Friday, April 30, 2010

Little Blue-Door Schoolhouse (aka "Giger Academy")

Here's what I did on my way home today:

This has not been a banner week for my homeschool either.  Monday started pretty good, Tuesday things started sliding, by Wednesday we were in full skid and today we just gave up.  Well, that's pretty dramatic, but I guess it wasn't really all that bad, I just didn't live up to my expectations.

I guess that is the problem though, "my expectations".  I know how I want it, I know how my husband wants it, I know how we planned it.  The problem is getting that "Vision" to "Reality",  We've been reading Andy Stanley's book The Principle of The Path with our church's small group. 

Pretty much all of us have wondered "how did I get here?" Maybe it's a relationship, maybe finances, your career (or lack thereof).  The basic premise of this book is that Direction (not Intention) Determines your Destination.  Wow, that seems pretty simple, but it's much harder to apply to our daily lives!

We applied this teaching to our finances, cracked down, had a $900 garage sale (yikes!) and with God's help, a cashed out IRA, and our IRS refund, we are DEBT FREE!

I've been working this week to apply this to our homeschool.  I have to stop for a minute and admit that I am a reluctant homeschooler.  I'm not one of those gung-ho, "it's the only way to go", hard-core, public-school hating, types (not that there is anything inherently wrong with those views, except maybe the hating one!).  I did not WANT to do this, but with our options here, it was the best decision. The more I see, the more glad I am that we made that decision!

This is our first year back to homeschool. We HS'd for Kindergarten for our oldest, since we were in Dallas ISD and then did a charter school for his 1st-4th grades. He did very well.  My daughter was at the charter school for Kindergarten through 3rd grade. She is a kinetic-auditory learner, so she was always in trouble for being out of her seat and talking :)

We use Swtched-on-Schoolhouse from Alpha Omega Publishing. It is a computer-based curriculum that starts at 3rd grade (after reading and writing are firmly established).
I hope that as we continue the HS journey I will get better and better. The good news is, my kids learn much more on accident than I could ever teach them on purpose. As long as I keep my eyes open for learning opportunities and sieze them, I'm happy.  My hubby is more of a "6 hours around the kitchen table" type. So we are compromising with the core curriculum (Bible, Math, Language Arts, Science, History & Geography) supplemented by lots of "found" learning (i.e. "ooh - that's a neat spider, I wonder what kind it is? How do they get their webs to look like that" inspires a trip to the library and a few hours of hanging out, looking at books and talking about it.)

Yesterday we went to "Bodies, The Exhibition" at Dallas West End, spent about 45 minutes walking around, bought a book and then I am having them each write one page on it. I have other anatomy "stuff" to follow-up with them later.

One thing that I did accomplish this week: I made a school house!  Well, actually I repurposed my dining room by placing the dining table in the kitchen, and moving the smaller round table to the dining room.  To make sure it was ECO-chic and ECOnomical, I took 3 bulletin boards (picked up by thrifting, off course!) and spray-painted the frames the same color.

(sorry about the lawn honey!)

Then I covered it with a fabric that complemented my rooms and finished it off with nail-head trim. 

The shelf in front is our old changing table from the nursery! In the corner is a blackboard that our neighbor gave us, in the front is my lovely daughter, working on her laptop. This was Wednesday, right before the slide - LOL.

So, I guess we ARE moving in the right DIRECTION, and with God's help, we will arrive!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

30 Day True Woman Makeover

I have recently started listening to Christian radio again.  Talk radio, that is.  I have always kept tuned in to 94.9 KLTY, except for days when I was feeling especially sorry for myself and wanted to wallow in some country music :)

After we lost Ian, talk radio just irritated me.  Much of it just sounded too goody goody, to out there, too philisophical, too politically motivated, too irrelevant.  I know now that it was really my raw nerves and the feeling as though MY world had ended and finding it hard to imagine that the physical world continued on.

So, after 3 and a half years of grieving, healing, contemplation, meditation, heated words with God, depression, growth, tentative prayers, questions about what is true, re-thinking everything... well, you get the idea!  Once your life is shaken to the very core, it is difficult to cling to the most basic things, let alone contemplate the wonders of an infinate God.  Last year my mom asked me if I thought we were in the end times.  My response?  "I don't have the emotional real estate to even think about that!"

Now that I am not fully consumed by grief, I do have a bit more to invest, so I have started to nurture my soul and spirit with Biblical teaching once again. Yesterday I heard a broadcast on 90.9 KCBI from Revive Our Hearts.  It was the first in an interesting series on Modesty.  This is a subject that I have always (well, as an adult!) been passionate about.  Especially now that I have a daughter (who wants  to be a model - God help us please!)

I went to the website to check out the series and found out about the True Woman Movement
After reading the material and signing the manifesto, I signed up for the 30 Day Makeover Challenge.

Day one opens with these questions:
  1. Where do you get your ideas about what it means to be a woman?
  2. Who has the most influence on your behavior and attitudes?
Wow - That could take weeks to answer!  There is so much that comes to mind, not the least of which is the quote:
button available here (although by the end of this study, I'm not sure that I'll want one!)

Obviously our mother's have the biggest impact on us, good or bad.  In my case the influence is predominately good:  godly, biblical, conservative, committed, fun, beautiful, thrifty.

My mom also was the first one to point me to the Bible as the authority on all things, not jsut about how to be a woman.

My good friend, Laura Belt, was the woman who really mentored me as a young wife and mother, providing though-provoking non-judgemental conversations and always being transparent in her quest for godliness.

So - those are my thoughts on day 1.  I'm not promising to post each day, but I'm going to try!  I'd love to hear your thoughts and see if you'd like to sign up for hte makeover as well!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring Cleaning? I want your junk!

You'd be amazed at what I can make out of junk!  Just a few months ago I saw this broken cabinet door sitting on my neighbor's curb:

A few days later, I got a call from a client, she wanted me to do a custom piece with some heirloom photos and pages from her great grandmother's bible.  Here's how it turned out:

What do you think? 
Here's what my client said (in an e-mail to our entire networking group!): Noel just delivered a custom art piece I had her do for me - it is beautiful. She used my great-grandmother's old Bible (the pages that were falling out, some of the doilies GGM made, a peacock feather tucked in the Bible, old photos I had, etc. I was thrilled. See the photo of it below - she used an old cabinet door that had a glass face for the frame.
If you are cleaning out your closets and attics, garages and basements, please take a look at this list!  Plus, you can save up to $10.00 off of your [ReDeemed] purchase when you recycle the following items:

  • 3x3 or 4x4 natural stone or terracotta tiles – 50 cents each
  • Wood serving trays - $1.00 - $3.00 depending on size
  • Vintage wrapping paper - $2.00
  • Vintage wallpaper (pre-1980) - $2.00
  • Old hymnals (pre-1950) - $2.00
  • Backgammon games (not plastic pieces!) - $3.00
  • Framed art (11x14 or larger) - $3.00
  • Canvases (any size)
  • Broken or old jewelry (rhinestones are great!) - varies
  • Cork rolls or tiles - varies
  • Vintage fabric (pre-1960) - varies
  • Broken watches, parts, small gears, etc. - varies
  • Hand-written letters (vintage and/or foreign language are even better!) - varies
  • Wooden boxes, crates, old dresser drawers, etc.
  • Cigar boxes
  • Old windows, doors, cabinets
  • anything rusty :)
  • Old paper, notes, reciepts, broken spine books, aged and waterspotted even better!
  • Just about anything - just ask!
Limits: up to $2.00 off minimum purchase of $10.00, up to $5.00 off minimum purchase of $25.00, up to $10.00 off minimum purchase of $40.00 or more. May not be combined with any other offer.

Stone Angels & Iron Gates: "On Angels Wings" by Edward Chesney

This is so beautiful! I just wanted to share..

Stone Angels & Iron Gates: "On Angels Wings" by Edward Chesney

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fantastic ECO DIY Portable Spice Solution

The Handy Hausfrau: Portable Spice Kit for Camping or Travel

Check out this great project from The Handy Hausfrau!
I'm thinking this will be a must do project before summer and fall vacations!

My hubby loves to cook, so whether we're staying with friends or in our timeshare condo, he's always whipping up something. The problem is that he can't always find the right spices in their cabinets or at local stores. This is the perfect solution!

A great way to [ReDeem] those extra medicine containers!
check out the FB fan page for [ReDeemed] unique art!

Monday, April 5, 2010

$100 shopping spree to [ReDeemed], plus blog makeover and $100 GC to marie-madeline studio!

Wow - this is the largest event that I have been involved with so far! 
The fantastic ladies over on At The Well are celebrating
(actually it's more of a Par-Tay!) their first anniversary. 
They have a HUGE selection of giveaways as well as 3 amazing raffles.

Please click here to go to the entire list (grab a cup of coffee!)

and here to go directly to raffle # 2, where you'll find the [ReDeemed] prize package!

Want to make your wish list for when you win?  Check out my latest Spring items on the Facebook Fan page.  You have to be a fan to see them all, so go ahead and click that button!

Here's a piece that sold recently:

"Love Ablaze"

What started as a discarded college art project picked up in a junk store is now a 1 of a kind peice of artwork!

I used images from a vintage art history book and a resin cross with the words from 1 Corinthians 13 "the love chapter".
apx. 11 x 14  -  $43.00

This piece is 100% unique and 100% [ReDeemed]

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Piles of laundry doth abound...

It just sounds better in King James, I think!

I've been on hiatus from the computer (well at least that was the plan) until my house is clean.  We've made some good progress, but life just gets in the way sometimes!  Like the kid's starting allergy shots this week.  Like realizing that I forgot to pay the water bill and having to run to the city hall to keep it on!  Like being invited to join the board of directors for a non-profit group that is dear to my heart, Camp Sol.

I'm trying to figure out how to balance all of this.  I'm not very good at it apparently!  I need staff.  I'm a great planner and director (which is working out pretty good ordering the kids around this week), I am just not a good grunt.

Doing laundry is gruntwork.  Vaccuuming is gruntwork.  Paying bills is gruntwork.  Cooking is even gruntwork for me.  Sheesh.  I know that at the root of it I'm just selfish.  I want what I want.  I'd like to be served, to be cared for, to be helped.  It dawned on me a few years ago that help is not on the way.  I wanted my hubby to do more (which he really does - he spoils us!)  However, I was created to be his helpmeet, not the other way around (drat!)

We are spending much time this week refocusing our hearts to be servants to Daddy/Hubby.  He LOVES a clean house.  He loves being able to come home and cook for us (I told you we were spoiled!)  We started with the "Family room" (which is code for "TV room", it makes it seem more friendly LOL)  When he gets home he also likes to relax with his DVR, catch up on shows and chill.

When he got home on Monday, he said "You started with my room first?  Thank you!"

That makes it all worth the grunting.

Don't stop - there's lots more good stuff...

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