Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's Up Wednesday

OK, I think I just accidentally created a new blog link-up or carnival. Except I don't intend to actually, you know, use a link up thingamajig {official term}.

The Englishman's Daughter: A True Story of Love and Betrayal in World War I
I'm reading The Englishman's Daughter: A True Story of Love and Betrayal in World War I. I have the hardcover version (from the library) and let me tell you, it is hard to put down. Or it could just be that I am procrastinating about my to-do list.

Because I'm also:
- printing travel games for the girls
- washing clothes but not folding them {Sigh}
- making a curriculum list for next year (Homeschool convention this weekend!)
- listening to Tigger & Sweet Pea play Wii. (Hilarity ensues)
- getting ready to pick up Fen at daycare {another sigh}
- trying to figure out when, exactly, this weekend we will have time to pack

So, what's up on your Wednesday?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Top 10 Tuesday - Nursing Tips

(Warning for my two male readers: this is probably not a post you want to read. You've been warned.)
Nursing works for us (Lili can't talk yet but if she could she would tell you that she's a big fan).
Here are my top 10 ways to make it work for you:

1. Nursing bras & tank tops. These are must haves but they don't have to break the bank. Target has a line that is affordable and works just as well as the pricier versions. Amazon has some affordable versions as well. Like this one or this one. (FYI: Those are Affiliate links.) I've seen a few tutorials on how to make your own but bargain shopping is more my speed.

2. Lanolin. (Here's an Amazon link to the Lansinoh version.) You probably won't need it for long, but in the first days - maybe a week or two - you will definitely want it.

3. Water. Lots and lots of water. As soon as I sat down to nurse a baby in her first days of life my mouth would go dry. My husband learned early on that one of his primary responsibilities in the newborn phase was to bring me a big glass of ice water. Water is always great but I have to confess that my favorite drink in the hospital is a half frozen cup of apple juice. In the first day or two after giving birth I go through more apple juice than a class of Kindergarten kids.

4. Learn the different positions. Eventually you will not need these but in the first few days (especially if you're recovering from a difficult delivery or a c-section) you will want to try different ways of latching on. After the first few weeks I usually settle into the cradle hold and the "whichever way I can lay down and doze and still nurse" positions. Which leads me to another point:

5. Co-sleep, if you can. At least keep the baby in the same room. When you're nursing several times a night you don't want to walk down the hall to fetch the baby. Keep her close and it's a lot easier. When she's a little older then you can move her to her room. Chances are you're all getting more sleep by that point and one walk down the hall isn't so bad.

6. Washable nursing pads are well worth it. You can make them yourself or buy them but either way is nicer than the disposable kind.

7. Button down shirts are your new best friend. No need to splurge on pricy "nursing tops". Another tip: unbutton your shirt from the bottom. Easy access but you're still, ahem, covered. Layers are great too - a tank or camisole under your favorite t-shirt or sweater can help.

8. Dresses with buttons. I always watch for these at outlet and thrift stores. When my oldest was a baby I had one special nursing dress ($$) but I quickly figured out that there were several styles of dress that had buttons down the front. Much less expensive and still convenient. (Side note: some wrap dresses work too but it's a little trickier. I like to wear a skirt under some of my sweater or wrap dresses - then I can nurse and still be dressed.)

9. A large blanket or nursing cover. You could make or buy a special cover but a large jacket or sweater will do in a pinch. (Ask me how I know.) Note of warning: at a certain point the baby gets old enough to decide she doesn't like hiding while she eats. Watch out for those baby hands!

10. Enjoy it. It's a limited amount of time. One day you'll be holding your baby in your arms and the next she'll be announcing, "Hey, I'm going to be 10 on my birthday this year. Double digits!" (Again: ask me how I know. Sigh.)

So, veteran moms, what did I miss?

This post is linked to Top 10 Tuesday at Oh Amanda.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Look-Worthy Links 3/26/11 Edition

Several posts about jewelry this week. Why? I don't know. Could be because my birthday is less than 2 months away. (Shop now! Beat the rush!) Special bonus: two extra pictures of Miss Lili, taken this week.

1. This window frame jewelry storage is a truly excellent idea. I might have an extra window in basement from our family picture window frame project. Hmm...definitely have to have Prince Charming check on that for me. And then make me this.

2.This IKEA hacked jewelry storage is nice too. Plus it has a mirror. Have I ever mentioned that there are no full length mirrors in this house? No scales either, for that matter. A full mirror would be handy for those times when my fashion critics (AKA my husband and daughters) don't agree on my outfit. (We're still not bringing a scale in this house!)

3. How to clean your thrifted jewelry. Great tips - I love vintage finds but some of them seem too grimy to bother. Now I can fix them. You know, if I wanted to.
4. Serious stuff: What About Our Girls? Oh how I identified with Sarah's post! Philip and I have four daughters and we know the odds are stacked against us. It thrills me to watch my nine year old playing dress up with her younger sisters. It makes me proud that they don't know who Britney, Miley or the train wreck of the week teen stars are. We talk about modesty and having babies and real love and what God wants for our lives and everything else we can think of to prepare them for a culture that wants to destroy them. (Side note: I'm praying some mom out there is doing the same with her little boys. I want my girls to have good, godly guys to marry. You do your part and we'll do ours and we can all have beautiful grandchildren together.)

5. I try not to covet - much - but this homeschool room practically made me drool. Some day, such a room will be mine. Or not. But it's fun to imagine how I would arrange it if such a space were ever available to me.

6. Another post I readily identified with: A Mother's ER. She doesn't mention Barbie shoes in the section on puncture wounds, but they're prime offenders in the Charming household.

7. I think all of Pastor Dad's grandchildren need these cardboard guitars. We'll have to get Philip and the Bear to work on that particular project. A cardboard violin or two would be nice too.

8. How to dye coconut. I could have used this advice when we were making "grass" for Sweet Pea's birthday cake. Oh, well, You just never know when the need for non-white coconut is going to present itself. Best to be prepared!

9. These ideas for re-using calendar pages are great. I can't be the only one who never throws away a store bought calendar, right? (Anyone? Bueller?)
10. And finally, for this ridiculously long list of links (See? Lili fell asleep before I could even finish!), the yummy stuff:
Cherry Cake with Cream Cheese Icing. I might need this for my birthday week. (I'm trying to see if I can get more than one birthday cake out of the big 3-0)
This Strawberry Jello Poke Cake looks amazing. I think the girls would really like it too.
Last, but far from least, a homemade version of one of my favorite-ist treats ever:
Homemade Hostess Cupcake Cake Balls. I want, nay, need these ASAP.

This post is linked to Saturday Stumbles at Simply Staci. Come across anything that caught your eye this week? Come link up!

P.S. If anyone read my grammar post yesterday, you may be interested to know that I made a mistake in this post (now edited) of the to / too / two variety. That's what I get for being a Grammar Snob!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Grammar & Spelling Tips for Today:

1. Definitely. I don't know about you, but I've seen about 57,321 ways to butcher this word (OK, I'm exaggerating. It's called hyperbole, folks. Learn to love it). Bloggers and Facebook friends, let's all remember: there are are a FINITE number of ways to spell this word. If your version of definitely doesn't have "FINITE" in the middle, then it's incorrect.

P.S. If you spell it "defiantly" then spell catcher will not catch it. Because defiantly is another word. Not the word you wanted, but definitely a real word.

2. Voila. It's definitely "voila"; definitely not "Wallah". Please. Voila is a French word meaning "There!" or "Behold!" My French dictionary lists pronunciation this way: vwah-LAH. When you type "Wallah", it makes my eyes bleed and French grandmas cry. So stop.

3. YourYou're. Your is possessive. Your blog. Your status. You're is a contraction for you are. You're encouraged to use the correct word in your status updates. Thank you.

4.To / Too / Two. To can be used as a preposition. To can also be used as an infinitive with a verb ("I need to study Fourth Grade Grammar again.") Too is a synonym for also. It can also mean "excessive". ("I am too tired to correct your paper right now.") Two is a number. (One, two, three...) The most common mistake I see is using "to" when the blogger (facebook-er, twitter-er, etc.) meant to say "too". Yes, I know they're all pronounced the same way. And yes, I've typed the wrong one on occasion (sometimes my fingers are faster than my brain). At least double check before making this mistake on something permanent like a scrapbook page or birth announcement.

5. Their / There / They're. Their is possessive. (As in: They neglected grammar on their blogs.) There indicates place. If you are there, then you are not here. "They're" is, once again, a contraction. They're really starting to annoy me now. We'll have to save the "it's / its" discussion for another day.

Frustrated by the vagaries of  English? Here's a poem called "The Chaos" for your enjoyment.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dear Lili - 6 Months

Dear Lili,

It doesn't seem possible, but you are 6 months old today. Half a year. I think - after experience with your big sisters - that I've learned to enjoy the days and savor each baby moment with you, but it doesn't stop the time from flying by.

I didn't write you last month because it was Sweet Pea's birthday. Sometimes having sisters means having to share: toys, Daddy, Mommy and even space on Mommy's blog. That's life. However, you're still small enough to demand that everything else come to halt if necessary.
You can roll over with ease now. You try to roll where you want to go, though you usually have a parent or sibling scooping you up and returning you to where you are supposed to be (usually your play mat). You sit in the high chair now, watching us do school work, or cook lunch, or eat.

You are pretty much always happy, unless you need a nap. And then we put in your bed, cover you with your favorite blanket, and you go to sleep. Sometimes you just want some quiet time in your bed with your blanket and then you start squealing for us to come rescue you. Either way, it works. I think your favorite time is bath-time. We put you in the big tub with Tigger and Sweet Pea and you have a blast.
You don't sleep through the night yet, although you sleep in your own little bed most of the time. You still nurse exclusively. And I am perfectly OK with those things. You're also a pretty determined "Mama's Girl". The people at church who want to hold you have to send me away because, if I am in your sight, you will not consent to be held by others. I'm OK with that too. (Hey, after 3 Daddy's girls, it's nice to get one who is Mom's Biggest Fan!)

You can hold your toys, put down a toy you don't want and pick up one that you prefer. You take out your "Boppy" (pacifier) and put it back in. Unless you throw it (often), in which case you enjoy watching us pick it up for you.
In short, you are absolutely perfect. Polly said the other day, "What did we do without Lili?!" I can't imagine.

Let's try to slow down the next 6 months, OK? These six have gone by way too quickly.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Top 10 Tuesday - Bookish Pet Peeves

I love books - you probably already knew that. Here are some of my pet peeves that can take me out of what should be a wonderful experience between me and the written word:

1. Books that smell like cigarette smoke. This is primarily a library book problem. I can't stand the smell and it affects my perception of the book, through no fault of the author or publisher. Go outside to smoke and don't take your library book with you.

2. Pages that get stuck together. Yeah, you can pull them apart but part of the text is going to be left on the other side. Seems to happen with lighter weight paper - especially Bibles.

3. Incorrectly cut pages. Yes, I'll admit to being obsessive about this. I know very little about the publishing industry, so I'm not exactly sure how it happens, but I hate it when one page is noticeably larger in one corner or something. I've been known to bust out my scissors and fix a book when that happens, but I shouldn't have to.

4. Switching Perspective. I like books with lots of characters. As long as there's a page break or chapter switch, I'm fine with getting another character's POV. But if an author is using close third person and suddenly tells us what the man on the street corner thinks about our main character (This actually happened in the first Maisie Dobbs book), that is just sloppy. If you're going to be omniscient, then be omniscient. (However, unless you are a very long-lived contemporary of Charles Dickens, you probably won't be using omniscient POV. It went out of style with horse drawn carriages.)

5. Too much information. Yes, I know you spent hours of research on this book. That gives your book depth and enriches your writing. Just don't spill it out on the page. Maybe you should write a non-fiction book about the topic if you know so much. I really don't like it when a character in the story suddenly becomes the mouthpiece for telling all the author knows about 15th century England.

6. Explicit scenes. I have an imagination and it works just fine, thank you very much.

7. Gratuitous swearing. I understand that some words that I personally wouldn't use work in the context of the story. But constant use of "four letter words" or using those words as your only adjectives just proves that you have a limited vocabulary. Buy a thesaurus.

8. Characters that are too good to be true or too bad to be true. You may have noticed: real people are flawed. A character that never gets tired, loses her temper, feels lonely, etc. is not a realistic character and my patience with the character, your writing, and therefore, your book will wear thin very quickly.

9. Plots that are solved by convenience. Yes, we know Dickens did it all the time. You (and I) are no Charles Dickens. I think this is sometimes caused by laziness or just rushing to finish a book. Take your time and figure out how this story ought to end. Or, just don't wrap everything up. Loose ends can be sloppy or they can be intriguing. How it comes across depends on the skill of the author.

10. Typos, spelling errors, and glaring grammatical mistakes. You have to know what the rules are before you can make a stylistic choice to break them. Sentence fragments, unusual punctuation, ending a sentence with a preposition: all perfectly acceptable in this blogging age. However, I can tell the difference between an author who chooses to break the rules and an author who has never heard of the rules. Typos and spelling errors are primarily an editing problem. (Like that book I read recently that spelled Adolf Hitler's name wrong every single time the author mentioned him. Doh!) Read your work aloud. Have other people read it.

There, I feel better now. What about you? Got any book related pet peeves?

This post is linked to Top 10 Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish and also at Oh Amanda.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Baby Food or the Lack Thereof - 10 Points to Clarify

1. I'm OK with being weird. I'm a homeschool graduate, after all. I'm not crazy about labels (For instance, I do not label myself an "attachment parent" although Philip says I might as well own up to it.) but I guess there are worse things in the world. Also, upon further consideration, it seems obvious that I was feeling unnecessarily defensive yesterday. That's my own fault. So, mea culpa, apologies for over-reacting.

2. We've gradually, somewhat instinctively, been pushing back when our girls start with solid foods. Like I said in my previous post, we started Polly on cereal as soon as the pediatrician said it was OK to try. With each child we've started later and later. There don't seem to be any compelling reasons to start early.

3. More anecdotal evidence: Polly started on cereal at four months old. But still didn't sleep through the night until 1 year old. And is our pickiest eater to this day. I don't think that proves anything one way or the other, but I find it interesting.

4. Philip tells me that I probably enjoy nursing more than most people. When he first said this I was a little taken aback because it sounds kind of freaky. But really, I've never {knock on wood} had any problems with yeast, thrush, or mastitis. It's my understanding that those types of problems are a serious pain in the...well, you know.And, as I mentioned before, I am blessed to stay home with my girls, so we haven't had to fool with supplements, formula or what-not. All that to say: nursing is easy and convenient for me.

5. Until Lili got sick two weeks ago we didn't even own any baby bottles. The pediatrician gave us one to try. The older girls went straight from nursing to sippy cups, though I'm not sure what will happen with Lili since I'm kind of leaning toward the "no sippy cups at home" position. {Sigh} I guess that will have to be another post...

6. I wouldn't actually have a codified opinion on this except for my friend MacKenzie had some posts about baby-led weaning and what she does with her daughter Lucy. I had never heard of such a thing, but I read up on it and discovered that yes, I mostly agreed with the philosophy. You can read two of MacKenzie's posts on the subject here and here.

7. Dr. Sears - the attachment parenting guru, weighed in and you can read his take on baby led weaning here. And, just one more link about baby led weaning.

8. I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but I do think formula companies and baby food companies have an interest in pushing their products "early and often". This post addresses the history of baby food and those type questions.

9. I'm not sure history is the best guide here. I get a kick out of reading old books (go figure - Karen likes books!). The 1930s editions of the Childcraft books suggest starting baby on orange juice around 3 weeks old. (!) By the 1960's (I own the 1964 edition), the editors had backed away from such ideas and actually encouraged nursing your baby because "it has certain advantages". Just one generation ago cereal as soon as possible was recommended, although, once again, that was based on anecdotes instead of any actual research.

10. Now we wait and see what happens. Lili will be 6 months old this week. (!!!) She's starting to enjoy sitting in the high chair and she's been known to play with spoons in recent days. She watches what we put in our mouths. (She also tried to grab Philip's coffee mug yesterday. Sorry, Lili, but coffee is not one of the foods you get to choose - it's baby led weaning within reason around here!) She's working on that pincer grip skill. I suspect these things mean my baby will be ready to eat some mashed sweet potatoes or peas sooner rather than later. Except for the fact that we're already "later", of course. And I'm still not going to buy that cute little cream and blue box of rice cereal.

 Previous post can be read here.

Nursing, Cereal, Choices, and Weird Parents

Gerber Cereal, Rice Single Grain with VitaBlocks, 16-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6)
Last night at church a friend asked me if I've given Miss Lili any rice cereal yet.

"Um, no," I said. I hesitated only a second, "And I don't really plan to. I figure we'll just wait until she can eat from the table."

This is a good friend so she didn't immediately scream or threaten to call Child Protective Services or anything like that. But she had The Look on her face.

I've seen The Look before from other people.

"You have how many children?"

"You homeschool?"

"You don't work?" Sometimes accompanied by the variant non-question, "Well, that's nice that you can afford to stay home."

Or, well, for any number of other things or behaviors that Philip and I have chosen.

That word chosen is the operative word. Back when Polly was the baby, lo those many years ago (almost a decade!), we gave her baby cereal as soon as the pediatrician gave the all clear - somewhere around 4 months old.

We've done the baby food thing with each of the girls (well, I generally made my own baby food instead of buying those cute little jars, which caused The Look to appear a few times) but each time we started a little bit later. With Sweet Pea's eczema problem, there was legitimate concern about food allergies so we carefully introduced one thing at a time (Rice Cereal to Oatmeal to Sweet Potatoes to Carrots to Green get the idea. And we were always oh so careful with all our girls to introduce veggies first - because that was the "right" thing to do).

So here's where we are now: we have made choices that mean I stay home with the girls. (I hate that, "it's nice you can afford it" thing. We afford it because we make the choice to afford it. We choose to live on Philip's income. We're not independently wealthy or trust fund babies.)

Because I stay home and pretty much take my baby wherever I go, I've never had to worry about expressing milk. I tip my hat to the moms that do - I seriously think my sister was amazing for how long she provided for Fen after she went back to work - but I have never had to do that or had any desire to do so.

Therefore, my girls have never taken a bottle. The few times we tried to give them bottles, they each acted like we were killing them and could we please cut it out. (Most recently when Lili was sick the pediatrician gave us a bottle to try and give her Pedialyte. Let's just say it was not a fun experience for Lili or us.)

Despite the anecdotal evidence proffered by an older generation of parents, there is no correlation between starting cereal and sleeping through the night. The milk from Mama (can you tell I am trying to avoid a blog post with body parts mentioned in it?!) is higher in calories than rice cereal. And, though I do not wish to make any mother feel guilty because everyone's life and challenges are a little bit different, nursing provides the perfect food for babies. Almost like God designed it that way or something.

So I nurse until the baby weans herself (Actually, it seems to occur naturally as a mutual decision). This usually happens sometime around one year old or a little older. I have never nursed a toddler, not that I wish to judge that practice either.

Somehow, in nearly a decade of parenting, shoveling watery gruel or mashed up peas down a propped-up infant's gullet has lost its charm. Cute photo-op? Yes. Meaningful? No. (Not to mention the pain of cleaning it off the baby's face, the high chair, the bib, the floor...) And, after ten years and four different little girls, I'm much more confident in deciding what works for us.

Lili can sit up in a high chair now. I suspect it won't be long before she starts grabbing food off the table. In the meantime, our friends and acquaintances can just chalk up one more way their friends the Charming family are weird. We're used to it. {wink}

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Look-Worthy Links 3/19/11 Edition

This was a week of catching up - having the black death the flu will do that to a family. Not to mention our internet connection is still spotty. No further reports of our phone number being used fraudulently, but I can tell you that Philip and I are just about fed up with our phone company and their "Customer Service" or lack thereof.

Anyway, on to the links, with pictures of the now famous Turtle Sandbox:
1.I've been looking up Origami Crane instructions. More instructions here. And a video tutorial here. My friend Julie is getting married and has requested paper cranes. My origami experience is, to say the least, limited. But I would like to contribute a crane or two to her wedding. I'm telling you this so you'll hold me accountable. They may be the "drunken, broken wing" type, Julie, but I'll do my best.
2. The Carnival of Homeschooling was hosted this week by my friend Renae. Check it out - it's a beautiful collection of homeschooling links!

3. Philip likes to make a cheesecake every once in awhile. And they are always amazingly good (I particularly enjoy his "white chocolate - raspberry version). He hates it when the tops crack, though (spoils the aesthetic, don't you know) so maybe these tips for fixing a cracked cheesecake would be helpful. (Side note: "Cracked Cheesecake" would be a great band name)
4. If you've read any decorating blogs recently, you've probably noticed all the starburst mirrors (some folks call them sunburst mirrors. You say to-may-to, I say to-mah-to...). Well, I think Flamingo Toes has the cleverest starburst mirror ever. If I ever have a dining room, I'm making one. Of course, by the time I get a new house and / or dining room, starburst mirrors will be so over. But I won't care. (And that right there may be why I'm not a house / craft / decor blogger)
5. These Up-Inspired Floating House pictures are awesome. Paradise Falls, here we come!

What did you stumble on this week?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Random Things, Just Because

I'm feeling better, thanks. My hearing in my left ear is not 100%, but hey, that gives me an excuse when I can't hear the baby crying or someone calling my name. {wink}

The girls are busy playing outside with this:
Tigger bought it with her own money. Polly bought the sand to fill it. That's what I call team-work.

Now, because it's warmer than 50 degrees, the girls are agitating for their warm weather clothes. I am not ready to tackle that job. So their fashion statements of rolled up pants-legs and mismatched t-shirts will have to do.

I'm working on a series of blog posts about marriage. If I can ever manage to click "publish post", you may see it. If not, you'll know that I chickened out.

I was also working on a post about Christian Love & Liberty, but I think I really have chickened out on that one. We'll see. Our church is having revival meetings next week, so that might fire me up again.

Homeschooling is rolling along. Polly hit the Second World War and the Holocaust in History this week. I hate that my children have to learn about such things - but that's the reality of living in a sin-cursed world, I guess. Sweet Pea and I have done a week's worth of reading lessons. Yesterday she loved them, today she's decided she knows enough (All the short vowel sounds & "B").

We're getting ready for some pretty major work on our house - we're adding a room. Actually, we're taking away a covered porch and adding a bedroom. I may get a laundry room / mud room out of it, too. So instead of a tiny house, we'll be living in a small house. We may spend some time living in my sister's basement (Hey, she offered!). The girls are excited about the prospect. I'm a little worried that they consider living in someone's basement the height of achievement.

We're also getting ready to go visit Lulu. This necessitates a Great Road Trip from Sea to Shining Sea. More on that later.

Just before we go to Lulu's we have the Homeschool Convention. Anyone coming to the Midwest Convention? I'll be there all three days. You can probably find me in the exhibitor hall spending all my 2011-12 school year budget. I'll be the short, brunette woman with a six month old baby in a black moby wrap. What's that you say? That describes half of the women there? Well, I'll also be juggling a black bag, my sunglasses, and a pink & brown baby blanket, if that helps.

What's up in your world these days?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Seven Scrapbooking Books

That I'm really enjoying right now:

Creating Keepsakes: You've Got Flair! Creative Scrapbook Techniques (Leisure Arts Item #4294)1. You've Got Flair (2007). Princess gave me a copy of this for my birthday a few years back. It's the only scrapbooking book I own right now - I've given away all the others. Includes card-making ideas.

Scrapbooking Made Easy (Leisure Arts #15946) (Simple Scrapbooks)2. Scrapbooking Made Easy (2005). I really like this one because it encourages simple pages. Simple pages are definitely more my style than the pages that look like Michael's Craft store threw up on a 12 x 12 piece of paper. Not that I, you know, have strong feelings about it or anything.

When Life Gives You Lemons: Turning Sour Photos Into Sweet Scrapbook Layouts3. When Life Gives You Lemons (2008). Great ideas for those of us who are not professional photographers or the lucky owners of the Digital SLR camera of our dreams. (But some day, when I have an extra $600 laying around, I intend to get one of those cameras. Ahem.)

Your Words, Your Story: Add Meaningful Journaling To Your Layouts4. Your Words, Your Story (2008). I enjoyed this effort to integrate more (or more meaningful) words onto scrapbook pages. I've never really gotten into printing out my journaling for pages, though I may have to break down and try it soon.

Cut Loose: Break The Rules Of Scrapbooking5. Cut Loose: Break the Rules of Scrapbooking (2008). Really, really love this one. I may have to break down and buy it. Lots of inspiration here - the only way I, a recovering perfectionist, can scrapbook at all is to break the rules. I don't think I realized how much power I was giving my internal critic. ("I'm just not a creative person," anyone?)

The Organized & Inspired Scrapbooker (Leisure Arts #5280)6. The Organized & Inspired Scrapbooker (2010). Don't read this one if you're inclined to feel "scrapbook room envy". Lots of ideas for storage and organization of the all-consuming "stash".

365 Days of Scrapbooking Ideas (Better Homes & Gardens Crafts)7. 365 Days of Scrapbooking Ideas (2010) So many great ideas and inspiration pages here. A little light on the "how-to" aspect but plenty to keep a scrapper busy despite that.

So, if anyone was wondering where all the library scrapbooking books went, they're hanging out at my house right now. I plan to return them. Soon.

What about you? Got a favorite hobby book to recommend?
This post contains Amazon Associate links. Any action taken with these links could result in compensation for me. Opinions are my own and I encourage you to check your library or Paperback Swap first - these books are worth it!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

3/12/11 - A Week in Review but No Links

1. Don't forget time change tonight - Spring forward! Even though it isn't Spring yet. Because the government knows best. [/heavy sarcasm]

2. I spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week in bed. Wednesday I actually managed to do school work with the girls from my bed. Thursday I got out of order to go to the doctor.

3. I have a sinus infection, my dear doctor informed me, which followed the flu or whatever it was that I had at the beginning of the week. I have impaired hearing in my left ear because of the sinus infection but no ear infection yet. So, I'm feeling a lot better but really dislike not being able to hear or smell anything. Because five senses are a good thing.

4. Lili had something too, but we're not sure what. We spent 2 1/2 screaming hours with her at the doctor (after my appointment) trying to ascertain what exactly was wrong. That didn't work. So they sent us home to let her rest and to try to get a urine sample because she was determined not to let them get one in the office. Once we had that and once Philip had rushed it back to the doctor's office, results were inconclusive. Bless the doctor who decided we could "wait and see" because by the morning she seemed a lot better.

5. Philip has been at our church's men's retreat this weekend. Which means, basically, the second I was feeling slightly better, I had to take care of a neglected house, a laundry pile taller than my head (I know I'm not very tall but still, that's ridiculous), all four girls on my own, and an empty refrigerator. Which means I had to take all the girls to the grocery with me. On a Friday evening. The first thing that happened as we got out of the van: Polly dropped my reusable shopping bags with my coupon box. Coupons blew across the entire parking lot and I had to stop the girls from running around to collect them.

That's the quick version. Here's hoping for a better week, next week. Considering it will be starting with a sleep deficit, I'm not going to hold my breath.

So, what's up in your world this week?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Absence Explained, Sort Of

I wouldn't call it "The Dumb" but maybe The Plague. Or simply, "The Flu". (Why oh why did I not get a flu shot?)

Anyway, the best laid blogging plans have been felled by the same thing that has laid me low. (Seriously. Yesterday I slept more than the baby.)

Philip's got most things under control. I may have to send him out for more tissues and hot tea (which are in high demand) but other than that, I lack nothing

Except, you know, good health.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Look-worthy Links 3/5/11 Edition

I'm light on links this week and even lighter on pictures. It's not that fun, cute things didn't happen around here, it's just that we didn't take pictures. Something I'll have to post pictures of soon: Tigger got glasses this week. Only for reading or computer time, but they are adorable, as you might expect.

1. Brandy's post about unions is right on. That's all I'm going to say about that. (OK, I will also say this: don't miss the comments because she answers some questions there.) [/politics]

2. Cadbury Creme Eggs are one of my favorite treats ever. This instructable tells how to make them at home. I even have egg molds. (They're for making Jell-o eggs but I think they'd work in a pinch.)

3. This wrapping paper is super cool. I may have to buy a date stamp now.

4. How to turn bar soap into liquid soap - why haven't I thought of this before?! I very much dislike bar soap (so slippery, so scummy in the dish, so covered with the dirt from Sweet Pea's grimy little hands...) but I have several nice ones that have been gifts (or that I've bought on sale at the store). I'm definitely trying this method!

5. This post about cleaning thrift store finds is helpful if you do a lot of second-hand buying. (We do.)

6. Lastly, do not tell my girls about this house. Seriously. Don't. Because we're getting ready to do some re-modeling on our house and they do not need to know about this.

So, what did you stumble on this week? Do share in the comments.

Picture: a re-post of Miss Lili. Because it pictures how I feel right now. Some virus has wended its way through my house this week, in addition to everything else we did. Must. resist. the. siren. song. of. bed.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Homeschool Hint - Reference Books

One of my favorite homeschooling tools is the Internet. Seriously. I can find out the what, where, when, how and why of just about anything (sometimes far more than I would want to know). I can download worksheets. I can be encouraged by other homeschoolers (since my homeschool group is not very active, I especially appreciate this benefit!). My girls can play some educational games. (Starfall, anyone?)

However, I do not allow my school-age daughters to use the Internet as reference. This means no "googling."

I'm serious. For schoolwork, no computers shall be consulted.

What do we use instead? (Note: these are in addition to all of the non-fiction books for children we own)

1. A dictionary. We have a much loved copy of the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary. We use it every week, if not every day.

2. A Thesaurus. We use a pocket Roget's.

3. An atlas. We have several of these, including a couple kid editions. (This might be a nice one. Or this.) We also consult a globe regularly.

4. An encyclopedia. I bought a World Book set once Polly got old enough to read. At her age, the likelihood of it being out-of-date is less important than learning to look up information.

5. A book of flags. My girls enjoy flipping through this one - so colorful!

Call me old-fashioned (Go ahead. I don't mind!) but I want my children to appreciate the knowledge stored in books. I want them to learn how to access that knowledge. There will be plenty of time to surf the web later. Or access it with their handheld devices or whatever all the cool kids are doing once my children grow out from under my old-fashioned thumb.

Until then, I wish I could teach them how to use a good old card catalog. I have fond memories of finally conquering that step. Alas, our library is almost completely card catalog free.

Oh, well. I suppose that would have been one old-time step too far. What about you? Does your school have a "Google policy?"

This post is linked to Helpful Homeschool Hints at Many Little Blessings.
This post contains Amazon Associate links. Any action taken with these links could result in compensation for me. Opinions are my own and I encourage you to check your library or Paperback Swap first - these books are worth it!