Sunday, December 30, 2007

Review...Teachable Moments: Big Scholarships

Lee Binz has amazing insight into the world of Big Scholarships! She has waded through this maze already with her two boys and has gotten to the other side with two full scholarships for her boys top college pick. This DVD was the most concise work on the subject of getting scholarships that I've ever watched. I loved all the inside pointers on studing for the SAT, keeping accurate records, making your own transcripts, financial aid, essay writing, and how to find just the right colleges to apply to. Presenting three different and unique views of your child on the essays was just the kind of interesting and indepth information that I have been looking for! I think that EVERYONE, no matter whether you think your child will go to college or not, should buy this DVD. Top notch information and a view on the other side. You can't get this anywhere else.

The website for The HomeScholar is: and the cost for this amazing resource is a very reasonable $20. Get yourself one today!

I'll be reviewing the last DVD sometime this week and it's called Teachable Moments: Finding A College. I can't wait to watch it!


The HomeScholar Preparing To Homeschool HighSchool DVD's

I just finished watching this three dvd set on homeschooling the highschooler. All I can say is Wow! These dvds really helped me to feel confident in continuing our homeschooling. Lee helped me to see where I am doing things right and also showed me ways to make our homeschooling better. I loved the sections on recordkeeping and on specialization. I don't think I even considered some of my kids areas of focus to be something for us to work on as subjects but it makes so much sense! She really helped me to see where to focus our energies this next year. If you are new to homeschooling a highschooler or even if you've been homeschooling for quite some time, I would highly recommend buying these dvds. I have learned quite a lot from this amazing resource!

Here is the website:

The price for this three DVD set is $75 and worth far more than this cost.

I will be reviewing her next dvd: Teachable Moments: Big Scholarships in my next post...


Friday, December 28, 2007

The Day After Christmas...

I went SHOPPING!LOL You'd think I would have had enough of shopping by now but no, I was raring to go. I went early to Kohl's for their after Christmas sale. I was able to get Eric a nice wool coat over half off, sweaters for barely anything, a cute little housecoat for Evie for $9 and all of Isaac's birthday gifts for less than half the price. Then I travelled to Radio Shack. They were supposedly having a sale on Wii accessories but they were sold out. I was able to get one of those cute little microcars for Isaac's birthday for $9.00 and I bought Jon an airplane that was marked down from $80 to $19.99. I also bought him a computerized bug that was so cute for $8. All in all a good day. We had one of Allison's friends spend the night and Eric took the girls out shopping at Kohl's from 9-11pm. They had a good time and Eric bought me a new knife set from Chicago Cutlery and a new 12 inch pan from Food Network. Both needed and really nice!

It was a good sale day.LOL


Christmas Day...

Christmas day started at 7:00am sharp.LOL The kids were so excited! Isaac opened the first gift of the day by pulling the table cloth covering this Shiny Red Fire Engine...

Is this MINE?!!!

Are you sure Grandma?

One happy guy...

Evie was quite happy with her things. We did a joint gift for her and Jon. They like the same things and so we decided to splurge and get a Wii. They were thrilled and have been playing it daily.

We got Allison socks.LOL O.k. her big gift was a Guitar Pod thingamajiggy and she was very happy but it was so funny, she kept opening package after package of socks. She is such a fanatic about them though, so she was happy.

The theme for Jon was Japan. We got him two of a series of Manga Bibles, an origami and kiragami set, a Sumi set with paper, Dekker's series Red, White, and Black, and of course the Wii. He loves all things Japanese.

Sophia loved the paper, tape, bits and pieces, and do-dads that littered the floor. We did get her a few things but she loved the paper and stuff the most.LOL

After we finished opening and playing with everything. We had breakfast, got dressed and went to my parents home. We had a great lunch/dinner there and opened even more gifts. Mom served Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, greenbean casserole, corn pudding, cranberry relish, black eyed peas, greens, deviled eggs, and rolls. I brought an ice cream pie and Peggy brought a lemon pie.

My dad got me this GREAT collage frame and I can't wait to get some photos in there. It's just perfect for my Decorating Through the Year theme of this next year. I think I'll start with my living room now that I've got something to dress this room up with.


My parents got Jon a really neat remote control plane and both older kids their own DVD player. The littles were spoiled rotten with all the things they got and still haven't played with

Here we are at my parent's home...

Mom, Dad, Allison, and Jon...


It was a really nice day. After the kids got tired, we went home and read the last day of Jotham's Journey. Everyone really liked this tradition and wants to do something else throughout the year. I'm still trying to find just the right thing.

I made Beef Noodle Soup for dinner using the leftover roast and everyone was ready for bed early. It was such a blessing to have a relaxing day with all our family. It was probably the best Christmas we've had in a long while.


Twas the Night Before Christmas...

And we had big plans.LOL Well, as it is always with little ones, things didn't go quite as planned but we still had a nice time. Just a day or two before Christmas, I decided that I really didn't want to cook Christmas dinner. What I really wanted was the day off. I called my mom up and she said she'd love to do the cooking, so I offered to cook Christmas Eve dinner. Same menu, just a day

Dinner was wonderful! The roast was perfect and all my sides came out beautifully. I couldn't have asked for a better turn out. Everyone left full and happy.

After dinner we attempted to take everyone to the 7:30 candlelight service. That too didn't quite go as planned.LOL Here are some photos of before church...

Isaac ready to go...

Sophia looking absolutely beautiful in her new dress...

Cheese! With a non-compliant Evie in the background...

Right after these photos, Sophia had a meltdown. She never made it to the service.LOL So we changed some plans and Allison offered to stay home since she was performing in the 10:30 service and my MIL stayed too since she had planned to take Allison. The rest of us went to the service a little late and ended up in folding chairs in the back where Isaac proceeded to have a He fell asleep as soon as the service began. The service was really nice and I was happy to see our little church full of people. I am so glad we went and I'm even more glad that Sophia didn'

Once we got home, Allison let me listen to her practice for her solo. She played Silent Night on guitar and sang it in GERMAN! Wow! She's got a lovely voice and her playing is just beautiful. I was unable to go to the late service since Sophia was having teething issues, but my MIL said she did great.

We had offered for Peggy, my MIL, to stay the night and she was a real blessing! She did all my dishes while we were at the 7:30 service and she took Allison to the late service for us. I told her she could do my dishes anytime.LOL Also, whenever it's our turn to have her on Christmas, she'll be staying over. It was so nice to have her here with us.

Well, that was Christmas Eve. I'll do a separate post for Christmas...


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

The next two days will be a whirlwind of activity, family time, and celebration. I'm so thankful for this time. God has blessed me greatly. Five wonderful children laugh, cry, run, walk, crawl, sing, and play each and everyday in this home that God has so lovingly given us. My dh loves me and is the love of my life. I have so much and I can say without any question, that I need nothing more.

Merry Christmas and God Bless each and every one of you! I pray that you all have everything that you could ever want or need and that you spend this holiday with those that you love with all your heart.

Many Blessings and Love,

Questions? You all have questions?lol

I'm just jotting this down quickly as I'm sure you all are too busy to read right now.LOL

I'm making Kristine's No Fail Standing Rib Roast. I made this a few years ago down in Miami and it turned out fabulous!

1 standing rib roast, any size

About 3 hours before you plan to eat (but this is flexable), preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place roast in oven and cook for one hour. Turn oven off and KEEP DOOR SHUT. This residual heat is what will cook your roast. 45 mins. before serving** turn the oven on to 300 degrees. Your roast will be perfectly medium rare every time.

We like ours a little more done so we leave it cook for 15 more mins and then let set for 15 mins before serving.

For the Chocolate Dipped Oreos...

Take your favorite oreo brand. We used an organic kind. Take some milk chocolate chips (we used Ghiradelli) and heat them slightly in the microwave and then stir until melted. Dip oreos into the chocolate and let dry overnight on a cookie sheet. If you want to get fancy, melt a little chocolate of contrasting color and drizzle on top of drying cookies. (We like semi-sweet or white. ) You can also do dark chocolate or white chocolate dipped cookies. Voila! Done and easy. Looks fancy but takes no time at all.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

My Day in Photos...

Here is a montage of photos depicting my

Chocolate covered oreos...

Isaac at the party with his boppy...

Sophia joined in all the reindeer games, not shy one bit...

Allison with her red striped hair...very festive...

Sophia back in the stroller...

Looking bored already!

Jon, looking tall...

The party was fun for all the kids. Evie lost another tooth while there! Now the tooth that has already come in has a hole to move into.LOL We ended up with some extra kids after the party. That kept everyone happy and they are now off skating with grandpa. Fun, fun, fun! The littles are in bed except a teething Sophia. She's trying to help the pain by banging her head against things. It's not working.LOL I think Tylenol is in order and I'll be praying for some much needed sleep tonight. Oh, and I made it to the grocery store tonight! Yippee! We now have Christmas dinner in our possession. lol


My Menu for this week...

Here's my menu for the next week...


Thursday: Taco Stuff
Friday: Grilled Chicken, rice, salad
Saturday: Meatloaf, rice, steamed veggies
Sunday: Split Pea soup, bread
Monday: Garlic butter pasta w/salad

Christmas Dinner

Standing Rib Roast
Potatoes, onions, and carrots
Sweet potatoes
Sauteed asparagus or greenbeans


2 lemon pies (from MIL) that's our favorite!
1 ice cream pie (chocolate w/chocolate dipped oreos, cool whip, and chocolate drizzled on top)
maybe something I can chocolate chip cookies maybe?lol


The Sophia Chronicles...

Here are some photos from this morning...

Is my hair red or what?!
My two younger girls coming to get me...

Whatever you do, don't notice the mess behind the charming children.LOL I promise to clean up


My Daily Ramblings...

We're having a pretty good week.

Monday Evie and Isaac had dr's appts at their old dr's office. Yuck. I'll be so glad when we don't have to go there again. Both of them got two shots and a finger prick. Neither were pleased.LOL Eric said that it's probably best to only remember shots and stuff at the old place, that way they'll always love the new dr. We do shots very slowly and have them slated to be finished before they are of school age. Evie is almost done and Isaac has a ways to go. Better safe than sorry though.

Tuesday was a great day at PE! The kids had so much fun and I stayed for the first hour. The littles have made some great friends and Sophia loves to crawl all over the gym floor. Ack! It's making this germ-phobic mom crazy, but she has such a good time. Isaac is even :gasp: sharing! Phew! He must really like having buddies to share like that. He doesn't even do that at home.LOL After PE, we stopped by my moms and she fed us. Yay! That was a nice bonus and we've decided to stop by during dinner time more often.LOL We actually stopped by so that we could go to the Train display that their church hosts each year. Isaac loves this and we'll need to go a couple more times before it's over. It's free and Isaac LOVES trains! We were there an hour and he still didn't want to leave.LOL

Wed was a easy day. I caught up on some chores, built Isaac's Christmas presents (I'm still nursing some sore fingers from it.), and I wrapped every single gift. Whew! I'm glad that's over and that I won't be trying to get that all done on Christmas Eve. After dinner, I ran to the Dollar Store and bought some cellopane gift bags and we filled them with candy for the kids' Christmas party at PE today. They turned out nice and I used all the clearance candy that I bought after Halloween, so it wasn't even too bad on the pocketbook! We made 60. I was pretty tired last night but we still did our Advent study and Jotham. I read two chapters on Wed since Thursday night the kids are gone skating. Allison usually has Bible study and of course we could have gone to church for the last Advent service but we were all tired and chose home.

Today is the Christmas party! It's from 9-12 and then I'm supposed to go shopping with my mom. We'll see how I hold up.LOL I'm so thankful for how healthy I've been this season! I don't think I've ever had a year where I felt this o.k. It's been a true gift and I've been praising God for this time. Eric will be off later today and he's also taking tomorrow off. It will be so nice to have him home. Well, I better get a move on! I've managed to use up all my extra time and need to get those kids out of bed. Merry Christmas everyone!


create your own personalized map of the USA
or check out ourCalifornia travel guide

Here are all the states I've been to. I see that I need to make it farther north sometime.LOL

I saw this on Kristine's blog and thought it was neat!


Wednesday, December 19, 2007


This is my family's new favorite soup...found in a book called One Pot Recipes by Linda Doeser

Bacon and Lentil Soup

1/2 lb bacon, diced
1 onion, diced (I used 1 tbsp dried onion)
2 carrots, sliced (used two handfuls of baby carrots)
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 potatoes, chopped
1/2 cup red lentils
1 bay leaf
6-8 cups water or chicken broth ( I used half canned/half water w/3 boullion cubes)
salt and pepper to taste

Brown bacon. Dump everything into your crockpot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Remove bay leaf. Serve with bread and salad. YUM!

I will double it next time. We had NO LEFTOVERS and people were scraping the crockpot out.LOL


Sunday, December 16, 2007

My Daily Ramblings...

Yikes! I don't think I've gone this long without a post in a year!

God has been calling me away from the computer for this season in my life. I can't say that I've been giving up my time easily, but it has had so many rewards! I'm thankful to have this time with my children.

We've done quite well keeping up with our Advent studies. I would even say we're thriving on our evenings together. We are planning to continue with this, doing different studies throughout this next year. Our first study will be Heart of Wisdom's A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays. I think we'll enjoy this. We're also doing well with Jotham's Journey! It's been a long time since I've been able to read something outloud! The littles are really growing up for us to be able to do this each

Allison got a haircut today. I can't believe how grown up it makes her. I'm going to have to talk to her about that. LOL
My Allison

I'm very excited about Christmas! It will be so much fun to watch all these kids opening their gifts this year. I will try to take lots of pictures.LOL I've even toyed with the idea of each child opening a gift and then actually taking that gift out and letting them play with it before they open another gift. It just seems a little overwhelming to have the free for all that we usually get each year. We'll see. I'm sure I'll be out voted

Well, all the gifts are bought, all the cookies have been made and given away, and the house doesn't look too bad.LOL I think that's the best I've been able to do for a few years now. I've got a few more things I'd like to do around here before Christmas day but I'm pretty happy.

I've got Big Plans for the New Year! I'm going to be choosing a room each month in the house to overhaul. I will ruthlessly go through that room and throughout that month I'll look for something to make that room look nicer. Maybe paint some rooms, maybe some nice pictures for another. The plan is to make this house my home this next year. I'll be praying through each room hoping to make each area a blessing to our lives. I'm already dreaming about different rooms.LOL I'd LOVE to put a bottle glass back splash behind my oven and wall and then paint the rest of the kitchen a real pretty blue. I'd love to repaint the dining room, maybe something a little darker than the kitchen, but of the same color palette. Eric and I have decided to start saving up for dark wood floors throughout the house and a nice tile floor for the kitchen. That will have to wait though.LOL Of course I'll be taking photos.LOL

I've got plans for our school time too. Evie needs more time with me and Isaac is itching to do more too. We'll be stepping things up a bit in January. I'd like to get back to my roots and follow Charlotte Mason more. I love short lessons. I love teaching nature study, drawing, poetry, and music. No more just the basics for us! That's just not fun.LOL

The bigger kids are plugging along and will be needing more subjects soon. I've been bringing the older kids back down to the table to work. It's nice to have us back together! It also helps me to know where the kids are each day instead of having to catch up on the weekends.

Well, I guess I'm all talked out now.LOL It's going to be a good year next year. I'm Choosing Joy!


Monday, December 10, 2007

My Daily Ramblings...

So it's been another crazy week. I need to find time to update more often! Saturday we spent the day going to the dump. We were doing a clean up of the backyard. It was pretty embarrassing how bad it had gotten over the past year. We still need to go back another day but the yard is looking much better.

Once the yard was finished, I made black beans and rice for the church and Eric ran Jon to the church for practice. Then Jon had a Christmas recital at our church. It went well and we had a nice time fellowshipping afterwards at the potluck dinner. We left Allison behind to watch over the sleeping little ones and of course they all woke up while we were gone.LOL She handled things nicely though.

Sunday was church again. I really like our church! They love having the littles in the service and don't mind when they get a little noisey. It's a real blessing to have a place to worship. Eric took the littles and Jon to the park afterwards and they had a great time. I stayed home with Sophia and spent some time talking with Allison about her school work and her plans after graduation. It was nice to have that time together!

Today, we've been busy baking again. We've made 4 more banana breads, some oatmeal cookies, sandies, and last night we made chocolate chip again.

Then I ran Allison to her Dr's appt. I was thinking it would be a quick 10 minute thing and I'm so thankful that my MIL offered to watch all the other kids. It was an hour appt! First off, I must say that I LOVE our new dr! He is a wonderful, Christian DO who is amazing with my kids. We found him when Isaac and Sophia woke with ear infections a few Mondays ago. I tried to get appts with their peditrician but they were booked. I was going to run them to the urgent care center and was passing by this new office that just opened up and decided to stop in and see if they could fit us in. The receptionist is his wife and they homeschool their kids! Pretty cool. I felt at home immediately and Dr. Baglino has a wonderful personality and is amazing with the kids. I am switching everyone over to him and will see him myself in January. Well, back to Allison, (lol) I think he adjusted every bone in her body. She said that she felt great afterwards. She will need an MRI of her knee because she's got some issues going on there but he helped her with the pain and she's feeling better than she has in a long while. What a blessing this Dr is!

Well, here are some photos...

Allison and Isaac: Two peas in a pod.
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Are you comfy Jon?
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You caught me Mom!
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Here are five of the chickens I made...gotta love my roaster!
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Here are those fancy cookies...
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Here is the current condition of our Christmas tree. Notice the lack of ornaments on the bottom half and all the candy canes on the very top.LOL
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Friday, December 07, 2007

My Daily Ramblings...

What a GREAT week! It has been so nice to have healthy little ones! This week I was able to bake banana bread, two kinds of cookies (chocolate chip and oatmeal crispies) and make 3 gallon bags of Tic Tac Toe Mix. Yum!

Today we got up late. lol First time in a MONTH! It was so nice to wake up before Sophia. As soon as I was dressed for the day, we loaded everyone up and I took them to the park. It was such a nice day. We all had a great time! After the park, I took the kids to Larry's Giant Subs for lunch and then ran into FoodLion. They were having a sale on whole chickens. I bought 8 and have them all cooking right now.LOL 5 in my big roaster, 2 in my big crockpot, and 1 in my little crockpot. Guess what we're having for dinner? LOL

After they are all done, I'll make some chicken broth and get everything in the freezer. It sure is nice to have this in the freezer for busy or sick days! It sure saved me this past month.

Once I got the chicken cooking, Allison and I made Tic Tac Toe mix. It's sooooo good! Just mix chex cereal, cheerios, pretzels, and m&m's together in a bowl and then pour melted white chocolate chips on top. Mix and spread on to baking sheets and let dry. I got this recipe on SHS a few years ago. It makes a wonderful Christmas gift!

Right after we got that mixed up, I ran to WinnDixie. They were having ground beef on sale, along with sugar and their brand of canned veggies. I bought 12 pounds of beef, 20 cans of veggies, and 2 bags of sugar.LOL I don't think I'll be needing chicken or beef for a

I came home divided up the meat and got that into the freezer. Then I started cleaning up the mess. What a mess we made! I'm thankful to have all that done though!

Well, here's my fancy schmancy cookie recipe...these are my kids very favorite cookie of all time! It was the very first cookie they asked for me to make...

Oatmeal Crispies...

3/4 pound of butter (3 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/8 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups oats(regular)
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients together in separate bowl and then add to wet ingredients slowly. Mix until combined.

Drop by tbsps onto baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between. They will spread. Bake until browned and crispy around the edges, about 8-10 minutes. Remove promptly from baking sheet onto paper towels to cool.

Makes about 48.


Monday, December 03, 2007

My Day in Photos...

We've gotten a lot done! The house was a complete mess from everyone being ill and from having to run around all last week. It took us a couple of hours, but we were able to get the house back under control, some wash done, a little deep cleaning finished, and 4 banana-nut breads baked! I only have one bathroom to clean, 3 more loads of wash, and Sophia's room to finish and the house will be in good shape.

Here are some photos of today...

It was hard to pick just one of this little sweetheart...

I'm cute and I know it...
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Here's my award-winning $1,000,000 smile...
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Isaac getting his point across...
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Evie the pirate...
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Sophia helping Jon with his homework...
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I love this photo of Jon...
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Well, this break is over.LOL Must return to the work at hand.