Archive | March 2011

Three on Thursday

  1. It is increasingly difficult to dress a nine year old girl in appropriate clothes that are cute and stylish but don’t break the bank.  While checking Kohl’s yesterday for spring pieces, I came across stuff like this. (  I think you need to be about 18 before you are wearing rolled yoga pants that are that short.  But maybe that’s just me.  The fact that they come in a size 7 is just too much for me.
  2. I am in full purge swing this week.  My church is having a free clothing swap this weekend and I’m determined to get as much of our outgrown clothing there as possible.  I guess clothes are on the brain this week.
  3. Two baby showers to plan, three birthday parties (all for my kids), preschool class pictures to take and the end of Classical Conversations are all coming up in the next 4 weeks.  I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.   But my little girl is standing behind me as I type and talking to our pet bunny.  She sounds so sweet and that is making it all okay right at this moment.

Picture of the post – Two weeks ago, I took my girl out to lunch for a date.  That’s when I took this picture.  It is not original but it amuses me to capture current technology in the image.


Classical Conversations at Home – Math

Over the weekend, I came up with what I think will be a great tool for helping younger kids retain their Classical Conversations math facts. As a tutor, I also plan to use it in my class for review.


First I used my Cricut die cut machine to cut out some ice cream cone shapes. (If you do not own a Cricut, either use something you have or buy something cheap at the dollar store, the craft store or the teacher supply store.) I used some inexpensive bulk pink and brown cardstock to cut out the ice cream and the base cone. I decided to put it all on foam core (purchased at the dollar store) but I thought it looked drab on white so first I painted it with cheap tempura paint. I printed up a document with the first half of the math facts that we review from weeks 11-24 and used them to label above each ice cream cone. Then I covered the entire poster with contact paper. Next I printed up another document with the matching portion of the math facts from the Classical Conversations Foundations guide. Those I tacked onto the pink ice cream scoops and laminated. Finally, I used hook/loop coins to attach the pink ice cream scoops to the base cones.  On the lower right corner, I plan to attach some envelopes for storing the pink scoops while presenting the board as a matching assignment for the kids.

I might not go to this level of effort for every home school memory project but I think this one is worth it.  Given my role as CC tutor to a group of first graders and the fact that I have 6 more years of Foundations ahead of me for our family and considering this math information will be used in each cycle during those 6 years, I think this level of effort is worth it.  Additionally, my kids seem to learn well with visual, hands-on manipulatives.  Besides all that… it was simple, fun and cheap to make!

I hope you find it a blessing or an inspiration for your own home school.

A little sick.

Remember the barn I showed you last week? The one that is historic and I took the picture of the “coming soon” sign with it? (

They began tearing it down today. They weren’t supposed to do that. It was legally supposed to be moved and incorporated into the design of the new development. The barn is an historic structure but at this point, it appears to be destroyed. It was a legal requirement that the barn, silo and house be restored and incorporated. I simply do not see how it can be recovered. Demolition of the barn would have required approval from the council and I don’t think they had it, despite the appearance that they were in the process of tearing the structure down prior to the town ordering a halt to the project earlier today.

This is not going to sit well with the residents of my small town.

You can find the statement of our mayor here. (

I’m thankful I took my picture of the barn when I did. Who knew it would look like this less than two weeks later.

The above images are not mine. They were taken by my friend and neighbor.

Make your Classical Music fun

If you are interested in introducing classical music to your children in a fun way, I recommend this cd.  Beethoven’s Wig takes the classic symphonies and adds fun and catchy lyrics for your kids to sing along and (shhh) perhaps learn a wee bit about the composer in a few of them!  We love this cd at my house.  Give it a listen and see what you think!  (PS – the mp3 download is cheaper at Amazon than it is on iTunes.)

Three on Thursday

  1. This idea has totally caught my attention and imagination this week.  It’s called the Saved Quarter challenge.  You can read more about it here.  (  I’m not committing to it yet but it has me thinking.  Thinking about selling stuff off and decluttering all in one.  And putting that toward something.  My thoughts aren’t complete yet but the idea has my imagination again.
  2. One of my favorite bloggers is the Frugal Girl.  (  I just like lots of things about her.  Pictures, home school, saving money…  She’s a smart cookie!  And on a side note, my husband and I once joked about me and one of my pals that we were the frugal friend network.  I might have to start a category for that.  More thoughts to have rolling around in my head.
  3. I ordered two new lunch accessories that arrived this week.  One is the Easy Lunchbox system and the other is these awesome fabric snack/sandwich sacks by Reuse Zone on etsy.  ( and  I’m looking forward to reviewing both for you soon.  So far, two thumbs up on both.

PS – they are calling for snow this weekend and one day next week around here.  I. am. not. amused.


    It’s been almost a week since I spent any time with you.  I went to a scrapbook retreat last weekend with some of my besties so that’s what has had me all distracted.  You know how it is, you get a little crazy in the lead up to time away from home and then you come home to all manner of things that need your attention that had to wait until you got there.  So, that puts me here with you on this fine Wednesday.

    I want to talk to you today about Project Life.  It’s like a hybrid that is just right for those of us who like to “scrapbook” but also are just too dang busy to make every page some elaborate masterpiece.

    It really isn’t rocket science, but it is a huge step forward and a total relief to me.  The meat of the system is a series of pages that you drop your 4×6 horizontal photos into along with 2×3 slots for journaling cards.  Sounds pretty mundane, actually.  But there is beauty in the mundane!  (That, too, is a theme for Project Life but you’ll have to discover that part on your own.)

    I began scrapbooking somewhere around 1997.  I have scads of traditional scrapbook albums with many beautiful layouts in them.  I was super pleased that when I became a mother, I was able to remain pretty up-to-date in my chronological scrapbooking method.  I was routinely scrapbooking and my current page was pictures taken within the last three months.  Until… 2004 when we moved.  With the move, all the supplies went into boxes and they just were not the priority when it came to settling my little family of four into our new home.  Eventually they did get unpacked but I also got pregnant and had a third child.  With the move, the pregnancy, some knock-me-down illness and a new baby I just couldn’t keep it up.

    As of this writing, my “traditional” scrapbooks are up to December 2005.  My youngest child is about six months old in those albums.  He needs to be able to see the pictures of his role in our family too, don’t you think?  This was reinforced to me recently when a friend who has 7 children told me about her youngest child.  She too is up to 2005 in her chronological family albums.  Problem is, her youngest child hadn’t been born yet.  That sweet little girl recently asked her why there are no pictures of her!

    Enter Project Life.  I heard about this method in December and I ordered it up for our family.  The premise is that you would take a picture every day and journal the highlight of the day.  The problem for me is that I simply don’t want to commit to a 365 picture-a-day project.  I have enough commitments, thankyouverymuch.  For me, I use the album to highlight the 7 most important images of my family that week.  At some point, I’ll show you my actual album week-by-week.  But not today.  It’s the end of March at this writing and the album for 2011 is virtually up-to-date.  Each week consists of some pictures of what we did that week along with the journaling about what happened.

    There are 8 slots for each two-page spread for both pictures and journaling cards.  One of the 4×6 slots is used to note the week’s date.  The other seven 4×6 slots are for your pictures.  The kit comes with the 4×6 date cards for you that coordinate with the journaling cards and some decorative 2×3 cards. (7 cards to journal the 7 days of the week and one extra just to look pretty.)

    I love that I can use the kit and add to or subtract from it to make it fit perfectly for our family.  Recently, we had two rather dull weeks.  I don’t think I took 7 pictures total in either week!  For that situation, I simply had the two page spread represent two weeks.  It is totally adaptable.  For someone like me who can sometimes fail to start something simply because I don’t know that it’s going to work out perfectly, that makes Project Life very attractive.

    Another key reason – and probably one of my absolute favorite reasons – I love Project Life is that when one of my children says or does something that I want to remember, I run right over to my little desk in the kitchen and jot it down directly on one of the journaling cards.  I date it and slip it into one of the slots for the week we are currently in.  No longer do I have a journal where I record the funny things they say and do and hope that I can find it when it comes time to “scrapbook” that time in their lives.  It is right there where is should be – in the album.

    If you are still reading this, I commend you.  As you can see, I can go on and on about Project Life.  I will likely do just that in the weeks ahead.  But if you are thinking you might want to try it – don’t think for a second that you have to wait until January to begin.  You can start at any month.  Just do it.  I highly recommend it.

    All of this chatter about documenting our lives via scrapbooks is the prompt for my picture of the post. Last week we had a lovely sunny day. I decided it was time to document some of the changes that are happening in our town. Someday, it won’t look anything like it does right now. I always love seeing those old pictures of what a town looked like before progress came and made it what it looks like today. So, I thought I’d do my part for my little piece of history.

    Three on Thursday

    This week, I’m going to share three things my kids will hear me say often…

    1. A few weeks ago Rick Sammon tweeted the following sentiment, “If you have the choice to be right or be kind… be kind.”  I think it’s going to be my family motto for 2011.  Sometimes our kids are so busy being right, they forget that we are a family and we should be kind.  (Sometimes Mommy forgets too.)  “Kindness Matters” is something they also hear me say frequently.
    2. Our home school family verse this year is 1 Cor. 15:33  “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.'”  This is really just as much for me as it is for them.  Too many reasons to share because it’s a verse with multiple level applications for me this year.
    3. Becky Higgins recently wrote, “The purpose of the task is to strengthen the relationship.”  That really resonates with me in this season of life.  Maybe it will for you too.

    Picture of the day- an image of my boys from January.

    Wordless Wednesday

    I don’t know why we call them Wordless Wednesdays.  I’m sure I’ll always have something to say.

    I’ll be so happy to see spring and summer arrive!  In addition to all the other normal glorious reasons, I’ll be able to drop my ISO again.  I’m pretty tired of 1600 ISO.  Just sayin’.

    This past weekend we went to my niece’s bridal shower.  This is all the girls in her immediate family – up and down the family tree.  (not including aunts, cousins, etc.)


    Over this past year, I’ve become very interested in food.  How much sugar we are eating, how much the food is processed and how much money it all costs.  This has also translated into a lot of my attention going to the lunches my children eat – especially those I’m packing for them to eat when I’m not with them.

    According to, it is estimated that the average school aged child generates 67lbs of lunch waste per year.  Not only is that a big impact for our environment, it’s a big impact to your wallet.  I currently only have one child in school daily eating during the lunch hour, but it’s still a large impact.  The child himself doesn’t even weigh in at 67lbs!  Yikes.

    In my search for waste free lunches, I’ve come across a few eco-friendly lunch boxes and lunch methods that I’ll be sharing.  At first some seem to come at a hefty price tag, but I’ve significantly cut down on the cost of my disposable plastic baggie consumption so I think we are coming out ahead in the end.

    Over the coming weeks, I intend to share with you two of the bento lunch box options we use at my house but for today, I wanted to start out sharing something else with you.  Today I discovered  This is a source that I had not previously discovered in my web surfing searches for better lunches.  I am particularly pleased with her video series that you can see here.

    If you have an elementary aged child who is in a scouting program, have them watch this series with you.  In addition to be valuable information to put in their head, it will help them earn a badge.

    My favorite tip from her that I hadn’t previously thought about – ask your child to bring home what they don’t eat.  If you discover that your child routinely only eats half their sandwich, you can start only sending half a sandwich.  I had previously asked my children to empty their containers in the garbage at school for the sake of my own convenience.  Now that I’m seeing what’s coming back home, I’m seeing what they will eat and where I’ve been wasting money.  It has also brought to my attention some social issues that have come up over the lunch table.

    Finally, my picture of the day.  In January, I went to a wonderful homeschooling/homemaking retreat for moms.  It was hosted by Vicki at  I noticed that she used cloth napkins in her home for all 20+ guests she had there that weekend.  I also noticed these cute little ribbons with binder clips hanging off the back of her kitchen chairs.  She mentioned that her children routinely wipe their face once on a napkin and toss it.  As a result, she realized that the napkin could be used for more than one meal so she came up with this solution.  I came home and promptly whipped up a batch of fun cloth napkins from inexpensive fun prints and flannel material I already had on hand.  It was a fun project for my 9 year old daughter and I to do together as she is learning to sew.  The beauty is that she could learn to sew and mistakes didn’t matter.  I was also able to experiment with the various stitches my machine offers in a practical manner as I quilted some of the napkins.  It’s been over a month since we instituted this at my house and it’s working beautifully.