Monday, January 31, 2011

Giveaway!! Shabby Shae! Plus coupon code, everybody wins!

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I have a fabulous giveaway for you!!  My friend Micah has a new etsy shop! She makes gorgeous flower pins in every color imaginable.  They come in various sizes, and some have clips so they can be worn in the hair - see the pic of my sweet middle one below. 

Want to dress up an outfit or give it an extra sparkle?  These flower clips are perfect.  I'm a little partial to the ones with beads; I have the daisy one pictured above, and this poppy one as well.

(There's a story with the poppy one.  My coat is a men's coat.  I didn't really realize it when I bought it; it's black and fuzzy, and well, as I wore it I noticed a) how very warm it is and b) how very masculine it looks.  Then I saw it in the store again ... in the men's section, where apparently it was supposed to be.  Oops.  I "feminized" it with a poppy flower pin!)

Here's my middle one with her hair clip.  Sweet, huh?

She doesn't just make flower clips though.  She makes the cutest little makeup bags too.  See?

I know you want one.  It's your lucky day because Micah is giving away either a flower pin or a bag to one lucky winner.  The winner can pick whichever one she chooses - either from her etsy shop or her blog, and Micah will drop it in the mail to you.

How do you win?  Leave me a comment letting me know what you would choose if you should win.

Want extra entries?
Follow the Shabby Shae blog via google friend connect for one additional entry.
"Like" Shabby Shae on facebook for one additional entry.
Leave me a comment letting me know you've done these (and if you already follow or like, LMK that; it counts too!)  Be sure to leave a separate comment for each thing, so you can have up to three entries.

hehe ... let me sound like an infomercial for just a moment.  But WAIT!  There's MORE! 
Micah is offering a 20% off coupon code for her etsy store!  Use code melaniefriends20 for 20% off the entire inventory of her store.

Giveaway is open until midnight central on Wednesday.  Coupon code is valid until midnight on February 13. 

I will choose and post the winner on Thursday.  Be sure that I have a way to get in touch with you if you are the winner.

Have fun shopping!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

L.E.N.S. Challenge - Eyes

Pin It The eyes of Bella are upoooooooon you ...
(so my sincere recommendation is that you watch out!)

This cat belongs to the oldest, and I believe the oldest is the only person she likes. Except she sleeps with the middle one. Any waking hours, she's trying to attack the middle one, but at night she curls up on her bed. Weird.

Bella is a weird cat. She will plead for attention and loves for someone to pet for for an indeterminate amount of time. Sometimes minutes, sometimes seconds. When she's done, she attacks. I always try to warn people when they come over. Yeah, she looks all sweet and all but stay on your guard because she will be purring and rubbing on you one second and swiping at you the next, and there will be no warning. (hm ... kind of like a peri-menopausal woman ... not that I know any of those or anything.)

She was laying in the sun the other day and appeared quite mellow so I took a couple of pictures. Then she decided that she wanted to scratch my arms and eat my camera. I'm 41 and not quite so agile, plus to take pics of a cat laying on the floor, I was laying on the floor. It's lucky I made it out of that situation with all of my parts intact.

But hey, doesn't she look sweet in this pic?

This week the LENS challenge is eyes! Come on over to Home Is Where You Start From to see the other entries!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up

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I am really enjoying the weekly wrap-up!  It's great to have a journal of sorts to come back to!

WOOHOO for completing 100 days and week 20!! 

The oldest started Institute for Excellence in Writing this week.  She completed lesson 1 and we are delighted about that.  I think she is going to enjoy it, and that is a fabulous thing.  Ask me in a few weeks how it's going.  Week 1 went well, for whatever that's worth. 

We are still hanging out in Ancient Greece and OH MY there is so much to be learned here!  I think the girls are learning a lot too.  (Seriously though - I had no idea!  I don't know if I slept through history class or what, but so much of this is new to me!)

They drew pictures of the Parthenon:

and we continued reading about Archimedes.  Interesting indeed.  If you had EVER told me that I would find such information interesting, I would have laughed at you.  Sad, but true.

In my effort to be honest, there are some projects that the girls put a little LESS effort into.  Giggle.  I'd be remiss to share the good stuff only ... so ... here are their paintings for the week.  You might guess that they really weren't so much into the painting this week.  Wednesday is the day that most of our painting is done, and Wednesday was pretty rushed this past week, so I think a lot of paint got slapped onto the page.  Oh well ... they can't all be fabulous, right?

(To interpret -- rain clouds and apparently some MAJOR rain falling on flowers.)  We have ALL giggled at these all week.

Science is still all about plant life.  I'm trying to act excited about it.  I suspect that I'm failing miserably.  I think we finish it this week, and it is just about time to plant some herbs, so maybe that will make it a little more interesting.  Hopefully!

In our homeschool co-op, the oldest is working on a drama project about theater and something to do with English Restoration.  I should probably get her to fill me in because I don't have the first clue.  They did this great project though, and I have to share it.

So, that's it for our week.  I'll be linking up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers today, so hop on over and see what everyone else is doing this week!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Homeschool Village - Accomplishments

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The "theme" at The Homeschool Village this month is accomplishments.

We've had a few lately, and I am DELIGHTED.
The main thing -- tomorrow we will complete week 20 and lesson 100 in all of our classes except math!  It is amazing to me to be exactly on schedule!  I planned for some breaks in February (woohoo, Grammy is coming!) and March (woohoo, Spring Break!) and expect that we'll finish up for the year in May.  Did I mention DELIGHTED?  :D  (oh, and math?  We're actually AHEAD on math!)

We are planning to continue math over the summer (on a very relaxed schedule), and will work on handwriting with the middle one and typing with the oldest one, but that will be it.  We have discovered that we do not love having to re-learn anything, especially math!  And, if we can take some things that we don't want to take the time to learn/work on during the normal school day and put them on our summer list, then more the better!  Something different, keeps them from laying around in front of the TV/video game/computer/whatever all day ... it's all good!

Another accomplishment ... well ... kind of ... is simply that this has been a good week.  If you read my blog, you know that last week wasn't fabulous.  This week has been much better, and I am so glad!  Having a talk with the kids last week and trying to set the rules and calmly enforce them has been good.  I did have an epic fail one day when it seemed more expedient to just give in rather than hold to the rules, but other than that, it's been nice for everyone to know what is expected from them, and the consequences of not meeting those expectations.  I think it's made for a calm and even giggly good week.  :)

And one more ... did you see my chili post?  ;)  MAJOR accomplishment there! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday -- Dear Jason

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Okay, we need to be clear from the very beginning that Wordless Wednesday + Melanie just isn't something that is going to happen.  Ever.  The very thought of posting a picture with no commentary ... well, it makes me shudder.  I am physically incapable.

That said, I'm breaking up with Jason.  I thought I would share the letter I'm sending.  (Yes, I'm breaking up via blog post.  Sad but true.  I guess this ranks as just a little bit better over breaking up with someone on facebook.)

Dear Jason,

We've had a great relationship.  We've spent a lot of time together.  Especially over the last couple of months.  I had even considered having my mail forwarded to your Deli, as I seemed to be eating there more frequently than at home.  Your chili?  It's delightful.  I have awakened several mornings thinking about it and planning my day so that I could go visit you for lunch.  You never disappointed.  I guess I've been planning to cheat on you all along though.  First there was a packet of chili mix that I tried.  It was okay, but not quite what I was looking for.  Then there was the box.  It was a little bit better, but still didn't have that special touch that yours had.  There were a few "from scratch" recipes that I tried, and all were *close* but were missing something.  Finally though, I have found a new love.  A friend mentioned a recipe in THIS cookbook.  I have had this cookbook for over a year now and never noticed this little recipe in there.  I'm sorry, Jason.  I tried this recipe today.  Not only is it as good as yours, I think it's even a little better.  I customized it with some Rotel tomatoes and served it over brown rice and I just have to say - it is a little bit of heaven in a bowl.  It almost pains me to say that our visits are going to be much fewer now.  It isn't you.  It's me.  Fear not though -- I have not been able to buy or duplicate your fabulous red pepper hummus, and I get serious cravings for your black currant iced tea.  And sometimes a girl just wants a sandwich that she neither has to make nor clean up after.  I'll still visit the Deli every now and then.

I hope we can still be friends.

What do you think?  Too harsh?  ;)  (btw - I still totally LOVE Jason's Deli, but I am absolutely DELIGHTED to find the exact chili recipe I wanted!  Pioneer Woman Cooks for the win!)

Oh, and the PIC part of Wordless Wednesday:


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Not Me!

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It's been a while and I am not bursting to tell y'all all the things I haven't done recently.

It is not me whose facebook status is currently "my kids are weird."  I would never speak that way about these little darlings.  And if I DID have that as my status, I would never tell them.  And if I DID, they would probably not respond very matter-of-factly with "We're not weird.  We're interesting.  There's a huge difference."  I am not sitting here laughing at them at this very moment thinking that all of this weirdness MUST have come from their father.

(And there is absolutely no way that the oldest one is giving the middle on a science lesson, involving the word "rectum" which is apparently a word the middle one just heard for the first time. She apparently thinks it's a cool word, and is shrieking as the oldest one fills her in on what it means.)

We did not give the middle one iced coffee with her lunch, and she is not currently running around in the circle that the house makes between the kitchen, dining room, living room, and family room, and I am not using the phrase "electric chihuahua" to describe her at this moment.  (Well?  Have you met her?  Don't you agree that "electric chihuahua" describes her pretty well?)

I do not feel the urge to go take a nap just watching her.

In other news ... have I spoken of my addiction to chili?  And the realization that as much as I love the chili at Jason's Deli, it's really not in anyone's best interest for me to eat there every single day?  (Well, except possibly Jason's best interest!  A cup of chili is pretty cheap, but add to it a drink and at least two other meals because I seem to travel in a pack and my frugal choice is suddenly less than frugal.)  Well, I am not currently trying yet another chili recipe to find one that I absolutely love.  I've not gone through about seven different recipes in the past couple of months to get it just right.  Nope, not me.  I know my family is not pleading with me to just find one I like so I can stop experimenting on them trying new recipes.  (Today's version is The Pioneer Woman's.  I'm feeling hopeful.)

Oh, and one more.  It was not my son who burst into spontaneous prayer the other day as we left ... ahem ... Jason's Deli (giggle) and pulled into the parking lot of the BIG HEB.  His prayer did not go something like this:  "Please God, don't let us be going to HEB.  Please God."  I did not giggle and tell him "God said we needed groceries so we're going to HEB."  He did not then pretend to go to sleep in the car.  And I did not dissolve into laughter, as did his older sisters.  Love the master manipulation techniques of a five year old! 

Goodness gracious ... we have laughed and giggled more today than we have in the past few weeks!  Woohoo for giggly days!

Monday, January 24, 2011

1000 Gifts - 101 - 110

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It's Sunday night, and I'm sitting here cuddled up with my sweet son and typing up my list.

101.  I am thankful for this moment.  There is peace in my house, quiet in my heart, and joy in my soul.  It's very nice.

102.  I am thankful that an injury my son had tonight wasn't worse.  I'm a pretty laid back mama with injuries most of the time and this one scared me a little.  He is completely fine though, just a humongous knot on his head.

103.  I am thankful for a two week menu planned and grocery shopping done.  It sure does make life easier for me to just look at what's planned and not have to try to figure out what we want to eat.

104.  I am thankful for wool socks.  We live in Texas; it's not cold very often.  I only have one pair of wool socks and they are so absolutely perfect for our cold days when I can't get my feet warm.

105.  I am thankful for my children.  If you read my blog, then you know this last week will not go down in history as THE BEST WEEK EVER.  Despite some bratty moments here and there (um ... mine AND theirs) these kids completely rock and are such a blessing to me. 

106.  I am thankful for one of the oldest's friends, who put our Wii back into service.  We still can't find the other remote (which was somehow lost as the two younger ones were fighting over it) and since the lost one was the main one, we couldn't use the wii at all.  The friend came over, pushed about three buttons and VIOLA~!!  Back in service!  (And ... um ... the two little ones are still grounded from it until either the two weeks are up or they find the other remote.)

107.  I am thankful for having received a lot of support and good advice last week regarding not only THAT parenting issue, but a couple of other ones as well. 

108.  I am thankful for the children's chorus that the girls are a part of.  Saturday night they had the opportunity to sing with the symphony and we loved it!  Even the little one enjoyed the symphony.  It was a fabulous night!

109.  I am thankful to have another opportunity to do Beth Moore's Living Beyond Yourself Bible study.  I have started this study at least two other times now and haven't been able to complete it.  I know it's a fabulous study, so I am very excited to start it up again with a fabulous group of ladies.

110.  I am thankful for sugar-free mocha lattes at a cafe here in town.  Sooooo yummy and diabetic friendly too!

What gifts have you received this week?  I'm linking up with A Holy Experience today, so click on over and read some more lists.  :)

(btw ... check back in a few days!  I have a giveaway coming up ... a GIFT so to speak ... I'd love to have One Thousand Gifts to give away, but can't quite do that.  I do have ONE though ... but I'm not saying what it is until I have it in hand.  What could it be?  Hmmm ...  giggle ... ) 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

L.E.N.S. Challenge - This Moment

Pin It The oldest is doing a project in her geography class in our homeschool co-op.  She is doing a report on Norway, and presenting it as if she had just gotten back from a vacation in Norway.

On her own, she decided to scour the internet for recipes from Norway.  (giggle ... her mother insisted that it be a DESSERT recipe.  No fish.)  She is presenting her report tomorrow, so she is baking Norwegian cookies for her class today.

Here is a pic of her with her friend who is over helping her out.  (Mine is the dark-haired one, if you don't happen to already know us.)

(What I really should have pictured here is the mess my kitchen is at THIS MOMENT!)

This week's challenge at Home is Where You Start From is "This Moment".  I chose to take a picture of this exact moment.  Like seriously - I took this pic less than five minutes ago!  Feel free to click on over and see the moments that everyone else chose for this week.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up ... and How It Went

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Well, on our last episode of "Will the homeschool mom survive the week?" we were left on a bad day and a mom taking the day off on Thursday. 

How did it go?  Well ... um ... I'm really not sure.  I sent an email to my husband saying I was D.O.N.E. and that the girls were on their own.  They were still in bed when I took the little one to school.  They were still in bed when I left to run an errand.  They were awake and looking a little shell-shocked (and quite well-rested) when I came back home.  They were kind of half-heartedly doing some schoolwork.

I found out later that their father called and recommended very strongly that they get out of bed.  Go dad.  ;) 

I did not say a word when the middle one left the milk out (thankfully it was mostly empty anyway) and chose to let the natural consequences of no cereal the next morning due to spoiled milk play out.  I did no laundry and no dishes.  I told them that I would be leaving at 1:45 to take them to dance.  If they were in the car, they could go with me, otherwise I would drive over there without them to tell their teacher that they wouldn't be there.  They were both ready.  They did not, however, get much schoolwork done.  The oldest got about 75% of hers done, the middle one about half.  I told them it was no problem, that I had no issue sending friends home and turning electronic devices off until the work was done.  There were a few tears, but also a pretty good conversation about taking mom for granted, and about making good choices with our time.  :)

Honestly, I think they were shocked.  When one said she didn't want to do her work and I said "okay, that's your choice," and there are consequences to that choice, and when I said if THIS is done, you may go with me to get something for lunch (I had already decided that I wasn't going to prepare meals) and then I left to get lunch without them (and for myself only) there were quite a few "THAT'S UNFAIR"'s being thrown around. 

To be honest, I felt terribly guilty.  The point was made though, so maybe it was worth it.  Today went very smoothly.  Girls got up at a reasonable time (I suspect that their father helped with that, but I'm not sure.)  They *asked* me to help with their schoolwork, and one of them left me a note to tell me thank you for helping.  When one wanted to go visit a friend, she accepted hearing "you absolutely can as long as these things are done" and did them happily. 

All in all, it ended up being a very good day today, after an awful day yesterday.  :)

So ... this week.

I just have to share two of our projects.  First, in history, we're talking about Greece.  One of their projects was to draw a Greek soldier.  I thought they did a fabulous job:

This is from the book Draw and Write Through History.

I've mentioned before that we do a painting project every week to go along with a poem by Robert Frost.  This week's poem was The Birthplace, and here are the paintings that went along with it:

Giggle ... you might suspect that we don't actually live anywhere near mountains.  ;)  They did a pretty good job though.  I really am loving the painting portion of our curriculum!

In science, we're talking about plant life.  The oldest did a lot of study on this topic in co-op, so I'm happy that it's review for her.  Our big project for this is to try (AGAIN) to grow some herbs.  Soon we'll go buy some and get started on that. 

So, that's it for our week.  I'll be linking up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers today, so hop on over and see what everyone else is doing!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pity Party, Table for One, Please

Pin It Okay, so yesterday was not a stellar day.

Two girls gave me attitudes.  Some family members went to dinner and completely forgot about me.  Schoolwork lasted until after 4:00.  I did work around the house that a) nobody even noticed and b) nobody had a problem completely undoing.  A boy had a tummyache and then took a really late nap that had him still awake after 10:00 last night.  Visa Rewards started calling at 10:30 and at 11:07, on the third call, I got mad and unplugged the phone.  And I'm LEAVING it unplugged.  Oh, and the Wiimote?  The "alpha remote" is missing, lost after the younger two were fighting over what to watch on Netflix, which has rendered the Wii completely useless, which would be fine as far as the kids are concerned, but *I* enjoy it too and can't use it.

I think I'm taking the day off today.  It's 8:15 and the little one woke up complaining that a toy that I gave him for his birthday (IN AUGUST) was not the toy he wanted - seriously, first words out of his mouth this morning.

You know that brief window the day after a bad day?  When there is a chance for redemption and hope that this will not also be a bad day?  That window was closed within minutes of one child waking up.

So ... 8:15 and girls are still asleep.  They know what schoolwork is expected of them.  They know how to prepare their meals.  They know that if they don't complete their tasks, then they shouldn't ask for rewards such as having friends over, etc.  They're 9 1/2 and 12, and will be learning some independent life skills today.  I'm not going to harp on them about their schoolwork.  I'm not going to do their laundry, prepare their meals, or clean up after them.  I'm not even going to get them out of bed.   I will, however, apply the rule of natural consequences, should it be required.  (Oh, I am so sorry, hon.  You didn't finish your schoolwork?  Well, your DSI will be safe with me until it's all done and you have a happy heart again.  Oh, and that cell phone?  I'd hate for you to be tempted by it when you're trying to finish your schoolwork at 8 pm.  I'll just put it away for you.  Absolutely, your friends can come over!  Let me just make sure your work is done and your room is clean.  Oh?  It's not?  Oh well then, maybe next time.)

This unappreciated mama is taking the day off and will be hanging out with my Nook.  And possibly Starbucks.

(and I'm sure tomorrow I'll feel terrible for being all selfish today.  On this day, I don't really care.)

btw ... just took the little one to preschool and it's now 9:30.  Girls are still in bed.  I suspect it's going to be a long day around here.  For the record?  They do have an alarm clock.  The oldest has an alarm on her phone, which she has in there with her.

May I seriously ask?  What do y'all do when you work to manage the household and school and everything else and receive a total lack of appreciation and being taken for granted in return?  I mean, if you can't tell, partly my feelings are hurt by all of the attitudes.  Partly, I'm REALLY mad.  Mostly though, I see the brat trend going on and I want it stopped.  I do suspect that I do too much for them in some areas so I know at least some of the problem is mine.  Maybe when they ask to go see their friends play Upwards on Saturday and I sadly tell them that they can't because they chose to sleep until 10:00 and then play around, they'll understand a little.  Or they'll hate me all the more.

Sigh.  This parenting business is tough.

I do intend to enjoy my day off today though!  Anyone want to meet me at Starbucks? 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - the piano bench!

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Just LOOK what Micah did!!

(And yes, I'm being brave and putting the "Before" pic out there - in a teensy weensy way.  I will say - this piano bench did not arrive at our house looking quite this bad.  The kids knew I didn't care for it and would be recovering it as soon as I found fabric that I liked, so they did everything in their power to rush that along, including ripping it, pulling out pieces of foam - which look like little gifts from the cat, btw - and complaining loudly that the tears that THEY MADE made their legs itch.)

I've never really looked at comparison of flash pics like that before.  The before pic was taken with my pop-up flash.  The after pic was taken with an external flash.  My carpet is NOT gray.  Enormous difference.  Wow.

We are loving the newly covered piano bench!  The oldest restarted lessons last night.

Thank you so much, Micah!

Oh, and if you're wondering what I was doing while Micah was doing this ... I was taking pics of these little beauties:

*NEED* one?  Go here!  :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Feeling ... crafty??

Pin It Something weird is happening to me.  Very very weird.

I don't know if it's Micah's influence, or possibly Meri's influence.  Probably some of both.  I see the fabulous things Micah makes and they're way out of my league and then I see the fabulous things Meri makes and they're way out of my league.  Micah sews, Meri knits, Melanie glues.  See the problem?  Every now and then though, one of them will post a link to a tutorial and I'll think "HEY!  Maybe *I* can do that!"  (You know ... the stuff that takes very few skills, and nothing involving the words SEW or KNIT, and oh, it can't have more than about four steps, either.)

It is entirely possible that I may be muttering under my breath at both of these women as I watch my utter lack of craftiness go to battle with this crazy desire to make something.

I do have a glue gun, and I have done enough recitals that I'm completely fluent in E-6000.  Safety pins?  I am good to go.  I'm pretty handy with tape too.  OH, and we MUST not forget staplers.  (Y'all have heard the story of the butterfly wings held on to a costume with staples, right?)  (In my defense, they were on a REALLY little girl and they were QUITE heavy.)  (Going to search for a picture.)  (Darn it, I KNOW I have a pic of those butterfly wings somewhere!) (FOUND IT!!)
Oh no, those wings did not come attached.  They are thick cardboard covered in feathers.  They had to be attached to the costume and secured so that they didn't come off on stage and take the costume with them!  She was five at the time, love the gap-toothed smile.  :)  

I made some blog decorations over the past couple of days and had fun with that, but I am wanting something more.  I want to cut, glue, pin ... NOT SEW ... and hopefully complete a project.  Maybe that's the real desire - to FINISH something, because everything I do has to be done again, usually in just a couple of hours.  (ahem ... laundry anyone?  dishes?  how about cooking?)

Okay, so all that said, yesterday I made a trip to Hobby Lobby and started a project.  I'm debating on whether to post what I'm planning to make or not.  Posting it would give me some much needed accountability because it would force me at some point to post a picture of the finished project.  But then it is entirely possible that the finished project will not look exactly like I wanted it to, and my photoshop skills aren't so fabulous that I can take something that looks lopsided and awful and make it look fabulous.

So maybe I'm going to leave it as a surprise for a while.  In case a) I lose interest before it's finished.  (Entirely possible.)  or b) I complete it and decide it's terribly ugly and would be well suited for decorating the inside of the bathroom cabinet only (probably likely.)

But woohoo for at least feeling crafty!  (I think.)  (Ask me about that tomorrow.)  (Better yet, ask my FAMILY about that tomorrow.)

Monday, January 17, 2011

1000 Gifts - 91-100

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91.  For rainy days ... even though I get so tired of rain because it rains a lot here, there is something special about waking up to softly falling rain.

92.  For the crock pot, which is my GO TO helper on Sunday nights.  We get home from church, I throw supper into the crock pot, and when we get home on Sunday evening, we a meal all ready to go.  (Although I still need someone to teach me how to make a "fall-apart" roast in it.  I don't know if I buy the wrong type of meat or if I do something wrong or what.  I remember my grandmother making a roast that would fall apart if you looked at it, and there would definitely be no knives needed at that table!)

93.  And since we're talking about food and crock pots, I am also thankful for soup.  I used to not be a very big fan of soup, but now it seems like I can't get enough of it.  And I'm not talking condensed soup from a can either!  Yummy, thick, hearty, cooking all day and making the house smell like a little bit of heaven soups, that's what I'm talking about!

94.  For spending the two hours last week to come up with a plan for my co-op class which covers the whole semester.  Now all I need to do is pull it out on Sunday night to refresh my memory and I'm good to go.

95.  For a return of motivation in an area which needs it, and has been sadly lacking lately.  I don't know what happened, but the motivation has come back, and I am delighted!

96.  For the ladies in my Bible study group.  I had been considering doing a specific Bible study on my own and then they decided to do it as a group.  I will be so much more motivated by having the support of a group!

97.  For schoolwork done with happy hearts this week.  What an enormous blessing!  And even having work done with no reminders from me!

98.  For a plan in place for next year.  Even though several factors are still up in the air, it's nice to have the beginnings of a plan forming, for all three kids.

99.  For grace from my husband when I did something incredibly stupid, and bless his heart, he came home after being gone for a week and I greeted him with a honey do list to fix the incredibly stupid thing I did.  And WOOHOO for him fixing it!

100.  For reaching #100 on my list!  I am 1/10th of the way to listing 1000 gifts!  I really am trying to look for things for which to be thankful in all of the situations in which I find myself.  :)

I will be linking up with A Holy Experience today!  Hop on over and read some other lists and be inspired!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

L.E.N.S. Learning Spaces

Pin It Ever just forget things entirely? I found the Home is Where You Start From blog a while back and thought their photo challenges would be fun to enter. I think I didn't have a photo that fit for the first couple of weeks after I found it, and then it got pushed to the back of my brain. I came across it again last week when their theme was weather and planned to find a great picture I have of the youngest playing in the rain. Then I couldn't find the picture. (I realized later that it was on the other computer.) Then I saw this week's challenge - Learning Spaces. I remembered this picture of the middle one curled up in one of my favorite spaces, reading her book.

And I had to enter this week!

Home Is Where You Start From

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Our Weekly Wrap-Up!

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We had a really great week school-wise!

Have I mentioned 38 times that the oldest finished her English? She actually finished it last week, but I'm still so delighted, I had to just throw it out there one more time! Hold on a second while I do one last happy dance for this!

Okay, I'm back.

She is moving right along with math as well and I believe will be finishing that at the end of the month. She's at a pretty easy stage for her in math right now - I guess it's an intro to geometry; whatever you do at the end of sixth grade math, so she's breezing through. I need to happy dance again that ever since long division was mastered, math has been a much happier place at our house. Fractions and decimals weren't nearly as big a deal as long division, so all in all, it's been a happy math year for her. I have to giggle though. She was all excited to be about finished ... and then she saw that the next curriculum is here waiting for her and we'll be going directly to it when she finishes this one. Silly girl, thinking she was going to get a break from math! We've been homeschooling long enough that you'd think she'd know better than that by now! :-P

We're in a weird place with the middle one. She is doing very well in all of her classes also, but I'm curious as to how many other people have kids who score between 90 and 100 on *every* spelling test and yet will write papers *using those same words* and spell them incorrectly? I'm not sure what to do about that. We've enjoyed Bob Jones spelling, but if it's not transferring from the spelling tests into regular writing, then I think we need to re-evaluate. We've been doing a dictation based spelling for the oldest and I think we may try that with the middle one as well.

She is doing fabulous in her reading and English classes, and I am very proud of her. I always think of my oldest as a junior member of the grammar police, but now I'm starting to suspect that the middle one may be as well. Woohoo for the grammar police!

Math is also going well, and I have to happy dance for that too! Same thing as with the oldest - once we got past a specific hurdle, it's gotten much easier.

History --

We are hanging out in Greece for the next few weeks. I'm a little unsure about who is learning more - them or me. It amazes me how much I didn't know about Greece. We're reading about Archimedes. Um ... should I be ashamed to tell you that I had no idea who that is? Well, shame be banned because I'm reading a whole book about him. (I love the read alouds that are part of our Heart of Dakota curriculum!)

We just recently finished the book of Esther and watched "One Night With the King". I LOVED hearing the girls critique the movie based on their knowledge of the book of Esther. Very awesome to realize that they really are learning a lot!

Science --

We finished our birds study in science, and I can honestly say "GOOD!" I wasn't really loving the bird study, but the girls seemed to enjoy it. We're moving on to plants next, and to be honest, I'm a little less than excited about that too. I'll try to hide that from the girls. I had to laugh when I told them that Monday we would be starting plant life. The middle one said "Good! Maybe we'll learn not to kill tomato plants!" HMPF! Kill tomato plants? Me? Let me just show you my tomato plant:
Yep, tomatoes in JANUARY. I'm sure that's due to my stellar farming skills. Okay, well, sadly, that is the ONLY tomato that plant has produced. So yeah, maybe the plant life book will help. I suspect that we are beyond help, though.

And so that's it for our week! How was yours?

I'll be linking up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers today. Check them out to see what all of the other weird, unsocialized homeschoolers did this week!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Randomness and Thinking Further

Pin It This has just been a weird week. Doesn't seem like Thursday for one thing. Girls finished their schoolwork by 11:00 for another thing. (Yes, it's VERY nice when every class has an easy day on the same day ... but so much less enjoyable when every class has a hard day on the same day!)

The weather forgot that we live in Texas and that we're all a big bunch of weenies when it comes to cold weather. 26 degrees should never happen here. I think that's in my contract somewhere. We had a nice toasty fire the other night until I realize that there is some kind of crazy magnetic attraction that five year old boys have with fires. Let's all be thankful that the night ended with no ER visits. In case anyone was wondering, in the case of little green army men versus fire, the fire wins. Every time. And melted little green army men smell bad. Every time.

(Helpful. That's what I am.)

I am attempting chili again tonight. I have had this unnatural obsession with chili lately. Enough so that I have pleaded with friends to make it for me and have started forwarding my mail to Jason's Deli again. I am now armed with a new recipe and will be trying it tonight. I will keep you posted. Let's hope I'm not disappointed. Again.

If you read this post ... well, all of these thoughts are still rolling around in my head.

I hope I didn't make it sound like I think it's a "one size fits all" type thing and that if you follow the path you believe the Lord is leading you down, life will be all sunshine and happiness. It's still life, still filled with the muck and mire of sin, both our own and the sins of others which affect us.

I do firmly believe that His grace is sufficient for our need, and that His grace is applied where our need is. I also think, though, that we can allow things to get in the way. Fear, doubt, disobedience, rejection, and running ahead of His will can cause His grace to appear insufficient, or not "work" like it should.

I'm still processing my thoughts here ... and can't seem to put them into words yet. I sense a part three coming up soon.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sufficient Grace

Pin It I have a friend who is going through a major endeavor in her life. She will soon be doubling the size of her family - from three to six children. The current children are young and the new children are also young, with special needs.

Let me be honest here. My brain has been all over the place in trying to wrap around that. On one hand I'm in awe. Not only in awe that they are doing that, but in awe of how the Lord is working out the details. On another hand, the thought "is she crazy?" has crossed my mind a time or two. (Sorry, Jessica. Just being honest here.) On another hand (because I apparently have several hands) I want to get in there and help in whatever way I can. And on another hand, (still being honest here) I'm a little jealous of the adventure, when my life is feeling a little stagnant currently.

Yesterday I was thinking and wondering how many people have been discouraging in their comments to Jessica. (And Josh too, but Jessica is the one I see more frequently and see her mom heart.) I don't mean ugly, I mean people who really do mean well but make comments that bring discouragement to them. Maybe there aren't any, I don't know. As I was thinking about it though, I remember something that a fabulous lady who is now with the Lord said once.

I had commented to her about the grace she showed in a situation that I felt would have had me ready for a rubber room. It was a seriously difficult situation and I remember feeling that if I had to deal with it, I would have given up. I will never forget what she said though:

She said "His grace is sufficient for ME in the situations to which He has called ME. His grace is sufficient for YOU in the situations to which He has called YOU."

Wow. Ever looked at someone going through something that you think would just kill you, and yet they survive? Scarred and hurt, maybe, but still the Lord brings them through? That's His sufficient grace, and it was applied to them in their situation. We don't understand it because it wasn't applied to us in their situation. His grace is sufficient for our need, rather than just blanket grace thrown out. It's personal.

Isn't that awesome? :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

1000 Gifts - 81-90

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Have I ever answered why I'm doing this? What the point is of listing ten things I'm thankful for every week? I'm sure this will come as a shock to you, so please sit down. Sitting? Ready? Okay ... here it is ... I can be a complainer. SHOCK, right? ;) I really don't like that about myself. I want to be the person who looks at a situation and sees the good rather than the bad, and I want to tell you that my natural inclination is to tell you in detail every little thing that is negative or wrong. This list is my effort to work on that. To actively seek the good, the gifts, the blessings I have been given, some deep and serious, some whimsical and silly. :)

So without further ado ... here is my list for this week. I am thankful ...

81. For huddling in a warm house on a cold, rainy day.

82. For Netflix instant on the Wii. I think this could possibly rank up there with the best inventions ever.

83. Cinnamon vanilla coffee cream. It's no white chocolate raspberry, but it's not bad.

84. For sweet friends who offered to hunt down white chocolate raspberry coffee cream for me! :-P

85. For a pleasant week of school last week. Really nice for the first week back after a break to be a good week.

86. For little boys who are growing up way too fast and who tell me when I point it out that "that's just what happens mama. We start off little and then we grow. And that's why I'm going to be six soon." (soon ... in eight months! giggle!)

87. For middle girls who are so excited to finally be tall enough to do dishes. And are willing to do them!

88. For oldest girls who finished their English class last week!

89. For a productive Saturday which led to waking up to a nice clean house Sunday, with all of the laundry done.

90. And last for this week, but certainly not least, my mom's last chemo treatment for round 1 will be done this week.

I will be linking up with A Holy Experience today and will be excitedly reading everybody else's lists! I'd love to read yours too!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Homeschool Village - Accomplishments!

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The topic at The Homeschool Village today is accomplishments. This is somewhat of a tough topic for me. It's easier to focus on the failures and the things I wish I had done differently. I wonder why that is?

We have had some great accomplishments this year!

The oldest generally does her work without any complaint. She knows what is expected of her, and she does it. Her writing skills have improved astronomically this year, and for the first time, she really enjoys reading. I am delighted by this! She is turning into a responsible young lady, and I am so proud of her!

The middle one still throws out her share of complaints. Haha. Her sister did as well at her age, so I think a lot of that is the age. My middle one is one smart cookie though, and most things come pretty easily to her. The one struggle she has had has been with writing. Actually holding a pencil and writing. She's a lefty and her fine motor skills have been slow to develop. She has improved a ton this year, and I am thrilled. I was about to brag on her stellar spelling skills ... and then looked down and saw her practice spelling test from this week. The word is porcupine. Her spelling? porky pine. Giggle!! This child is always good for a giggle!

The little one is working hard to make my life easier for next year. Because he is child #3 and my baby, I have been very relaxed with him. He just made the cutoff to be in kindergarten this year, and we chose to give him another year to play and have fun. He goes to preschool and we are loving it! He is learning to read short words and is developing great social skills. Nearly every day he is amazing us with what he has learned, and how excited he is about learning new things. It does this mama's heart good!

Our school overall has gone well this year also. All of our classes are 34 to 36 week classes, and we finished 16 weeks before the break. I am calling that a TOTAL success. We are loving the curriculum we chose for this year and are all learning a lot and having a good time as well. I can honestly say, after homeschooling for seven years, this has been our best year so far! :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Project 365 for 2011

Pin It I've been doing "Project 365" for a couple of years now.  I started in 2009 and continued in 2010.  By now it's a habit, so I'm planning to continue for 2011.  If you don't know, Project 365 is life in pictures - a picture a day, every day.  In 2009, I called my Project 300-something because I knew I'd miss some days and I like to set my standards high like that.  ;)  I generally put my pictures on facebook, but last year I started putting them on this website as well.  I stopped mid-year, and I don't even know why.  I did continue taking pics and putting them on facebook but stopped putting them there.  It's a great website and very convenient to load and share pics, so I'm going to use it again this year.

If you happen to be on that site, I would love for you to follow me, or to just jump on if you want to see my pic of the day.  Be warned - lots of pics of kids, some pics of cats, and some of food and other random things.  Sometimes it's a challenge to come up with something to photograph!

I made a button that I'm going to stick on my sidebar that will be clickable to my 365 page.

Melanie's Project 365

I'm hoping that putting this here will help to hold me accountable.  If you're on that site, please let me a message and let me know!  I'd love to follow you too!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

11 for 2010

Pin It Our top ten eleven moments of 2010:

Three little boys came home.  You'll note my youngest two children.  Giggle.  One dancing the other holding a gun.  There's at least one in every family, right? 
Daddy came home on leave.
Grammy came to visit.
Daddy came home for good.
Disney World!
The middle one had one of her dreams come true.
The children learned to love each other.

We went to Spokane.
The little one loved preschool.
The oldest one grew up.
And we got a good family picture at the Renaissance Festival.

Monday, January 3, 2011

1000 Gifts - 71 - 80

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Oh friends, what a fabulous Christmas break we had!  It was nice to really take a break and to enjoy family and friends and just some time of relaxation!

71.  I facebooked this, but one of the highlights of the week was watching the TOTAL delight my youngest had in fireworks!  He was running around the yard from front to back, squealing in excitement.  We had neighbors shooting off fireworks all around us and he didn't want to miss a thing.  (We chose to live vicariously through our neighbors this year ... haha ... we bought a few sparklers and that was it!)

72.  All three of the children spent time with new friends over the break.  We have been *SO* blessed in the friend department!

73.  I am thankful for the Keurig coffee maker my mom got me for Christmas!  I haven't been a huge coffee drinker before, but a cup of decaf with a little splenda and some white chocolate raspberry cream in the morning?  Heavenly.

74.  I am thankful for having all of the Christmas stuff put away and the house back in order.  I love getting it all out, but it's equally nice putting it all back away and reclaiming my house.

75.  I am thankful that we will be getting back into our normal routine.  The break has been oh so nice, but for myself and at least two of my children, the schedule is a nice relief in and of itself!

76.  I am absolutely delighted with where we are in school currently.  Today I plan to lightly pencil in the spring semester, then to pencil in January, then to "ink" this week.  (Yes, usually I do that on Sunday, but yesterday I took advantage of our last day off to be a little lazy.  Or maybe a lot lazy.)

77.  I am thankful that we are done with the turkey leftovers.  haha!  Glad we had them, glad we could stretch them without feeling like "TURKEY AGAIN!?!" but equally glad that the last bit has been tossed in the freezer to be added to a soup or gumbo in a month.  (hehe ... now it's time for ham leftovers.  Next week!  Next week we'll be back to normal meals!)

78.  I'm trying to put a positive spin on all the laundry that needs to be done today.  I suppose I should say I am thankful for drawers full of clothing, which translate to baskets full of laundry after I take a few days off.  Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to report that I am thankful that the laundry is done!

79.  I am thankful for cozy fireplaces, hot chocolate with marshmallows, good movies, and cold weather.  There is not much better than family movie night!

80.  Although 2010 will not go down in my history book as the best year ever, I am thankful for the blessings we did experience.  I am also thankful for a new beginning in 2011.  As I said in my last post, His mercies are new *every* morning, but there is just something great about starting a new year and having a fresh calendar and a fresh start. 

I am linking up with Multitudes on Monday at today!