"

And so, though I don't feel I owe anyone earthly an explanation, I will attempt to explain why we choose to homeschool.

1.  It's our God-given right.

2.  We feel called by God to do so.

3.  We feel convicted that it is the best thing for our children.   After all, if God chose us to be their parents, shouldn't we also be their teachers?

4.  We want to raise godly, responsible, accountable, intelligent children who are willing to serve others selflessly.   In order to accomplish this goal, we feel we need to educate at home.

These reasons are by no means the only reasons, and I could launch into a lengthy explanation of the problems and issues we've had with public and private schools, but those things are just the gravy.  The meat of it is this:  God has convicted us to homeschool.   Period.   End of story. 

"Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Beginning and End

Sun is rising over the tropical landscape.
Hot cup of coffee in my hand.
The Word on my lap.
On my lips.
In my heart.

The beginning of vacation.


Sun is setting over the crystalline waters.
Sand between the toes.
And in the hair.
And everywhere else.
Sad to leave.
Filled full with fresh fish, family visits and great memories.

The end of vacation. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Leavin' on a jet plane...

Well not actually on a jet plane. More like a not-nearly-as-fast car.

Craftygirl is ready to go. Of course, none of these bags have any clothes in them, but she's "Packed, Momma!"

Ten hours in the car.
Fun times.
Fun times.
Snack anyone?

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I don't know that "repurposing" is actually a word.  The word itself drives my spell check crazy.  But I believe I've heard it used over and over again on all of those fancy schmancy home decorating shows that they have on TV.  And if they don't use the word, well then they should.

For my purposes (hee hee...) we'll use the term to mean that I wanted a new look to some things in the house and didn't want to spend money to do it.  It will also mean that after laying hands on EVERY.  SINGLE.  THING.  WE.  OWN.  due to the "unpacking" the movers "helped" us with, that I was aware that I had lots of stuff that I/we'd kept, but that currently served no purpose.

Confused?  Yeah, me too.

Uh, let's see...  Simply put, I had a need for some pillows to put on the kids' desk chairs.  And some classroom curtains.  And maybe a new slipcover for a bleh pillow I had on our office chair.  

How can I take what I already have and REPURPOSE it?  I had some left over fabric that I'd used in my classroom many, many years ago.  Oh, and I also had some throw pillows that weren't so special.

And so, need+fabric+bleh pillows = Dut, dut, da, da.... REPURPOSING!

I dug through my box of stuff... (And by "box," I mean about 4 storage bins -- ToughTotes, if you will.  Don't you worry though, it was all out on the floor in a nice heap for me to rifle through!)

Uh, yeah.  Some fabric I just HAD to have to make curtains (tried, but didn't like the look of --it's hard to match stripes!).  And, Oh!  There's some scissors I've been looking for for years.  They're good and sharp.  And no little people have used them for nefarious purposes like cutting up worms.  And that Ziploc baggie?  Oh, that has sentimental value!  Because, inside that bag... YES!  That very bag!!  There are things that I can remember looking at (buttons and needles specifically) in my Momma's sewing kit.  They're obviously very valuable if they've remained in the bag for not one, but two generations!  Pffft!

I came across the fabric I'd used in my first classroom.  I'd used this on some open storage shelves -- pretty and functional.  And, in the 10 years since using this fabric (for about 6 months), I just haven't been able to part with it.  I love it.  Bright.  Lively.  Cheap.  Inexpensive.  I mean inexpensive. 

And for my first stunt, I hung some up on the window.

Heh, heh.  Easy.  Pretty.  Cheap.  Inexpensive.  Inexpensive. (Does it count as free if you paid for it years and years ago?)

Then I took another of the panels of fabric and measured the bleh throw pillow I had.   With little to no modification, I began to sew.

Since I'd just folded the long, rectangular panel right sides together, I only had two sides to sew.  That's what I love:  a project that gets quick results!!

It was a bit trickier to sew in the velcro, and I would have preferred to use white.  But black was what was in the box of glory (we're repurposing, remember?) and so black was what I used.

And if I do say so, it took a bleh pillow to a cute new level -- makes the chair much more inviting, in my humble opinion! (Mouse over the photo below for the reveal!)

And so, I am saving the world by repurposing.  One ugly pillow at a time.

And, the kids have something to sit on during our days of school.
Did I neglect to mention that we'll be homeschooling?  

Ah, that will be another post for another day...

Go forth and repurpose, friends!  
Then tell me what you made so I can figure out how to use up all this other "stuff" I have laying around.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I learned a few things today...

1.  There is a place "where a kid can be a kid," but it will cost you.

2.  Cutting/trimming a weeping willow tree is like cutting your bangs while they're wet.  You aim for the "perfect" place on the hangie-downie branch and trim away.  Once you've done that, and lightened the weight of the limb, the branches all go upwards -- making the hangie downies much shorter than anticipated!  (Y'all are having bad bang-cutting episodes flash through your minds now, aren't you?  You're welcome.)

3.  Cutting an old, gnarly, forgotten about Rosemary bush/shrub/monster is tough work.  Fragrant, yes.  But tough.  (Anyone want some Rosemary before the yard garbage truck comes?)

4.  God's timing is perfect.  And nothing I can say or do will change that.  Hallelujah for that!

(Photo by one of my in-laws, Duke or Karen Grey.)

5.  I also learned that on the day with the most perfect opportunities for photos, that it stinks to be without my camera.  So, I confess.  None of the photos above are mine.  The camera's in the shop.  But, I did a bang up job borrowing these images from Google.  Except for the last one.  That one I borrowed and gave credit where credit was due.

6.  After 3+ hours of yard work, one should not attempt to write a coherent blog post.  Or expect to be able to spell.  Or see the screen clearly.  Or...

So, with that, I'm over and out.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Melancholy Child

I realize that lately anything I've had to say here has been somewhat depressing.

So, instead of boring you with more of my melancholy, I will infuse this blog with a little life:

Because, as we all know, melancholy is just not my style.  

It does not fit well.

Like the clothes of a woman who hasn't seen the inside of a gym in a long time.

Not that I'd be that woman.  
Not me.  
In all my spare moments, I've been hitting the bike, running, lifting weights, swimming, and dropping in on the occasional Pilates, Zumba, or Step class.  I'd jump on the elliptical too, but I sold it.  So, I have to make do with all these other physical activities.
In my spare time.

Kiss off, Melancholy.  I've got life to live and joy to relish.  

"He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy."  Job 8:21