Getting my act together

I’ve totally been getting my act together!  Ok, so maybe just a little….I have been busy finishing various projects and pestering Remy to take pictures of them, so I can add some fun stuff to my store!  I already added box & drawer dividers, and up next will be perpetual daily journaling calendars, sets of handmade cards, and custom listings for upcycled summer dresses.  As I head back to my craft room to continue working, I leave you a teaser….


Hello again! Spring is here!

Hello again!!!  Guess what?  Spring is here!  Flowers and trees have color all of a sudden and we’ve had some sunny days and warmer temperatures here in Cleveland.  Then we had snow.  This is normal.  Horrible, through-the-window-screen photo warning:


I am happy to finally put up another post!  As always, my sister Rosy is my blogging inspiration.  She made the switch over to WordPress from Blogger recently and convinced me to do so as well.  She did not try to do this, I just copied her–LOL–and it has spurred me to write some more.

I will be adding a little store to my new website so more people can benefit from the exacting standards my sister requires of the crafty things I create for her.  It will include special occasion cards, card sets, custom dividers for binders and for boxes (like these-scroll down), upcycled clothing made from vintage fabrics, zippered pouches of many sizes, and much, much more.  Maybe not all at once, though!! I will also be taking a few custom orders, when time allows.

I will also soon be updating our homeschooling curriculum and I plan to post about it, as well.  Our school district extended their new dual enrollment program to homeschooling families and we hope to take advantage of that this year.  We have discovered that just as we settle into a homeschooling comfort zone, something changes and forces us to re-evaluate…Over and over and over again. :/

I’m trying hard to keep up with posts, but have not yet found my groove.  A lot has been going on personally (Rosy already posted about the major one) and my mind is even more scattered than usual.  I appreciate your patience and I hope to have more for you soon, another chance to say hello again!

A new venture

I am now officially accepting requests for unique, handmade items and for services needed.  I can do lots of different things, as you can see by the list below.  I offer an in-between option for folks who do not want or cannot afford high-priced professionals but still don’t want to do it yourself.  I am like your virtual big sister that you can call upon to rescue you in a pinch!  I am not limited to the items listed, just ASK ME!!

Long breaks….

I tend to hyperfocus, shifting my laser-like beam on one topic or project, before abandoning it for something else.  I circle around like this, always trying harder to take small bites of more things rather than wolfing an entire project to the exclusion of, well, everything else.  A few of my recent endeavors are below…

Turned some curtains and an old bedskirt from my sister into a skirt.

Made a jungle in my living room.

And then promptly moved it all to put up another kind of tree.
2014-11-23 01.18.51

Apologies for crappy cell phone photos, but I’m lucky I remember to brush my hair some days, never mind using the fancy schmancy camera.

Hopefully I can post more frequently. Like, post at all, from now on.  We’ll see, I kinda stink at being consistent.


We have homeschooled pretty much from the beginning.  Remy went to public school kindergarten for a few months in Tallahassee, but when we moved home to Cleveland, we decided to give HSing a test run.  Remy was still 5 and Ohio’s compulsory attendance law is for 6, so it was a good time to try.  By the time August rolled around, we knew we would NEVER send Remy to PS again.  He learned SO much from us, much more than he had learned in public school, plus it worked with our schedule–very important since Byron had just started working 3rd shift full time for the first time ever.  Besides, we weren’t ready to spend so much time away from Remy again.  We really hadn’t liked sending him to daycare and then public school, but in Florida we didn’t feel we had much choice.  We are now finishing up our 7th (!!!) year of homeschooling and we have never looked back!  There were a few bumps along the way which I may touch on later, but we have been wildly successful (in spite of those bumps!!).
Remy is currently working on the following courses (although he is in different places in each):
Disclaimer: I link to various other sites throughout this post, including sites from which I purchased and publisher specific sites. If I didn’t buy directly from the publisher, I include that link as well.
Algebra 1
We use a combination of several resources that I meshed into an Excel worksheet.  They include:

clip_image002[5] Cool Math
clip_image004[5] Algebra, Grades 5 – 8, by Don Blattner
clip_image006[5] Practice Makes Perfect Algebra, by Carolyn Wheater
clip_image008[1] Teach Yourself VISUALLY Algebra, by David Alan Herzog

We also have tons of worksheets that we print from the internet and use, including Algebra Help and Math Aids.
One we don’t currently use but is available for extra help and practice is James Brennan’s site — this one has a downloadable text as well as being online.
Another site that is super helpful but a little different is The Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching (CIMT). It offers the entire PreK-12 curriculum for free, everything is printable, and you can pay for physical books to be shipped if you prefer. We have used this website several times in the past.
I created a spreadsheet that lists all the individual sections of each book, what concepts they teach (a scope & sequence, if you will), and in what order—all side-by-side in columns. Then I matched it all up, gave it a sequence that made sense to us, then created assignments from it. Yes, it took hours, over several days. Yes, it was very tedious. But, it was worth it and it’s good for a year’s worth of math 🙂

clip_image010[1] We currently use Apologia’s Exploring Creation with General Science. Remy prefers to use the full course CD-ROM version of the textbook, although I do require him to use the student notebook to record his answers & complete lab reports. We will continue doing this for next year’s Physical Science, as well.


clip_image012[1] We are using the Christian Studies series from Memoria Press, specifically Christian Studies II right now.
We also read the Keys for Kids daily devotional. You can also get these in paper form here.

Language Arts (or English)

clip_image014[1] We use the Classical Composition series from Memoria Press for writing. We just started the second in the series, the Narrative stage. We did the first stage, Fable, on a (my) whim. Remy wasn’t doing well getting his thoughts on the page and was honestly dreading this course. We looked over the sample at the link and he was ok with it, but not enthused. I was looking for something that would “unlock” writing for him since the items we tried previously just weren’t doing for either of us.
This is how MP describes this course series:
What if your could teach your child using the same writing program that produced such masters of the language as John Milton, William Shakespeare, and Benjamin Franklin? What if you could have the same composition curriculum used by Quintilian, the greatest teacher of ancient rhetoric, and Cicero, the greatest persuasive speaker of all time?

Jim Selby has blown the dust off the writing curriculum that was used in schools for over 1,500 years and put it in an easy-to-teach format that will revolutionize your home or private school curriculum. Presented clearly and systematically in a structured curriculum, Classical Composition will give you a clear road map to writing excellence.

Ancient writers invented a way of teaching writing known as the progymnasmata, which provided a method of teaching composition that not only taught budding writers a disciplined way to approach communication, but also helped them appeal to the heads of their audience. The progymnasmata gave them the sylistic tools to appeal to their hearts as well.

The greatest communicators of ancient times, Quintilian and Cicero among them, employed the progymnasmata to teach their students the art of communication. The 14 exercises, organized from the simplest and most basic to the most complex and sophisticated, were the core education of a classical speaker, designed to produce what Quintilian once called, “the good man, speaking well.”

Who wouldn’t want to try that?!?! So I bought it.
We both struggled through the first few lessons, trying to get the hang of this complex and ancient learning style. We finally caught on, though, and after that it was smooth sailing. It turns out that this was what Remy needed! His writing has improved tremendously and we have already purchased all the stages through VI. We would have bought them all, but Memoria Press hasn’t put VII through IX out yet! 🙂

clip_image016[1] For grammar we are using The Mother Tongue: Elementary English Grammar, which is actually three books. They were published prior to 1923, so are copyright-free. The first book can be downloaded for free here, book 2 is here, and book 3 is here. The books are divided into easy daily lessons, but you can rearrange as needed. We typically complete 2 lessons at once, once per week. We are intentionally stretching it out so it lasts longer. This is all the grammar Remy needs, since he also studies Latin.
clip_image018[1] For the literature portion of our day, Remy is working his way through the 7th grade literature set from Memoria Press. It is packaged a little differently than how it was when we purchased it, though—ours includes Robinson Crusoe (current), Wind in the Willows, As You Like It, and A Midsummer’s Night Dream.

Latin & Greek

clip_image020[1] Remy is in his fourth year of Latin, all using Memoria Press material. He is currently using Second Form Latin, after completing Prima Latina, Latina Christiana I, and First Form Latin. He says Latin is his favorite subject and we plan to continue his Latin study through graduation. Latin teaches grammar in a way that almost replaces the need for English grammar as a separate subject. English has a lot of Greek roots, too, so we still use The Mother Tongue, but now it makes more sense why we are going so slowly. 🙂
clip_image022[1] We supplement his Latin with Lingua Angelica I (and later II), as suggested in the Form series. It uses Latin chants to help kids memorize prayers, songs, verses, and blessings in Latin and “connects the dots”, especially for younger learners. For an example of this sound, you can go here and scroll down to hear samples.
clip_image024[1] Remy just finished The Greek Alphabet book, which teaches how to pronounce, read, and write the entire upper & lower case Greek alphabet. It was an introduction into basic Koine Greek (ancient or biblical Greek), and we liked it! I wanted Remy to have a solid foundation in what I call “master” languages (in my head 🙂 ) so that he could choose from a large assortment of modern languages later (if he wants) and do well. Including Greek is also a part of a classical education and I wanted to at least touch on it. We are waiting until August to see if Memoria Press publishes their First Form Greek course (they are still working on the Teacher’s Manual & DVDs/CD); if they are out, we will use those. If not, Memoria Press is substituting Elementary Greek 1, 2, & 3 that we will probably get and zoom through.
clip_image026[1] We just started studying Roots of English – literally, we just completed the introduction! This is the book that takes the Latin & Greek roots of our language and brings it all together. It has no teacher’s manual or lesson plan guide, but the way it is laid out makes it simple to add as much or as little as desired to your school day (or week). I am hoping to have it completed by the end of the (school) year, but if it turns out to be a little more complex than it looks on the surface, we will slow down.


clip_image028[1] We are working through The Story of the World, Volume 3 (Early Modern Times) by Susan Wise Bauer, which covers the years 1600 to 1850. Remy also fills in information in a timeline binder and a map each week that corresponds closely with the reading done in SOTW. This follows volumes 1 and 2 and precedes volume 4.
clip_image030[1] The timeline binder uses these timeline figures. I bought an 11” x 14” landscape-oriented binder and cardstock from Staples. I used the guidelines (scroll down) that Homeschool in the Woods suggested for date ranges on the pages and we decorated the front with history-related pictures that spoke to us. It was fun! See!?
clip_image034[1] The geography curriculum from which we pull Remy’s maps is Map Trek, the Complete Collection, from Knowledge Quest. It is divided into 4 separate time periods, just like SOTW and the timeline figures. We use the curriculum integration guides here and here to make it easy for these “pieces” to be a comprehensive history course. We also play online games like this and board games like this and this.
clip_image036[1] One last thing we also use for history is Famous Men of the Middle Ages from Memoria Press.

Other Stuff

clip_image038[1] Remy asked to have this course added to his day—he LOVES Home Ec topics, but wanted to have them in this light unit format so he had defined lessons to complete. We used a lot of CLE (Christian Light Education) when he was younger, but as he got older the courses were not always in the LU format (we he loved), he was progressing faster in some areas requiring me to research other options sooner, and I read a book called The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer. This course was a way to have his beloved LUs back and was also his version of an “easy A.”
clip_image040[1] We also have these art cards (Memoria Press, of course) hanging around to look through. We haven’t done much formal art study, although we also have this art history book and we have an entire room dedicated to various forms of art 🙂
clip_image042[1] Remy also has this guitar and this keyboard, plus he received an mp3 player last Christmas and has access to lots of different kinds of music. Byron and I have widely different tastes in music that only occasionally intersect, so he is exposed to a lot of stuff.

Are you tired yet?
I am.

Not gone, hopefully not forgotten

I’m still here, I have been cleaning SOOOOO much in the craft room.  I will have a post on it soon.  Here is a sneak peek:


I know you’re excited to see more, but reorganizing an ENTIRE room full of craft supplies, office supplies, clothes, and stuff I don’t remember having takes quite some time….  😀


I will be posting again later, so hang around!

Not your typical blog post.

You usually see fancy schmancy photos and stuff.  Not here, uh uh.  See:

Not bad, right?  Here’s what is looks like when I take a few steps back:

Hahahahahaha!!  Yeah, it’s still a disaster 🙂

I am in the process of replacing some of my organizational furniture, so there’ll be a crapton of new photos soon.  I hope.  Ha!  🙂

Just a quickie….

My last post was about my disastrous craft room.  While Remy & I were visiting my sister and dad in Arid-zona last month, I got to visit a store we don’t have nearby…Ikea!!!  I was SO excited!  I have drooled over organizational pictures on Pinterest and I have wanted to outfit my house from there for quite some time. During my inaugural visit, some of the things I bought were these little pretties:

It is the Dignitet curtain wire with 2 packs of hooks & clips.  While I wait for a friend to help me install the wire itself, I started clipping things together.
That is mostly paper quilling strips curled into baggies, then some card-making bling and other stickers to the right.  I can’t wait to get the wire up!!!

Craft stuff

Something I have always loved is expressing my ideas in creative ways.  I get ideas mostly from Pinterest now, but store displays, library books, and requests have lead to some interesting projects.

My sister tends to get overwhelmed by choices in craft stores, but I LOVE them!  I am VERY lucky in that I have an entire room I can devote to crafting (I’d rather fill it with more kids, but that’s not likely to happen at this stage).  This room has, of course, been made over many times, in many teeny ways.  I am always on the lookout for the perfect layout and organization for the room as a whole, but certain features really limit me, as well as the sheer volume of supplies.

Part of the problem is that I enjoy lots of different crafts, including but not limited to:

sewing clothing and accessories
polymer clay crafts
simple jewelry making
mixed media crafts

Remy has picked up many of these interests during homeschool art times, as well as adding his own–he enjoys origami, paper airplanes, painting (with Bob Ross, no less!), and quilling.

I also facilitate small group activities with children & developmentally disabled adults.  We usually craft using perler beads, sun catchers, latch hook sets, plaster of paris, felt, paper, stickers, colored pencils, markers, glitter glue, pony beads, and many other items.
SO, knowing all that, this is what the poor room looks like right now (excuse poor photography, NOT my strong suit):

When entering the room, this is immediately to your left.

As you scan right, this is the bulk of the room, classy sheet curtain and all.

And the far right, where I sit as I type this 🙂
It needs tons of work, but it is REAL.  No magazine layouts, no Martha.  I am planning to replace the black shelves and the plastic drawers with these Cubeicals from Target.

They are larger versions of the small white ones you see on both desks (with the colorful fabric drawers in them).

 I also need to clean.  Instead, I wrote a post about it.  Ha!