Friday, December 30, 2011


Yay, more pictures! This is like...twice. In the SAME month. Whoa... ;)

One of my oldest and dearest friends, Katie and my "niece" Mariska with the Build-A-Bear dachshund the boys made her for Xmas. :)

Aunt Katie and Uncle Mike - who wasn't there because he is stationed overseas right now :( - got the boys an Xbox game they have really been wanting!

Bailey and my mom, in the kitchen. Even though she was sick, she spent a lot of time cooking for our dinner. Bailey helped her make SIX pies! :)

My dad, with the boys and my niece Brooklyn.

The boys love playing pool when they visit...

My little brother, Joey, helping Braeden out...

Brooklyn LOVED opening gifts! Once they were opened however, she was very willing to hand them over to someone else so she could continue ripping into other presents! :)

The boys got a few gifts from my parents, but this Skylanders game was #1 on both of their wish lists this year! Braeden accidentally (yes, it really was an accident, lol) saw this when we were down at Thanksgiving and he kept this secret for a whole month so Bailey could still be surprised! :)

My brother's better half, Emily.

The boys and Nanny. She loved her Thirty-One zipper pouch they got her, with them and her three puppies on there! :)

Excitement over yet another video game. But...they only got the three, so I'm ok with that. :)

Braeden and his new iPod touch he got from Mommy and Daddy. I love sleepy faces... :)

Bailey and his new iPod touch... :)

The boys and their gifts that Q (he is the one in the corner of the pic) handmade for them! Minecraft stuffs...

This pic is one of my favorites! All 4 of the boys got iPods this year and while we were waiting to eat at Tracy's parents house, we saw all of them staring down at their new gadgets. It cracked us up! 

Tracy's parents got the boys Best Buy gift cards, which they loved. You can also see the Invader Zim shirts that Tracy's boys got them. :)

We had more pictures of our evening at Tracy's, but my camera was doing some weird, spotty, light-reflecting thing and I don't know why. So all of my pictures had spots on them. I will see if I can get a few from Tracy and I will post those later.

Can't believe we are closing out 2011 this weekend. Nuts. We will have a house full of peeps celebrating with us and we are thankful that we can close out one year and start a new one, with some of those that mean so much to us!

Hope everyone has fun, but SAFE weekend!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Can't believe it's Christmas already...just seems like I missed a couple, or seven, months somewhere, lol.

We stayed busy this week, I am very proud of the boys and myself for sticking with the baking we needed to do. We always say we want to give baked goodies for the holidays. Most years we even buy all the stuff we need. Then we just end up running out of time and give up before we even start. But this year we set our minds to it and got everything done. It took about 2 and half days to do it all, and we needed Nanny's help, but it was done and the boys were SO happy to hand out and gift their goodies to everyone.

We had several gatherings and enjoyed each and every one of them. Lots of smiles and laughter! We are so blessed to have the family and friends that we have. Even with the craziness of trying to be everywhere, and see everyone, all in one was awesome.

Since we finally have a camera (and took more than 300 photos in the last few days, lol) I will have pictures to share later in the week. Honestly, I am exhausted right now. When we travel anywhere, we have a horrible habit upon returning home. We make it as far as the dining room table with all of our stuff and it sits there for days. But I need to really get everything put away and cleaned up before our NYE gathering here next weekend!

The boys got quite a few gadgety gifts and games, and they are looking forward to getting everything set up and to start playing with them all. Unfortunately, even though we are on a school break, they are going to have to compromise with me. If they want to spend an afternoon playing new video games or playing on their new iPods and tablets, they are going to have to spend a little time in the mornings playing some games that I want them to play. Learnin' games. ;)

My kids are so much like me, that they can get completely consumed in games and the point that when they stop playing, they have this blank look on their faces like " what do I do with my life?" Lol. To break that up, we institute a tit for tat thing. For every hour they give me with educational games, they can have a couple of hours for the noneducational stuffs. :D

Normally it's not an issue. They really do enjoy the games sites that we use, but I know it's going to tough for a few days with all of the new stuff they want to play with. They will probably stick with the easy stuff, like typing games and art games. Hopefully they will squeeze in some spelling and math...

Alrighty. Off to pick up my baby from the vet (we have to board our bigger baby when we travel, but fortunately, Nanny keeps our two little babies). Then to run by the grocery store, so I can get some food to break up the leftovers. :/

Look for some photos in a few days. Have a great week and enjoy the last of 2011!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Don't freak out or anything...

...but I have photos to share. Photos that I didn't have to thieve from Tracy!

I know! Makes you wonder if Hell just placed a bulk order for parkas, don't it? ;)

These are just a few of the photos from that parade I told you about in my last post...the one where I said words can't really describe it...

I just love the little Shriner cars. :)

A giant, and street ready, Radio Flyer wagon. We actually see this on the roads during the holidays, lol.

The loooong line of tractors...

I don't suppose a caption is really needed for this one... ;)

The line of "Newer Big Trucks"...

...then later, the line of "Older Big Trucks." Yes, that's how they are categorized. 

The hunters. They get their own group, lol.

This one actually had hydraulics. And it bounced. BOUNCED.

This was cute!

"Huh. We'll just make our own damn reindeer." :D

See? NO. WORDS. 

We laughed. A lot. And it was a great day. Not being from the country, this parade probably makes me go "wth?" more than anything, but you have to appreciate people enjoying themselves!

We are busy baking cookies this week. Hopefully by the end of the week, I will have pictures to post of that too! :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

And the countdown has begun!

Before I share about our week this week, I want to direct people to an article. Let me preface this by saying I'm not shoving this down the throat of any public schoolers. I have, nor will I ever, bash or judge those that send their children to public school. I don't think those people are weird, or cult-like, or that they don't want the same things for their children that I do. We just go about things a little differently.

I found this article on a friend's Facebook page and had to share it. I hate standardized tests. I would go so far to say that I abhore them. I don't believe those test results can tell you anything about a child, other than whether or not a child can test well under pressure. I can't even limit my blanket dislike to just standardized tests. It's all tests. I want my children to study to learn. To remember what they read about and worked on. To enjoy the learning process. I don't want them to study to test, then forget half of what they learned once the test was over.

Ok, back to that article. Here it is: When an adult took standardized tests forced on kids

With homeschool statistics showing us that more and more families are making the decision to homeschool, and more and more colleges and universities are accepting homeschoolers (even from those states where testing is not required by homeschool laws), I'm exceedingly happy that I don't have to put so much emphasis on testing around here.

Alrighty then. Just wanted to throw that out there. Now back to our regularly scheduled program. :D

This past week was good for us. I finished my Christmas cards AND got them in the mail in an appropriate time frame. We took the boys to see Arthur Christmas and really enjoyed it. They did their Toys for Tots shopping, and thanks to a GREAT Nerf sale at Target, we dropped $100 worth of Nerf toys, and two board games, in the local TfT box. The best, BEST part of that whole experience was walking out of Target and both of the boys telling us that they loved the feeling they had inside, knowing that they bought so much cool stuff for kids they didn't even know. I was so proud of them!

Other than that, the boys have been liking their "sloth days." All is well...

This coming week starts the countdown to Christmas. No, not so much emphasis on the gifts as just the pure craziness that is our life at Christmas, lol. We have four separate occasions to gather and celebrate. It's nice, but time consuming and very filling, lol, as we eat with everyone we see.

This week we are going Christmas caroling twice; with the Scouts and with our homeschool group. We are so looking forward to that! We are also doing some holiday baking for the first time. The boys decided that they wanted to make cookies for everyone this year. So we are going to attempt to make a gazillion dozen cookies. No, not really that many. At least I hope not. But I'm sure it's going to feel like that, lol...remember I don't spend a lot of time in the kitchen. :/

This week the boys won't really have a lot of time to do much, but they expressed an interest in Hanukkah, so we are going to try and learn something new about the Jewish holiday on each of the eight days. So instead of eight days of gifts, they will get eight days of holiday facts. :) The site we use for our homeschool spelling curriculum (yep..shameless plug, lol) has some Hanukkah word lists. I probably won't make them test on the words, but they can use the lists for game play.

Today we are finishing the last of our shopping. The boys wanted to make their two new cousins a Build-A-Bear as a gift (it's a tradition for new wee additions to the family that started when we made Bailey - now 12 - his first one when he was born!) so we are taking care of that. And then grocery shopping. Blech.

Tomorrow the boys are in a Christmas parade with the Scouts. We finally got our new camera so hopefully I will have photos to post! I can't describe this parade. Honestly. No words. So you guys will have to see the photos to understand why, lol. It's a country parade. Everything from high class floats to decorated lawn mowers and tractors (nope, not kidding) are in the parade. AND...people actually travel from out of state to see this. It's in the middle of nowhere! Not even a gas station. Nothing.  And yet it's the most anticipated holiday event of the season for some. So freaking weird.

Ok. That was long. Too long. Hope some of you actually made it to the end. ;) I hope everyone has a splendid week!

And in case I don't get to say before next weekend, we wish you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Friday, December 9, 2011

This Week...

I don't have a lot to say this week...funny, huh? The hubs and I were introduced the to TV show "The Big Bang Theory" this week, and have completely fallen in love with it. I honestly cannot remember the last time we have both laughed so hard, and so often, because of a 30 minute sitcom! I have already gotten seasons 1-4 and I expect we will blow through them at an alarming rate, lol.

We are almost done with our Christmas shopping which is pretty astounding. Usually I'm scrambling on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, my neurosis are kicking in and rather than enjoying myself because I'm just about finished, I spend my days fretting and worrying about whether I have forgotten something/someone. *Sigh* At least I provide laughter for my family and friends with my crazies. :D

The boys are still on break. Yep, the flexibility of homeschooling really IS mucho fabulous. Bailey has finally almost finished the Lord of the Rings trilogy and will begin reading the Eragon trilogy by Christopher Paolini. He has been wanting to read those since he saw the movie, but his excitement about them really grew when he found the books on (the site we went to, to find books by homeschoolers) and he discovered the author was homeschooled. Since he likes to dabble in creative writing, this is very motivating for him.

Braeden is still working on reading The Polar Express. He really wants to finish it because he wants to watch the movie (No, we haven't seen it before. Crazy, I know.) and we won't watch until he's done.

This weekend the boys are doing their Toys for Tots shopping. They have made lists of things they want to give children, and are super excited about finally buying off of that list. After that, we are hitting a Build-A-Bear because the boys want to make one for each of their cousins, Brooklyn and Mariska. Aside from printing out photos and placing them in frames (of which I have already purchased, go me!), and picking up a couple of gift cards, that will wrap up our holiday shopping.

How. Weird.

That means next week, there is a small chance I will finish up my Christmas cards and get them out, kinda on time even...but then what the heck will I do with my time? ;)

Hope errbody has a fantastic week!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Christmas Parade!

We participated in the Athens Parade of Lights for the first time on Thursday and we had a great time! The boys got to ride on a float with the other Masters Academy children and they really enjoyed that. The theme of the float was "Hot Chocolate" so they got to hold giant forks with giant marshmallows on the end, and giant spoons to stir the cocoa. While they handed out candy like other parade participants, they also handed out packs of hot cocoa mix, lol. Everyone was color coordinated so the kids all was so cute! Of course, I only have a couple of photos that I took with my phone (and honestly I'm actually only using one of those, lol, the rest I stole from Tracy's facebook!), but when I get some pics from Tracy, I will try and post more photos. As a side note...we have a new camera coming, so hopefully this means my picture taking skills will improve. Maybe. Hopefully maybe. ... :D

Bailey and Braeden, on the float and waiting to start!
Q and Z, putting on some finishing touches...
Tracy and Scott, trying to stay warm. I'm not sure what Scott is doing...guessing his beard was cold? Heh...
The hubs and I. We couldn't believe how cold it was, especially considering that we were wearing shorts just a week ago!
This appealed to my inner's the 501st! We were surprised to see a legion in the Athens parade, lol...
So on to this week's plans...

I am working on my Christmas cards. I will be working on said Christmas cards until probably just after Christmas, lol. Ah well, it'll be like prolonging the excitement of the season, right? ;) The boys are planning on watching holiday movies on Netflix all week. Yes, really. I'm hoping they will continue with their reading (so far, so good) and I might be able to work in some spelling games. I'm sure there will be Christmas crafts at some point this week as well. The last couple of years, they have enjoyed making ornaments for our tree, and ornaments for family and friends.

Sometime later in the month, we will start on some little mini-studies we are wanting to do, to learn about other winter holidays and celebrations. We do celebrate Christmas, but one of the great things about homeschooling is we can do and study what we want. :) We don't use a Christian homeschool curriculum, or attend a church, but we are Christian in faith (shocking, I know, lol!) and celebrate as such. But we don't have to be Jewish to learn about Hanukkah, or Pagan or Wiccan to read about celebrating Yule. I like exposing the boys to different opinions/theories/beliefs. They can get a little understanding (and in a perfect world, understanding brings acceptance) of how other families and children celebrate this time of year. To be honest, I'm looking forward to what I'm going to learn, by helping them learn.

Not a lot else going on. I plan on watching one of my MOST favorite holiday movies this weekend (only the first time of many this holiday season, I assure you). National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I love that ridiculous movie, lol! I will probably quote it all month long....

At some point, I have to finish shopping. Every year, I am buying something on Christmas Eve. Hear's hoping that's one tradition I can break this year!

Anyone else still have a lot of shopping to do?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I can officially listen to Christmas music... that we've had the turkey and done the shopping! That's the law that the hubs lays down. We have to get through Thanksgiving before we start decorating and everything. The music is all part of the "and everything." :)

Thanksgiving dinner with part of the family went well on Thanksgiving day. By 830pm I was in line at Best Buy, lol (even though I had ordered what I wanted to wait in line for from their website at 630 that morning!). It was actually a fun night. There were tons of people, so the people watching was fun. They had an outdoor screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 while everyone was waiting, and that was pretty cool. When we were finally let in at midnight, things were going VERY smoothly. Much more so that I expected. They were letting people in by groups of 30 so there were no trampling issues and they had maps they passed out beforehand of how the check out lines were going to work and where they started. We were impressed.

After Best Buy, we hit IHOP and found ourselves at Walmart by about 330am. It was basically dead and everything had been picked through, and I was on my way home (with seasons 3, 4 and 5 of Supernatural, yay!) by 4 or so.

Now, we are on the way to my parents for the weekend where we will have dinner and fun with them!

Next week is the boys' last day at Masters until after the New Year. After their last day on Thursday, the Masters' kids are in a parade of lights in town...that should be fun.

We are officially on break, so I don't really have any plans for them as far as school goes. At least not right now. Reading and spelling, but that's about it. We are going to look into which of the homeschool writing courses we are going to sign Bailey up for in January. I really wish we had done it sooner, but time and money are always factors in everything. At his grade level, they have courses in mechanics, paragraph writing, essay writing and more. I'm sure he will be taking more than one, but finding a good one to start with is important. Fortunately, we have a writer in the house (Shameless plug for the hubs: You can totally go download his ebook from Amazon for only $.99 right now! :) Click here: Celadonian Tales Vol: 1 Blood and Brass), so he is going to have a good bit of input on where to jump in.

I didn't know that the same website offers elementary online writing courses too. Even though it might be a little too much for him right now, we are going to toss around the idea of signing him up for the youngest course they have...if nothing else to help with grammar and sentence structure. We'll see. :) for more turkey! I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving with their loved ones! :D

Friday, November 18, 2011

Vocabulary, Thanksgiving and Black Friday!

This week was a good week for us. I'm still sucking with my time management skills, but the boys had a good week. My grandmother had a couple of doctor appointments that I helped her with, and I spent all day Wednesday at our first tax meeting of the season (Aaaaahhhh, it's already tax season?!?!), so the boys, and the hubs, had a good trial run of what things are going to be like while I'm out of the house for those six weeks or so I'm at the office.

This week is our last official week of school, as we are on track to take our winter break from Thanksgiving until right after the New Year. We never do nothing for those few weeks, but it's entirely different. We focus on holiday studies (like mini unit studies) rather than our normal curriculum. They will work on spelling, but I will only ask them to play spelling games rather than do their normal spelling lists. They will still do their independent reading, but will more than likely spend that time reading holiday stories.

I have no idea what Bailey will read over the holidays, he hasn't decided. Braeden is going to tackle The Polar Express. He has improved SO much lately with his reading. We are loving it! Things are just clicking for him, left and right. A lot of the improvement came after we focused on helping him with his reading vocabulary. He concentrated on sight words in spelling, and played a lot of vocabulary games online.

We also tried to continue the vocabulary focus when we were away from computers too. One way we did this was by playing word games in the car (we spend A LOT of time in the car, lol). We started playing our own version of "The Alphabet Game." Most people play where you follow the alphabet...for instance, Bailey starts and he uses the word "ant." Then it's Braeden's turn and "b" is his letter so he uses the word "bat." And it keeps going. Sometimes you can lay down restrictions, like the words can only be animals or can only be foods.

We play that way, but our favorite variation is where one person starts with any letter of their choice but the next person's word has to start with the last letter of the previous word. So Walter uses the word "skill" and then I'm next and use the word "love." Then Bailey's next and he uses "eat." And so on. When Walter and I play, we don't try to choose only words that the boys know. We use whatever words come to mind and if they don't know what those words mean, then we explain them and use them in a sentence. So we're helping Braeden, but Bailey is benefiting too. :)

This coming week is going to be kinda hectic, much as it is for the majority of the country, lol. Tomorrow I am taking an entire Saturday for myself. Horrible, I know. I am spending the whole day, from about 9am until midnight, with Tracy and her SIL Jen. We will be scrapbooking at Archivers. I love these ladies, and Jen lives in Connecticut so I don't get to see her as often as I would like. I haven't really scrapped in a long while, and I'm so looking forward to it!

The rest of the week will honestly be leading up to Thanksgiving. We will be cramming in last minute school things before our break. Thanksgiving day we will have dinner with my grandmother and that night Tracy, her husband Scott, Jen and myself will head out for Black Friday shopping!!!! It's going to be so much fun! Best Buy is handing out tickets for something we are getting the boys as gifts, and they will start handing out the tickets at 10pm. Doors open at midnight and the frenzy begins. Last year we didn't really hit Best Buy. We did the Walmart thing. I wasn't going to buy anything, but I ended up with over $200 in $5 and $10 Blurays. This year, I'm not even going to pretend I'm not buying anything other than the boys' specific gift items. I'm almost as excited for the movie buying this year as I am about their gifts we are hopefully getting. Scott and I are the Bluray/movie addicts, so we already have our lists of what we want to fight over! ;) Once we are all shopped out, we'll go eat at IHOP and deliriously laugh over what we saw and how excited we are with what we bought, lol.

After shopping, we're heading to my parents where they host a huge Thanksgiving dinner that Saturday. About 50 people huge. It's crowded and crazy, but fun and there's tons of good food.

I have so much in my life I am thankful for, and each year, even through the craziness, I love being able to spend this time with family and friends and give thanks. I hope each and every one of you have a fabulous Thanksgiving with your loved ones!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Little Bits of Random...

In reading some blogs this week, I came across a blogger who had a "random" post. She took many things she wanted to say, and just said them. Randomly. This idea intrigued me because so often, I have so much I want to say and I can't find a way to work everything into a post that flows. So, this week, I'm not going to try. I'm just gonna be random. ;)

* I can't believe it's November and I'm perusing the Black Friday sale ads. How crazy. Where have the last 10 months gone?!

* I loved, loved, LOVED this week's episode of Glee. 

* The boys did really well with their online subjects this week, but fought me at the handwriting worksheets. Shocker. 

* Speaking of handwriting... what does everyone think of teaching cursive writing? Still necessary, or gone the way of the Dodo?

* We're visiting my parents and MIL this weekend. Looking forward to seeing everyone. Getting some holiday pictures made with the boys and my niece. 

* I don't sleep at night. I would like to say I don't know why. But the last two months, I blame it on Gilmore Girls. I had never seen it, but I have blown through seven seasons since Labor Day. :)

* I'm a sandwich meat snob. 

* I'm making my own Christmas cards again this year. Every year about this time, I am very excited. I think up a design, pick up needed supplies and pat myself on the back for going through so much effort for my holiday cards. Then, about 4 days before Christmas, I'm cursing the damn cards and I'm swearing that I will never make my own again. Finally getting them all in the mail, half of them running a good chance of getting to their destination after Christmas, I calm down and pat myself on the back again. Heh. 

* We have been talking about signing Bailey up for homeschool writing courses for a while, but as usual, I have procrastinated. We are finally going to let him start his first one in January, when I start the tax thing this year. January is a tough month for us because we are coming off a nice long holiday break AND trying to adjust to me being out of the house again. Hoping the writing course is a good thing; introducing something new to take the monotony out of things. Now, to find something similar to help rejuvenate and motivate Braeden...

* We have several movies we are looking forward to seeing over the next few weeks. The Muppets, Arthur Christmas, The Muppets, Happy Feet Two and finally, The Muppets. What? :P

* I try and start Christmas shopping early every year, but inevitably, my first purchase is on Black Friday. However, this year, I have already started and have 3 gifts ready to go under the tree. Yeah, 3 isn't a lot. But it's a start!

* It's no secret that I'm a rabid TV watcher. Some of my favorite shows are guilty total teen angst drama crap that I wait for every week but I never tell anyone about. My favorite teeny show? The Vampire Diaries. There is a whole lotta pretty in that show. :D 

* I love the seasonal flavors of coffee creamer that are out right now.

* Next week, (one of our favorite resource sites) is hosting it's first ever Virtual Book Release Party. I have never been a part of a book release party, virtual or otherwise. Looking forward to it. If you check it out, you may even win a Kindle copy of the books being released.

* While thinking about books...I cannot believe that there's a new Sherrilyn Kenyon - Dark Hunter AND a Janet Evanovich - Stephanie Plum novel out that I haven't read yet. Darn Gilmore Girls. Guess I won't be sleeping much the next few nights either, lol.

* I love my iPad. Best gadget EVAR. 

* I have thoroughly enjoyed my randomness this week. I would expect to see more little bits of random from me every few weeks!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Music, Art and School Pictures!

This week we had our field trip to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the High Museum of Art. We had a GREAT time! Honestly, I was surprised at just how much we enjoyed ourselves, even if we did have to wake up at 6am (that's 6am in normal human speak, but that's the middle of the night in Katie speak!). Neither experiences were something that we had done before and it's quite possible we've found new interests to explore as a family. 

At the Orchestra, we got to sit in the front row. This was super cool in so many ways, but it was a little limiting as far seeing the whole orchestra. Still, it was fabulous for the boys to say they were in the front row, lol. Besides getting to hear beautiful music, we learned a lot too! I had no idea a double bass was so big, what the difference was in a viola and a violin, or why being the "Concertmaster" is different than being "First Chair." After the performance, we toured the High. It was really cool...they were showcasing the artists Picasso, Pollock, Warhol; as well as few others. No, I don't remember all the names. Yes, that's shameful. Moving on... :) Our experience on Wednesday led the boys to come home and Google quite a bit. They wanted to see other pieces of art by the artists we saw, as well as more information about the orchestra. They also played some art and music games online. Yay for learnin'!

Thursday, the boys got to have their first official "school photos" made. I can't wait to see how they turned out! The photographer took several different shots, all outdoors. I love that there will be signs of fall in the background. We always take our own Christmas card photos (there's nothing wrong with that at all!), but I'm looking forward to being able to gift a different style of picture this year.

This week proved to be hectic, as I knew it would. Next week things will be as normal as normal is for us. The boys are going to work on a Veteran's Day mini unit study, which they are looking forward to. They have been playing a lot of science and math games lately, so I think I'm going to assign some different games...just to throw them off, lol. ;) Some geography games and some health games sound good. 

I hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Paaahty!

Every year our friends, the Bells, have a mucho fabulous gathering for Halloween. Bonfires, man-dip (Sounds awkward and gross, yes. But it's yummy, lol.), and their special "soaked fruit." Good friends and good times! We look forward to it every year, and last night was the big night.

Before the Halloween party began, we had a 2nd birthday party for ISO!

The punch! :)

The "let's make sure the kids all get a sugar high" table. The Bells made homemade cookies and brownies, and put together a decorate-your-own-cupcake station. :)

Some of the adults around the bonfire.

Some of the kids around the bonfire. 

It was a great evening, with lots of fun had by all! There are more pictures of costumes and such...I just have to get my hands on them. :)

Today we are taking the boys to see 'Puss in Boots', followed by some grocery shopping. Then I'm hoping for a quiet evening at home together.

This week is going to be great, but busy! We have our homeschool group meeting on Tuesday and a field trip to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and High Museum of Art on Wednesday. Then, on Thursday, the boys are having their first ever "school pictures" made. The Master's Academy that they attend has a photographer come out every year to take the photos. Even though I can't say that school pictures are something I miss because they are homeschooled, I am still kinda excited about their experience, lol.

As far as schooly stuff goes, we will plug along as we can. We will have a lot of time away from the house this week. Maybe with our field trip to the big city of ATL ( I type the words "big city" I suddenly hear the Green Acres theme in my head...), we can do a little roadschooling. I love that term. It's fairly new to me, but I have to say that most homeschooling families probably practice some roadschooling. Especially since I have found that homeschoolers spend WAY more time away from home and on the road than anyone would think, lol.

Hope errbody has a great week and enjoys the first week of November (EEK! November already??!!). :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

October is just flying by...

Halloween is only a little more than a week away and we are looking forward to the Bell's annual Halloween bash! With the end of October comes the end of the fall soccer season so we have a little more time on our hands. That's always good. Especially for me, since the passing of Halloween signals the official start of the Holiday season, lol! Yeah, I know for most people Thanksgiving may signal that. But I like to get a jump on the festivities myself. ;)

This week was a fairly average week for us. Scouts and soccer. And more soccer. Today is Braeden's end of season soccer party, so he's looking forward to that. Bailey has had a head cold all week, but seems to be on the up side of that now.

School is going well. They have been playing games online almost as much as they have been going online for lessons. I call the games supplementary enrichment. Sounds SO much better than "playing games" doesn't it? ;) They also have been using their Bamboo tablets more. Finally. Bailey is practicing drawing and using art programs. Braeden likes doing art, but he is using it more for practicing his handwriting. It's a computer-y thing, so it's naturally met with less resistance than a worksheet, lol.

This week will wrap up soccer for both boys. I know Braeden's party is today, but he has make up games (we had a lot of rain this season) on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Bailey has his final make up games on Monday and Tuesday, followed by the championships, we hope.

Our plans for school should go along as normal, or at least as normal as we get. The boys are off from Masters this week for their fall break, so that's an extra day during the week we haven't had in a while. I'm going to try and look up some more homeschool authors for them to read. Of course I think reading is so important, but this week their reading time equates to a little me time. And right now, I'm completely and totally obsessed with watching Gilmore Girls! I knew I would like the show, even though I never got a chance to watch it when it was in it's original run, but I never thought that I would plan some quality downtime around seeing what's going to happen next with Luke and Lorelai or Rory and Logan! :D

I hope everyone has a great week, and a safe Halloween if you celebrate over the weekend!

Oh yeah, this is the final week in my Digital Scrapbooking Software Giveaway. It really is worth your time to is always good, right? Head over and enter now and I'll do the drawing on November 1st!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


We had a great time on our little trip to Charleston, SC last weekend. It was, of course, too short. But that's the way all vacations are, aren't they? While we got to see a couple of really good places, we didn't get to go everywhere we wanted to so we are already making plans to go back. I didn't get to see any of the plantations or anything, and that's something I would really like to do. We were able to visit Charles Towne Landing and Folly Beach on Saturday, and we went to Cypress Gardens on Sunday before we came home.

I don't have pictures of Cypress Gardens yet. Tracy was taking most of the pics that day, and I haven't gotten them from her. I can post those when I get them. We did however, get pictures from our Saturday fun, so at least that's something.

Thanks to a friend's suggestion, we found out that Saturday was Archaeology Day at CTL. It was cool; the boys got to do a little dig for fossils, they got to talk to a group of archaeology students who were actually working on a dig site and they did a little scavenger hunt throughout the park. Lots of fun. The most fun? Seeing their faces when we handed then the scavenger hunt clipboard and pencil. I know I'm evil, but mine should have listened to me when I said we were going to have some learnin' on our trip. :D

We saw and did so much. I really couldn't try and post all of the pictures, it would take all day to look through them.

Gee...whatcha think they're looking for? :)

There was an animal forest where we got to see deer, elk, bison, vultures, turkeys, a black bear, a puma, herons and more. We tried a couple of times to see a river otter, but they were elusive. Little buggars.

There were several really cool monuments and statues. There were cannons and old buildings, like replicas of homes that the settlers would have originally lived in. There was an old merchant ship that we got to walk through.

These were bunks on the ship. So small...can you imagine sleeping in one?!
All in all it was a fabulous experience. We were shocked when we got there and discovered just how expansive this place was. When we got done, we felt like we walked more there than we did when we went to Kennedy Space Center! The boys all had a great time too. Braeden kept saying the whole way out of the park that he was so glad we came to "Charleston Landing." I kept correcting him, but I finally had to stop and show him the map and have a little lesson in the importance of spelling. Yes, Charles Towne looks very similar to Charleston, but you have to process the whole word, not just the first part, lol. Poor guy. He had extra learnin'.

When we left there, we headed to Folly Beach. You can't visit the coast and not see the ocean, right? We brought the swimsuits for the boys, just in case, but I honestly did not think they would want to get in the water because it was so chilly. I was wrong. Duh. ;)

While the adults were sitting on the beach, lamenting the fact that we didn't have our hoodies, OUR HOODIES, the boys played. Kids are so crazy.

Like I said, we went to Cypress Gardens on Sunday, but I don't have those photos yet. I will try and do another post with those once I get them.

The week after our trip was surprisingly uneventful. It rained from Monday to Thursday, so all of the soccer games were cancelled this week. The boys and I had some good, rainy downtime. This week we will, provided the weather cooperates, resume our normal chaotic schedule. Scouts on Monday, soccer games for both boys on Tuesday and Thursday, homeschool group on Tuesday and Masters on Thursday. School does happen in the midst of all of that, just in case you were wondering. ;)

Now I'm off to grocery shop. I hate grocery shopping. Not a little hate. Loathe kinda hate.

Once I get that out of the way, I can work on their plans for this week. Bailey discovered that their spelling website has literature based word lists for the The Hobbit, but we couldn't find any for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. So we are going to make our own. Pretty cool, yeah? Braeden doesn't really work too much on the literature lists, but he found some dinosaur lists, so he's happy with that. more thing...don't forget to stop by my MyMemories Review and Giveaway and put in your entry to win a fabulous digital scrapbooking software program!

Alrighty, that's it for now. Have a great week, errbody! :^)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I love flexibility...

No, not the kind where you can put your feet behind your head and walk around on your hands like some freaky crab-human hybrid.

I'm referring to being able to be flexible with our time, and our schedules. This week we are taking a little four day weekend to Charleston. Leaving today. Why? Cause we can. :)

We have been to the USS Yorktown before, but we have never been to, and explored, historic downtown Charleston. So, we had an opportunity to go and we are going. How cool is it that we don't have to worry about taking time off work (the hubs has to take his work with him, so he doesn't actually get time off...but at least it's something that he can take with, lol), or worry about unexcused absences from school.


It's a beautiful thing.

Other than our trip to Charleston this week, we had soccer, scouts, more soccer, soccer pictures and some soccer. Oh, and we may have had a soccer game.

This week the boys did their normal Time4Learning, but it was hard. Too much excitement I guess. And both of them will sit and do science and social studies for hours...then look at me like I'm Hitler if I tell them I understand they have been working for the last two hours but they still have to do language arts and math. Yesterday I did cave and tell them they could work on other things, rather than T4L. They played some math games, and some brain games. They also worked on compound words.

I absolutely love working on these with them! It's so funny to get them to try and create their own compound words, lol. Bailey actually thinks and comes up with words like "wormegg." Granted, that's not really a word. But at least he is trying to put together words that might, at least remotely, make a real word. Braeden, after a ten minute argument on why a butterfly is called a butterfly (butterfly was my example word to them) - "It's not like it has butter all over it. Why is it called that?!" - finally tried to come up with his own. I got "doggycat." It made me laugh...

As we are getting ready to leave for Masters today, they are very excited because they think they had a short school week. Little do they know that we will be "schooling" on our trip. Insert evil cackle. :D There is a lot of history in Charleston, and before we leave I plan to make sure we have some educational stops throughout our weekend.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. I'm not even going to try and promise to post pictures, lol. I will post them when I get around to them. Provided I get them. I still haven't found my camera that I put away when we were deep cleaning...

Monday, October 3, 2011

MyMemories - Review and Giveaway!

I don't know that I talk a lot about my scrapbooking and card making; usually it's only when I have a big scrap day at Archivers or something. Anyway...I love it. It's surprisingly cathartic for me. Both the scrapbooking and the card making. I have never honestly given much thought to digital scrapbooking before, because I like messing around with paper, inks, stamps, my Cricut, etc. In my mind, the only reason someone would have a digital scrapbooking software program was because they wanted to create digital layouts and then just print them out and slap them in an album. No textures. No dimension. No adhesives. And there are those out there that know how much I love my adhesives, lol.

Recently, I was given an opportunity to try out and review MyMemories Suite; a digital software program used for digital scrapbooking, card making and so much more.

Oh...I don't generally do disclosures or anything, but for those who feel I should, here goes:  I was given a free copy of this software in return for my review. Having said that, my opinion is my own and was not influenced by MyMemories in any way.

We good?


I now know how wrong I was, about not having a use for something like MyMemories and that a paper scrapper/crafter such as myself really can use and enjoy something like this. :)

The software suite was extremely easy to download, install and get started.  As soon as you open the program, you are asked if you want to design your own album or if you want to use one of the templates they offer. I will probably always design my own, cause that's just me. But I saw tons of pre-made templates available AND you can download more from their website (I saw lots and lots of free downloads on the site, and free is always good, lol. There were even more paid ones, and they weren't badly priced or anything).

I haven't had as much time as I would like to play around with this, but I really did like what I saw. There are papers to choose from, embellishments to use, shapes and word art you can add...just tons of stuff.

I worked on a scrap layout. It's fairly simple, but I love it! And something like this would be SO much cooler to post on my blog or on my facebook, rather than just posting the photo and being done with it.
Once I chose the layout, I was able to choose which parts of the photo I wanted to use. I really liked splitting the photo into thirds like I did, and having that right side to label the layout, and put a little description and date on there.

Isn't that cute? And it's not just for scrap layouts. Here is a little Halloween greeting I threw together:
I would rather post something like this on a friend's facebook page, instead of just saying "Happy Halloween." Wouldn't you? :) I imagine it would be super easy to move the cute little pumpkin and insert a photo of the boys and their costumes. That would be something nice to email to family, or even to print out and frame for myself or as a gift!

Ok, I know reviews should be more extensive. And as I have time, I will continue to play around and post what I think. But what is my bottom line opinion so far?

I like it. A lot.

It will never replace paper scrapping and card making for me. I don't know that I will ever use it to print a layout, but I can see me printing out a greeting and/or card for sure. And I can certainly see me using this program on my blog and on facebook! I really, really liked the scrap layout I did. It's the best of both worlds for me...I can paper scrap for myself, and digital scrap for those that don't get to see my scrapbooks. :)

Now, about that giveaway...

Would any of you like your own copy of the My Memories Suite? For FREE?? I would recommend buying this to my scrap friends, and to my blogging friends. But that "free" part is certainly appealing, isn't it? Well, MyMemories has not only offered me a copy of the program for my review, but they also offered me a copy to give away for free to one of my lucky blog readers!

It's easy to be entered in the giveaway. All you have to do is visit the MyMemories website at, find your favorite digital paper pack or layout, then come back here and leave a comment telling me which one is your favorite. I will randomly pick a comment as the winner. This giveaway will run through the end of the month. You can leave a comment right up until midnight on October 31st. I will pick the winner on November 1st.

If you know you want a copy of the software, and you don't want to wait until the giveaway is over, here is code you can use to save $10 on the purchase of MyMemories Suite, PLUS a $10 coupon for use in the MyMemories store, so you can buy that favorite digital paper pack or layout you found when you were entering the giveaway. ;)

If you want to check back here after the giveaway, those of you who didn't win can still grab this promo code for both of the $10 coupons!

The promo code is: STMMMS80524

Good luck!