Thursday, August 25, 2011


So, another online obsession begins.  And this time, it's really really a problem.  Ask my husband.  Last weekend I spent a collective 5 hours on  A fellow homeschool mom turned me on to it and it's been goodbye laundry, goodbye dishes, breakfast for dinner for several weeks now.  LOL.  

Pinterest is basically a digital "inspiration board".  If you're like me, you have a bulletin board or a binder or SOMETHING that has ideas that you collect from magazines.  Also maybe some fabric swatches, paint samples for your dream laundry room, some doodles, a business card from a roadside diner, a beautiful label from an imported Italian soda, just things that are so YOU.

My bulletin board in my craft studio.
 Love to look at it, but there's never enough corkboard space!

With this site, you can keep them all in one place and share them with your friends.   There are already hundreds of thousands of photos pinned by other people that you can re-pin to your board.  But the best part about it is that with the "Pin It" feature, you can get any photo from any site (from Google Images to Martha Stewart to DIY stuff--anything at all that has a photo) and tack it on your board!  Love this.

So, yes, it's a great deal about sharing....people really get to know all about you by browsing your boards.  But it's also about keeping the creative juices flowing, keeping yourself inspired and being able to sit back and flip through photos thinking, "Yes!  This is what I'm all about!" 

There's something for everyone!  Want to start a pinboard about Children's Birthday Party ideas?  Books You've Read and Recommend?  Pastries You Want To Bake?  Products You Swear By?  Favorite Movie Posters?  Great Sayings You Want To Cross-Stitch and Hang in your Hallway?   Do it!  I have boards going in a variety of different genres and I switch them up every now and then.  It's completely addicting and so fun.

I'll be honest, I've been in a rut this year.  Maybe two years.  Homeschooling drains you sometimes, mind, body and spirit. We forget that we were human once upon a time.  That we had dreams, plans, mosaic birdbaths to make and trips to the south of France to take......Pinterest helps me keep my dreams alive.  I've just started a new board called "Teacher's Lounge" where I'm hoping to pin all of my favorite teacher ideas, science experiments, read-alouds and field trip ideas. 

So, hop on over and check me out at   And then discover yourself while you're there!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

First Day Jitters--Mostly Mine's over.  The summer flew by, even though we technically ended our school year right before Memorial Day, it feels like we were just here.  Honestly, I think we are all ready.  At least one of my sons will admit that he agrees.  It is an oven outside--even outdoor things like swimming, riding bikes and general goofing off, have been foiled by Mother Nature's madness.  And  no matter how many times we go to the park, the library, the movies, the nature center or how many times we pull out the arts/crafts books, make paper airplanes, tie dye stuff, play kind of gets old after awhile.  The novelty of summer break is over and the anticipation of fresh pencils and new knowledge awaits!

Andrew Pudewa--I've seen his face this summer almost as much as my husband's.  LOL.
That being said, someone has got to plan it, prepare it, make it exciting, coordinate projects and activities that coincide with learning.  And you guessed it, that someone is "Mom".  So, we are easing into a 4 day week.  The boys have a tubing trip planned for Friday with their Royal Ranger group from church.  Something to look forward to already on the first week of school!  Not a bad start....Skipping vocabulary and spelling this week, reviewing the Fall of Rome before we face the Middle Ages head-on....starting IEW (the Institute of Excellence in Writing--super-stoked about this one), also starting to use DailyGrams, Explode the Code for some much needed phonics review, and what I think is going to be a pretty neat daily devotional--"Gotta Have God--Daily Devotions for Guys 10-12".   So, not to overwhelm their pretty little heads the first week, we are just getting used to the groove again with a light load.  Watch out--Week 2 will be a beast (bwah ha ha!)

Cinnamon Crunch Bagel--a First Day of School Tradition!

Got a few surprises up my sleeve for tomorrow, though!  I still want the first day to be a big deal.  Okay, so we don't go buy a whole new wardrobe (or new uniforms).  We don't really need a ton of new supplies--and from the Penny Sales and coupon freebies from Staples last year, we still have pencils and composition books coming out of our ears.... But, I think we'll start off the year with a yummy Panera breakfast at least! 

Also, our classroom looks completely different thanks to a few new IKEA acquisitions, some rearranging, labeling, and general sprucing up.  And my Denver will be starting middle school this year.  I have already been on my knees thanking God for the catastrophes that will be averted this year thanks to His blessing of homeschooling on our lives.  I wanted to just die nearly every week of my middle school life.  Misery is not what I want for my kids.  Not sheltered coddling by any means, but not unneccessary misery. 

I'm looking forward to another amazing school year with my favorite guys.  Here's hoping everyone has a wonderful, wonderful journey this year!!

And just curious, what to you do to make the first day special for your homeschooler?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Always Obsessed with Vintage

Please say I'm not the only one who loves Alice & Jerry!  You know, the charming little characters in the readers used from the 40's-60's? Probably cousins of Dick and Jane, but not nearly as monotonous and boring.  Oh how I loved to read and read and read these books.....I am a flower-child of the seventies, so I stumbled upon these readers quite by chance. My Aunt Robin, a school teacher, got a hold of them at a School Board warehouse give-away 30 years ago and shared several with my mom.  She gave them to little four year old me...This was how I learned to read well before Kindergarten.

Flash forward to the last few years, I had been sitting around wondering whatever became of the books.  Then one day I discovered "The Wishing Well" volume, tucked among some tattered old things at a used book shop.  A few weeks ago, I found another one in Tampa. 

When I asked my mom if she had any of the old books, she offered them to me for my collection--all except her favorite, which she's holding onto for a while longer.  See, sentimental things are hard to give up :)  So, a big shout-out to my mom, Iris, for making me happy!  She gets me.

It's also fun to have something to collect.  Being "on the hunt" for something special is one of the many perks of life. 

Oh, Alice.  Your antics always make me smile.

So, to Alice, Jerry, their dog Jip and all their friends, I hope I come across more of you the next time I'm perusing a vintage bookstore.  Please just stick your little cartoon hand out of the book and wave at me!  I'll give you a good home...

On the left, something I can manage now.  On the right, something I'm aspiring to!
On a seperate "note" (ha ha....couldn't resist).....I've been coming across all of these used piano books and it's pretty much getting out of control.  My son, Solomon has been taking piano lessons for about 6 months now and once we got his keyboard and set it up in the living room, some of my old recital pieces just came flooding back.  It's like my fingers have memory--weird. 

After completing the theme to the Young & The Restless (yes, that was my recital piece in elementary school), I was kicking myself for not keeping my old piano books.  I remembered how much I loved playing!  Then, as always, my awesome public library saved the day! They were selling old books for about a quarter and sure enough, "Teaching Little Fingers to Play" was among the stacks.  I was thrilled!  Now, I get to hear my 9 year old boy play "Motorcycle Cop" and "Stalagtites and Stalagmites", songs that I have been able to sing word for word my whole life.  It's amazing how musical things stick with you.  So, now everytime I walk in the library and see old piano books for sale, I have to stop.  The artwork is always so lovely....

Check out the markings in the books (the best part!).......Someone was sitting at a piano bench with their teacher in 1959, working on this piece.

So, as I always tell my husband, at least my obsessions are wholesome, legal and "sweet"! He keeps telling me that books and paper don't weigh much or take up too much space, unless you collect them in the thousands (ahem).. I also have a sneaking suspicion that if I play THIS song one more time, my entire family is going to feed me to wolverines....Judy Garland is not everyone's cup of tea, apparently.  LOL.

Ta-ta for now....