Thursday, December 31, 2009

December Update: 100 Books-a-Month Challenge

I must admit, I'm not sure if we've reached our goal.  With all that took place in preparation for the holidays, not a lot of reading took place.  I didn't make a chart as I had planned for this month, but have it ready to begin for January!

We did listen to several books on tapes as we ran our errands, dropped off gifts and on our long trip down South---thank goodness for them!

Well, let's see how we did! ;-)

  1. Christmas in the Country by Cynthia Rylant
  2. The Christmas Witch by Steven Kellogg
  3. Grandpa Bear's Christmas by Bonnie Pryor
  4. Bears on Chairs by Shirley Parenteau
  5. The Christmas Gift by Emily Arnold McCully
  6. The Christmas Stockings by Matthew Price
  7. A Farm Through Time by Angela Wilkes
  8. The Always Prayer Shawl by Sheldon Oberman
  9. Coming Through the Blizzard by Eileen Spinelli
  10. Christmas by Dennis Brindell Fradin
  11. Christmas on the Prairie by Joan Anderson
  12. Arthur's Christmas by Marc Brown
  13. Holly, Reindeer & Colored Lights: The Story of the Christmas Symbols by Edna Barth
  14. Let's Celebrate Christmas by Peter & Connie Roop
  15. Pete Rack Rat's Christmas Eve Surprise by Robert Quackenbush
  16. The Mole Family's Christmas by Russel Hoban
  17. The Legend of the Ragged Boy by Wes Magee
  18. The Family Christmas Tree Book by Tomie de Paola
  19. Christmas at Mud Flat by James Stevenson
  20. Latkes, Latkes Good to Eat: A Chanukah Story by Namoi Howland
  21. Richard Scarry's Best Christmas Book Ever!
  22. How I learned Geography by Uri Shulevitz
  23. A Child is Born by Margaret Wise Brown
  24. Uncle Vova' Tree by Patricia Polacco
  25. The Santa Clauses retold by Achim Briger
  26. Hurry! by Jessie Haas
  27. Listen, Rabbit by Alieen Fisher
  28. Under the Christmas Tree by Nikki Grimes
  29. The Gift Stone by Robyn Eversole
  30. Holly Clause the Christmas Princess by Brittney Ryan
  31. Christmas Toyland by Lynn Hollyn's
  32. --- 42. The Hanukkah Family Treasury by Steven Zorn & Rabbi Joui Hessel (10 stories)
43. Merry Un-Christmas by Mike Reiss
44. My G-r-r-r-reat Uncle Tiger by James Riordan
45. Abiyoyo by Pete Seeger
46. Where's That Reptile? by Barbara Brenner and Bernice Chardiet
47. The Magic School Bus Explores the Senses by Joanna Cole & Bruce Degen
48.  Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
49. Anansi and the Pot of Beans as told by Bobby & Sherry Norfolk
50. Happy Healthy Monster: Elmo's Breakfast Bingo by Abigail Tabby
51. Grandmother and I by Helen E. Buckley
52. The Seven Days of Kwanzaa: How to Celebrate Them by Angela Shelf Medearis
53.  Seven Candles for Kwanzaa by Andrea Davis Pinkney
54. Winter Poems selected by Barbara Rogasky
55. Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
56. The Secret of Saying Thanks by Douglas Wood
57. Zen Ties by Jon J. Muth
58, Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth
59. Imani's Gift at Kwanzaa by Denise Burden-Patmon
60. Best of All by Max Lucado
61. Anansi the Spider: a tale from the Ashanti by Gerald McDermott
62. The Woman Who Outshone the Sun: The Legend of Lucia Zenteno from a poem by Alejandro Cruz Martinez
63. One Hundred Hungry Ants by Elinor J. Pinczes
64. Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
65. For Everyone to Share by Gillian Lobel
66. Let's Play Make-Believe by Paul B. Ricchiuti
67. Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
68. Cookies in the Mailbox by Linda Porter Carlyle
69. Carly and the Crabholes by Natalie Williams

Books on Tape/CD
70. Sally the Runaway Monkey by Ethel Maxine Neff
71. Pokey the Runaway Bear by Ethel Maxine Neff
72. Packy the Runaway Elephant by Ethel Maxine Neff
73. Germs Make Me Sick by  Melvin Berger
74. Cat and Mouse and other short Tales by Lifetime Classics
75. The Princess and the Pea
76. The Story of the Three Bears by Lifetime Classics
77. Flossie and the Fox by Patricia C. McKissack
78. I Can Read About the Sun and other Stars by Troll Associates
79. John Henry: An American Legend by Ezra Jack Keats
80. Abiyoyo by Pete Seeger
81. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
82. The Bible Story Volume 9-Stories of the King of Life (Stories 1-9)
83. Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
84, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm by Betty MacDonald
85. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The next are all by Hans Christian Anderson
86.  The Tinder Box
87.  The Princess and the Pea
88.  Thumbelina
89.  The Traveling Companion
90.  The Little Mermaid
91.  The Emperor's New Clothes
92.  The Steadfast Tin Soldier
93.  The Wild Swans
94.  The Ugly Duckling
95.   The Flying Trunk
96.  The Snow Queen
97.  The Shadow
98.  The Little Match Girl
99.  The Story of a Mother
100. The Wood Nymph

Well, I've definitely surprised myself in typing up this list!  Again, I'm very thankful for books on tape this month!!!  How did things go with each of you???  I'm heading to the library (after the holiday) to pick up some more new stories.  Now that the holidays are coming to a close I can get back to a better rhythm.

As you begin the new year, consider joining us in our 100 Books-a-Month Challenge.  I'm sure you're reading tons of books with your family already and we'd love to have you along!  If you'd like to find out how it all started click here.  You can also check the sidebar for a list of families who are participating!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays to You!!

(I found this image here.) 

I just wanted to take a moment to wish each of you, who take time out of your day to bless me with your presence, eyes, hearts, comments, encouragement, etc., a wonderful holiday season.  I've been taking time with my children making gifts, decorations and all sorts of treats.  I'll eventually post some of the pictures I've snapped in all of this.  I've also been taking time to sit and enjoy this time.  We got snow this past weekend and we're hoping for a fresh falling for Christmas!

I wish each of you and your families as very happy and safe rest of the season.  I'm going to take a little break for myself and it may include time away from my blog--we'll see!  Remember that this time of year is about peace and that for those of us who have it--it is our responsibility to SHARE it with all those, family or not, we meet!

I've decided to share with you some of my favorite holiday music...listen to one or all!  Enjoy!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Six Word Saturday

Children napping. 

Wanna play? Click here.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Favorite Things Friday

"These are a few of my favorite things!" 

It's cold outside today but thankfully it's warm inside.  We've been busy this week getting our handmade and homemade gifts together.  My goal is to be finished with everything on Sunday so that I can spend next week doing some things I'd like to do---reading, knitting, relaxing, being available for anything that may 'pop' up!

Today, I'd like to share one of the favorite things that keeps me warm during this time of year.  I'm a BIG poncho fan---have a good number of them.  The one that is my all-time favorite is one that I handmade myself.  It's made out of micro-fleece and is rather toasty.  It was my first attempt at making one so isn't the most 'well-made' but that hasn't changed the coziness of it!  It's just the right length to keep my warm as I knit, or read, or anything else!

Here's two photos of it:

What's one of your favorite things that keeps you warm during this time of year? I'd love to hear about it or anything you'd like to share in the comments below!

Have a Fabulous Friday!! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I've joined in with Jumping Tandem in celebrating 12 Days of Peace.
(please click the link above and check it out!)

Yesterday late afternoon I did a little non-Christmas/holiday looking/shopping.  Since I'm making all my gifts this year and haven't been a part of any hustle or bustle (besides what normally is happening at my home--smile), I decided I'd take 30 minutes to just look in one of my favorite stores.  Plus I wanted some more Chai tea and they offer the brand I most enjoy.  While looking on the Clearance isles I came across this plaque:

I thought, how appropriate that I found this while participating in 12 Days of Peace!!

I immediately placed it in my cart and will be hanging it up on my wall.  Since we're focused on 'peace' during this time I've been thinking more about my hopes for 2010.  I'd like for my next year to be peaceful.  Really. And as this quote states--finding it within myself is what will allow me to be full of peace with others!

So as I take another 'still moment' today and think about the Christmas story, I will take some time to find peace within. 

I hope each of you is enjoying today!! Embracing it with open arms.  Taking some time to laugh and spend it with the ones you love most!  And hopefully, taking time to be at peace.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Book Sharing Monday

The book we're sharing today is one that I found hilarious!  I had to explain to my children as to why I was laughing throughout it. It's entitled Merry Un-Christmas by Mike Reiss; illustrated by David Catrow.

Here's how it begins:
It was Christmas morning and Noelle was opening her presents.  She got a new doll, a dollhouse, ice skates, roller skates, a computer, and a bike.  Oh yes, and a pony.  "Gee, thanks," she said with a yawn.
My oldest immediately looked at me in surprise.  (We often talk about being gracious and appreciative when we're given gifts.)

Noelle put her bike in the garage with all her other bikes...and let her pony play in the back yard with all her other ponies.

My second said, "Mommy, she had lots of bikes and ponies???!!"

Noelle lives in "Christmas City, in the state of Texmas.  It's the one place in the world where it's Christmas 364 days a year."

She, her parents and her friends look forward to that one day a year that is Un-Christmas.  All Christmas decorations are taken down.  Noelle gets to go to school (since school is out for Christmas).  She gets to watch 'regular' TV--no Christmas specials or parades.  She also looks forward to a visit from a big chubby man with a sack!  You'll have to check it out to find out just who that is and how things end!!

It's a funny little story that gives a different perspective to all the commercialization of Christmas.  I think you'll enjoy it too!

Why not join in with us on Book Sharing Monday!  It's a great way to share your favorite books!!  Stop by Serendipity and let Alex know.  You will also find a list of all those other families who are regular participants.  We'd love to have you!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


There are days I feel invisible.
No one seems to hear what I'm saying or respond to what I'm doing.
Sometimes I think it's a super power--
other times--not so much.

I just stopped by Everyday Possibilities and watched this short YouTube video.
It's very inspiring!!
Something that I needed to hear today.
Perhaps you do too....take a look.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Six Word Saturday

Cook. Clean up. Cook. Clean up.

Wanna play? Click here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Favorite Things Friday

These are a few of my favorite things!

This morning I treated myself to a nice, very warm cup of coffee.  As much as I love coffee, I haven't been drinking it on a daily basis--not even a weekly basis.  So it's definitely a treat when I have a cup.  Some friends spent Thanksgiving in Jamaica and brought back some Jamaican coffee for us to try.  Let me tell you--it is the truth (so is the rum that accompanied it)!!  I also enjoy Peruvian, Kenyan & Ethiopian coffees.  Each has a distinct taste and flavor.

So today, I'm simply sharing with you a photo, of my favorite mug, with another soon-to-be favorite coffee!


[The reason this is my favorite mug, you ask? My daddy sent it to me on the first day of my first 'real' job--right out of college--as a second grade teacher in the Atlanta Public School System--I was scared to death, mind you!!  It had a bouquet of flowers in it then and made that first day more bearable.  I have loved it since.  Thanks again, Daddy! I love you too!!]

Won't you share one of your favorite things this Friday? Leave it in the comment section below.  I'd love to hear from you!

Have a fantastic Friday!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

8 Things: Generous Gifts for Trying Times

I always look forward to doing the *8 Things lists.  Today is no different.  With the economy as it is and people beginning to realize that they have to live the rest of the year, gift giving during the holidays has definitely changed.  This is not all bad, in my opinion.  We get to be more creative and gifts have the potential to be more meaningful to the giver as well as the receiver.  Rachelle has come up with a great list for gifts one can give on a tight budget.  I'm taking a few moments to think about some gifts that differ from her list.  This may be more difficult than I thought.  Heck, who am I kidding?  I've been giving like this for years! LOL!

My *8 Generous Gifts List

  1. Give a 'certificate' to a mom for an afternoon/evening/night out--free babysitting!! (we mothers will LOVE this!)
  2. Bake loaves of bread (banana, nut, pumpkin, wheat, etc.) to give.
  3. Share your favorite cookies along with their recipes.
  4. Make your holiday cards adding personal touches for each receiver.
  5. Hand write a letter/love note telling what you like/love about him/her.  (Remember when this was the thing?! )
  6. Give handmade gifts--knitted, crocheted, sewed, quilted, cross-stitched, painted, "scrapbook-ed," baked, colored, etc. etc.
  7. Offer to teach one of your friends and/or their children a skill or something you're good at.  I'm sure there is something that you do that they'd be interested in learning--photography, graphic design, knitting, painting, sculpting, speaking another language, etc.
  8. Get a group of family and friends together and go volunteer at a local shelter together over the holidays.  Isn't this time about giving?  How better than to give to others WITH your loved ones!

Are you planning to work out or start a path to a healthier you?  You are probably not the only one.  Give the gift of being someone's partner in this.  Whether  it is speaking over the phone to touch base and give encouragement to actually walking together or going to the gym together, this is an invaluable gift!

So hopefully this has given you some good ideas!  I'm interested to seeing what you've come up with.  Go to Rachelle's blog, Magpie Girl, to find out more about *8 Things, grab a button, and play along!

Happy Gift Giving!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Ok.  So I have some words today.  We read the above book...

My son went into his room and after asking to make use of my gloves, reappeared like this:

See the resemblance?

(shaking head)
that's my boy!!!!!
(he's 3, btw)

gotta love it!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Home-Grown Love

(Photo by Penniepicker*)

So I've changed the name of my blog.
Made it more inclusive for all I do
all I share here.
My life is so much more than homeschooling
and raising children for that matter
although that is what this blog was mainly about
when I started it.
It's grown...I've grown...we've grown!
It needs to include more.

A very dear friend (who truly knows me--inside & out)
suggested the name after reading over my blog
when i read it
i LOVED it immediately!
(thank you!)

it's perfect
well, as perfect as it can be
for now :)

All that I do, whether directly for my children or not
is ultimately for their good.
Learning more about myself
loving and accepting me, for me
practicing extending myself to others
becoming more flexible
only helps them to love themselves
and share that unconditional love with others--
our reason for being

So, for now, at least,
you can still find me at the same ulr
perhaps I'll change that as well, eventually
will let you all know, though

Now let me get back to growing some love....

(*Photo above is from Penniepicker's photostream on flikr and can be found here.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Book Sharing Monday

Good Morning to you!

Today we'd like to share one of the holiday books we've been reading this month.  It's Under the Christmas Tree by Nikki Grimes.  We were surprised to find out that this is a book of poems (yeah, we just grab it off the shelf at the library without looking through it). 

The illustrator, Kadir Nelson, does a beautiful job depicting the poems throughout the book. 

The poems are funny and silly to meaningful and full of spirit.  We think you'll enjoy it, too!

Would you like to join in or perhaps see other books of those who participate?  Check out Alex at Serendipity.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The 'Perfect' Gift

Earlier in the year I took the Handmade Pledge with regards to purchasing things.  The idea is to support those who sell handmade items. I think it's a great idea and if done thoughtfully promises the receiver a wonderfully unique and special gift.  This year I won't be purchasing handmade, but rather will be making them with my own hands.

I've spent the past few days thinking about what handmade items I'll be giving for this holiday season. I've looked through a host of stores. Read through lots of crafting sites/blogs to get a sense of what others are giving/making this year. I even took a view through some handmade YouTube videos. After looking at what I've previously made and given over the years (knitted scarves, blankets, quilts, aprons) I've been looking for something that will be useful as well as pretty--something worth getting! ;-) No need to add to the clutter and unwanted items we all seem to have around the house!

Well, the other day I finally came upon something that speaks to all my objectives: 1) it keeps me within budget, 2) it is handmade, 3) it uses recycled items (an added bonus!) and 4) it has the potential of being the 'perfect' gift!! There is only one problem--I can't share what it is.

Several of my family members and friends who are on my holiday gift giving list have now started reading my blog. While I am very thankful for this it now poses a few issues. LOL. I don't want to spoil things for them! Nor do I wish to get the "don't worry about me this year" call/email/text. (smile)

But since I'm so excited about it, I'll be taking photos and taking notes so that I can share once the gifts have been given. Part of the fun in making gifts is seeing people's reaction to what you've made just for them! The other part is actually taking the time and using one's hands.

I am thankful that I have family and friends who appreciate a handmade gift. I'm so looking forward to sharing what I'm doing with the rest of you here. I will keep you posted!!!! (smile)

Until then...check out the link upon. Perhaps you'd like to take the Handmade Pledge yourself!

(I found the image above on Google.) 

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Six Word Saturday


Sabbath. A wonderful time for rest.

Wanna play? Click here. 

Friday, December 4, 2009

Favorite Things Friday

"These are a few of my favorite things."

I'm 'doin' hair' today--both girls' and mine.  It is a task but not like it used to be.  For those of you who may be 'natural' in how you wear and do your hair I just thought I'd share my VERY favorite homemade hair conditioner.  I have to say, every time I use it, I feel wonderful.  Not only do I enjoy the smell of it, but it leaves my/our hair lovely (moisturized, without too much oily-ness).  I came upon this recipe in viewing a natural hair care video on YouTube (yet cannot remember which one).

Homemade Hair Conditioner
1/2 avacado
3.5 oz coconut milk
3.5 oz coconut oil
1 Tbsp olive oil
1Tbsp castor oil or honey (I use honey)

Makes 2 cups

After cleaning hair & scalp (I use a no-poo cleaning**), put conditioner in hair.  (I part the hair and put it in at the scalp and massage it through to the ends.) 
Cover hair with a cap and leave on for 1-2 hours.  (I usually sit under a dryer for 15-30 minutes.)
Rinse in warm water until water runs through clear.

**No-Poo Cleaning
Baking Soda/Water paste (rub into scalp & rinse.  do as many times as necessary)
Then rinse with an Apple Cider Vinegar/Water Mix (1/3 ACV & 2/3 water)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Little Drummer Boy

The freedom to put together one's own 'drum set' and bang it out!

I enjoyed the noise!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

100 Books-a-Month Challenge: December

...And just like's time to start again.

This month we are going to focus on holiday stories as well as some books about giving. We spent yesterday afternoon in the library enjoying a local zoo's presentation. Afterwards we loaded up our bags with as many books as we could carry! Now that's we've made it through our first month and each of my children were able to 'see' our progress--they've been asking to read more. Now, of course, I have no intention of saying 'no' to their desires to read more than 100--but reminded them that Mommy has been doing most of the reading. 100 books are a lot of read in addition to all the other things that I do. My middle child suggested that we ask others to read to them as well--which is a wonderful idea!!! Since the holidays bring with them visits from family & friends, we'll be asking our visitors to join me in reading to the kids--perhaps we'll make it over 100. Let the record show that I'm quite fine with our 100 goal! (smile)

Happy Reading to each of you who have joined us. If you're new click here to find out more and sign up!!!


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