More or Less Homeschooling & Home-making Adventure

I am a work in progress. I am striving to be an encouraging wife, a fun and loving homeschool mother, to learn to homestead, organize, and adapt. I desire to see life more like Jesus and less like the world's view of what's important. I praise God that I am saved by grace alone, through faith alone, by Christ alone! Cuz' I CAN'T DO IT ON MY OWN!

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Chore Chart

We've been using the "I Did It - Chore Chart" for the past 2-3 years. We have loved it and it worked great. But lately the cards are missing. The kids say they can't do their chores because the cards are missing. So, I've been searching for a new format. A friend sent me her chore chart. I found several on other blogs and I combined them with what we already use and came up with a printable, check-off list chore chart. This is our first week using it but so far we are happy. We have a few changes we are making but all in all, it's a nicely organized list. I've kept our colored chore cards that I posted before for each room zone.

When they were much younger and just starting chores, I used the "I Can Do It" Reward Chart. This was a great way to start. The I Did It Chore Chart was a great follow up and now we're on to the next phase in training.

You can view our chore chart by clicking here: 2009 Chore Chart

Happy organizing!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Advent Day 1

We started our Advent a day late. Since we started on Sunday at Church and life got busy Sunday night, we started on Monday.

Advent Activity 1

Gather candles - 3 purple, 1 pink and 1 larger white candle, Candle ring, and Cedar boughs

We sent the children out in the dark with flashlights and clippers to bring back Cedar boughs. We set up the candles and made a ring of Cedar boughs. We discussed the meaning of each candle, the living greenery, and the never ending ring (of God's love. We lit the first candle and practiced our Christmas songs for the Church play. It was a beautiful family time together.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Beautiful Christmas Music and Hymns

While searching for hymns for our hymn study, I came across a wonderful blog with beautiful piano music. I love both of Joel Rosenberger's CD's. I am putting a widget with his songs on my blog. I hope you enjoy it too. If you are looking for a nice Christmas gift, this CD is it!!! Check out Joel's website: Happy listening!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Mom Song

Oh, my!! This is so funny!! Enjoy Moms!!

Homemade Christmas Gifts

I've been researching homemade Christmas gifts. I usually try to have something for the children to make for their grandmothers each Christmas. The kids love it and and their grandmothers love to show off what their grandchildren make. In the past we've made:

1. Christmas decorations
2. Every year we make gift tags out of shrinky dinks with each person's name on it that can do on the Christmas tree after that (I'll give more details on this later),
3. Sock snowfolks (my personal favorite!!) - My eldest was 6 when we made these and he got very creative and even made shepherds for the nativity scene out of these. They are soooo cute!!
4. This year we are decorating picture frames with sea shells from our vacation to the beach. We took a picture of the kids at the beach for their first time and will put it in the frames. They have been waiting all summer and fall to finally make something with their sea shells.

I just found this wonderful blog that I will be reading more often. It's hard to find frugal, homemade Christmas gifts that are cute and something you'd really like to give. FrugalVillage has some wonderful ideas! I can't wait to make the first 3 ideas.

Happy Thanksgiving week to you all!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Online seminars

I joined an online seminar that Cindy Rushton put on 2 weekends ago on her site: I had never participated in an online seminar before and I was very much surprised. It was a great time! I love to listen to seminars. I hate going to them during homeschool conferences because I like to window shop and I know everyone is in a seminar and I can get some good window shopping done at the booths. So, I like to buy the seminars to listen to on my own time at home. Talk-a-latte was very fun. There were no booths to visit and take me away from some great talks. I highly recommend these to everyone!! There's a new one this week called: Preparing Hearts for Christmas with Molly Evert. This looks like a good one. See you there!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

King Tut Field Trip

We made the long drive to Dallas this week to visit the King Tut exhibit. We studied the Egyptian time period last year and we've been waiting a year to go see the exhibit. We all enjoyed it but the children did get a little bored with seeing the same type of vases and figurines over and over again. They really enjoyed seeing King Tut's chair that he may have used as a child. The liked looking for hidden hieroglyphics on all the items and trying to learn or remember what they mean. The exhibit was beautiful and very well organized. There was a dagger that was buried with him that is gold and covered in the tiniest gold beads we've ever seen. The details were just amazing! I was glad that the actual mummy wasn't there but everyone in our group was hoping to see the caskets and they were not there. There is a drawing on the floor of where each box was laid out and the size to really give a good representation of what it was like. We all kept saying how we couldn't believe that people could make items with that much detail by hand. Then we were completely amazed that wood from chairs, boxes, and many other items could possibly be in that good of shape after all these years. To see how much my little students got out of there I'm going to have them draw their favorite items that they saw. They wanted to know if it was right to dig up the grave of a man and display it. It's so hard to answer this as I don't agree with it but I was excited to see it all. The world we live in.......

If you'd like to see it go to: It was crowded and we bought our tickets ahead of time. There is a group rate. It's not much but every little bit helps.

Our most amazing item that we saw and all wanted to learn about was: faience. Many of the items on display were a beautiful turquoise blue. We couldn't figure out how they could make this and the color still be so vibrant after all these years. Well, I've looked it up. Here is a link to learn what faience is. It is very interesting!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Art Study

Last year we studied Claude Monet. I've enjoyed looking at paintings but after spending a year really studying Monet, I've come to appreciate his paintings in a wonderful way. Rather than following AO's rotation, I had found a book filled with 10x14 replicas of Monet's paintings for $7.88 at Halfprice bookstore. I didn't think I'd be dedicated enough to download the new paintings, research, and study a new artist each rotation. A year of Monet was perfect for us. Each month, we would gather our tea, snack, and our Monet book. We'd take turns picking a new painting to study. We bought a nice frame and hung it in the dining room (our school room). It would hang there until a new painting was chosen. Each child couldn't wait to have their turn to choose a painting. We would spend some time looking at the painting. We would discuss what we thought Monet was hoping to capture, what he was thinking, how he used his brushes to get the effect he painted, where the painting was painted (adding geography there!) We discuss how it made us feel, etc. It was simple, didn't take too much time, and then for the next month the painting hung on the wall to be enjoyed. Our favorite was the Japenese Bridge:

(Thanks to: for this picture)

Sometimes I would research lesson plans for elementary study of Monet. I found this one: We really had a ball painting our own Japanese Bridge. We hung the children's paintings under the real Monet's picture for the rest of the year. I finally took them down and put them in their school binders. I also learned of a book and video called Linnea in Monet's Garden. What a sweet way to introduce my children to the love of his paintings.

We saw where a traveling Monet exhibit went to Houston, so off we went. I didn't know if the children would enjoy it or not as they were so young. They loved it!!!

This year, I've decided to do the same type study. Some day I may get organized to join the rotation, but for now I'm happy with this type of study. This year we'll study Van Gogh. I've already found 2 great books to use for our study. We read a page or 2 every 2-3 weeks to get an understading of who he was. We've started rotating his paintings in our frame. My dd has even asked if I'd add this study more often into our schedule. What fun!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How to switch into "school mode"

I've been homeschooling for 3 years now. The hardest part of schooling that I've found is to change modes from home life, emails, researching, cleaning, preparing for school or dinner, home business, etc. to "time for school". I get busy and I'll look up & it's 2:00. Ugh! Another day without school. So, this year I've added morning walks. At 8:00, the kids don their knee pads, elbow pads, and helmets. The grab their bikes, scooters, skate boards, or whatever they want and we go for a 30-45 minute walk. I turn off the computer and close the door. It's wonderful!!! We get some fresh air, exercise, time to talk or sing to the Lord, and just time to talk. We've been doing it for a month and each day a different child will now choose to walk with me rather than ride. It's a great time to talk and connect.

When we get home from the walk, our minds are clear (especially Mom's), the wiggles are gone, they know to go straight to the table with their books & pencils, and we are ready for school. It's a great feeling!! It helps me keep control of our schedule. We are able to focus and we get more done. Thank you Diana and Katrina for sharing this idea with me. This is my favorite part of the day now!

Let's go for a walk!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hard to handle

I am looking through the net at other AO Mom's sites to get some ideas on American History. I came upon Missey Gray's site. I've read a lot about her on yahoogroups and blogs but I'd never seen her site. I can't describe the feeling as I looking through her blog. I almost feel like I'm intruding on her personal life. I know she posted it all out there to help us newer AO Mom's but it's still hard to handle. I want to thank Missey's family for sharing her with us. Even 2 years after her death she is still giving help and advice to Moms. What a legacy! I've been using a book chart for over a year that I found on the net and couldn't find who created it. Then I saw it on Missy's blog. She made it. Now I know who to give the credit to. Thank you Missy!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Brain in a Binder

I decided that Cindy Rushton's Binder set is worth it. So, I'm in the process of downloading all her great information. I've been working on a binder for years. I hadn't thought about it being my brain. But what a great idea. I hope that her information will help me accomplish my goal of having a binder with all the information for what I do at our home and to keep me organized. I've been thinking for over a year about if something happened to me, what would my family do? I know God is in control and would care for them. But, is there something I could do to make it a little easier on my husband. He has no idea where everything is and what all I do. I did make him promise to hire a nanny to care and homeschool our children with my life insurance money. He agreed and said that was very important to him. Now, where do I start?

Monday, August 4, 2008



I've already downloaded the Numbers Book. What great resource!! I can't wait to print it off and read it with the children.

I'm also looking at the Cindy Rushton's NEW Organized Moms Super Set. I really like the idea behind it but I'm afraid that all it will do is draw me into the computer even more. Now, if they were bound books - that would be different. I know I can print them off, but at what cost. I'm already on the computer way too much for my families sake. It sure looks good though. Check it out!!

The idea of time management for homeschooling got me to searching the net for ideas and I found The Homeschooler's Time Management Toolkit at I especially like the book of managing your home office and home. I sure can use that!!

These are my finds for the day.
This site was passed on to me by Renae at
Thank you Renae!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Watch movies safely with your whole family

I found a great Dvd player that filters out questionable words and scenes from Dvd's. I ordered it last month and we've been watching movies on it for about 3 weeks. I'm so surprised at how well it works. Rather than bleep out unwanted words, it mutes them. You don't notice it too much unless there is music playing in the background. Then it is more noticeable. To filter unwanted scenes, the machine automatically cuts to the next scene. So far we haven't missed anything in these cut scenes. We've watched movies that we wouldn't dare let the kids see just to see how well it works. I hate movies that use foul language and I've found it bothers me more and more. Even in those movies the children won't watch, it filters them all out. I'm enjoying date night movies more since I don't have to hear all those words.

How does it work? It comes with a USB stick. You load filters onto the USB from their internet site. Take the USB stick to the Dvd player and it loads the filters. I'm on dial-up and it doesn't take too long to do it.

We watched Home Alone last weekend. The children LOVED this movie!! We were glad to watch without the language. Now, I do wish they had filtered a few words that we just don't like such as how the boy's family talked so badly to him. But of course a lot of the background to the movie would be lost without it. That's just me though.

Anyway, I give the Clear Play 2 thumbs up!! I have a link at the left if you'd like to try it. I think it's well worth the price. It's comparable to purchasing a new Dvd player at the store. I bought the 3 year membership so I wouldn't miss any filters. Happy movie night!!

Monday, July 28, 2008


Chores are an important training tool to help teach children responsibility, initiative, and respect for one's property. It helps me to remember that we are training future employees, husbands, wives, and parents. I don't want to see them turn out to be lazy citizens. Not only that, but I can use some help around here!!

I did a lot of research to see how other moms organize their chores. I bought a couple of children's chore charts. I spent many hours on and over a year using her program. I'm sorry to say that I lost the link that helped me make the system that I have now. I combined that link with a FlyLady approach and this is what I came up with.

I have a magnetic hook that hangs on the refrigerator. There are 5 index cards hanging on this hook. Each index card one of the daily chore cards (above) taped to it with large packing tape. This way it is a little water resistant. Each week the children get a different color. They are in charge of doing their color chore each day. By changing colors each week, they don't get tired of doing the same chore over and over.

I found that my children enjoy their chores more when I'm in the same room they are. So, I made my own set of chore cards.

I divided my chores into what needs to be done weekly on the top of the card. The bottom has 4 weeks listed and one extra chore per week. This gets the spring cleaning done each month with little extra work involved!! I made an extra set of cards for me that have a different room on each card. I divided those cards into 6 months and wrote on the top of the card a month and the month that is 6 months from it. For example. Kitchen is February/August. Now, those projects are to be worked on during those months. If something doesn't get done, I know that in 6 months I can try again.

Some weeks when the days slip by and the work doesn't get done, we'll each take 1 room on Monday and spend 1-2 hours to do all that room's chores. The kids really like this for a change because the rest of the week is just keep it clean. I don't like to do this too often but it's really nice to have a completely clean house once in a while.

To make these cards, I took a sheet of paper into each room. I divided the sheet into 3 sections. Section 1: weekly chores. Section 2: monthly or bi-yearly chores. Section 3: Projects I'd like to have done in that room. Armed with a list for each room, I sat down at the computer and made a set of cards for each day of the week (one for Mom and one for the kids). I then made a second set of cards for projects by the month. covered these cards with packing tape for protection and hung them on a magnetic hook.

That's all there is to it.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Homeschool Field Trip and Vacations

I found a great group that plans homeschool field trips and vacations for much cheaper than we can do on our own. The Carolina Homeschoolers have great deals on lots of trips. I've joined them for our trip to Disney. They made a deal with Disney to get 5 day Hopper tickets and all the water parks for $175. each. That's over half price of their regular hopper tickets.

I wasn't planning on getting hopper tickets but I couldn't pass that deal up. I booked our hotel last year and paid for it when I had the money. I wish now that I had waited. If I had booked with this group I could've stayed in a Disney resort and had the meal plan included for free. Ugh! If only I had known earlier. But we're still getting a great deal.

You can check out their future trips at: I'm excited about their Alaska trip for 2010. I'm hopeful!!

My baby's not a baby anymore

It's official. I no longer have any children under 5. My baby turned 6 yesterday. I can't believe how fast it's going. I know! It'll only go faster! Wow! We made a castle cake for a Narnia Birthday. I usually go all out for birthdays, but this year we decided to have not big birthday parties. We're saving for Disney!!