Friday, March 30, 2007

Homeschool Inspiration: Sonlight Curriculum

Of all the homeschool curricula I've tried, Sonlight was the favorite for me and my children. If I ever go back to homeschooling, Sonlight is how I plan to do it. Today I found out about something you may enjoy if you are considering homeschooling at all:

My real-life friend Jill Evely is a Sonlight representative and she has a wonderful, inspirational, and informative online workshop that you can listen to for free. It explains how Sonlight works, why a literature-rich curriculum is a great way to learn, and more. I just got done listening to it and it was excellent. Listen here.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ainsley's Mom is Awesome!

Today I was blessed with a surprise in the mail. A fellow blogger that I found through the Ultimate Blog Party sent me personalized note cards that she made, just because she's so sweet!

They are completely adorable, with each card done in a different fun font. I am now trying to think of all the people I should send notes to.

Go visit Ainsley's Mom and say hi! :)

Crazy....I'm crazy for.....

buying baby chickens on a whim.


We've wanted to get laying hens for awhile now. (years, in fact) I love farm fresh eggs (Please see my hilarious story about Farm Fresh Eggs from my childhood..... Actually, I don't know if it's hilarious to read, but it was hilarious at the time, and still makes me laugh and laugh when I tell it....) and my daughter wants to go into business selling eggs to our neighbors and friends.

Yesterday she and I were out on some errands and came across a pickup truck in a parking lot selling baby geese, ducks, rabbits, and chicks. Just In Time For Easter!

Yeah, well, my daughter got all excited, so I decided to stop and find out just what I would need to do for the chickens. It didn't sound too tough, and they were only $1 each. So, $4 poorer and 4 chicks richer, we headed home to surprise the family.

Now we have a nice little setup in one of our bathrooms for our new pets. We went to the feed store this morning to get chicken leg bands (four different colors so we can identify them since of course we had to name our chickens!! Sally, Angel, Princess, and Tiffany!! What a riot!), proper chicken feed, little feeder and water bowls, etc.

So, hopefully we'll keep them alive and kicking so that I can continue to share stories about

-chickens getting over the fence and annoying the neighbors
-the day our chicken gets killed by a neighbor's cat or a wild raccoon
-how wonderful chickens are and how I can't wait to get 10 more
-how my daughter made a million dollars selling Farm Fresh Eggs

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Come See The Prizes!

I've been toiling away to get things up and running along for the boutique promo....I finally have the prizes up! We have some great ones, including one that's worth $110!! Come see! (and tell your friends!)

Spring Fling is finally here!

After a few technical glitches I'm finally starting the baby boutique Spring Fling today. If you are someone that is willing to let your blog, newsletter, or egroup members know about it, let me know and I'll give you a coupon code that you can extend to your readers!

Other than that, we celebrated my youngest child's birthday. I started a big, weepy, sentimental post about it, but never finished it thanks to my husband being out of town all last week, and me having to run in three dozen directions while he was gone. Needless to say, my kid is awesome and I wouldn't want to be without him! :)

I'll be having lots of interviews all week (and next week) at my baby boutique blog, with many talented women designers and creators whose products I sell at the boutique. It is so fun to keep finding more and more talented women who have high-quality, fabulously adorable products to offer! It's like a treasure hunt for me all the time.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Check Out Posh Points!

PoshPoints Online Trading Community

You guys already know how much I love trading sites like Paperback Swap and Swap-a-CD...well now there's a trading site for everything else!

Posh Points works like ebay, except no money is exchanged for anything. You simply sign up and get 15 points just for trying it out, then list your items that you want to trade and assign them a point value (generally 1 point=$1). You can start getting items from others with your first 15 free points, and you can start listing your items to trade so others can trade with you and help you earn more points!

I just signed up this morning and it was super easy in every way. There is a pretty decent amount of stuff there, and this thing will only grow as more people learn about it. It's free to join plus you can get something free with your points! (I just got a Bruce Almighty DVD!) :)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Doing My Best?

I'm at extremist by nature. I'll admit that right up front. I can be nice and forgiving and excusing of lots of things from others, but for myself, not so much. My tendency is to be hard on myself, to self-critique a lot. I don't know if that's good or bad. It just is.

Today I was watching something about mothers and there was a situation where a mother had chosen to not spend much time with her child. The child was therefore extremely attached to the nanny, and seemed not very attached to the mother.

The comment was made that all mothers "do the best they can."

And that got me thinking.....

Is that true?

Do we really do the best we can??

Now, before you get all defensive on me...let's think about this.

If a mother knowingly chooses to not spend hardly any time with her child by choice (not because she has to!), and the child suffers for lack of connection and time with the mother--is the mother really doing the best that she can? To me, it seems like the answer is no. No, the mother *could* do better--but chooses not to.

I have met mothers who, when finding out that my family does not watch TV, said to me, "You know, I think that is a really smart thing you are doing. And I think my family would be better off without TV too. But you know what? I'm not willing to do it. I just don't want to put my energy into it. But I should...."

Now, I don't care whether she has a TV or not. But it was interesting to me that she would said, "That would be a better choice, but I'm not willing to do that."

So, is she doing the best she can? I guess she told me that she isn't.

Now, we could get into the whole "better for who?" question. I'm not dying to spend a ton of time on this. I'm mainly turning this around to ask myself, "Am I doing the best I can? Are the choices I'm making the best ones for my family?"

Possibly the answers to these questions would vary from day to day. Some day I feel like I'm doing all I can. Other days I know I'm falling short of most ideals or goals I ever set for myself in this parenting arena. My hormones feel so whacked out that, although I have a few good days every month where I feel like I could climb parenting mountains in a single bound, the rest of the days find my mood vacillating between very stressed out, to unhappy, to nearly murderous. So, even though on sunshiny days I feel like I could do more, Could I really?? I'm not sure about that.

I had to ask myself, "Is doing my utter best 100% of the time the goal I should be striving for?" Part of me feels like God does expect that from us. Another part of me feels like that's just too much pressure for people to thrive under. How could I live if I never allowed myself down time, room to slack off, or wiggle room for mistakes?

On the other hand, How will I feel down the road when my children are grown if I look back and feel that I squandered my opportunities to be a better mother, lead them better, teach them better, help them more?

Do I want to look back and have to say to myself, "I did the best I could?" and try to make myself believe it even if it's a lie?

What exactly *is* "the best we can do"? Is it giving 110% all of the time, like you would if your child's life depended on you doing something superhuman to save their life? (Can we live like that?!) Is doing the best we do just getting along, keeping afloat, doing what we can, and not stressing about all of if?

Back in the days when I thought I was doing the best I could do, I eventually managed to burn myself so badly that I had to quit most of the nice good things I was doing just to get myself pulled back together over the course of several years. Now the pieces are back together, but I don't know what to do with myself at this point. I mean, if I'm not falling apart trying to be a perfect Christian homeschooling mother, should I get back on that track until I burn out again? Or do I stay on another path that has allowed me to regain some semblance of sanity, and trust that being sane and having some space in my life is actually a good thing, and qualifies me in the "Did the best she could" mothering category?

Does doing the best I can mean that none of us really, truly knows the perfect way to get life done? So we all just muddle along, fitting the pieces together as best we can and hope for the best?

I know some people like to believe that they have a handle on the Right Way to be parents, to educate their children, and all that jazz. Frankly, I've been there, done that, and don't buy it any more. There is not one formula that will give you the best outcome.

Which leads me back to wonder and I doing the best I can?



I'm not sure.

I think so.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Yay! Yay! Yay! Plus another Kid Funny....

Guess what arrived in my mailbox a few minutes ago?! That's right! My Brave Faith CDs. And yes, it's playing on my computer speakers right now. Oh man, I love this stuff! It is So. Encouraging.

Check it out!

I also have another kid funny for you, this one from breakfast time today. We have an ant problem, you see. Last year we had an absolutely ridiculous amount of ants coming into our house, and my all-natural, half-hearted efforts to get rid of them failed.

And now, even though we're still having freezing temps some days, the ants are back, and I am very aggravated. How on earth am I going to get rid of these rotten ants??

Well, my 10 year old daughter had been thinking about this. Her solution?

"Well, I was thinking....could we maybe get an anteater for a pet?"

She was totally. serious.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Random Kid Funnies

My 8 year old son Jake the Great has a new interest in all things solar system. I have been helping him learn more about planets, etc. and we are working on putting together an astronomy lapbook that is really neat.

Yesterday he came home from school with a rock that he found on the playground.

Now, this was no ordinary rock. Nosirree! This rock was very special, and unusual, and he figured it was probably a rock from Mars, or at least a part of some meteor.

Well, never one to squish a child's enthusiasm for learning I encouraged him to do some looking online and in his solar system books to see what he could learn about his rock and rocks from space. He got right into it and periodically would come to me while admiring his rock and give me an update, such as, "I really do think this rock looks like it is from Mars. Because, on the planets web site it showed some rocks from Mars and this one looks just like it......"

He kept coming back to me to give variations on this same report every few minutes. (In between times he was showing the rock to his siblings, or washing his rock lovingly, etc. etc.)

Eventually he had about done us all in with the rock updates, mainly because he was now even interrupting me talking with other family members, or wanting attention to tell me the same basic thing while I was trying to do a hundred other things. In a moment of flabbergastation my 10 year old daughter looks up from her snack and says to her brother, totally deadpan,

"Jake, if you took that rock to a rock scientist and showed it to him, he'd be like, 'Oh, yeah, did you find this rock on your school playground?' "

She sure knows how to cut to the chase.


Jake is a real sweetheart (despite having a brutally honest sister) and he is cursed the same way all the men in our family are cursed. Jake is a chick magnet.

He's only 8 years old and already the girls can't stop being after him.

Well, there is this one little girl in his class that has been in hot pursuit of Jacob for the entire school year. He has mentioned that she sometimes gives him money and refuses to take it back even though he is completely perplexed about why she gave him a quarter or whatever. Apparently today was the day he decided that enough was enough.

He told me that today she gave him money on the playground and ran away. He said,

"I stood there for a few minutes and decided what to do. I went up to her and handed her back her money. I told her, 'Linda, it is too kind of you to keep giving me your money and snacks and fruit leathers. You need to stop doing that. I'm willing to be your boyfriend if you will stop giving me stuff. And if you promise not to tell my friends.' "

Apparently Linda doesn't have a whole lot of self respect, because she went for that deal.

And Jake played his cards so smart. It's the classic Secret Girlfriend ploy. The tactic lives on!

The pain! the pain! What's a mother to do??


My almost-four-year-old "baby" Squiggy Magoo is a very affectionate little buddy. He loves to hang out with me and hug and kiss me. And now, thanks to my husband, I am truly getting my money's worth of hugs and kisses from this kiddo.

My husband started a little rivalry with Squiggy. If Squiggy climbs up on my lap to give me a kiss my husband will say, "Hey! What are you doin' kissin' my woman?! That's MY woman!"

They have this whole play fighting thing they do about whether or not I am his WOMAN or his MOMMA.

Well, my husband works 24 hour shifts, so the other day when his daddy got home Squiggy announced to my husband, "Hey! While you were gone...I was KISSIN' your WOMAN!"

What a hoot!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Enjoying the party and getting better

The Ultimate Blog party is still going on and it's not too late for you to get involved. There is a huge long list at 5 Minutes for Mom of participating bloggers, which makes it easy to start clicking around and finding out about some new blogs. I've found some that look particularly interesting to me that have been added to my blogroll. Maybe others of you will find winners also.

I'm feeling somewhat better today. Not 100%, but probably 80%.

I've been brave and did launch my new project that I mentioned a few days ago. The behind-the-scenes work is being done now, and the letting-people-know work will come a little later. (not sure how much later, but not yet) (I keep singing this song to myself as I go through the day, sometimes feeling a little woozy and nervous about the new project. I've put it off long enough--today I'm buying this CD collection as a gift to myself. I love it so much.)

I've also been working hard on my business site. I've been learning more about search engine optimization, and one of the things I had been putting off is some special HTML coding of every. single. page. on the site. That means I had to go into the back office of my site and open up every individual product page and enter coding, tweak keywords, and improve copy. It needed to be done, and because of the couple hundred products I sell I thought it would take until the end of next week. Thankfully I got it all done earlier today! It is so nice to have that finished up. Now I can get my other side done as well, and then I'll be ready to add some more products and do some more good things to make it easier for people to find my businesses. Onward and upward, I say!

A friend of ours from church was in a car accident this week. His car was totaled, but he was ok, and fortunately his infant son was not in the car at the time. As I was thinking of seeing him tomorrow and of course asking about the accident, I remembered reading the book Bless And Be Blessed. This book talks about the importance of speaking blessings to people in your life. So often we say wonderful, amazing things about how great people were when we are at their funerals, and it's a shame we don't let people know these uplifting, encouraging thoughts about them while they are with us. So, I am going to take a few minutes tonite to put together some thoughts and write a note to him and his wife to let them know some of the things I appreciate about them. I am so glad I have the opportunity to tell them and be happy they are still in our life!

Though it's been a weird week with being sick, I'm feeling good about accomplishing so many things, and feel like several goals are coming together for me, which is exciting. It's a good way to end the week. :)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Earned that Good Mother Badge, Two Weeks in a Row!

First of all, welcome to all the new visitors from the Ultimate Blog Party! Come on in and poke around the archives to get a feel for Dollymama Strikes Again. While you're at it, why not take a meander over to my business blog too.

I've been sick for most of the week, though I don't think it's strep. Seems mainly like a cold, with general aches, tiredness, sneezing, and so on. Today I'm feeling slightly improved and thought I might even get over to the fitness center for a short workout, since I haven't gotten to go work out for a week.

Yeah, well, I got a work out, but not the one I bargained for!

Last week I agreed to attend my two kindergarten son's field trip, which was a walk from the school to the library to celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday. My little guys were SO excited that I was going to come on their field trip, and I didn't want to let them down. I decided I was well enough to go, even though it didn't sound like a ton of fun.

Once I started getting ready my almost-4-year old son asked if he could come along on the field trip. Since he doesn't have preschool today I figured he might as well go with me.

Just as I started to get ready, my firefighter husband got called to go to a house fire. Off he went in our only car, and I was left to figure out what to do.

Just skip the field trip? (But my boys would be so disappointed!)

Call somebody for a ride? (Who would I call?)

Walk to the school? (It's a little farther than my normal workout, I'm still not totally healthy, I have my preschooler to consider, and the stroller is gone with the car...)

OK, so what I finally came up with was that I could walk to the fire station (1 mile away) and get our car, and go on to the field trip.

Now I was on a real time crunch. I was trying to remember how long it normally takes me to walk a mile, and then figure in the fact that I haven't had a workout walk for a week, I'm sick, and I'll have my 43 pound son piggy back riding on me. Oh, and it's all uphill from here to the fire station.

No Prob! Anything for my kids!

So I hurried to get my wild mane of hair under control (hasn't seen a straightening iron for days), get some clean clothes on (I guess I can't really stay in my PJs for this event, can I?), get my little buddy bundled up, and off we went.

By 5 minutes into the walk was seriously wondering where my common sense had gone. There was a cold wind, my weakened state of physical illness was feeling very obvious to me, and I could not imagine how I was going to be able to walk fast enough to make it to the field trip in time, though I knew it would be ok if I just met up with the kids at the library.

Well, I'll spare you all the details except to say that we eventually made it to the car, made it to the field trip (the kindergarteners were walking out of the parking lot), went to the library (where we were bored out of our minds listening to a **20 minute long story** which is waaaay too long for 5 year olds.....and 35 year olds....), and walked back to the school. By the time it was all said and done I felt shaky and weak, so high-tailed it back here for some lunch and rest.

But at least I was a Good Mother!!! ;)

Ultimate Blog Party--starting Friday!

Ultimate Blog Party

Hey peeps--don't miss out on the Ultimate Blog Party, March 2-9. 5 Minutes for Mom is a really neat blog that I recently discovered, and their party looks like it will be tons of fun. They have almost 100 prizes to give away too!!!

Clickety-click the graphic above for more info.