Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stuff to Scrap September Blog Train!

The theme for this month's "Stuff to Scrap" Blog Train is "A Little Me Time."  When I want "Me Time," I'm thinking music, a good cup of coffee or hot chocolate, and some scrapbooking!

Click image to download from 4shared.  PU/S4H/S4O.

You should have come from Timeless Memories by Hailstorm Creations, and your next stop is The Digi Scrapping Mama.

And here is the rest of the Train:

Stuff To Scrap and Beautiful Earth Scrapping
AmyDane Designs
Scrappin Serenity
Adriana's Cafe
Inkin & Thinkin
Sweet Maple
A Fish Design
Queen Bee Scraps
Growing Pains Scrapped
Leaving a Legacy
Saphira's Scraps
Pizazz Pixels
Amy's Designs
Memories by Digital Design
Let Me Scrapbook!
The Scrappy Kat
Timeless Memories by Hailstorm Creations
Note-able Scraps
The Digi Scrapping Mama
Jensen Motley Crew Designs
Princess Scraps
Scraps N Pieces
Queen Wild Scraps

Happy Scrapping!  :)

"Cute As A Button" by Sprouting Seeds Studio

Hurricane Irene kept me away from the Internet for a few days, but since we are all safe and my house has minimal damage, I will not complain!  More on the hurricane later, but while I was out-of-touch, Sprouting Seeds Studio released "Cute As A Button"!

You can pick up the kit at Scrap Delicious.

Click on the preview below to download your free Quickpage from 4shared.  PU only.  Also, hop over to Sprouting Seeds Studio to pick up a Blog Freebie that coordinates with the kit!

Today is the last day of August.  Check back shortly for the Stuff to Scrap September Blog Train!  Happy Scrapping!  :)

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this kit for the purpose of making a LO and review.  No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Street Carnival" by Sprouting Seeds Studio (and a Freebie!)

I have more homeschooling stuff to blog, but I haven't put up any scrapbooking LOs or Freebies in a while, so here we go.  Sprouting Seeds just released "Street Carnival," which is a bright & fun kit for your fairs, carnivals, parades, and other summertime fun.  Or other-times-of-the-year fun!

You can pick up the kit from ScrapDelicious.

There are TWO freebies to grab!  One on Sprouting Seeds Studio's blog:

And one here!  Click to download from 4shared.  PU only.

Happy Scrapbooking!  :)

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this kit for the purpose of making a LO and review.  No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.

Friday, August 19, 2011

TOS Homeschool Crew Blog Hop

Crew Blog Hop

Blogs have been a-buzz about school starting - public, private, or homeschool - all week long!  Would you like to get to know some fellow homeschoolers?  Click the TOS Crew Blog Hop button to join in the fun!

The Guidelines for participating in the TOS Crew blog hop are as follows:
1. Please grab the blog hop button to spread the word.  (See host blogs.)
2. Please follow our wonderful hosts – Glimpse of Our LifeOur Homeschool Studio, and Our Village is a Little Different via Google Friend Connect.
3. Please do not link up your giveaways, blog hops, etc. (These will be deleted.)
Link up your blog, visit and follow the blogs that interest you and have fun getting to know the 2011-2012 TOS Crew as well as the other participating homeschoolers. If you follow our blogs and leave a comment, we will always follow you back!
Now, let’s get blog hoppin’ and have some fun!
You only need to add your link to one linky for it to show up on all participating blogs. Just click on the blog hop button to be taken to the linky.

Happy Homeschooling!  :)

First Post Ever Bloghop

So what is the first thing you EVER blogged about?

Here's mine, from July 21, 2008!

Check out the Bloghop here!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

MREs - They're What's For Dinner

Being married to a Sailor/Marine (Navy Chaplains serve both Navy and Marine Corps), it seems my cabinet space is frequently taken up by MREs.  Yes, everything in the military is named by acronyms.  That's "Meal Ready-to-Eat," and my husband is sustained by them during certain exercises.  These handy meals are packaged in a sealed, heavy plastic pouch that is water proof and will not attract wild animals.  They do not have to be refrigerated, and they come with a handy little chemical heater so that our Soldiers and Marines can have a hot, nutritious meal right in the middle of a jungle or desert.  There's a fair amount of variety, too.  Mmmm, hot beef teriyaki, cheese tortellini, or pasta alfredo, just like Mom used to make.  Or not.  But, hey, you can survive on them.  And each one comes with a tiny bottle of tabasco sauce to drown out any other flavors.  They tell me you can eat anything with enough tabasco sauce on it.

My husband, as I've said, has lived off these little gourmet dinners for periods of time, and I've had one or two at Jane Wayne Days or family days.  So I thought, I need to clean out these cabinets, and if the kids are going to live on Marine bases and have their dad gone on Marine deployments, they should sample Marine cuisine, don't you think?

Here's Daddy, showing them what's in the packs and how to activate the heater pouches just by adding water.  It doesn't even have to be clean water, since it never actually touches the food, so you can just grab it from a mud puddle if you have to.  Daddy doesn't often get to eat one of these at a dining room table with a tablecloth and chairs!

The heater bag smells pretty bad when it starts working, so it's a good idea to take it outside.

The heat and mosquitoes here in NC may not be as bad as in the deserts where our Marines are enjoying this fare, but they are bad enough to chase this family back inside to eat dinner.

As far as the younger three are concerned, well let's just say they won't be asking for MREs for their birthday dinners.  They were pretty good sports about tasting all the different meals, though, and they had fun with it.  It's a good thing Mommy had some chicken nuggets in the oven, having foreseen the small MRE appetites.

The oldest was the only one to finish his meal and eat some of someone else's.  (The closer he gets to the teenage years, the harder it is to find anything that he WON'T eat!)  He's planning on raiding Dad's stash for his upcoming Boy Scout camping trips & hikes.

Happy Trails!  :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Homeschool Freebie & A Giveaway

I just discovered the "Teachers Pay Teachers" Store.  I haven't bought anything yet, but it looks like a great place to find ideas, worksheets, & projects developed by teachers who are really engaged in their subject.  I'm checking out what they have.  In the meantime, there's a contest for freebies and a whole store giveaway going on!  Click the link below!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Supercharged Science Trial for $1!!!!

I just had to post again today.  If you are looking for something fun and different to get your kids interested in Science this year (and I know I've already talked to some of you who are!), you need to check this out.

Aurora Lipper has a fantastic science program that will really get your kids excited about Science.  Many of her experiments can be done with household products and with little parental help.  Right now, you can sign up for a 1-month trial for ONE DOLLAR.  Limited time offer.

You cannot beat that, and I promise you it's worth it.  It also includes the entire summer E-camp series that she did this summer.  (We had that and I love it!)

Our School Room

It's the "Not Back-to-School Blog Hop: Week Two," and the subject is School Spaces!  I missed Week One, Curriculum, so I'll come back and catch that subject later.  I've mentioned a number of times in this blog that we are military, which means frequent moves, and over the years my "schoolroom" has consisted of anything from a pile of books on the dining room table to a full room with bulletin boards and maps on the walls.  What I have now is somewhere in between.  We do have a separate "schoolroom," which is becoming more and more of a necessity for me now that I have 4 students in my school, and they are all getting older and bigger.  The books, curriculum, and craft supplies could take over our entire house.  The room we are using now is our Carolina Room - which is basically a sun-porch for those of you who do not live in the Carolinas.

Forgive the little Christmas tree - these pictures were taken just after Christmas, and it was the only thing that had not yet been removed.  That blob of white fur in the top picture is our school mascot, our Eskie, waiting for someone to let him outside!

Although you can't see the second one, I have two small tables in the room.  The other one is just a card table.  I love having the storage space that I do, an easy-to-clean floor with no carpet, an older card table on which I don't mind getting paint and glitter, and the amount of light we get from all the windows and sliding glass doors in this room.  One of the doors leads out to our deck and picnic table, should we wish to study out there or just open the screen on a nice day.  The cons are that it is a small space, and because of all the windows and shelves, I don't have a lot of space to hang maps and bulletin boards on the walls.  You might be able to see the folded easel with the white board tucked behind the bookshelf in that second picture.  That comes out just about every day so that I can use the white board, the chalk board on the other side, or so that I can prop maps and other posters on the easel.  Moving around with the military, I've had to learn to make good use of small spaces!

Since the room is small, the kids often get tired of doing all of their work crammed in there together.  We spread out quite a bit during the day, with kids working at the dining room table, Dad's desk, or the kitchen counter.  We have two comfy recliners in our living room, which are rather a treat for the kids.  They are not allowed to take a lot of toys in there, because it is the one room I try to keep clean in case visitors just stop by.  They are, however, allowed to sit in the recliners (with a toy or two) to read or listen to music during the school day or on their free time.  Our plethora of musical instruments are also in that room, so they can practice in there without bothering those who are doing schoolwork in the schoolroom.  Of course, we also take a lot of field trips and do a lot outdoors.  When the weather is nice, we do all of our "out-loud" reading gathered around the swing in the backyard.  

When I was in college, one of my favorite classes was one in which the professor would often take class outside on nice days.  There was a large, old fountain that no longer had any water in it, and he would climb in and lecture from there while we sat around the edges, taking notes.  One of my favorite high school classes was a chemistry class in which the teacher also frequently took us outside to do experiments.  He really, really, really liked to blow things up!  I'm sure that many teachers would like more freedom to do school-on-the-go with their students, but it is difficult when you have a classroom full of kids, and limited space and resources.  It is a privilege we have as homeschoolers that I don't want to take for granted!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Who Should Homeschool?

Yes, it's time to go Back to School.  Private school, public school, homeschool - some of you have gone year-round, but the vast majority of us in the U.S. just started back or are getting ready to begin the new school year.  I had all kinds of "fun school" stuff we were going to do over the summer just to keep our minds sharp, but they went right out the window with all the home-organizing and to-do-list-catching-up I was going to get done in the summer months!

So, you've probably made your choice as far as how to educate your young 'uns this year, but it is the time of year I probably get the most questions about homeschooling.  Some home-schoolers preach that home-schooling is the only way to go, while some public-schoolers cannot imagine why we would do such a thing to our children.  I had one neighbor whose children were in an exclusive private school, and she believed any other education was inferior and unacceptable.  I hope not, since I could not possibly afford to send four children to her school.

Let me just start by saying I kind of toe the line here.  If you are happy with your decision to public school or private school, I have no desire to try to change your mind.  YOU know what is best for YOUR family. If God wanted every family to educate in exactly the same way, He would have spelled it out in the Bible.  (He did emphasize that Parental Involvement is indispensable in any kind of education.  Deut 11:18-19)  At the same time, I can preach the benefits of homeschooling till the cows come home.  I'm a pretty opinionated person who believes that everyone has the right to be just as opinionated as I am!

The people whose thinking I would like to influence are those whose children are not thriving in another environment and who are looking for a change, and most especially those who would like to homeschool but don't think they can.

Here's the whole blogpost in one little sentence:  YOU CAN HOMESCHOOL!

Anyone can homeschool.  Do not confuse this with the statement, "Homeschooling is easy."  It is not easy.  It is hard.  It is time-consuming.  It is possible, and it is absolutely worth it.

Many people start out at one end or the other of the spectrum, but they soon realize they must come to the middle.  At one end of the spectrum are the people who think homeschooling does not take much effort.  I have seen more than one person start out thinking they can purchase a computerized curriculum that will do all the teaching for them, or that they can get all the work done with their children in an hour or two and have the rest of the day free.  (This may be true in kindergarten!)  Sometimes I have told someone who is worried about homeschooling that they should not be so worried, and they say, "So you're saying it's easy, then?"  Nope.  If you are not willing to put in the time and effort, don't try to homeschool and shortchange your children.

On the other end of the spectrum are those dedicated parents who would probably make the best homeschoolers because they are so conscientious, but they are worried that they cannot handle this lifestyle.  That they are not smart enough, not organized enough, not certified.  To those parents, I would like to offer encouragement.  Studies show that the average homeschooler scores over 30% higher than the average student nationwide on standardized tests, notwithstanding the socio-economic class, the certification or non-certification, nor the education level completed by the parents.  (Information obtained from HSLDA.)  There are curriculum choices available these days for every kind of learner, whether you want the freedom to piece together your own syllabus, a completely pre-prepared lesson plan, or something in-between.  If you cannot teach every subject, there are online classes, co-op classes, and DVD-taught classes.  The most important things are to find the support you need in both curriculum and in the people around you, and then to spend the time and energy necessary with your child.

I'm running a little behind, but in the coming days I'll be posting more about my schoolroom, curriculum choices, etc.  Also check the TOS Homeschool Crew Blogroll over there in the margin for more blogs with more ideas and support.  I've been blogging more about my scrapbooking lately (obviously another passion of mine), but I plan to blog more about homeschooling this year, and as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I'll be reviewing some great products and curricula.  (Don't worry, though, the scrapbooking layouts and freebies aren't going anywhere!)

So if you are considering homeschooling, or if you just committed to homeschool for this year and are wondering what you've gotten yourself into, take heart!  Be prepared to work and sweat a little, to use some mental elbow grease, and for your children to succeed with flying colors!

In Tha Muthahood

This just says it all! :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Back to School

Hi, everyone!  Are you ready to go back to school?  We actually don't start for another 2 weeks.  My older kids are saying they don't want school to start again, but I can see that they are quite restless and need to get back into a normal schedule.  The only one who wants to start school again is the youngest, who will be in FIRST GRADE and cannot wait, just so he can be called a First-Grader!

In celebration of these great Back-to-School days, Sprouting Seeds Studio has a new kit out called - you guessed it - Back To School!  After you download the lovely freebies, you can get the kit at ScrapDelicious.

Download the Blog Freebie at Sprouting Seeds Studio's website:

Click image below to download your QP from me from 4shared.  PU only.

Enjoy those first days of school!  :)

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this kit for the purpose of making a LO and review.  No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mom's On the Computer

Wow!  This new version of "Cat's in the Cradle" hits a little too close to home.  Had to share the link!  :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

"Bright Summer" from Scrapwow, August Sponsor for RAK Scraps

Bright Summer by Winks Art Graphics is the refreshing August kit from Scrapwow. The bright tropical colors in the kit are perfect for scrapping summer trips to the park, the zoo, or the beach. I always look forward to getting the new free kit each month as a member of ScrapWow!

Also used alpha from Who's At the Zoo by JustSoScrappy.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this kit in exchange for the LOs and review.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.

"Basics" by Christine Smith, August Sponsor for RAK Scraps

Digital Scrapbook Basics by Christine Smith is a fabulous starter kit or a terrific addition to any digital scrapbooking collection. With 9 monochromatic kits in basic colors that can be purchased together or separately, you will never be without a paper or element in the shade you need. Each kit works great by itself for a monochromatic layout, or with the other kits for a more colorful look. These kits are a welcome staple to my scrapbooking library.

Also used "Sea Life Alpha" by Scraps by Andrea from Stuff to Scrap.

Also used Font "LD Infusion" by Lettering Delights.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this kit in exchange for the LOs and review.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.