Hey, It's Jade! and family

Sunday, July 31, 2011

3 in 30: August 2011

I actually just received something in the mail that is very timely considering I'm joing the 3in30 Challenge this month. As a BzzAgent, I have been doing the Domino Project Campaign, and they sent some of us a copy of Pick Four from Zig Ziglar (curated by Seth Godin).  It is, according to Amazon.com, "an updated version of Zig Ziglar’s legendary goal-setting program, The Performance Planner. Updated, simplified and introduced by Seth Godin, Pick Four, is designed to help anyone achieve his or her goals."  It's a very neat, wire-bound, fill in the blank-type journal that keeps track of your goal progress (and in the beginning helps you narrow down what your true goals are!).  So, see?  Very timely, eh?

I have decided that my three goals for the month of August are:

1) Stick closer to the schedule I created for our mornings.  School-wise, we are trying to make our way through two workbooks before actually starting up First Grade on September 8th.  If we keep on task, we'll be done with those books two weeks before our school year starts, so we need to stay on task and have a bit of a total break from school!  I also need to keep the boys on that schedule so they have their nap/quiet time each day so I can work on my business.  And if that happens, I can get more done in that one chunk, so I don't have to be working here and there and there and here and feel like I'm doing it alllll day long (thereby not spending enough time just playing with the kids).  So, this one is pretty important.  All that to say that my goal is: Stay on schedule!

2)  Continue to keep after the house.  I did the "31 Days to Clean Challenge" in May, and it felt so great to have a clean home!  I want to have that feeling all the time!  I know it's practically impossible with two rambunctious boys, my floor will ALWAYS have crumbs no matter how hard I try.  But I can do a better job at staying after important stuff like dusting, keeping the bathrooms clean, vacuuming, etc.  I want it to be routine, without even having to think about it!  And I certainly don't want my house to get out of control! 

3)  And my last goal is to spend more time with my husband.  He works two jobs.  He's gone all day long most days of the week.  But there is time that we're together, we just usually spend it doing different things in different parts of the house.  I want to spend more quality time with him, and make sure he knows how much I appreciate what he does for our family!  I would like to try to make sure the time that we do spend together is not spent arguing or complaining to each other... I want it to be covered in love, appreciation, respect and honor!

So, those are my three attainable goals for the month of August.  They aren't earth shattering or world changing, but they're a start!  And that's pretty much all I can hope for right now...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summer Weight Shedding Challenge, Post 3 (of 12)

I have joined up with some other ladies at The Homeschool Lounge in this Summer weight-loss challenge. I have found that when I have a specific challenge or a real goal and someone to be accountable to, I can do much better! My goal is to lose around 25 pounds.  The challenge lasts 12 weeks, ending on October 7th.

So.... yeah.  I maintained.  Which, is actually a good thing considering this was my week to crave nothing but grease and sweets.  You know what I mean, ladies?  The beginning of the week, I was good, though.  We snacked on apples, celery, Magic Pop (which is basically crunchy air!).  But by the end of the week, I was feeling all... girly... and my husband indulged my pleading for Mexican Food.  Sigh.  Hoping that once this passes, I'll be motivated again.  And maybe even get my but moving a little.  Well, I did run through the house with Callen last nite, chasing the little booger and making him squeal like crazy.  That counts as exercise, right?!?

My goal this week is: GET ACTIVE!!!

7/15 - 24 pounds to go
7/22 - 23 pounds to go
7/29 - 23 pounds to go

Previous Summer Weight Shedding Challenge post can be found here.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal, July 29th

The Homeschool Mother's Journal: Summer Edition, a link-up with The Homeschool Chick.

In my life this week...
- Working on my Usborne business, reaching out to friends to see if they'll host parties (and catching up with them, yay!), learning more about certain aspects of it, testing out the products with my kiddos.

In our homeschool this week...
- Preston's handwriting is getting better and better (when he is really trying to do his best)!  He loves making lists and stuff whenever he's playing, so he doesn't even realize how much he's practicing!  Love that!

My favorite thing this week...
- Last Saturday we got out of the house and walked around Central Market and World Market.  Those places are so fun for browsing, sampling and people watching.  Despite a few issues with Preston's behavior, but overall we had a great time out as a family.  And there was gelato involved!  =)

A picture to share...
Was it mean of me to snap this photo?
Callen somehow crawled through the two bars at the bottom of our kitchen chair and got stuck.  I took this picture while waiting for the neighbor to come over and help me.  I tried a number of different things, including buttering his head (yes, I did!), but I couldn't get him through by myself - his head would not go through those bars in any position!  My neighbor came over and helped hold the chair up while I slid the rest of Callen's body through (had to take off his shirt and butter his chest and back, YES I DID!).  It made for an exciting Thursday night adventure, for sure. Michael reminded me of the time Preston's head got stuck in a sweater:

Just more proof that I am definitely a Boy Mom


P.S. While you're here, do you mind "liking" my Usborne FB Page?  Thank you!!!

The Lion's Deceit by Mpho Otukile

The Lion's Deceit was written by a woman named Mpho Otukile, from Botswana.  The book is illustrated by S. B. Dow.  It is the story of a lazy lion, who devises a sneaky plan to easily catch his prey without having to exert any energy.  It works for a while, until someone catches on to his ways and turns the tables.  And, as it should be in all children's' books, good triumphs over evil!  And that lazy lions gets taught a lesson.  The illustrations are brightly colored and eye-catching.  The animals are drawn very well, some of them reminiscent of characters from Disney's The Lion King.

The moment this book arrived, my son was eager to read it!  He is 5 and a very good reader... he only needed help with a few of the words (including the definition of the word "deceit").  He enjoyed the story very much.  When I asked him what his favorite part was, he told me that he was glad that "the other animals came after the lion and made him run!" 

This book offers a cute way to emphasize to your young children the importance of working hard and not being lazy.  According to the author's bio in the book, she plans on writing more life lesson books based on stories she grew up hearing in her village.  Autographed copies of The Lion's Deceit can be purchased through Village Life Books (Ships from Canada). Copies are also available for purchase from Createspace eStore, where you can use coupon code 2LU4EXJM to get 10% off.  Village Life Books can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

[This is a MamaBuzz review. The product was provided by: Village Life Books and Mpho Otukile for this review. The opinions stated above are my own words.]

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Read Aloud Thursday: July 28th

I recently found out about this weekly meme, called Read-Aloud Thursday @ Hope Is the Word  (found it via Homegrown Learners, oh how I love my homeschool bloggers!).  I am excited to take part because I love reading aloud to my kids.  And just the other day I was asking my friends on Facebook what they are reading aloud to THEIR kids.  And I also, I'd like to start highlighting some of the great Usborne Books & More titles I have to offer.  There are so many good ones available!!!  So, this is perfect for me!

[image location]
Last week we finished off Hank The Cowdog #4 Murder In the Middle Pasture.  So, of course, Preston demanded we start up #5 as soon as possible.  The fifth in the series is called Faded Love.  Hank feels unappreciated for all the work he puts in on the ranch and decides to leave "for good" to finally focus on his love life.  Oh boy.  As you can image Hank encounters all kinds of troubles on his way to visit his "true love."  That dog can't go anywhere without running into trouble, can he?  And I don't know why (ok, maybe I do), but when I read Hank out-loud, I have to do it with a bit of a twang.  Lol!  He is just a good 'ole country boy, after all!

I am also reviewing a children's book called The Lion's Deceit, written by Mpho Otukile from Botswana.  Preston read this one out-loud to me.  You can read the review of this title here.

[image location]
And now a spotlight on an Usborne book we read this week: That's Not My Dinosaur...! This is part of the Usborne Touchy-Feely Books collection.  Callen enjoyed this one because he is a big fan of dinosaurs (I know, what boy isn't?!). He loves to point at any picture of a dinosaur and growl.  Pretty cute stuff!   Preston also noted that there is a mouse on every page, much like the duck that appears on every page of some other Usborne books.  That's Not My Dinosaur... explains why these dinosaurs are not the one we're looking for ("It's tail is too fuzzy.") and provides a textured area of the dinosaur to touch and experience.  And, yes, the last pages show us the dinosaur we are looking for.  Hooray!  There is an entire series of books called "That's not my..." and offers friends like monsters, bears, kittens, bunnies, frogs and so many more!  The illustrations are adorable, and young children love to, well, touch and feel these books!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Boy Mom BlogHop with M.O.B. Society

The M.O.B. (Mothers of Boys) Society is hosting the first annual Boy Mom BlogHop this week!  Now, the first time Preston called me a "Boy Mom," I corrected him, saying "I'm not a boy."  I didn't realize that he had been watching the news with Daddy and they had been talking about a lady who was putting out clothes and accessories for moms of boys, and they had labeled us "Boy Moms."  Ohhhh, ok, I get it now.
My Family.
If this is your first visit to my blog, allow me to introduce myself and welcome you!  My name is Jade, I live in Grand Prairie, Texas with my husband, Michael, and two boys, Preston (5.5 years old) and Callen (nearly 17 months old).  I have been a stay-at-home-mom since Callen was born, while previously I worked at a radio station for nearly 9 years.  I recently started a work-at-home job with Usborne Books & More, and I am enjoying introducing these amazing books to people who have never heard of them!  Last year I began homeschooling my oldest and we are excited to start up again this year - I'll have a First Grader!  My blog is normally just about what's going on in our lives... with huge emphasis on homeschooling recaps.  I also post book, product and service reviews, frugal findings, random thoughts, rants, praises, and what not.  I am a Christian, and I strive to let His light shine through me... though, as a sinner, I often fail.  That is the beauty of grace, though... He still loves me and accepts me as His own.  I pray you know His unfailing love as well.

When I'm not homeschooling, talking to people about books, sweeping my kitchen floor or keeping my children from climbing on top of the kitchen table, I enjoy reading and writing blogs, facebooking, baking (not cooking, yuck!), reading non-fiction books, and, of course, playing with my kids.  I also work closely with a Cancer ministry here in the DFW Metroplex called Shear Hope.  I run their website and manage their social media, but I am also proud to say that I am a Hope Giver, meaning I have shaved my head (twice, actually) and raised money to help support those struggling because of Cancer.

Thank you for visiting my blog, I hope you'll stop by often!  You can follow via RSS or Google Friend Connect (both of those choices are available over on the right-hand side of this page).  You can also follow me on Twitter @heyjade.  Leave a comment so I can visit your blog as well!  God bless!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer Weight Shedding Challenge, Post 2 (of 12)

I have joined up with some other ladies at The Homeschool Lounge in this Summer weight-loss challenge. I have found that when I have a specific challenge or a real goal and someone to be accountable to, I can do much better! My goal is to lose around 25 pounds.  The challenge lasts 12 weeks, ending on October 7th.

Week one is over and I apparently lost a pound.  That's awesome!  I have no idea how, because I didn't do anything that would have helped me lose weight this week.  In fact, to be completely honest, I forgot I was even doing this challenge most of the time.  My bad!  I simply continued to eat whatever I wanted, snack wayyyy too much as usual, etc.  So, it was nice to step on the scale yesterday and see that it was one number less than it was last week.  I'll take it!  I don't, however, expect that to happen again.  I'm not that lucky.  I have to gain control over my snacking.  The boys are constantly hungry, constantly clawing at the pantry door... but I need to learn that just because they are having a snack, it doesn't mean I have to have one.  Especially if I'm not hungry!  C'mon, Jade, duhhhhh!

My goal this week is to 1) remember that I'm trying to lose weight and 2) act like it!  But seriously, I think I'll put a note on the pantry door or the Summer Shedding Challenge Icon at least to remind me that I am on a mission!  I need to do some grocery shopping, so hopefully I can keep myself from buying anything that would be too tempting.  And more fruits and veggies!  I know I can do this if I really put my heart into it!

7/15 - 24 pounds to go
7/22 - 23 pounds to go

Initially, I was only going to blog an update once a month, but I think if I commit to blogging it once a week, I'll be more likely to stay on track or at least be more accountable.  Sorry, this series has gone from 4 posts to 12!  Previous Summer Weight Shedding Challenge post can be found here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal, July 22nd, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal: Summer Edition, a link-up with The Homeschool Chick.

In my life this week...
- Feels like my new business has consumed my life, or at least my thoughts and most of my life.  Been working on getting it really rolling.  Honestly, not having the response I thought I would.  Of course, I am less than two weeks into it and I knew going in that it was gonna take some work.  I didn't realize, I guess, just how busy everyone is, and how difficult it would be to get people to answer their phones or return messages I've left!

In our homeschool this week...
- Nothing to report, same 'ole, same 'ole.  Well...except that I got to use the credit I earned for hosting my own Usborne show to purchase some great books we'll be using for schooling.  That was pretty exciting.  Hooray books!  Haha!

Places we're going and people we're seeing...
- Had my Grand Opening party last Saturday so we had a few people over, including my mom, mother-in-law, neighbor from across the street and some married friends with a daughter (Preston adored her!).
- On Wednesday, a friend from highschool came over so I could meet her precious 2-month-old son!
- And on Thursday, I was craving pizza and the Rangers had scored over 7 runs the nite before (which means half price pizza at Papa John's!), only since we don't have a car and I am cheap - and don't like to pay delivery fee or tip unless I have to - I set up an impromptu play/lunch date with my friend Candi!  She brought over her 4 kids, her husband... and she picked up the pizza on her way over!  It was a blast!

Questions/thoughts I have...
- Am I really cut out for a job like this?  I need to grow in my boldness, that's for sure!
- Am I already alienating my friends?  I've left so many messages and only a couple of people out of the huge list have returned my phone call or emails.  =(

I'm grateful for...
- My husband, who is being super supportive through my bi-polar attitude regarding business (one second I am giddy over doing it and ready to go, the next second I am mumbling about my failure, lol).  And he's quite helpful around the house when he can be!  He installed a shelf above the TV to put some of the electronics on, because Callen is just set on a mission to destroy them.  Now he can't reach them, yay!

A quote to share...
"Energy and persistence can conquer all things." ~ Benjamin Franklin


P.S. While you're here, do you mind "liking" my Usborne FB Page?  Thank you!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Read Aloud Thursday: July 21st

I just found out about this weekly meme, called Read-Aloud Thursday @ Hope Is the Word  (found it via Homegrown Learners, oh how I love my homeschool bloggers!).  I am excited to take part because I love reading aloud to my kids.  And just the other day I was asking my friends on Facebook what they are reading aloud to THEIR kids.  And I also, I'd like to start highlighting some of the great Usborne Books & More titles I have to offer.  There are so many good ones available!!!  So, this is perfect for me!

[image location]
We have been slowly working our way through the Hank The Cowdog series by John R. Erickson.  Preston (5 yrs old) absolutely loves hearing about Hank's zany adventures.  We are currently reading #4 Murder In the Middle Pasture.  We read one chapter per night, and it almost always leaves us hanging... so much so that Preston usually demands to continue or else he won't go to sleep.  But, I have to assure him that we'll find out what happens soon enough!  I'm not really sure that he's catching every bit of humor or sarcasm that poor 'ole Hank uses, but he's absorbing the vocabulary (though some of it includes words like "howlter" and "whoopter" -which goes along with laughter, lol!).  

[image location]
We also read God Gave Us Christmas, a book my mom brought over after purchasing from a garage sale.  It's an adorable book explaining that God is the reason we have Christmas, because He gave us the gift of Jesus!  The pictures fill up the entire page and are really quite beautiful.  Both boys enjoyed hearing the story and seeing the images.  Callen (16 months) insisted that the polar bears were "woof woofs" but... close enough.  Haha.  It was nice to hear a lovely Christmas story in the middle of our 100-degree heat right now.  Yuck!

And, finally, a spotlight on an Usborne book we read this week: Brush Your Teeth, Max and Millie written by Felicity Brooks!  Preston actually read this one aloud to me during bedtime the other night, and I captured it on video.

[image location]
He is a great reader for his age, however, he's not the best at being enthusiastic regarding brushing his teeth.  Ha!  So, I had him read this, and talked about how Max and Millie are younger than him and... look how great THEY are about brushing their teeth!  It worked for a night or two, at least.  It is an adorable book, the kids are super cute.  The pictures and story are fun for a kid to hear (or read), very easy for a kid to relate to.  This is a board book, so it's great for toddlers or younger children... you don't have to worry about them tearing pages and ruining the book (one of my problems right now with Callen).  Max and Millie appear in several other books, including Take Turns... and Time For Bed... so your kids can really get to know these sweet little children!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I don't think it's just me, but...

... is there anything as exciting as knowing the UPS/FedEx/Mail Carrier is coming with a package for you?  Oh, the anticipation!  When will they get here?  HURRY!!  I can't leave the house because I don't want to miss you!

ORRRR, is it better when you have absolutely NO idea it's coming, and they just ring your doorbell?  Surprise!  Here's a package for you!  Oh my goodness, what is it?!?

Box 'o' books, yes please!
Either way, I do so enjoy getting things delivered to me!  Even if it is stuff that I ordered and paid for myself, there's still some sort of thrill to it.  Even if I know exactly what it is and when it's coming (woo hoo for tracking numbers!), it still makes me a bit giddy.

Granted, I don't get out much these days.  And walking to the mailbox down the street is usually the only time we even step foot outside during the Summer.  But please tell me I'm not the only one who finds such joy in this!!!

P.S. It's not just packages, I also accept letters, postcards and anonymous cash donations!  =)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Unstopable" Freshness!

A few weeks ago I received a full-sized bottle of Downy's new product, Unstopable In-wash Scent Booster, and a pair of socks (lol!) from VocalPoint.  I was happy to try it out because we normally use unscented detergent and don't use fabric softener because of my children's sensitive skin, and I miss having a scent on my fresh, clean laundry.  

The product comes in a what they call and a "squeeze and sniff" bottle, which means that you get a nice whiff of the scent when you take off the cap.  You pour your desired amount of the little gel capsule thingees (for lack of a better term!) into your washing machine, add clothes and detergent, wash as normal.  Straight out of the washer, they smell great... but the scent really does last!

Last week I was just out of the shower when I got a whiff of something I couldn't quite put my finger on.  It was clean, fresh, gentle scent.  I sniffed around my vanity to see if it was coming off of any of my skin or hair products, nope.  Then, after literally standing there for about 3 minutes, I realized... it was my towel!  It smelled so good!  Hooray for the Unstopables!

The only thing that bugs me, is that they spelled unstoppable incorrectly, and I don't exactly know why.  Hmm.  Anyway, thanks VocalPoint!

If you'd like to receive free products or coupons, you can join VocalPoint too!  They'll be doing another Dowyn Unstopable campaign soon, maybe you'll snatch a free bottle of this stuff and be as fresh as me!

[I received a free product to try out, but the opinions stated above are my own, honest thoughts.]

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Summer Weight Shedding Challenge, Post 1 (of 12)

I am joining up with some other ladies at The Homeschool Lounge in this Summer weight-loss challenge. I have found that when I have a specific challenge or a real goal and someone to be accountable to, I can do much better!  So, here's hoping!

My goal is to lose around 25 pounds.  The challenge lasts 12 weeks, ending on October 7th.  It's Summer and we aren't going to be able to get out and walk, and I don't have the ability to make it to a gym.  Losing 2 pounds a week is going to be extremely difficult.  But, as long as I see SOME progress, honestly, I'll be happy with myself.  My main problems are portion control and binge snacking!  So, I must curb those things to get control of my weight.

I have had a very successful weight-loss experience in the past.  After seeing a horrific picture of myself and realizing how out of control my weight had become, I signed up with Weight Watchers on March 31, 2008.  On April 9, 2009, I met my goal, having lost 75 pounds!  Honestly, it was a lot easier than I ever thought possible.  I walked my neighborhood and I controlled my portion sizes.  That's really all it took.  My motivation was that I had to lose weight so I could get pregnant again - I didn't want to add baby weight onto my current weight.  It worked!  Two months after I hit my goal weight, I got pregnant with Callen!  Now, we're not ready for another child just yet, but it would be nice to be rid of this extra weight and be back down to my goal weight (the same one I had with WW).  That way when we ARE ready for another kiddo, my body will be ready as well!

So, let's see what happens over the next 12 weeks!

7/15 - 24 pounds to go

Friday, July 15, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal, July 15th, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal: Summer Edition, a link-up with The Homeschool Chick.

In my life this week...
- Decided to go forth with the business venture I mentioned last week, and signed on as an Usborne Books & More Independent Consultant.Have been spending a lot of time learning about that and setting up my first home show (this Saturday!).  Pretty pumped about the possibilities!

In our homeschool this week...
- Continuing with the First Grade Scholar and A Reason For Handwriting Level A workbooks. Preston is now in the "Daily Lessons" where he gets to write out scriptures.  Been a little bit of a struggle on some days to get him excited about it.

Places we're going and people we are seeing...
This week was busy!
- Last weekend we had lunch at Wild About Harry's with one of Michael's old friends.  Was nice to catch up with her!
- On Wednesday, my mom came and got us, took us to Safari Park so the boys could play.  They had a blast, but I was less than satisfied with the place (that's another story).
- That evening, we met up with an old friend of mine (we like to say we have known each other since before our grandparents were born, ha!), Robert and his family.  I hadn't had the opportunity to meet his wife and kid yet, so it was so nice to do that!!!
We finally all meet!

I'm praying for...
- Friends and family that are struggling financially.  So many of us are just squeaking by... but God's provision is amazing.  May it continue!!!

A couple of photos to share (from the Safari Park)...

Brothers go down the slide!

Brothers crash!

Riding a mechanical zebra, so happy!

Train ride together!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Disney FamilyFun Magazine Giveaway... (closed)

Thank you to everyone that helped make my Usborne Grand Opening a success! Congratulations to Rusty & Lily, who are my winners for the Disney FamilyFun Magazine! They also happen to be the couple who are hosting my next show. Woo hoo!


To kick off my Usborne Books & More Grand Opening this week, I am giving away a 10-issue subscription to Disney FamilyFun Magazine!  Anyone who makes a purchase from my online e-Show or during my book party on Saturday will be entered to win!  Drawing will take place on Wednesday, July 20th!  Winner will be contacted via email or phone and announced here.

If you are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, you are invited to my Grand Opening party on Saturday.  Please email me for details: HeyJadeBooks@gmail.com.  If you'd like to host your own book party and earn FREE books, please contact me there as well!
Preston enjoying "There's A Mouse About The House"

I also created a facebook page for my Usborne Books & More business, please "like" me here!

This post is linked up to Giveaway Day

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Cow Appreciation

We celebrated Cow Appreciation Day last Thursday by dressing up as cows and getting free dinner (for 4!) at Chickfila!  You know we love our cows around here!  Do you see how many stuffed cows my kids own?  If you've been to my house you've seen the cow print rug in the living room, and the cow knickknacks throughout.  And when I receive a text message, my phone does, in fact, MOOOO!  Yeah... we have a bit of a cow thing going. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Usborne Books & More

I am a brand new Usborne Books & More Independent Consultant.  That means I sell books.  Ok, ya'll... I love books.  I could spend days in a good bookstore!  Well, now I have my own... kind of.  It's online mostly, but still... so many books at my disposal.  And yours!  I will be hosting my Grand Opening party at my house this weekend and am really excited to start this new endeavor!  If you would like to see what Usborne is all about, and what kind of books we offer, check out my website.  

Usborne Books are great for all ages, all interests and reading levels, homeschool studies, independent or family reading, gifts and more! There's something for everyone.  I love the quality of these books... they feature bright, beautiful illustrations and colors, offer important childhood lessons and educational insights and they are made to last, so you'll be able to use them with all your kids! 

I am earning free books just by having my party this weekend!  You don't even have to leave your house to join my party, you can check out the offers right on my site.  You can also earn books by having a simple get-together with your friends and family and allowing me to tell them all about Usborne Books & More!  There are also opportunities to become an independent consultant too... making money and getting free books sounds awfully good, doesn't it?  Please contact me at heyjadebooks@gmail.com if you are interested in having a party or joining our team!  Or if you have any questions at all!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal, July 8th, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal: Summer Edition, a link-up with The Homeschool Chick.

In my life this week...
- Celebrated July 4th weekend with family.  Got to see fireworks.
- Worked the All Request Show again on Tuesday.
- Trying to stay cool.  Not much outside time for us!

In our homeschool this week...
- More prep work.  I can't seem to stop.
- I can already see much improvement in Preston's handwriting when he's really trying to form the letters correctly.  That makes me so happy and proud of his hard work!
A little bear support!
- We recorded some information for Cornell University, who is doing a fun thing called Celebrate Urban Birds.  Basically, you bird watch in your yard, or wherever you want!  Then record whether or not you see certain types of birds.  They send you an envelope with info on birds, a pretty poster of birds and a sheet to fill out and send back.  Preston liked watching for birds, especially since they are FINALLY making use of the bird feeder we made for them!
Which ones do you see?
Callen started saying "bir! bir!"
 We mailed the information off today and Preston wanted to write something on the envelope to the people doing the study:
Here's Your Infurmation

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share...
- Books and accessories for learning don't have to cost much money.  If you're looking for a certain book to use, make sure you check half.com, Amazon (don't forget you can often buy used products through their marketplace too!), various homeschool online classifieds (or if you feel like getting out and hunting - Half Price Books or local homeschool bookstores).  I really wanted the Hymns for a Kid's Heart, Vol. 1 book and was having a hard time finding it, or at least finding it in my price range.  Finally found it listed in the classifieds for a great price (and it was brand new!).  I also got some great flash cards at Target yesterday in the $1 Spot!

I'm praying for...
- Guidance on whether or not to move forward in on a small business venture.  I'm not even really sure you can call it that.  But, it does require a little money to start up, and then a lot of work on my part to make it worth it.  We need the income it could potentially provide, and it actually sounds like a lot of fun.  But, I'm leery about such things just the same.  Praying for a clear answer from Him.

A photo to share...
Preston reading the Book of James to us

Thursday, July 7, 2011

On Living With Boys & Lizards...

I'm squeamish when it comes to lizards, frogs and snakes.  I can squash the heck out of a spider, though, let me tell you!  But anyway, Preston and Callen have a least a half dozen of these little alligator guys, and I randomly find them all over the house.  A few of them are a completely unatural bright green, those ... don't bother me as much.  However, a few are a very realistic lizard color.  Those... tend to... startle me.

Attack of the lizard?!?!

Dead lizard?
We have had a rather large snake loose in our laundry room... I can hardly open that door without remembering that morning!  And we often have little geckos making themselves at home in our house (they've been found in every room!).  Just the other nite, I bent over to pick up something in the dark bathroom floor... just before I touched it, it moved.  It was a little gecko.  I'm terrified of the day I think I'm picking up one of their little alligator guys and it ends up being something real. So, I'm a little antsy when I run across one of these toys, 'cause.. .well, I don't like creepy, crawly things in my house!

He bathes, eats & plays with these guys
Unfortunately those types of toys are one of my toddler's favorite things to play with right now for some reason.  So... it's up to me to get over my fears!  I just pray that the day one of these adorable boys brings a real, live frog into the house I don't completely lose my mind.  Dear Lord, please don't let that ever happen.  Please, please, please and thank you!