Sunday, January 9, 2011


Well, it's been a while, eh? After several weeks of slow going, we're back to our regular 3-4 day per week homeschooling schedule. I've taken a break from our favorite (and only) phonics book for a little while and we've just been doing a lot of random reading around the house. I'd like to share with you some of my favorite books that our kids enjoy reading from.....

While this set is called "Baby's First ______", it's obvious that babies don't read. Rather, a baby would identify the pictures on the pages. But the reason I really like these books is that the pictures are good for babies, but the text is great for early reading. We have five of these, although there are several more in the series (and one was missing for the pictures). The other day, Keaton sat down with me and read through every word in all five books. I am so proud of him!

So, first up....SOUNDS. The thing I appreciate the most about this book is the fact that some sounds are not actually real words (like "zzzzz" for sleeping), which forces kids to actually read the words and not just say what they see in the picture (which my daughter prefers to do).


Next we have.....COLORS. Pretty self-explanatory, I think.



WORDS. Really specific title, I know. I think this is what happens when an author wants to put a bunch of random things together that have no connecting theme whatsoever.



And finally, Reagan's favorite....the purple book. I mean, SNOOZE. As you may have guessed, this book includes all things bedtime-y.


But the reason it's her favorite has little to do with the subject matter.


That's right! It's a flip book!


And...the red book is called TOYS. And it's missing. Most likely carried off my our youngest child. 

Anyway....I bought these books at Borders in the kids clearance section last year, so I have no idea if they are still around. But they do also sell them on Amazon (though the price is about triple what I paid).

Now that we've conquered all the words in these books....


we're onto these....


Will keep you posted. :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

If You Want To Read About My Woes

In case you missed it, yesterday I announced my pregnancy and mentioned that I would be putting up a blog specifically related to being pregnant with hyperemesis. I've only written my history so far, my first four pregnancy experiences, but here is the link to that blog:


Since the purpose of writing that blog is primarily so people can understand and be more aware of what hyperemesis actually is and how it effects (affects?) a woman's pregnancy, I'll tell you up front that there will likely be mention of things like bleeding, bowel movements, vomiting, and the like. So.....not quite G rated. If you're not interested in reading about any of the aforementioned things, I suggest you just stick to this blog. :) Or if you prefer to look at pretty pictures, my photography blog.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Homeschool, Day..........?

I'm too lazy to check the calendar right now, but we're treading along with homeschooling. I've long given up the idea of unit studies as I found them to be extremely time-consuming. We are focusing on reading, writing and identifying letters and numbers (up to 20) right now and we throw in some books about random things as well. It's far more enjoyable for me than when I was spending hours and hours just coming up with 20 books and an outline for one unit study!

The kids are doing really well with their reading and slowly becoming faster at identifying words and sounds. I am loving the book we're using and am so thankful for those who recommended it to me.

I also cannot go on without putting in a plug for the show Sid the Science Kid. I am not much for Barney, Elmo, Sesame Street, etc., but this show is seriously full of learning. My three older kids love it and I appreciate the fact that they are gleaning some science by watching it....especially since I'm not all that interested in science myself. I know there are better moms than me out there who refuse to turn on the TV for their children, but I have not found myself on their tier just yet.

In other news, we are very excited to be welcoming our fifth child into the world early next summer! Due to my only being a few months along and very sick, school has been a little bit slower the past few weeks. We're doing at least 2 days per week, but my goal is 3-4. I appreciate the flexibility of homeschooling and know that my kids are doing great despite the fact that we are taking a few more breaks than planned.

How sick does one have to be in order to alter their school calendar? Well.....when pregnant, I suffer from hyperemesis, a condition of severe morning sickness and excessive nausea and vomiting that effects about 1% of pregnant women. I literally never feel good. Like....ever. In fact, I rejoiced over a 2-minute period of normalcy this morning when I first arose from my bed.

Due to the fact that this condition is almost always misunderstood by others and doesn't really receive much exposure, I've decided to record my journey on another blog. When I get things up and running, I'll post a link to it for those of you who are interested in reading more about that. In the meantime, if you're interested in learning more about this condition, you can visit the HER Foundation website.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Homeschool, Day 16

Well, here we are....four weeks into our school year and I'm finally beginning to feel like we're in a bit of a rhythm. The kids seem to be enjoying it and - although I am continuing to find it extremely time-consuming - I'm really enjoying it too. Sienna does ask me on a fairly regular basis when they're going to go to a "real school" and I always answer, "I don't know".

We haven't committed to homeschooling for our kids' entire lives. We haven't even committed to homeschooling for a few years. But we made a choice to try it out this year and see how it goes. It's a difficult line for me. I feel insanely busy - more busy than I've ever been before - but part of the reason I'm so busy is because I'm also working. I know that my children are more important than working, but I'm also trying to create a business that will allow my husband to be able to work less. It's quite the conundrum, and we certainly haven't figured it all out yet.

After the first 5-day week of homeschooling, I decided to cut the school days down to 3 or 4 days per week. Five days was just...a lot. And since there are plenty of 3- and 4-day kindergartens out there, I feel that this is perfectly acceptable. I'm finding it really fun to relearn everything (and even learn some new things) as I teach my children. We did a unit study on the days of creation for the first few weeks of school and now we're onto a unit study on safety and emergency preparedness. I find the unit study method of teaching to be fun, but I wonder if I'm making more work for myself than is necessary. At any rate, it's working for now, so we'll stick with it for a while.

Today is Saturday, so I'm off to have some fun. But some of you (eh hem) have been wondering how school is going, so I thought I would update while I had a few minutes.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Homeschool, Day 4

First things first....can I please see a show of hands for those of you who are absolutely in love with Ree Drummond (aka The Pioneer Woman)?

*raises both hands and waves them wildly in the air*

She makes me laugh. She makes me cry. She makes me wish I lived in the middle of nowhere and raised cattle for a living.

Wait, scratch that. I prefer the city. But I do love Ree. And today she happened to post a fabulous article on homeschooling that I just love. (Am I using the word 'love' too much?) I found her post both refreshing and helpful on the ever common topics of PATIENCE and SOCIALIZATION.

If you're a homeschooling parent, know a homeschooling parent, think homeschooling parents are weird, think homeschooling parents are awesome, used to be homeschooled, hope to homeschool some day, or never ever EVER want to homeschool your kids....I really recommend checking out that post.

But obviously, it's not for everyone.

Heh heh.

And now, back to us.

School has been going okay, although I definitely feel like I'm just making it up as I go. (Someone please tell me this is normal.) Yesterday I spent a good portion of the day creating a unit study on the days of creation. I finished, wrote down the call numbers for the dozens of library books I planned to borrow, and hauled the entire family (minus the hubby, who was working hard) to our local library.

Because I'm a terrible mom who constantly feels overrun by her four small children out in public, I've never taken my entire clan to the library before. (Please hold your gasps for the end of the blog post. Thank you very much.) They were thrilled to find a large play tractor, puzzles, a puppet show area, and computers among other things which I found to be highly distracting to grabbing the books we needed and leaving. I'm one of those evil mothers who would rather her children stand by her for eight tiny minutes so I can get the books I need than allow my children to run around screaming like banshees with the other goblins kids.

I think it took me about 45 minutes of chaperoning, running to grab a few books, chaperoning, instructing my kids to lower their voices, running to grab a few more books, chaperoning, deciding it just wasn't worth it to look for every single book on my list, insisting that my children lower their voices right this second, and finally allowing them to grab a few books that weren't school related to get myself in line. Then came the real fun.

Why on earth do they have almost exclusive self-check lines everywhere you go these days?! They are highly non-conducive to a woman shopping/borrowing/purchasing with three toddlers and a baby on board. And then, for the love of all things yellow, WHY is it so crucial that I put a completely blank card in the back of each book?????

Have I mentioned that my husband has been working 16-hr days 6 days a week for about 2 weeks now and I'm lacking just a little bit of adult social interaction? You can probably tell.

Anyway, we finally made it home with all 24 school books, 3 books about Barbie, and a book about a pirate-eating monster who lives in the sea.

Today we started our unit study (the days of creation one) and the kids really seemed to enjoy it. I have seven days left in that unit, so I guess it's time to get started on another one already. It seems mildly daunting and certainly never-ending, but it's actually.....kind!

I'm enjoying spending so much time devoted to teaching my kids and (I think) they are enjoying it too.

And now, if you'll excuse me....I need to go read to my kids....

Monday, August 9, 2010

Homeschool, Day 1

Day 1

My oldest child is 5 1/2 (Keaton). My next child is 4 1/2 (Sienna). And then we have a (nearly) 3yo (Reagan) and a 10 month old (Savannah). I decided to start both the older kids in Kindergarten together. So we'll see how that goes.

I planned to start school around 9 this morning. We started closer to 11. I remembered that my first day of school was rarely learning anything but was mostly social interaction with classmates and a lot of details - you know, covering books, prepping for classes, getting an overview of what we'd be learning, and the like. So I decided to make today similar for my kids. I handed out school supplies, discussed what we would use each thing for, and then - the best part - I let each of the kids pick out two pencils.

These pencils have been accumulating (although not so much as of late) since I was a small child and I've finally come around to the fact that they are completely useless if not...well....used. So use them we will!

Then we did a little bit of actual school. We talked about the difference between uppercase and lowercase letters, reviewed how to spell their names, and discussed today's date and how it falls in the calendar.

Then we made personal pizzas.

Please note the educational part of this: round bread, red sauce, stringy cheese. Oh yes. Highly educational.

Then we ate our pizzas. I think you know where I'm going with this.

And that was pretty much the end of the first day of school. To my amazement, Reagan actually sat at the table the entire time we were doing school, making our pizzas, etc. I told her more than once that she was free to get down and play if she wanted to. But I think she must have thought she was going to be left out of something really awesome, so she stayed.

We'll see how tomorrow goes.

Hey, Guys! Remember Me?

Since this blog is still around, I figured I might as well update it. I was considering starting a homeschool blog or even some sort of personal journal, but this just seems easier to me.

Oddly enough, in the months since I've been gone this blog still reels in an average of 100 or more hits per day and continues to warrant the occasional comment to my inbox, which I find extremely strange. Must have a lot of good info in here that I had forgotten about! Anyway, seems kind of lame to delete something that is apparently so useful.

That being said, stick around and visit if you'd like to hear about our new adventure called HOMESCHOOL. I may update occasionally, I may update every day, I may never update. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Transition

I've been contemplating this transition for a while now. All the "famous" (and I use that term loosely) photographers who blog say it's true. You'll gain a better blog audience if you blog about yourself. Your life. Your dreams. Your aspirations. You.

Over the past few months, I've gotten a lot better at doing that. But it hasn't affected my business at all because, well, I do it here. On this blog. And so I believe the time has come that I combine my personal life blog with my business life blog. To be honest, it's really difficult to keep up with both. But up until recently, I always thought that there should be some separation between my life and my business. And there is some separation. But on the homefront of blogging, it just seems that it would be easier (as well as advantageous) for me to end the separation.

So I'm going to try this out. I don't know if it will last, but I'm gonna give it a shot. I may still blog here sometimes or I may not. We'll just have to see how things go. But for now, I encourage you to follow me over on my photography now-turned-personal/photography blog:

Indy Photography Blog

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Silly Girl!


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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Get Your Finances In Line In 2009: October Recap

Quick recap since we're already halfway through the month of November. I don't have time for many details, but since nobody (but me) cares about these posts anyway, it's no big deal, right?

We just barely missed the 70% mark this month for our FFEF. I just do mean JUST. But that's okay. We had some other things come up, so all is well. :)

November is proving to be pretty profitable so far. And by 'profitable', I don't actually mean we're making any more money. Just that things are falling into line properly. So hopefully I'll have some fun things to report in next month's finance recap.

We're still trying to figure out exactly how much to budget for our trip to Texas. I have a particular amount in mind, but I think I may save a bit extra to be on the safe side. Does anyone have any recommendations on the amount?

Here are some details to help you out:

-6 people (but only 5 requiring daily nourishment 3x a day - 2 adults, 3 toddlers)
-2 hotel stays en route and 4 nights hotel stays while in TX
-gas from IN to TX
-a few sightseeing things (we plan to go to San Antonio and probably a few other places along the way)
-misc. (because you know there's always something)

I'd really appreciate any insight anyone has on this topic. I've had a hard time gauging this because we've only taken one vacation since we've been married and it was just my husband and me. Plus, that was our "honeymoon" vacation, so we splurged a bit. But isn't that what vacation is for? :)


REVISED GOAL #1: Save up and pay CASH for our trip to Texas next March. ---- 35% completed ----

Goal #2: Fully fund our 6 month emergency fund and put into a money market account to be left UNTOUCHED unless there is an actual emergency. ---- 69.9% completed!! ----

Goal #3: Save for my husband to get a "new" (that means used) car. ---- Still on hold. No major issues with the car at this time. ----

Goal #4: Raise retirement contributions to 12% (with a 4% match).

Goal #5: Open a money market account for each of our children.

Goal #6: Begin paying extra principal on our mortgage.

Goal #7: Establish a will and testament. ---- I admit it. I am a total failure in this department. ----

Goal #8: Get disability insurance for both my husband and me. ---- I mention this to my husband occasionally. He seems to think it's like a one-page worksheet that I can fill out for him. Not so much. I'm blaming this one not being done on him. :) ----


P.S. The birds have not eaten me! (Yet.)