Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Great Homeschool Curriculum!

This is now the 2nd year that we have been homeschooling Mariah.  The first year was more of a time to get Mariah back to wanting to learn.  She had been so set back by her 2nd grade experience in public school that going to school every day started with a huge battle and ended with tears.  This year, she is ready to go back to purposeful learning and we're starting with third grade classes.  We've tried lapbooks, different curriculums that we've purchased through schools, and several other recommended methods.  All of them have been good, but not enough for her.  Since Mariah is autistic with severe ADHD she has a very short attention span and really struggles with math.  In addition, if I'm working, Daddy doesn't always make her do her schoolwork because he has trouble with it as well.  So then I come home after work and have to help her with schoolwork and then do my own schoolwork since I am a student as well.

She loves the website Spelling City so I've been getting 3rd grade spelling lists online and loading them in.  Recently, while I was setting up a new list, I noticed an ad for a website called Time4Learning.  Being curious, I checked it out.  Wow, was I ever impressed with the sample lessons. 

Time4Learning is an online curriculum that can be used for a supplement to a regular school or as the main curriculum for homeschooling.  The cost for 1 child is only $19.95 a month.  One of the online schools that we looked at was $1600 for the year in addition to books!  With Time4Learning, you don't have to purchase anything additional, the $19.95 a month is your total cost!  It's very easy to set up and there is even a parent forum where you can get help from other parents if you need it.  The program gives you test results on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis that you can print out and keep in a file if you need to.  You can see every day just how well your child has learned a subject and whether they need additional review or can go on to the next lesson.

Lessons are fun, more like games than school work.  For instance, today Mariah is working on learning Place Values in math.  She struggles with these as she doesn't understand that you don't have to put zeroes everywhere.  In one of the lessons, a bank manager locks himself inside the safe.  The student must type in the correct combinations in order to release him.   She had a hard time with the first combination, but by the time the lesson was over she understood Place Values so well that she ended up with an 88%! 

Mariah loves seeing the 'rewards' and 'kudos' that the program gives her when she does a lesson well.  Positive reinforcement is great for any child and Time4Learning has plenty of it!

If you are homeschooling your child and want something new, thinking about homeschooling but aren't quite sure that you can do it, or your child just needs some additional help with subjects that he or she has trouble with, then Time4Learning is definitely for you!  Take a look, let your child try the sample lessons.  I can pretty much guarantee that you will be just as impressed as I am.

As a member of Time4Learning, I have been asked to review their online education program and share my experiences. While I was compensated, this review was not written or edited by Time4Learning and my opinion is entirely my own. Write your own curriculum review or learn how to use their curriculum for homeschool, after school study or summer learning.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Stitching the Night Away Blog Hop #6

Some of us have a favorite chair that we sit in to stitch, others prefer to enjoy a steaming mug of tea while they stitch. Maybe you need to get comfortable and put on your pajamas before you pick up your needle or you simply must rearrange all the sofa pillows before you sit down. Sometimes the ritual is in the clean up when we’re done and everything must go in a certain place. What sort of stitching rituals do you have when you sit down to work on your projects?

I sit down in my comfy chair with a cup of tea or coffee, whichever happens to strike my fancy at the moment.  I put either a series marathon or a good movie on tv and enjoy!

Visit all the blogs in this round of the <a href="" target="_blank">Stitching the Night Away</a> Stitching Blogger Blog Hop: <script type="text/javascript" src="" ></script><br />Find the instructions on how to participate in this round by <a href="" target="_blank">clicking here</a>.

Blog Hop #5

<a href=""><img src="" alt="Stitching the Night Away Stitching Bloggers Blog Hop" title="StitchingBloggersBlogHop" width="468" height="100" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-2655" /></a><br />
Somehow, I forgot to save #4 so I will simply proceed to #5!

Do you find yourself stitching seasonally or do you just stitch what moves you at the moment? What’s your favorite holiday or season to stitch for?

I love stitching for Christmas.  Halloween, too.  I stitch ornaments all year long both for our tree and for gifts.  I have piles of things to stitch for Christmas.  Some day, I might get them all done!

Visit all the blogs in this round of the <a href="" target="_blank">Stitching the Night Away</a> Stitching Blogger Blog Hop: <script type="text/javascript" src="" ></script><br />Find the instructions on how to participate in this round by <a href="" target="_blank">clicking here</a>.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Blog hop #3

Do you set stitching goals for yourself and how do you plan them out? (Weekly, monthly, annually?) What are your current stitching goals (if you don’t mind sharing)?
In addition to setting goals for yourself, do you have a special reward that you reserve for when you reach a stitching goal?

I do make goals for myself.  I base them on what I HAVE to have done by a certain date, such as gifts, exchanges, RRs, etc.  After that, I stitch on what I want to stitch on.  I don't have special rewards for myself, although that may be a possibility in the future!

I'm back!!!

After months of dealing with a dying hard drive, I finally have my tower back!  So, I'm now all ready to get caught up and bring everyone back into our lives.  Stay tuned for all the stitching, art, and family news as well as all the Blog Hops that I've missed!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veterans' Day!

Here's to all the veterans in my life.  Those I know personally, those who came and went before me, those who have very simply given their time and their lives for our freedom. Thank you for making it possible for me to say what I want, to enjoy the freedoms that we have.  Without you, it would not be possible for me to homeschool my daughter, to choose to work and at the same time be able to go to school t get my teaching degree.  To go to the church of my choice and worship the God that I choose.  I can wear a burka, a sari, a dress, or jeans and a tshirt.  I can vote for who I want to represent me in government without fear of being imprisoned.  I wish I could give you more than a heartfelt Thank You from the bottom of my heart!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Sorry this is late, but I was having computer problems last night!  The winner of the My Memories Suite v.3 software is (drum roll here): 

Betty will be getting an email with the link for her software this morning.  I hope she shares withus what she does with it!!!  Congratulations, Betty!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Memories reminder

Only 3 more days till I announce a lucky winner!   If you haven't tried digital scrapbooking, you don't know what you're missing!  You can print your scrapbook pages onto fabric or paper.  You can email them to friends and relatives living far away.  You can keep thousands of pages on a flashdrive for posterity!  Give it a try and see how many different fun things you can create!  And remember, if you click on the blinky on the right side of my blog and use the special code underneath, you'll get a discount on any album pages you buy!

Friday, November 2, 2012

My Memories Giveaway!

I apologize for not having posted anything in so long.  Life has really been insane the last few months.  The insanity has created a mass of memories.  What should I do with all those memories?  Enter My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Software!

I was contacted by My Memories to take a look at their software and tell them what I thought of it.  Now, understand, I am not a scrapbooker.  I don't have time to mess with all that.  So, I was a little leary about using scrapbook software.  After playing with it for a few days, I've changed mymind. 
I LOVE THIS SOFTWARE!!!   It is awesome! 

My Memories online store has tons of scrapbooking page already made up for you.  They even have a lot of free ones that you can download!  Look at the album page I created in about 2 minutes for my nephew, Luke:

If you want to see more ideas, go here to watch some great videos:

I am so excited about this software that I agreed to pass it on to one of my loyal readers in a giveaway!  One lucky reader will get a full version copy of their software!  And all the rest of my readers get a discount on software and on products they buy from the My Memories store at  Now, let's get down to business. 

The rules:

1.  Go to the My Memories store and find which scrapbook album kit you would buy if you had a $10 coupon.
2.  Leave me a comment here telling me which kit you picked out.

For extra entries, you can:

3.  Follow the My Memories blog
4.  Follow My Memories on Facebook
5.  Follow My Memories on Twitter!/mymemoriessuite
Next Friday, 11/9/12, at 5pm CST, I will pick 1 name to receive the full version of the My Memories Suite v.3 software. 

In the meantime, you can use this code at checkout to receive a $10 discount on digital scrapbook supplies that you wish to purchase from the store.  You can also use it to receive $10 off the purchase of the My Memories Suite v.3 software : 

So, go to the store and look around.  They have some awesome album pages.  My favorite for Christmas pictures is Eskimo Kiss (no surprise to my family and friends since that is also the name of my favorite ice cream flavor at PJ's Ice Cream Shop in Manteno!)
Good luck everyone!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

TUSAL update

I have been so bad about posting this!  Here is my orts jar for this month.  It's full of ends from ornaments, model stitching, and a couple of crocheting projects too!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Artists in residence!!

Today was art class day at our library.  Mariah had her first kids' art class today and I had a one-stroke painting class.  We had a all!! 

First, Mariah.  Her class did abstract art using 'A Starry Night' as a guideline.  They actually painted peacock feathers.  I think it's absolutely beautiful!

She's been having fun taking online art classes with Michal Kestler so this has just made her even happier.  The kids classes are going to be weekly sowe can look forward to lots of artwork this summer!

My class was just as much fun.  We did ferns and dragonflies.  When we were discussing what to do them on, Kathy (the instructor) mentioned a mat for a picture frame.  I have a cross stitched piece that I've been trying to figure out what to do with.  It's a summer theme so I thought this would be perfect. 

Now I can cut the center out with a razor blade and place the cross stitched piece in it before framing it.

We always make 2 items - 1 picture and then something else.  This week we did wooden boxes.  I'm going to use mine for a pencil holder.

And how creative have you been this week?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Stands - Love 'em or leave 'em?

Stitching the Night Away's Blog Hop #2 is up.  Here is this week's question:

Do you use a stand when you stitch? If so, tell us about it and share pictures if you’ve got them. If not, would you like to try using a stand? Do you have any tips or tricks around using a stand versus not using a stand?

I do not, although I wish I had a stand to hold the very large embroidery hoop I'musing for my current project.  My hand cramps after holding it for more than a few threads of stitching.  I've never really liked stands because I can't sit back when I'm using them and I get too uncomfortable sitting forward.  I definitely don't like lap stands - I'm too big and feel like I'm squished into them.  Anyone have any suggestions for a good one? 

Check out these other bloggers to get their opinions:

Visit all the blogs in this round of the <a href="" target="_blank">Stitching the Night Away</a> Stitching Blogger Blog Hop: <script type="text/javascript" src="" ></script><br />Find the instructions on how to participate in this round by <a href="" target="_blank">clicking here</a>.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Stitching The Night Away has started hosting a blog hop twice a month and I decided to join in.  It sounds like lots of fun!  So, here is the first question:

Have you ever had a case of the “stitching blahs” where you just didn’t want to stitch? Or maybe it was more like you didn’t get to stitch because you were busy and that created a chain reaction sense of the “blahs” and led to even less stitching…. sort of like a case of “the Mondays” that we are all familiar with. How do you handle your stitching blahs and get back into stitching mode?

Yep, I've had that problem several times.  I've found what works the best is to go through my stash and find something that I really want to start and start it!  If that doesn't do it then I make myself put in 1 thread a day - only 1 thread - for a week.  Usually by the end of the week I'm itching to put in more.

How do you handle yours??

href="" target="_blank">Stitching the Night Away Stitching Blogger Blog Hop:
Find the instructions on how to participate in this round by clicking here.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

One-stroke Painting

Mariah & I had lots of fun this morning.  We went to the library for a one-stroke painting class.  You all know that I've been doing it for a couple of years now.  This was Mariah's first time.  I was a little apprehensive. Mariah's autism/ADHD can go one of two ways - she can either be very shy & withdrawn, or VERY wound up!  Today was a combination of both.  When it was time for introductios, she got shy and wouldn't talk (understandable).  As the class continued, she began extremely exuberant and at one point got up and started bouncing and singing.  Overall though, she did very well and we're looking forward to next month!

Today's topic was Easter bunnies.  Here is Mariah's picture:

I think she did an AMAZING job, especially since she had never painted like this before!

Here's mine:

Next month is a grapevine with little birdhouses hanging from it.  I can't wait!

I had a marathon To Do List day yesterday.  I did part 2 of my practice Basic Skills Test.  This morning I did part 3.  All I have left now is the writing assignment and I can have it scored.  If I score well enough, then I can take the real one as soon as I have the $270 for it. 

I also did 4 loads of laundry, made a pot of green beans with potatoes & polish sausage & homemade mac & cheese, and helped Mariah with several pages of schoolwork.  Rich emptied out the entryway and wiped it down from top to bottom.  Then he reorganized it and got rid of a bunch of stuff.  I want to take each room one at a time and empty it, clean it, get rid of everything possible, and reorganize what's left!

In and amongst all this, I managed to get quite a bit of my Petite Christmas Angel #1 done.

Now for the rest of today I will make strawberry jam, straighten up the living room, work on my model for X's & Oh's, and watch movies with Rich & Mariah. 

And what do YOU have planned for the weekend?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Job From H*** Continues

I'm working this temp assignment.  It started out to be a 2 day, 4 hours a day assignment.  That was back in October.  Now it's 7 hours of h*** a day.  I talked to the manager yesterday, fully intending to tell her that now that she had hired someone Friday needed to be my last day.  She had already spoken to Office Team and got approved for another week for me.  Ok, I'll deal with1 more week, but I made it quite clear that that would be it!  I have my tutoring assignments to set up, lesson plans to write, my basic skills test to take, and MY classes start up again April 10! 

To show you how stressful this job is, Monday she handed me a large box of promotional flyers.  She told me that they needed to get out to all the car dealers, but that she wanted about 20 left here in the office.  They have 97 dealers and there were 90 flyers.  So, I told her I could make 20 copies and use the copies for some of the dealers.  She said that would be great.  I sat all afternoon on Monday and all morning on Tuesday handwriting envelopes, stuffing them, and licking the envelopes sealed.  I asked her for stamps and she said that they were in Princess's office and she was on a special project so she would put them on later.  I handed her the box with the 97 stuffed and sealed envelopes and went back to my desk.  I then heard her ask 'Are these the promotional flyers?'  I walked back to her doorway and said yes.  She looked at me and said 'You know, you could have emailed them.'  Are you kidding me????

However, last night made it all better.  At least temporarily.  My BFF is working as a waitress at the new Paula Deen's Kitchen in Joliet.  This week, in preparation for the grand opening in 2 weeks, they were asked to bring guests in for a meal.  We had to fill out a form listing exactly what we ate and what we thought of it.  We could have anything we wanted. When we got there, there was only the buffet, but it was definitely worth it.  There were a couple of disappointments.  The cream of chicken with wild rice soup had a strange aftertaste to it and the hoecakes were basically pancakes made with corn meal.  I've eaten hoecakes all my life and in my experience they were alway a little thicker, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  If you've never had them though, these were very good.  Everything else - mac & cheese, green beans, smashed potatoes, cheddar bacon biscuits, fried chicken, cajun pork tenderloin, rice salad, macaroni salad, chocolate chip gooey butter cake, peach cobbler, and rum cake with real whipped cream, was heavenly!!  I had a bite of everything and brought home 2 containers.  We ended the meal sharing a bowl of real, homemade banana pudding and coffee.  We laughed, ate till we couldn't take another bite, and had a wonderful evening.  Thank you, Mary for inviting me!!  Tonight she's taking her husband.  I hope they have as marvelous a time as we did.

I haven't gotten to do any stitching this week.  I crocheted a cocoon for my cousin's baby shower.  I'm working on Petite Christmas Angel, but haven't gotten enough stitches in for a progress pic. 

Well, that's it for today.  How was your week?

Friday, March 16, 2012

I've been awarded!

My good friend, Katie, who has the blog Jeremiah's Mom, has awarded me the

Thanks, Katie!!!  What does that mean you ask?  Well, it means this:

Liebster is a German word, meaning favorite, dearest or beloved, and the Liebster is awarded by bloggers to other, newer bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers, to spread the word and help the new(er)bies gain wider recognition. The award comes with four conditions that each recipient must satisfy when accepting:

1. Choose five up-and-coming blogs (with fewer than 200 followers) to award the Liebster to.

2. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.

3. Post the award on your blog. List the bloggers you are giving the award to with links to their sites. Leave comments on their blogs so they know about the award.

4. Share five random facts about yourself that people don't know about you. 
Ok, the bloggers that I am giving this award to are:
1.  Vickie H from  Vickie is a teacher, a good friend, and a wonderful human being.  I was lucky enough to spend a weekend at a stitching retreat with her.  Her writings about her life with her hubby, pets, and students will keep you laughing!
2.  Carol M. Boyer-Crosby from  Carol is a great stitcher, mom, very active in Boy Scouts, and all around great person.
3.  Debra Scarborough of  Debra is not only a talented stitcher, but does some of the most beautiful beadwork I've ever seen.
4.  Although she doesn't post a lot, this is one of my favorite creative blogs.  I first found her on Pinterest where her thimble necklace was posted.  Take a look!
5.  Pam and Terri from  This is a great blog!  Whenever I need ideas for books to read I go here!
Ok, now for the hard part.  5 random facts about me that people don't know:
1.  I love watching old mysteries and monster movies.  Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Chan, Frankenstein, all the old black and whites are my favorites!
2.  You all know that I'm working on my teaching degree and want to open a learning center for kids who fall between the cracks in public school.  But what you don't know is that on the weekends, that learning center will be a stitching retreat where my stitching buddies can come and have a lovely weekend for not so many bucks!
3.  When I was a kid, my dad programmed computers when a computer took up an entire room.  We moved all over the eastern half of the country and by the time I was in 9th grade I had been in 9 different schools!
4.  My favorite snack is sweet bbq chipotle chips from GFS.  They're only $3 for a huge bag and I just love them!
5.  I love to cook (no surprise there), but I love to incorporate veggies into dishes that no one knows about!  And after trying them, they still don't know about them!
Ok, check out all the blogs I've awarded the Lieber award to and enjoy meeting some new friends! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New cars & stuff!

It's been a great week so far.  Let's start with the cars.  My 2007 Ford Escape has been great for the last 2 1/2 years.  But, it now needed about $1000 worth of work.  Rich's truck literally fell apart so we were down to only 1 vehicle.  Since I am currently working an hour away, that's a problem.  Also, my 6 cylinder was eating gas like you wouldn't believe!  So, we went to the local Ford dealer and traded it in.  We went from this:

To this for me:

And this for Rich:

The dealer gave us enough for my Escape to cover both vehicles, plates, taxes, and we get a check for $243! 

I also got my bingo prize in the mail today for our last round of ILCS bingo.  Vicky sent me Little House Needleworks' "Ye Olde Coffee House" .  Quite appropriate!!

I got the wings almost finished on the first of my Petite Christmas Angels:

I've put it up to work on my March ornament.  Everything will get put up pretty soon since I have a model coming that needs to be stitched VERY quickly!

Now, for the best part of this week.  I've been hired by a company called Wyzant Tutoring.  I've passed all my certification tests, submitted my profile for the parents, and I'm waiting on final approval.  As of April 1, I can start accepting students for tutoring. The best part is that my fee will be $35 an hour.  I get 60% to start and will eventually go up to 80%.  My fee will also increase as I get more experience.  I CAN QUIT WORKING FOR OFFICE TEAM!!!!  Yeah!!!! 

So, that's my week so far.  How was yours?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Stash box winner

And the winner is:  Marta!!!  Marta, email me your address and I'll get it out to you one day this week.

This week in our life

It's been a fun week!  Lots of work, lots of math problems, lots of stitching!

Stash Box

I will be drawing names for the next recipient of the stash box later tonight.  So far I have listed:

Vickie H
Cindy B

Anyone else who would like to be in the drawing please comment here by 6pm CST.


We received our new FunBites cutter in the mail this week for us to review.  It is awesome!  We love to make Bento box lunches and this makes it fun and easy to do.  Mariah snatched it up and used it immediately to cut her toast into small hearts.  It is safe and easy for even kids to use!  As I said, ours is the heart-shaped cutter and consists of a curved blade cutter and a matching popper to pop the pieces out.  Use it on meat & cheese stacks, fruit, grilled cheese sandwiches, or anything else you want to be bite-sized and fun to eat!  Here's the link to the website to check them out.  I'm going to be purchasing the square cutter next.  If you'd like to make a purchase, Funbites has provided a coupon code to use at checkout for free shipping: MarchMadness


We've been concentrating on time and money this week.  That's pretty much all we've been doing for schoolwork.  Mariah's been 'shopping' in the house, paying for everything she wants to use, eat, or drink.  She's gettin better at money, but we still have a very long ways to go on time!


I haven't gotten much stitching done this week.  By the time I get home from work, I'm so tired I can barely keep my eyes open!  Here are progress pics for this week:

Petite Christmas Angels:

Coffee Angel (the border on the right side is almost done - only 4 more squares):

February House (I got the border fixed and a bit of the house itself done):

Angel of Cross Stitch: 

St. Patrick's Day piece:

There's no picture of my shawl, I only got 1 row done this week.  I've decided the heck with the rotation and the heck with my diet.  I'm going to stitch on whatever strikes my fancy and I'm going to eat what I want.  With the amount of stress I've been under lately I've actually put on 10 lbs with having given up rice, potatoes, bread, and pasta!  So, I'm just going to be careful with what I eat and try to do more walking and exercise. 

I did get a bit of good news this week.  After figuring out our bills for the month, I discovered that we will have just under $500 a month leftover every month out of Rich & Mariah's SS checks.  That gives us that much for gas & groceries for the month without me working at all.  So, when my assignment ends (hopefully, soon), I won't be taking anymore unless they are close by and short term assignments.  Between what Rich picks up in scrap, mowing lawns, and taking furniture that he finds to the consignment store, and what I sell on Etsy & Amazon, I can stay home for a bit.  We are going to pack up the house, get rid of what we don't want, and try to get it sold by summer.  Then we're moving down around St. Louis, but on the IL side - probably somewhere around Alton.  I will try to find a job as a teacher's aide and tutor once we get down there.  Yeah!!!

Last, but not least

My sister, Janice, has just become a consultant for Thirty-One. For anyone who hasn't heard of them, they are these awesome bags, purses, organizers, etc, that are sold out of your home at parties like Tupperware.  I'm having a party on March 18, two weeks from today.  If anyone would like to order, book a party (in person or online), or just like some more info, here's the link:
Janice & I will both appreciate the business!!!

Well, I'm off to make ice cream cone cupcakes for a fundraiser in town today.  Talk to y'all later!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Stash box

I received the travelling stash box the other day.  There are lots of really good things in it!  I took out what I wanted desperately needed and replaced them with things that I wanted to share with others.  If you would like a chance at being the next recipient, post a comment letting me know.  I will pull a name on Sunday and mail out the box next week.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Progress for last week

     Wow, it's been a long week. First, the boss at work had to have surgery on both her feet so she was out Thursday, Friday and she thinks she'll be back on Monday.  So, in anticipation, she gave all of us new assignments and she lengthened my day.  Now, when this assignment started, I was supposed to work Mon-Wed & Fri from 10-2pm.  I made it very clear to her that I was not able to work full time.  So last Monday when she called me in and asked me to work 8:30-5 Mon-Fri, I reminded her of that.  She said ok, how about Thursday you come in at noon?  Really???  She finally conceded to 8:30-3:30 (or sooner if I finish my work) and noon on Thursdays because of Mariah's therapy until we get my car traded in.  Since it's a 1 hour commute, it makes it a little longer.  Ok, things went fairly well.  Rich & Mariah are grumbling about having to do everything at home, dinner was a slide thru a couple of nights, but all in all it went ok.  Friday, I get an email from the boss (remember she's at home recuperating from surgey) reminding me to adjust my time for lunch.  Now, I've never worked a job where you were made to take a lunch for less than 8 hours.  I'm only scheduled for 7 and really only working around 6 every day.  I wouldn't normally take lunch and pointed that out to her.  She ok'd with Office Team that if I am there at least 6.5 hours, I need to take lunch. Now, here's the problem:  her idea of taking lunch is that I sit in the break room with them, but still get up to answer the phones and deal with customers.  Huh??  I'm under the impression that I punch out for lunch and I'mon my time.  Oh well, as I pointed out to Rich, it's only for anther month or so.  Their budget for a temp ends then so they're going to HAVE to hire someone soon!


I started 3 new projects this week, 2 for me and 1 for an exchange.  My new rotation goes like this:

Sunday:  Petite Christmas Angels SAL with PolStitches and Joan Elliot herself

We had a little problem with the chart.  There is a symbol that is in both the skin and the dress, but is 2 different colors depending on where it is.  I need to do a little bit of frogging (see the stripes on the arm), but I think it looks good!

Monday:  St. Patrick's Day piece

Tuesday:   Angel of Cross Stitch

Wednesday:  February House SAL

I got the border all done and started on the house and realized the border was 2 stitches short so I had to frog it! 

Thursday:  Coffee Angel

I'm coming to the bottom.  I think it'll only take 3 more days of stitching and it'll be done!

Friday & Saturday:  Crocheted hooded shawl

I've got the first side almost done.  I would have had the first side finished, but Friday I had to rip out everything I had done already cause it was wrong.  Then, yesterday I was coming to the end of the skein and thought I had bought more (there's no dye lot so I'm buying it as I need it) and discovered I hadn't.  We had my nephew's birthday party yesterday and I had to wait until after that to go buy more!  I figure next weekend I'll get both sides finished, the next weekend I'll do the hood and sew it together, and the next weekend I'll do the ruffle all the way around.  I want to wear it for Easter along with a dress the color of the purple in the yarn.

I didn't get a lot done on each one this week, but I did get at least a few stitches in each one.

My best friend's father passed away suddenly last week.  She got a phone call from a friend of his saying she hadn't been able to reach him all afternoon.  When Mary went to check on him, he was face down on the floor reaching for the phone and had obviously passed away several hours before.  We have been best friends since we were in 4th grade so I really feel her pain.  The wake is today and the funeral is tomorrow.  Since he was true Irish, I asked her when the real wake was.  She laughed and said yeah, that's what Dad would have wanted!

With me working so much, Mariah and I are really struggling with the homeschooling.  Once again I had to revamp her lesson plans.  We're concentrating on reading and math and working on her lapbook when I'm home with her.  I found an app for my Nook that is Math Flash Cards and goes from K-4th grade.  I think it's really helping her out.  I also found a school online for her for next fall.  She would be at the computer doing her lessons and talking to the teacher during school hours.  The registration fee is $125 and then it's $88 a month.  She likes that idea and I don't have to worry about working and trying to teach her at the same time. 

Well, that's it for now!  If any of you have a Nook, add me as your friend and we can swap books!  My email is  Until next time!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lots of packages!

My mailman and the UPS driver are becoming very well acquainted with our house. 

Stitching stuff

I participated in a Valentine's Bookmark exchange with ILCS.  Yesterday, I received my Valentine's bookmark from Marta.

They are soooo true!  I sent this bookmark to Marta:

In ESC, we did a Valentine's exchange.  This is the package I got yesterday from Sue:

Sue also included in my package a wonderful coloring activity book for Mariah.  She loved it and whenever she needed a break from schoolwork yesterday she worked on the first page.  By the end of the day, this was her result:

I spent most of yesterday crocheting a pile of headbands.  One of my crocheting groups has a woman who travels to Africa 2x a year and takes a trunk full of small items for children. The owner of the group shared this pattern and we all crocheted a few.  Michelle's trunk will be overflowing!

We're going green and downsizing!

Last month, Rich & I made a decision to cut a bunch of expenses.   I will be starting my student teaching within the next couple of years and unless I also want to work a night job, we're going to have to be able to live on his SS. 

Step 1:  DirecTv.  When our contract expired in November, rather than signing a new one I negotiated a lower rate on a monthly basis.  It still came to $80 a month and that was simply the next to basic channels package.  No movie channels, no sports channels, etc.  I had tried for 2 years to get them to bundle AT&T wireless internet and they kept telling me it was not available here.  So one day I stopped in at the AT&T store in the mall and talked to them.  Guess what?  It IS available.  Not a great grid so the service is a little spotty, but it allows me to do several things.  First,  I went to Walmart and bought 3 things:  a wireless adapter for my desktop, a Roku box, and an HD indoor antenna.  The wireless adapter allowed me to get rid of my Cricket portable modem.  The Roku box let us cancel DirecTv.  We can now stream tv shows, movies, Netflix, HuluPlus, Pandora, and a whole bunch more to our tv.  The HD antenna lets us get basic networks in our bedroom.

Costs:  AT&T modem - $100
            AT&T monthly cost - $20
            Wireless adapter - $30
             Roku box - $100
             HD antenna - $35
             HuluPlus - $8 a month
             Netflix - $17 a month
Total = $310
Savings:  Cricket modem - $65 a month
                 DirecTv - $80 a month
                 Total = $145 a month
With a $310 set up cost, we are now paying $45 a month instead of $145 a month, saving $100 every month.

Step 2:  Water
Our water at home is awful.  It smells and it tastes terrible.  So, we take gallon jugs to the grocery store and refill them for 30 cents a piece.  Between cooking, coffee, and drinking, we go through about 15 gallons a week.  That's $4.50 a week or $18 a month.  Not a large expense, but inconvenient if we don't realize that we've used the last gallon and I want to make coffee at 5am.  Solution:  Filtrete water station
This little gadget is great!  I found it on Amazon and for $55 we got the station itself, 6 bottles, and an extra filter.  It is so easy to work, Mariah can do it!  You take the top off and inside is a filter.  Pour tap water in and it filters through into the 4 bottles hooked up to the station.  It takes about 5 minutes to fill 4 bottles.  At first I was a little skeptical that it would take the smell and taste out, but it really works!  We can now keep 6 bottles in the fridge at all times and just grab them whenever we need them!

 Well, I've got to finish getting ready for work.  Tell me what you've done lately to save money and/or go green!  I could use some more ideas!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope everyone enjoys their loved ones and shows them how much they love each other.  I know I will!  My hubby and daughter have spoiled me this year.  Saturday morning, Rich gave me a bag with a large Cracker Barrel coffee mug, a bag of their handmade buckeyes, and 2 sets of Hershey's body lotion, hand cream, and lip gloss - 1 set in Cookies N Cream and 1 set in Milk Chocolate.  My sister, Janice, had planned on keeping Mariah overnight so I had rented a room at Country Inn & Suites.  They had a Romance Package with a gift basket and rose petals on the bed.  However, the best laid plans. . .Janice called Saturday morning and Luke was sick with a fever.  So, our romantic weekend turned into a family weekend.  We got a Chinese feast and watched 'Judy Moody' and 'Baby's Day Out' while eating orange chicken, pepper steak, and moo shu chicken.  Sunday we went to Olivet Nazarene University and had a load of fun at the Family Fun-a-thon.  Mariah got an updo from Paul Mitchell Salon and had her hair sprayed blue, she had Curious George painted on both sides of her face, and made her own hula hoop!  We went to the new Beggar's Pizza across the street from the University and had BBQ Chicken pizza.  All in all, a great weekend!

Yesterday, I had to work from 8:30 to 4.  Rich & Mariah took me to work so that they could keep the car to deliver Girl Scout cookies.  When we got home, Mariah handed me a pretty red rose, a card, and a small Valentine's heart box of chocolates.  Rich gave me 3 more red roses, and a card.  Wasn't that sweet??  And I haven't had time to go shopping since I had to cancel the hotel room. 

The mailman yesterday brought me several nice packages.  First, my diploma came!!!  I am officially a graduate!

I was part of a Snowflake exchange in One Crazy Stitcher Designs.  My partner, Sherry, sent me HIHN's Snow chart with the cardinal button that goes with it, a beautiful collectible snowflake ornament, and a package of Mill Hill Treasures snowflakes.  Thank you so much, Sherry!!!

Package #3 was the Joan Elliott chart for Petite Christmas Angels.  PolStitches is hosting a SAL with the pattern for the first angel being free.  Of course, I HAD to have all 4!  I've ordered the fabric I want to do it on from 123Stitch so hopefully I'll be able to start it next week.

Speaking of 123Stitch, my partner for the Winter Exchange on ILCS sent me a $15 GC for 123Stitch.  I used it for the fabric for Petite Christmas Angels and for Angel of Cross Stitch.  Yes, I finally got the magazine!  The ORIGINAL magazine in mint condition!  It cost me $36 on Ebay, but I love this chart so much.  It came out the year after Rich & I got married, in 1999, and I fell in love.  It uses 391 colors, every color that DMC had at that time.  I can't wait to do it!

Mariah also got a nice big package yesterday.  Her Smart Globe came in the mail!  For those of you not familiar with a Smart Globe, it is a computerized globe that can be programmed for age group or grade.  By itself, it can tell you pretty much anything there is to know about any point on the globe.  Connected to the computer, you can also get up to the minute current events regarding that globe.  Awesome, right?  Mariah had a ball playing with it last night!

Well, I need to get ready for work.  Tell me how your Valentine's Day was!!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Geology grade!

My final grade was a 74.1%!  Yay!!!  He gave me 185 out of 220 points for my final paper.  The topic was to find a local natural resource and write about the waste associated with it.  Since I live in a large farming community, I visited local farms, grocery stores, and restaurants.  There is approximately 1 ton a week of locally grown produce that is thrown away, not because it is rotten, but because it is bruised, not so shiny, etc, and the public prefers the perfect fruits and vegetables.  Our Brownie troop is working on a project now in conjunction with the local food pantry to pick up those fruits and vegetables before they are thrown away and distribute them to those who are hungry.  My professor told me "bruised fruits are not exactly a local natural resource and therefore difficult to argue as a proper topic, but you did write the paper well."  He MUST be a city boy!! 

Now, I just need to wait on my final grade for my Elementary Math class and I can order my diploma!!!!  Break time until April 10 when I start my Bachelor's in Elementary Education program.

On a stitching note, I've been working hard on 3 projects. I'm stitching an angel for a RR in one of my Yahoo groups.  I've almost got her done.  One more good day of stitching!

I made some progress on Coffee Angel.  I did another 10 rows on the left border and about five rows on her dress.  

In my Every Stitch Counts group, we are doing a monthly SAL with houses designed by Karen of Sunshine Stitches.  This is my January house so far.  I'm having a difficult time with it because I don't like the fabric I picked.  Since I want to make individual ornaments out of it, I'm thinking about using a different fabric for the rest of them.

Here is Mariah's little band of merry 'men'.  My friend, Carla, crocheted the outfits and sent her those and the dolls wearing them.  The brown and blue outfit also has a bag with it and we're hoping it will fit Mariah's Bitty Baby.  However, the Bitty Baby has taken a trip to see Grandma (read - Mariah can't remember where she put it right this minute!) so we can't try it on just yet.

Well, I need to go get ready for work.  Talk to y'all later!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ornament SAL

I've joined an ornament SAL with my stitching friends Meari, Pam, Shelley, and Mary Ann.  I'm trying to do 1 ornament a month and thought this would spur me along!  My list is:

JCS 2011 Ornament issue:

'Santa's Greeting'  - finished 01/15/12
Christmas Quilt
Good Tidings to You
Peace on Earth
Forget-Me-Nots in Stitches
Love and Joy
Here Comes Santa Claus
Noel Stamp Ornament
Robin's Christmas
The Gift
Merry Motifs
Christmas ABC

And the winner is. . .

Theresa from Every Stitch Counts!!!  Theresa, I will put the kit in the mail tomorrow. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Another finish

I've had a very busy week.  I got to work an entire 11.75 hours!  I wish that they would either decide to hire me full time or tell me that they're going to hire someone else and get it done.  Most days I drive 1 hour to get there, work 2 hours, then drive 1 hour to get home.  Oh, well, at least it's work.

So far this year I've finished 4 items.  The 4th one I started this morning and finished a little bit ago.  I took several pictures and they all came out blurry.  Sorry!  It's an ornament from the 2011 JCS ornament issue.  It's actually the first one in the book.  I'm going to do at least one a month this year, but I haven't decided if they're going on our tree or will be gifts for someone else.

I'm working on a SAL with Karen of Sunshine Stitches designing a house every month this year.  Here's my progress on the January house.

I'm also doing a UFO challenge and right now the UFO I'm working on is 'Coffee Angel'.  I got another section of 10 stitches done all the way across this week.

I have one more week of school left.  Finals are next week. Then I graduate with my AA in Elementary Education.  I have a break until April 10 so I'm going to use that time to organize and get rid of a lot of things that we don't need.

I've also put out an ad for tutoring and homeschooling.  I've already had one parent contact me so hopefully I'll get a couple of students and can quit Office Team.

Well, till next time - how was YOUR week?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Doing happy dance & PIF

I finished LK's 'Housework Never Killed Anyone' this morning. I just need to find a frame for it now. 

This is already my 3rd finish for the year!

Ok, now for the PIF.  This chart and the threads for it were a PIF from my stitching friend, Carol.  Now, it will go to someone else.  If you're interested, post a comment with your name here.  On Monday, I will pick 1 name and that person will get the chart and the threads that are left.  All the threads are either GAST or WDW.  So, want a LK kit??

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Well, the New Year starts off with a bang!  It's storming here, thunder, rain, horrible wind.  Unless it stops, we'll be staying at home today!

We're all doing well.  I'm working at a job that I like better than most.  It's not a teaching-type position, but it's good pay, fairly close to home and easy work.  And a full benefits package.  They've asked me about staying on full time, and I told them we would talk after the holidays, but it would be an awful lot to work 8:30-5pm 5 days a week (1 hour commute makes it 7:30-6pm), go to school full time, homeschool Mariah, and keep up with all the housework, etc.  I need to think about it some more.

Mariah's doing well with her homeschooling, but wants to be in a classroom.  I've started looking at alternatives to the local public school and found a Montessori school in Joliet that I want to look in to.

My class ends January 22.  I will graduate then with my AA degree in Elementary Education.  At that point, I can start looking for a teacher's aid position, which is why I'm not certain about taking the full time position I'm temping at now.

We've been working on the house - started doing repairs that we need to do before we can put it up for sale.  The hot water relief valve has now been replaced and the roof is almost fixed.  We knew that a new roof had been put on the summer before we bought the house - 2 1/2 years ago - so when we started seeing leakage around the back door and the front hallway we started questioning.  The roof near the back door was damaged in the hailstorm we had a few months ago and we're finally seeing the damage.  The previous owners built an entryway on the front that is enclosed, but not insulated.  Where the addition attaches to the house there is a gap and as the water runs off the roof, it's going into the gap.  Our homeowner's adjuster came out and allowed $1200 for repairs.  Rich and the neighbor (who is a roofer/contractor/all around handy guy) have been working on the repairs.  What they found was that the new roof was put on OVER the old roof and no vents placed in the new roof.  There was a good amount of mold and mildew between the roof and the ceiling and they sprayed and Killzed it.  The leaks are all taken care of, now they just need to put in new vents and spray again to keep the mold from coming back.  But that will have to wait for better weather!


I've gotten lots of projects of all kinds done this last year.  Cross stitch, crocheting, and one-stroke painting have all been lots of fun.  I didn't get my projects that I had planned done, but there's always this year!  I'm participating in a couple of SALs this year, as well as a UFO challenge.

Other than that, I'm just going to play it by ear.  I've been selling jars of sugar scrub in various scents for $10 a jar.  I have a 2 month break between my AA degree and my Bachelor's program so I'm going to use it to take some sewing lessons. 

Right this minute, I'm rotating between:  1. LK's 'Housework Never Killed Anyone'; 2. a crocheted sweater for my niece; 3.  House SAL; 4.  a model stitching project; 5.  cards/gifts/etc.


My friend, Sarah, is having a giveaway on her blog  Take a walk over and look!

And how has YOUR year been?