Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Its Fair Time

Friday is the big day we turn in our entries to the Mississippi State Fair. The girls still have to finish the bindings on their small quilts and then they are ready. We've got to frame 3 cross stitch pictures, one that each of us did. And I have to hem a smocked jumper (its a fair entry and a gift).

After we turn in our fair entries on Friday, Tiki Travelers and their RV are hitting the road and driving to Starkville, MS for the MSU vs Ga Tech game. Greggie got us tickets on the 50 yard line. So hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, etc are all on the menu for this weekend!

Then we will be home for 2 1/2 days and then drive to GA to get Mom and drive to Disney! We are ready! This will actually be one of the few family vacations we have taken where Greg is "on vacation". I'll have to hide his blackberry so he can't read work emails! ( Shhhhhh, don't tell him) We are all excited and ready for this trip!

We are all decorated for fall...lots of scarecrows, pumpkins, and pilgrims and Indians. Here is a picture of my new Turkey...Greg got him for my birthday!

He is standing on the buffet in my dining room waiting for the big day!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Busy Fun Week

I've done several posts over at Mississippi Mama about coupons, and bargain hunting, etc. so come on over for a visit.

The big new this week was that I had a birthday, and as my loving 20 year old son told me...I am halfway to 100 (like I didn't know how old I was). I got lots of neat surprises starting with Katie, Will and Amy fixing me waffles for breakfast. Yummy! Then we took a school holiday and did fun stuff. Greg took us all out to Applebees for dinner. Here are some pictures from the day.

Now we've got the weekend. Homemade Pizza for dinner tonight and our homeschool groups Fall Kick- off party is tomorrow. Then hopefully we can get some tile work done. This is our last weekend at home for the next 3 weeks. We've also got to finish our State Fair entries because we have to turn them in next Friday!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Don't ya just love the picture? This was taken at 6 Flags over GA on our 1st date...surrounded by our 6 chaperones. All the boys got to hold their weapons so they stood still long enough for the picture. I would love to get another one of these done...we just have to find a place that does them and have all the children with us at the time. Hummmmm, this is gonna be hard!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Top Ten Rejected Names for Donna's New Blog

10. Landing a Man with Mac & Cheese
9. Making Chihuahua Cheese
8. 2 Quarters of a Century of Experience
7. 7 Kids and a Husband too!
6. Hangin' Out with the Sheets
5. A Georgia Peach in Mississippi Mud
4. Cucumbers and Other things you can stuff in a jar
3. Southern Nursing Home Living
2. Five Decade Diva
1. My First Days of Being Old

Great Weekend

We had a great weekend and it ended way too quickly.

Friday night we made Sloppy Joes for dinner and they were yummy! It is so easy to whip up and everybody likes them.

Saturday morning, Greg and I went on a "date" meaning we went out to eat breakfast and ran our errands. Our breakfast place was the new "Chimneyville" on Lakeland beside Lowe's. We both ordered a breakfast and brought at least 1/2 of each one home. My heavens, what plates of food. If the kids had been there with us, we would've had enough for all 5 of us. It sure was good. Then we hit Lowe's, Michaels, Penneys, CVS and Walgreens.

I have wanted my broom closet turned into a pantry for several months now and it was built on Sat. as a birthday gift to me. The kids did a great job of painting the inside white to lighten it up and then they helped Greg with installing the shelving and baskets. After the construction was complete, Amy, Will and I started organizing and filling it. Then we cleaned out some other cabinets and organized them also. I've said it before but it bears repeating many times....I love industrious, helpful children.

Sunday was church, lunch, cross stitch, nap and meeting at church. It was a nice lazy afternoon.

By the way...leftover sloppy joes used as the meat on nachos for Sunday lunch doesn't work real well...the meat is too sweet. Back to taco meat!

I have posted some recipes over at Mississippi Mama, so come on by for a visit.

Friday, September 18, 2009

New Blog Adventure

I am starting a new blog dedicated to cooking, crafting, and homemaking skills. Its address is www.MississippiMamaof 7.blogspot.com. This will be my girlie, Mom stuff blog!


Yesterday was a great "frugal" shopping day at CVS. I walked into to get 3 prescriptions filled and right at the front door was a 90% off table. I purchased 2 plastic outdoor tables, an outdoor table cloth, 2 rolls of rubber non-skid drawer lining, a playground ball, and 12 pairs of sandals/flip flops for $18. Oh yeah, also a long sleeved t-shirt for Will.

Then I went back to get 2 prescriptions that weren't ready earlier and they had added Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen, I got 5 bottles for .99 each.

Finding these bargains is exciting to me...my kids always need flip flops, they wear them everyday in the summer. And the average price of these was .69 a pair. That price is awesome!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

And Even More Homeschool Myths......

Every homeschooler is a Christian. Nope! Folks homeschool for many different reasons and their faith is just one of them. There are many homeschool support groups specifically for non-Christians. And I know of some families that have not joined our group because we are a Christian group.

All homeschools are alike. So wrong!!!! There are traditional homeschoolers, relaxed homeschoolers and even a group called unschoolers. We would fall into the traditional group with a little bit of relaxed mixed in. We use a curriculum for each subject that we cover. But we do fit the lessons to our family. For instance, in Language right now Amy and Will are studying good sentence and paragraph construction. This is something everyone needs to know and is a skill they will use over and over. But, why do all the examples in the book when they also need to complete an assignment in Geography writing a short story. Combine the 2 and get them done at one time. As their teacher, I have that option. Unschooling is a whole new ballgame. From what I understand, they don't use any textbooks and learning is done when a situation arises that they need that knowledge. It just happens. To me, this is scary and I don't think we would get alot of learning done. I haven't figured out how you would present this on a college application or score reasonably well on the ACT.

All curriculum is the same. This is laughably (is that a word) wrong. There are so many curriculum choices available it is mind-boggling. Going to a homeschool convention is pretty confusing if you don't have any idea what you want or need. Everything looks great but not everything works for each child. I like to find out what others use and works for them. My friend Amy recommended Teaching Textbooks for higher math. Her son Josh used it and they really liked it. We bought it last year and Katie really liked it. All 3 are using it this year! For the "math challenged" Mom that I am, this is a blessing. Different Options: You can buy a whole years curriculum from one publisher complete with grade book and teachers manuals. You can do all of your schooling on-line, with textbooks. You can pick and choose language from one company, math from another, history from another and so on. The last is what we do. I personally don't like all the "fluff" that some boxed curriculums insist the kids need.

People begin homeschooling or pull their kids out of school for the same reason. This makes no sense to me. You can't lump a whole group of people into one category, its not that easy. We chose to homeschool in 1996. James had been in public school and then 2 years in a private school. He is my ADHD/dyslexic child. After Amy was born and I quit work, we couldn't afford the private tuition anymore. We chose homeschooling because if he had gone back into the public school system, they wanted to put him in a "self contained" classroom with other children with disabilites and not in a regular class like before. This wasn't an option for us because I wanted him challenged more and more expected of him, this wouldn't happen at school. So we started with James in 6th and Allen in 2nd (Amy was a newborn). And we kept going, and going and going. Then we married Greg and moved to Miss. I cont. to homeschool Allen and Amy and the "Jackson kids" cont. in public school. We chose homeschooling for Will with many of the same reasons as I originally did with James. Will wasn't applying himself, concentrating, completing assignments, etc. because of some learning issues and needed the extra one on one time. And hey, Katie came home because we wanted her too. The 3 younger kids are on the same schedule, we can travel with Greg, we can work at our own pace (with K that is accelerated, thats how she is grad. a year early), we can minister together, etc. So just within my own family are different reasons for homeschooling.

My dear sis-in-law left a comment on one of my posts that I forgot that homeschoolers were weird. But I think its true! Weird in the sense that we have chosen to be in the company of our children 24/7 and weird in that we do stuff together all the time. Weird in that we want to shelter and protect our children from some outside influences (gangs, drugs, school violence, peer pressure) as long as we can. And weird in that, I want to teach my children with a Christian, politically INcorrect curriculum. Our "weirdness" was the family norm 100-200 years ago. Many men and women were homeschooled and went on to accomplish enormous things. Many of the Founding Fathers of our country never sat in a formal classroom. So I don't mind being weird, its really a compliment!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

CHRISTMAS is coming!

Wow, have you checked the sidebar...100 days left till Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have you done anything yet for the Holidays...made a list, figured out a budget, stashed stuff away, secret surprises, looked at ornaments at Hobby Lobby, started on crafts, bought stocking stuffers, anything at all?

I have done all of the above but since my family reads this blog I can't give any details!

Its time! I enjoy Christmas too much to wait until Dec. to start planning and buying. I save so much money buying throughout the year.

The day before Thanksgiving or Thanks. morning, we will have the boys putting lights on the house and bushes. The weekend after Thanksgiving its time to deck the halls, mantel, tree, kitchen and even bathrooms! Have I mentioned I love Christmas?

And to further add to the fun and festivities of the season, our 3 oldest sons have Dec. birthdays! James will be 26 on the 18th and Rob & Andy will be 22 on the 22nd. So we will have birthday dinners and special desserts during Christmas week for their birthdays also!

More Homeschool Myths Debunked

Homeschoolers are smarter...humm, there are a couple of ways to look at this. There are incredibly smart children that homeschool, or attend private or public school. Homeschooling itself does not make kids smarter (God does that). As homeschoolers, our children can concentrate on a subject as long as they need to thoroughly understand it or complete the lesson and move on. I have read some wonderful family testimonies of children graduating highschool at 14 and college at 18 and making straight A's. It does happen. Homeschool children generally do score higher on standardized tests than public school students. I think they can focus better on the task at hand and not have worries about other things. But thats just my thought. But homeschooling doesn't mean you won't have learning challenges and difficulties. I've had 2 children attention problems, 2 that struggle with multiplication facts and 1 that has difficulty with spelling. But before anyone comments and says the public school could help them...know this, they were there for 5-7 years and it didn't help. The stuggles have lessened with homeschooling not gotten worse.

Homeschool families are perfect. NOT! Don't know where this one started but I don't know any family that is perfect. We generally get along better with each other than other folks but its because we are together all the time and we have learned to get along. If you watch the "Kids by the Dozen" or "18 Kids & Counting" shows on TLC, keep in mind its not realtime, the shows are taped and edited.

Homeschool children are all well-behaved and respectful. Generally, I think this is true. We do tell our children before group field trips to act respectful, listen, etc. Unfortunately, if any kids don't behave on a field trip then that tends to label all homeschoolers as rowdy. As a family, a number of times when we are out in public I've had people ask me if we homeschool. This has specifically happened 3 different times at National Parks. When we answer yes, they nod and say we thought so. This is followed by "they are so nice and they listen when others are talking."
However, I have also seen some real stinkers who are homeschooled. Children are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. My adorable 13 year old used to throw some huge temper tantrums. And by huge I mean kicking, screaming and rolling on the floor fits when she was 2 or 3 years old. If she was gonna pitch a fit, she did it right, nothing halfway for this child. Praise the Lord, that didn't last too long but it certainly was challenging at the time!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

9-11 We will Never Forget!

When my family traveled to Virginia during Memorial Day Week, we made a trip into DC to visit the Smithsonian American History Museum. We saw many, many neat things...Archie Bunkers chair, the directional street sign from MASH, displays on canning and preserving food, Inaugural Gowns of Former First Ladies, Lincolns Top Hat, a covered wagon, reproduction of a home, Streetcars and automobiles, part of the Berlin Wall and this.....part of the supports of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. This small wing with the display was dimly lit and eerily quiet. Amy and I entered and wondered why everyone was so quiet. Then we read the description. No words were necessary or appropriate. A group of terrorists tried to destroy our country that day, but they didn't win.

Everyone was patriotic in the months after the attack. Many families were destroyed that day. Many lives were lost. Prayer vigils were held in all towns, in all states, all across the country. The country was united in its grief (I would imagine much like it was after Pearl Harbor).

We should never forget the brave men and women who gave their lives for our country. Who went to work that September morning and never returned home.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Disspelling Myths about Homeschoolers

In my 14 years of homeschooling, I have heard alot of assumptions that people have about homeschooling and wanted to de-throne some of them. So in doing this, I am giving my opinion and sharing about my family but every family is different so this isn't a universal opinion.

Myth #1
All homeschool Mom's have to be smarter than their kids in order to homeschool.

Absolutely not, it is a well known fact in my family that I am not the person to ask questions about higher Math. Above Algebra, I am lost. The kids can ask Dad. That is the reason we are doing math on computer this year, Teaching Textbooks is a wonderful tool for just this reason. There is one Abeka Math that I really like and all of the kids will do it before they graduate and this is "Consumer Math". Its insurance (car, life, health, home, etc., I worked for State Farm for 10 years so I know this), banking (checking, savings, loans, credit, etc), budgeting (we've all done Dave Ramsey), how to read a meter ( water or electric), and many other practical, you need to know this life skills. We all learn, everyday. Learning is a lifelong experience and what I don't know to answer a question they come up with, I can find out.

Myth #2
I can never homeschool my children.

My reply would be why not? Who taught them how to sit, walk, stand, talk, put together puzzles, behave in a restaurant or grocery store, be polite, table manners, tie shoes, color in the lines, go potty! This is mostly all learning done at home with Mom and Dad and older siblings. Why miss out of the fun of reading, writing, research, field trips, and being together. And if your kids are coming home and doing 2 + hours of homework everynight, then you are homeschooling. You just get the leftover attention and fidgeting from 8 hours of school.

Myth #3
My kids won't listen to me.

Hummmmmm, that is a family issue and not a homeschool issue. If your kids have been in school away from the home and you bring them home, you may need to "unschool" from the teachers, routines, books, etc. that they have been accustommed too and establish yourself in that role. Sometimes this is tough, but you can do it.

Myth #4
All homeschoolers wear denim jumpers or no makeup or don't practice birth control or whatever else you can come up with.

I don't own a denim jumper, there is not a homeschool uniform. Many families are dresses only for the girls, for their own reasons. There is nothing wrong with this. We spend our summer days in capris or shorts and winter days in jeans or sweats. Go with your convictions, not with what others are doing.
I wear makeup and its here to stay. Its my choice.
On the birth control issue, thats between Mom, Dad and God. I am not stepping into this issue. You do what is right for you. I personally am fascinated by the Duggar Family. They have 18 beautiful children and they are being raised in a Christ centered home. Mom and Dad work together to raise the family. Which is the way it should be, whether you have 1 or 2 blessings or 12+ blessings.

Myth #5
We all grind our wheat, cook from scratch, eat dinner together everynight.....ok, for us this isn't a myth but a fact.

We have been grinding our own wheat for over a year. The health benefits are huge. We cook most of our food from scratch, then again great health benefits. Eat dinner together everynight, 6 out o 7 nights per week, yes. The wheat grinding and cooking from scratch will have their own posts one day.

And now my very favorite.....what about SOCIALIZATION?

Do you send your kids to school to socialize or learn?
My kids are involved in youth Sunday School classes, choir, homeschool co-op classes, dance classes, archery practices, and field trips involving all ages. We don't sit at the kitchen table all day, every day doing lessons. However, given the multitude of opportunities available, we do pick and choose what to be involved in. You can do too many activities and not have time for school. My children are with children and adults of all ages and are learning how to relate to everyone. Not just to 25 or 30 other people their own age. Think about this.....since you graduated from high school, have you ever worked or socialized with a group of people your exact same age? I haven't. Even my college classes had guys and gals of all different ages. My kids are friends with each other. They play games, watch tv and work on projects together and most of the time, get along really well with each other.

I grew up in a unique time and situation...I went to the same high school that my dad and my grandmother attended. Yes, 3 generations attended and graduated from the same school. Many of my friends parents went to school with daddy. I even had a teacher that taught my dad, talk about weird! We grew up going to football games on Friday nights and worshiping in church together on Sunday Mornings. Most of our Moms didn't work outside the home and we ate dinner as a family every night. Usually somebodies Mom or Dad was keeping an eye on us and we knew they would report back to our parents if we stepped out of line. We were definately not perfect but you had to work really hard to do something wrong and get away with it. The world is not like that today. Everyone is going in all different directions and they never connect as a family. To me, that is really sad. Families also move alot, depending on jobs. This really didn't happen when I was younger. Its a sign of the times, but not a good sign sometimes.

Whatever you decide is right for your family...go for it! Your school decisions are your choice. I just wanted to talk about some "myths" I have heard that I knew were not accurate in our family!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Great Week in GA

Boy, did we have fun last week. The visit with Mom was great! We got in our trips to Trader Joes, Whole Foods, JoAnns, & Mall of Georgia. Oh yeah, we hit Walmart and Target and had lunch at Steak n Shake! Love those tiny fries and chocolate shakes.

At JoAnn's I got enough material for 2 quilt tops...this ought to keep me busy for a while. I also got the backing and binding material for a small quilt for Katie's Hope Chest. Now I just have to finish the last blocks for the small Quilt!

On Thursday we went to visit my friend Amy and her family. My Amy had a blast with Miss Amy's 3 day old kittens (4) and several month old kittens (different mama cats). I am surprised that we haven't found a kitten tucked away somewhere yet, but Hershey would not be a happy puppy with a kitten in the house. We got to sit in her living room, talk about homeschool stuff, watch the kids run in and out playing, and roast marshmallows over her gas range in the kitchen. Different I know, but we had a blast.

Thursday was also our 4th wedding anniversary. Mom and the kids stayed home and Greg and I went out to dinner. We went to Red Robin for burger (we split one), fries and onion rings. We were going to Grayson Park to swing on our swing (where Greg proposed) but it was gone...cut off the chains and stolen! That wasn't fair!

Friday, we drove back home and made our stock up trip to Costco in Birmingham. We also bought a new camera. Its so much fun to play with and we have gotten some awesome pictures.

Sat. we drove up to Starkville for the first MSU football game against Jackson State U. And it rained on us over 1/2 of the game. But we sat there and cheered and got really wet. MSU won 40 something to 7 (lost track of the score). We got some great pictures from our "God's eye" view of the game. Greg has some awesome football shots and we got good shots of Rob in the band. Then dinner out with the guys and a long ride back home.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Must Read


I got this link off Our Plain and Simple Life blog.

It is lengthy to read but very good.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Its Fall in Georgia

We are at my Mom's house in GA this week and fall is in the air. Its been overcast and around 73 degrees all week. Feels great but we didn't bring fall clothes. It will get hot again here before fall really sets in but this is a reminder of the cool days coming.

We've had a great week so far. On Monday we met my sister and 3 of her kiddies at Mall of GA. The kids stuffed animals at "Build A Bear" to use for the Toys For Tots campaign this Christmas. Then we went and bought our Disney tickets. The store was having a 40% off sale on certain items but I couldn't talk the lady into 40% off tickets. She seemed to think that her job was more important than giving me a ticket discount...oh well, ya can't win 'em all. I did buy Greg a Grumpy dwarf t-shirt and it was 40% off! He loves the shirt and is planning on wearing it everyday when we go down there...hope we have easy access to a washer and dryer!

Then we went on our trek to Trader Joes (a cool organic grocery store for my Miss. friends who may have never been to one). We always miss the road to turn on so we end up going many miles out of our way and turning around and finding it. After our Trader Joes trip we went to Whole Foods (a bigger mostly organic grocery store). I had gotten coupons for free rotisserie chicken so Whole Foods cooked our dinner last night. I have stocked up on my organic soy & worchestershire sauce, hamburger & hot dog buns, and whole wheat spaghetti, elbow noodles & curly noodles. They were completely out of the cranberry sauce so I will have to get it next time.

And just because we hadn't packed enough into yesterday, Amy, Katie, and I went to Great Clips and got haircuts.

Today, we got all of our schoolwork done and went to visit my friend Lisa. It was great to visit with her and talk about the goings on in Grayson that I have missed. We got to talk about homeschool curriculum and our children. She and her husband have been good friends of ours for 10 or 11 years. Katie, Will, and Amy played the Wii Fit with her sons Nathan and David. And I got some good baby hugs and kisses from her almost 2 year old Andrew.

Tonight we are packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. The dining room table is covered with goodies. We love to participate in this project every year and try to collect stuff throughout the year for the boxes. If you have never taken part in this ministry you can go to Samaritan's Purse.org to get details. This ministry is run by Franklin Graham who is Billy Graham's son. We have done the shoeboxes for years and James chose this for his Eagle Scout project for Boy Scouts also. His final count on the boxes was over 270 (of these we packed 240 and the others were donated by different Sunday School classes).

Tomorrow its time for my trip to JoAnn's. Fun, fun, fun.