Monday, November 04, 2013

Suddenly Found...

Sam was looking through some old boxes.  And he found this:

My Mommy made this for me and it's dated for Christmas in 1981.  I was about 1 1/2 at the time so I don't remember getting it, but I DO remember putting lots of change in it.  I can't remember the butterfly ever being whole.  I counted up the sum total of my early attempts at saving and came up with $10.72.  Oh... and there was a token from Chuck E. Cheese in Oakland (says so, right on the coin), two Canadian coins and Tooth-fairy money.  But I didn't count the Tooth Fairy money in my savings total.  Because you NEVER.  SPEND.  your Tooth Fairy money.  It's bad luck... or something like that.  :)

Saturday, October 05, 2013

An Anna Picture

Because babies grow up so fast.  Here's Anna wearing a pretty dress that I think Aunt Beckie gave us...  :)

Our new classroom space....

There's a picture of our school area...  Here, I'm standing in the corner looking towards the stairs.  That door you see there is one of two extra rooms down there.  The main room is about 20' by 30' 

It's a HUGE space :)

The part you can't see behind me is just full of big blank walls.  Plenty of wall space for boards and shelves and projects and all kinds of things. 

Now.... To find school furniture! :)

Fortunately there's a nice thrift store right in town.  I think we'll become fast friends with the owner really soon.

Almost There

Moving here has been a long, drawn out and sometimes grueling experience.  But we're almost done!  Soon we'll be able to say that we have moved to Virginia instead of we are and I can't wait for that moment!

I have a big classroom area to set up and no furniture budget, so I'm hunting around for freebies to get us through.  Tables.  Bookshelves.  Rugs.  And my magnetic white board bit the dust on the move over (some angry piece of furniture squashed it right in the middle and bent it all out of shape... broke it's frame.  It was tragic, really...)  But I'm really excited to have this space to dedicate to our schooling and I'm sure I'll be rearranging it over and over.

Speaking of rearranging things, I've moved the stuff in the kitchen cabinets four times now, I think.  Everytime I go to grab something I find myself looking for it in a particular spot and it's not there.  So I move it there only to discover it doesn't really work....  I think I've got it all straight now.   Though I may just up and confuse the family in a month or two and redo it all again!

Speaking of confusing people, I think my girls totally confused a little boy on the street the other day.  He was not being nice and my girls, being sweet and having spent most of their lives around, well, nice people, didn't know what to do about him.  So I told them that if they didn't like the way he was speaking that they should tell him so.  And if he bothers any one of them, all 4 of them should turn around and leave, either with or without comment as they saw fit.  Well, he was being mean to Sarah and Josie looked him square in the eye and told him to quit being a bully.  They all then walked away.  He yelled a little and then pouted and shouted that he was going to go tell his mom.  Josie got nervous!  What if his mom was mad at Josie for what she said?

I told her not to worry.  I'd back her up.

Well.  We never heard from his mom and he's been much nicer since then.  He even brought out some extra toys for everyone on the street to play with together.  I thought it was a nice gesture.

I'm off to tuck kids into bed now and get some work done.  Hope you all are doing well! :)  ♥

Friday, September 27, 2013

We're Here and Lovin' It! Random ramblings after my long... long absence...

As far as moves go, I suppose this one could have been smoother.  But no matter the obstacles, we have managed to finally move ourselves to a beautiful little town in Virginia. 

This is really big for us.  Huge.  It means so many good things, which I'm sure I'll have fun telling you all about soon. 

But for now, I just wanted you to know that we made it here, we're unpacking, settling in, enjoying the neighborhood and looking forward to exploring the area around us.  We are, after all, nestled smack dab in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley.  Breathtaking mountain views all around us.  Farms everywhere.  In fact, as I called the kids in for dinner last night, I heard mooing from the farm just over the hill.  I made everyone stop to listen!  

The neighbors here aren't quite sure what to make of us.  One of the little girls here even looked at us with total disbelief when we said we were from New Jersey.  "New Jersey?" she drawled out.  "But that can't be.  I thought everyone from New Jersey spoke Spanish."  So I said "Hola" because that's about all I know.

I hope to post some pictures soon, because the view out my front window is so pretty.  And the moment you walk to the end of the street, it's mountains as far as you can see.

Anna has caught herself a cold but she doesn't seem to mind it.  She belly laughs every time she sneezes.  Can you believe she just turned 3??  How on Earth did that happen?

Time to go unpack another box.  If you are every passing through Virginia, give me a ring and stop by!  We'd love to see you! :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Has it really been May since I last posted here?  My goodness!  So sorry.

I'll have to grab some pictures soon and show you how big all the kids are getting. 

In the mean time, we're back to schooling, Anna is potty training (just started today but she's been ready for a while.  I'm just lazy sometimes!), KJS has been getting quite a few new clients, my new-since-I-last-posted-here online store has a lot of customers, some of whom actually buy stuff, and I am as sleep-deprived as ever.

Anna is showing absolutely no signs at all of wanting to ween.  She nurses at nap time.  She nurses at bed time.  She wakes up in the middle of the night, usually about an hour after I've gone to bed, and then nurses nearly all night.  The night time is purely a comfort thing.  She ends up sleeping with me, which I'd really like to change, but can't seem to manage it so far. I don't mind her visiting, but it's rare that I can successfully transfer her back to her own crib without her protesting loudly.  I remember letting the twins cry it out, but it seems my heart has softened considerable since then. . .

Little Learning Lovies is my online store where I've been selling printable resources, like file folder games, worksheets and such.  I've had people from as far away as China purchase my stuff!  It's pretty cool :)  People seem to really like the style of what I create and I have to say it feels really good.  If you are a family member (like a sister or sister-in-law or mother or mother-in-law) who might be reading this, and you want to try something from the store (you are under no obligation by the way!) email me and I'll give you a coupon code you can use to get everything for free :)  Cause I love you!  If, by some miracle, you are a stranger reading this....   You can ask me in the comments for a coupon code and I'll be glad to give you a 20% discount.  Cause I don't want to you feel left out and unloved! :)

KJS has been doing a pretty brisk business in Virginia of late.  We're loving the way Virginia laws are set up.  We can do everything we want to down there without running into any legal grey areas, unlike our current state of residence who seems to find fault with the most innocent of things.  And our Virginia clients are nicer!  And easier to work with than our native clients...  Not that there aren't tough ones down there, but they generally have reasonable expectations that we are always able to exceed.  Our "native" clients want 1001 things from us, for a quarter of the cost.  And once we've done that, they want more.  "Oh... Could you just change this around for me?" they ask after everything has been approved.  Of course, the change requires an entire revamp of the plan... so.... no!  Not unless you pay for it!   Ugh... Anyway: we like Virginia clients :)  We actually profit more on projects that require us to send Sam down there (5 1/2 hours away at least) than local ones! 

As for schooling, the kids are taking the lead more this year which is very helpful.  I can do more around the house or blog (like now!) while they are working which is really nice.  A lot more relaxed than last year when I was leading every subject.  They are moving pretty quickly through everything and I think we might be done with second grade round about the end of February if they keep working like this.  They amaze me with how smart they are and how fast they pick up on things.  We are LOVING the science curriculum we're using this year.  It's fun, engaging and interesting and more than that, two of our three days of science each week are spent doing projects or hands on experiments rather than just reading.  It's pretty cool.  If you want to try it with your elementary level kids, you can get a free years worth (like we did) at the LAB OF MR. Q.  His other titles are $50 each which I at first thought was too much.  But now that we are into the first few weeks of this free one, I'd be glad to pay that much for the others.  VERY well done and they make the kids think, reason, practice their scientific thinking skills and, best of all, giggle!  There's nothing cooler than setting your kids to reading their science book and finding them laughing their way through it.

The kids have joined a couple of classes through the local rec program this session.  Last session, in the spring, Katie Josie and Sarah took gymnastics and LOVED it.  Their teacher is SO very sweet that they immediately fell in love with her and from that moment they were willing to do anything for her.  Even Katie who is sometimes reluctant to try new things jumped in and bravely did whatever Miss Jocelyn asked of her.  They are, of course, in that program again this fall.  They are also taking a dance class, which is REALLY cute and rather funny.  My kids apparently have no rhythm...

And Anna is in tumbling this session.  It's also being taught by Miss Jocelyn and Anna loves her too.  Normally very shy around new people to the point of being stuck in my arms, she warmed up to the space and the people in it within about 10 minutes.  She even let Miss Jocelyn hold her and help her do rolls and jumps without me being right there!  And she made a friend.  A sweet little 2 year old.  They like to climb up on a big foam square, about a foot off the ground, and then Anna counts "1... 2............... 3!" and they both jump off together.  It helps that there is a huge mirror there for them to watch themselves in.  They happily giggle at each other and climb back up for another turn. 

So I guess, all in all, things are going well here.  I won't promise pictures, but I will try!  And I'll try to get a video of Anna singing.  Her favorite song is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or Rocket Man.  Yes... that's right....  "Evie body sing wih meeeee! ...   Wockeh Maaaan ... Burnin' fuel a hear-a-long!"

Love you! :)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Randomness on a Thursday...

The sun is shining again.  We've had lots of rain and everything is so soggy.  But I'm grateful we don't have to deal with drought conditions like other areas of the country.  Just have to wait a couple of days for the yard to dry out! 


Anna has begun throwing fits.  I'm usually pretty good at getting her out of them if I catch her fast enough.  She understands a great deal and can be calmed down with an appropriate word or two.  If I don't catch her in time, though, she makes this terrible face with her mouth wide open in a silent scream and her eyes all screwed shut tight.  Sometimes there are tears.  Sometimes not.  And then there's nothing for her but to wait it out and probably nurse her.  Usually it seems to happen because I can't figure out what she wants.  Or because what she wants is to grab a knife off the counter or swing from the chandelier or something equally dangerous.  (Though secretly, I think swinging from the chandelier might be fun....Shh!  Don't tell my little ones!)


I have a sticky spot on the back of my shoulder where Sarah kissed me this morning during our pancake breakfast.  :)  And nope: I'm not changing my shirt!  There's nothing in this world I'd rather have than loving children and a sticky shirt.


I have plants all over the place.  Stuff under my grow lights getting ready to be planted out this coming week, containers out on the back deck that I planted earlier this month, flowers from the store that need a home which were given to me by my children and husband for Mother's Day and my birthday.  Now that the rain has left us for a little while, I can probably sneak some time to go out and actually plant them all!  I didn't do much in the way of edible plants this year, though I did do my usual herbs and some very tasty cherry tomatoes.  Pretty much everything else (oh, and carrots.  I love home grown carrots) is just pretty :)   I don't usually allow myself pretty flowers because I expend my energy on the edible stuff.  This year, I've kind of gone exactly the opposite way.  Maybe my garden will be better next year for the break....


We're planning a big trip this year which will require more time away from home than we've ever done before.  That means lots of extra planning.  But it also means lots of extra visiting with people we love and miss!  We'll be heading down to Sam's mom (Kissie Gramma) in Myrtle Beach and then out to Kentucky to visit my dear sister on her little farm.  I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to this trip. 


Just a couple more weeks and the kids will be finished with first grade.  Actually, they are already finished in every subject but history.  Somehow, that subject got a little left behind.  Not that we didn't study history this year, it just seems we dawdled over each topic.  Which is good, and I won't push for us to finish the book by the end of June but I will make it more of a daily priority so we can make sure we fit in as much as we can.  The kids get reading time in bed at night now, and they often choose stories about the people we've read about in our history lessons as their leisure reading.  Stuff like that always makes me feel like I'm actually doing an okay job at this whole schooling thing! 


People keep asking me when I'm going to ween Anna.  True, she's 20 months old now.  And I know many people who work at weening their babies around the year mark.  But I think that comes from the convention of weening them off formula and bottles around 12 months and less from any real wisdom about breast feeding.  Of course you want your baby off formula as soon as possible.  It's crazy expensive.  And bottles are terrible for their little teeth.  But nursing has no such down sides.  And Anna shows no signs of wanting to give it up.

Sarah, my only other real breast feeding experience, weened herself at 11 months because I had to be away for a few days.  When I came back, she nursed once and then never wanted it again!  Anna is an entirely different experience.  I have no problem letting her take the lead.  If she's not ready, I won't push it.

She is looking towards potty training, though.  :)  She often tells me "Potty Momma?"  (I love that she calls me Momma most of the time!) One time she was insistent, but I thought she wanted to play in there so I told her no.  What a missed opportunity.  Ah well.  She sits on a potty seat on the toilet all the time but hasn't done anything there yet.  She grunts and groans and pretends, though, so I have hope that she'll play her way to getting the job done. 


Thanks for checking in!  Talk to you soon.  :) And thanks, Jennie, for the cute "idea separation" idea!  I love it :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Here's Anna :)

It's been a while since you've seen her here and my dear momma just emailed me a couple of photos that we caught in front of her amazing azaleas at the peak of their bloom.  So I thought I'd show you my favorite photo from the bunch:

Isn't she pretty?  I love that mop of curly hair on top, and her sweet little green eyes sure do know how to make me melt at just the right moment (you know, like when she's sneakily snatched a second cookie from Grandma's table...)

Well, pretty as this picture is, I couldn't leave it alone.  So I had some fun with it:

Below I've cropped it, played around with the color a little and gave it a vignette :)

Yeah... I'd hang her on my wall!  

Before I continue with the picture fun, I thought I'd brag a little.  She's learning the sounds of each letter (by site, mind you) just by sitting around with us at school time.  We use All About Spelling for our 1st Grade spelling curriculum and she quite happily recites the phonogram  cards right along with her sisters.  She used to echo them.  Now, for nearly all the letters and letter teams represented on the cards, she either leads them or says it with them.  So she knows her letter sounds and I didn't even have to hardly lift a finger. (This is me beaming! :)  Oh, she's also very aware that the printed words in her picture books hold the story.  She pretends to read all the time with her finger following along under the words.  I think I'm gonna have an early reader in her.

Back to the photo:
Then I used a fun little gadget called "60's" that made the photo look all faded and vintage like:

 Another quick aside: whenever I put a dress on this littler girl, her first instinct is to sway her hips back and forth, making the skirt swish across her legs.  Then, once she's satisfied with that, she does her best spin, until she's dizzy.  I just LOVE putting this girl in dresses.  She won't wear a hat, though.  She looks great in them for about 2 seconds, and then she pulls them right off, shaking her head at me with her serious eyebrows on, saying "no, no, mama..."

Okay, back to the photo!

Lastly, I re-cropped the original photo and ran it through a filtered black & white treatment which really made her little face pop out from those flowers, don't you think?   If I had this in Photoshop (which I might play with next) I'd let her green eyes be the only pop of color there.  I just love her eyes!  (Did I mention that?)

So there is our dear little Anna.  Sweetest little 20 month old I know :) 

Oh, and can I just mention one more amazing thing?  She's been doing this for about 5 or 6 months now.  Have you ever met a baby this age who can follow multi-step instructions?  Because she can and does, daily.  Instructions with two steps are simple for her.  Three steps and you have to make sure you have her total attention when you tell her what you want her to do, but she still can.  More than that, and even I have a hard time keeping up, so I figure it isn't really fair to hold her up to that standard yet.  

All right.  I'm done braggin' on my baby for now.  Sooner or later I'll put up a big 'ol post about the goings on of the bigger kids, but today was all about Anna.  Thanks for stopping by!  Oh, and do leave a comment letting me know which variation of the photo you like best.  I'm always looking for input like that!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The To-Do List...

"Mommy!" 6 year old Sarah shouted from across the house.  She was staring at my to-do list on the wall by my bedroom. 

"Yes, dear?"

"Don't forget to love your babies while they're still here before the turn into a grown-up!"

Thanks for the reminder, Sarah!  I'll do my best to not waste a minute :)
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Friday, March 09, 2012

Our Pretty Daughters

Do try to fogive them for looking cold.... It was chilly out today!
Now, if their birthday had been yesterday, we would have had no troubles. Can you believe it was almost 80 out? :)

And yes..... That's a porch snowman in the background. It is technically still winter, my friends. So I can get away with it. Right?
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Katie and Sarah

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Sarah & Josie

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Birthday Girls

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