Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

Welcome to the home of the Three Princesses!

My name is Laurel, and I have been homeschooling the Three Princesses for over ten years. Tarja is 3, Abbey is 11, and we are about to celebrate Melody's sweet 16 in just a few more weeks.

The Three Princesses is not about teaching other moms how to homeschool, but is merely a very personal look into our lives as a homeschooling family in hopes of busting some of the myths of homeschooling.

Besides being a homeschooling mom, I am also a baton twirling teacher, coupon mom, writer, and ChaCha guide.

Have a Great Day!
Laurel Santiago

Friday, March 25, 2011

Homeschool Groups

I'm not complaining, merely reflecting.

What do you think about starting, or belonging to homeschool support groups?

The reason that I ask is that so many people are really gung ho about joining these groups. They sign up, pay their dues, sign statements of faith, and do whatever else is necessary to become members of these groups.

After all of the little formalities, something happens to the groups, more often than not. What happens is the strangest phenomena that I have ever seen in my ten years of homeschooling.

Few, if anybody, participates.

Families RSVP for events, and then refuse to show up.

Other families suggest events, and then fail to come to that which they have created.

The excuses for this display of apathy are amazing and endless.

Coordinators and organizers are left with wasted time, lost money, and hurt feelings.

Are homeschool support groups needed or wanted at all?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Loud, Messy Palace

"Each morning upon rising, and each evening before sleeping, give thanks for the life within you and for all life, for the good things the Creator has given you and for the opportunity to grow a little more each day. Consider your thoughts and actions of the past day and seek for the courage and strength to be a better person. Seek for the things that will benefit others (everyone)." from the Native American Code of Ethics

It seems like my house is never clean enough. No matter how hard I try, and no matter what I do, or what system I use, if you come to visit me, you are going to see at least a small amount of mess. It seems like the harder I try, and the tighter I try to run this ship, the looser the ends become. However, I believe that God speaks to us in his own way, and some things were revealed to my heart today.

1. One of my children was struggling with her math work that she was doing online. A year ago, I nearly lost my job, and was having to struggle through math lessons because my computer was broken, but the miracle is that one day I turned it on to see if I could fix it myself, and it worked as if it were brand new. Thank you, Jesus for giving back such a useful and helpful tool, and for giving me back my job. Maybe I, in all of the stress of the previous months, needed to take a month off from work far worse than I needed that money.

2. My toddler was running around screaming, getting into things that she shouldn't, and wreaking havoc with her sisters, who were doing their school work. Thank you, Jesus. This is the precious baby that we thought we could never have. Thank you, so very, very much.

Can you feel my tears as I write this?

3. As if I wasn't already feeling a little overstimulated, I was trying to wash dishes, listen to Melody practice Amazing Grace on her Irish tin whistle, and was hearing the clatter of the washer and dryer more so than the music. Thank you, Jesus. I remember when we didn't have any conveniences, and hard work didn't seem to pay off very much during those times, but you came through for us with all that we needed, plus more.

4. Homeschooling Three Princess of such vast age differences can be tough, especially when we didn't have a clue, a dime, or a plan. Thank you, Jesus. You gave me the strength to stand up to a teacher and a room full of school officials to say, "We are not afraid to homeschool!" Thank you for giving me the right words to say, and the right people and circumstances to turn this into a successful, ten year rein as a homeschooling family.

5. Putting a Sweet 16 party together has been expensive and overwhelming. Thank you, Jesus! My daughter has made it this far without drugs, alcohol, or a teen pregnancy. What a celebration this will be!

6. My husband's job requires so much of him, that it often leaves us without transportation, and I just miss him when he's gone for so many hours of the day. Thank you, Jesus! I remember when the Army rendered him unable to work for several years, and I had to be both mommy and breadwinner..............and that's when I said goodbye to my music career for good. Thank you, Jesus, for having a plan far greater than any that I could have designed on my own.

"One thing after another" means "blessing after blessing!"


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Random Fact:s: Princess Baby Tarja

1. Tarja is the princess that I didn't believe that we could have. After I gave up on having any more babies, and the day after Princess Abbey's 8th birthday, we found out that we had a blessing on the way.

2. We could not agree on her name, but we all loved listening to Tarja Turunen, a highly versatile opera singer. In a fit of pregnant, hormonal rage, I shouted, "Why don't we just name her Tarja?" Everybody immediately agreed that this should be her name.

3.Tarja was born a year and one month after Mama died.

4. She was 9 pounds 8 and 1/2 oz. and was 21 1/2 inches long.

5. Tarja's 3rd birthday is the 24th of this month.

6. Tarja has always preferred to take a nap at the time that SpongeBob Squarepants comes on in the afternoon.

7. When Tarja was a newborn, Melody would play opera and classical music for her on youtube and prop her up so that she could watch.

8. She loves Dora the Explorer, the Disney Princesses, SpongeBob, Winnie the Pooh and ICarley.

9. Until she got old enough to want to play outside, she hated to wear shoes or socks. Why? Because she loved to see and play with her feet.

10. She refuses to sleep in her own bed.

11. This is her first year of baton twirling.

12. Her favorite food is chicken.

13. She loves new clothes and shoes.

14. Tarja can almost sing her ABC's.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Princess Abbey

The second part of this 3 part series will leave you knowing Princess Abbey a little bit better than you did before. She is the middle princess of the Three Princesses.

1. Abbey is four years younger than Melody, and is 8 years older than Tarja.
2. She is allergic to animals, yet wants to be a dog groomer when she grows up.
3. Her current passion is dogs, and she was finally blessed with Molly, our one year old blue heeler.
4. Abbey was a Girl Scout for at least 7 years.
5. She was in Christ's Kids (CKs) for about 5 years.
6. She has been in AWANA for about 3 years.
7. She was named Princess (how appropriate!) at the West Texas Baby pageant in Odessa, Texas when she was 18 months old.
8. Her favorite subject is science due to her love of animals.
9. Abbey has been a baton twirler for 5 years.
10. She participated in Upward cheerleading for 2 years.
11. She is currently working on reading the entire Babysitter's Club series.
12. Her favorite TV show is Dog the Bounty Hunter.
13. Her favorite board game is currently Apples to Apples..
14. Has earned the Presidential Physical Fitness Award.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Random Princess Facts: Melody

1. Graduated from American Model Group modeling school in Tulsa, OK at the age of 5.

2. Was a Girl Scout for at least seven years.

3. Volunteered for the local nursing home for four years.

4. Was voted one of West Texas Most Beautiful by Nuestra Cultura magazine in Odessa, Texas.

5. Has been a twirler for 5 years.

6. Has participated in or volunteered with several children's ministry groups.

7. Has earned the Presidential Physical Fitness Award.

8. Plays the Irish tin whistle.

9. Is a certified SuperSitter

10. Loves Opera, history, and great literature.

11. Has a goal to start entrepreneurship courses this Fall.

Stay tuned for facts about Princess Abbey and Princess Tarja!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Princess Tarja Plays a Game

Princess Tarja will be three years old in about two more weeks. With her growing vocabulary and ever increasing arsenal of new skills, I decided that it was time to try out a file folder game. File folder games are educational games that you make yourself using file folders. There are many websites that offer free printables for making file folder games. I found this particular game HERE.

The video is sideways, because I made it from my phone, and am still learning how to use the phone. Maybe if you put your left ear on your left shoulder, you will be able to see better. However, I felt that the video was too good to throw away.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Missing GrandKing

Some of the greatest stories go left untold. People hide amazing stories from the world out of pride or even spite. Many of us are afraid that we might be ridiculed, or treated badly because we feel the way that we feel about some things in our lives. God is the one true judge, and the only one that can see every facet of every situation. As some of you may know, I don't try to hide much, if anything. In fact, among my circle of friends, I am quite well known for my transparency. The fact of the matter is that due to the fault of an elder queen that was dismissed from her duties many years ago, the Three Princesses have a Grandking that doesn't know that they exist. He may not even know that I exist as his child.

I, the child of the missing Grandking, have been searching for answers since high school. A few weeks ago, during my time of prayer, I prayed a prayer that I have prayed many times. I asked to at least see a picture of my father, and declared that I don't have any hard feelings toward him. I know that his absence is not entirely his fault. I would never ask for money, or try to cause harm to any family relationships that he has.

With each prayer, I remember asking my mother when I was 16 years old if she would help me find him. She said, "You know what they say about drunk Indians. He was diabetic and alcoholic, so he's probably dead." That was supposed to make me forget, but it didn't.

My grandparents who raised me contacted the Bureau of Indian Affairs to try to get some assistance in this matter, and were treated kindly, though offered no assistance. My birth certificate says that my father is "unknown", and I found out that my christening in the Episcopal church was really a sham, because the congregation was told that my father was in the service, and therefore could not be present. Back then, teen moms weren't as "cool" as they are now, and the churches would sometimes refuse to christen children born to unwed mothers. After I had been married with two Princesses, my grandmother gave me my baby book. I was ecstatic. Unfortunately, on the pages that list family names, my mother entered the names of her boyfriends, then scratched them out as the relationships ended. Truly, I hope that she is reading this, because I want her to know that I didn't grow up ignorant of these things, much as she hoped that I would.

This story gets pretty long, so I'll conclude that I have jokingly told close friends that I am a direct product of the love revolution.'s not funny, and wasn't really as lovely as everybody makes it sound.

Last night, a dear friend who has a genealogy business found him in a very short while. She sent me a picture and other information, and I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that it's him. I have lived 35 years, and I finally got the picture that I prayed for. Thank you to Jesus, and thank you to my friend who was the vessel that he used to help me with this very special request. I may never see him in person, and I can accept that. If it is meant that he should be part of our lives, then God will make it happen, because nothing is too big for God.

Just in case there is a Grandking that is looking for us, and so that search engines will pick this up, I am Laurel Lee Chipp, born to Kathleen (Kathy) Chipp in 1976. You ran into her a day or so after she graduated from a reform school in California. Your name is Kenneth Fred Gray.

Thank You For Reading,
Laurel Santiago

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Queen's Amazing Shopping Day

In previous posts, I have mentioned my efforts to save money. For years, I have been trying to learn how to be a coupon mom, and as of today, I believe that I am finally there. I have finally made it to the top of coupon mountain, and it feels great. You probably already know all about how if you take your coupons, spend them on sale priced items, buy the smallest item allowed, and blah, blah, blah, you will get your stuff for about half price over all. I wanted more than half price. There are women right here in my area that can come home from an all day shopping journey, with bags and bags of products for just a few dollars. That's what I wanted. Finally, I found this, and hit paydirt. Here is a list of everything that I have received for free within the past month, including today's shopping trip:

8 Redbox movie rentals
1 Walgreens photo book
1 year subscription to
1 free Walgreens photo collage
1 free parenting book
3 Baby Magic baby wash
3 Colgate toothpaste
2 Crest toothpaste
1 Oral B battery powered toothbrush
1 box Spongebob gummy candy
1 small pack oreos
1 box Puffs tissues
1 Afrin nasal spray
1 Motrin PM

If you want to know how I have accomplished this, please go here. If you sign up using one of my links, you will get these great deals coming to you continuously, and will help the Three Princesses at the same time.

Incidentally, please check out my unit studies listed in the margins, and the link to my beautiful, full color calendar at the very top of the page. If you try and like, please post a comment and let us know.

Have a Great Day!
Laurel Santiago