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!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Accessorizing and feeling realllly old. And homeschooling?

If I could change my shoes and my handbag three times a day, I would. Don't really care as much about the clothes as I do the shoes and bags, but that's just me. Anyway, accessorizing is just what we ladies do. I think that same mentality should hold true for my blog as well. I'm sure you have noticed that I change the design of my blog every so often. Usually seasonally. From now until the end of the year are some of my favorite "accessory" changes! I may leave the Halloween one I have now up until after October 31. Or I may change it five more times before then. You just never know. This is your warning. ;)

So ... I know I talk all the time about how time flies. But sometimes things hit me like a ton of bricks. Example? This week marked the 20th anniversary of the release of Nirvana's Nevermind album. Otherwise known as one of THE best albums. Ever.

Whoa. Wait. What??

I know!

For those of you who remember buying that album as vividly as I do, I'm going to give you a moment to let that sink in.

Twenty. Freaking. Years.

I was 14 years old when I bought that album. And I knew every word to every song by the end of the first weekend with it. That album is still with me today. On my iPod at all times. Why? It's one of those defining albums for me. That one and Pearl Jam's Ten. I don't know that I could explain it; why they were so defining or why they're still with me. Other than of my day?

Music of my day? Oh gawd. Listen to me. Pretty soon I'm going to be talking about these young whippersnappers today that wouldn't know good music if it fell out of the sky and landed on their face. ;)

Ok, moment over. Moving on...

This week was a great week for us. School is going well. Master's is going great. The soccer season is going fairly smoothly this fall. We have only had one rain out so far, lol. This week both of the boys won their soccer games! That's always exciting. With the return of soccer each season, comes the return of the small town introduction. No, that's not a "hello" like in most societies. Small town intros run like this "Now, what church do you go to?" or "Why don't I recognize your son from school?"

How I wish I was lying or being sarcastic. But this is true.

Since this is Bailey's 7th year playing with the recreation department, most of the families we interact with at that age range know us and know we don't have to do through the whole "we are heathen homeschoolers" spiel. But in Braeden's age group, no one really knows us yet.

So I explain. No, we don't go to church. Yes, I am a Christian (not the crazy Westboro kind), not that it's anyone's business. We just don't like the hypocrisy we find in church. Especially small town churches where the congregation is comprised of two families. No, I don't think I'm better than your child's teacher, or better than you, or that my kids are too good for the public school. Although, come to think of it, maybe I should say that. Then they would just ignore me all together. :D

Having said all that, it's not entirely bad. I am used to the questions and sometimes I get those questions that aren't condescending or criticizing. Sometimes people really do want to know how we make it work. Especially when I do look like a heathen (In rural communities, tattoos = the devil. The more you have, the closer you are to hell, lol), yet my kids can speak intelligently, and politely. Heh.

Anyway, those questions I love answering! So many people think they just can't do it. But why? Why has our society made them feel like teachers are the only ones who can teach? Take early child education. Technically that starts at home. Who teaches your child their first sounds and their first words? Who teaches them their colors and shapes. Who is the first person to read a book with them? More than likely YOU were the one that I did all that, not a teacher. That's homeschooling.

No, really. That's homeschooling. Sure, it's gets a little more complicated as they get older. But the principle holds. You know what's best for your child. You can see them and how they learn. You are the best person to help them get an individualized education; one suited for their learning style. If your child likes workbooks and textbooks, that's great. Find them, lol. If your child, like mine, lives and breathes computers, find an online program. Do some of both. Do neither. Even if your child is gifted or needs special education, you can still homeschool. You find what works for your children, and for you.

I would never say it's easy. And I will tell you that you have to want to do it, and do it correctly. But I can also tell you that it is one of the most fulfilling decisions I could have made, and I have never regretted going that route with our family. :)

Ok. I'm done. I talk too much, I know. Hope everyone has a great week!