Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Just a Thought....

We have been studying ancient history this year. In light of that I just have one thought:

It would have been unheard of for a country to NOT protect it's borders against invasion or danger.

What is wrong with us?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Countdown to the End

We are very nearly through with school. A few weeks ago it looked as if we might be in school through July and begin 4th grade, oh...in August. But thankfully, that will not be the case. We have doubled up on the History lessons and we are nearly through with Math. All that will have to be done in June is Astronomy a few days a week. Then we should get July off. That's the plan anyway.

So History was really fun yesterday. A lot of times we just read the lesson and make the timeline figures. More on that here. But yesterday's lessons were on King Xerxes and Esther. The story was how Xerxes tried to attack Greece and the activity was to make Greek warships like this one:
Here are ours:
Now for the big test.....

Well, if we had been in charge of Greece, Xerxes might just have gotten that revenge he wanted.

Esther, of course, underwent 12 months of beauty treatments before being presented to the King. So, we gave each other make-overs. I won't include those pictures, but the girls had a blast with all the make-up and crowns and fancy clothes....they won't soon forget that lesson!

Also, I just had to let you know that the mermaid doll came out great after all. I just sewed another hair piece from this tutorial and sewed it right on top. A bit of glue on choice strands and she was good to go.

And here is my reward for that:
Little Bit didn't get to go to the party since she had a fever. So we sent along "Flat Little Bit" instead. I hear she had a good time.

Now....we're off to finish this school year up! I'm counting down the days, people.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Eating at Home: It's Not Just for the Frugal Anymore

So. Husband and I were discussing the Swine Flu yesterday. It was a hot topic since Little Bit had a fever of 102.7 Friday night. While our street was flooding. While S was visiting in the garage with a couple of teenagers (they were seniors in high school) who had flooded out their car on our street and were waiting for the boy's dad to come get them. While we had rabbits in the bathroom pooping everywhere because I had to rescue them from the rain because they are only 6 weeks old and one of them was sitting under a drip and the other one was stuck outside under the ramp and couldn't figure out what to do and Sweetheart was worried about them.

Whew. To think I used to drive home from work on Fridays and think, "What should we go do tonight?"

Well, she didn't have the swine flu. Just a virus and she's all better now. Husband said he was listening to Michael Savage Friday and I have to say he had a good point about the whole swine flu thing. You may disagree with everything Michael Savage says because goodness knows he's opinionated, but this one thing was quite logical. Among other things he said if you wanted to protect yourselves from the swine flu....eat at home. He had some points about illegal aliens (from Mexico, where I live that's where they would be from) working at restaurants. Hmm. Good point.

So that made me decide to run to Kroger after church instead of grabbing fast food like I would have normally on Sunday nights. But which Kroger to go to? We have 2 that are near enough our home. I remembered that the "safer" one of the two, the "nicer" one if you will, had a really bad robbery last weekend. One of the moms from my homeschool group told us about it. Her brother-in-law was the man hit in the face with the butt end of a rifle by the robbers. Another mom from our group was in the store with her 3 year old while the robbery occurred. It was a bank robbery, so I made the quick decision to go to the other Kroger, since it does not have a bank inside.

There were no baskets when we got there. None. I was pretty surprised since the parking lot didn't seem that crowded. So Sweetheart and I lugged those hand held baskets around the store. The checker told us 2 local grocery stores had been stealing all of Kroger's grocery carts. My goodness! Where can I go that's safe and germ free???

Oh yes. Home. Which is where we'll be eating, thank you very much.

And later I'll have to tell you about those water disasters. Which, oddly enough, had nothing to do with the flooding on our street two weekends in a row!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fitness Friday Assignment: Picture This

I have a pretty big assignment this week, so I'm posting it early. It requires you to use pictures in your post, so if you don't have the capability to do that, there will be an alternate assignment for you! OK?

I love seeing people's houses. I'm very nosy that way. I used to ask to go to the bathroom everywhere we went when I was little and my parents accused me of "just wanting to see what color the bathroom was." It's true. Whenever S talks about someone at his work, I always picture how they look in my head, even if I've never met them. It's always funny how far off I am.

Well, when you ladies talk about your kitchens and your treadmills, etc., it makes me wonder what your set up looks like. I'm nosy. The people want to know. This week: you will reveal.

Pick an area of your home or life related to your fitness goals and give us a tour. Let us know what's working for you in this space and what's not working. What dreams do you have for this area of your life? For example, you might show us:

*Areas of your kitchen. Perhaps you have really gotten this healthy eating thing down and want to share some things you've done in your kitchen that help you be successful.
*Your workout area. I can see this being an area where we might dream big. But show us what you've got and what you want to add.
*Your closet. Maybe you've gotten rid of clothes that are too big and want to brag.

WHATEVER!!! Just as long as you include pictures for me, because I'm nos...well, we already went over that.

Those were just ideas....any area will do related to fitness, of course.

Now, for those of you who don't have a digital camera or whatever.....you can tell us whatever you like about your area and then dream big. Go virtual shopping and show us what you want to buy. Stuff for the kitchen? Workout equipment? What would you buy to help you in your fitness goals? Remember, there's no budget for virtual shopping! (And include links so we can dream with you!)

How does that sound? Any questions?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fitness Friday: The Awesome Edition

Do you know what would be awesome? Having a stocked pantry/refrigerator full of healthy and good food.

I was going to say that it would be awesome to have a personal chef, but then I realized I don't really want someone here....I just want good food around.

Guess what? I have a car. I can drive to the grocery store and buy awesome food. DUH! Why aren't I taking care of myself in this way? Because I pick what's easy and what's cheap and what's fast. It's time to start spending a bit more time planning meals. I hate doing it, but I would love having the food around, so I need to work towards it.

Of course this means cleaning out my fridge and pantry. Sigh.

I also think it would be awesome to have a treadmill here at home. I don't have any desire to drive to a gym, but I would like to work out at home. While watching TV.

But it would be awesome to just work out. I would feel better. Man! I just can't seem to get that one going. I think I will ask husband to help me get going.

As far as my health and weight loss and fitness goes, I am not being awesome in any area. So is it better to be pretty good in all areas, or really awesome in one area? How do you guys do on the balance thing? Can you keep up with working out AND eating right AND spiritual health AND all the other things? Or do you just excel in one area at a time?

And don't even get me started on how the house looks.

I want to be awesome at something. I'm going to try the healthy food thing first. I'll let you know how it works out.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Since They Aren't Real, Mine Look Great

My niece Moose is turning 5 today. Her party is on Saturday and she has chosen a mermaid theme. That rocks because now my girls get to wear their mermaid costumes I made for Big Girl's party back in January.

So I decided that I could make a mermaid doll for her. Call it a temporary moment of insanity. It all seemed so simple in my mind. I would just use this doll my sister made 7 years ago or so for a pattern.
So I cut out my pattern, making sure the bottom half was mermaid-y instead of legg-y.
So far, so good.

The I sewed the bottom to the top using a zig-zag stitch.
Then I sewed the two sides together, turned it and stuffed it. And we've got to have a shell bra. Or something that resembles one anyway.

Hey, Nester says "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful", and that doesn't just apply to home decor!

And that's good to know, because this is my first attempt at yarn hair. I found a great tutorial at TanteHilde and I followed the directions. Here's one-half done.
I think I need more practice though because look at all the gaps in the back. Hmm. Should I try to glue strands in place, paint the gaps red, or create some sort of top piece to cover all this?
I'm still working on that.

Then, of course, she'll need a face.

And an excuse for why her arms look like flippers. OH! That's where the "it's an imaginary creature--how do you know what mermaid arms look like?" argument comes in.

Come to think of it, I might have to use that argument for her hair too.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fitness Friday Assignment

I know I'm so late with this--sorry! I had 2 water disasters at my house today. Well, it's not worth going into right now, but I've been mopping a lot of water up today. Needless to say, I am not on schedule.

So this week-our first week--you will have a theme to post about. Sometimes I give rather specific assignments, but this week I'm going to let you decide the direction your post will go.

I know some of you have been doing AWESOME this week! I'm not sure I did anything at all...? Have to think on that one. Is it really already Wednesday?

So this week's theme is: Awesomeness. Or you know, whatever you want to talk about. I'm flexible.

Do what you will with that! Can't wait to see what you guys have to share. See you on Friday.

What Motherhood Does To You

When I was a teacher, before I became a mom, I was pretty strict. I had new teacher problems the same as everybody....trying to figure out an organizational system, learning to make lesson plans that actually worked as opposed to the kind you learned to make in college....but classroom management was my strong area.

I worked with a teacher who was SUCH a good teacher, but she was prone to bending the rules a lot for kids when she felt the situation warranted it. We need teachers like that, but it wasn't me. The rule is the rule. They knew the rule. They broke the rule. They deserve the consequences. She said we needed people like that too. We made a pretty good team.

I loved my students and they, for the most part, loved me. One of my little angels who sucked so much of my energy one year, walked by my new class in the hallway and told them, "Ya'll better watch out! Mrs. E don't play."

I loved that. I was known as a fun teacher--but one you didn't cross without thinking twice. And most of my former students stopped to hug me in the hall.

I always wondered if I would be that hard as a mom.

Well, I don't want to get into a lengthy post about my discipline and training skills/lack of skills, but this much I know:

What mom could look at their child's broken-hearted face, the child who is grieving over a ruined dollar store plaque and NOT want to fix it for them?

The ever-present dilemma---is this a life lesson, or do I intervene?

Well, I intervened.


I've gotten soft.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Treasures On Earth

It's true. The Bible says not to store up what moth and rust can destroy and what thieves can break in and steal.

Or, what can be broken or what can get wet in the windowsill.

Sweetheart brought this sign to me this morning after she discovered it had been sitting in the track of her window for a few days--accidentally.
It came from the dollar store. Her old babysitter bought it for me one year for Mother's Day and helped Sweetheart wrap it before I got there to pick her up.

It's been in her room since she was 2.

On my bathroom cabinet is a small sign that has been in her room since before she was born. It was a gift at her baby shower. It broke a few weeks ago and she was very upset, but she knew I could glue it.

But she and I both knew there was no fixing this.

And I knew I couldn't buy a new one. The dollar store inventory from 6 years ago isn't exactly replaceable. But those tears---they got to me. I hugged her. I consoled her. I told her I was sorry.

And honestly I had no idea that little sign meant anything to her at all.
...to be continued

Sunday, April 19, 2009

All I Needed Was Some Guidance

I've read online for a few years now about people making their own laundry soap. I'll be very honest, the first time I heard of it, I thought, "WHY? Why would you do that? They sell it in neat little boxes and bottles."

Then I read about people who like to avoid chemicals. These folks rinse their hair in vinegar and don't wear deodorant. That didn't appeal to me. Besides, I have a friend who works at a plant where they make Sun detergent and he tells us how badly it stings your eyes. It's got to get you clothes clean, right? :) And don't think I refused the free boxes he brought me that were "damaged" in a shipment. (they were dented) Because they lasted me for forever.

But saving money? Now THAT appeals to me. But I didn't know what Borax even WAS, much less where to find it. I wasn't going to tell anyone that though.

Then my e-friend Suzanne from Joyful Chaos posted quick directions on Facebook about how to make your own detergent. What's the big deal--I've read the directions a hundred times, right? She said the magic words, "You can find it all at Kroger."

Aha! NOW I'm off and running. It was so easy! And I believe her when she says it will last a long time. I've been using it all weekend and I am very pleased with how my clothes have come out.

So for those of you who are visual or need a bit more guidance (like myself)...here are Suzanne's directions--paraphrased.

Here is what you need to buy. And ALL of this was found on one aisle at Kroger.

A box of Borax, Arm and Hammer Washing Soda, a bar of Fels Naptha soap.

You will also need a container. I used an old coffee can.

Grate the whole Fels Naptha bar into the can.

This may take several helpers. We just did some until our arm got tired, walked away, and let someone else have a turn. Within an hour we had it all done. (We did other things in between)

Now, Suzanne said she puts hers into the food processor at this point. I don't have a food processor so I just picked up handfuls of grated soap and rubbed my hands together (like I was cold) over the can. It tore up into very fine pieces quite easily. I kept doing this until I didn't see anymore big pieces.

Then you add a cup of Borax and a cup of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda.

Here it is all mixed together. We took turns shaking the can to mix it.

You will need one other thing and that is fabric softener. I put mine in a Downy Ball, which you can also get on the laundry aisle. I've had mine for a while but I'm sure they still have them. Or, my washing machine has a place to put the fabric softener also.
Now, this might sound like a lot to buy but it's really not. The bar of soap was just over $1 and the boxes of powder were each around $3. When you consider how long it will last...it's easy to see the savings. I will have to buy another Fels Naptha bar for the next batch, but I only used ONE CUP of the other 2 boxes!!! This stuff is going to last a very long time.

You only use 1/8 of a cup per load!!!!!! Actually, Suzanne said she uses just under an 1/8 of a cup. But I've been doubting her and tossing in a bit more. She's probably right--it just seems like so little.

So there you have it. Easy, simple directions for making your own laundry soap and saving tons of money! Thanks Suzanne!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fitness Friday: The Welcome Back Edition

Hi there! I'm Brenda, and I host Fitness Friday. If you don't know what Fitness Friday is, you can click here to look back at some old posts. The older posts are at the bottom.

Anyway, this is the place where I post every week about my fitness, and then I put up a Mr. Linky to invite others to do the same. You can come here every Friday and click on everyone's links to get encouragement on your fitness journey. You can post too if you have a blog. We'd love to have you join us!

I was skinny all my life until I had children. Then ever so slowly the pounds have crept on and I find myself now at a size that I do not like. Also, I am out of shape.

The idea for Fitness Friday began during an e-mail conversation with my bloggy friend Karly. I admitted my really terrible attitidue about my weight and she understood. The idea was born! We all recently took a little break and now....we NEED to come back.

So welcome. You are among friends.

The assignement this week was to 1. introduce ourselves 2. tell why we are back and 3. rank our goals in order of importance.

I'm back because I fell off the wagon. Hard. And yes, it did hurt just a bit. I want to get healthier because:
1. I want to look better. Call me shallow. I hate pictures of myself.
2. I want to wear different sizes of clothes.
3. I want to have more energy and be able to do physical things without feeling like an 80 year old woman.
4. I want our family to eat healthier.

So that's why I'm here. Now, it's your turn!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Can't Shut Up Today

Sorry, I must have a lot to say today! Three posts in one day????

And the title is ironic, as tomorrow is the Day of Silence. I found these words on their website:

Under the Constitution, public schools must respect students’right to free speech. The right to speak includes the right not to speak, as well as the right to wear buttons or T-shirts expressing support for a cause. School officials may not censor a student just because they disapprove of the student’s ideas,because the student’s speech makes them uncomfortable or because they want to avoid controversy.

OK. But I can't help but be reminded of this.

Hmm.

Bible Stuff for Little Ones

I told you how I was so in love with our new Bible curriculum in this post. I still love it, but Little Bit was getting discouraged by it. So I just use it every now and then with her and use other things here and there.

I renewed my membership to Danielle's Place. It is worth every single penny in my opinion. It is especially worth it if you also teach Sunday School. There are great crafts, lesson ideas, even homeschool stuff (that might be a different subscription--can't remember). It's worth checking out. You can see lots of things without a subscription so it might help you decide if a membership is right for you.

The woman who runs Danielle's Place just announced that her sister has launched a site called Bible Kids Fun Zone. This site is geared for very little ones, ages 2-5 to be exact. It looks really neat and worth looking into if you have children in that age range.

That site is also associated with Sunday School Fun Zone. Haven't figured out the difference there. They both look really neat.

A free site that I go to often for ideas is this one. You just chose from the sidebar and find tons of links to Bible stories. There is a lot of stuff for older children on this site as well.

Anyway, just thought I'd share....

A Little Bit of Entrepreneurship

One thing I regret for a fleeting moment every now and then (don't worry, I get over it quickly) is that Little Bit hasn't had a really great preschool experience. She went to daycare when she was 2 and 3 so she does know what it's like to be herded like cattle part of a classroom of children. But she didn't like it.

It's just that I know some GREAT preschool teachers and I would love for her to get to experience their classrooms. My friend Mischelle used to change out one center all the time. One week it was a McDonald's, the next week it was a "bakery" full of play dough and cookie cutters. I've also seen some great preschool classrooms online. This is one of my favorite sites and I also love looking at the things she does with her students.

Little Bit is way ahead of me as this week she has been making her own fun. I'm very proud of how she's been playing lately. She used to be so dependent on one of us to pay constant attention to her and now she is learning to play by herself for a while. She spends hours taking care of her baby dolls lately, pushing them around the house in their stroller, building a car out of the piano bench, child-sized couch, and a chair so they can go places....she's really using her imagination!

So her latest thing is stores. I mentioned in this post that the newly arranged closet inspired her to open a shoe store. A few days later, while I was busy on schoolwork with Sweetheart, she set up a "water store." She did all of it on her own, which impressed me SO much. She flipped over a plastic tub, filled up 10 or so little Dixie cups from the bathroom sink, grabbed a baggie of cookies from the pantry, paper towels, her cash register...and she was open for business. Grandma happened to come down just then and with Sweetheart and me for customers also, and Daddy when he got home, her store was a big success.

The next day she set up a bookstore. Look! She sounded out "bookstore" and made this sign without even asking how to spell it. She got the first and last sound right and I'm so glad she thought she could do it!
Here's the whole set up.
She has quite a selection.
Here she is scanning my purchases. We go through the self check-out line at Kroger enough that she knows how to look for the bar code.
This takes great concentration.

At one point, it occurred to her she needed sacks to sack up our purchases, so she got her sister to grab one for her.

She's a great store-owner.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Let's See If I Can Explain This Better

So I was explaining what the Tea Parties were to Sweetheart today. While driving in the car. To drive by our city's Tea Party (that we got to just as it was ending but we walked up there anyway so we can say we went.) Maybe I shouldn't multi-task in this way.

I began by reminding her of the dilemma in the Felicity books about her father not selling tea in his store. I quickly went through my very thorough knowledge (end sarcasm) of the original Boston Tea Party. She actually knew quite a bit about this from the American Girl books.

Then I tried to explain what was going on around the nation today. I was pretty impressed with her understanding. I explained that the Bible tells us to follow the laws of the land and render unto Caesar and all that.....but that we didn't want MORE taxes and that we wanted the new president to be responsible with the country's budget like our family has to be. She knew what "debt" meant and "cash on the barrel." (Thank you Little House on the Prairie). I was amazed at how much she has learned during these last 2 years of homeschooling.

I supposed one shouldn't swell with too much pride though. When we got home she asked me if I was "cooking tea." I guess she saw the pot on the stove. I told her I had already made tea today.

"But isn't that illegal today, Mom?" she asked.

Oh dear.

Let's hope I can do a better job explaining Fitness Friday!!!

OK--first of all.....I AM SO GLAD TO KNOW YOU GUYS ARE BACK ON!!!!! We all kind of drifted off for awhile and I honestly wasn't sure it was going to be worth it to dust off Mr. Linky. But it seems he will get some use this week! Glad you all are back.

Since we are all feeling motivated, I'm going to give out a simple assignment this week. As usual, you can follow the assignment, or talk about whatever you like--about fitness of course, not how badly you need to vacuum or memories of your great Aunt Edna's cat because that just wouldn't be appropriate, you know?

We're flexible around here. So this week, I'm asking you to:

1. Introduce yourself. We have some new faces joining us and it's just polite.
2. Tell us why you are joining/rejoining Fitness Friday. (Keep it short--my pants won't button, it's almost swimsuit season, my children don't fit on my lap anymore....whatever.)
3. Rank these in the order of importance to you.....

*overall health
*weight loss
*eating healthy
*specific health issues (got to do this or doctor will be very angry)
*encouragement
*toning/shaping/muscle development
*fitness stamina (like to be able to climb stairs without half dying)
*pregnancy health
*clothes (feeling and looking better in them, or changing sizes altogether)
*anything else I've left off

Of course you can word them better and all.

And just to be perfectly clear....you CAN drink tea while you blog about all this, m'kay?

Thanks for joining us and I'll see you all on Friday!!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

WE'RE BACK ON!

Because it's back on....the weight, that is.

Ladies, Fitness Friday resumes THIS WEEK!!! Please help me by spreading the word. I really needed a break with all the Spring Break and going out of town and mad rush to actually complete 3rd grade within a year....so thanks for letting me have some time off.

And I've grown a lot over the break. Not in a good way.

It's time. We're back. Are you in or are you out?

Let me know and please spread the word!

And I'll Find That Picture to Go With This Post Soon...

I have no idea what made me remember this story this morning, but I thought I'd share. In 1988 or 1989, probably my Senior year of high school, S and I had been dating long enough for him to make a trip with my family to my grandmother's house.

We spent the weekend at Nanny's house and visiting other relatives who live nearby (her house was located where "the trailer" now sits.) On Sunday morning, we all got dressed up and went to the little country church. Actually, we went to the "in town" church. There is actually a smaller, more countryish church further out of town. I was wearing my new feed sack dress. I am not making this up. My mom had sewed for weeks on this thing and I LOVED it. It was just fabric printed to look like feed sack, you understand. Not with flowers like real feed sack dresses, but with the label of the feed sack all over it. Which in depression era times, folks would have only used for underwear. But I wasn't aiming to be historically correct. I was aiming to be cool. You know, like the folks with farm animals in their kitchen.

So at this church, when they pass around the communion trays during the Lord's Supper, you are supposed to take your little cup of grape juice and pass the tray on. Then you drink the juice and put the cup in a little holder on the back of the pew next to the song book rack. Kind of like this picture, except there was nothing under the communion cups on the pews where we were sitting--they just hang there in the hole.

Anyway, this is different from how our church does it so we were all bumping each other to remind one another to pass the tray and keep the cup and S looked down at his cup and there was an eyelash floating in the grape juice. EW!!! He shuddered and put the whole cup, juice and eyelash intact, in the cup holder on the pew. Then we went on with church.

When it came time for the sermon, someone reached down to get their Bible off the floor and bumped that juice cup up out of the holder and STRAIGHT ONTO MY NEW FEED SACK DRESS!!!!

I spent the rest of church back in the little bathroom scrubbing my dress with those brown paper towels that are resistant to water. There were only like 400 spots of grape juice on my dress. My mom came back to check on me and I thought she was going to be sick. She did save the dress, by the way. Every spot was out after she worked on it at home.

There really isn't a moral to this story. And despite the grape juice stains, S married me even AFTER he had met the whole crazy family. So I suppose the weekend was a success after all.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Homeschooling Means You Are Giving Up

That's the message I got from the movie we watched last night.

But let me back up a bit.

You know Sweetheart is all about the American Girl Dolls. We have learned SO MUCH from history by reading the books about these characters, made to be representative of a typical 8-10 year old girl's life during whatever time period. The books are enjoyable, the dolls are precious, and I am really glad we have read the books. Sweetheart has learned a lot about things past and how life was in other eras.

I've been skipping the "Julie" books because they are set in 1974 and Julie's parents, true to the era, are going through a divorce. There's also some "anything boys can do, girls can do better" themes going on in the books. And of course, Julie is the only doll who comes wearing pants. Call me silly, but I prefer reading to her about little girls who wear dresses, and stitch on their samplers, and help their mother with chores. We can get enough of the other reality in, well...real life.

So what possessed me to order Chrissa Stands Strong from Netflix is beyond me. See, every year the American Girl company has a "Girl of the Year." This doll is only offered for the one year and is a modern doll, representative of today's girls. We have mostly focused on the historical characters, but Sweetheart saw the preview of this movie about 2009's Chrissa doll and wanted to see it.

Oh hindsight. Where were you when I needed you?

I really should have watched this movie first. I did warn her that the girls in the movie, and even the main character, Chrissa (who is the "good guy" in Sweetheart's mind) might not act like God would have them to. Chrissa might not even respond to the bullying in a godly way. We'll just have to see. After we watch it, I told her, we can decide if she acted like God would want us to.

But I really wasn't ready for what we saw. The bullying was BAD ya'll. And I have no doubt that bullying really is this bad and worse in many places. The girls were all 4th graders in the movie, but reminded me much more of middle school students. And it got intense sometimes. Sweetheart burst into tears during one scene and I had to hug her and remind her it was a movie about A DOLL which made her laugh. Then she accidentally blew some snot on my sweater and we all grossed out and pressed play again.

Family movie night. Good times.

Anyway, if you have a kid in public school, it probably is a good movie for you to consider. The ultimate theme I suppose is: kids can't handle problems by themselves all the time and they need to tell an adult and let them help. Which I have to agree is true.

So what's the problem?

The first day that Chrissa attends her new school the bullying begins. She goes straight home, gets on her laptop and Googles "Homeschooling 4th Grade." Which made me laugh out loud. Smart kid!!! At supper one night she tells her family she'd like to be homeschooled and gives them some quick stats on how homeschoolers perform better on tests. The idea is immediately dismissed and her dad even makes a bet with her.

"I bet you can't be on the school swim team if you're homeschooled," he says.
"Bet you can," Chrissa replies, after which they shake on it.

We never see anything come of the bet. Chrissa stays in school and joins the swim team. Hello??? Producers??? Writers??? Could we get some fact checking going on here? You most assuredly CAN homeschool and still participate in team sports!!!

Sigh. It's not even that. Normal kids go to public school and homeschooling is just something we aren't even going to consider. Chrissa stays home one day because she can't face going to school and when some friends come to check on her she tells them she is considering being homeschooled.

Her friend immediately tells her, "Staying home means you lose and they win." Now, to be fair, she was talking about skipping school because of bullying. But the fact that the comment came right after homeschooling was mentioned again just dismissed the idea entirely.

Homeschooling is like....a last resort....or not even a consideration and it's what you do when you want to give up. That's kind of the message that was given. And that's why I was disappointed in the movie. American Girls DO get homeschooled AND learn to deal with bullies. Sweetheart learned a lesson about bullies at the park the other day....with her mom right there to help guide the situation instead of her all alone trying to deal with it herself.

I don't know. I've just heard a lot of stories of parents who have HAD to pull their kids home because of bullying. And I've been told by others that "I can't protect them forever." Which always makes me want to ask them if they buckle their kids up in the car. If so, why? Why not just let them ride and pray God will protect them?

Any thoughts? Have any of you seen the movie?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Diary of a Room Makeover: Closet Completion

I used to blog about lots of things. Sometimes I even have deep thoughts. But until I dig my way out of these girls' rooms, this is all you get. Sorry.

April 6, 2009
This is the "before" picture but actually, I had already taken all the clothes and some of the junk out when this was snapped.
The "after" shot.

The closet is painted. It is clean. The clothes and shoes are put in place. S will build a shelf on the bottom for the shoes just any day month now. I plan to get bigger and better baskets for that top shelf, which will hold their mittens, scarves, hats, etc. Oh, and their karate uniforms.

So, it looks good, huh? What I like most is that this closet has ONE purpose: clothing. In the back recesses of the right-hand side are the tubs of out of season, don't-fit-yet clothes. And in the back recesses of the left-hand side is Little Bit's cash register. Because she set up a shoe shop and has been forcing us to come shop in her shoe store all weekend.

And I don't have pictures yet, but Sweetheart's closet has one purpose too: toys. It's so nice! I LOVE having all those tubs of toys out of sight.

But we are left with mounds of stuff to be sorted through. I got rid of Sweetheart's desk, otherwise known as "the dumping ground." Now to find a place for all the stuff that was in/on the desk. I'm not actually moving them from their rooms for quite some time, but for now they can practice using the new closets and putting things away nicely. It's a start.
And look! I found out the closet doors CLOSE!!! Did you know they could do that?
And all that shot does is prove how much other junk is in the room to be sorted through. Can you see dinosaur world over there? What you can't see is the pile on the bed. It's bad in here.

Next step: finding fabric.

Also, I ordered this from Uppercase Living. I won a giveaway at Carrie's blog and I was so excited!!! My first bloggy giveaway win! I think it will look good in the new room.

And just as soon as I hack my way out of the mess we've created, you can remind me why I'm doing this.

OH YEAH!!! So Wal-Mart's design department can get to cracking on their year 2014 room decor.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Brenda, The Trendsetter

Sweetheart wanted a turquoise and hot pink room a few years ago. Two years ago we painted it and I started yammering about a duvet cover.

I only finished that duvet cover a little over a year ago. I cannot believe that! It seems like much longer ago that I did that but that could be because I talked about it for a lifetime before I actually finished it.

Anyway, I knew I wanted stripes on the comforter and I could just picture it all in my head. However, I couldn't FIND what I was picturing. At least not for less than a down payment on a car. So I ended up sewing that duvet cover made out of decorator fabric from Hancock.

It's really pretty and just what I wanted.
Wouldn't it have been great if Wal-Mart had offered a bed-in-a-bag striped comforter that I could have just plucked off the shelf, pulled out of the bag and thrown on the bed?

Like, say....this one:

Thank you Wal-Mart. You are about 2 years late.

It's not the first time that has happened to me either. I decorated Sweetheart's nursery in Raggedy Ann and Andy. I sewed and scoured antique shops and internet sites and worked my tail off for that nursery. Nothing came easy. (I know...I loved it.) And then when she was about 2 or 3, Wal-Mart came out with a very cute nursery in a bag of Raggedy Ann and Andy.

Grrrr.

But wait! There's more!

When I was pregnant with Little Bit, I dreamily looked through the Pottery Barn catalog until I couldn't stand it. Even if we were richer than kings, I couldn't spend the money they charge for some of their stuff. But I found star fabric EXACTLY like the PB catalog at Hobby Lobby and sewed curtains. And then my sister and I re-created these letters painted on canvas for the wall (MUCH cheaper than PB! Sister and I obviously need to go into business.)

And now, Wal-Mart has caught up to us:


FIVE YEARS WAL-MART!!!! WHY ARE YOU RUNNING BEHIND ME LIKE THIS????

I know, I know...I'm SUCH a trendsetter that America's largest bargain shopping chain can't keep up with me.

Not sure what to make of that, really.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Diary of a Room Makeover: The Closet Update

I'm painting the inside of the closet white.

It's not impressing me so far.

But I think the point is to have it organized in such a way that the doors stay closed 95% of the time.

Or at least I've heard that's how closets work.

I've never seen that in action.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Clean Home Carnival---Well, Clean Room Anyway

OK so after reading JulieMom's Clean Home post this morning I very nearly decided that there is something wrong. With her. HOW can someone with 3 little ones, who homeschools, and does missionary work, make a statement like this:

My whole house is now organized. There isn't one area that I feel is out of control, including the kids' closets.


I'm forming a mob to fly over there and mess some stuff up. Wanna come?


I can make a statement too. Are you ready?


My whole dining room is now organized. There isn't one area that I feel is out of control, including the napkin holder.


I KNOW you are impressed.


Now, on to those pictures!


Here are some before picture of our dining room. I was going to tackle this room that day, and about 5 minutes into cleaning I remembered JulieMom's challenge and grabbed the camera. I always choose rooms like the dining room and the bathroom because they are small and I feel like I can accomplish something quickly. So, here is how it looked that day.



That pile on the floor was from a day I decided to get all caught up on paperwork and then I had to clean off the table for supper and.....well, you get the idea.

And here is the side of the fridge that you see when you are sitting at the dining room table. I try to keep all the magnets and stuff on this side because it makes the kitchen look tidier.
However, it doesn't seem to help the dining room.

I started with the ceiling fan. We are already using the fans here in Texas and I wanted to get all the dust off before we turned them on.


Then the girls wandered in and asked to help. I looked at the bottom of the walls and noticed some red splashes on the wall. I asked them to scrub the walls. The more we looked, the grosser it was. Goodness sake! I began to wonder if even 50% of the food I serve ends up in anyone's mouth!!! It reminded me of the time 8 month old Sweetheart sneezed with a mouth full of baby food at my mom's trailer. The wallpaper pattern was such that we were still finding that baby food dried on the walls months later.




Anyway it's a mystery to me how this much junk gets splashed on the walls, but they are clean now.

Sweetheart was sent outside to clean the windows while I cleaned the inside.
I dusted everything.



They scrubbed the table and chairs.



Then I used this stuff on it. This is GREAT stuff. The wood table just drinks it up and the kids think the table is wet for days afterward.



I also mopped and cleaned off the side of the fridge. It's still clutter-y but that's because I have kids. One day it will be nice and clean and I'll be sad. The magnets stay.



And now it's lovely.






Thanks JulieMom for encouraging us!!! Now head over there and join in the fun! You'll feel so good!