Friday, December 31, 2010

Today's the Day!

Happy Birthday today to my BFF of about 15 (16?) years, Gina! She has been such a faithful friend and is #2 on my speed dial on my phone so that should tell you something. : ) Oh, and by the way, happy birthday to me, too. : ) We share a birthday today, on New Year's Eve, and thanks to our wonderful husbands we will be enjoying a party tonight with our kids, karaoke, and cake (and hopefully a bunch of friends as well) to kick off our 40th years.

Hope you all have a safe and fun New Year's Eve whatever your plans may be!
This is picture is several years old, but I can't find / don't have a more current one. We will rectify that tonight!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

L.M. Montgomery Challenge

L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge

Yay! I love this challenge and look forward to it every year. L.M. Montgomery books are comfort reading for me - this year I'm going to visit with Emily for the month. Emily ... as in Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, and Emily's Quest. It's been a while.

I also think I'm going to rent (via Netflix) some of the Road to Avonlea series to watch with the girls. I have had them on my Amazon wish list for literally years, but they are just SO expensive. These are ones that I would love to add to my home video library some day because they are just so good. However, today, I'm thankful for the magic of renting DVDs and getting them in the mail. : ) (The Emily of New Moon video series is actually available on Netflix's instant view so I may try that out as well, although I've heard it doesn't measure up as well as the Road to Avonlea show).

To join the LMM challenge, link up over at Carrie's (Reading to Know)!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It is completed

One of my goals for 2010 was to read through the Bible in a year and as of Monday morning, I was finished. Such a simple decision with such powerful results.

There were some days that I didn't want to read at all.

There were some days that I didn't want to stop reading.

So well worth it.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen. Revelation 22:21

Monday, December 27, 2010

December Daily, Days 19 & 20

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas - ours was. Very simple and easy this year with lots of time for family and friends. I don't think I've even taken the photos off the camera yet, so I'll try and remember to share a picture or two later on.

Round circle element from Elle's Studio.

Journaling reads: She has been wearing me out of late, but she is still delightfully cute and so very Betsy!

Journaling: This year's gift wrap: old Rand McNally maps that are several years out of date and labels designed by Monika Wright. Love simple.

By the way, Becky asked me about printing the photos from my iPhone and the quality. I have been pleased with the quality of the photos if I have printed them as a 4x6. I probably wouldn't go much bigger than that. Some of the pictures on these pages are 6.25 x 5.5 and they turned out okay. I don't think I would try to get a 8x10 out of it though. Also, I have the newer iPhone (4?) and I can see a marked difference in the quality of the pictures from the first iPhone. Just FYI, if anyone else wondered. : )

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Super Deals

As a reviewer for Download N Go, I wanted to just quickly mention some great deals that will be coming in the next few days! Amanda Bennett, who authors the DNG studies, is having a 12 Days of Christmas sale at her blog. Each day, beginning today (12/26) will have an amazing deal. The first one is Tremendous Trees for just $2! The 12 Days specials will crossover between Download N Go and Amanda Bennett Unit Studies.

Also, as part of the promotion Amanda will also be giving away a KINDLE (which I am sadly not eligible for since I am a reviewer.) : )

The information for the 12 Days specials and the KINDLE giveaway are all at the link above. I typically don't promote different sales but these studies have been so great for me and Noelle over the past two years that I wanted to make sure and mention it!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Daily December, Days 17 & 18

Christmas card created using a free template from Becky Higgins' website and upload to Costco.

Christmas tree from Crystal's December Holiday Decor and the #18 tag is from Elle's Studio.

I'll resume posting December Daily pics after the Christmas weekend. : )

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December Daily, Days 13 & 14

Just some journaling today about our unexpected snow day!

The two elements on top ("Today You" and the "14") are both from Elle's Studio. The "Today You" I purchased digitally from her shop at Jessica Sprague's and the "14" I purchased at her regular shop preprinted. This day turned out crazy and busy due to an unplanned trip to the dr. (for our strep diagnosis) and Target for a prescription. I was glad I had taken the time to write down a few notes to remember it - nursing the baby every time I turned around, all the LAUNDRY I was doing with sick girls, dr. appointments and school, etc., etc. : )

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

December Daily, Days 11 & 12


If you click to read the journaling for Sunday, the 12th, you will see that the day did not go as planned. Especially for Noelle. She's now on antibiotics for strep (and no longer contagious - yay!) and Natalie seems to be over a stomach bug. We washed LOTS of sheets last week.

Monday, December 20, 2010

December Daily, Days 9 & 10

One thing that I am enjoying for my album this year: using pictures from my iPhone and especially using the little "Shake It"/Polaroid app. Simple.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

December Daily, Days 7 & 8

For day 7, I used a little download that Shimelle provided last year for her Journal Your Christmas class. I just printed it out again, glued it back to back and wrote a few thoughts down on Christmas planning. I should go back and look at what I wrote last year ... I wonder how similar it is.

For Day 8, I do have more journaling I would like to do, but in the effort to be simple, I'm not going to worry about it right now. My plan is to add in a note expounding on the crazy Wednesday night we had on the 8th, but if it doesn't happen, at least those two little sentences will remind me of that evening. Keeping it simple.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Creation Camouflage ::: A Review & Giveaway!

As a review for Download N Go, I was recently given the opportunity to try out Creation Camouflage with our first grader. This is another excellent study - especially if you have a student that is a huge animal or nature lover like our Noelle is. (The giveaway info is at the bottom of this post!)

It is laid out like other DNG studies - five days of work that is extremely interactive. There are videos to watch on the computer, small lapbook elements to put together and fill out, large areas where your student can draw, and tons of facts to learn about these animals. And, again, what I have loved about these studies before, you can do as much or as little as you want with your student depending on their age and abilities!

I thought I would show a little how we put our study together when we do them. I usually buy a stack of three-prong folders at the beginning of the school year when they are super cheap. Whatever pages I want us to work on for the study are printed off and put in the folder. Then I have the pockets to store our lapbook-elements-in-process and any coloring pages or sheets that we will need.

This is our cover:

You can see our materials inside the folder. On the left are some in-process pages and lapbook elements.

One of the interior pages that we have completed. There are some fill-in-the-blanks on the left, and on the right a little project where she was to assign each animal to the day of creation that God made it. I love how God's hand in creation is woven through this study!

Here are a couple of our lapbook elements we have completed and glued on the back.

Well, almost completed. : ) We were sidelined by strep this week and will be finishing this more slowly than anticipated!

All-in-all, this was another great study from Download-N-Go that I highly recommend. And now for the giveaway info!

If you would like to win a copy of Creation Camouflage, please leave me a comment (making SURE I have your email address). I will draw for a winner next Thursday, December 23. If you can't wait that long, the Download N Go store has Creation Camouflage on sale for $5.95 through December 18. They also currently have a contest here for some very cool National Geographic tree frog mouse pads.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

December Daily, Days 5 & 6


Noelle helped the little girls write letters to Santa. Betsy's reads:

I believe in you. I'm Noelle's youngest little sister. I'm Betsy.

1. Woody, Bullseye, Rex, Jesse, Evil Doctor Pork Chop, barbie, and Slinkey.
2. baby doll
3. teddy bear
4. crib and stroller for baby doll
5. mickey mouse and mickey mouse pajamas

Love, Betsy

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December Daily, Days 1 & 2

As I get time, I'm going to try and post a few pics of my December Daily album that I am working on. This year it is SUPER simple. And to be honest, the pictures that I'm taking of it aren't even that good (I'm not taking too much time with lighting and placement). However, I know the time that I spend taking just a few moments to record our memories of December 2010 will be well worth it when we look back on it.

As you can see the album is looseleaf right now. I'm not sure how I will bind it ... probably either with my bind-it-all or binder rings. Again, nothing fancy. I'm finding that with the baby this year, that as long as I get my page done each day (or fairly soon after each day), I'm pleased. I'll worry about hooking it all together later. : ) I'm even printing the pictures on my home printer (which isn't really a photo printer). Again, keeping it simple; just a quick print to capture the memory and marking it.

Day 1: The paper and number on this page is from the wrapping on one of our Christmas books. This year, I wrapped all our Christmas stories (and some from the library!) and we're opening one a day and reading them. Truth moment: we're a few days behind on reading our stories even though we've been opening them each day. Hoping to catch up today.

Day 2: Just a little photo of the boy in a Christmas outfit that a friend passed on to us. He fit into this "Baby's First Christmas" outfit for all of about 34 seconds (literally) and we moved it to the bag to pass on to someone else.

You can click each picture to see it bigger.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

7th, 8th & 9th Weeks

Playing catch up here with a few of my weekly Ethan layouts.

7 Weeks:

7 weeks

Journaling: Your 7th week was kind-of a crazy one! Mama had some minor surgery this week so you spent some of that day with Ka-Ka. Then Daddy fed you bottles for about 24 hours while the medicine got out of Mama’s system. You even went and spent one day with Miss Gina while Mama got well! We ended the week in Townsend on our Thanksgiving trip and you were held almost 24/7 by Grandma, Jordan, & Ka-Ka. You were such a good baby through all of it!

Papers from Crystal Wilkerson:
- brown wood grain from Phoebe's Room collection
- orange from September 2009 bonus paper pack
- journaling spot from the Room Elements Collection
Template by Cathy Zielske's 12 x 12 Template Package 1 (No.17)
Fonts: CK Ladder (journaling) & CK Keystroke (title)
8 Weeks:

8 weeks

This week has seen you moving into more of a schedule which I am benefiting from! You are typically eating around 6:30 or 7 p.m. in the evening, and then I wake you around 10 or 10:30 p.m. to eat again. Then you and I head to bed and I get to slep until about 2:30 a.m. which I thoroughly appreciate. You are usually up for the day around 7 a.m and are so happy in the morning. I think you agree with Buddy the Elf when he says, “Smilings my favorite.” In the last week you have celebrated your first Thanksgiving and been on your first Smith family trip to East Tennesee. Safe to say, you enjoyed yourself as you were held almost 24/7 by your Grandma, Aunt, and cousin Jo-Jo. You were one spoiled litle boy when we got back home!

Materials used: Crystal Wilkerson papers, free template from The Daily Digi. Fonts are CK Sassy and CK Ladder.

9 Weeks:

9 weeks

Journaling: 14 lbs. 4 oz  and 24 1/2 inches @ your 2 month checkup; 3 yucky shots; so many smiles & coos; much love from the sisters. Happy boy.


All papers from Crystal Wilkerson.
- red - December Noel pack
- brown - December solids
Template from Cathy Zielske's 12 x 12 Template Package 1 (No.19)
Fonts: CK Keystroke (title) and Arial

Friday, December 10, 2010

Are you feeling the merry?

Are you feeling merry? Or stressed by the holiday season? I am feeling the merry, but I think I have about hit my limit of evening activities for a while. We have had something every. single. night. this week which is highly unusual for us - especially after coming off the end of a pregnancy where I didn't do much of anything, plus the last 8 weeks of medically advised slowing down (which I happily complied with). : ) I'm not disgruntled (not at all!) but feeling the need to do a little Friday Felicities list to keep my eyes on happies as we have two more days of busy before a few days of downtime.
  • Grandma's chex mix, in big gallon size bags that now sit on my counter.
  • a husband that took me (and the 4 kids) shopping, at the MALL (at Christmastime no less), and bought some clothes for this post-baby Mama.
  • for Sonic diet Sprites with cranberry in them.
  • for our humble little Christmas tree. It's not fancy or coordinated, but it's home-y and makes me happy.
  • for maybe coming to a decision about making an offer on a house?? Maybe?? More on this later...
  • for little three year olds that are stretching their limits and testing their boundaries, but are so stinkin' cute that it all balances out in the end.
  • for coffee in the morning. Always.
What are your happies this fine day? Hope you have plans for a wonderful December weekend with lots of merry as well!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Early December Daybook

Outside my Window ... sunny and COLD! We've had snow flurries the last three mornings and that makes me so happy. I am very much a cold weather person and the fact that I haven't had to wait until January or February to see a little snow is a good thing.

I am thinking ... that I should be doing things other than making this bloggy list, but I'm not. However, I am allowing myself about 10 minutes to sit her and capture a bit of life and then it's back to work. Spare time to blog has been few and far between of late.

I am thankful for ... the energy that I have had lately. Truly, for the most part, now that I'm 8 weeks past baby and about 2 1/2 past surgery, I'm feeling almost back to normal. Still a few twinges when I twist the wrong way where they repaired the hernia and I'm supposed to watch the amount of bending that I do for a bit ... otherwise, I am feeling almost 100%.

In the learning room ... Busy, busy we are. At home, we are continuing to plug along with the regular school work that I do with Noelle: language arts, math, Bible, etc., however, she also (on her own initiative) asked if we could do a lapbook! The timing worked out perfectly as I was given a chance to receive and review a new Download N Go unit study called Creation Camoflage and we are doing it as we have time. (My review will be up next week and I'll have a copy to give away). At her tutorial, they are moving into Christmas party season (along with her regular science and social studies) and she is participating in a Little House Christmas event next Monday that sounds very fun - I'm hoping to remember my camera when I go and take lots of pictures. In her science, she is studying taste buds and told me about the different tastes that your tongue can ... taste, ie. sweet, sour, salty, and in social studies, she just finish a mini geography unit that resulted in her being able to name and locate all 7 continents on map.

School has been going well of late and it has had me dreaming (already!) of next year when I will have a 2nd grader and a kindergartener to school ... and pre-K and 1 year old to keep busy as well. Maybe it's a good thing I am thinking about this so early. : ) Also, in other school news, Noelle had her first school picture taken last week. This happened two days before her picture:

Poor girl was VERY self-conscious about her eye (which turned a splendid purple on picture day). It runs in the family sadly. I have a first grade picture with a skinned up face from a playground fall myself, but that wasn't much comfort to Noelle.

From the kitchen ... Christmas baking is in the works although not much as been done as of yet. We have made one batch of pretzel hugs and have plans for a few more to give away and I am dying to make a batch of my Grandma's chex mix. Last weekend I made egg nog cheesecake for my niece's birthday and I kinda want to try that recipe again, with a little tweaking with the spices. (My niece loves eggnog and has called it Christmas milk ever since she was little-bitty. She turns 13 tomorrow - ai yi yi).

I am creating ... I am working on a December Daily album but it has been slow going to find time to work on it much this year. I had a plan and had the beginnings of a direction for my album but it has been more complicated that I anticipated and that has been frustrating when I don't have a lot of time to work on it as it is. So, I'm sort-of switching gears about a week into it and we'll just see what turns out. It may not be pretty, but I ALWAYS am thankful that I record snippets in December to look back on.

I am going ... for a Christmas haircut today, along with the three girls. Part of me is really ready for a change and the possibility of some cool Mom hair, but I am nervous about changing it up too much. We shall just see!

I am wearing ... (shhh) I'm still in my jammies (big t-shirt and sleep pants). We jumped headfirst into school + laundry + plus life today and I haven't stopped to get real clothes on yet. I promise to do so before going to get my haircut. : )

I am reading ... with the girls: Tumtum & Nutmeg (we're almost done!) as well as lots of Christmas stories. I just finished Emily of Deep Valley (excellent!!!) and am currently working through Bringing Up Girls by James Dobson. I have a couple fiction books from the library (one is Redwall that I want to preview for Noelle) so I may start that next. Or I may read Emily again!

I am hoping ... to finish all the rest of my medical/dental stuff in the next week or so. I'm so done and over being poked and prodded.

I am hearing ... the sounds of little girls that want to get up from their rest time before it is time.

Around the house ... um, it's kind of jumbled looking right at the moment. Lots of laundry in process (lots and lots!), a smattering of toys in our big room, and some school things strewn about in different spots where we've been working today. However, on the plus side, there is also a very pretty Christmas tree up in one corner and that makes me happy in the evening when the lights are turned down.

One of my favorite things ... sitting up at night rocking and feeding my baby with the Christmas lights one. Love, love, love this.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week ... lots of good things over the rest of this week. Tonight are haircuts for the girls in the family, Wednesday is the last Awana night for the girls before Christmas so there will be festivities then, Thursday is a girl scout cookie decorating party for the oldest, and Friday is a Christmas party for the adults (and Ethan who will be tagging along). Saturday and Sunday are last rehearsals and our church's Christmas program which is always a special event. This is our big week for lots of evening activities ... next week is a little slower although my husband and I are both in a wedding the following weekend which will make it a little crazy. Good crazy, though. : )

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you ...

Really, I can hardly stand how cute he is. And in overalls? He is such a good baby. : )