Monday, December 17, 2012

May We Never Forget

Friday, December 14, 2012, is a day that will live in the hearts of our nation.  The lives of 20 children and 7 adults were taken in a mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Over the last week I have opened this window to type out a blog post. I have started my post and then closed the window.  You see, I have been having a very hard time trying to decide if what is on my heart or mind is worth sharing.  I am still struggling with what to write and how to write.  It isn't like me to not have much to say.  I am usually an open book.  I am asking that you keep me in your prayers as I struggle with whatever this is that has been pulling at my heart.  I want to keep moving forward through this season of my life and come out better for it.  Thank you.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Christmas Tradition

I was born and raised in a small town in East Tennessee.  My grandparents were dairy farmers.  They took their role very seriously.  My Mamaw made it her mission to fill my time on the farm with precious heart felt memories.  She taught me to sew, to cook, to clean (yeah, I didn't hold on to that lesson very well!) and showed me what it meant to really live for and love the Lord.
My Grandparents with me and Scott the day we told them we were expecting S.  2005
 Each Christmas, for as far back as I can remember, she would help me and my brother bake Christmas cookies.  She had a special bag of cookie cutters that we used, a special recipe for the dough, and for the frosting.  Each year we did it the exact same way.  We headed to the kitchen, mixed the dough and put it in the freezer to chill (the freezer because she had 2 very impatient children ready to cut out and bake cookies) and we would head to the living room.  While the cookie dough chilled my brother and I stood side by side on the hearth of the fire place playing jingle bells on the kazoo while Mamaw played the piano.  Finally the dough would be ready and we would then cut out and bake the cookies.  We made up our own icing and decorated them.  Of course we munched on a few as we went.  ;) Sadly I lost both of my grandparents in 2006.  I was able to inherit my Mamaw's cookie cutters and make sure to cook up a batch with my children each year at Christmas time.  We use her same recipe, her same cookie cutters, and her same icing recipe.  I feel her with me each time we bake the cookies.  I know she is with us in spirit and because of her I have a very special tradition to share with my children.
The finished product from Christmas last year.

A few of the cookie cutters I was very blessed to receive after my grandparents passed away.

Mamaw Hales Christmas Cookies...

  • 1 1/2 C Powdered Sugar
  • 1 C Butter (margerine can be substituded)
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. Lemon Flavoring
  • 1 L egg
  • 2 1/2 C All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Cream of Tartar

Beat first 4 ingredients in bowl with mixer until well combined.  Stir in remaining ingredients, cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours (this is the part where we put ours in the freezer for about 45 mins).

Heat oven to 375*

Divide dough in half and roll out to 1/4 thickness.  Cut into Christmas shapes.  Place 2 inches apart on a buttered cookie sheet.

Bake 7-8 mins or until edges are golden brown.

Mamaw Hales Christmas Cookie Icing...

  • 1/2 C Powdered Sugar
  • 1 - 2 tsp of Milk
  • Assorted food coloring

Mix the milk and food coloring into the powdered sugar until it is the consistency of pancake batter.  Decorate cookies with sprinkes and allow to dry (if you can!)  **You may have to add more or less sugar or milk to get desired thickness depending on the humidity.

This was always my Mamaws favorite.  

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Looking Forward...

December is just around the corner (in all actuality it started about 14 minutes ago).  December is one of those great months of the year for me for a few different reasons.  In December we get to celebrate my saviors birth with Christmas.  That means a lot of time with family and friends - and food!  December is also that month that my daughter was born.  On Sunday she will be 7 years old.  I cannot tell you where the time has gone but I will tell you that I would not trade a second of it for the world!  December also means a closing of a year.  We get to say goodbye to a season of our life and hello to a new.  I am looking forward to seeing what the new year has in store for me and my family.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pay it Forward

I started my small business from home a few years ago.  My family was tight on cash and I needed an outlet for my creativity.  A few friends encouraged me to start creating logos.  My business isn't booming by the national standards but I stay busy and enjoy what I do.  At the beginning of 2012 I decided it was time to start giving back.  I know first hand how hard it is to run a business from home.  Getting funds together to brand your business and take it to the next step is not always priority.  I have been randomly choosing people throughout the year to be a part of the "Pay it Forward" program.  I create a new logo or blog design for them all I ask in return is that they find a way to pay the kindness forward.  They can host a giveaway of their products, help promote my business, or whatever they feel led to do to help someone else out in the future.  I need your help!  I need some nominations for small businesses to take part in this in 2013.

FILL OUT THIS FORM to nominate a small business for the Pay it Forward 2013 year!

Monday, November 26, 2012


Tis the season for... FLU!!!  YIKES!!!  My entire little family has passed it from one to the other over the last 10 days.  It has been a very long Thanksgiving season.  We should buy stock in Kleenex and Tylenol.  Praise the Lord my children have insurance and were able to be treated with Tamiflu.  You wouldn't even know that either of them were sick.  Hubster and I are a completely different story.  I think our barking cough can be heard for miles around!  lol!!!

We will be working on make up work and other work throughout the week.  Not to mention the housework and graphic orders that need to be caught up. Ughh... a mothers work is never done!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

I asked for it...

and I got it!  I prayed that God would help me be able to help out with some of our bills and get a few odds and ends through my graphic arts business on Facebook, Tatorbug Creations.  I prayed that if it were His will to allow me to be able to handle the work load and the school load.  I asked, he delivered.  I have been missing from the blog for a while now because I have been extra busy with my work.  I have been creating customized personal planners for some friends and new clients, I have been creating some new custom logos and I have been inspired to create some great new pre-designed logos.  My heart is over flowing.  During this season I have cut back on some of our school work and the kids are excited about that.  We have not been doing much of the busy work we were doing and have been working on things that inspire us (along with the essentials of course) like cooking together, crafting together and creating fun Christmas ornaments.  I am so thankful that I am finding balance and rhythm in my life.  I am disappointed that I didn't get to follow through with my journey to thankfulness on the blog like I had hoped.  I pray to move forward with something new soon. I am just working to add the blog into the mix and get life in order!  Thank you all for your patience with me!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Journey to Thankfulness - Thanksgiving/Fall Craft Link Up

Today on our Journey to Thankfulness I want to feature some crafts for the Thanksgiving/Fall season.

I LOVE this idea of painting fall leaves found HERE.  Thank you Melissa for such great instructions that include step by step pictures.

These cute candle holders would be a great craft for older children.  They would make some great gifts as well.  Thank you, Aurie for submitting this idea!

These adorable leaf collages are perfect for those sunny fall days where you can still stand to be outside.  Go collect some leaves and start on this craft today.  Such a great idea, Marcy!  

Thank you to each of you who submitted your craft ideas.  
Do you have an idea you want to share?  Please link up below...

Friday, November 2, 2012

We Choose Virtues - Review and Giveaway!!!

We Choose Virtues is a great, straight forward, Godly approach, to teaching children character traits. We received the Flash Cards to use in our home{school} room about 3 weeks ago.  The flash cards are small 4x6 cards with the virtue on the front, along with a cute illustration, and the catch phrase and Bible verse on the back.  We Choose Virtues offers a wide variety of products from full kits to individual pieces that combine to create the perfect tool to teach your children about character.

The 12 virtues they teach are:
  • I am Diligent
  • I am Kind
  • I am Helpful
  • I am Obedient
  • I am Forgiving
  • I am Perseverant
  • I am Gentle
  • I am Patient
  • I am Self-Controlled
  • I am Content
  • I am Honest
  • I am Attentive
These are virtues that everyone - not just children - should learn.  I have found that it is very hard to know how to teach these to my children because honestly, they were never really "taught" to me.  Sure learned how to treat others and how to behave but I was never taught why or how to respond to situations like the We Choose Virtues program teaches.  I really like how each virtue is taught with "I am ..." at the begining so children learn to own those traits right up front.

How we use the flash cards:
The cards came with an instruction card and a game card.  We haven't gotten all the way through the virtues yet, but as soon as we do, we will be playing the games they have listed.  For now, I introduce a new virtue at the begining of the week.  We talk about the picture on the front.  Is it a boy?  Is it a girl?  Do they look happy?  etc...  Then we talk about the meaning of the virtue we are studying.  We then move to the back of the card and memorize the catch phrase and Bible Verse.  S has been using the verses for copywork to reenforce her learning.

What we think...
I love this program.  Even though we just have a snippet of it, it is enough for my small children.  It gives them a taste of the virtues and we will continue working on them and building on them as we go.  I most definitely plan to purchase more products to add on to our journey as we go!

Want your own?
We Choose Virtues has been SO kind and has offered one of my lucky readers a set of Flash Cards to use in their own home!  YAY!!!  Please enter the Raffle Copter Widget below to be entered.  If you are reading this via email or rss you will need to go to the blog to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Journey to Thankfulness - Free Printables Linkup

Come join me on my Journey to Thankfulness.  I want to spend the month being thankful and counting my blessings and not my problems.  

Today begins the journey of thankfulness. I have thought all day about what I am the most thankful for and each time it came back to one thing. I am the MOST thankful for my salvation. Knowing that this life with all of its trials, struggles, blessings, and gifts is only temporary makes living this life much easier. I may not be able to post each day about what I am thankful for but I am going to try.

I also want to spend the month sharing things with you that have blessed me and that I am thankful for.  I will start with this great free printable.

At the beginning of the week I posted on Facebook that I needed a printout for Thanksgiving for my kids.  I said I was looking for something with a space to write what they are thankful for and then to draw it.  My friend (even if we only know each other from the internet) Heather, from Upside Down Homeschooling, told me to hold on just a day or two and she would have something put together.  Last night she sent me the file over and she got exactly what I was looking for.  Check out her FREE Book of Thanks.  Download your copy and start on your journey of thankfulness with your kiddos.

Link up here with your Free Thanksgiving or Thankful printables.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Reward...

The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.  For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I am not guilty of turning from my God.  All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees.  Psalms 18: 20-23
These verses are very humbling.  They bring me to my knees in awe of my savior.  How can my hands ever be clean enough to claim the reward he has blessed me with - eternal life in Heaven.  Who is worthy?  Not me, for sure.  Tomorrow is the first day of November.  The month we count our blessings.  I am starting today.  I want to thank God for my reward.  Though I am not worthy of the gift of his son, he gave it.  He gave it to all of us.  Even though we falter and we stumble if we believe that Jesus is the son - our salvation - we shall claim our reward!  AMEN!!  And what a great reward it will be.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I am the MOM not the MAID!

**Disclaimer** Please no judgement on this post.  I am opening up about something very real to me.  I promise I am not a bad mother.  I am just looking for help!!

Over the last few years I have put up chore charts, behavior charts, to-do lists, etc... for my children.  We use them for a week or two, then they fizzle and we forget.  My house is in ruins.  The children pick something up and lay it down where ever they are and never return to it.  I stand defeated and have waved the white flag.  I know that I cannot just go on strike.  That the cleaning fairys will not come in and clean up.  These messes must be dealt with.  They must be tackled and cleaned.  But, who should have to do it?  I don't want to!  The kids sure don't want to.  And the hubby, he could care less!  He isn't here for the biggest bulk of the day so when he comes home the last thing he wants to do is pick up toys from the living room floor.

It is bedtime.  The kids are showered and in pj's and wait for me to tuck them in.  Me, I am fuming.  I cannot walk through their bedroom to get to them to tell them good night.  I just spent 30 minutes finding S a tshirt to sleep in.  She couldn't find what she wanted to wear the day before (after I already gave her, her clothing and she was dressed) so she dumped her dresser drawers in the bedroom floor.  N decided he wanted to play with a "special toy".  The one that is laying at the bottom of his toy bucket.  So he does the only logical thing... he dumps the entire bucket into the bedroom floor - on top of the clothing his sister just threw on the floor earlier that day.  So, I fuss.  I nag.  I make threats that seem like I can stick to, but who am I kidding, I never really do.

It's the next day.  The toys are still in the living room floor.  The bedroom is still covered in clothing and toys. The sink is full of dishes from supper the night before.  The floors need sweeping and mopping.  The toilet needs scrubbing (ewww) and the shower is not going to clean itself.

Where did I go wrong?  How did I let this happen?  How could I not teach  my children to do better?  To know better?  To clean up their own messes?  Ughhhh...

Sound familiar?  Well, I would love to know what you do to take these things.  How do you clean these messes and stay sane.  How do you train your children to do better when you feel like giving up?  I need some serious help!  I need to know how to give out chores and responsibilities to my children (N is 5 and S will soon be 7) so that they can help lighten my load.  I need to know how to get them to learn that I am NOT the maid.  I am their mother.  I feel like I am losing control of this situation and my home.  I want this to be a place to live in not to hide out in.  I want to have company over and not cringe at the thought of some one dropping by unannounced 

Any suggestions will be helpful!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday in the Word - Psalm 6:2-3

Have mercy on my, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord for my bones are in agony.  My soul is in deep anguish.  How long, LORD, how long?
Psalm 6:2-3

When I was about 14 years old I was diagnosed with severe (and I do mean severe) TMJ.  My jaw had grown completely wrong.  The upper jaw was 1/4 inch too long and my bottom jaw was set almost crooked.  It took 3 years worth of prep to have a major, life changing, surgery.  I had to get braces and endure multiple minor surgeries along the way.  When I was 17 {just a couple of days after my 17th birthday} I had the surgery.  An upper and lower jaw osteotomy.  It was as painful as it sounds.  

Fast forward 12 years.
I can bite through luncheon meat!  YAY!!  I can also bite through thin crust pizza and chew my food completely!  YAY!  But I also have arthur in my entire face.  Some days the pain is bearable.  Other days - like today - the pain is at its worst.  My face is swollen and is throbbing with pain.  
While I was reading through the Bible this morning I came across this verse and it clearly spoke to me.  I am very aware that I am blessed without a doubt.  My life is not in jeopardy due to these minor health issues, but it doesn't always make me feel better.  So please pray for me today.  That I uninvited myself from this pity party I am throwing and move forward!

I am joining in over at Sams Noggin for Wednesday in the Word.  Join me!


Monday, October 22, 2012

Week 10

Seriously, can someone please fill me in on where the time is going?  I cannot believe how quickly it is passing by.  Here we are almost at the end of October, finishing week 10 of school and getting ready for the holiday season.  WOW!  I love fall.  {ok, I love each season!} I love the smells, the colors, the air outside.  Everything changes and looks new.  We do not do the usual pumpkin patches and that kind of thing.  Not sure why.  I think that we just never think to go. Instead we head to a local theme park that has several festivals all year long and they have a great one in the fall that we love.  We went this past weekend...

We finished up AAS Level 1!  WAHOO!!!

We have also finished up the first section of math {addition} and will be moving forward with subtraction this week.  In reality S is very good at both addition and subtraction but the math program we use teacher her how to do it forward, backwards and sideways.  It really drills it in and keep her learning how to solve the problem no matter how it is given.

N is continuing with the same things as usual.  He isn't showing too much interest in school at the moment though, which is fine with me.  He is learning his letter shapes and sounds and he is learning to count beyond 20.  I am not pushing him.  I want him to develop a love for learning without it being thrust upon him.  Since he isn't really enrolled in K this year we are going slow and steady.  He will get it!

I am looking forward to the next several weeks and then a nice long Christmas and New Years break.  It won't be long from now folks!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Have you noticed...

I like change.  I like things to be fresh and new.  In the spirit of the changing season I decided to change the look of the blog and our Facebook page.  We went from polka dots to fun birds.  I decided to create a bird for each member of our family, in our favorite colors.  I also have a new siggie {see below}. Anyway, I hope to stick to this change for some time before I come up with something new.  I would love to hear what you think of it!

Do you have a blog?  Are you looking for a change?  I would love to help you with that change!  You can message me today to learn more about what I can do for you.  Us homeschooling mama's have to stick together, right?!  Let me help you out.  Just comment below.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Proverbs 31:25 Wednesday in the Word

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25"
OH to be "that woman".  The woman who is "clothed in strength".  I bet that she is ready to take on most any task set in front of her.  I picture her wearing armor and being ready for any battle to come.  She is "clothed in dignity".  I am guessing she doesn't allow what others to think of her get in the way of what she thinks of herself.  She is probably able to go from morning meetings to evening dates with very little worry.  "She can laugh at the days to come".  Yep, right there, that is it!  She knows that  no matter what is in front of her, she can tackle it.  She knows that it will never be too much or too hard for her.  She is able to laugh at the days ahead.  I imagine her worry is slim to none and she carries her head high.

Sadly, I am not "that woman".  I find myself feeling defeated and depressed more often then not.  Don't believe me?  Come check my sink!  I often go around in my sweats and a tshirt and my hubby thinks I have dressed up if I am wearing jeans!  NO LIE!  And don't get me started on the whole "laughing at the days to come" part.  I have been known to sit and cry about finances, food and other things that are out of my control more than once.  So, what can I do about it?  I am making a plan! (You know me and my plans!)

  1. Pray! - I am sure that is the top of everyone's list, right?  But I am going to be more intentional in my prayers.  I am going to start praying as much for myself as I do for others.  After all God wants to know MY heart and I cannot keep these worries from Him.
  2. Be Real! - I am sharing this here so that I can be real with you.  So that my heart is exposed and that the healing can truly begin.
  3. Prioritize - I am no good at time management.  In fact more often then not I am squandering away my time on things like Facebook and Pinterest.  (Can I get an AMEN?!)  I need to start working on things in my life that matter.  Not that some things on Facebook and Pinterest don't matter but they should really matter less.
  4. LAUGH MORE!!! - So I may  not be ready to laugh at the days to come, but I can find more reasons to laugh.  My children, for example, are great sources of humor.  I need to start filling up my heart with joy and laughter and I think my load will lighten.
That is it!  That is my game plan.  I will be "that woman" or at least I have my sights set on her.  God will guide me back.  He will lead me.  I just have to be ready and keep on moving forward.

I am linking up with Wednesday in the Word over on Sams Noggin.  Join me?

Monday, October 15, 2012

From S to Me

She painted this and left it on my desk this morning. I am blessed.
She says it is the two of us...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

All About Spelling

WOW is all I can say.  We are in the last few lessons of AAS Level 1 by All About Learning Press.  I cannot believe just how quickly S is grasping the concepts and moving forward.  We have spent this week reviewing all of the Key Cards (the blue cards) and the Word Cards (the green cards).  We will wrap it all up next week and then our Level 2 kit will arrive!!!  I am very excited about this program.  It isn't just a "here is the word, memorize and spell it" kind of program, instead it teaches the rules.  It gives a foundation on which words are spelled so that she learns not only to spell the list that is given to her but why she is spelling those words and how to spell more words with the same rule.  Even I am learning how and why we spell words the way we do!

Now, I will admit, there were a few weeks where I thought that we had made a huge mistake purchasing this.  S was learning the rules, she was learning how to spell the words given, but getting her to do her spelling was like pulling teeth.  She doesn't like the letter tiles.  Actually, I think it is more that she hates the letter tiles.  I contacted Marie Ripple, the woman who wrote the program, and she told me not to make her use them. Instead she suggested that I use them on the board so she can see how the tiles go together and she will make the connection that way.  She suggested we use a dry erase board for her to write her words on and move on.  Friends, that was life changing advice!  Now S loves spelling.  We can get through a step in no time and she looks forward to it!

If  you are looking for a spelling program for your children, let me say without a doubt, you cannot go wrong with this program.

You can find this post linked up at What Works Wednesdays over on Upside Down Homeschooling.

**Some links are for affiliates.**

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday in the Word - The Lord is Defender

The Lord is... DEFENDER!
The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still. Ex. 14:14

WOW!  What a great verse!  God will fight for us.  Just be still!  I've read the ending and guess what, He won!  :)

Linking up with Wednesday in the Word over at Sams Noggin.  Join me!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Week 9

This week we spent time doing our school work outside...

The kids had a pic-nic snack outside...

We went to the lake and watched the sun set.

And we took some time to enjoy each other, got some school work done, and were a family.  It was a great week!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Print-At-Home Planner

If you have read any of my blog posts then you know that I love to plan.  I love planners.  I love lists.  My love of these things has taken me on a long journey.  In search of the "perfect planner" and I have yet to find it.  Some of my favorite planners are Moms Tool Belt {my favorite!!}, The Well Planned Day (Paper edition) and a Mead planner I purchased at WalMart for $12 {can't find a link, sorry}.  I have a subscription to the My Well Planned Day software but it is not a good fit for me.  I guess I  like pen to paper better.  While in search of the perfect planner I started creating my own.  I started with some workbox planners.  We use workboxes daily in our home but not in the traditional way.  It is more for storage and to keep our stuff organized than to swap things in and out.  We stick to a pretty straight forward routine and do the same thing everyday.  So, I created the by subject planner and it is working out very well for us.  

The workbox planners are good for up to 2 students per page and the subject planners are good for up to 4 students.  The 4 student one is color coded for easy organization.

What is a planner without being pretty?  Well, I have thought of that too!  I created some cover images to go inside of the binder for your planner to make it personalized.  

I *plan* to make more forms and pages to add to the planner as I can.  When you purchase the planner you get the pages that are completed right now and you get all of the updates for the planner!

Soon I will have organization forms for children as well!  

Purchase your planner HERE.  It is at an intro price for $3 the first 2 weeks (ends 10/19/2012) and then will be $5!  I know how hard it can be for homeschooling moms to come up with the funds for things like these and I hope that this low price helps.
You can also find them for sell on Facebook!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

God is Good

I am trying to read the word of God each day.  It is a struggle for me.  I saw a sweet friend posting verses like this on Instagram and on Facebook and decided that it looked like an easy, fun way to get my reading and S.O.A.P done each day.  I love to doodle, and I like to write so it is a great fit for me.  How do you do your Bible study?  I hope to make this a part of my blogging, each week.  

I am linking up at Wednesday In the Word over at Sam's Noggin.  Join me!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Custom Blog Design Giveaway!!! -- CLOSED

Yes!  You read that right!!!  I want to give away a FREE custom blog design that includes a background, header and button to one of my readers.  I run a design business called Tatorbug Creations and have really cut back on taking orders this year as I homeschool the kiddos.  I LOVE designing and thought that since I am not doing very much it would be great to offer a blog design for a fellow homeschool momma!  To enter just fill out the Raffle Copter widget bellow.  Please make sure that you share this giveaway with your friends and other bloggers so they can enter as well.  Who knows, I may do more of these in the future if this is a success.  ;)  Best of luck to each of you!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 30, 2012

October Month at a Glance

I started making these last month to go into the kids calendar notebooks.  I have found that it is good for review and S loves the challenge of memorizing the information listed on the page.  Get yours from my Google Drive by clicking on the image below!

*Please let your friends know about this by sending them to this direct link.  Do not share this file.  Thanks!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012