Homeschool Used Book Sale

It’s that time of year again – time to sell last year’s books and buy next year’s books! And every year I am reminded of that Staples commercial where the dad is taking the kids back-to-school shopping and they use the song called “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” I always loved that one! But as a homeschooler, my kids don’t go back-to-school.

I still love this time of year. I love new plans, new books, and new supplies.  And I truly enjoy being able to pass on the books the kids used so that another family can use them too. So here are the books I have to offer today…

{Terms: All books are used unless otherwise noted and may have stray marks in them. Shipping will be based on weight and zip code and will be calculated after I know which books you would like. Shipping can be either priority or media mail – your choice. Please leave a comment with the titles & shipping method you want and your zip code. Comments are moderated so zip codes will be deleted.}

  • Faith & Life – Our Life with Jesus – Level 3 – $5 Faith & Life Book 3
  • Singapore Math Teacher’s Guide 6B – US Edition – $5 Singapore Math 6B Teacher
  • Homeschool In The Woods – Time Travelers – Colonial Life – My kids loved this! $20
  • HSITW Time Travelers Colonial Life
  • Knowledge Box Central – Apologia Exploring Creation Through General Science – 2nd Edition – Interactive Lapbook Journal – Great resource for the science curriculum! $25 KBC Exploring Creation with General Science 2nd Edition
  • Around the World in 80 Days – paperback $1 Around the World in 80 Days
  • Institute for Excellence in Writing – Teaching Writing: Structure and Style – All CDs present – will come with Binder – $120 IEW Structure and Style CDsIEW Structure & Style Binder
  • Institute for Excellence in Writing – Continuation Course Level B – All CDs present $120 IEW Continuation Course Group B
  • Institute for Excellence in Writing – Character-Based Writing Lessons – $10 IEW Character-Based Writing Lessons
  • Homeschool Family Fitness – Physical Education Curriculum – $5 Family Fitness
  • Institute for Excellence in Writing Resource Notebook – Some water stains – $5 IEW Resource Notebook
  • Math-U-See – Zeta – Teacher’s Manual, Student Textbook, Tests, and DVD – $40 Math-U-See Zeta
  • Artistic Pursuits – Grades 4-6, Book Two – $30 ARTistic Pursuits
  • All About Spelling – Level 5 – All cards included and non-consumable sheets from student packet as well – missing are progress chart, completion certificate, and homophones page. $30 All About Spelling Level 5
  • Extra IEW Binder – contains instructions, notes, guidelines for parent/teacher – $15 IEW Structure & Style Binder
  • History Titles: The Story of the Great Depression (R.Conrad Stein), A Nation Torn: The Story of How the Civil War Began (Delia Ray), Cobblestone: The Pony Express 1860-1861 (October 1981), and Westward with Columbus (Scholastic, John Dyson) – $1 each or all four for $3 Great Depression Nation Torn Cobblestone Pony Express Westward with Columbus
  • Solutions and Tests for Apologia’s Exploring Creation with General Science, 2nd Edition – $10 (Cover and 1st page curved, a little more wear than other pages) Apologia Exploring Creation, General Science, 2nd Edition, Tests & Solutions
  • Multimedia Companion CD for Apologia’s Exploring Creation with General Science, 2nd Edition – $10 (some scratches on disc but plays well) Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science, 2nd Edition, CD
  • Successful College Writing, 4th Edition, includes 2009 MLA & 2010 APA Updates, Kathleen T. McWhorter – $20 Successful College Writing, 4th Edition
  • Building Foundations for Communication & Building Speech, Seventh Edition, Sheldon Metcalfe (some water marks on first several pages, cover shows a lot of wear) – $8 Building Foundations for Communication & Building A Speech
  • BJU Press Biology With Laboratory Exercises, Book A and Book B (I found one page of highlighting while thumbing through; about a third to a half of the exercises have the answers written in pencil and I can try to erase them, but can’t guarantee it’ll be perfect) – $20 for both books BJU Biology

Thanks for looking, please forward this post to anyone looking for homeschool books. I will mark each title as pending or sold as comments come in. Totals will be rounded to even dollar amounts and I would prefer payment via paypal.

Liberty Bow

Lilla Rose normally releases a Flexi-of-the-Month on the first. But, because Independence Day is the 4th they wanted you to be able to have it in time! Yay for us!

Introducing Liberty Bow:

Liberty Bow - July Flexi-of-the-Month (http://lillarose.biz/mamacre8s)

And to sweeten the pot, Lilla Rose is offering a sale on everything on the site for two days (sale runs from June 25th until 11:59 pm on June 26th, 2014). All items on the site are 10% off and you get free shipping on all orders over $40.

Lilla Rose Sale 10% off Everything (http://lillarose.biz/mamacre8s)

And don’t forget, because this is an early release, you can still get June’s Flexi-of-the-Month, Calla Lily, until June 30th (and it’s included in the sale too!).

June Calla Lilly  (http://lillarose.biz/mamacre8s)

* All clicks go directly to my website; any sales help to keep my kids home, and is much appreciated.

Where Have You Been All My Life?

Ok, so maybe “all my life” is a bit of exaggeration. Perhaps we can narrow it down to the last 10 years…

I am a mom. I have bad days. Put them together and I have Bad Mom Days. Do you?

No, this doesn’t mean I am a bad mom, it just means I have those moments where I could have made a better choice. You know those moments: we yell too loud, or too long, or we use words we wish hadn’t. Maybe we are over-protective; or under-protective. Maybe we step in when we should but out. The bottom line is that moms are human; and as humans we screw up sometimes.

For example…

There was a time when I made homemade tomato soup. And it was good! {If I do say so myself!} It was when we still celebrated Halloween and the recipe was called Soup with Goop. It had chunks of melting mozzarella in it. And there was also a pasta dish called Bats with Cobwebs, using bow tie pasta and shredded Parmesan cheese. The pasta was a hit; however the soup was not.

LegoFan was about 5 at the time. He had not been diagnosed on the spectrum yet; and I had not yet leaned to pick my battles. And battle we did. He sat there and refused to eat any of this soup. I was bound and determined to make him eat it.

To this day, LegoFan refuses to eat soup of any kind.

I have berated myself for creating this aversion to soup. I’ve kicked myself for being insensitive. I have really beaten myself up over this for years.

But seriously. It’s time to let it go. Was it really my bad parenting moment that created this soup aversion in my son? Maybe, maybe not. Knowing what I now know about autism and sensory processing disorders, my ill-planned battle may have had very little to do with it. But I beat myself up anyway.

And that’s where the title of today’s post comes in. I’ve recently read this gem of a book by author and speaker Kathi Lipp called “i need some help here! – HOPE for When Your Kids Don’t Go according to Plan”

I am SO glad I read this book, but I have to admit that I wish it were in print before I made the Soup with Goop! Perhaps I would not have chosen to fight this battle. Or, perhaps, if I did fight it, I would not have beaten myself up over it for the past several years.

Ladies, we do that a lot. We beat ourselves up over these mistakes we make. Guess what? We’re going to keep making mistakes. If we beat ourselves up over each and every one, we’ll never make it to puberty, much less adulthood.

Kathi’s book offer hope and encouragement to all of us. But this isn’t your typical self-help book. I love that she includes stories from the trenches. I don’t know about you, but I feel just a little better about things when I know others are in the same boat I am.

Also included in this book are prayers ~ prayers for our children; and prayers for us as moms. Kathi skillfully uses scripture to help us on this journey; and to assist us in looking at ourselves through our Heavenly Father’s eyes.

In the immortal words of Larry the Cucumber: “I laughed. I cried. It moved me.”

Thank you, Kathi for freeing me from the Goop in my own Soup!

Here’s a little more about “i need some help here!”

It’s easy to feel worried and anxious as a parent. There are so many areas of your child’s life that can go wrong along the way. What’s a mom to do? In I Need Some Help Here! Hope for When Your Kids Don’t Go According to Plan, Kathi meets you in your moments of panic or despair with wit and wisdom. She offers the most powerful tools, from prayer to practical tips, for you and your child. The book covers all of the stages of your child’s life from toddler to young adult and tackles the most common issues that cause stress and anxiety, sharing:

  • Practical wisdom when your child makes poor choices
  • How to pray when your child is running away from God
  • Comforting words fore when your child feels left out
  • “been there” advice for when your child is different than other kids

Whether you are at the end of your rope, or simply need a little extra support as you walk the parenting road, you’ll cherish Kathi’s heart, humor and experience.

Kathi Lipp

Kathi Lipp inspires thousands of women each year to take beneficial steps in their personal, marital and spiritual lives through purposeful living. With humor and wisdom, Kathi offers hope paired with practical steps to live each facet of our lives with meaning.

Kathi is the author of ten books with Revell Publishers and Harvest House Publishers. She has become well respected on the topics of marriage, children and self-purpose from a biblical perspective. She has four more books slated for release in the next two years.

She is a national speaker and is often featured on Focus on the Family, MOPS International, Crosswalk.com, and Nickelodeon TV’s Parent Connect as well as a number of other reputable organizations around the country. She was recently named “Best of Broadcast” on Focus on the Family.

She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not doing laundry, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.

Kathi can be found on:

Facebook    https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKathiLipp

Twitter       https://twitter.com/kathilipp

Pinterest    http://www.pinterest.com/kathilipp/

 

* Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review – the opinions I have expressed are my own. The link to amazon is an affiliate link; any pennies earned by your purchase of this book through my link will assist me in taking care of my kids and keeping them home.

Answer Me This #2

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Happy Easter!

Answer Me This

1. What did you and your family wear to Mass on Easter Sunday?

I wore a pink blouse and black slacks, LegoFan wore his new green shirt and tie, and Diva wore a beautiful long, pastel dress with pretty pink flowers on it. She also added some pearl-colored sandals with chunky crystals on them – her new faves!

2. Easter Bunny: Thumbs up or thumbs down?

We never really focused on the bunny and always kept that casual. The kids figured that one out long before they began to question Santa. And we never had any photos taken at the mall. The costumes are never good and they really creep me out! But they still like egg hunts and a few surprises Easter morning; and so I oblige, with pleasure.

3. Do you prefer to celebrate holidays at your own house or at someone else’s house?

I’d prefer to celebrate at my own house – if I had one.

First, I enjoy entertaining. I enjoy having people over and creating a warm, family environment. But a very close second has to do with all LegoFan’s allergies and anxieties. It’s just better for me to have control over the food and lack of furry animals. It’s better for him if he’s in a setting where he’s familiar and comfortable.

4. What is your favorite kind of candy?

Is this a trick question? I think it’s impossible to come up with just one. I’ve always loved Brach’s Jelly Beans – not the Jelly Bird Eggs, not the Spiced Jelly Beans – just the plain ole, regular, original, Jelly Beans. But I really, really, don’t like the black ones and the red ones. Can we get bags made without those two flavors, please?

And then there’s the chocolate… M&Ms, Mounds Bars, York Peppermint Patties… I’m getting hungry!

Lastly, I love the eggs: mint, raspberry, marshmallow, and nougat. Love. Love. Love!

5. Do you like video games?

No. I don’t understand them. I can’t seem to play them. Much to LegoFan’s utter disappointment. He loves them: Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, anything LEGO. I just don’t see the fascination. But he’s good at them. So we have the Wii U in the house, the kids play the games, and I try to understand.

6. Do you speak another language?

I took three years of French in high school. I learned a little Italian when I went to Rome for World Youth Day 2000. And I tried to teach my kids a little Latin. So I guess the actual answer to this question is no. I can say and read a few words in several languages, but I cannot speak any of them other than English. And sometimes I question that ability!

Now join us over at Catholic All Year and play along!

Faith in Practice

I was blessed with the opportunity to model faith for my children today; and to teach them how to put their faith into practice as well.

We had to go to LegoFan’s Anxiety Disorder Group this afternoon. I had very little money in my account and needed gasoline in order to make it to the group. I left a little early and put $5 in the tank, and this should have brought up my available mileage up to about 35 miles. Knowing I didn’t have much more money and that it was only about 10 miles to the doctor’s, I set out.

However, I didn’t notice that my available miles never changed. When I got back in the car to return home, my available miles read 8. I’ll be honest that my initial reaction was one of a little panic because I thought I somehow didn’t get the gasoline I paid for. But I took some deep breaths – learned that from Anxiety Disorder Group – and started to pray. There were more miles between me and home than there were in my tank, with no gas stations in between.

LegoFan started to get very worried and was counting down the miles for me from the backseat – isn’t he helpful? Diva began to ask what would happen if we ran out of gas? Did I mention that it was cold and raining? I calmly told them how we would handle it if the car ran out of gas, and then I suggested that everyone pray.

I told them that Jesus could get us home. That we needed to have faith. I began to remember how long the oil lasted for the Israelites. I began to repeat to myself that I had faith and that I knew that Jesus would bring us home.

At each major milestone, we gave thanks. We made it around the Beltway – Praise God! We made it to the next stop light – Praise God! We made it to the final stop light before home, at which intersection there was a gas station – Praise God! The light was red, so I pulled out my phone and checked the balance on my account. I had $6.99 left. I was able to pull into the gas station and put $6 in the tank. We had made it.

But when I pulled out of the gas station, the available miles still read zero. I began to play with the buttons and eventually the available miles came around again, and it was 68 miles, more miles than should have been added when I put the $6 in the tank…

God is good – All the time! All the time – God is good!

Today was a great lesson in faith; and in modeling that faith for my children. Not only do I thank God for making it to the gas station, but I thank God for the opportunity (and ability!) to show my children where to turn in such situations. Thank you, Jesus!

Jesus

Answer Me This #1

Starting to get a hang of this link-up thing! I’ll get to more of my own posts soon, I promise!

This is week one of Kendra’s Answer Me This Link-Up – Yay!

Answer Me This

 

In this Link-Up, Kendra asks a few questions, and we answer them – simple as that! So, here goes:

1. What time do you prefer to go to Mass?

I am a night owl, so getting up for an early Mass is just not in the cards at this house! Our current Mass time is 11 am, and I think that’s perfect for us.

2. Would you rather be too hot or too cold?

The logical answer would be cold, because you can always put something else on. You can’t always take something else off… However, I hate being cold. Really, really, hate being cold. So I guess I’m going to have to defy logic and say I’d rather be too hot.

3. How many brothers and sisters do you have?

I have one of each biologically, and I am the oldest. My sister followed me, and my brother brings up the rear. We are very different, but I love them both dearly. I also have two brothers and one sister by marriage. And I’m still the oldest. The next in order of age would be my step-brother; however, he dies a few years back. My other brother and sister are twins, and they were born the year I graduated from high school. Ok, now I feel old! Next!

4. If you were faced with a bogart, what would it turn into?

Ya know, I’m really not sure on this one. I think it could take one of several forms. A big hairy spider might be one… Or maybe Big Brother?

5. Barbie: thumbs up or thumbs down?

Definitely a thumbs down for me. I don’t see how Barbie gives our girls any sense of what it means to be a woman. I do see how unrealistic she is; and how her image gives our girls unrealistic expectations. Diva and I both love the American Girl dolls. Even better are the Saint Dolls from Behold Publications (Ecce Homo Press), I think. She has the St. Therese doll.

St. Therese Doll

 

6. If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would you tell them?

I would say that love is a verb. It is an action, not a feeling. This is something I wish I had known several years ago; it would have saved me a lot of heartache.

We need to make the decision to love people every day, in both word and deed.

So that wraps it up for Week One of Answer Me This. Head on over to Catholic All Year to read answers from Kendra and her readers!

7 Quick Takes #2

— 1 —

Confession. Reconciliation. Penance. Good things happen there. Especially when you ask God to help you make a good, honest confession. Something enters your mind that you hadn’t considered mentioning. Apparently God had something to tell me.

God nudged me this afternoon; and, believe it or not, this post is part of it.

Crucifix

— 2 —

Psalm 41: 10-14 ~ (10) Even the friend who had my trust, who shared my table, has scorned me. (11) But you, Lord, have mercy and raise me up that I may repay them as they deserve. (12) By this I know you are pleased with me, that my enemy no longer jeers at me. (13) For my integrity you have supported me and let me stand in your presence forever. (14) Blessed be the Lord, God of Israel, from all eternity and forever. Amen. Amen.

Someone whom I trusted hurt me. A lot. This someone still jeers at me. A lot.

When I first read this, I looked at verse 11 and thought it sounded a lot like revenge. However, perhaps it means something a little different. Perhaps it is more about my attitude and outlook. When the Lord has mercy on me and raises me up, that in itself is the repayment this person deserves, in that I am not controlled by that person’s hurts and jeers.

I think there is a secular saying about this: Living well is the best revenge. I don’t wish revenge on this person; however, I do wish to live well. And it is by God’s grace and mercy, as well as my integrity, that I shall.

Decoupage Cross

— 3 —

Legofan saw his pediatrician this week, who was pleased with how well he is doing. He warned me to expect growth of approximately four inches over the next year. Ummm… can we do that all in the summer time so that the length of his pants doesn’t matter??? He’s already coming close to looking me in the eye. How bad does a 40-something year old woman look in these?

High Heel Boot from JustFab.com

— 4 —

One of the things I’ve been doing for LegoFan is giving him Plexus Slim and ProBio5

I actually signed up with the company so I could get the products at wholesale. The ProBio5 is a probiotic, which many doctors suggest for kids on the spectrum. The Slim was actually designed for diabetics, but has improved the lives of many by helping them get off various medications.*

*(Standard disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I cannot diagnose, prescribe, or treat anything. If you are interested in these products, not only will I make a commission, but I would suggest you talk to your doctor before using them. I am only sharing our experiences with them.)

LegoFan has shown some incredible improvements after using these two. In general, he has become more compliant and less argumentative. He has allowed himself to step out of his comfort zone and actually talk to people. And his art has improved! He used to rush through art and barely follow the directions. Now he takes his time and actually puts details into his creations. I love these positive changes we are seeing!

Bowling

— 5 —

Diva has been amazing me with her creativity and sewing ability. She watched a video about how to sew one of the Mario characters out of felt. This video came with a template and she set out to make it. Ever since then, she has been designing her own patterns! She has made Captain Toad, Waccas (your guess is as good as mine!), Benny the 80s Spacesuit Guy and a Micromanager from the LEGO Movie, and the Unknown (don’t ask me which one) from Pokemon. Most recently, she has designed a princess doll, but she’s not finished with this yet, so I don’t have any pictures. This girl is amazing!

LEGO Movie Benny
Sew - Captain Toad
Sew - Micromanager
Sew - Waccas

— 6 —

For me, I am loving that spring is finally here! Despite allergies, I am enjoying having the door open in the house, and the windows down as we drive. Flowers and trees are starting to bloom, and even parts of the city are starting to look pretty.

Flower Up Close

Rose

— 7 —

April is the month for Autism. Given that LegoFan is on the spectrum, and I run four different businesses, I decided to team up with some other vendors to do a fundraiser for an amazing group called Pathfinders for Autism.

LegoFan has benefited directly from their services, and we just love the ladies associated with Pathfinders! To that end, I am donating a percentage of my profits from all of my businesses to Pathfinders this month! So, if you are in the market for…

Hair Jewelry from Lilla Rose

Hair Jewelry from Lilla Rose

Personalized Jewelry from Origami Owl

Personalized Jewelry from Origami Owl

Health & Wellness products from Plexus

Health & Wellness products from Plexus

Essential Oils from Young Living

Essential Oils from Young Living

… please click on the photos and they will take you to my sites. You can order directly from there, and then come back and post your order number in the comments (I can delete order numbers so they don’t stay on the blog). That way I can track things and make my donations accordingly.

* Just in case I wasn’t clear, the links will take you to my websites, where I will make a commission off each sale. In this case, your purchases will not only help me keep my kids home, but they will also help a worthwhile organization, Pathfinders for Autism. Thank you for helping us!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Get-To-Know Me Post

Kendra from Catholic All Year “tagged” her readers to answer several questions, so here goes…

1. Where do you live? And why do you live there?

I live in Maryland. I guess you could say I live here because of my parents. We were living in Connecticut, when my father retired from the Navy. He got another job that ended up transferring us to Maryland in 1982. I’ve been here ever since. I would actually like to move out of Maryland, but I am legally bound to stay for a while. As much as I would like to move, I do love all the history that is here; especially the Catholic history. We are also relatively close to both the mountains and the ocean; and we have some incredible farm lands. Despite its problems, Maryland is a beautiful state.

Fall GlorySunset on the Water

2. What are you currently watching and/or reading?

I am currently watching the NCAA March Madness Tournament – my brackets are busted, but I’d be happy with either UCONN or Florida winning. The kids and I have started watching the Dr. Who tv series and are through the first three seasons. As for reading, we are reading through the book of Leviticus as well as Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe.

3. What kind of Catholic are you: cradle, or convert? (Or considering?)

I am a cradle Catholic. However, I don’t think I really had an appreciation for the faith until I started to teach my children. And this deepened even further when I went through my divorce.

4. Can you point to one moment or experience that made you a practicing Catholic? (Or want to be?)

In college, I was known as “the girl who went to church,” which was great, but I would party every weekend and wasn’t really living it. However, when I started teaching my children, we listened to Jeff Cavins’ Bible Timeline Adventure - I learned so much about the Catholic faith that I had either forgotten or never knew. It was at that time I decided to make a more conscious effort to raise my children to live out their faith, not just go to church.

5. How many pairs of shoes do you own?

Let’s see: a pair of tennis shoes, a pair of flat suede boots, and a pair of heeled boots that are falling apart. And there’s my Christmas Shoes.  Remember this song?

This has always been Diva’s favorite Christmas song. So a couple years ago, she went out and bought me a pair of glittery gold, sequined shoes so she could be like the boy in the song. The shoes didn’t fit and we went back to get a larger size. But they didn’t have a larger one. So we looked around together. She saw these rain/snow boots and had me try them on. We actually tried on two different pairs, but we got the pair that she (and I) liked the best…

Christmas Boots

I guess that means I have four pairs of shoes/boots.

6. Are you a good dancer?

Wow, I’m not sure about this one. If I was still in my 20s I’d answer a firm “Yes!” However, I haven’t danced for about 14 years. I’ve taken Swing dance lessons and I’d like to learn other kinds of dancing; but right now I have no dance partner. Alas, the answer to this question will have to wait.

7. Who usually drives, you or your husband?

Well, since I am a single mom, I have no choice. I’m the one and only driver in this family. If I was married, I would prefer that he do the driving and I do the passengering.

8. What’s your favorite holiday and how do you celebrate it?

Christmas is my favorite! First, we keep Christ in Christmas. We love the music and the lights of the season. We love the giving. We love trees, train gardens, and Christmas villages.

We have participated in Holy Heroes Advent Adventure, done Jesse Trees, baked cookies for everyone we can think of, bought presents for under the Giving Tree, and more. It’s such a wondrous and wonderful time of year.

Jesse Tree

9. Which is correct? Left or right?

Toilet-Paper-Over-Under

The left. Definitely. I will change it if you put it the other way…

10. Do you have any scars?

I assume we are talking about visible scars here… And I have a few. I have one really big one from my two c-sections and subsequent hysterectomy. I have another one on the bottom of my foot from when I was a kid and went fishing. Barefoot. I slipped on a rock and sliced my foot. Then there was the time I fell off my bike and had the kickstand go into my calf. Sorry, no photos, next question…

11. What’s the most famous thing you’ve ever done?

Since Kendra broke the rules altered the number of things, I’m going to go rogue and list two here. First, when I was in high school, our marching unit was selected as Maryland’s sole representative to the Inaugural Parade of Ronald Reagan in 1985. It was too cold that year and the parade was cancelled. President Reagan arranged for all the parade participants to come to the arena in Landover, MD; and we all got to hear him speak. My one regret is that I didn’t pay as much attention as I should have.

GHS Silks

And my other claim to fame is being an extra on the show Homicide: Life on the Street. This show was filmed in Baltimore and I was blessed to be an extra on one episode where a priest or two were murdered. I got to be a mourner at the funeral. In fact, I had to tell the person in charge that a Catholic would genuflect before entering the pew. He told me I should add that then, but it ended up on the cutting room floor. I was in Season 6, and I think the episode was called Something Sacred.

Thanks, Kendra, for including all of us in your award! It was fun!

7 Quick Takes: My First Post

— 1 —

I’ve been seeing these posts linked to Jen’s Conversion Diary for a while now, and one of my goals for 2014 was to start participating in more of these link-ups. Heck, my main goal was to give myself the proverbial kick-in-the-behind to start posting on a regular basis. So here we begin…

— 2 —

The kids made it through most of the Opening Ceremonies for the Winter Olympics. It was great to see them discover country names that they’d never heard of before. They compared flags and outfits. Ok, really only Diva made comments on the outfits. LegoFan could care less. I am looking forward to watching the events with them over the next several days.

— 3 —

Today, we ended our school day early in order to attend one of the opening showings of The LEGO Movie. I’m not a movie reviewer and I probably don’t pay attention to some of the details I probably should, but I have to say that – for me – this movie was worth attending. Some of it was, of course, predictable. But I must say that I like the theme of working together as a team. Even now, I can still hear the theme song in my head: “Everything is Awesome. Everything is cool when you’re part of a team.” But I think the best part of it was spending time having fun with my children and seeing them enjoying themselves.

— 4 —

Another goal for myself this year was to improve my health. To that end, I decided to start taking Plexus Slim and Bio Cleanse in an effort to get healthier and lose weight. Tomorrow will be 30 days since I began and I get to weigh myself and take my measurements. But I have to say that I have already seen some great results in how I feel!

— 5 —

This week starts a busy season for us. LegoFan begins a group for children with Anxiety Disorder. It’s an experimental group, and if successful, the results will be used for training others in how to treat Anxiety Disorder. It could prove to be a very positive experience for both him and I.

— 6 —

Diva will also be starting a group this week. She is really looking forward to this, and has been for quite some time. Her group is for siblings of those on the Autism Spectrum. She will get to meet with some other girls who also have brothers on the Spectrum, and it will be led my two women who also have brothers on the Spectrum. I am so happy that she finally has the opportunity to learn some strategies for dealing with all that ASD has brought into our lives, and that she will get to be with other girls who are also experiencing similar things.

— 7 —

Wow, for my first Quick Takes post, it sure took a long time to write! But I must confess that Downton Abbey was on in the background, and I was a bit distracted. However, I look forward to participating again, perhaps with less distraction.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

* Links to Plexus will take you to my business page, where I hope to make a little money to help keep my babies home with me. It’s one of the ways, I, as a single mom, can earn a living so I can continue to homeschool them. I thank you for your support.

Valentine Bottles

Valentine Bottles

I made this sweet Valentine’s gift last year for a friend who really likes M&Ms. I have seen a few versions of this type around Pinterest, but I thought I’d share my take on it so you can make your own for this Valentine’s Day. It’s coming up soon!

Materials:

  • Four or Six pack of bottles – just make sure the mouth is wide enough for what you want to put inside the bottles.
  • Decorative craft paper – any style that your recipient will like. I used four different patterns, but you can use as many or as few as you would like. *Note: I used a cardstock thickness. If I were to do this again, I would use a thinner paper so that it’s easier to adhere to the bottles.
  • Adhesive – I used a clear, double-sided adhesive. I didn’t worry too much about it because once the bottles were filled, you couldn’t see anything anyway.
  • Something to fill the bottles – candy, snacks, notes, sky’s the limit – well actually you are limited by the width of the mouth of the bottle…
  • Miscellaneous supplies: scoring mat and bone folder, die cut machine and dies, rubber stamps and ink, punches, any other decorative items you may like.

For this project you do need to go shopping a little bit early so you can get the bottles you need and drink the contents – that’s the yummy part for you! Once the bottles are empty, you will need to wash and dry them thoroughly. You will also need to remove the labels. If there is a label around the neck, try to get one of them to come off in one piece and save it to make a template. Don’t forget to save the cardboard container they came in, you’ll need it to hold all the bottles when you’re done.

The first step is to cover the cardboard holder. I placed mine sideways on the paper I selected and used it to measure the sides. I chose to cut four panels and adhere them, but you could just cut one long piece and wrap it in place, adhering as you go.

Lay the box down and measure the sides.

Lay the box down and measure the sides.

One side covered, on to the second side.

One side covered, on to the second side.

I even covered the bottom with a solid color.

I even covered the bottom with a solid color.

Now, I didn’t measure as well as I had thought – surprise, surprise! So I had a few gaps. I decided to add a folded strip to each corner to account for that, and fix some of the edges.

Gasp in my measuring.

Gasp in my measuring.

Here's one of the corners I made - creased down the center to equally cover both sides.

Here’s one of the corners I made – creased down the center to equally cover both sides.

Here's a view from the other side.

Here’s a view from the other side.

Now the edges look much better!

Now the edges look much better!

For the handle, I measured the height and cut a strip of paper to go around it on both sides. Next, I folded it around the sides to get creases. That way I could figure out where the hole in the handle should go. Then I just traced the hole onto my paper, cut it out, and adhered it to the handle part of the  box.

Tracing on the paper for the handle.

Tracing on the paper for the handle.

All cut out!

All cut out!

Adhered to the handle.

Adhered to the handle.

Another view of the finished handle.

Another view of the finished handle.

Now it’s time to pretty up the bottles! I apologize, in advance, for the blurriness of the next two photos, but I wanted to show you what I originally used. I could not find a link to this particular stack, but I found this paper (all the papers I used on this project actually came from the same stack) in a stack by DCWV. I love their stacks! It may actually be an addiction now… Anywhoo, I chose this paper because of the lines and thought they would look nice around the center of the bottle. I cut off the pink outsides, and left the cream-colored inside. Then I cut it into four strips long enough to go around the center of the bottles.

Original sheet of paper.

Original sheet of paper.

Now cut into four strips - one for each bottle.

Now cut into four strips – one for each bottle.

One by one, I took each strip and wrapped it around each bottle. Here is where a thinner style paper definitely would have come in handy. It took several attempts with different types of adhesive to get the thicker paper to stay put. But my perseverance paid off and they really looked good.

Strip wrapped around the center of the bottle.

Strip wrapped around the center of the bottle.

Now this next step may be a little tricky. I was fortunate to have the top label of the bottle come off very easily and in one piece. Because of this, I was able to trace it and make four identical wraps. Where this gets tricky is if yours doesn’t come off in one piece and your bottle is wider at the bottom than it is at the top. If you have to create something from scratch, keep in mind the the curve at the top will be shorter than the curve at the bottom in order to get it to wrap smoothly. I hope that makes sense. I apologize, but I don’t have a picture of the original template to show you what I mean.

 

View of the neck wrap.

View of the neck wrap.

Another view of the neck wrap.

Another view of the neck wrap.

Since the bottle cap had the soda’s logo on it, I decided to cover that up too. I took a circle punch that was about the same size as the cap and punched out a piece of black paper. Then I took a smaller punch and cut another circle out of matching pink paper and adhered them to the top. If you don’t have a punch that’s the right size, you can always turn the cap over and trace it.

Cap topped.

Cap topped.

Here are a few views of the finished bottles:

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Finished Bottles

Now, I thought the bottles looked a little plain. So I took my die cut machine and a label die from Papertrey Ink and cut out four small labels, one for the front of each bottle. Then I stamped a saying on each one and adhered them to the fronts of the bottles.

Bottles with labels.

Bottles with labels.

Now comes the really fun (and delicious) part! Fill each bottle with your treat of choice. I was lucky enough to fill the bottles and have some M&Ms left over. Who am I to waste?

All filled and decked out!

All filled and decked out!

Now they are all ready to give to your sweetheart, your kids, or your best friend! While this one was created for Valentine’s Day, you could make it for any holiday or ‘just because’ – just change up the paper to match the occasion!

Have you ever made something like these? I would love to see your version!

 * This post is linked to: Homemaker’s Challenge and Growing Home