Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm Sorry, Blogger

I tried to love you...

I didn't like being split in half.

I've moved back home.

I'm really sorry, Blogger...(and sorry Dad, click the above link and then add that site to your favorites (like I showed you how to do)).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Houston, We Have Vegetables

Soon to be green bell pepper

Soon to be Tiny Tim tomatoes

Just about a zucchini

Bush beans next week

Nice, as our spinach has now gone to seed, earwigs ate our head lettuce, and we're just about done the leave lettuce.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dealing with too Much Stuff

quite literally.

When I first had children, my goal was to raise them in the most natural way possible. I wanted them to have nice quality toys (handmade, wood toys, etc). I didn't want to get into the whole world of plastic JUNK but over the years we have. We've been to numerous yard sales where the people hand over a box of junk and say "here, take it all for free." Then when were away at the cottage we (yes, WE) purchased Morgaine a large 5 dollar bag of "stuff" as she didn't have much to do and I was huge and very much pregnant. Well, she didn't want to get rid of anything and now I'm overcome with Barbies (gasp), building toys and just stuff in general. They have so much stuff that they don't care about the things they own. They are SPOILED!

For about the last month I've been taking the toys they leave out and putting them in a laundry basket in my room. The plan was that eventually they'd get down to a decent amount of toys that they'd be able to take care of and understand that more isn't always better at which point we could go through the stuff and decide to donate some of it to others with less than we have.

After about a week I'd collected a fair amount

The sad thing is that after a month, I've collected over a laundry basket full of stuff and have started to donate things without their knowledge. They still have more than they know what to do with. I could likely toss the whole basketful without a word from them. I am totally appalled that it has come to this. We don't have any of the nice quality toys that I dreamed of. We've succumb to brand names and cheap toys and as a result the children don't care and actually just want MORE! I'll continue to purge over the months (I have a friend doing a 500 pound purge this year and I'm kicking myself for not joining as I'm sure that we could have reached that goal) and let you know how it goes.

Have any of you managed to go from way too much back to basics? Let me hear your stories!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday's Fave Five-July 23rd

I'm loving Friday's Fave Five because I get to share my favorites from the week and that allows me to slow down and appreciate the good moments even when things are hectic or seem to be going all wrong. So take a moment for yourself, and reflect on the good times you've had this week and the things you've enjoyed. Then please join me at Living to Tell the Story and share!

1. Rain. It has been so hot and humid here leading to a clingy baby and a sticky (yes, ewwww) Mama. The rain that we had yesterday brought much relief.

2. Deciding to spend the afternoon together as a family.
My facial/head pain has been pretty bad since I am no longer pregnant and I've been a little short with the family so I was glad to have enough relief to be able to go out with the family and enjoy.

3. Berry-picking. Well the berry picking was challenging but the raspberries were lovely and we managed to get quite a few in the short time we were out. The kids did not see the fun in being up to their knees (or necks) in brambles and the black flies were terrible. Note to self: unless we are going to be sitting in a field of blueberries were the kids can just sit and pick, let Mike do the gathering.

4. Finding a beach, making the berry picking excursion worth it for the children.

5. Feet in water....

....and on sand.

Nothing is more grounding to me than the ocean and I've been reflecting on the fact that since moving back east I don't take the time to just be. I usually only cast the waves a passing glance as I hurry past and it was nice to take the time today to just slow down and enjoy.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Travel Kits-A Review

Product: Travel Kits: A Simple Way to Bless Others by Donna Rus
Company: The Old Schoolhouse
Price: 12.95$US

We spend time in our car. We spend A LOT of time in the car. As spontaneous people, we often decide out of the blue to pack a bag, hop in the car and GO. Instead of taking one family vacation a year we easily take five or six overnight, unplanned weekend trips with our 3 children. We have had to come up with ways to keep the children occupied on these trips because, well, half of the trip is usually spent getting wherever we are going, so the getting there has to be fun as well! Several years ago I started keeping a packed variety bag of books, treats, and small toys in my closet so that when we wanted to hop in the car we'd have something prepared for the kids that would keep them busy. Well, apparently, I'm not the only one who does this and Donna Rus has written an e-book Travel Kits: A Simple Way to Bless Others to help others learn how to make traveling kits as well.

This e-book from The Old Schoolhouse explains what a travel kit is, who can use it (just about anyone), and makes lots of suggestions for what kinds of things make good travel ideas. In addition, she talks about way to organize the gifts, which she usually wraps, if you are making a travel kit for more than one child. The book is jam packed with pictures of different, creative travel kits the author has made.

While I did like some of her suggestions, I would not be willing to pay 12.95$US for this product. I went to our local dollar store, as suggested in the book, to purchase some items to make a travel kit of our own and I honestly could not imagine buying them more stuff. Many of the items suggested for the travel kits are things that I would not be willing to buy my children so they were not particularly useful. Many of the things that I use in my travel kits are old toys that my children have not seen in a while or books we haven't read and they are happy with those. I don't feel the need to contribute to consumerism by buying them more things that they don't need. If I had the money to buy quality items that would be useful after the trip I might have been more willing to buy new things, but with our numerous mini vacations a year, that is not the case. Another thing that I found was that most of her example travel kits were HUGE. With three big car seats in the back of our small car there would never be room for such large travel kits (though, they do give a lot of suggestions for smaller items as well. While I definitely think that this book could be useful for people that have never packed travel bags for their children, I think that a lot of the information is common sense. As I have been packing fun bags for my children for years, I did not find a lot of the information new to me and therefor would not be interested in purchasing the book myself at 12.95$US.

To find out more about Travel Kits: A Simple Way to Bless Others please check out The Old Schoolhouse Store here. To find out what other people thought of this product please visit The Homeschool Crew website.

**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Old School House Monthly Modules

Product: Travel the World-June 2010 Old Schoolhouse Planner Module
Company: The Old Schoolhouse
Price: 7.95$US

Last year I was given the opportunity to review the 2009-2010 The Old Schoolhouse Planner (you can read the review here). I was quite impressed with the product and mentioned that in addition to the planner The Old Schoolhouse also sold monthly modules to accompany the planner but that I hadn't seen them myself. I am pleased to say that this year the first product up for review as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew was the June 2010 Monthly Module-Travel the World.

My son has been very interested in learning world geography but, I haven't taken a lot of time beyond answering his questions to explore the topic. Despite repeatedly talking to him about the different continents, the information just wasn't sinking in for him. I'd get asked the same questions on a daily basis, most often when out and about in the car where we do not have a world map handy (maybe we should as I spend a fair amount of time sitting in the car nursing our youngest one). Upon arriving home, we'd move on to something else and I'd never pull out the map to clarify my answers. Thankfully, this review has allowed me to sit down with my son and study the topic further.

The TOS monthly modules allow you to sit down and learn with your children without having to do the research and find the material yourself. The June Module entitled Travel the World includes 56 pages of material introducing your child to world geography from a Christian perspective. Included are lapbook pages, colouring sheets, copy work and games (crosswords, word searches, etc). As your child reads about the continents and other geographical terms, they can click on various links in the PDF to allow them to visit websites that expand on the information and allow your child to test their knowledge through quizzes and other interactive games.

With a variety of materials for multiple age ranges this unit study not only provides an introduction to young children but can be easily used as a review with your older children who should find the e-book easy enough to use on their own. For 7.95$us, this book provides a wealth of information that I would happily pay for. With a very young child at home I am finding that I have less time to actually look for information and create unit studies myself so this book was very welcomed. The Old Schoolhouse publishes a new e-book planner module each month and I will be checking back to see what new topics are being covered. Some previous topics, still available for purchase, include the presidents of the United States, the universe, staying safe, world wonders and many more. These modules are jam packed and cover a variety of age ranges and I would happily purchase them again especially considering the number of links included to well presented informative websites, which I currently don't have the time to hunt down myself. Well worth the cost!

For more information on this product and to purchase it click here. For more reviews of this product be sure to check out the TOS Homeschool Crew website here.

**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.