Saturday, May 5, 2012

Visit my new site - I've Moved!!!!

I am so excited that the day is finally here!!!! My new blog site is up and running. I'm still working on finalizing some things and getting them just right, but it's officially up now.

Beginning Sunday, May 6th, 2012 I will be posting from my new site only. So please hop on over there and subscribe via email or RSS, follow me on facebook or Google +. I'd really love it if you'd stop by and visit me!!

The new site is:


Sew Its Saturday: DIY Graduation GIfts

It’s May. The time for all things graduation…Proms, final exams, last lunches with high school friends and of course, Graduation!!!

But, what do you get the Graduate, especially, when most of them already have and iPod, iPhone, Wii, Playstaton or any number of other game systems. Well, have no fear…Annette is here! Okay, that was super cheesy, right?! I promise, I won’t let it happen again! Ha!

But, seriously…what do you get them? Well, if you’ve been reading my posts lately, you might realize that I love anything DIY – especially if I can use my digital scrapbooking program from Creative Memories, Storybook Creator Plus 4.0. Check it out here.

Today, I’m going to share with you a few Graduation gifts that you can make yourself on the cheap! Most of these gifts would be great for a High School or College Graduate.

1. Make a picture collage of sorts. I made the above collage/picture for my cousin’s high school graduation several years ago. The background picture has an overlay of grass to give it some texture and stand-out from the other pictures layered on top. I printed it as an 8x10, put it in a nice black frame and Voila – quick, easy, nice graduation gift!

2. If you’d like to do a larger scale gift, you can always make a custom poster collage!! Again, I can use my Creative Memories program to create a custom poster. Or go to our digital center and just plug-in some photos and you’re done!! It’s just that simple – really!!!

3. Have too many pictures for a poster or collage? Make a digital album! Creative Memories offers a variety of styles and sizes. If you’re in a hurry, make the 7x5 softcover album for only $17.95!! If you have more time and want to include graduation and prom photos, choose one of the Personalized Hardcover or Leather Premium Storybooks. What makes this so great is you can download a FREE 30 day trial of the program and use it to make your album! Create, upload, order and have it shipped directly to you!!

4. Want to give your grad something inspirational, make a softcover album filled with Scriptures that will help them, encourage them and guide them in their new journey and life adventure.

5. With Creative Memories you can also create custom calendars! Create a calendar full of personal pictures for your new graduate! They can relive high school or collage memories and have all the important dates right at their fingertips!! I have one hanging on my refrigerator now and I love looking at the pictures each month! Granted, mine isn’t for graduation, but I like it just the same!

6. If your graduate was involved in sports or band, you might consider making a shadow box showcasing what they love. My youngest brother was a member of his high school band (a Nationally renowned band, no less) and it would have been great to make him a shadow box. Take a picture of him marching, their program t-shirt design displayed and a few other memorabilia would have been great!! You can do the same thing for a sport player or drama “nerd” (don’t worry…I was one of those too). Just be creative!!!

7. Several websites offer very custom gifts such as: blankets, pillows, mouse pads, mugs, t-shirts…you name it they have it!! If your grad likes coffee, make them a special mug. If they like to snuggle up on the couch and watch movies – make a blanket! I kinda like the pillowcase idea myself. Wouldn’t it be so fun to wake up with your “best friends” from high school every morning – even if you’re all at a different school?! What fun!

I hope you see where I’m going with these. I love pictures and I think it’s so important to preserve our memories with them. It really is so true that a picture is worth a thousand words! A smile, the lighting and sometimes even the screaming fits just make you remember those precious moments – whatever they are.

So, go out there and find some pictures to create a wonderful gift for that graduate in your life! Believe me…they will look at them and appreciate it!

Happy Graduation Month!!!


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This is my last post on this site. Please come visit me over at In All You Do and subscribe to me there!!!! See ya soon!

Homeschool Happenings: Weekly wrap-up #5ish

This week has pretty much been “all business.” The weather has been getting nicer and warmer around here and its all I can do to keep my kids inside to do anything related to school!! But, we’re doing our best.

He’s still doing well and working hard to finish his papers in the morning (read more about our block schedule here). Most of the time even does them without complaining or arguing!! YAY!!! So, maybe we are making some progress.

This week we’ve actually not done our reading. I’ve been battling a Crohn’s attack and most of my afternoons are spent sleeping from exhaustion. So, we’ve got some make-up work to get in, but we’ll be back at it in no time…I hope.

We’re continuing our study about the Stars this week in Science. Can I just tell you how amazing and AWESOME our God is?! It amazes me how He created such complexity in the universe with just the spoken word!! Oh what I wouldn’t give to have sat next to him when he spoke everything into existence. Talk about AWESOME!! What a Mighty God we serve!

Tomorrow…er rather now, today (Saturday), we plan to set up our new “kid” gardens. I got them on sale for $5 a couple weeks ago. There hasn’t been time to get them planted, but we’re going to make time I’ll be sure to take pictures of us making a mess and having fun though!!

Well, that’s pretty much it. Sorry we’ve been pretty boring around here this week. Hopefully I’ll have more to report next week!

What did you do this week in your homeschooling journey? Feel free to share you favorite experiment, tip, idea or just a word of encouragement for others!!


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52 Fridays: Weekly Update #18

Sorry this is up late and that I missed last weeks report. Life has been a little more than crazy around here!! A few weeks back I began having a Crohn’s flair of major proportions. Or at least for me. Please, don’t write me hate mail, I know I’ve been lucky and many people have it much worse than I. I haven’t been on medication in nearly 11 years, so this is pretty major for me. Anyway…my days have been a little less than productive to say the least. So, please bear with me as I trudge through this sickness.

Here goes this week’s report. You can read more about my journey beginning with Week 1. Feel free to join me and Crystal in this journey.

  1. DAILY quiet time: I’ve been doing better at this. Some days I don’t get my emails read, but I have been reading in the Word each day!! It’s been so good and refreshing. I get my emails through and a women’s devotional through Proverbs 31 devotions. Such great tools – be sure to check them out! 
  1. Weekly weight loss: This is not going well at all right now. Mainly because I’m some medication to stop the Crohn’s flair-up I’m having. This medication, prednisone, causes you to retain water and therefore gain weight. Bleh! I’m still watching what I eat, so I’m pretty sure I’ll drop some pounds once I am finished with the medication and it’s out of my system. Until then… 
  1. Vintage Remedies 8 weeks to Real Foods: Still working through the pantry. The Hubster has even gotten into the research and is helping by looking for less expensive but healthy options!! We’re ready to eat better and feel better!! 
  1. Homeschool Fun: We have been playing some games to reinforce what we’re learning in math, but otherwise he just wants to finish his work “now” and go play!! At least we’re not having meltdowns daily, right?! 
  1. Organization: We’re having a garage sale in a couple weeks, so I’ve been going through toys, clothes, misc items in the house. I’m cleaning out more and more and excited to “thin out” what we have. I think this will help me with getting more organized too! 
  1. Staying caught up: Even though I’ve been sick most days over the past 2 weeks, I’ve managed to stay relatively caught up. And, since my wrist is acting up again, I’m very thankful to the Hubster for helping with the dishes several days this week. With his help, we’ve had a clean sink this week!! Not to mention the fact that he cleaned off the counter top for me too!! I’m truly blessed!! 
  1. Blog changes: I’m so VERY excited to announce that my new site will be up and running this Sunday, May 6th, 2012!!!!! If you haven’t stopped by the new site, please take a second to do so! Follow me on Linky Followers, Networked Blogs or by email. “Like” my new facebook page! Help me spread the word about my blog!! I’m so excited for this adventure and journey God has placed in front of me. I hope you’ll join me for the ride!!
What have you been up to this week? How do you find time or make time for God’s Word as a busy Mom?

I love your comments!! They help encourage not only me, but others that read this blog. Feel free to leave a comment and/or a link to a post that will encourage others in their Christian walk too!!

Thank you so much for stopping by today! Have a blessed weekend!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thursday Thoughts: Adoption Series

When The Hubster and I were engaged, we began talking about children. I know that’s usually something people discuss when they’re dating, but since we didn’t date (that’s for another post) we talked about it while engaged.

We both knew we wanted children and hoped that God would one day bless us with 3 or 4. Read more about why and how our views changed on that here. Nevertheless, we’ve always felt that adoption may someday be an option for us. In other words, it’s never been out of the question.

Even before I was a mother to my own children, I felt like a mother. I have always had a heart and a longing to be someone’s mother. Now, I am so blessed to be mommy to 4 beautiful blessings, but I can’t help but wonder who will take care of those that don’t have a mother.

So, even though we are not on the adoption path right now, it is something that is so near and dear to my heart that I felt compelled to share some amazing stories from some of our “real-life” friends.

So, in May I’m dedicating Thursday Thoughts to an Adoption Series. It will start next week and run the remainder of the month.

I have 3 friends with personal Adoption testimonies from the perspective of becoming a mother and a friend who talks about growing up in an adoptive family. You won’t want to miss any of these testimonies, believe me!

Feel free to grab my button and promote the series on your own blogs!! Help spread the word about Adoption! Don’t forget I’ll be over at my new site next week. So, join me there!!!

 Next week I’ll have the code up with this button on my new website. So, for now, you can just copy the URL of the button to help promote! Thanks!!!


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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Baking Bits: Getting Healthy – What I’m going to miss

Now this...this I could eat!
 Okay, so I’ve mentioned several times that our family is working towards Whole Foods eating. Yeah…we’re kinda slow around here, but we’re making progress. But, before we talk about all that healthy junk…I wanted to share a tip with you novice cookers/bakers out there. Some of you may already know this one, but I didn’t, so I thought it was worth the share.

When I bake bread, I often find that we eat it well for a couple days and then we’re off of it for a while. Unfortunately, sometimes we’re away from it for too long and it goes bad. A lady at church was talking about how she “stores” her bread so it doesn’t go to waste.

First, slice your bread as you would regularly. Then, she puts butter on each slice of bread and places it on a cookie sheet. Put the cookie sheet in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to set the butter just enough so it doesn’t stick to anything. Now, get your gallon size baggies and put the buttered bread slices in there and freeze! Then, all you have to do is pull out the slices you want and either toast them or bake them in the oven. Add a little garlic powder and voila – you have homemade garlic bread on the fly!

Well…now that I’ve give you that tip, let’s get back to today’s topic: What I’m going to miss on this healthy journey!

1. Bread. Ironic after what I just posted, I know. I love bread of any kind. Rolls, homemade bread, cinnamon rolls, bagels…you name it, I like it! Now, with that said, I do watch how much bread I eat.

2. Chocolate – Strangely I didn’t used to like chocolate. In fact, I did not have a candy bar until I was probably 14 years old! Well…that was a HUGE mistake! Now it’s become a “go-to” comfort food. I will miss it, but I’m glad its gotta go.

3. Pop – I drink water during the day, but at night I like to have some pop/soda. I gave up caffeinated beverages nearly 4 years ago and I always drink diet, but I know I need to give this one up too.

4. Chips & Dip – Another favorite “go-to” comfort food is Potato Chips and French Onion Dip. I don’t eat this too often, but enough that it’s a problem.

5. Sandwiches – I know this kinda goes along with the bread thing, but particularly I will miss those wonderful Ham Sammies! ugh!

6. Soy Sauce  - After reading this article on the Dangers of Soy, I am absolutely convinced we need to give up all soy products. But man oh man do I love it on my steamed rice. Oh wait…I’ll be giving up rice too, so I guess it won’t matter. Well…that was easier than I thought! Haha But, seriously, you need to read the article. Good information and lots to think about.

The truth is pretty much anyone in this country could stand to eat better, exercise more and just be healthier all around. That’s what we’re trying to do. I’m not sure how much weight I’ll lose on this journey, but I’m excited for the possibilities.

A couple of other reasons we’re switching to whole foods/paleo is that I have Crohn’s disease. They discovered it after they removed my gall bladder back when I was 19 years old. I’d had trouble for years, but never knew it was anything medically wrong. I always thought it was just me. Honestly, I’d had those issues as long as I can remember, so in a way – it was normal. It’s been in remission, more or less, for the last 10 years. But, this year (possibly with all the stress and events surrounding our family) I have had more trouble than I’ve had in a long time. It got so bad that about 3 weeks ago they ran some blood tests that revealed I was indeed having a “flair up” of my Crohn’s. bleh!!!!! So, now for the first time in my marriage and in nearly 11 years I’m on medication for Crohn’s. So, I decided that if eating healthier could help curb some of the symptoms, if not take it away completely, it was worth a real try.

The other reason we’re making the switch is our children. Although we have no official diagnosis, we see evidence of ADD/ADHD and Aspergers in our oldest child. I probably notice these things more since we homeschool. But, nevertheless, research shows that removing gluten and other key foods can help those kids with ADD/ADHD and Aspergers. So, we’re gonna give it a whirl.

I know all these things take time to show real change. So we’re working towards cleaning out the pantry and fridge. As we’re cleaning, we’re making better choices for our meals and slowly integrating whole foods. Hopefully, by the end of May we’ll be completely eating whole foods only. That’s the plan anyway.

Then, everything I’ve read says to give it a month and see how you feel after that. So, that’s the plan.

Do any of you follow the Paleo eating plan or eat whole foods? What are your thoughts and tips for making the switch? How has it changed your life?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your tips and getting healthy journey! Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts or leave a link to your own post about getting healthy!!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Teachable Tuesdays: Homeschool Series Part 3 - Why Block Scheduling Works for Us

When we started our homeschooling journey a couple years ago, we pretty much did papers everyday. Not many, because he was in Kindergarten, but we had some paperwork every day. While working on writing it was very important to me that he did it daily. Now that we’re past some of that we’ve revised our schedule.

Another reason we block schedule is that my son hates despises …er loathes paperwork. I mean with a passion!! It was fit throwing, meltdown city and drama every. single. day. Seriously! So, it got me thinking…maybe we should try to do a block schedule of sorts and see if that helps.

So, here’s how we structure our Block Schedule.

Monday, Wednesday & Friday – Reading. All kinds of reading. That means reading from our text books (Science, History & Bible), reading on his own, read-alouds – anything that pertains to reading, we do on these days. This can take us anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half depending on his cooperation and what we’re discussing that day. Some days he has a lot to add and talk about and some days he doesn’t. I usually let him dictate that aspect of his schooling.

Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday – Paperwork. This includes Spelling, Handwriting, Geography and Math. He usually has no more than 6 papers on these days. Then, we’ll play some fun, educational games to reinforce one of these subjects. Sometimes we even do flash cards, which he actually likes! So, it’s not all easy-peasy.

Now, you may be wondering why we do school on Saturdays. Well, right now we’re playing catch-up on our school days. We normally take most of December off and then with my Dad’s illness and death it pretty much shot January and most of February. Under normal circumstances we do not school on Saturdays.

However…with the crazy work schedule The Hubster has we might think about keeping it this way. The Hubster gets off work at 7am Wednesday morning (he works overnights, Fri-Tue) and doesn’t return to work until Friday night. So, other than his sleep on Wednesday, we see him most of those two days. We usually take “field trips” on Thursdays when Daddy is with us.

I’m toying with the idea of taking all Thursdays off next school year (which begins in June) and having those free for Daddy-days, yard work, field trips, etc. And, if we do that, we’ll probably do some paperwork on Saturdays. It’s not much work to do and it does help keep him on a routine, which seems to work well for him and truth be told…me too!

Trying to read several pages a day in Science, History and Bible plus doing all the paperwork was just overload for him. And honestly, by the time we finished with all the drama and meltdowns it was a rush to try and finish his work.

Another reason I like our Block Scheduling is because it frees up more time for me to devote to the Middles for their school time. Come back next week to see how I plan to transition from schooling only 1 kiddo to 3!!!!

What tips do you have for homeschooling a wide range of ages? Feel free to share your tips in the comments below or leave a link to your post where you share tips and ideas on homeschooling!!

My new blog site is up and semi-running, just working out some technicalities. It will officially become my only site on Sunday, May 6th. So be sure to visit me over there this week and subscribe via email, "Like" my facebook page and just browse around. I will double post here and there this week just to give everyone a chance to transition over! Thanks for your support!!! And let me know what you think of the new site! See ya over there!!

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