December 30, 2005

Lamby Links


The photo above is of the kids acting out Psalm 23. They were allowed complete creative license to "design" their own costumes and props. The shepherd's staff ended up being a coat hanger shoved into a rolled up map! It is amazing what kids come up with. The still waters were a blue down blanket. The green pastures were a fluffy green synthetic fur blanket that my daughter pretended to "graze" on. She wore grey and black socks on her hands and feet, and covered herself with a white fur boa and a white throw blanket. She made a cute (although somewhat thrown-together looking) sheep. Kaden was the shepherd. I helped him tie the pillow case on, and he abandoned the green throw blanket robe because it restricted his arms. He was way ahead of his time with the Star Wars logo brightly shining from his t-shirt. They acted out the entire verse and read it to me.

I wanted to share some great links we have found also. I especially like the sheep shearing video. I'm still hoping to gather up the things we need for the llama craft I linked in an earlier post. I think the kids have enjoyed this unit, especially since it has been over Christmas break, and we have let them have time off from the "worksheet" part of school - which is the part they hate. Maybe they will be more willing students in that area after this nice break. Happy sheep-studying, and Happy New Year 2006 my bloggie-friends!

Sheep Links

Chic Sheep Craft from Family Fun

Wooly Sheep Craft (Ornaments) from Family Fun

Sheep Egg from Family Fun

Shrinking Sheep (depth perception in art) from Family Fun

Sheep Cake from Family Fun

Wolf and Sheep (game of Tag) from Family Fun

Away in a Manger (sheep version) from Family Fun

Silly political sheep song

Awesome sheep shearing video

American Sheep Statistics and Information (great for use in mapping the top five sheep raising states like we did)

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December 29, 2005

Christmas Meme

So here is the "tacky tree". It's coming down today, you better believe it. It will be the first time in my life that I've actually WANTED to take a tree down before New Years Eve.


I did get to the recipes I promised, but the homeschool posts will have to wait. We are going back to Texas for the weekend upon request by family, and are trying to get finished with school so we can get our bags packed for the long trip. Dollop of Sour Cream tagged me before Christmas, and I'm just getting around to my answers... Although a little late, I thought it would be better to do this now, rather than wait until next year!


1. Hot Chocolate or apple cider?Hot chocolate, or a Grande Decaf Hazelnut Frappuccino or Latte if that is available instead.

2. Turkey or Ham?
Turkey – with lots of dressing and cranberry sauce. The real question is: “Canned or Whole Cranberries?”

3. Do you get a fake or real-you-cut-it-yourself Christmas tree?Fake. I almost died from an allergic reaction to the resin from the real tree we had in 1998. I’m not only allergic to the resin from the tree, which hangs around in your house long after the tree is gone, but I’m allergic to the mold that grows in the stand. Even the dust from the fake tree and ornaments bother me. To avoid allergy issues, we stick to fake, and try and seal our Christmas things up pretty tight.

4. Decorations on the outside of your house?We usually have a hand-painted manger scene that my father-in-law cut for me out of a flat piece of wood and attached steaks to. I painted it. It is very large, though… so we left it in storage this year. We usually go easy on the lights (maybe just one or two strands and a star above the baby Jesus) because my husband is allergic to the work involved putting up outside decorations and lights… and I’m not about to climb on the roof. This year, I would have put lights on the balcony at the apartments, but we didn’t have any lights or money to buy them!

5. Snowball fights or sleddin'?
No snow. From Texas. I love snow, though… as long as it doesn’t turn to sludge and ice.

6. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping?
No shopping this year. I do enjoy doing it when we have the money, though.

7. Favorite Christmas song?”Christmastime”, and “Welcome to Our World” - both by Michael W. Smith on his Christmastime Album

Here are the lyrics to "Welcome to Our World" - they are so awesome:
Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You’ve been promised, we’ve been waiting
Welcome Holy Child
Welcome Holy Child

Hope that you don’t mind manger
How I wish we would have known
But long awaited Holy Stranger
Make yourself at home
Please make yourself at home
Bring your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
World now breaking Heaven’s silence
Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe out air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Prefect Son of God
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world

Links to some great Christmas music you may not have heard yet:

There are three other albums which I enjoy each year that you probably can’t buy… they are a Nutcracker and Symphony CD that AT&T sent out in 1997 or 1998 to their customers, and two various artist Christmas CDs from Starbucks. I found another old various artist CD at half-price books two years ago, also, but I don’t even know the name of it. As you can see, I really love Christmas music. The more the merrier!

8. How do you feel about Christmas movies?I like them, but I really don’t watch that much TV. I never know when they are on. I may go months without watching any TV at all… besides news clips on the internet or DVDs that the kids play at home (or an occasional movie with the family/with Kevin for date night).

9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?
Never… but by the end of the first week of January, I start getting tired of it. Although, this year, it has made me more sad than happy… being away from home.

10. Stockings before or after presents?We always did stockings first as a kid. We don't have stockings right now though. I haven’t done them since we gave up Santa (when my son was a baby). I am considering bringing back the stockings, though… if we hand make some. I miss those little tiny gifts like glitter chapstick and such. They were always neat to dig into.

11. Carolers, do you or do you not watch and listen to them?
I’ve never had someone come caroling at my house, although if we had stayed in Texas, our church family there did caroling this year. I really wish I could have gone with them. They rode on a hay ride rig and went through the town we lived in. I love to sing.

12. Go to someone else's house or they come to you?We usually do the Christmas shuffle – and since Texas is so big, and we have family ALL over it, that meant hitting all the big cities within a week or two and a lot of time on the road. It was kind of nice this year not to have to drive, but I would rather drive to see family than be alone. We went to a friend’s house for Christmas lunch/dinner this year. It was nice to share the cooking and company since we were out of state. I have always hoped that one day, my kids would all come home for the holidays at my house.

13. Do you read the Christmas Story? If so when?
We have before, although this year, we didn’t. I really should have, though. My kids are very familiar with the story, but that’s no excuse. I just really was NOT in the Christmas mood this year. No presents, no shopping, no money, no decorations (other than the fake table top tree with no lights)… Bahumbug. Of course, that’s not what Christmas is about… and I could have gotten off my "pity pot" to make it better, but didn’t. We did go see a free light show, visit my dad, and eat lunch with friends. The grandparents were kind enough to send our kids some things to open in the mail this year, also.

14. What do you do after presents and dinner?Usually, DRIVE. Kevin’s parents and mine were divorced when we were little, so our kids have the blessing of four sets of grandparents.

15. What is your favorite holiday smell?
Pecans baking on the top of a pie or sweet potato casserole, gingerbread or cookies baking, fir or pine needles (even though I am deathly allergic), and just the entire meal (same smells as Thanksgiving). There's a pumpkin bath and body works lotion that I absolutely love, which they don't make anymore, also...

16. Ice skating or walking around the mall?My father is the ice skater. I did NOT inherit this gene, even though as a very young child, my idol was Dorothy Hammel and I wanted to be in the Icecapades. Malls are bad for your wallet. I try and avoid them if I can. If I had a little money to spare, I might enjoy it. When my husband and I were kids, we loved going together to the mall. We got married when I was barely 20, and he was barely 22.

17. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas day?Depends on which set of presents (we have four or five families to celebrate with). Traditionally, we go to a Christmas Eve Lutheran service with my husband’s family, and we eat a nice dinner together (his family is huge – as his mom was one of FIVE, and they always get together for every occasion), and then we open gifts with his mom’s side on Christmas Eve. It’s usually a drawing that decides who buys who’s gifts. Parents get to exchange kids names also. Then, we drive around and do Christmas on whatever day the other grandparents can do Christmas with the rest of our family.

18. Favorite Christmas memory?
The first Christmas I was with my husband. We were dating, but engaged. It was like magic being with someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. It truly gave Christmas a new meaning.

19. Favorite Part about winter?
Christmas and Cold (I love winter clothes and lots of blankets and hot drinks)

20. Ever been kissed under mistletoe?I’m sure I have. But it may have been staged. I can get you mistletoe if you need some. Just send me an email. Texas is covered with it in the winter. I like the challenge of getting it out of the tree more than the kissing thing. I am blessed to have a wonderful man to kiss every day.

21. Tagging...
Since it's after Christmas, the buck stops here. But, if you would like to answer these, go right on ahead! Happy New Year!

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December 28, 2005

My Mountain

Had to share this link for today... went out to dinner last night (so I'll have to cook the fried rice and sesame chicken for dinner today instead) at the Cracker Barrel. I just love them, and I forgive them for changing the menu and dropping that lovely chicken and rice dish they served once a week as a special. Morgan really wants that talking Parrot they have in the gift store.

I'm sorry for not getting to the posts I promised... hopefully I will tonight. Until then, please go read this wonderful post by SpunkyHomeschool about Climbing Mt. Homeschool. It was just the encouragement I needed today.

Back to our regularly scheduled program.... more books on sheep!

December 27, 2005

Bee, Sheep, and Stuff to Eat

Post updated at 11:08am - Dec. 31st...

Last Fluffy Post for a While
I promise to post something more helpful and interesting (and even on topic) tomorrow! I dug my school lesson-planner from 2003-4 and am getting ready to finish typing the posts for that year of our homeschooling adventure. I'm half way through the year, so it will be tomorrow before I can get the first post up. I'll do that tonight after school is over and dinner is eaten. Free time is scarce.

Sheep Unit Study Leftovers
Today, we're finishing up our SHEEP stuff (and the rest of the week). I still haven't found a Sheep Farm around here. I'm calling the Extension office back this morning and hopefully everyone is back from the holidays. We have a list of activities left to do, including:
  • Acting out Psalm 23
  • Write a report (copy work) on a favorite sheep breed (kids pick favorite from online site)
  • Drawing a diagram of a sheep's digestive tract
  • Discussing how sheep and people are similar (as relating to how the Lord shepherds us)
  • Finish reading "...and now Miguel."
  • Read story of David's life (how he was required to Trust in God)
  • Create a timeline notebook and print timeline figures relating to our unit
  • Do our vocabulary words
  • Make a map of the top five sheep herding states and cut out picutres of the top four sheep breeds in America
  • Study sheep diseases
  • Weave a potholder and bookmark
  • Compare an owner and hireling (also parent and babysitter)
  • Read library books
  • Study natural dyes
  • Play a vocabulary game
  • Visit a fabric store (learn how all fabric - not just wool - is woven)
  • Do our Memory verse for this week - 1 Peter 5:7
That's enough to keep me busy.

AWESOME Sheep Unit Craft
I have a friend who has lived in Ecuador for a year or more, and she has all these lovely woven rugs and treasures. I have been saving a craft up for a few years to do with this unit also. This is probably going to be my favorite craft for the year. It is so detailed and awesome. I got the idea from a Family Fun magazine. I can't wait to make it. It reminds me of my friend's Ecuadorian keepsakes. I found one of the best sheep websites available: Sheep 101 (since we're studying breeds today and mapping the common American breeds). As a side note... you might also enjoy checking out this GREAT animal clip-art site.

Bee's Birthday Gift

My children brought me a birthday card this morning while I was still sleeping. They got out of bed and had their rooms clean, made their beds, were dressed, brushed their teeth, made their own cereal and cleaned up their mess before 8:30am! What a birthday present for Mommy. God is good. My husband has had a gift certificate to Eddie Bauer for over a year now, and we found it again yesterday. He told me he would buy me a sweater and scarf with it. How nice.

Foodie News
Cooking at home every night has its advantages and disadvantages. The former would be health benefits and enjoyment; the later would be doing endless DISHES and cleaning up the mess. It's great for YOU, my little bloggie reader, because I am saving all my favorite recipes on my foodie blog. Be checking in on my website for the latest. I update it at least once a week, sometimes three or four times a week. I am slowly getting my recipe pile-up posted in there. Today's additions will be "Stuffed Green Peppers" (tasty winter meal), "Sweet Spinach Salad", and "Cold Black Eyed Pea Salad" (which almost tastes Lebanese).

Keep Christmas Alive
Hope you all are still enjoying your Christmas holidays. This is our last week to just enjoy "unit-study-learning" without the added Math and Language worksheets. The kids are really enjoying the break!

December 26, 2005

Bad Nativities

I'm busy spending time with my family, but I thought I'd drop in and share a cute link in an effort to keep my blog appearances up. I like to think of this as a "daily" updated site... so I am trying to make it so. Hope you enjoy this link - just click the words below!

December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

This is the picture we took last year in front of our Christmas tree. I thought I would share it since a) our tree is a lot nicer than the stand-in, table-top tree we used this year which doesn't even have lights, and b) we haven't taken a family photo in front of it anyway. So Merry Christmas from the Bee family.... and a Happy 2006.


December 24, 2005

Been Tagged

Grizzly Mama tagged me. It’s been a while since I answered a meme, and I do so love the hat tips and links. Especially since I am not traveling for Christmas for the first time in my life! So, I will be the blogger who blogs through the holidays while all the rest of you bloggies go this way and that way, visiting family and drinking eggnog.

Sad thing is, most of what Griz said would apply to me as well. Maybe she’s my long lost twin? Stranger things have happened. So, you might get a case of dejavou if you came here from her site to check my answers. I apologize in advance. I think I actually have done this meme before… looks really familiar…. Although it seems to have morphed a little. I had much nicer, more thoughtful answers for you last time around. Hmph. Maybe it’s just the lack of eggnog?

Seven things to do before I die:

1. Learn a few languages with the kids …and to be unique, I’ll list the ones we are interested in learning: Spanish (out of necessity living in Texas), Hebrew, Greek, Italian, French, Russian, Latin – in no particular order… although if my husband had his “drothers”, we would do French first, since he’s one of those snotty kids from the rich school district in the city who looked down on all the kids who took Spanish (like me).
2. Travel to many far away places with the kids …and to be unique, I’ll list some places we are interested in going to – although there’s no way I could list them all: Washington State, Canada, Ecuador, London, Scotland, Israel, Italy, Greece, Hawaii, Singapore, Spain, Colorado, Oregon, Bali, St. Lucia, France, Fiji, Australia, Ireland, Thailand, India, Iraq…. Etc.!!!
3. Do something with my artistic talent other than draw things for my kids (although that’s fun in and of itself).
4. Get out of debt (I have to say a BIG AMEN on this one… thanks for reminding me, Griz).
5. Do all I can do to bless my husband and children, praying for them to become all they can be in Christ.
6. Be a blessing to my son and daughter’s spouses – treating them as my own children, and loving and grand mothering their kids, as well.
7. Be involved in ministry for the Lord until I die.

Seven MORE things I cannot do:

1. Design a website (but you just wait until I learn!)
2. Figure out why someone would want to do extreme sports (my life insurance man asked me if I participated in them in the last three years, and it would have increased my rate more than double!)
3. Fly a plane (love to fly, would not want the responsibility of driving)
4. Reach the top shelf at the supermarket without climbing up the lower shelves (good one, Griz! But you just watch this little Texan climb up those shelves!)
5. Drive a semi (legally, I can’t… but I just love those smash-up scenes in one of the Terminator movies. Makes you wish you had a big truck like that. I’m one of those people that enjoy the big vehicle feeling… my husband said I shouldn’t drive an SUV, because when I do, I get a thrill out of going over medians and curbs.)
6. Leave the house messy for longer than a day or two.
7. Keep consistent with an exercise schedule.

Seven things that attract me to home educating:

1. CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW (no public school, tax-dollar funded religion being spoon fed to my kids)
2. TIME WITH MY KIDS (bonding – being the first one they ask questions to)
3. WATCHING THEM LEARN (seeing their interests develop into talents, and watching their little gears turning in those bright minds of theirs)
5. PICKING THEIR FRIENDS (If only my parents had homeschooled me…)
6. BRAGGING (being above grade level is fun, isn’t it?)
7. FREEDOM (now we can be off school when Daddy is off work… and a long trip is possible no matter what month it’s taken)

Seven things I say most often:

1. Excuse me, FREAK. (done in the same accent as the lemur king on Madagascar)
2. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.
3. Know what I mean?
4. Do you need me to time you? (this is said to help the kids remain on task while doing chores or schoolwork – they dread it when I time them)
5. HOLY COW (said with a Hindi accent – which I think is the coolest quasi-American accent ever)
6. Did you brush your teeth?
7. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Seven books (or series) that I love: (Hard to narrow down...)

1. The Bible (every version I can get my hands on)
2. My Utmost for His Highest – Oswald Chambers
3. Power of a Praying Wife – Stormie Omartian (and her Power of a Praying Parent version)
4. Redeeming Love – Francine Rivers
5. Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
6. Rogets Thesaurus (yes, I’m sick) – dictionary is nice, too…
7. All kinds of cookbooks!

Seven Ten movies I watch over and over again (or would if I had time):

1. Prince of Egypt – (“Let my people go!”)
2. Joseph King of Dreams – (“I’ll take what answers you supply, … cuz you know better than I.”)
3. Miracle Maker
4. The Matrix (original version) – (“There is no spoon.”)
5. Sense and Sensibility
6. Sleepless in Seattle
7. Gladiator
8. Bladerunner
9. Lord of the Rings Trilogy (“Smigel loves the precious.”)
10. The Three Musketeers (“With a flick of my wrist I can change your religion.”)

Five people I want to join in, too:

1. Grown at Home
2. A Dollop of Sour Cream
3. Christian Home School Teachers' Lounge
4. Italiandad
5. Home Maker

Merry Christmas Eve.

December 23, 2005

FLY in your FACE Physics


In case you have any budding physicists in your brood, this is one website that is well-worth checking out. Not only is Larry the coolest, spunky old scientist around (and a genius)... but his website is "the bomb". Wish I had someone that talented to re-vamp my blog! One can dream.

December 22, 2005

Four More Reasons to Homeschool

I've been busy home-making, home-schooling, and digging out of our endless stack of paperwork. My grandma used to say "I can't wait to get to heaven, because there won't be paperwork there." Now I understand why she said this. Doing paperwork feels about as good as grinding your teeth down with a spoon would.

I have been getting some wonderful emails, though. Since we're out of town for Christmas for the first time ever, it is nice to get emails from friends. I may be one of the only ones who are actually in town this week. I responded to someone's "out of office response" today, I was so lonely. Now that, my friends, is pathetic.

I thought I would share with you a small homeschoolish epiphany I had today after accumulating a few email links and reading my husband's work schedule when he got home. Seems his company has put him on the "sucky-shift". That means he'll be getting differential, which is good... but let me put it first on my list below and you'll know what I mean.


1. When your husband gets notice that he'll be working 9-6 with TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY as his days off... you'll be glad you are homeschooling! If we weren't, he'd never see me or the kids. As it stands, we can just do school on Saturday, and part of Sunday, and we can alter our days off to fit HIS schedule.

2. The link speaks for itself: Will Your Kids Be Christian?

3. The link speaks for itself: Homeschooled Boy Wins National Science Contest

4. The link speaks for itself: District Will Abandon "Intelligent Design"

Hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas Season. We are still plugging ever so slowly away at our current Konos Unit, and thankful for our parents who have sent some money and gifts. I'm looking forward to making my Sweet-Potato BLISS for Christmas Day. We've been invited to a friend's house for lunch and we're taking that and a few other items with us. Thank the Lord for ALL his wonderful gifts He blesses us with all year long. I'm glad that my Lord is always celebrating Christmas.

December 21, 2005

Fleece Navidad

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand." - John 10:27


I've been feeling a little sheepish lately. You know, there are a lot of similarities between a shepherd and his sheep... and a dumb human and his Savior. Sometimes I wonder if the sheep aren't smarter than we are. I had a friend ask me how I homeschooled, when she thought she was unorganized and couldn't do it... and all I could do was laugh. You see, I'm as A.D.D. as they get. I should probably be on medication, but I just dope up on prayer. So far, my kids are brilliant, and they seem to learn despite my flaws and lack of teaching experience. It is as big of a miracle as a Savior giving His life for His sheep (the fact that He daily gives me what I need to nurture my little lambs). He is such a wonderful Shepherd.

Why all this talk about sheep? The kids and I are having fun learning about our wooly little friends through our current KONOS unit. We're studying TRUST: Good Shepherd, Sheep & Weaving right now. I haven't gotten really excited about this unit, but it has been a nice surprise, and a great unit in learning trustworthiness, how to trust God, and how important our Shepherd is to His flock. I thought I would share a few links and finds we've made recently. Hopefully we'll be able to do some more crafts (funds are tight) and put some pictures of those up later. We're doing school through the holidays (everything except Math - which will start again after New Years)... so there should be plenty of time for arts and crafts this week and next.

Morgan came up with the title of this post. We had just finished reading a really cute book full of sheepy poetry, and she had been humming the song "Feliz Navidad" since we were in the car earlier. She suddenly said, "Fleece Navidad!" She was so delighted with herself. She snickered. Kaden and I laughed and told her she was funny. I decided to look up "Fleece Navidad" on the computer. I figured she wouldn't be the first to have coined the phrase, although she's most certainly the cutest. I was right.

Look at all these interesting things we found:
A pillow someone sold on Ebay (how cute),...

...a tree ornament for sale at "Our Name is Mud",...

...and a cross-stitch pattern from "1-2-3 Stitch".

The kids have been reading everything the library had to offer on sheep: Sheep picture books, sheep encyclopedia-type books, and of course, the silly sheep poetry book. It was woven with wonderful illustrations and wooly humor. In case you are interested, it's a great book to add to your personal library or to give as a gift. Here's a sample from the book that I'm sure you'll love as much as I did:

Sister Alabaster

Sister Alabaster,
with fleece as white as
is a Kung-Fu master,
excels at Tae Kwon Do,
dabbles in
at judo she is tops.
Just watch your back
‘cause she’ll
That lamb sure knows her chops!

This is one that I would consider buying for our collection. I usually find a few really great books as we do each unit… and we eventually will add them to our wish list (note to self: need to create a wish list page for my blog)!

I’ve also been busy trying to find a sheep farm somewhere near me, so we can go and see the sheep. I would guess that this isn’t the time of year to shear them, but at least we could go and see them up close. I have a message in to the County Extension Office, and hopefully they will call me back with good news. Unfortunately, I don't know any sheep farmers myself. Although, my husband has asked me lately how difficult it would be to raise sheep. How would I know? You're talking to a complete bona fide city-girl here, buddy. Not that it's anything to boast about. My biggest farm experience growing up was riding "Casper the Friendly Cow" a few times while visiting my grandparents who had a small farm in central Texas. I was a wanna-be-farm-kid, stuck in the big city... and an only child, at that!

Another interesting little tidbit is the Pendleton Woolen Mills kit we got in the mail. I am surprised that I was able to have the foresight to order it before we moved, seeing as how I knew we would be studying this unit at Christmas time. I had already forgotten about it during the move when my kit came. Free educational materials from Pendleton are available by visiting their website and filling out your address for the kit to be mailed. They offer videos to educators as well. I wasn't smart enough to request that, though - so we'll just see if the library has an interesting video about sheep shearing that we can check out. The kit we got has a little brochure about how to care for your woolen sweaters, and a large brochure with samples of freshly shorn fleece, and different samples from the various stages that it goes through before becoming warm, winter wool.

... and just for fun, here's another sheep humor site I ran into while doing some research:

Sheep Laughs

Good bye for now, Ewe


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December 20, 2005

HOLY COW, These Pecans are AWESOME!

One of my favorite people sent me one of my favorite Texas holiday treats in the mail yesterday. I thought I would share the secret of his holiday gift success with all of you mail-order gift exchangers out there who love to mail presents. Your family and friends will thank me later. I actually resort to hiding these after sharing a few when the box first gets opened. You should see me sneaking around munching on them in secret so the kids (but mainly the snack-devouring husband) won't find out! Click the title of this post to view the Sweet Taste of Texas website. You'll be glad you did (and so will the gym you have to sign up with later)!

December 19, 2005

Six Flags and Texas Snobbery

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Not just a theme park, the national flags that have flown over Texas are a colorful part of Texas (and U.S.) history. Each flag symbolizes an era of the state's past and a country which staked its claim to Texas soil. Since 1519, when Cortez explored the region, the following countries have flown their banner over the Lone Star State (in order by year of claim):

  • Spain

  • France

  • Mexico


  • The Confederate States of America

  • The United States of America

For more information about each of these eras in Texas history, you can click this link: The Six National Flags of Texas, and for more interesting history and facts about Texas, please click the title of this post!

Of all the other states, Texas and Hawaii are the only states which were previously their own "country" (you could substitute REPUBLIC or KINGDOM here) before becoming a part of the United States of America. There is a deep-rooted legend in Texas that because of this fact, Texans "are able to fly their flag at the same height as the American Flag". As a Native Texan and Texas Patriot, I have been known to propagate this rumor myself! I did some research this morning on the subject, however, and would like to share with you a quote from Wikipedia about the Texas Flag Legend (aside from a word I have chosen to bleep out)...

"It's an urban legend. However, current Texas flag code specifies that if the Texas flag is flown on a pole alongside the US flag, both flags should be on poles of equal height (3100.055). Note that both US flag code and Texas flag code specify no penalties or enforcement provisions, and as such are merely guidelines. Given that, Texans are going to do what they **** well please when it comes to flying flags. -- Cyrius 08:32, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)"

I agree with Cyrius here when it comes to the Texan spirit of pride in state and flag. Without penalties in violating flag laws, there's not a Texan I know who would fly their flag below the U.S. flag. In fact, I doubt there is any state in America that displays their state flag as much as Texas. Many homes and businesses do not even fly the American flag at all while they proudly display the Texas flag on their property. There are many in Texas who hold dear the "Spirit of Texas Independence" the same way we all celebrate "American Independence". At the root of all this snobbishness is just a deep-seated root of love for the state and the ideal of wild-west, cowboyish freedom that it embodies.

Although Texans seem a proud and loud-mouthed brood... there has never been a state full of people with bigger hearts towards guests than the "Friendship State". Of course, you'll find varying degrees of hospitality in different cities (and everyone is entitled to a few bad days). As a general rule, we would ask that you not judge us just on the basis of one place you visit, but a culmination of all of the state as a whole.

Each Texan is partial to his or her own stomping grounds, and (for the sake of preventing any hostility) you should always find a little something nice to say about it before you tell them what you disliked! Chances are, if you haven't gotten off of a major Texas highway, you really have no idea what the state is all about anyway. Probably the most ugly and embarrassing scenery in the whole state is the part you'll see traveling all the way down Interstate 45 and all the way across Interstate 10. What a sad shame that visitors can drive through the state and shake their head, wondering why we are such a loyal bunch. Even Highway 35 can be a little pathetic at moments, and it certainly keeps visitors to the Austin area completely in the dark about the area's rugged, beautiful hill country that is not visible unless you travel west from the interstate.

I thought I would share these interesting facts with you after our long drive into (and out of) our home state over the weekend. My husband actually asked someone out of state if they had to take a class on "Texas History" when they were in high-school. Ha! I hope you'll enjoy this little history lesson and we Texans hope you know that although we LOVE our state fiercely, we certainly aren't hostile towards any of the other great states in this united country we share! May God bless Texas, America, and the World! Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth!

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December 16, 2005

Gingerbread Disasters and Other Sad Stories

My domestic side, while getting a fierce work-out lately because of our zero-eating-out-budget, has truly been bruised. Last night, we ended up with ginger snaps instead of gingerbread people to decorate. The kids got a belly-laugh when we pulled them out of the oven in a tray full of little flat crispy puddles. (I mean, hey - if Ljc can bake cookies with her doggie and they come out fine, what's left for me but a life of shame?) The recipe was great, but I had allowed my six year old to read me the ingredients (and she translated 2.5 cups of flour into 1.5 cups somehow). They were a little disappointed about not getting to ice them. You just don't ice ginger snaps. It's not done.

Before I let them use the cookie cutters, I went looking for my digital camera (which has been gathering dust for the first time in years on the laundry room shelf) to see if it had any battery left. Not a drip. It took me ten minutes to find the box with the battery charger. As my husband downloaded the files off of the 256 picture card on his PC, I tried to fire up my computer. The grey screen of death gave it's icy stare from my monitor. I turned the computer off "the hard way" - by jabbing it's belly button - for a little sweet revenge and to jolt it back to reality. I've been dreading this moment for five years. It wouldn't power back on.

So, my ginger-people are puddles, and my computer is dead. Bahumbug. Even worse than that, though: My husband brought home "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" last night on video. I won't give a review, because some of you may have forgotten to take your Prozac today. Let's just say that my husband is banned from video selection for at least a month.

We are considering what is cheaper.... buy a new computer, or drive to Texas and confiscate my daughter's PC out of storage (gutting it to insert my D drive and taking it over). Of course, this would mean I could also get my four boxes of CHECKS that I managed to somehow forget in a "blonde moment" (as my blonde husband calls it). It wouldn't hurt to visit a few GREAT friends and eat at Chipotle, Pei Wei, and our favorite breakfast taco joint. It would cost about the same as buying a brand new PC. What do you think? Should I head for the border?

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December 13, 2005

VOTING TIME! - Homeschool Blog Awards

I got an email about this today from my blog (How sad is that?! ...and while I'm trying to stay away from the computer this week, too). Sweet Spunky Jr. sent me a comment about nominations and voting... so I had to run over to Spunky's site to check out the nominees. I was excited to see that my humble and silly homeschool blog got nominated in three categories! I'd be happy to win just one of them. *grin*

So here they are:
Best Homeschool Mom Blog
Best Informational Homeschool Blog
Best Inspirational Homeschool Blog

I don't know, what do you think? I would never vote for myself in the first category. Maybe Informational or Inspirational? I'm going to have fun this weekend checking out the other nominated blogs and casting my vote. Click the book to go and vote for your favorites.

THANKS SO MUCH to my bloggie-readers for putting me on the list!

December 12, 2005

The Gift of your PRESENCE

Colossians 1:28 - We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

I've been wowed this weekend by another blogger's humble introspect into her own life and her selfless pledge to give her family what they need... her attention! I wanted to share her lovely post with you, so that you can read it for yourself (click the title of this post to go there and read it). I think that it is a timely reminder as the holidays approach that the best gifts do not come in brightly colored packages with satin bows. Your best gift is yourself. This is the gift that Christ gave us. This is the gift that we are called to give.

Proverbs 14:1 - The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

May you be ministers of grace, love, and gentleness in your homes... may your relationships be the foremost thing on your hearts and minds. I pray God's blessings over all of you this Christmas season, and I pray that the Giver of all good things blesses you with all your needs and the desires of your hearts as you seek and worship Him.

I am taking Beth's advice and putting my all into my family this week. Today is my husband's birthday, so it's a great day to start!


December 11, 2005

Last Chance to Nominate Me!

Just peeped in at Spunky's site and she's wrapping up the Homeschool Blog awards very soon. If you love me, and you want to help me get a little triffle for my side-bar to make me feel important, please stop over at her place and nominate me for one of the Homeschool BEST categories.

December 10, 2005

411 AND MORE...

Hey, peoples. I got some nifty news via email this week. Seems 411 calls can be free if you call this number: 1-800-FREE-411 ... or 800-373-3411 -- whether on the cell phone or land line.

I didn't believe it, so I checked it out on -


Anyway, my computer is experiencing technical difficulties. I have a worm or virus that is making my life miserable. So.... I'm going to wipe it clean tonight. Hopefully I will be back up and running smoothly by tomorrow afternoon.

Have a super weekend if I don't "see you" until next week.

December 09, 2005

Winter Wonderland?

I went to bed sorely disappointed last night. No snow. Yeah, we saw a few icicles, but that was the extent of our "blanket of white" that the meteorologists promised. Wednesday night, we awoke to what sounded like crushed gravel hitting the windows and had to throw on two extra quilts. The seventies model heating system just couldn't keep up with demand, so it kept kicking on and off in five minute intervals. It rattled loudly. I seemed to be drowning in a sinus snott-bubble (Can you say that on a blog without appearing juvenile? ...Hey, I hang out with a 6 and 8 year old all day, so cut me some slack already.) and I couldn't go back to sleep. My poor allergies have been wrecking havoc on me since we left Texas.

I laid in bed wide awake while the sleet and ice came down outside, wondering if my husband would be able to get to work the next day. You see, he works for a company who's ice policy is "GET TO WORK OR YOU'RE FIRED". There are some high roads and bridges between where we live and his office, not to mention hills, so I lay awake praying that he would be able to safely make it in. After witnessing seven accidents (in about an hour) from my apartment balcony in Fort Worth during the 1994 January ice storm, I know that ice can be a boogar. Not that I've seen much of it in Texas. In fact, it's not frequent that you will hear the words ICE-STORM and TEXAS in the same sentence... that is if you live near the Gulf Coast. The "big FREEZE" every year usually consists of a night when it is just below 32 degrees outside and you bring in your tropical plants on the porch. Big deal, right?

So, I flipped on a flashlight in the night to scribble some blog notes down on the notebook beside the bed (I know, it's a sickness... have mercy on me, Lord!). The light wiggled and flickered on and off. I figured that's why they warn you to stock up on batteries before a snow storm. I wondered if we'd be stuck inside the house for days. I was secretly hoping for a few feet of white powdery snow to settle overnight and leave us in Christmas-time Bliss yesterday. My kids almost cried when we woke up and opened the blinds. The most fun they had was pulling a five inch icicle off their Daddy's truck. Kev called it a "catfish truck". That made them giggle.

I guess sledding is out of the question any time soon. Oh, well... I hear that January through March, we'll still have a chance of white.

December 08, 2005

Thursday Links

I've been checking off my list... yeah, I know what you're thinking... Santa's List, but sorry - nothing that magical. I've been ONLY naughty all year, anyway (according to my creditors). I doubt my name made it to the North Pole. I'll settle with having it in the ecosystem.

I'm doing my checkbook and paying bills since payday is tomorrow. But, I wanted to give you all a few links since you'll be sorely missing my wonderful posts while I'm busy getting my priorities straight....


PARENTING LINK: Yelling easy to do, but hardly doing the job

SCIENCE LINK: ID Critic Beaten... so sad that people can't be Christ like. It is bad enough that we are already up against scoffers. Must we add fuel to the fire? (when I say we... I assume that these people who beat the professor are proponents of ID and proclaim to be Christian)

TEXAS LINK: Merry Christmas, Texas Style

PATHETIC LINK OF THE DAY: French ethics... you can't take someone's face (transplant), but you can kill your own baby (abortion). Go figure.


Have a super Thursday! Pray that some rich tycoon wills his entire fortune to us this Christmas - and if you do, let me know so that when we get the check, we can send you a fruitcake. Ha!

December 07, 2005

PREACH IT, Brother Paul!

Colossians 1:9-23 (The Gospel according to Paul!*)

9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;

12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.

13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,

14 in whom we have redemption through His blood,[a] the forgiveness of sins.

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,

20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—

23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

* notes in parentheses mine / subtitles printed by NKJV left out
New King James Version (NKJV) - MacArthur Study Bible by John MacArthur
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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December 06, 2005

Homeschooling - Starting Out

OK, so it's been a while since my blog was truly "on topic", but today, I'm going to post a whole lot of links for you moms who may be just learning of homeschooling and considering it for your family. I have a friend who's kids had a bad private school experience, and they are starting homeschool after the Christmas break (Yipee!), so I thought I would share with you what I emailed her last night. When I started homeschooling, we lived in Houston, Texas. I have a lot of links for you Houstonian and Texan Moms included in this post. So, if you are starting to homeschool in Texas, this post will be even more helpful to you!

Top Ten Things To Do When You Start Homeschooling...

by Sprittibee

1. Pray, Pray, Pray!

Remember that once you start, you'll always second guess yourself. There will be days when you wonder why you are doing it (I've had quite a few this year because of our moving and missing school days that we'll have to make up this summer). There will be days when you'll struggle just to get out of your pajamas.... but your kids will turn out wonderful and you'll still be able to have a relationship with them when they are teenagers! God is there, the whole way, if you just lay it all at His feet and remember that you can't do it on YOUR STRENGTH ALONE.

2. Join a MOM's Support Group, a Co-op, and a Homeschool Email List.

You should get with like-minded folks and listen to their war stories about how they've managed to run a household and school five to eight kids over the past fifteen years... and see their successes as little Betty Homeschool the seventeen year old can hold a conversation with you (looking you in the eye) and actually seem like she's enjoying herself. These moms are not turning out a new generation of fleshy Bratz Dolls (heaven help us!), nope... they are growing the next generation of home-makers, politicians, college professors, rocket scientists (at least Amy is), surgeons, veterinarians, and godly parents. These people's kids are usually the kind you imagine your own little Bill and Betty growing up to marry. Thank the Lord for other homeschooling moms!

To find a list, do an email search in your browser. Type in something like "My City Homeschool Email List" or "My City Homeschool Co-Op". Of course, you sub your city's name for the "My City".

If you are in Houston, Texas, you can JOIN THIS EMAIL LIST:
Greater Houston Area Home Educators (G-HAH)
They are a secular/all-inclusive group, but have many Christians also. They list all the free events and field trips going on around Houston, and you can get to know people and ask questions there.

3. Read about homeschooling.

There is a wealth of information available today about homeschooling. If you are just starting out - chances are, you aren't alone. The numbers of homeschoolers today are growing rapidly (see my previous post about Homeschooling in America Today). Gone are the days when everything was underground and police carted you off to jail for truancy. Praise the Lord! Homeschooling is becoming more and more understood and accepted all across the nation. I am listing a few interesting articles about homeschooling that will help you in your mission to convince dad that it's a good choice, ward off the criticism from nosy family members and friends, and to help you feel confident in your decision. It may take you a few months to read all of these, but bookmark the permalink for this post (click here for the link to appear in your browser, then save it as a favorite), and come back later and read them when you have time. I promise, they are great articles.

A Brief Case for Socialization
More Information than You'll Ever Need About Homeschooling
Nobel Winners Hate School
The Government Endangers Education
Socialization No Longer an Issue
Colleges Recruiting Homeschoolers
Homeschool, Or Else...
Publik Skule vs. Home School
Seceding from School

4. Join a Local Homeschool Organization/Check out Local Event Websites...

Usually, in each state, there is a homeschool organization that puts on book fairs, conventions, and even graduations and such. These types of groups are not really for meeting people, but rather just information you can use to help you in your journey. There is usually a small fee and it gets you in the door at events. They will most likely send out a newsletter that has all the upcoming event information, advertisements, and helpful articles. There are also helpful websites that will display local events and co-op opportunities. You can search for them the same way you search for co-ops and email lists (see #2).

If you live in Texas, some of these links might be helpful:
(over 90 support groups listed here)
(Gulf Coast - Houston)
(South Texas - San Antonio)
South West Dallas Home School Association (SWDHSA)

I could go on and on... but you get the point... these links are not that hard to find if you just do some keyword searches on your browser.

5. GO to a book fair or convention.

It is priceless to hear the speakers at homeschool conventions. I used to just go and browse all the materials in the main building - drooling over curriculums I couldn't afford and countless books I wanted. Then I discovered that the book fairs are really about encouraging and equipping mom through listening to the speakers they provide. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will walk away with a mission.

My favorite Texas Book Fair is the Arlington Book Fair. I would HIGHLY recommend it if you live anywhere within four or five hours of Arlington, Texas (between Dallas and Fort Worth). I used to drive up there from Houston (four hours away). Another added plus to attending the Arlington Book Fair is that usually, Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington has a Homeschool Day (the lines are shorter than usual), and you can make both events in the same week. For more information about either, visit their individual websites. If you are not on a homeschool email list, you might not find out about the homeschool-only event (on the website it usually lists it as a CLOSED to the public event, without a name).

6. If you are worried about legalities, or live in an area that is hostile or difficult to homeschool because of public perception or school officials, please join the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).

The membership fee is a bit high, but it gets you discounts on homeschooling materials and conferences, and also provides legal services for free if the truancy officers, school officials, or nosy neighbors bother you or try and turn you in to CPS. They also have wonderful state-by-state legal summaries of the laws regarding each state's stance on homeschooling and upcoming legislative watches.

There are other groups like this one, but this is the most well-known. If you know of another great group that champions homeschoolers rights, please leave the link in my comments section to share with others who might be searching!

7. Visit a homeschool book store.

The people who work in these stores are usually either homeschoolers or previous homeschool veterans. They offer a wonderful variety of curriculums, books, and educational supplies. Some times it helps to go and look at curriculums without the pressure of "sales people" such as you would experience at the book fair. There are also books and articles that compare different curriculums that you can read. You can also get ideas from the various catalogues that sell homeschool curriculums and supplies which you can get through the mail or visit online. A few of them are linked in my side-bar. One of my favorites is Vision Forum.

Two Houston Homeschool Book Stores that I visited when we were in Houston are:
Love 2 Learn (Tomball)
The Homeschool Store (Northwest)

8. Choose your curriculum.

There is so much to pick from, that it can be overwhelming. Everyone has their own ideas about what is best for them (and they will be sure to tell you about it). The best thing to do is to know your goals. What is your main mission in educating your kids? What are the most important characteristics you want them to have when they grow up? What skills do they need to work on now? What are their learning types and personality types? Do you have any special needs? These are questions that will help you narrow your search. There are websites, articles, book stores, book fairs, speakers, and books that can help you in this quest. It would take me all day to research the links, so I'll leave that up to you. My strongest suggestion in this area (besides PRAYER - see #1) is to get with a homeschooling family who has been homeschooling a while and sit down over coffee with the mom (or dad if he's the main teacher), and DISCUSS what they do, and what you are looking for. Chances are, God has placed the perfect seed in that person which they, in turn, can share with you... and it will produce a garden of ideas and a crop of educational success.

And REMEMBER... as you grow in your homeschool journey, you can always CHANGE curriculums (even mid-semester!), change schedules, and change goals! You are a living, breathing homeschool family with changing needs each year. As you learn more, you will tweak your homeschooling and every year will be a different experience. You will find what works best for your kids as you travel the homeschooling journey together.

Here is an article about choosing curriculums from that I saved in my email box from long ago: Finding the Right Curriculum

9. Stay encouraged.

Aside from prayer and fellowship, you should remember that you aren't perfect. You should make it a point - especially at first - to read uplifting articles about homeschooling. Just about every time I get to feeling like a flop as a homeschool mom, someone will send me a link or an email that will make me feel better... or the kids will tell me they had a great time, or hug me... or someone will say "My, what well behaved kids you have!" The little things are what keep you moving forward. God is in the details. He knows just what you need. Homeschooling isn't an easy way of life - especially if you are scraping by on one income and have to sacrifice a lot of the frills that make life easier. But, in the long run, your kids will thank you... and you can always re-join the work force once they are happy, godly, successful adults!

Below, I have left you with a few links that will put a smile on your face. Chances are, if you are reading this, you already know about Homeschooling Blogs. The list of homeschooling blogs on my sidebar are also a great place to get daily inspiration (and as in the case of this blog in particular - a place to come when you want to feel like you "AREN'T THE ONLY ONE WITH PROBLEMS!"). If you are reading this and you know of some other interesting links for moms to visit for encouragement or laughter regarding homeschooling and staying at home, please leave them in my comments section for this post!

Best Homeschooling
(essays about what people wish they had have known starting out... Etc. Grab your coffee and read these with your daily devos!)

I'm Not a Radical Homeschooler

Cindy Rushton Mom 2 Mom Discussion Boards and Inspirational Articles

Also, check out the many interesting homeschool links in my sidebar!


Remember to hug your kids, kiss your kids, play with your kids, and pray with your kids. Set aside a time each day for family discussion, family reading, and family field trips or outings. Spend time with each of your kids alone. Make sure Dad has time with each of them alone as well. Take them on a kid date night. Make up a rules and rewards system. Set up chores and allowance. Give them a spot to show off their school work at home. Frame their artwork. Give them a certificate or award because they are GREAT KIDS. Laugh a lot. Enjoy your time with them. They will be grown up before you know it. That six year old will be driving and possibly WORKING in ten years. Those warm cuddly reading times on the couch will fade away. Make memories and cherish today. Take the spilled milk lightly. Pick your battles and don't fret over the small stuff.

Some of the best advice I have ever gotten is from a Konos friend. You'll have to forgive me if I misquote it... and it may have originated with Jessica Hulcy (one of the Konos brains), but I'm not sure. One day, when I was particularly frazzled, I got an email from a Konos friend who told me:

"Try and create a WARM HOT CHOCOLATE learning environment... rather than a COLD, BITTER LEMONADE one."

She went on to say that Kids learn best when they are enjoying themselves and even laughing. This is a simple way to explain it, and a nice visual... make your kids some HOT CHOCOLATE and HAVE FUN HOMESCHOOLING!

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Some posts on this blog contain affiliate links or sponsored links. I receive a small commission whenever a product is purchased through an affiliate link. Sponsored links are paid for by a company who wishes to improve their Google ranking, but I always check to make sure these are reputable sites and never allow any links that are questionable to be placed.

The links in my "Sweet Linkage" section are either sponsored links or personal links that I find interesting (including the links to the blogs that both of my teen children run).

I occasionally run ads on my blog in exchange for money or traded advertising, or receive products in exchange for a review or giveaway posts. I also participate in campaigns by brands that offer to pay me to write about their products after using them. Any post that is sponsored will be noted as such. All opinions expressed on are my own, and any review, give-away, sponsored post, graphic ad, or product that I mention or link to are ones that I believe are reputable and worthy companies.


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