And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas 2009




Our Christmas photobook from last year that I made on shutterfly.com. I love looking back to see just how much the kids have changed in 12 short months. I'm sad that they are growing up so quickly but I am so proud of them and all they have accomplished in the last year! :-)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving

What a rush of emotions holidays always bring! We had an amazing day Thursday with all my inlaws. Our trip to Mississippi was a fast but fun and family filled one! However I couldn't help but miss Kyle's Papaw who wasn't with us. It seemed like there was a hole that he should have filled.

Then there was the amazing shopping on Friday but I found that I wasn't as friendly as I normally am. I was tired and overwhelmed I think. I got all the deals I wanted and for the first time really took advantage of some online shopping mixed with some in store shopping.

Two years ago...... two years ago the weekend before Thanksgiving was the last "normal" time I spent with my daddy. I made a huge Thanksgiving feast for my grandparents, daddy, and my hubby and kids. We ate and laughed and visited that weekend. Things were clouded though because my husband had been laid off from his job right before we left for that trip. In fact we started not to go but I am so so glad we did. A few days later my dad had a wreck and things were never the same. He spent 7 months in the hospital and a full care facility before he left this world. I miss him so.... His mom, my grandma, left us in April. Tomorrow would have been her and my grandaddy's anniversary.

So while today with my family was wonderful, full of laughter and all our favorite foods, I miss those that aren't with us anymore. I treasure even more those that are still here. My heart yearns for friends that have moved and aches for those leaving soon. I pray with fervor for those that are not following God, not listening to His words and commands. Don't push Him aside, please don't think there is plenty of time to take care of it all later. We aren't promised a minute more.

I am thankful for God's grace and mercy, for His gentle direction, for all the LOVE He gives me and all the LOVE He surrounds me with. I am thankful for each of you. As my family moves forward we are seeking everyday to live for Him and I pray you are too.

“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” - Colossians 3:16

Friday, November 19, 2010

Review: Time for Learning




Apple & Speedy recently had the privilege of trying time4learning.com. Time4learning is a website with tons of *FUN* educational activities for PreK through 8th grade levels. We had one month to try it out. We weren't able to incorporate it nearly as often as the kids wanted to, but we did spend several sessions online.

So Speedy enjoyed playing with the computer like a big kid. He has not been allowed to touch the computer much in his life. He is so rowdy and rambuctious and he does not enjoy sitting most of the time. However time4learning intrigued him. He sat and tried a few of the games. While he was able to understand the games and get the correct answers, he needed lots of help on the technical ways of the computer. I think in another 6 mos or a year he would really get enjoyment out of the website.

Apple LOVED this site. She was able to navigate through the site easily. The material was right on level for her. When you register for the site, you put in a grade level for your child. The site says they put in material for the grade level you select and one above and one below that level. The reading program had choices for her to listen to the story or read it herself. She always chose to read it herself and loved the stories. She AMAZED me yet again with her story comprehension. Each story had questions and quizzes at the end to try. She also learned all about ordinal numbers in the math section and landforms in the science section. The landforms thrilled her because each correct answer gave her a puzzle piece and when she answered them all right, it unveiled a picture.

I asked her to share her favorite thing about time4learning.com. This is what she had to say "The playground! I could go around and pick whichever game I wanted to play."

Now as a parent I love that you can set time limits, the vast variety of subjects and lessons, and the parent page where you can track your child's progress. I liked that I could always see what she was working on. I loved that she found the games and lessons fun and that she was really learning while she played.

We are sad to see our month over. The price just doesn't fit into our curriculum budget for this school year but perhaps for the summer months or next fall we will be able to work it in. I would recommend this site for other homeschooling families or for children who need a little extra help after school.
If there were things we were disappointed with it would only be that the price is per child and not per family.

Disclaimer: The author’s opinion is entirely her own, the content was not written by Time4Learning, but the writer was compensated.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Looky what I got!!!

My Shutterfly.com Christmas cards came in the mail today!!!! WOOHOO! They are gorgeous!!! These are my first Christmas cards that are personalized with our names and pictures. I am really pleased. Some of you will get one of these beauties in the mail! "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Have you tried Shutterfly.com? Do you need Christmas cards?

I have been using shutterfly.com for the last few years! They have terrific products! This year I am going to be trying their Christmas cards for the first time! In the past I have used their folded stationary cards for thank you cards and their flat photo cards for birthday invitations. The cards are always crisp and bright, with options for lots of photos! I am so impressed with all the cards that say "Merry Christmas." I fet so frustrated trying to find cards in stores because so many have the generic "Happy Holidays." Plus from Shutterfly you can include pictures and go ahead and personalize them! How happy does that make me that all I will need to do is place them in an envelope and address them! Score 1 for saving time! Plus all those faraway family and friends will have great updated pics of my gorgeous kiddos!

So go check out their 2010 Christmas card collection! There are so many nice cards that I haven't chosen yet but I am leaning towards Nativity Night Scarlet, Three Kinds Journey, or Goody Garland. I love the message of the season in the first two but I also like the fun aspect of the last one! When I decide which pictures I want to include then I will really know which one is the best! I love the traditional look of the folded cards but they also have 2 types of flat cards if those are more your style! One of the best aspects of Shutterfly is the ability to try different styles, photos, and type and to see the outcome before ordering them! You are sure to find one that is perfect for you. Be sure to review them carefully before you order, look for well positioned photos and typos!

If you are looking for great Christmas gifts, shutterfly has you covered there as well!!!! Wall Calendars and Photo Books make grandparents *SMILE*! You can even buy personalized Christmas Gift Tags!

Shutterfly always has great deals available! Free shipping on orders over $30 with the code SHIP30. Other bloggers see if you are eligible for 50 FREE CARDS!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Motivation

So I was talking with a friend the other day. She is new to staying at home and was having a hard time finding motivation everyday. Who has not been through this? When I first began staying at home, all I wanted to do was sleep! I felt like I was on an extended vacation! However pretty quickly sleeping got old. My daughter was an infant at the time and so she slept most of the hours of the day away. My husband worked a lot of hours back then and I didn't know any other stay at home moms at the time. I was lonely and unmotivated! So I gave my friend the advice I had for her. These are the steps I used to keep myself going and on top of things!

1. Get up every morning and take a shower and get dressed as though you are leaving the house. I also always got my child dressed and still do. Even if we have no where to go, something about showering and getting dressed makes you feel as though you are ready to begin your day. And if you are already ready, if something fun comes up, you are set to go!

2. Start a schedule. Try to get up about the same time everyday, have your meals at about the same time, depending on your child's age, plan some routine things for them to do everyday ex. bathtime, playtime, reading time, snacktime, etc.

3. In the same vein, I made a task list for everyday of the week. Now this is going to seem overly simple, your spouse may chuckle at you (mine sure did!). My list looked something like this:

Monday-Kitchen
Tuesday-Bathrooms
Wednesday-dust & vacuum
Thursday-Sweep & Mop
Friday-shopping day

Everyday- check and sort mail, 1-2 loads of laundry, pick up, feed pets
Biweekly- linens, bills, fridge

Yours may vary and mine is a little different now that the kids have some of the chores, but this gives you an idea.

4. Find other stay at home moms or homeschooling families!!!! This is really important but can be the hardest. I tried a homeschool group in my area early on but it was not for me! Their ideas were radically different from mine. However that doesn't mean just give up! We eventually found an amazing church family with lots of other sahm. I also reconnected with old classmates on FB and some of them stay at home. If you can't find support that way, I recommend going to a local storytime at your library or find other day time children's events in your area! You are sure to find other local moms at these events and many of them are free. If your child is too young for a storytime, just go to the library about the time the storytime begins or ends, there are sure to be other families in and out of the library.

5. Basically you if you need motivation, you need to treat staying at home like a job. It is a job the best but the hardest in the world!

My friend seems to be doing well this week by following a couple of these tips, I hope they help you too!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another Update! :)

The kids are both doing so well! Apple is counting by 5s like a champ and Speedy can recognize his name and is learning all the letters in his first name!! They are zooming through their workbooks! I have recently found some awesome deals! At a consignment sale we found a brand new Science book for Apple and a really cool children's dictionary. Today at Goodwill I found a Science workbook for Apple and a Kumon Tracing workbook for Speedy! I love a deal!!!

Apple's reading is AMAZING! Hooked on Phonics has really been outstanding for her! She picked up a brand new book with chapters at Goodwill today and started reading. They have been testing out Time4Learning and my review on it will be coming soon!