Wednesday, May 30, 2012

School Book Shopping & Homemaking LinkUp Weekend

**NOTE**  This week has been a wild and crazy one so I did not get a new post up for today's link-up!  However, I've extended the time on this one from last week so please link up below!

 Good evening!  It's almost time for the weekend!!

Tonight begins one of my most favorite times of the year:  school book shopping!  While many kids are just finishing up their school year, our family is just settling into our routine for this year of homeschooling!  In our family, it works best to school all year, taking breaks of a week or two at a time, as needed throughout the year .  We usually start our school year about the first of February and do a little here and there up until the middle of May.  Then, we really get rolling and do the majority of our school-related activities throughout the summer and fall.  We stop completely right around the beginning of November and take the holiday months off.  This works well for us!  Since we have a baby coming in January, I'm hoping to do a little extra this summer so we can extend our winter break out a bit more than usual!
Our lesson on mummification!
I thought I'd share a few of our most favorite schooling resources so you can get a glimpse of some of the fun we have learning together!

The majority of our lessons are done as a family.  This is the most sane way that I have found to school a family of 11 with children ranging in age from 12 down to infant!  The kids do have their own Math and English studies that are geared toward their specific abilities though.  I don't assign the kids a grade level---they just work along in each subject at their own pace.

For Math and English, we use books from Rod and Staff Publishing.  These are very sweet and gentle books that challenge my kids with concepts presented in a very basic and straightforward way.  Written for use in Mennonite schools, I love how the lessons incorporate God's word and proper courtesy and manners.  My kids really enjoy the "old-fashioned" illustrations as well.  Lynzie, 12, is currently working through the level 4 books in both subjects.  Michael (10) and Elisha (9) are working through level 3 in Math and level 2 in English.  Cainan (7) is just about finished with level 2 in Math and is also working through level 2 in English.  I really like that this curriculum requires copying onto notebook paper.  While the books are inexpensive to begin with, (especially when they're found on eBay.com, paperbackswap.com, or curriculum-sharing websites) the fact that we can reuse these books every year is such a blessing!

We also use Rod and Staff books for our group studies in Science and Health.

Since we're a family of history buffs, we do a LOT of different history lessons.  Most of these lessons are taught from "living books": novels and historical accounts, as opposed to textbooks.  Currently, we're discussing a couple different periods of history.  One resource we are using is H.E. Marshall's Our Island Story, which covers the history of Britain as far back as anyone has recorded. 

A second WONDERFUL series we are going through is the Mystery of History curriculum.  These lessons take portions of the Bible and match them up with what went on in other parts of the world at the same time that Jacob and Esau were fighting over their birthright or the Israelites were marching on Jericho.

The thing I love best about our homeschool is the way we can just run with an idea.  While I do have specific goals for the kids and somewhat of a routine to follow, we are free to spend a whole day reading about the many King Henrys or watching a mother squirrel give her baby climbing lessons.  What a blessing to be able to give my kids the resources and freedom to learn about things that are interesting to them.  I wouldn't have it any other way!

Please link up your favorite posts below and have a wonderful weekend!

Linking with:

Raising Homemakers' Homemaking Link-Up 
Loving Our Children Tuesday
Tesha's Treasures

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Treasured Heirloom: Homemaking Link-Up Weekend


Welcome to this week's Homemaking Link-Up Weekend!  I spent some time yesterday rearranging some of my decorations and things and wanted to share with you all one of my most treasured heirlooms!
My great-great grandmother, Cora Jean Lasiter Bradley, made this for her son, Efeard, in the early 19-teens.  Efeard was the father of my grandpa George.  Recently, my mom had the chance to meet grandpa George's step-sister who passed this quilt on to mom---and mom passed it on to me two years ago when I had our son, Liam Bradley.
Aren't there some neat fabrics in here?
I have been keeping it in my bedroom so it didn't get messed with, but today I decided to move it out to the living room for everyone to enjoy!
Have you heard my GOOD NEWS yet?  Head over to my announcement post to check it out! 

Also, as a reminder, I'm teamed up with Anitra from The Mama Zone in a fun twist on the old-fashioned bloggy giveaway!  Please visit my Hop & Hunt for all the details and enter to win some of my yummy homemade carmels!
Please join the link up and show off your favorite posts!

Linking with: 
Coloradolady's Vintage Thingie Thursday
Beverly's Pink Saturday 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Organizing Happiness by Mrs. Lorrie Flem: An Excellent Resource for a Beginning Homemaker

I recently had the opportunity to read Mrs. Lorrie Flem's e-book, Organizing Happiness.  What a great resource for training an older daughter in the basics of running an organized home!

Do you know a new homemaker who could use a crash course in the basics?  Organizing Happiness is an excellent tool with great ideas for practical application.

A few great things that stuck with me about Lorrie's e-book included:
  • "Just Say No":  Don't you hate that feeling of obligation for saying, "yes" when you know you should have said, "no"?  Think of how much more peaceful our lives, homes, and families would be if we stopped taking on more than we can handle!

  • "Progress Not Perfection":  We should strive to get the job done well---not perfectly.  As Lorrie says, we can always go back and do the details later.

  • "Never Give Up" on your family.  Trust God that your husband and children are ultimately God's children.  Have faith that the seeds we plant today have great potential for future success!

  •  "Visualize the Victory":  having a mental image of our goals can really help in following through with our organizational plans.  When I was a new homemaker, I used to make a chart of how I wanted my living room set up when I was ready to rearrange it.  I didn’t get overwhelmed because I knew just what I was doing.
My favorite part of this blessed little book is her section on Spiritual Weapons for Happiness.  These truths are great to apply to my life as a wife, mom, and homemaker.

It's so easy for you to get your own FREE copy of Organizing Happiness!  Just visit the Eternal Encouragement website and sign up for Lorrie's newsletter, Snippets from Lorrie's Diary.  You'll be sent an email with a link to download the free e-book!

Should you be interested in purchasing a copy for yourself or a friend, you can find Organizing Happiness by following the link to her website as well!

Elmer's Painters Paint Markers Canvas Shoes Project #CBias #SocialFabric

Sometimes it's fun to relive our best childhood memories through the eyes of our own kids.  I had that chance today!
This afternoon, Lynzie and I took the opportunity to try out Elmer's Painters Paint Markers. Recently, I was thinking back on when I was about her age and how I'd always love to decorate inexpensive canvas shoes from Payless. (We didn't have a Walmart back in those days!) I'd use puffy paints and buttons and make some really cute creations. They'd often end up being too stiff to actually wear, but the fun was in the creating!
I thought Lynzie would have a good time with them too, so I took her to Walmart this afternoon to pick out her supplies. I had been wanting to try out Elmer's Painters Paint Markers, but when I went to look for them in their usual spot, I found that Walmart was clearancing them out.
Luckily, we found some really cute colors on the clearance rack.  Lynzie chose a pack of pastels and an individual gold marker.
When we got to the shoe aisle, we were a little worried because the kind we needed was just about cleared out!  We did, however, find her size!  After that, we shopped for some shoes for Elisha and birthday presents for Liam.  He'll be 2 on Saturday!
When we got home and got all the presents hidden, Lynzie assembled her supplies and got to work.
She removed the laces to get them out of the way, and I primed all of the markers.  I just needed to press each one down on a piece of paper until the paint flowed freely into the tip.  I explained to Lynzie how easy it was to get the paint flowing again if the tip needed a refill. 
She's so creative that she just began and didn't stop until they were adorable.  She even did the laces!
I was really impressed with how quickly the acrylic paint dried and how it didn't affect the flexibility of the shoes at all.  I just think these are the cutest things!  They remind me of Punky Brewster!
Oh yeah, and Mr. Almost Two asked me to include a picture of his foot as well!  Adorable!
To learn more about Elmer's products, visit:

Elmer's Website
Elmer's on Twitter
Elmer's on Facebook

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.  #CBias #SocialFabric.  All opinions are honest and are my own.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Food Photography by Sony from SoFabU

I don't know about you, but my most favorite go-to places for recipes are my online friends' blogs.  In fact, my own most visited posts are those in which I've posted recipes and food tutorials.  Our networks of blogging friends are excellent resources for creative meal ideas and kitchen tips.  The biggest hindrance to my posting more recipes is the fact that my photos leave much to be desired!

It is for this reason that I'm so very, very thrilled to tell you about a 6-week course I'm taking through Social Fabric University called Food Photography by Sony.  In this class, I'll be learning and improving my skills in the area of food photography.  Before I found out about this class, I didn't ever consider that there was a specific profession of photographers that focus on food.  Awesome!  
My favorite "food photo" so far!
I'll be learning tips about food presentation and how to get the lighting right.  I'll even get the inside scoop on how professionals use certain tricks when they're taking photos for advertising.  (Like why a Whopper seems to really be a WHOPPER in the photo, but it's just a whopper in the package.)

What I'm really hoping to learn is how to make my food look as good as it tastes!  

Some of my favorite posting themes are those I do with a pretty tea party setting and dainty little treats to nibble on.  I want to learn better angles at which to capture the beauty and peacefulness of the setting.  
How do I capture the prettiness of this setting?  I guess getting the high chair out of the photo would be a good start... :)
One problem I have with my photography now is that I usually get the "hot air balloon view" on everything.  I'd like to learn how to get closeups of the majority of the spread.
A not-so-great view from above!
Very soon, you can all look forward to an improvement to my photos---especially those featuring food---and, therefore, more great recipes!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Announcing Number Nine & Homemaking Link Up Weekend

Hello!! It's the weekend---woo hoo!!!

Hope you've all got something fun planned this weekend.  I'll be hanging out with my family, relaxing, and, hopefully, writing!
No matter what I end up doing, the goal is: REST!!!
I have a few fun things to share with you today for my Homemaking Link-Up Weekend.  First, let me introduce you to the number: 9
Now why do you think that number is so special today?  That's right! We are expecting baby number 9 sometime next January!! Yay!!!
We are blessed!
Awesome announcement number two:

Have you visited Theresa at Dear Creatives yet?  She has the most awesome recipe for Apple Carrot Muffins!  Don't these look delicious?
Thirdly, I 'm teamed up with Anitra from The Mama Zone in a fun twist on the old-fashioned bloggy giveaway!  Please visit my Hop & Hunt for all the details and enter to win some of my yummy homemade carmels!
Are you ready to start the weekend now?  Start it off right by linking up your favorite posts below and visiting a few others!  Thanks for stopping by!  

Linking with:

Loving Our Children Tuesday 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Make It A Home! Blog Hop & Treasure Hunt

Welcome to the Make It A Home Blog Hop & Treasure Hunt hosted by Anitra from The MamaZone. We hope you’re ready to win some great prizes for your home and some cash to help you make your house a home! This giveaway hop is a little different than most because it has the added element of a cash treasure hunt! As you hop through, entering the giveaways on these fabulous blogs, keep your eyes open—you just might find some hidden cash! Here’s how it works:
  • Visit each blog listed below and enter their giveaways.
  • Look for the mailbox on each blog. If it contains a three digit code, make a note of it.
  • Once you collect all 5 randomly hidden codes, enter here to win the Grand Prize of $100 and a Mint Floor Cleaner.
  • As an added bonus, if you enter every giveaway involved you’ll earn 11 extra entries into the Grand Prize drawing (Sweet!).
The hop and hunt will run May 1st-May 14th and the Grand Prize winner will be announced on the 15th.

Ready to win? Here’s what I’m giving away:

My homemade carmels are such a hit in my Etsy shop!  I will be giving away one large batch of these fresh, buttery Nibbling Carmels!  Yum!  (If needed,click "read more" below to enter!)

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