Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday Stories

I feel like we hardly stopped this week. We did something neat and fun every day!

Monday. Would you believe that we have done so much this week that I can't remember where we went this Monday? I know we did something that morning, but it is escaping me. My excuse - baby brain. I guess I need to start this post at the beginning of the week and add to it daily.

Tuesday we visited a new park with our playgroup. It was further away than expected so we got there kind of late, but so did our friend Jackie and her son Cayman. But that was alright because we just stayed later and played longer. We also got to vote on Tuesday.

Wednesday was the Kindermusik preview class at the Lake Morton Library. Charlotte did not like sitting in my lap while we sang. I was worried about that, but the teacher, Debbie Mondale, made us feel at ease about her wandering. In the end though, I decided to not join Kindermusik this Fall because I am feeling a bit overscheduled... and I don't want to be one of those moms.

Thursday was fun, but just for Mommy and Charlotte. We hopped in the car for a trip to the bread store. Sounds exciting, doesn't it. But wait, I want to tell you what we did with the bread - we fed the ducks at Lake Morton. I kept Charlotte on my lap while the ducks were around because I wasn't sure how aggressive they would be. She seemed fine with that. It might take some getting used to for her, but we'll definitely go again. I videotaped a short bit of it. Please excuse the quality though. Charlotte was on my lap, I was trying to throw bread, and didn't want to drop the camera.

we went back to Explorations V. The craft time this week was for making a Treasure Box. I always underestimate Charlotte's abilities, and I think it turned out fairly well. I cheated and vlogged the description instead of typing it out.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Totally Random Friday Post

I have several little bits of information to share... Enjoy clicking!

I was in the Ledger back in April and didn't even know it! No pictures, but I am quoted at the very end.

I have entered a picture of Charlotte into an amateur photo contest. Would you head over and vote for her as the cutest baby?

Do you have kids that love to build? K'nex is holding it annual contest to find the most ingenious kids out there. Their will be 3 winners in 3 different age categories, each winning $10,000 for college. Plus, another 7 semi-finalists will be chosen. Boys and girls in the following age categories are invited to enter - 5 to 6-year-olds; 7 to 8-year-olds; and, 9 to 12-year-olds.

The prizes are too numerous to list here, so go over to the K'nex website to learn more and enter your budding architect! You can even browse other K'nex creations for some inspiration.
The picture to the left is from the K'nex photo gallery.

Here are the 2 random winners of my Back to School giveaway, according to
Here are your random numbers:
5 12 
Timestamp: 2008-08-28 00:35:03 UTC
I'll be contacting Andrea and The Mom individually to claim their prizes. Oh, and go ahead and visit Andrea's blog... she has a great Hip-T giveaway right now. And while you're at it, read The Mom's blog too. She is funny. Seriously.

And one more giveaway to share with you... Remember felt boards? I do! They were so much fun. Now you have a chance to win one at Momma Findings. But these are way cooler than the ones we had as kids.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Public Service Announcement - Voting

Yesterday, there was another round of elections in FL. These were mostly local positions we were voting on, but we still went. Remember, all politics is local, right? We took Charlotte with us to vote and this is actually her second polling experience. I posted about her first voting experience here. I know she won't remember these, but by blogging about it, I hope she realizes how important voting is to a healthy democracy.

My new friend Andrea has 2 giveaways on her blog that you should go check out - Little Fit & Boon Bath Toys.

Also, I am a featured blogger this week at Click over and check it out. This site isn't just for new moms though, but for anyone with kids. NewBaby features content specifically targeted to expectant moms, all the way up to kids who are 4 years old.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Contest Rules & Policies

I host giveaways and contests because I think it is fun to share new products and books with my readers and because I hope it builds reader loyalty.

Since I anticipate that giveaways will become a regular feature of Family Musings, I decided to outline a clear giveaway policy.
  1. There is no limit to the number of times you may win. I won't prevent you from winning just because you've won before.
  2. Sometimes I will use a random number generator or choose a winner and sometimes I will choose based on other criteria. I will always tell you in the contest announcement which one it will be.
  3. You do not need a blog to win, but you have to leave some way for me to contact you.
  4. Winners will be contacted via e-mail or in a comment on their blog and if they do not respond within 72 hours, the prize will go to another commenter, whom I will choose based on whichever criteria I care for a the moment.
  5. Each entry should be left as a separate comment. That means one comment for your first entry, 1 comment for your link back to my giveaway, and 1 comment letting me know if you are subscribed to my feed or e-mail.
  6. Entering my giveaway means I will have your e-mail address. I will NOT sell or giveaway this information to ANYONE. However, I may use it to contact you about future giveaways and news about Family Musings.
  7. I reserve the right to change these rules as necessary to facilitate smoother giveaways.
Thanks for reading and good luck!

If you would like me to host a giveaway for one of your products, please send an e-mail to familymusings (at) gmail (dot) com. I am particularly interested in reviewing books, products for young children, and items that make a woman's life easier, whether she is a mom or not.

Yoplait Kids

This giveaway is now closed. The winner has been contacted.

My baby girl LOVES yogurt. I try to give her some every morning to go with her fruit and cheerios. I started out buying the Stonyfield Farms yogurt because I wanted to avoid a ton of extra sugar. I have been slowly trying to phase high fructose corn syrup out of our diets and would like to keep it out of Charlotte's from the very beginning.

Honestly, I just bought the Stonyfield because I assumed it was the healthiest choice. However, when I was offered a chance to try Yoplait Kids yogurt for free, my frugal self just couldn't pass up the opportunity. I found out that Yoplait Kids uses no artificial sweeteners or flavors, plus it has "25% less sugar than the leading kid's yogurt." (I wasn't able to verify that statement, but it came with the marketing materials for the prize pack.)

This morning, Charlotte tried the Banana Yoplait Kids yogurt and really liked it. She even let me feed her almost the entire container! Yeah Yoplait!

Now, onto the good stuff... this week, I am giving away
  • 1 Yoplait Kid's lunch cooler,
  • 1 package of Brain Quest (for 2-3 year olds), and
  • 1 coupon for a free package of Yoplait Kids yogurt drink or yogurt cups.
I will draw 1 lucky winner next Monday. There are three ways to enter and you can do any of them you like, for up to three entries:
  1. Leave a comment telling me you want to enter,
  2. Subscribe to my RSS feed, and leave a 2nd comment telling me you did so, or already are subscribed, and
  3. Link to my giveaway on your own blog, leaving another comment with the permalink to you post.
That's it. 3 ways to win and 1 lucky winner. This giveaway will end at midnight on Monday, September 1.

One more opportunity for you:
Please take a few minutes to complete the 2008 Lands' End Outerwear Survey. The survey consists of 19 multiple-choice questions. Upon completing the survey, your name will be entered to win one of five $100 Lands' End Gift Cards. To be eligible to win, you must complete the survey by midnight (CST) on Thursday, August 28th. Take the Survey Now!

Don't miss any of my upcoming giveaways -
Subscribe to Family Musings by Email or Subscribe in a reader

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday Meditation - Week 5

Have you ever had one of those days when you felt like a complete failure? You know, nothing seems to go right, no matter how hard you try? Ever had one of those weeks?

Yeah, me too. I recently had a day like that and at the end of it, all I could do is cry. I knew deep in my hard that my problems that day had been caused by my prideful heart. I didn't want to repent. I didn't want to ask for forgiveness. I wanted so badly to be right, for the people I had wronged to come to me and accept responsibility for my actions towards them.

You know what? It didn't happen. You know why? Because I was the one that was wrong. Did they have their own sin? Possibly. But it wasn't for me to deal with or confront. I had to look into my mirror and suck it up and own up to my negative attitude, my unkind words, and my hasty reactions.

I had planned to meditate on John 3.17 this week. The church we have been attending has used this as their adult memory verse for the month so I've been thinking about it. When I sat down to type this up though, I didn't think I would end up still using it.

Now though, I do think it is relevant to what I expressed above. Let's read it together:
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3.17 (NIV)
Usually, when I mess up, my self-esteem takes a big hit. I can't sleep. I replay the situation in my head a million times. I write pretend blog posts to let off steam. I get passive-aggressive. I act snippy. It isn't pretty folks. You wouldn't want to be around when Hurricane Jenn hits.

But you know what, Jesus didn't save me so that I could throw pity parties. He didn't come down to this earth to play the violin for me. And according to this verse, he didn't come here to condemn me either.

Personally, when I screw up, I condemn myself all over the place. A sin towards my husband balloons and becomes sin towards other family members. And these are all really sins towards God.

That isn't what Jesus wants from me. He wants to save me from my sin, not make me replay it over and over in my head. He wants to rescue me from my mistakes, not watch me wallow in misery because I suck.

Now, is it right to feel remorse over sin? Certainly. That is my conscious speaking, the Holy Spirit revealing my human nature to me. But what should I do with that remorse? This is what the Bible says:
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful. James 5.16 (HCSB)
Therefore repent and turn back, that your sins may be wiped out so that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord... Acts 3.19 (HCSB)
So now, I am going to confess my sins, pray for the people I have wronged, and purpose to turn my back on my negative behavior. I need a season of refreshing.

What about you? What is heavy on your heart this week? I invite you to either write you own post and link to it in the comments, or just leave your thoughts in the comments.

Also, I'll be beginning a study of Lies Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free in a couple of weeks and would love to have some of my blogging buddies join me. I will probably use this study as a focus for my Monday Meditations and it would be fun to have some online friends contribute as well. If you are interested, leave me a note in the comments and get yourself a copy of the book and workbook. We start Friday, September 5th!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saturday Stories

This week we had a blast! Charlotte and I went to the gymnastics studio again , only this time I remembered the camera! And, then I figured out how to use One True Media to edit the videos so I could share this with you:

We also had fun visiting Explorations V, a children's museum in downtown Lakeland. Charlotte finally got to paint! They do art projects on Fridays and this week was foam painting. She didn't eat too much of it, and got cranky when I took the paint brushes from her, but I think we might have a budding artist on our hands. I didn't think to take my camera with me, so this photo of her painting will have to do.

I will confess that I made the purple moon and the red C. The rest though, was all Charlotte. She even mixed the blue and yellow paint to make the green. I was impressed with how easily she cleaned up too. The paint was made with glue, shaving cream, and tempera paint and came off her face with just a wipe and her hands just by running water over them. And it didn't stain her hair at all. (Can you tell tempera paint is new to me?)

I also thought I'd round up some of the new things I discovered that Charlotte can do:
  • She is walking, fast. It isn't quite a run, but she can boogey.
  • She isn't afraid to walk away from me in public places.
  • I let her pick out her outfits each morning, from 2 that I choose.
  • She understands simple commands, like "go get your ball," and "put Tigger on the couch."
  • She can also answer simple questions, such as "where is your ball?" and "where is your juice?" Of course, she answers these questions by going to be near the object.
  • Her signs include all done, hug (which she made up herself), and milk. We are working on mommy, stop, and thank you.

Friday, August 22, 2008

New Blogging Schedule

I have been posing here kind of randomly since April 2007. In the beginning, I was pretty inconsistent with my posts, but now, a day rarely goes by without me sharing something with you. It is wonderful to me to be able to share with you and then receive feedback from you.

As it stands now, I have a gazillion post ideas floating around in my head all of the time. Apart from trying to remember all of them, I thought it would be beneficial to you, my lovely and endearing readings, to come up with some sort of schedule for sharing my stories, pictures, reviews, and giveaways.

This, of course, is tentative, and subject to change based on my whims and fancies.
  • Sunday - I'm taking the day off from posting. Go and do likewise. Spend some time with your family or in quiet solitude.
  • Monday - I'll share my take on different portions of scripture. It's called Monday Meditations. I will begin going through Lies Women Believe on September 8th. Why not get a copy and join me?
  • Tuesday - Review and Giveaway day! Find out what I found cute, interesting, fun, or just plain useful.
  • Wednesday - Pictures and Vlogging. It will be nice to take a day off from the writing. Not only do I have a ton of pictures of my Charlotte Moon I am also going to be a featured Vlogger at!!! I am so excited!
  • Thursday - List day. Find 13 facts, people, pictures, links here. Whatever strikes my fancy, times 13.
  • Friday - Open. I have nothing regular planned at this time, this will be the day I do a brain dump.
  • Saturday - Story day! I'll try to recap some of the highlights of our week.
What do you think? Is there anything that you'd like to see me include that isn't already here?

Does having a posting schedule make you more or less likely to read and leave a comment?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Review of Charlotte's Life Thus Far

This is Charlotte the first week she was home. Her head was still a little cone-shaped.
During her 2nd month at home, we got to have dinner out at Chili's. I don't think she was thrilled about their babyback ribs!

By month 3 she was loving her bath time. I particularly like the inquisitive look on her face.
Books. Lots of books. At 4 months old, she began reading on her own. Okay, I'm kidding, but it sure looks like she is reading in this pic doesn't it?
By month 5, Charlotte had been to Bok Tower too many times to count. And I always took too many pictures of her!
Here's another restaurant picture.This time, in month 6, we are in our fancy Chico chair at the not so fancy Pizza Box.
Another Bok Tower picture. This is Charlotte in her Easter dress, during month 7.
Not only had she become a clothes horse by month 8, she also learned to love bags.
On the move, crawling all over everything in month 9, she claimed this shelf as her own.
In month 10, she then claimed this cabinet too. It is the only cabinet in my kitchen without a safety latch.
I love her smile! 11 months old and she is already dressing to match the upholstery? Huh? It's just that her G-ma likes these colors so decorates and dresses Charlotte in them!
Now, here we are at 12 months old. She is walking everywhere and can't get enough of life!
And for number 13... my new favorite picture of Charlotte. Bright eyes, goopy orange popsicle on her face, and the bright swimsuit, all just come together for me in a way that makes my heart melt.

This is my 11th edition of Thursday Thirteen. Head on over to the main site to check out more 13-related posts.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back to School

This giveaway is now closed. Winners have been contacted.

It's that time of year again. Students where I live went back to school this Monday and now have their lives scheduled for the next 9 months. Family vacations are dictated by school calendars. Parents have to get lunches packed daily. School uniforms have to be washed and ironed.

Boy am I glad I only have 1 big kid to pack lunches for. He is happy with leftovers and irons his own clothes!

Now though, I really am home alone with Charlotte all day. We've found lots of things to occupy our time - playgroups, new birthday toys, red balls, you get the idea.

Our schedule is actually pretty full. Between that and Charlotte being too young for some things, I have a big giveaway this week. I received my virtual swag box from BlogHER, courtesy of BSM Media and can't use all of the goodies they sent me. So, here is what you can win this week:
I will draw 2 lucky winners. There are three ways to enter and you can do any of them you like, for up to three entries:
  1. Leave a comment telling me you want to enter,
  2. Subscribe to my RSS feed, and leave a 2nd comment telling me you did so, or already are subscribed, and
  3. Link to my giveaway on your own blog, leaving another comment with the permalink to you post.
That's it. 3 ways to win and 2 lucky winners. This giveaway will end at midnight on Tuesday, August 26.

Don't miss any of my upcoming giveaways - Subscribe to Family Musings by Email

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Blogging Friends

I have made many new friends since I started blogging in April 2007. One of my more recent friends, Esme's mommy, honored me with the Share the Magic award last week.

RDH Mom, the creator of this award, says, "It is lovingly called the "Share the Magic Award". It is for sharing your magic in the world of blogging. I have met some incredible people since I have started blogging. I think of you as my friends and liken you a pen pal. I have met bloggers from all over the world, from as far away as Australia to as close as a nearby city.... We share our lives, our hopes, our dreams, and our most embarrassing moments. I don't know how I stumbled upon my first blog, or why I got the notion to start one of my own. I have unleashed a passion for writing that I never knew I had. Because of the encouragement you give me with your comments, I am nurturing this passion, and loving every minute of it. That is the Magic of Blogging.....and for that reason I am bestowing this award to my wonderful friends in the blogging world."

In the spirit of this award, I'd like to pass it on to my current favorite blogging mommas!

Rebecca of Proverbs Mom - I actually knew Rebecca IRL before she began blogging and am so glad she did! Since we live so far apart, it is nice to have our blogs to keep up with the fam.

Erica of We are the Webels - I don't even really remember how I found her blog, but when I got to meet her in real life shortly after Charlotte was born, I knew I had found a good friend. Erica encourages me in ways she doesn't even know and she always posts the most adorable pictures of her three kids.

Emily of DesignHER Momma - This is a momma who knows how to live! She recently fulfilled her lifelong dream of being a carnie and proved that moms can still have fun without resorting to playing tag and singing the clean-up song.

Rachel of Gone with the Winds - I think this was the first blog I ever read. Rachel has had her hands full lately with a new baby and renovating a new apartment, all while her husband is establishing a new business. She also inspires me in ways that she will never know.

Andrea of Momma in FlipFlops2 - While she doesn't share stories of her babies, she does share lots of giveaways from around the rest of the blogosphere. I always find something new that I want to win.

I could list several more, but 5 is plenty for now. Maybe someone day I'll be given another award and will be able to pass it on to the other great blogging mommas I know.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday Meditation - Week 4

Last week, I started making a more deliberate effort to "teach" Charlotte. It isn't anything formal, I mean, she's only been 1 for a week! But I needed something to focus my energies and this site, shared with me by an old friend, helped. Each 2-week lesson includes a Bible verse to recite for Charlotte. I don't expect she will learn too much from this right now, but as I mentioned previously, it is my job to be an example to her.

The verse I meditated on last week, and will again spend time considering this coming week is Proverbs 1.5.
"A wise man will listen and increase his learning, and a discerning man will obtain guidance."
There are lots of things that I am good at. I can cook a pretty tender chicken, changing a diaper is no problem (now), and I'm pretty good at keeping up my e-mail correspondence. One thing however, that I am very NOT good at is listening.

Ask my dad. We can be talking on the phone and all of a sudden he'll ask me if I've checked out. He always knows when my mind has wandered away from our conversation.

Ask my husband. I have asked him at least 8 times this summer what classes he is teaching this year. Finally, last week, after time number 8, I got it down - 11th grade IB World Religion, 11th grade IB Biology, and 9th grade Earth-Space Science/Biology.

So with this week's verse, I asked him to print it out and I've posted it downstairs, where I will see it several times a day. This verse speaks 2 points to me.

First, listen to learn. I can't learn from other people or God if I am the one doing all the talking. I must be quiet. This is hard for me. I like noise.

Second, seek wisdom. I am not expected to be the all-wise, all-knowing mom. Wise people ask for guidance, so why shouldn't I also ask for wisdom? I am not wise yet, but I want to be so I should emulate those who are.

What are you meditating on this week? Leave a link to your own post, or just leave your thoughts in a comment below.

Also, I'll be beginning a study of Lies Women Believe: And the Truth that Sets Them Free in a couple of weeks and would love to have some of my blogging buddies join me. I will probably use this study as a focus for my Monday Meditations and it would be fun to have some online friends contribute as well. If you are interested, leave me a note in the comments and get yourself a copy of the book and workbook. We start Friday, September 5th!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wordless Monday

Newsflash: My guest post on pedicures is up at Chic Critique today. Remember, if you love me, or even like me, head over and leave a comment.

Polk Playdate

I hadn't mentioned it yet, but we found a playgroup! Yeah! Charlotte and I have met several fun moms and kids. We've enjoyed going to playdates at a few new to us places around Lakeland.

This past week, we went to play in the pool of one of the moms. It was neat to see how all of the babies (9 months - 19 months) play differently in the pool. Some of the babies were very brave and wanted to be let loose in the water. Their moms however, wisely kept them close. My baby liked to hang out in her hippo float and didn't mind just watching and taking in all that was going on around her.

I am only showing pictures of Charlotte since I never asked permission from the other moms to share pics of their kids. And I don't have any of the pool because pools and digital cameras don't mix.

This first image is my favorite from the day. Charlotte is peering around her stroller to watch some of the older kids playing around the pool. I love the look of curiosity in her eyes.

Her first popsicle! She let me hold it for a while, but eventually that wasn't good enough. As usual, she needed to be in control of the situation. I let her, but she had orange sticky goop all over her!
This is actually one of the first pictures I took. She seems so unsure of what is going on. Eventually though, she warmed up to the situation and toddled around with all the other kids.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Olympic Spirit

Charlotte got into the Olympic spirit Friday morning while wearing her 5 Fuwas shirt that a friend in China sent us (not the friend that I linked to, another one).

Which Olympic sport do you think Charlotte should play? Basketball?
How about Shot Put?

Hmm... maybe not.
Or should our little girl be a track star?
As for me:

You Are Gymnastics

You are agile, expressive, and precise.

You have the drive to practice until you get something perfectly right.

And you have the confidence to perform difficult moves when under pressure.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Allergy Guide by Zagats

Bruce has allergies. And sometimes I do too. We take the generic Claritin that I buy super cheap at Sam's Club using my parent's membership. (Is that too cheap?)

Bruce also likes to travel. Wouldn't it be nice for him to know what to expect allergy-wise as he made his trips? Well, now he can.

Zagat Survey, of travel-guide fame, has teamed up with GlaxoSmithKline, have created a new resource for travelers called Out & About with Allergies: An Insider's Guide to Enjoying the City.

This is a free (see why my frugal self likes this?) guide that features restaurants and attractions in 20 different cities. "Each destination is reviewed in the unique Zagat style, featuring input from people who have actually been there. The guide also includes simple tips that can make spending time in the fresh air easier for adults and children with nasal allergies."

You can sign up for your own free copy by clicking this link. If you complete the optional survey afterwards, you can also get some coupons for allergy medicine.

Leave a comment if you sign up then we can compare notes once we receive our guides!

1st Birthday Pictures

Charlotte's 1st birthday pictures were taken a week ago today. If you want to view them, you'll have to click this link.

This one is my favorite.

Which one did you like best?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Linky Love - Giveaway Edition

I want to share some websites with you that were generous enough to choose me as their giveaway winner. Some of these were recent giveaways, and some happened a while ago. And, if you make it all the way to the end of my short list, there are some pictures of Charlotte.

Don't Give Him Crackers! - I won a $10 CVS gift card plus a TON of coupons from Jessica. Her site is funny and refreshing as she shares tales of her red-headed toddler.

Gotcha Baby - I won a Hallmark Keepsake ornament from Michelle. She has a cool relationship with Hallmark since her husband won a dance contest that they sponsored. I didn't understand it until I read about it too.

Living to the Hilt - I won 3 books about Africa from this cool lady, who, according to her profile loves "books, British detective movies, opera, NPR, cooking, orphans, not-so-big living, raising chickens, dark chocolate, sewing, social justice, sweet wines, simple living, aprons, thoughtful music, locally-grown food, flowers, and Jesus." Oh, and she creates CRAZY long to-do lists!

Ladybugs & Lullabies - Charlotte won a handful of no-slip hairbows from Allyson a couple of months ago and I don't think I ever shared the link. Not only are the bows adorable, but they really don't slip out of Charlotte's hair.

And if you made it this far, here are a couple of pictures of Charlotte being her adorable self!

Here is Charlotte playing with her new Dolly. Yes, those are socks on her hands. We were pretending she was a lady wearing white gloves.And this is just her hamming it up for the camera!

Me again... I couldn't help but add 1 more link for you to browse. Momville is giving away a $30 gift certificate to Mountains of the Moon, an eco-friendly, bohemian style clothing shop. Click over and enter her giveaway, or don't, then I'll have a better chance of winning.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Raisinets, courtesy of BSM Media

I received a box of goodies last week from BSM Media as part of their Virtual Swag Bag from BlogHer.

When I opened my Fedex box and dug through the packaging, I found 2 limp bags of melted Raisinets.

First thought - Ew.

Second thought - Who sends chocolate in the mail to FL?!

Third thought - I bet I could put these in the fridge and they would all better again in a couple of days.

Guess what? I was right! I ate one bag yesterday and one bag today... now I think I am in love with Raisinets.

Blurry photo courtesy of Flickr. Oh, and Raisinets is spelled with only 1 T and no E at the end.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Bruce

You are 31 years old today! And to prove you aren't an old man yet, I thought I'd share a couple of recent pictures of you being extra silly. Don't hate me... :)

Playing with Charlotte's new tunnel.

Trying to get a smiley picture out of Charlotte.
Hamming it up for the camera.

Birthday image courtesy of Photobucket.

The Old Schoolhouse - A Guest Review

Jennifer has let me be a guest blogger today. Thanks Jenn! I am a home schooling mom of 3 kids and have come across two products I would like to review for you.

I subscribe to The Old Schoolhouse magazine. This is a home schooling magazine. They have developed a planner with a wealth of forms and ideas for keeping a busy mom (home schooling or not) on top of her game. There are calendars, topic ideas and recipes for every month of the year. There are home schooling forms for record keeping and planning. There is a section for household forms for grocery shopping, babysitting, vacation planning, and anything else you need for running a smooth household. The best thing I like about the planner is that it is written in Adobe and you can customize the pages to fit your needs better. You can also save what you have done. The graphics are great and this is something I know that I will enjoy using this entire year.

The other product I would like to review for you is the digital version of The old Schoolhouse Magazine. This is a new option they have developed for subscribers. You can turn the pages and click on articles to read further. One feature I really liked was the ability to forward articles to friends that may benefit from reading them. The one thing I didn’t like was that while “thumbing” through the magazine I found the print a little small and blurry. Of course this is easily remedied by zooming in or clicking on the article to read it. The magazine is great. The articles are current and cover a variety of topics ranging from current affairs to teaching topics. There are products advertised for all methods of home schooling. This is a great way to view the magazine.

Thanks for letting me take the time to share with you these two products. I know fully what it means to be busy and how delighted when a friend shares with me what makes her life easier. If this blog has sparked any interest in home schooling or this planner or magazine you can find them both at

Thanks again,

Sunday, August 10, 2008

11 Interesting Facts About Charlotte

  1. She knows 2 signs - "all done" and "hug." As her Daddy mentioned, she made up the sign for hug herself.
  2. She can put herself to sleep at night now, though still likes a little attention every 3-4 hours at night.
  3. Crawling is only used if something is almost in arm's reach or she is tired. Otherwise, Charlotte is on her feet running back and forth between Mommy and Daddy.
  4. The ring stacker is no challenge for her, but putting them on in size order is. Every time she plays with it, she always, without fail, waits to but the rounded, unpainted piece on top, right where it belongs.

    Ring Toy from Jennifer S on Vimeo.
  5. She climbs the stairs faster than her G-ma.
  6. When it comes to playing with her shape sorter, she can get all of the shapes in their holes, if we show her the right hole.
  7. Charlotte doesn't like to be fed. She especially exerts her budding independence at the table, only wanting to eat foods she can put in her mouth herself.
  8. Her favorite foods are macaroni and cheese, blueberries, and drinkable banana yogurt.
  9. There always has to be something in her hands, preferably something soft and small that won't prevent her from climbing the stairs.
  10. Buttons. Buttons. Buttons. If I had a nickle, nay a penny, for every button she pushes, I'd be a millionaire already. She knows how to turn the TV on and off, and how to turn the volume up - loud!
  11. The camera is Charlotte's favorite friend. Whatever she is doing, if a camera appears, she immediately stops doing it and begins hamming it up for the camera. She will chase you down if you try to get away too.

    Charlotte Walking from Jennifer S on Vimeo.
  12. Oh, and her sense of humor is still a little low-brow. The giggle towards the end of that last video is a result of her daddy bumping his head on the table as he walked backwards trying to get away from her!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Birthday Pictures Are Here

I am not sure that any other baby has ever had almost 500 pictures taken of her on a single day - until last Saturday.

There were 4 different people taking pictures at her party. I had my work cut out for me in choosing the best to present to you.

The Gifts

new sofa 004 michelle 037

1st birthday 020 1st birthday 051 grumpy 231 1st birthday 007image michelle 055

The Food (including the cake)

1st birthday 008 1st birthday 068

(Click here for the before pictures of the cakes.)

bruce sr 090 bruce sr 103 bruce sr 108

bruce sr 126 bruce sr 144

Is 15 pictures too many? I hope it didn't take your page too long to load. :) If I get a chance, I might share some video later this week too.