Sunday, August 28, 2011

Back to School Clothing Swap

A fellow coupon mom mentioned that there was a website that would allow us to exchange boxes of our children's clothing. I could not find the site, until I ran across a mention of it in a magazine article. I searched for the address immediately, and now I think that I am in love.

If you aren't already a member of, I urge you to check it out.

By becoming a member, you get to bless a family with gently used clothing, toys and books. This includes military families. When someone requests a box that you have posted, you receive a shipping label so that you don't have to pay for the shipping. If you choose to receive a box from another member, then you pay for shipping. I just posted my first two boxes, and can't wait for someone to ask for them. Hootie hoo!

If you are interested, please visit my link at:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I went to the library to print off a lapbook project from homeschoolshare. The project was to go with the reading of 123 Zooby Eric Carle. After I printed the lapbook pages, I tried to find the book so that I could check it out, and could not find it. Thankfully, the librarians looked for it after I left, and called me so that I could pick it up today.

This evening, we took a little trip to the sandhills. We took our extremely hyperactive blue heeler with us and let her run wild and free. She gave thanks by knocking my husband flat on his back. If I had been recording that incident, I would have made bunches of money on America's Funniest Home Videos. Incidentally, I am almost five months pregnant, and climbing up and down the dunes was not as much fun as I thought it would be. Therefore, I picked a comfy spot on top of one of the big ones and took lots of pictures. It seemed like it took me forever to get back down when it was time to go home, but I finally made it without falling flat on my face.

My cell phone, with all of the pictures on it, is out of battery, but I will share our adventures in the near future.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Under Construction

I found this awesome new background, and I guess it caused me to lose all the rest of my content. I'll start posting again as soon as we get back from doing more homeschooly stuff.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Princess Tarja and Preschool

Tarja is so excited to have her very own school work to do. Since she is three years old, we have to keep everything light and simple. We picked up a workbook that is a comprehensive preschool curriculum that should for two years. The section that she is using right now is about color. Yesterday, she did the red pages, and today she had yellow.

I took white index cards, and a red marker to make sight word flash cards. We do actually have store bought flash cards for this effort, but I have learned that the red lettering works best for babies, and toddlers. We are doing five new words per week.

The real challenge is trying to get her to spend as much time outdoors as the Charlotte Mason method advises. It's still over a hundred degrees in the afternoon, but we took advantage of the cooler window of opportunity right after breakfast, and then went to the park after supper and stayed until it was too dark to play anymore. I was a little bit worried that the addition of playground equipment in the park would stifle the independent nature study, but before I knew it, she and all of the other children that were playing in the park were having a great time with a friendly old dog that came to love on everybody. Although domesticated, the dog is still a part of nature.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A New Generation

There is something that has been on my mind recently. I remember going through a little crisis as a young married mama, because it was drilled into our heads in public school that if we didn't do as we were told, or didn't make the best grades or test scores, that we would be sentenced to a life of working at places like McDonalds.

I made wonderful grades, and did wonderful things in school, but found myself doing a variety of different jobs while I was in college and even afterwards. Every job that I have ever had, I have taken very seriously. It didn't matter if I was a musician, salesperson, telemarketer, insurance agent, Mary Kay lady, activity director or laundry attendant, I have worked as hard as I could.

The dilemma is that I often felt very badly about myself and my position. As I grow and change, I realize that was hogwash. Where would we be in this world if there were no food service workers, janitors, dry cleaners, babysitters, store cashiers, and so forth? Are we doing our children any favors by treating some people as though they are more lowly than others because they didn't attend college or chose to be stay at home parents even after college? What is wrong with us?

I am doing as much as I possibly can to encourage my children to take the career path that they choose, but if they have to wait tables to get through college, or to make a little extra cash during hard times, is that such a bad thing?

Let's raise a generation of hard workers, just like our grandparents, and their grandparents, and teach them to make no apologies for choosing to earn an honest wage instead of dealing drugs or engaging in sinful activities in pursuit of the dollar.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'm so excited that Princess Tarja is going to have the opportunity to use the Charlotte Mason method through her entire school career. Princess Melody did well from middle school through high school. Princess Abbey has done well from elementary school through the present middle school years, and Princess Tarja is about to commence to begin to start.

An online homeschool friend is starting a group on facebook for those of us that want to read and discuss A Charlotte Mason Companion by chapters. When we first started using this method of teaching, I borrowed the book, but since I will need it for the next several years for Tarja and the prince or princess that is on the way, I went ahead and ordered myself a copy. Now, I can't wait until it gets here!

I'm sure that my friends get bored with me going on and on about Charlotte Mason, but this woman was a genius in the area of educating children. Also, if you have ever doubted your decision to ditch the career wear to become a full time wife and mother, the beautiful words of Charlotte Mason will open your eyes to a whole new, beautiful world.

Also, I ran across the blog of the author of A Charlotte Mason Companion. It is a beautiful, beautiful, work of art. If I ever were to get to meet some important women in my life, I would like to meet Charlotte Mason and Karen Andreola. Both women have changed the face of child rearing and homeschooling for my family forever, and I dearly hope that someday, I can be such an inspiration to other mothers that need this tender encouragement.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'm not enjoying my new job as much as I thought I would. Now, the real reason that I took this particular job rather than getting back into insurance, is because the hours fit right into the schedule of my family, it is very near my home and the actual duties aren't really that difficult. My dilemma is that I am four months pregnant, and you can imagine that when it is 110 degrees outdoors, what must it be like indoors with many washers and dryers running at the same time? I'm not a good quitter, so do I grin and bear the consequences, or get back home under the A/C with my computer and I have to think long and hard about this.

Princess Melody had to leave her job at the convenience store, because her former boss seems to think that teenagers should put in 12-14 hour days every day without complaint, have no days off, and forget about what needs to be done for school. Yes, we are unusual in that not only do we homeschool year round, but that we feel that a 16 year old college student should be allowed a few hours per day to devote to the lost art of study. When she told her boss that she could not work early morning shifts, because she has school in the mornings, she was told that if she could not work the hours given to her, that she could find work somewhere else. Our King put his foot down, and Melody is currently seeking a more student friendly position somewhere else.

We celebrated Princess Abbey's 12th birthday by going out to dinner and coming home to chocolate cake with mocha icing. The King and I (LOL) gave her a cell phone, and Princess Melody bought her a Wii (Princess Tarja calls it the Weed). She also received an amazing birthday surprise from our dear friend and fellow homeschooler: a trip to a nearby nail salon for some girly fun. Hootie hoo!

Next month is the King's birthday, and Princess Tarja informed me that she is going to arrange a party for him. It will be interesting and fun to see the party planning prowess of a three year old princess.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Baby Wipes: They're Not Just for Babies Anymore

I met my husband when I was 15 years old. We married when I was 18, and had Princess Melody when I was 19. I am now 35, and it is time to share a few things that I have learned on my journey as wife, mother, worker, student, daughter, caregiver, etc. etc.

1. Baby wipes: they're not just for babies anymore.

2. Look nice when you go out, but keep a "just in case" pair of comfy shoes in the car.

3. Keep beauty routines at a minimum. I can be ready for anything in about 20 minutes, whether anybody likes the way I look or not.

4. If you are a busy mom, keep at least one skirt on hand that goes with any blouse. Why???? You don't always have time to wonder what everybody else is wearing, but you can rarely go wrong with a skirt and blouse.

5. If you don't like how a program or activity is going for your children, then sign up to volunteer. Either you will learn the method to their madness, or be part of the solution. It's a win-win situation.

6. Don't compare your marriage to anybody else's. Nobody but Jesus is perfect.

7. Along those same lines, don't second guess your decisions as a mother. My own Mama, when I was faced with a decision said, "Whatever you decide to do will be right, because you are their mother." Thank you, Mama.

8. Keeping a personal journal for each of my children is both healing and will leave something behind that is worth far more than money.

9. Your mother was right when she said to always wear clean underwear, because you could end up in the emergency room. Trust me on this one.

10. Do laundry every day. If you don't believe me, watch some ladies do a month's worth of laundry at the laundromat and ask yourself if you would like to be in their shoes. Just do it.

11. Play board and video games with your kids once in awhile. It's fun.

12. Share your favorite music and books with your family. You never know who will be truly blessed by being exposed to these things.

13. If you want your kids to read, then you should read. Read books, magazines, newspapers, internet articles. Read, read, read.....

14. You can't take care of your kids if you don't take care of yourself. Give yourself permission to be a little bit selfish in the health department.

15. ALSO, don't hide your health issues from your kids. I am a diabetic, as is or was the rest of both mine and my husband's side of the family. Growing up watching my grandfather handle his diabetes may very well have saved my life, and I will do the same for the little eyes that are watching me.

16. Let your kids teach you. I had never watched a foreign film with subtitles until Princess Melody discovered Bollywood all by herself. WOW! There are some amazing things to see in this world.

17. Read Proverbs 31 over and over again. Then, read it over some more.

18. If something isn't going right in your life, don't be afraid to make changes.

19. The fastest way to stop an argument is to stop talking.

20. The fastest way to solve a problem is to pray.

Giving All the Glory to God,
Laurel Santiago