Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why Stay Down? Crank it Up!

Here are some great tunes from Zeppelin to help me and you get up and moving toward the weekend. This first song is a family favorite for singing along in the car. Most kids can handle the first line, anyhow. :)

Popping in to say hi

It's been awhile since I've posted a real, live post with personal content in it here. Why? Heh....well, you should see what my life is like. Homeschooling five kids, as it turns out, is extremely time consuming. Running a business or two or three is also. Running a household, raising six children, and trying to not lose one's mind also tends to take up a significant portion (100%, that is) of my time. Basically, I've got the equivalent of two full time jobs, and only part-time resources with which to meet the challenges.

So..blogging my heart out just hasn't risen to the top of the to-do pile around here. I'm still full of ideas and inspiration, but too tired and overextended to get around to most of it. I'm still trying to gain some sense of equilibrium about what I've got on my plate right now. I'm doing you a favor, really, by not blathering on and on through my highs ("I can do it! I am doing it! Nothing can stop me!") and lows ("Why do I bother?! How am I going to make this work?") here.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Laugh for the day

If you need a little laugh today, go check out Cake Wrecks. This site is full of some of the most unfortunate cakes you've ever laid eyes on. You have to see it to appreciate it.

My personal favorite was the tragedies that take place when people lack common sense (Literal LOLs)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Love the Homemaker's Mentor!

HomeMaker's Mentor

This wonderful place teaches so many of the lost arts of homemaking in a beautiful, gracious way. Subscribe for a month, a year, or just get the classes that you need. Either are gonna love this!

Today I downloaded 3 of their resources:

Laundry Tips and Tricks (FREE!!)

Growing and Using Fresh Herbs

Kitchen Sparkle

I don't know about you, but I'm almost always up for some fresh inspiration and ideas. These downloadable lessons are very nicely done. I am quite impressed and really looking forward to digging into these soon!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Money Matters

I know that money is on most minds these days. For us, we've been thrilled to see gas drop to $2.69 at some gas stations around here, but with property taxes coming due and Christmas around the corner, it seems like there is still plenty of belt-tightening needed.

I read a couple of good articles today that I wanted to share with you guys. The first one talks about what to do NOW to prepare for even tougher economic times ahead. The short version is to trim right now anything that you would trim if things got really desperate. That makes a lot of sense to me, and my wheels are already turning about how we might do that. We don't have a lot of extras in the monthly expenditures department, but there are a few things that I don't think we would even miss.

This one talks about a "buy nothing" month. While this might not be the best time of year to do that, maybe you could plan for it in January or February or something. I don't consider myself to be much of a spender. I've very conservative on purchases most of the time. But, I think that I could probably manage to trim *something* somehow.

Other things I am working on to save money:

Trying to get the hang of coupon and rebate shopping. Money Saving Mom is my favorite resource for this. Check out her right sidebar for the Start Here articles. They will give you tips on coupon savings, CVS and Walgreens programs that can help you get tons of free stuff, and more. Lots of really helpful stuff there!

I have been using up all of our apples and pears and grapes from the back yard. In years past I either didn't have the energy or the time to do a lot with those, but this year I have been determined to use what we have. I haven't needed to purchase juice from the grocery store for probably two months or more, I've made homemade apple sauce and apple butter, etc.

In the same vein, I am planning on having a garden next year. This year we just had a dink-o-rama garden space that gave us tomatoes and peppers. Next year we're going to go big. Tending to the garden is going to be part of the kids chores and school. I'm planning now for where stuff will go, adding compost to the garden spaces, and have some more things to work on so that when March gets here we can be ready to make it happen.

I plan to buy heirloom seeds so that we can save the seeds for future years. Educational and thrifty.

There are more things, but those are just a few ideas. Hopefully those will work as a jumping off point for you. :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Food For Thought

Tonite I attended a talk that a friend of mine was giving. She opened the meeting with a question for us to think about:

If you could do anything, go anywhere, have your life be anything ---with no limitations...what would that look like?

I'm still trying to figure that out. I realized that I do not do well with thinking outside of limitations. I thought that some of you might find that interesting to contemplate.

Reality Check

Let's see here....

six kids

homeschooling five kids

husband who works most of the time

running multiple businesses from home

drowning in house mess, kids needs, personal needs, places to go and people to see

an elderly dog that needs special care

and then the question arose: "Can we play basketball?"

Four boys. Three teams. Three months.

One mother in need of a long-term vacation at Shady Acres Home For the Mentally Unstable.

I'm saying no. And somehow, I feel a little guilty for it.

Coo coo.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Coming in 2009: The People Speak

Saw this today and am now looking forward to seeing the finished work. Looks amazing.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Bitty Bit on Politics

I watched some of the presidential debate the other night and found it thoroughly disappointing. Neither candidate said anything that caused me to feel great confidence about them. Much of what they said had me wondering what on earth it all means in plain language. I found myself wishing that I could have a normal conversation with these guys to find out what the bottom line is to what they believe and what they plan to do in DC.

This article by Peggy Noonan summed up a lot of my impressions.

John McCain's mention of a spending freeze concerned me. What will be frozen? And for how long? When I think of the people I help every week at the Emergency Food Pantry, I wonder how their lives will be impacted if the government suddenly stopped sending them housing assistance, food stamps, of the gov't food commodities that we distribute. I would love to get some more info on what this proposed freeze is all about. Anybody know?

Laser Mania and Sexy People

Did you ever wish for those ultra-cool laser backgrounds for your school photo? You will get a kick out of this collection here. What a hoot.

Not to be outdone, this site features a hilarious and unfortunate collection of portrait photos that are not to be missed.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A new social networking tool coming soon!

I'm Invited. Are You? | AddsYou
This looks like it will be a cool thing coming up soon. Get on over there and check it out!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

We Can't Do It Alone

After yesterday's $81 vet visit for Marlee, I decided that it is time to reach out and ask for help with this mission. We want to be able to take care of Marlee and help her have a good life. But, at well over $500 since August, this is an expense way outside of our practical means.

So now you can go visit my One Dollar Doggie Adoption blog and see what I've got going on over there. Would you help us spread the word to those that might be willing to help?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Fun Video

Several weeks ago when we were experiencing high winds from the hurricane in Texas my oldest son decided to try out what he called Land Surfing. Not sure if that's the best name for it, but I enjoyed recording this evidence that he's very much the same kid that he was when he was 8. :)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Times Tales Special

Just recently I told you about the fabulous learning tool that helped my kids learn multiplication facts--Times Tales. Well, right now they are offering a special deal where you can get a bonus item with your purchase. I just wanted to mention it, because we have found this stuff to be a real winner. My kids still remember their facts!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Movie Review: Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind

Tonite I was able to finish watching Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind. I've never known much about Joni Mitchell, and I'm not sure what caused me to add this to my netflix queue, but I'm glad I did.

Some things I learned about Joni that were interesting:

The wide range of artistic expression she is known for (various types of music--folk, jazz, rock, world, etc., plus a painter and a poet)

The way she blazed her own unique trail with her sound and style

The thing that was most inspirational to me about this story was the way she was willing to put raw honesty out in public. I feel like that is an area I would like to grow in.

You can watch this on Instant Play on Netflix.

For your listening pleasure, here is my favorite Joni Mitchell song, Both Sides Now. It's a painfully beautiful song. (I just realized that this is the song that plays in my favorite scene in the movie Life as a House. Love it!)

**You can read the lyrics to this song here.

Make the holiday season easier this year

I have heard about this 12-week holiday planner for a couple of years now, and I guess that every time it came to my attention I was far enough into the holiday season that I didn't think it would be a help to me.

Yeah, well, this year is gonna be different.

Today I got a copy of this great book and I am so excited about it! Honestly, I wasn't really looking for help with the Jesus-is-the-reason-for-the-season aspect of this so much as I wanted to have the organizational help. I was not disappointed!

The book has a great 12-week plan to help get everything done without lumping it all into the 11th hour.

There are a whole bunch of really helpful planning sheets, blank calendars, places to make organized lists, and other great things like that.

There are a lot of really yummy-looking recipes that did not strike me as the kind only Martha Stewart would make.

The Jesse Tree devotionals do look neat. Somehow I have never done any sort of advent devotions with my kids (ever!) but this look doable, and like something we would enjoy adding in to our regular school days in December.

The other thing I really like about this planner is that I can use it year after year. The lists and organizer pages can be printed out as many times as I need them. Which makes a ton of sense to me. (just the one grocery shopping organizer page will be a huge help to me all year long. I already have one printed out and ready for the front of the fridge....)

So, there is my encouragement to you to go take a look and see if this planner would be a handy thing for you for the rest of this year.

Click here for more details

Homeschooling ABCs

Yesterday I found out about a wonderful resource that I think will make a huge difference for those of you that are homeschool moms who aren't feeling quite as confident and at peace with the way things are going in your home school this year.

The Homeschooling ABCs course offers you 26 weeks of ideas, direction, and encouragement in your inbox to help you, PLUS over $200 worth of free curriculum and resources!

Check it out here.