Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Jelly Telly Blog // Let's Talk Books


I'm over on the Jelly Telly blog today talking about books. (I know - you are shocked!)

I don’t know about you, but my stack of “to be read” grows like the weeds in my flowerbeds in the summer time!...

I'm sharing some of our favorites in case you have a need to add to your summer reading list!

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Project Life :: Week of June 10-16

I thought I’d share one more PL week – especially since this is last week so it’s extremely current! Still sticking to my same game plan of cards + words with very limited extras. The cards in this week are primarily from the Wellington Childhood Kit and the Kraft Kit (both digi versions).
On the left:
  • a random desk photo that I used for a title card
  • a girl and a lost tooth
  • a little glimpse of what we gave T for his birthday last week
  • some thoughts on T and his birthday…
On the right:
  • thoughts on some of my summer reading
  • us : )
  • friends that celebrated a birthday
  • Father’s Day
Again, nothing fancy at all about this week. Photos + words and getting it documented.
Project Life is a product and a system created by Becky Higgins and available on It can be anything you want it to be. You can view all my posts about Project Life here. I'm always happy to answer questions about how Project Life works for me, if you have any.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Project Life ::: May 13-20, 2013

Another quick little Project Life update! These photos are from about a month ago … I think every journaling card is from one of the Studio Calico kits as I work on not hoarding these gorgeous cards. : )
On the left:
  • the boy and a bat
  • N1 and one of our CC friend having a little friendly chess competition during our weekly CC park day.
  • more softball! (The “evening” journaling card has cool little turquoise stickers on there from one of the recent kits.)
On the right:
  • celebrating our buddy Clyde’s first birthday. : )
  • A few limited thoughts on the privilege I had to sit under Sally Clarkson’s teaching at the Teach Them Diligently Convention here in Nashville a few weeks back. I was able to hear her three times and was so refreshed and encouraged by her.
  • a little photo of my girls from the convention weekend. (The boy spent a few nights with his aunt and uncle and was naturally spoiled rotten).
  • just documenting a family bike ride
Nothing fancy at all about this week. Photos + words and getting it documented.
Project Life is a product and a system created by Becky Higgins and available on It can be anything you want it to be. You can view all my posts about Project Life here. I'm always happy to answer questions about how Project Life works for me, if you have any.

Friday, June 21, 2013

In no particular order...


Counting gifts today, just because. I, along with a few other friends, are going through Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts study (with DVD) and I'm so enjoying the time to just meditate and sit on these chapters slowly as opposed to the can't-put-it-down approach that I read the book with the first time. This week we talked about chapter 4-5 and while there was much to think about, I have been chewing over the words on slowing down and being present and thankful with my days. I'm so guilty of judging my days by my list and what is and isn't checked off (and I'm not saying that a list isn't a good thing!) ... but there's more to life than a to-do list.

That said, so gifts that I'm noting today: (oh, the irony that this is a list after that first paragraph!) : )

  • being thankful that I got a little extra sleep yesterday instead of fussing that I overslept
  • having the time to get out and run yesterday morning
  • and having the kids with me (riding bikes and roller blades) instead of fussing that I didn't get to run as long as normal because I had to stop and deal with skinned knees or push a stroller.
  • the blessing of a 15 year old girl in our Classical Conversations group that came over for a few hours yesterday
  • and the several hours that I got out of the house
  • lunch with T
  • finding a new Bible, on clearance! and fitting all of my picky criteria that I had set up for what I was looking for! (Large print so I could read it easily, big margins, single column - all the little things I hadn't been able to previously find all in one Bible!)
  • finding a new bathing suit for me that didn't break the budget! (and was a smaller size). : )
  • finding the little girls several pairs of shorts at Goodwill that were longer (more modest) lengths!
  • having my friend Candy bring over dinner last night for our small group - she had a recipe she wanted to make and I was happy to let her! (And it was delicious!)
  • our summer mama's study that we have had the last two Fridays and the women that have come
  • taking the kids to swim this afternoon for a while
  • playing "monkey in the middle" with a tennis ball in the water
  • N1 finding a lost car that the boy had left at the pool the last time - he was so excited
  • family pizza and movie night - we have been off schedule of having these regularly because of spring softball and I was in my pjs by 5pm and ready to relax for the night!
  • a boy that went to bed and was out like a light after a morning with friends and an afternoon in the pool
All such little things, but making an effort to be present in them has been good for my heart.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Book Review ::: The Remarkable Ronald Reagan

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I can't tell you the last time that accepted an offer for a book to review. Let's just say ... it's been awhile. However, I was recently offered the chance to read and review The Remarkable Ronald Reagan: Cowboy and Commander in Chief by Susan Allen and I jumped at the chance.

Why? What makes this book different than others that I have been offered? Ronald Reagan is the President that I most remember from my childhood. Sworn in in 1981 (when I was a mere child in the 4th grade) I grew up during his presidency. I remember the faux classroom election where I voted for him and the celebration when "my guy" won. I remember the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger and his response to the tragedy. I remember his cry to Gorbachev to "teach down that wall!" And, above all, I have such an impression of his humble nature and His faith in God.

I want my children to know this President of whom I was such an admirer. Susan Allen (wife of a former governor of Virginia) has captured his character and gentleness in this book that gives a great overview of his long and admirable life. She highlights his childhood and how his parents gave him a reverence for God. She talks about the many hobbies and pursuits that he tried as a teen and young adult - while not always the star of his team or group, he always tried his best. How he served his country during World War 2 where asked without hesitation or complaint.

Did you know that Reagan ran for President in the late 60's and lost to Richard Nixon? I didn't! (Sad to admit that as a former history major, but true!) He lost his first bid for the presidency in 1968, but that loss didn't deter him from running again in 1980 and our country is so much the better for it.

I've already caught some of my munchkins perusing this book and I'll look forward to being able to pull it off the shelf a little this year as part of our studies for Cycle 2 in Classical Conversations. This book is a great overview of his life and accomplishments and one we will enjoy for many years.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for shooting a copy my way in exchange for my honest thoughts. I have received no compensation for this post other than a copy of the book for my review.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Project Life Update!

Once upon a time there was a girl who did Project Life. She loved it. And then life got busy. But she still kept printing her photos each week hoping that one day she would be able to go back and find time to catch up on all the journaling. And that time is finally here!
Yep. Still doing Project Life and absolutely love this project. This week has been our first week of summer vacation where we haven’t had to run off to a bigger activity (like CC Practicum or VBS) and I’m enjoying the slight bit of downtime we’ve gained. I’m doing some super-duper catch-up on my album right now, which obviously needs to start with a list.
This week is a fairly recent one that I caught up on – May 27 through June 2. Memorial Day activities plus the conclusion of our softball season were the bulk of this week in the layout.
If I remember correctly, all these pics were taken with my iPhone and almost all were processed through the PicTapGo app, my new favorite for sharpening the pics. The collage was created in PicFrame (doesn’t the water pop in those pictures!) All the journaling cards below were from one of the Studio Calico project life kits (I think May). The kits have been really cool the last few months and I’m trying hard to not hoard the cards. Smile
I’m also trying to make an effort to get more of me and T in the album. T got two shots in there this week (swimming and paying for groceries) and there is a selfie of me in front of a bedroom mirror. Not the best shot but I have on one of my favorite t-shirts that is getting too big for me to wear and you can see a smattering of the photos on my dresser.
And there you have the end of May in a nutshell. Have I mentioned how much I love Project Life? Because I do. Even though I’m behind, I’m not completely overwhelmed and know that catching up is possible. Hopefully I’ll share more soon!
Project Life is a product and a system created by Becky Higgins and available on It can be anything you want it to be. You can view all my posts about Project Life here. I'm always happy to answer questions about how Project Life works for me, if you have any.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Around Here

Celebrating. #ABeautifulMess

Celebrating him.

This would be the good night to be at VBS. #pictapgo_app

VBS snacking on hot almost-summer nights.

Hosting a summer moms group. Can't wait to dig in. #pictapgo_app

Studying with friends.

First run today in about a month. Outside. In sun. Didn't die. #babysteps #pictapgo_app

Running again after taking a month off.


Reading aloud.


Discovering fireflies this summer. The boy is mesmerized.


Devouring. Cannot say enough how much I thoroughly enjoyed this book. (Actually, I can say more, but finding the time to blog it ...) I loved this book like I love Mitford - now there is some high praise. : )


Catching this sweet fellow that flew in our house. Ack.


Growing up. She was so very excited. Enough that she woke me up about 3am because I had forgotten to put anything under her pillow. (My kids all know I am the tooth fairy. And I stink at it because once I have sleep on the brain I can't remember to slip anything under their pillow. #momfail)

Night swim.

Night swimming with friends after the last night of VBS. Summer memories.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Read-Aloud Thursday :: The Wizard of Oz!


Am I the last person to read The Wizard of Oz? I think I must be, which is one of the reasons that I picked it as our wrap-up-the-school-year read-aloud. I don’t know that there is much that I can say about the book that probably hasn’t been said somewhere else (and better), but it was an interested read from the perspective of someone that grew up only watching the movie. You know, way back when it was on TV only one night of the year and not to be missed! This is one of my favorite movies of all time though surprisingly not one that I have shown my kids many times. The big girls have maybe seen it once … I’m not sure if B has ever seen it.

Anyway, since this is a little post about the book and not the movie, I digress. The book tells the story of young Dorothy who is swept off to the magical land of Oz during a prairie tornado. While there, she teams up with a scarecrow, and tin man, and a cowardly lion as they travel to the Emerald City to ask the Wizard of Oz for help with their respective problems. In many respects, this book was very similar to the movie, obviously. However, the book includes new characters such as the Winkies, the people of the China country, and some tiny mice that either try to thwart or aid Dorothy and Co. The famed flying monkeys also have a much larger role in the book than in the movie, and aren’t quite as scary as they appear on film.

While we enjoyed reading this story, I wasn’t as excited about it as some of the other books we have read-aloud. I knew what was coming and there were no exciting surprises or twists of character to look forward to. It surprised me how much that took from my enjoyment of the story. It reinforces to my why I almost always tell my kids we need to read the book first before watching the movie!

My thoughts, such as they are, on this American classic. : ) Linking up with Amy for Read Aloud Thursday!

Affiliate Amazon links included in this post, FYI.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Off with a bang!

I mentioned that we officially started our summer break last Monday and it has been non-stop action around here since then. Though, not necessarily the kind of excitement I was looking for. : )

Monday through Wednesday were spent at the annual summer Classical Conversation practicum.


However, we got a little souvenir from the conference that we weren’t expecting – a nasty virus that has kept us homebound since last Wednesday! High fevers that lasted for days have been the culprit (with an additional case of strep for N1 as a bonus) and we’ve done lots of laying on couches, intermittent napping, reading / reading aloud, and watching of movies. I’ve hated seeing my munchkins so sick, and having to cancel quite a few fun things off the calendar the last few days, but I think we are in the homestretch.

Still not 100%. #pictapgo_appShe thinks this book is so exciting and can't put it down. Score. #pictapgo_app

While we’ve been homebound, I did manage to get a few loose ends from school wrapped up. Last year’s school work has been cleaned off our shelves and filed away in the closet. A new binder with a fun orange cover to hold all my planning pages for next year’s curriculum. I’ve nailed down almost all my thoughts on what our curriculum will be next year with the exception of B’s reading (and maybe something spelling oriented for N1). Jury is still out in those two areas.

A little organization and color is good for a body. #pictapgo_app

Today’s project was to spruce up our reading wall in the school room. It’s SO nothing fancy. : ) This spring, I starting putting up little caterpillar body segments for each book my independent readers finished. Green = N1, purple = N2, orange are our read-alouds … and I’m picky on what counts as a book. (i.e. a reread of Calvin and Hobbes for the fifth time does not count). : )


We now have a blank slate for summer – we are going to fill our ice cream cones with as many scoops as we can to show what books we have completed. The middle cone will be for read-alouds and what B and I read. This will probably include her picture books and easy readers though again, the 20th run through of a Fancy Nancy book won’t count either. : ) Just a fun visual so the girls can see what they are accomplishing when I give them a little reading time each day and how a little every day does add up!


Happy Monday. Hoping to be able to send the healthy kidlets off to VBS this evening … we are ready for the some the fun, out-of-the-house activities to commence!

Friday, June 07, 2013

Around Here…

Thus ends our first softball season. #pictapgo_app

… softball season has ended. Third place in their division. Such a good experience for N1 this spring.

Playing #projectlife catchup. I'm to April now! #pictapgo_app 

… got out my Project Life supplies. Playing lots of catchup.

Saturday fun: replenishing the cupboards. #pictapgo_app

… restocking the shelves and cupboards with the whole family.

 Coffee and an old favorite sitting on the porch steps. #pictapgo_app

… sitting on the front step watching a boy chase a ball and reading an old favorite.

Sunday night baking. #pictapgo_appHelper. #pictapgo_app

… making homemade cookies with a girl

CC practicum and training today. #ccpracticumSo so excited about this book that I got at my #ccpracticum today. It's been in my amazon cart for weeks thanks to @my1000gifts and her posts on moral imagination!

… having my brain stretched and pulled in a zillion different directions at this year’s Classical Conversations practicum.


… looking at this pile of stuff that needs cleaned out and put away from my comings and goings of the week.


… picking up antibiotics for one with strep, a dinosaur from the dollar bin for a boy with a virus, and a few binders for the mama who thinks she is inspired to work on next year’s school work which she has two sick kids (and diet coke to fuel it).

Sprucing up the kitchen counters. Printable from @joyshope.

… but instead winding up the week being still as I nurse a couple sick kiddos through a rough night and an easy Friday instead of having some friends over to play and have Bible study.

It’s been a full / good / tiring / busy week here to start off our first week of summer break. Hope yours has been wonderful as well.