Showing posts with label Ten things. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ten things. Show all posts

Friday, August 10, 2012

King Alfred's English: A review, a revelation and a promotion

When my son was enrolled in the Defensive Language Institute in Monterey, California, the Gman and I picked up these great t-shirts. On the front is the school logo and this witty saying is on the back.  And yes, I just fetched this from the hamper, grin.

I understood what it meant, but never really appreciated the logo until now. Lori White has given me a fresh appreciation for the history of our language.

As a member of the Old Schoolhouse Crew, I am given the opportunity to review many home school products. I am not paid or compensated for my reviews, I did receive this product for free in exchange for this honest review.

King Alfred's English: A History of the Language We Speak and Why We Should Be Glad We Do

Today's book review is King Alfred's English by Laurie White of I received an eBook which I downloaded on my Kindle app for my iPad. The book is available in hard copy here for $14.89. Since prices change, you may want to check at, Rainbow Resource, and Grace and Truth Books.

Laurie White spent 5 years working on this book, here she describes why she began this project:
I'm a homeschooling mom (kids are grown) and English major, who initially just intended to write a long article on the history of English. I knew I needed some kind of empty-nest-filler when the last of our 3 children graduated from our homeschool, and I had always wanted to put together something more substantial on the history of English than just the notes from my college class I'd used with my own kids. I thought it was a shame that this material was usually reserved for English majors when younger students might be fascinated with it too. I knew mine were!
My thoughts:

This books is a delightful, rich read. It offers a brief history of the world and how our language has evolved. She cover the many invasions and the results of each on the English language. While filled with history, her conversational tone and ability to weave in such a variety of facts makes this a terrific supplement to middle and high school English lessons. Paperboy, who loves history will be in for a treat this year. He loves to dazzle others with his various history trivia. This will offer him endless anecdotes. (WE INTERRUPT THIS POST FOR A CONFESSION>>>I am the one who read this book. Contrary to my children's opinion of me, I am a nice mother, who gives her children a summer break from home schooling.) I appreciate how Laurie clearly explained the history of the church and how we ended up with our Bible. Her style of writing is easy to read and is written in short sections. This will make it easy to break down into a weekly schedule using the free student pages.

My Revelations or Ten Things I learned:
  1. The original meaning of the word berserk.
  2. The Grimm brothers didn't just write some cool children's stories, they were philologists.
  3. Philologists are linguists who study written texts.
  4. Why the SAT's are more difficult to study in English.
  5. Who Dolly Pentreath is?
  6. Grammars rules and how I shouldn't be so hard on myself for breaking so many on my blog and in my daily life.
  7. What courriel is and that I have been doing it daily for years.
  8. The English toilets were named after the man Crapper, not the contents of the bowl
  9. A great site for word studies
  10. I have been butchering John Wycliff's name for years, it is pronounced WI-Cliff.

Knowing I sound sexist, but not really caring I need to say this.

This is a terrific book for boys. My boys. O.k. I am sure girls will love it too, but I need to say "Thanks Laurie, you have an understanding for boys and how to teach them, while captivating them."

It's obvious that Laurie has a vision to educate children on the history of English and the Bible. She generously offers teacher and student pages on her website to enhance the book. She reccomends movies, websites and resources that complement her book. She even offers chapter tests if we choose to use this a a curriculum for our students, which I highly suggest doing.

SSSSSSSSSS, I have a secret...
If This King Alfred's English sounds like a book you would enjoy, let me know. Send me an email and I will share a secret promotion with my most faithful readers. If you contact me within the next two weeks, I will email you a code which allows you to purchase your own copy at a discount rate.

If you are not yet convinced, see what other crew members thought about Laurie's book by clicking the banner below. It will take you to other reviews on this wonderful history book.

In case you skimmed over my disclaimer...
As a member of the Old Schoolhouse Crew, I am given the opportunity to review many home school products. I am not paid or compensated for my reviews, I did receive this product for free in exchange for this honest review. 
Thanks for stopping by,


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ten Things: Where have all the blog posts gone?

Czech Girl came for lunch today. Of course, we laughed like crazy. When the subject of blogging came up, I couldn't ignore the urge. I started talking about it. Urging her to try it. Then it hit me, I remembered how much I love to blog. I analyzed, why had I lost the desire? It used to be my typing could barely keep up with my thoughts. My thoughts now are lost before I find my laptop. Now I only have posts swimming in my head. Nothing makes it to my keyboard. I though I''d blog 10 things that hinder me from blogging.

  1. The pirates have kidnapped me and there is no wifi on the deserted island.
  2. Pops came in for a whirlwind visit. We only had 5 days together. I didn't want to take the time to blog. 
  3. Family was visiting. It was great seeing all of the cousins playing together. Now we have 7 teenagers in our clan.
  4. Teenagers who don't drive alone. Paperboy has his learners permit, but we still have to chauffeur him and his brothers.
  5. I had a funky allergy thing we call Cape Cod Crud. It's like a sinus infection, but not that bad. I forgot to add sinus infections to my list of things that will be in Hell. Home improvement projects, bladder infections, dentist drills and sinus infections will be prevalent in the everlasting place of torment. That's my pet false doctrine. Hell will be still be H-E-double hockey sticks.
  6. Work. I am still a working mom. 'Nuff said.
  7. My iPad. I am still figuring out which apps I love. So my time in front of my computer has greatly decreased. I should just blog on my iPad.
  8. I'm reading more than usual. I decided to stop reading so many work related articles and get back to reading for pleasure. John Grisham and teen fiction are my latest brain snacks. Random and I are plowing through Sonlight's summer reading program. O.K. I take that back. He is strolling through it. I'm plowing.
  9. My house is cleaner than normal, but still needs attention. Frequent blogs=Messy house
  10. I'm playing games with Little Guy, who isn't really little anymore. He just turned eight, but looks like he's ten. He loves Uno, Skip-bo, Bananagrams and Jenga. 
Do you take time away from your blog? Will you still follow a blogger who neglects her blog? I hope you will. 

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thrifty Thursday: Why I never lose my phone.

I used to drive the Gman crazy. I would leave my phone at home or forget to turn it on at all. My theory was that if I needed to make a call, I'd turn it on.

Since the iPhone arrived in my life, the story is different. Do I really need my phone in the rest room? Yep. I can sneak a quick Words with Friends in, of course after washing my hands. While eating lunch, I reply to a few emails. It's my only camera that doesn't run out of batteries at each Kodak moment. Always having my Bible with search capabilities, gives me Christian super powers.

Just how was I surviving before this phone?

The cool thing about my iPhone is the free apps. Here's ten that I love, there are others:


  1. The Touch Bible. What I like best is the scroll wheel that can change the versions. I'm loving the New English Translation with numerous notes that enrich my study. I now have it for my iPad also, I call it my large print Bible. 
  2. Fooducate. Enter in the name of a product and you have information at your finger tips. Is this high in sugar, fat or preservatives? For lazy folks like me, scan the label and read the results. I just discovered that Trader Joe's Frosted Mini Wheats has a grade of B for better than average. The high sugar is what prevents it from receiving an A. I really could do a whole post on this cool app. 
  3. Stitcher Radio. Each night the Gman and I listen to a little Dave Ramsey. I get an hour a day for free. In the spirit of saving money, I can't possible purchase a paid subscription to a show about money. That would defeat the purpose. Stitcher has endless radio stations for any music or talk radio lover.. 
  4. Words with Friends. I love phone scrabble. This word game is at my finger tips any time I have a spare minute. Doctors offices, boring work meetings, being on hold with tech support or riding to church. I justify this by telling myself I am firing up my neurons and preventing early Alzheimers. The Gman thinks I am ignoring him. I'm keeping the brain sharp. He'll thank me when we are older.
  5. My online banking. I have no excuses for not knowing at any second what my balance is. Seeiing if a check has cleared does not need a phone call. Love it.
  6. Shop Savvy. This is a code scanner. I can scan any product barcode or qr code to find out what a product costs and where to purchase it at the cheapest price. It also directs me to websites as a qr code reader.
  7. Free Flashlight. This tool has made me look great on many occasions. I choose the pink one, because I'm a girly girl, sometimes.
  8. Trulia. In my opinion, the best real estate app. When walking neighborhoods, I love to see the details of homes for sale. This is much easier to use than Zillow or smarter agent.
  9. Scramble. For Boggle lovers, this is the app. I have decided that this app works better on a phone instead of the iPad. This game of 3 two-minute rounds of Boggle, is my favorite this week.
  10. Find iPhone. I've never needed it since having this great phone. But if I revert back to my old ways, the Gman will be glad I have it.
Don't hold back, tell me what your favorite iPhone app is. Even if it's not free.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Achievement Testing for Homeschooling? Ten things

I've decided to join the blog cruise! This week's topic is near and dear to my heart because I'm under pressure this week. I have until tomorrow to sign up for our annual standardized testing. We do this every year, as it is my choice of evaluation to turn into our local school district. It usually works well for my family, only this year it falls on a very busy week. Our annual Bible conference, where we will be out each night, friends will be in town and we will host a family in our home.  Part of me wants to skip it and use Seton Home testing services. But I won't. I'll stay with the plan and hope for the best. I have many reasons for staying the course.

  1. Each year during the spring school break, our homeschool group offers testing through Bob Jones University. They administer the Stanford Achievement Tests to the students in a classroom setting. My friend, the blogless Lori, organizes the whole event. The tests are timed and the atmosphere is controlled.
  2. After about 6 weeks, we are mailed the results. Their scores are compared to public and private schooled children all over the United States.
  3. I use it as a tool to compare progress from year to year. This will be our sixth year testing. Because we always use the same company and testing format, the results are more consistent. Once in a while there will be dramatic increases or decreases in the results, but for the most part they are consistent.
  4. I have mixed emotions about the testing. I believe life's stresses are a more important character test. How do they fare in adversity, when things don't go their way or when they are pressed to work hard? Those tests have much more priority to me.
  5. I consider it part of my report card. If they do well in some areas, I pat myself on the back and say well done. If they score poorly in an area, after a 30 second mental breakdown, I re-evaluate my plans and curriculum to see what needs changing. Do they need extra help in an area? Are their gaps in their math education? With classical education and using Math-U-See, I used to worry if they knew enough American history and math. There was no need to.
  6. This is an easy way to avoid creating an educational portfolio for our local school administrator. I used to agonize over work samples and stress out wondering if I was providing too little or too much.
  7. I don't ask them do practice tests in the weeks prior. I used to because I did not want them to mis-align the bubbles on the answer sheet. If it happens in 9th or 10th grade, that's on them. They will practice SAT and Code tests, as the stakes are higher on those.
  8. I enjoy the results as they are very specific about which skill was mastered or not. I can actually teach to the past test results. This is one of the reasons I still use Daily Grams for Paperboy, some skills need to be used daily. If not, they fall into the abyss of the brain that stores the 8 parts of speech.
  9. I feel this prepares them for the many upcoming tests they will have. In the near future there will be the driver's test, the ASVAB test, the SAT test and the Electrical code and theory test. This is more practice in the art of testing.
  10. I do not panic if the scores aren't what they hoped for. Some children are just better at test taking than others. Out of my four boys, they are all very different in the testing setting, just like in real life. 
Other members of the crew discussed homeschooling and testing. Stop by here and see what they have to say about it.

I'm curious, do you test your students each year? How do you approach it? Do you prep them for the tests? Do you agonize over the results? Leave me a comment, make my day.

Thanks for stopping by, 
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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thrifty Thursday: Christmas and Thrift, Ten Things

If you were able to stand yesterday's post and my whining about Christmas, thank you for returning. Thanks to Little Guy, who has been singing real Christmas carols non-stop, I feel better already. My home is decorated and I am a little more encouraged about Christmas approaching.

Ann Voscamp wrote another great post yesterday. It has encouraged me to get over my ego, my mice, and my clutter. I encourage you to head over there after you read this post.

I'm a person who learns by mistake, so I am well-schooled in today's topic. Let's talk about Thrift and Christmas. I thought I'd post ten ways not to be Thrifty this Christmas. And Yes, I am guilty of all of these. I've gotten overwhelmed by the Christmas Animal at times and forgotten about Jesus.

Ten Ways To Not Be Thrifty For Christmas

  1. Tell yourself it's Christmas as an excuse to overspend, just pull out the credit card.
  2. Buy gifts for co-workers, co-worshipers, or neighbors that will end up donated or at the next yard sale.
  3. Get your kids the latest electronic gadgets, that are unwanted in few months.
  4. Purchase convenience foods for each of the parties you will be attending.
  5. Hide the gifts you bought earlier in the year so well that you can't find them on Christmas Eve.
  6. Neglect to teach your children the true meaning of Christmas and train them to be receivers.
  7. Buy all of your relatives gifts because you don't want them to think you are cheap.
  8. Procrastinate mailing gifts and end up paying 3 times the cost of the gift to mail them.
  9. Forget to buy for someone and find yourself in a stupor, shopping on Christmas Eve.
  10. Decorate your home with the latest trendy seasonal decorations. Reindeer are so passe. Light your home up with a gizzilion lights that are not LED and don't forget a few blow-up lawn decorations.

Do you have any tips for wasting money this year? Please share!

Happy Thursday!

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thrifty Thursday and the Feingold Diet

Any time I discuss the Feingold diet with others, inevitably the high cost of food comes up. With a little creativity and work, one can easily implement the diet without over-spending.

Ten ways I purchase approved foods without going broke:
  1. When a Feingold food item is on sale, I hoard. Because the products are not full of preservatives, this works best with frozen items, like our favorite ice cream. Also pantry items that are sealed can be bought in bulk. I have been spotted with a cart full of cereal. I'm not ashamed, just thrifty.
  2. Shop fruits and vegetables in season. Sorry son, we only eat watermelon in the summer. Spending 89 cents a pound for bland watermelon just doesn't work here.
  3. Health and beauty products are great for stocking up. Especially sun screens at the end of the season. Our pale white bodies go through sunscreen faster than it can expire.
  4. Baking my own cookies, brownies and cakes is always cheaper than box mixes or store bought. I freeze individual cookies, rice crispy treats, brownies and cakes for lunches.
  5. I shop at different stores for certain items. This is never convenient, but knowing where to find each thing at the lowest price helps.
  6. Occasionally, I make a pilgrimage to Whole Foods. I have to put on blinders and avoid all of the tempting displays. They carry many store brand staples that are reasonably priced. While there, I stock up on chocolate chips, marshmallows, hot chocolate, peanut butter and waffles. I have been known to put in an order with my fellow blogger, Vika, who shops there regularly, that eliminates all of my impulse purchases.
  7. Trader Joe's has made our life incredibly easier. I find their cereals are consistently low priced and without the added BHT in the packaging. Did I mention the fun Little Guy has finding the crab? This creative trick traps mothers in Trader Joe's until their kids scour the entire store looking for the plastic crab. That calls for my secret weapon. STICK TO THE LIST. 
  8. I plan ahead. Anytime I leave the house for more than a few hours with Little Guy, I have a lunch box packed with acceptable foods. Running into a convenience store to find a chemical free snack is an unpleasant experience. Now that Frito Lay will not co-operate with Feingold in filling out food questionnaires, I can't fall back on our old time favorite, unnamed corn chip.
  9. Keeping up with the new items and re-reading my food lists. I will discover some foods that I didn't realize were acceptable. Fortunately, companies are realizing that consumers don't need or want chemicals in their foods and are responding to that.
  10. I order some groceries online. This is where the man in the brown truck shows up, drops a few boxes and I have to resist my urge to hug him. Did I ever confess how tired I am of grocery shopping? The Gman is the only one to get my hugs for his weekly Trader Joe's trips.

But here is where the shameless advertising comes in. I shop at Vitacost every few months to stock up on vitamins, snacks and cereals. They have the best prices and usually free shipping. Of course, I google a coupon before I check out. If you have never tried Vitacost, this is your chance to save $10 on your first order. I promise you, you will have to exercise self-control, when the man in the brown truck delivers your groceries to your front door. Please save your hugs for your beloved. We don't want the neighbors to talk.

Thanks for stopping by,

This great kid has been on Feingold since 2008
If you are wondering what this Feingold Diet is all about, read my experience here and see my other posts where I sing the praises of Feingold. 

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunday Musings: 10 things that keep me from blogging.

When you are living the abundant life, you may not have time to blog. I have found that has been the case since last June. Blogging is my favorite hobby, but somehow life has squeezed most of my time. I know it is just a season, but I do miss writing. When speaking with my sister-in-law, she was surprised to hear I was in Arizona, I hadn't blogged about it. That's pretty funny. She must have thought I have been living an uneventful life, if she had to read about it here. Here's the update of the things that get in the way of blogging:

  1. My husband has been declared cancer free, we won't be going to the doctors for a while. Praise God!
  2. My training is complete, so I won't have anymore classes. It's a good thing, because I think I have used up every available brain cell.
  3. I am actually a working Realtor with clients and two listings. I sold my first house last week. When I went to the home with my friends who bought it, it was an incredible experience. I felt that I was interrupting a holy moment. The somewhat newlyweds were in love with their first home together. It really blotted out all of the memories of the frustrating delays. 
  4. Homeschooling high school students is not for the faint-hearted. I am correcting work and teaching my boys at odd hours. I don't remember a bit of Biology, so I am learning right along with Paperboy. 
  5. I am in Arizona to be with my dad as he recovers from surgery. No vacation, but I did sneak off to Ross for a few minutes. I'm not sure when I will be home. I have only been in the pool once. I hope to remedy that this week.
  6. Preparing for my trip was enough work in itself. I did bring Paperboy along with me. I am enjoying the one on one with him as we have our "meetings" as I go over his work. 
  7. This summer, I made a point of getting to the beach as much as possible. My iPhone made it possible to work from the beach. I also survived the summer with very limited internet, long story, another blog post. 
  8. I have realized how easy I had it when I didn't work outside the home. I was spoiled. I have to admit, if I didn't have kids at home right now, I would enjoy working. I have some great colleagues.
  9. My teens do not drive yet, so I spend more time in the car than I wish.
  10. Since my sweet husband has sent me here with his blessing, as soon as I get back, I won't be blogging for a few days. I'll be spoiling him.

Enjoying the Sabbath,
Terri G.

Don't forget to enter my Giveaway for The Shunning, not to be confused with the movie The Shining.
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Friday, April 8, 2011

Ten Things: A few things about real estate, sort of...

I spent 24 hours last weekend in a class to prepare to take the Real Estate Salespersons licence exam. This was quite different from my normal weekends and I actually enjoyed myself. Twenty four hours of no cooking, cleaning, laundry and driving, need I say more?

Some of the things I gleaned this week were not real estate principles or new concepts. These were learning opportunities that, in my sheltered world as a homeschool Mama, I may not have stumbled upon all year.

  1. The Importance of Promptness: Friday night before class , I wanted to have a nice dinner with my family. Because of this, I ended up arriving exactly as the class was starting, at 5:30. There was only one seat left. I had to endure four hours sitting next to the smelliest guy. All I could think of is "who would ever trust this man with one of the largest purchases of their life?" The lady on the other side of me had to ask me to get off her lap as I struggled to escape the pungent odors. O.K. a little exaggeration. My final coping method, just turn my head and breathe fresh air, then exhale in smelly's direction. Air flow was needed. I feigned shyness and didn't make eye contact with smelly, I didn't want to start a conversation. My flight instinct had kicked in.
  2. Friends make everything nicer: A few weeks before the class, my friend Julie, decided to join me. We had time together this weekend without kids around us, event though we were in class, having her by my side was nice.
  3. Exercise regularly: At our lunch breaks, I made a point to walk, sitting for 4 hours was very draining. This perked me up and relieved my guilt from the endless munching in class.
  4. Be prepared for change: The last day, the instructor offered to let us out a little early, if we took a short lunch. It was no problem for me, I had enough food for 1/2 the class. 
  5. Take notes even if you will never read them again: Just the act of writing something down, imprinted it on my three remaining brain cells. Like a great homeschooling mom, I used multiple learning styles. The visual, the auditory and kinestetic. 
  6. Prayer is not optional. On Wednesday the middle of my four hour exam, I had an epiphany. I was hopeless. I did what I learned from day one as a Christian. I went to the bathroom and prayed. If I had prayed out loud in the test room, I would have been disqualified. After my foxhole prayers in the bathroom, I regained my confidence. 
  7. People who create tests have a special place in hell. Well that's not really true. But! We all know Satan is a deceiver. I know he had his hand in creating the Real Estate Salesperson Licence exam. The questions were pure evil. There was no shortage of twisting and manipulating of words. I decided, I will be more sympathetic as my boys tackle the Stanford Achievement Tests in a few weeks.
  8. Husband and wife sales teams are going to be challenging. As much as I am madly in love with the Gman, our relationship has already to been stretched. In the first two hours of our working together, we have experienced great stress. His crazy driving, because he forgot to put his tie on, almost made him a widower. I have decided, if we are going to to ride together, I will be doing the driving.
  9. Try not to disagree in the car about dual agency, or about anything for that matter.  Our first discussion as agents resulted in a spike in his blood pressure  He swore he wasn't yelling, just raising his voice. Hypothetically, to him, I had lost thousands of dollars in a transaction that never existed. This little talk resulted in a distracted roll through a stop sign.
  10. Dressing for success can have it's advantages. When the nice policeman pulled us over, we were coming from our photo shoot. We were looking sharp. I wanted to crack the famous joke. "Officer, I swear he didn't roll through that stop sign. He never breaks the rules when he has been drinking". I resisted. The Gman was polite and professional. We experienced grace in the form of only a warning. I think the outcome could have been different if we were in our regular clothes. Which reminds me of a new benefit of working with the Gman. I'll have to go clothes shopping, poor me.
I'm sure I will be learning so much more. I haven't even started my training yet.

I'm off to another date night. I have a feeling we are going to be needing these much more often.

Have a great weekend.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ten Reasons to Attend a Homeschool Conference

I was carrying on about the MassHope Conference to my ego booster friend Lyn. She's going with her BFF, a.k.a. her husband. Although, I'm thrilled that they're going together, I had to accept that she won't be going with me. Some years we attend as a family, and sometimes, like this year, I'll be with my girlfriends. Either way, I am never disappointed.

My top ten reasons not to miss the homeschool conference:

  1. By April, I am in need of a major shot in the arm. My zeal for homeschooling has waned. The sun is out. Our curriculum has lost the new and shiny experience, I need to have a vision for next year.
  2. The vendor hall is incredible. You can touch, hold, sniff, read and compare the curriculum. That alone has saved me fortunes. When I thought I was going in one direction, after seeing the actual books, I changed my mind. The opportunity to find treasures is another blessing. 
  3. Being in the company of over a thousand other parents who have chosen this incredible path reminds me, I'm not alone. Watching the families, seeing people I have met over the years who are staying the course is so encouraging.
  4. The workshops teach me how to teach. I have gleaned so much practical information about teaching my kids. This has not only blessed our homeschooling, but it has enriched my Sunday school class. There is a variety of speakers. Each scheduled workshop offers six choices for speakers. If there isn't one you want, there is always the vendor hall. If you go to the vendor hall during a workshop, you will have more time with the vendor, unless they are speaking.
  5. If your teens go with you and attend the teen track, they will be ministered to and encouraged in their faith. We are seeing fruit in Paperboy's life from his experience last year. They meet hundreds of other homeschooled teens. Last year the teen speakers, the Ludy's  were so incredible, the Gman spent most of his time there with the boys.
  6. Little Guy had a fantastic time at the Children's Program. It was there that our family was first introduced to Barry Stebbing's Art classes
  7. You have a chance to pick the vendors brains about curriculum and get excellent advice. Yes, they are sales people, but they are committed to homeschooling. I don't find them pushy.
  8. If you are attending a conference that is part of the Great American Homeschool Conferences, you will be receiving a free gift with your paid admission. This is $250 worth of products. Just the free Jim Hodge's audiobook, "For The Temple" by Henty has made me giddy. See this map if you are not sure if your state is hosting one.
  9. There will be a table to connect with your local support group or find one if you do not have one. We all need to connect locally. This is important, especially for families new to homeschooling.
  10. Have you ever attended a homeschool graduation? They have a recognition ceremony on Friday night. I usually don't even know the graduates, but I am beaming with pride. Every new homeschooler should witness this once. It changed the way I looked at homeschooling when I first began.
If I missed any other reasons to attend, please share in the comments, I'm writing this on only one cylinder cup of coffee. If you are attending MassHope, send me an email or comment, I'd love to meet you. If you don't have a clue what to wear, I offer some advice about that.

And if you are a homeschooling family interested in winning a free easter art program, visit my Crossmaker Review and enter to win.

Thanks for stopping by,

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Marriage Monday: Poison Control Center

Did you know this week is national Poison Prevention Week?
In honor of that I would like to share some helpful advice.

Ten things that will poison your marriage:

First, I have to add a disclaimer to this post. I have not tried all of these poisons, only nine of them. Thankfully, I didn't ingest enough to cause death nor suffer long term effects from these toxic behaviors.
  1. Hang around with women who constantly belittle their husbands.
  2. Think of the money you both earn as separate. 
  3. Let the children play you against each other, this can last long into adulthood.
  4. Stop serving each other. 
  5. Ignore your personal appearance and practice poor hygiene. 
  6. Avoid dates or time alone. 
  7. Don't care about anything they deem important.  
  8. Spend too much time with your extended family and friends.
  9. Never forget past sins.
  10. Criticize at every opportunity, publicly will increase the speed of the toxicity.
If you feel like you need a detox. Don't despair. Things can change right now.

Here is my not-so-secret home remedy...

From the King James Bible, 1John 1:19:

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Living this scripture will strengthen our marriages. Today's post is linked up with Marriage Monday. In my last Marriage Monday Post I talked about ten books that have helped my marriage.
Click below for more marriage encouragement.

I know there are things I have missed. Do you have any "must avoid poisons" in your home?  Leave a comment, you may be helping out a marriage.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Just what do you wear to a home school convention?

The season has started for homeschooling conventions. There are pressing questions that the new homeschool moms are seeking answers for.  We experienced moms need to share. What curriculum? What learning style? More importantly, what should I wear to a homeschool convention? I blogged about it last year in an effort to dispel the myth of frumpy homeschoolers.

Each spring I look forward to the MassHope convention. This convention has something for everyone in their homeschool journey. Here are my top ten things I recommended packing for a homeschool conference.
  1. Shoes, pretty, but comfortable. Preferably slip ons. You will be wandering around shopping as well as standing around talking for hours. You may want to sneakily slip them off your feet by the last seminar. Wear your sturdy ones, but don't don't forget stylish. Save the frump for home.
  2. A bathing suit. If your hotel has a pool, you will want to option of swimming or at least the hot tub. Don't worry about your pasty white skin and winter bulge, you will be in like company.
  3. A pretty t-shirt. If the issues from #2 are too much, cover up with a nice dark colored t-shirt.
  4. Reading glasses or at least magnifiers from the drug store. Some of the catalogs, hand outs and literature may be printed smaller than you'd like. Be ready.
  5. A backpack. I, the professed bag lady, use my trusty orange Samsonite backpack. It has padded shoulder straps, and feels great, even when it's filled with the books that I swore I wasn't going to buy.
  6. Tops. Let's talk about layers. You are going to sweat in those rooms that are packed because the speaker is unbelievable. Then the next seminar, how to "homeschool your dog", will be empty and  freezing and you will be looking for a down jacket. I recommend a short-sleeved blouse layered with a cotton sweater.
  7. Pants, capris, skirts? This is a matter of personal preference. I like to wear my favorite jeans paired with a dressy top. There is a little of everything at the conferences. You will feel great dressed up or down. The speakers usually dress for success. If you want to be mistaken for an expert, dress like a business women. If you want your husband to be asked for directions every few minutes, tell him to wear a blazer and a tie.
  8. Wear a watch. Each session is timed and the vendor halls have set hours. You do not want to miss your favorite speaker or lunch for that matter.
  9. Head covering? It's not my thing but you may see some. Tell your kids not to stare or point, it's rude.
  10. Babies? Yes, do bring your baby if you are still nursing. It's not my thing right now, but people wear them in slings, front carriers and backpacks. Strollers are handy, but the crowds are big, you may want a small umbrella stroller. Your large stroller can double as a shopping cart for books. Please do not squish the baby. Babies are very welcome as long they don't disrupt the speakers. Just sit in the back near the door, just in case.

This post is part of The Christian Home, an online magazine hosted by Mrs. White at The Legacy of Home. Please visit her site to read more of The Christian Home.

I will be talking more about homeschool conventions in the next few weeks. If there is anything I have missed, please share in the comments.  Did I mention, I love comments? I do.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Ten things I have learned about my iPhone

My sweet hubby insisted that I order the iPhone for my birthday. Since it was my birthday, Christmas and anniversary gift combined, I caved in. Just today, I figured out his ulterior motive. He wants me to master this iPhone so I can train him. This isn't the first gadget in our lives that I needed to master. He doesn't realize, I know just enough about most gadgets to be dangerous. But since I've owned my new phone for more than two weeks, I must be an expert in all things iPhone related. I thought I'd share my expertise here.

Ten Things I Have Learned About My iPhone

  1. The first thing you must do if you have teenagers in the house, label your cord, headphones and charger gadgets with a sharpie on the rubbery parts of the cords. I say a sharpie because on the shiny parts, sharpie ink can get rubbed off. Not that anyone in my home would purposely de-label my things. But in case it innocently happened and you found yourself like me, wasting hours of my life looking for my lost cord. Paperboy had come down with amnesia. He thought my brand new cord looked like his old beat up electrical taped one. Next time, I will check his room first.
  2. Be ready to embarrass yourself and crank call your friends 3 times a day. As I was trying to figure out how to save a few new contacts, I accidentally called them. When this happens and it is a business client, don't hang up on them. Be prepared with a cheery explanation. I had to confess my ignorance, thankfully, she could relate to it.
  3. Hide your headphones from your kids. They will try to steal them and stick them in their ears. EEEWWW, now that is just gross. I'll share my candy bar with them, but not my ear wax.
  4. Do not try to talk on the phone while in the bathroom, the risk of dropping it is great. It is very slim and it will make a big splash. For me it would be like tossing my phone and my camera in the toilet.
  5. Checking my email, just because I can, while driving sets a bad example for my kiddos. This is a no-no. 
  6. Owning an iPhone only magnifies the desire to own an iPad. Resist the urge. I am taking Jon Acuff's advice from his new book: Anything beginning with a lowercase i is not considered an emergency. I cannot raid the emergency fund to purchase one.
  7. I never thought my fingertips were chubby until the past few weeks. I now understand the humor of auto correct spelling jokes.
  8. Angry birds has the most annoying background sounds. I see no reason for it's popularity. The noise is like fingernails on a chalk board, especially when one has a head cold.
  9. Six-year olds who are being too quiet need to be checked on. The could be buying apps or playing Angry Birds on your phone. Better yet, hide your phone. End the temptation.
  10. To remove an unwanted app like Angry Birds or Cut the Rope, hold your finger over it until it starts quaking. Then click on the X. Easy beans. That's all I really know about my iPhone.
Look forward to my next post on ten iPhone apps that I cannot possibly live without. I guess I wasn't really living three weeks ago, I was barely surviving.

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Ten Things or why sometimes I feel like the food police

You may notice the absence of great recipes or awesome food photos on this blog. There are a few reasons for that. In fact, here are ten reasons my blog isn't about food or recipes.

  1. I have this deep aversion to cold food. Taking pictures of just the right shot at just the right angle requires me waiting to eat. I am a firm believer in cold ice cream and hot dinners. Not the other way around.
  2. Pictures that make me salivate are usually taken with a fine camera with special lenses. My point and shoot will never grow up.
  3. I love trying new recipes, but they have yet to look like the photos on Pioneer Woman
  4. I feed only the male species. The requirements for them is not so difficult. Some still just want the food not to be touching. Quantity is just as important as quality.
  5. I have one child that has overcome many food allergies. Because of this, my growth in gourmet cooking has been stunted. He was allergic to wheat, corn, peanut butter and strawberries. The rice bread I once baked for him had to be registered as a lethal weapon. I am happy to say he has outgrown most of these allergies.  He occasionally breaks out in a rash when he overindulges in popcorn.
  6. I have never gotten into menu planning. My attention span is to short to stick to a weekly plan. I have toyed with some bulk cooking and I love it.
  7. I am not a health food nut, but I often find myself in health food stores.
  8. Cooking meals for my family is something that happens three times a day. For me it is a necessary chore, not something I am passionate about.
  9. If I was a t.v. watcher, I could waste years of my life watching cooking shows, they do fascinate me. I am a watcher of great cooks, not a doer.
  10. I have had an amazing experience with the feingold diet but haven't blogged about it much. I do plan on sharing more of this in the future. It won't include fancy pictures, just what is working for our family. I look forward to sharing our journey and the victories we have experienced.

Now that I have revealed that I am not a 'foodie'. I actually am very passionate about one aspect of food. Three years ago, I discovered a diet that has revolutionized my family. I can't lie and tell you it has made me skinny. It hasn't. I cannot tell you we eat so healthy and we feel so wonderful. We don't always do that. What I can tell you is; it has strategically removed artificial ingredients from our diet. Have we sacrificed junk food? No! Do we force our kids to eat tofu? No! Do we still eat meat? Yes!

Being on the Feingold diet has compelled me to become a label reader and unfortunately I discovered that my vision is not what it used to be. Why are those labels so small anyways?

Below is an explanation of artificial ingredients and how common they are. This is produced by the Feingold organization. They make up for my poor vision by compiling a book which lists all of the foods that are acceptable for chemical phobics like myself. They continually update it because products are often changing. This book is like my shopping Bible. I used to have to read it all the time, now I have many things memorized.

What do you think? Is that old adage you are what you eat true? If so, no one can call me artificial or phony.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Read Alouds for Boys...Our Top Ten

The first year we began homeschooling, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to an incredible curriculum. The only other homeschool mother that I knew, generously lent me a crate of books. These were the books included in the Sonlight K program. This crate of treasures began our adventures of reading aloud. My boys and I savored the times of cuddling in the living room and plowing through endless books. 

Each morning after Bible time, our little routine was to pick out a hand toy. I learned quickly that sitting for more than ten minutes without something keeping their hands busy could be dangerous. They would find something the fiddle with or break; a loose string on a shirt, their brother, their nose, or some other distraction. Most mornings Random would find a superhero to perform flips during the current story. I drew the line at sound effects. Paperboy would tweak his mini Lego creations. I would read as long as my voice held up, since most days they begged for more. 

Those times were my personal favorite days of our homeschooling lives. Now these boys are in 8th and 9th grade, read alouds are rarer. I regret to say, they are approached with less zeal. One child considers them a chore. He can read the book faster in his head, why do we just sit and listen? I experienced my last read aloud to Paperboy and Daddy at the table the other night. It was a funny short book by Jon AcuffGazelles, Baby Steps And 37 Other Things Dave Ramsey Taught Me About Debt. They didn't want me to stop and we were laughing together, but it wasn't the same as "Little Britches, Father and I were Ranchers".

Here are some of my favorites. I call it: My do not miss these books with your boys list. If you have girls, I am sorry, I don't have a list. I still don't understand them. I was a girl once, but I have never mothered one or had to choose books for one.

  1. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This is the first one Statueman and I shared when he was 4. He was riveted by Pa cleaning his gun, the bear and the intricate details of daily life in a log cabin. With my middle two, we read through the entire series using the Prairie Primer Curriculum one school year. I cannot say enough about that without sounding like a sales rep. So I won't. In fact, I'll stop commenting on each book so I can finish this post this year.
  2. Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld
  3. Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes
  4. The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabet George Speare
  5. Little Britches Series by Ralph Moody
  6. By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman
  7. Red Sails to Capri by Ann Weil
  8. Johnny Tremain by Ester Forbes
  9. Biography of a Grizzly by Earnest Thomson Seton or any of his books.
  10. The Story of Dr. Dolittle by Hugh Lofting and the others in this series. 

Do you have any you must read this book to your children selections to share? I'd love to hear about your favorites. I'd love to share something new with Little Guy, since he leans toward non-fiction.

I welcome reader comments with open arms. I also understand if you aren't the commenting or hugging type of person, you can drop me an email at

Friday, December 31, 2010

Ten in Twenty Ten

  1. In February, I finally started this blog. I had been reading great blogs for a while. My son, Statueman had just ended his real paid job as a blogger. I didn't want to compete with him. You see we have the exact same interests on our blog. Football, mixed martial arts, baseball and a deep disdain for Nascar. Of course, I am only kidding, he always blogged about homeschool, faith, family and Nascar bashing. Just like me.
I originally wanted to be the Accidental Homeschool Mom,
but decided I like being

2. I was miraculously picked to be a part of the The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew. I was put in the Chosen one, Lori's mini-crew. I'll be bloggy honest here. This was not as easy as I thought. I am not talking about Lori's crew, I mean writing reviews. Especially when my keyboard was so schizophrenic. Also, it wasn't easy at first, I have this deep paranoia about being boring. I think I have settled the debate, I would rather be stupid than boring. At least we can laugh about it.                                                                           
3. My three youngest boys had a chance to try downhill skiing for the first time. This is something the Gman, Statueman and I had fond memories of. When it was only the three of us, we skied. This day of skiing was special for us. God willing, we will get back up to the slopes again this year. The boys loved it. Well... Little Guy thinks he loved it, but I have different memories of this.
I am having flashbacks of the crying about the cold. I mean really how can you ski if it isn't cold? Perhaps I have pampered this little one too much.

4. We had a two week vacation camping with Daddy. Usually our camping involves Daddy bringing food and firewood after work day is through. I would spend my days at the pond with the kids. This year Daddy took the whole two weeks off. We left the camp site just one night due to major thunderstorms. This was fine with me, I could blog and the Gman could catch up on paperwork. It was a great week with friends and perfect weather.

5. Random became a teenager! Now I know this sounds insignificant. The reason it is listed in the ten important things is because it is uber important to him. He is one of the most social creatures in the world. Until that wonderful day in August, he had been excluded from the organized teen events that all of his friends were a part of. It was driving him crazy. The fact that he has been acting like a teen for the past few years may have exasperated the situation.

6. I found an adorable pair of comfortable red shoes. This ends my 15-year quest for shoes that feel nice and look great. Well, it doesn't really end, it just slows it down a little. I know I need to get a life but there are sisters who read this blog who totally understand this feat. Sorry for the pun.

7. This was the first year Random and Paperboy flew to Arizona without us. It was a time for trusting God and I'm happy to say, all went well. Little Guy and I flew out to meet Paperboy, while Random and Daddy had a special week home with just the two of them. We are so thankful to Pops and Grandma for bringing us out there. If the Gman wasn't waiting at home for me I could have stayed all winter.

8. Daddy was able to take more time off and join our homeschooling. We experienced a Barry Stebbing three day art class together as a family. We took this class with so many friends. It was a special time of learning together.

9. We had a long awaited visit to see Daddy's family in New Jersey. I love my in-laws. It was great to see everyone gathered to celebrate the wedding. Now I realize I don't get out that much, so I haven't been to many over the top weddings to compare it to. This wedding was so amazingly perfect. The bride thought of every detail. It could not have been any sweeter. It's just a shame the festivities lasted far past my bedtime.

10. My friends and my family showered me with love by voting for me. I stopped feeling silly sharing my blog with people. I have the button to prove it.

What this really means is: I became comfortable in my blog skin. I am over the fear of failure. I thank God for the work He is doing in my life through keeping a blog. I can't wait to see what new things are in store for next year.
"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace
believing, that ye may abound in hope,
through the power of the Holy Ghost." Romans 15:13
Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: Ten things we did to have a thrifty Christmas

This Christmas season has been very low key for the Gman and I. As I write this, I understand that some folks would consider these things a little Scrooge-like. I consider them necessary in the lean times that we are living in. It's easy to convince myself that the celebration of birth of my Savior is no reason to overspend. Also, the very nature of being a Christian, is to be honest. I need to be honest with my family, my spouse and my checkbook. By putting on a pretense of disposable income, I am being a phony. The very thing I have no patience for.

As a side note, this season has been a such a blessing. I am not run ragged, my gifts are almost all wrapped and I have not become the grumpy Christmas animal that has been seen in the past around here.

So here's my 10 actions that have kept my Christmas spending in check: 
If I have birthed you or if I am married to you, you must stop reading here if you do not want your Christmas surprises spoiled. I put this disclaimer in knowing that the Gman reads my posts every few months. I'm not sure if Random reads this, but I must to cover my bases.
  1. I went out on black Friday, with a very specific list. Thankfully, my debit card was left in my skating bag. With only one check left, I had to use cash. I even came home with cash. I stuck to my budget and took care of the majority of my shopping.
  2. The kids and I made 10 containers of Christmas candies. They picked one friend to bless with a box. I had 7 left to give to people in my life. I thought about who had really touched my life this year and they received the boxes. The other 490 people have been receiving hugs and a big Merry Christmas. 
  3. My birthday box will  be filling in the gaps for my stocking stuffers. I LOVE filling stockings. This is one of my favorite parts of Christmas morning. I wrap each gift individually so they can savor the experience. Speaking of stocking stuffers, I use this as an opportunity to give necessities to the older set. The Gman will be getting his favorite toothpaste and deodorant. Our traditional socks and underwear may make an appearance.
  4. I bought the Gman a few small things, from the other guy I talk about here, Dave. These books are keepers, in the long run they will pay off.
  5. I didn't send Christmas cards. I felt unless I had a fantastic photo, I wasn't going to waste money on the postage. Every other year is o.k. My kids are older and not changing too quickly for a yearly photo.
  6. We made drawings for family members courtesy of a See the Light DVD. This was a Christ-centered creation. I can't say too much because my Dad reads my blog.
  7. I won a few of my gifts by entering blog contests. This has been such a blessing. I was able to give to few people, that were not really in my budget, but were on my heart. Paperboy and Little guy's gifts were free from a CSN gift certificate won.
  8. I did a little shopping here at LES. This is a great site for homeschool moms to buy presents that enhance your homeschooling experience, yet are fun enough to call gifts. Random has been pining away for more Johnathan Parks.
  9. The Gman, the master of the last minute surprises, scored a fantastic deal on a used drum set for Random. I can imagine he bought the set, for about the price on one or two of the cymbals new.  The fact that it is used will not take a bit of his joy away. He has been begging for a drum set for years. It used to be the family joke.  "Yes, Pops you can get him a drum set, you just have to keep it at your house."
  10. waited and waited to buy a few things for Little guy knowing they would eventually go on sale. I was sweating it out, but I finally picked  Leapster games last weekend. Of course, this was after unsuccessfully scouring Savers, my best source for these games.
How about you, have you done anything different this Christmas? 
Merry Christmas!

I welcome reader comments with open arms. I also understand if you aren't the commenting or hugging type of person, you can drop me an email at