Monday, September 24, 2012

Glade Expressions: A Review

As a Bzz Agent, I get to try new products from time to time and give honest reviews and feedback.  I recently got picked to try and review the new Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist and Glade Expressions Oil Diffuser.  I received coupons to pick up both starter kits for free.

For the Glade Expressions Oil Diffuser, I chose the Fuji apple and cardamom spice scent.  It is a delightfully sweet and spicy scent I felt was just right for the start of the fall season.  The holder is a decorative  piece that comes in either white/black or wood/black to fit just about any decor.  It requires no batteries and is NOT a plug in...which I love.  The oil is in a container held in the bottom piece and the reed fits in the middle of the holder and just snaps right into the oil container.  I do like that the oil is contained to prevent spills and damages.  That being said, I have very curious children, so I played it safe and put it in our master bedroom.  It didn't take very long for the fragrance to fill the room.  I was really surprised, as I have tried other diffusers and I really couldn't smell anything unless I got right upon them.  It's supposed to last up to 30 days, which means I only have to replace the refills once a month.  It might last even longer...who knows?  I'll end with this...My son took his shower tonight in our bathroom and when he was finished, he asked, "Mom, what smells so good in here?"  Need I say more?  I will definitely continue buying the refills and can't wait to try the other scents available.

Here is our diffuser sitting on the counter.

As for the Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist, I chose the cotton & Italian mandarin scent.  I thought it was a light, clean fragrance good for everyday use.  It comes in a sleek, decorative container that you can leave sitting out, instead of hiding it inside the cabinets.  You just have to peel the plastic wrapping off of it when you get home, (and there is a perforated tab to get you started).  When you purchase the starter kit, a refill container already comes with it, but when you need to change it out, you just tap on the bottom, unscrew the top on the refill and insert the new one inside the container.  To use, you just squeeze around the top.  It only takes just one or two quick sprays to work.  You don't need to waist large amounts of it in order to smell it like other air fresheners and such things.  I gave a couple of quick sprays in the living room after a diaper change.  (Yeah, it was one of THOSE types of diaper changes.)  It really freshened the smell in the room and lasted for quite a while.  I have to say, I was very well pleased with the new Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist.  It also has several scents to choose from and I can't wait to try them all out. 

I chose to put ours on the shelf in the kids' bathroom.

The Glade Expressions Oil Diffuser and Fragrance Mist are definitely two products I can honestly recommend you try.  I know I am glad I had the chance to try them out and will most certainly  continue to use them in the future.  I really think you will like them, too.  

God bless!

*I was given these products to try and review for free.  I was not compensated nor required to give a certain spin.  I am only required to be honest, and my opinions are just own honest opinions.  *

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Enough Said Saturday: Career Day

Our co-op had a day for the kids to dress up like what they wanted to be when they grow up.
So, of course, I couldn't pick just one picture.  Enough Said.  :)

 My little ballerina.

My little soldier.

Ages 8yo and 6yo.  
I don't know what God's plans for their lives are yet, but I'm thankful for the journey.

God bless!

Our Homeschool Checklists

One thing I want to help instill in my children with their school work (and every area of their life,) is accountability and responsibility.  I can't always be there to make sure they get all their work done.  I do plan on them moving out of the day.  But, waiting until then to teach them how to be responsible is too late.  So, I start now, when they are young and can form good habits.

Which brings us to the checklists.  I like seeing a list, holding it in my hands, and being able to check it off.  It just gives me a feel of accomplishment and helps me stay on task.  So, last year, I made a check list of subjects for Buddy and Sweet Pea.  I told them they could do the subjects in any order they choose, they just had to check them off as the subject assignments were completed.

 The subjects go down and the days go across, so by Friday, they should have quite a few checks on their lists.  Some subjects, such as History and Science, are not done everyday, so there will be some blanks, but there should be more checks than blanks on a consistent basis.

At the time, Sweet Pea was still fond of getting marker all over her body and her clothes, so we used the new Crayola Dry Erase Crayons.  They are much friendlier with laundry than the regular dry erase markers and the kiddos loved it.  They would use a different color for each day, and sometimes for each subject.  It helped them to keep themselves on track instead of me having to do it for them.  Of course, there were plenty of days when I had to stay on top of them to get everything done.  Even on those days, though, it helped them to see the subjects getting checked off and the work getting finished so they knew 'quitting time' was getting closer.  Even as adults, we ALL have those days that we just can't wait for everything on our list to be finished so we can stop for the day.

I haven't made this year's list for the kiddos yet because I just want us all to get 'in the groove' first, but I will be making them in the next couple of weeks.  (Which will also allow me to continue feeding my laminating addiction.) 

This year, I added a list for myself.  Like I said, every year it seems the subject list gets a little longer and I found myself trying to remember what we had already done and what we still needed to do and who was doing what.  Whew!  So, even though the kiddos will have their own lists, I decided I need to make myself one to keep up with everything I need to do.

I, with the help of my husband~mostly my husband, created a checklist of each subject for each child and included small boxes to put my little checks in.  (And, of course, I just had to laminate it!)

The names have been changed covered to protect the innocent.  :)

This has helped me so much, already.  And I love that I can just wipe it clean and be ready for the next day.  I leave you with this small confession, though.  Only AFTER I made the list AND laminated it, did I realize that I, yes~the preacher's wife, forgot to include Bible study on the list!!!  My husband said he is "so proud" of me.  Hehehe.  Never fear, I will make sure it is included on the kiddos' lists.

I would love to hear what you have done to help your kiddos with self-accountability and responsibility.  Just leave a comment below.

God bless!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Laundry Detergent, Homemade Style

All 3X Small & Mighty Stainlifter Liquid Laundry Detergent, 32 oz

I have used "all" detergent for years and I have no complaints about it.  But, if I can do something to save a little money here and there, I will give it a try.  I'm also trying to use things with more natural ingredients instead of the heavy chemical items. Trying another chemical filled detergent for less money wasn't an option.  I have more than one child with extremely sensitive skin and messing with detergents is a big risk. However, when I saw some recipes for homemade detergent on Pinterest, and the ingredients seemed a little more natural and a little less harsh than the store bought detergents out there, I decided to take the plunge.

I found How Does She?'s recipe for laundry detergent on Pinterest and really liked it.  (Plus, her bottle of detergent just looked so pretty!)  I waited until I used up what I already had, then off to the grocery store I went.

(I forgot to take a picture with the soap bars before I grated them.  Oops!)

How Does She?'s recipe calls for Borax, Arm & Hammer's Super Washing Soda, 2 bars of Zote soap, and baking soda, with OxyClean and Purex Crystals as optional ingredients.  The store I went to didn't sell Zote soap, so I used Fels~Naptha soap bars, instead.  I decided NOT to use baking soda since I read several comments from others that it faded dark colored clothes.  I think the baking soda is to act as an odor neutralizer, and the Super Washing Soda does that.  I also decided to leave out the OxyClean at this point and add it as needed.  It just seemed a little more harsh than I wanted in my everyday detergent.  I DID opt for the Purex Crystals because, honestly, I love good smelling laundry.

I love the bright yellow color, it smelled so fresh,
and actually felt good on my hands!

I realized the Fels~Naptha bars were smaller than the Zote soap bars, but I still miscalculated how many bars would equal the 2 Zote bars called for.  I bought and grated 3 (or maybe 4) bars and you need almost 6 bars of Fels~Naptha to equal 2 bars of Zote.  (What?  Me miscalculate something?  Never! Hahaha!!!)  But, after talking with a couple of friends on facebook, I decided to just go with what I already had instead of running out to buy more.

I followed the advice of the post I was taking this from in the way she mixed all the ingredients together.  I mixed a little bit at a time, stirring as I went, then added a little bit more.  That made it easier to make sure everything was equally mixed.

I tried to put some of it in the Purex bottle just like the blogger I got this from did, (it really looked nice)...yeah, that didn't work.  The soap separated from the other ingredients and no matter what I did, (shaking, rolling, subtracting amounts,) it still separated itself.  Since I only had a very small amount of OxyClean left, I decided to just pour that in with the mix, (it wasn't enough to amount to anything,) and use the OxyClean container and it seemed to work much better.  The rest of it is kept in a large bucket with a tight lid until I need some more.  I'm going to keep track of how long this batch lasts.  Some say theirs can last 6 months to a year, but we are a family of 5, so we shall see how it goes.  I am fairly certain it will still last longer and be more cost effective than continuing to buy detergent from the store.

It only takes 2 TBS of this detergent per load to use.  Yes, you read that right...2 Tablespoons!  That is exactly one coffee scoop full.  Keep in mind that it doesn't suds as much as store bought brands, so don't be tempted to keep adding more.  Suds are not necessary for cleanliness.  From what I have read, this detergent recipe is also safe to use in HE washers and front loading washers.  But, don't quote me on that since my washer is neither.

So far, we have been pretty satisfied with our clothes.  They come out clean, smell GREAT, and are pretty soft considering I haven't used fabric softener since starting this new detergent.  The only thing that didn't come out as soft were the towels.  I may continue to add fabric softener when washing towels, and when I run out of what I have, I will probably switch over to vinegar as my softener since it is also more natural.

Don't be afraid to try homemade laundry detergent!  I am glad I tried it and I think you might be, too.

God bless!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Back in Action!!

When we dropped Direct TV and our Knology accounts, they immediately closed the email account.  Immediately.  So, I have had to go through and change everything and I'm still working on it.  I couldn't access my blog because it was under the old Knology address.  I tried to change my email in my Google account but they won't allow gmail addresses.  Go figure.  The cable guy forgot to leave us the access code to set up an email account through our new provider, so we had to wait for it, taking even longer before I could finally get back to blogging.
But, I am officially back in action!!!  Woohoo!!  Now, if you will excuse me, please...I've got some blog posts to write.  :)

God Bless!!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Reorganizing: Master Bathroom Storage

If you haven't read my Don't Judge Me: My 'Before' Reorganizing Story, then make sure you take time to do so either before or after checking out this will help make sense of things.

We don't have a very big master bathroom.  (We don't have a very big house.)  And in a small bathroom, there is even less room for storage.  Add 2 years of not doing anything to help, (like I the linked post), you get this:  

 I know, right!?!  Hide your children's eyes, gasp, scream...but, I hope you can at least appreciate how hard it is to share the ugly truth with you. 
Yes, that is plastic wrap in there.  I had to wrap my bandaged knee after my surgery and never took it back out...I just didn't want it back in the kitchen after being in the bathroom...know what I mean?  And all the medication just laying around...again, read the Don't Judge Me article. This is what happened.  But, as you can see, there is NOTHING functional and peaceful about this space. 

So...on a Dollar Tree kind of budget, that's where I headed.  I picked up several little baskets and utilized some we already had around the house.  I threw away or recycled a bunch of stuff.  Bunches and bunches.  And it felt good.

My husband's items are organized on the left, and my things are organized on the right.  There is a basket for unopened/unused items, (I found 3 unopened deodorant containers!), a basket for lotions and perfumes, a basket for bandages and ointment, and storage containers for other things and that hide all the o.t.c. medication a little better.  Those containers were actually already there, but they weren't very accessible.  (I properly disposed of the prescription meds that were outdated & irrelevant~and there was a lot because I don't like taking medication, so most bottles were pretty full.)

Now, I'm not Martha Stewart, and this space will keep improving as our budget allows and I get more ideas, but here is the after:

There's even room, now, for my Thirty One bags that I keep my hair and makeup supplies in.  (Before, they had to sit on the counter, taking up valuable space.)  I would still like it to look a little less crowded, but for now, say it with me..."Much Better!"

I also reorganized the only other storage compartment in the bathroom, a small cabinet that we purchased about 2 years into our marriage.  It has served its purpose well.  I didn't get 'before' pictures of it, but it wasn't much better than the previous space.  I put all of my nail polish and related items in a basket and moved it to the bottom open shelf.  (My daughter, Sweet Pea, specifically asked where it was), and stored the toilet paper on the top shelf where it's a little more covered.

For the shelves behind the door, I used a couple of baskets-one to store feminine items and one for sample/travel items.  That seems to make the space flow much better than a bunch of boxes and bottles laying around.

I really like my bathroom space now.  It's not perfect and like I said, will be evolving, but I can breathe easier and smile more with a space that's organized, functional, accessible, and sensible-to me.  And that, my friends, is what it's all about.

God bless!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Don't Judge Me: My 'Before' Reorganizing Story

Okay, blogger friends, I have been in full-on, Pinterest inspired, reorganization mode, lately.  But, before I can blog about it and before you see the 'before' pictures, I say...don't judge me, please!

A.  I was not born with my mother's natural organizing skills.  It has always been, and still is, a struggle for me to stay organized.  I don't know why.

B.  Some of the 'before' picture areas weren't always THAT bad.  I did try.  But, here's what happened...

     1.  Pregnancy.  Yep, in late summer of 2010 and at 38 years of age, I found out we were expecting our third child...Sunshine.  And for me, that means 6months minimum of at least a moderate-not mild-moderate level of all-day-long morning sickness.  This round had the extra perks of a constant headache, often turning into an immobilizing migraine.  Somewhere around the 34 or 35 week point, I was put on bed rest because of early labor contractions.  You better believe no organizing happened during that whole time.
This was all I was allowed to do at Sweet Pea's birthday party.
     2.  In my 9th month of pregnancy, about 2 or 3 days after I was taken off of bed rest of course, I broke my ankle.  I stepped off of our back deck.  But, that's not how it broke.  I took a couple of steps on flat yard and my right ankle just twisted, breaking a chip of a bone.  (This really isn't surprising to people who know me, lol.)  Thankfully, it was a clean break in a place that would heal itself in time and didn't require anything other than me using a walker for a couple of weeks and wearing a boot for a little while.  Nevertheless, it hurt, bad.  All the extra, unbalanced, weight did NOT help.  No organizing happened.                                                     
For Easter, I decorated the walker with bows...oh, yes I did! 

     3.  After little Sunshine was born in late April 2011, I had increasing pain in my left knee and it kept trying to pop out of place.  It had been hurting for a while, but when I fell, obviously my left leg overcompensated a lot to make up for the weak left ankle.  I think that just caused further damage in my knee, which resulted in surgery that October and physical therapy for several weeks after that.  You guessed it...still no organizing.
Sunshine on her birth day. 
     4.  But, the last reason is why I think my house just stayed unorganized and got worse over time.  After Sunshine was born and the newness wore off, I really just didn't care about anything.  I continued to homeschool and care for my children, but all I wanted to do was...nothing, except maybe sleep.  Or, cry.  I wanted to cry and did quite often.  I had no idea why I felt that way and often wanted to escape.  I kept telling my husband that maybe if I just went away for a weekend all by myself, that would help me.  But, with three children, one being a baby, that didn't happen. This went on for months.  Through the surgery, through Christmas, and deep into 2012.  I put up a good front, or at least I tried.  Facebook posts were positive and funny, and I think I even got some blogging done.  But, on the inside, I was really bothered by the whole thing.  It just wasn't me.  Somewhere around April or May of this year, I finally called my ob/gyn and scheduled a regular checkup and planned to talk to her about this, but the earliest appointment I could get was at least 3 months away in August.  But, somewhere in the middle of that waiting, (and doing a lot of praying), I read an article about someone's experience with post-partum depression.  Ding, ding, ding!!!  Finally, everything made sense.  I had never experienced post-partum depression before, and I don't suffer from depression in general, so I really had no idea what was going on with me until that moment.  And, honestly, it was like a heavy burden suddenly lifted.  The depression didn't leave immediately, but either it was about to end naturally, or just realizing what was going on caused it to fade away.  (Or maybe both?)  Of course, by the time I was ready and willing to care for myself and my house again, which was just in the past month, it was a wreck!!!!  (Yes, 2 years of almost no organizing activity!)  And of course, non-naturally organized people have no idea where to start, but Pinterest helped with that. 

So, when you see some of the pictures I managed to remember to take in the 'before' stages, I say...don't judge me, please.  Just look at the 'after' and realize how much I'm smiling now. 

God bless!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Back in the Books!!

We officially started our new school year this week, on Monday, August the 13th.  Since the 1st day of Buddy's Kindergarten year, a '1st day' tradition began.  I wrap up some of their school workbooks, new supplies, and a few fun surprises and let my little students open them up to begin our 1st day.  The kiddos love this and it makes what might seem boring, a little more exciting. So, here are a few pictures to capture our 'gifts of education'. 

Sweet Pea & Buddy waiting to open up

Buddy finding a fingerprint art kit

He is super excited to get more of these books.  He hasn't put them down!

Sweet Pea excited about her new Math U See workbook.  (We are all excited about this curriculum!)

She also got a couple of books and very quickly found her way in my lap for me to read them to her. 

Not to be left out, Sunshine also received some 'school supplies.'  

She got new books, too.  She loves to read.  We just can't understand her, yet.

I also make signs that say "1st Day of __ Grade" and have the kiddos pose with their signs.  For some reason, I had the signs ready but the pictures did not happen.  So, I will have them pose this coming week and we will just 'pretend' it's the first day.  But, it's a great way to capture how they change from year to year.  
Children (at least in America), HAVE to go to school, it's not an option.  But, whether they stay at home or go to a traditional style of school, education is truly a gift.  So, make it fun!  If you have any fun ways of celebrating the start of the school year, leave a comment and share them with us.  

God bless!

Enough Said Saturday: Weeeeee!!!

Sunshine's first time in the swing.  Enough said.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Catching Up...

I know, I know!  It's been a little while since I've blogged about anything.  I have been in full-on, Pinterest inspired, reorganization mode around the house.  And trust me, if you knew how bad it was, you would understand.  I have been taking pictures, though, and will blog about it as soon as I get it all finished, just the way I want it. 
I have also been busy getting ready to start our new homeschool year.  I've been reviewing and looking over all of the curriculum I've chosen, planing our days, preparing the paperwork required for our umbrella school, and gathering supplies.  Whew! 
So, I apologize for neglecting my blog recently.  But, I promise, there will be posts soon!! 
Until then...
God bless!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

No Funnies on this Friday: In the wake of a tragedy

There just isn't anything funny about this Friday.  Last night, a 24 year old man walked into a sold out movie theater in Aurora, Colorado and within minutes, 12 people were dead and dozens were injured.  My heart is heavy for everyone involved, and the community as a whole.  I have seen differing views of this tragedy in regards to media and gun laws, all with valid points.  But, we all agree that is was a horrible, senseless act of violence.  In the end, no amount of arguing and debating about the what if's will change what has already happened.  I do believe in the power of prayer, and more than ever, we need to be praying for the individuals and families affected by this tragedy and the community as they mourn the losses of loved ones and try to make sense of something that will never make sense.  Like I said, there just isn't anything funny about this Friday.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Funnies on Fridays: Cow Appreciation Day

One of my family's favorite 'holidays' is the annual Chick-fil-a:Cow Appreciation Day.  It's the one day a year that you get to dress up like a cow and get your food for free. 

 Three of the cutest little calves you'll ever see.

The first year we participated, (before Sunshine was born), I printed out the designs that the CFA website offers and just taped it to our shirts.  It worked, but I decided to 'beef' it up a little this year by cutting out felt pieces and doing a quick hand-stitch.  This makes it easy to remove later without leaving a lot of holes.  The ears are just pinned on to headbands, scrunchies, (and a ninja mask~his choice), with safety pins.  
"Will moo for food!"

Then, we 'hoofed' it on over, via the minivan, to join the other cows on this wonderful day of celebration.  The clerks behind the counter even rang the cowbell when we walked in.  It was so much fun to see all of the other herds that came in while we were there, each with their own branding.  I would say that the entire meal order being free was the best part, but it wasn't.  The best part was making fun traditions and fun memories with my little ones.  There may come a day when they think they are 'too cool' to dress up, so I'm going to enjoy it every year that I can while it lasts.  
Whether you dress everyone up like a cow or not, I urge you to make fun traditions with your family that they will remember long afterwards.  I will leave you with one more picture...
The whole "Three Kids & We" herd

If you can't laugh at yourself, laugh at me!!  
God bless!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My 2012-2013 Curriculum list and a few wishes

If you homeschool, or ever have, you know that there comes a time, every year, when you have to plan for the next year.  For me, I start evaluating, researching, and planning after Christmas because I want to know exactly what I'm doing and exactly what I'm going to need before all those wonderful used curriculum sales start, come spring time. 
For this next year, our math curriculum is being totally switched up.  While I'm excited about what it will offer my children, I confess that I'm totally nervous.  It's a whole new concept and style of learning than neither my children or myself are used to.  Language Arts and spelling will also be different this year, and...I'm also adding a foreign language to the mix.  Yay, me, lol!
So, here's what we will be doing when school starts...

 Math U See for both children at their appropriate levels

Language Lessons for the Elementary Child by Sandi Queen (for the 8yo)

Explode the Code, Bob Books, and other readers (for the 6yo)

All About Spelling for both children

Various real books and other reading material for the 8yo

The Holy Bible for both children (although I'm still looking for a specific curriculum)

A Reason For Handwriting for both children (continuing with print for the 6yo and continuing cursive for the 8yo)

Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day: Exploring Creation with Zoology 1Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day and Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day for both children.  The 8yo will do the Junior Notebooking Journals that go along with them.

Story of the World Vol. 4: The Modern Age for both children

Prima Latina for the 8yo

The Usborne Piano Course Book One for both children

Since I homeschool on a budget, I'll leave a few things I wish I could be using and may incorporate if/when I get the money...

All About Reading ($99)

We Choose Virtues character training ($70~$100)
An extra Math U See Manipulative set ($35) so they can have their own sets or extras

Rosetta Stone Spanish ($100+)

Prima Latina instructional dvd (around $40ish)

A 5 bedroom/3 bathroom house with a wrap~around porch leading to a sun room, a big, flat, backyard, oh... and a bonus room...for our homeschool, of course, and a piano.  (I did say it was my wish list, so, I'm wishing!)

God bless!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Homeschooling: What About Socialization?

"What about socialization?"  I believe this question is probably made the biggest deal out of.  And it is a big deal, but not the way people think.  Let me explain...

The definition of socialization from is as follows: "noun 1. a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position."

Based on this definition of socialization, do I want the current public educational system to be the standard for which my children acquire their personal identities, norms, values, behavior, and social skills? Not really. Except for a few individuals within the government and political arena, our government of today is void of standards and values that reflect my worldview. (I'm not saying they have no standards or values~they just certainly don't reflect my own.) Even with all of the Christian teachers and leaders that are in the public school system, their hands are mostly tied behind their back when it comes to bringing any of their worldview into what they are teaching. I personally don't want my children learning to base their identity, norms, and values on a system void of any reflection of Christ.  I have the wonderful opportunity to show Christ in all parts of my children's education. That Christ is part of it, not something separated from it. The study of Christ isn't something we should just be learning at church or aside from school work. It should be integrated into all parts of it. I can't force my children to choose Christ. Ultimately, that is their decision alone. But, I can show them how Christ is in everything we say and do, every part of our world.

In the public school system, evolution is taught as the norm, as if it is fact, not theory. As Christians, we believe in Creation, which isn't even allowed to be discussed in most public school systems.  Sex Education, and the various lifestyles surrounding it, different religions, and  other sensitive subjects are being taught and exposed to the children at younger and younger levels.  It should be my decision on when my children learn about different lifestyles, beliefs, and certain facts of life, as I believe they can handle it, not the government's.  It should be my decision, not the government's, on how and when I teach them about the world around us.  What message then, are we sending to our children when we send them to an 'expert' to educate them, but then tell our children when they get home, that what they are being taught is wrong, according to what we believe ? Or try to explain something heavy to them that they were exposed to at school, that, as a parent, I know they are not ready to shoulder yet?  No wonder children don't have a firm foundation on who they are or what they believe. Perhaps I home school because I don't want my child 'socialized,' not in this way.

What most people mean by the word 'socialization' is the interaction with others and opportunity to make friends with others. Most people want to label home school kids as 'weird', or 'loners', 'socially inept.' I dare you to take a walk in any public high school hallway, or even a junior high school for that matter, and see how long it takes you to spot the 'loners' and 'weirdos'. You can even spot a few already developing in elementary schools. I would be willing to wager money that it won't take you very long, and I don't bet. I believe home life and/or school peers have more to do with being a 'loner' or a 'weirdo' than where or how a child is educated. School shootings and killing sprees are evidence of that. That being said, my children, as well as most homeschool children I know, are far from being lonely or being socially inept. 

That thought brings me to the next point. I'm far from convinced that it is necessary for children to be forced to deal with bullying, teasing, and being stereotyped into a specific group, which often stays with you through the rest of your graded school years, as a 'normal' part of school and of growing up. In my own experience, it has no positive benefits. I was a skinny, buck-toothed girl growing up. Though my parents loved me very much, I was often made fun of by my school peers for being so skinny, among other things, to the point that I remember crying both during school and after school and it only got worse in the junior high grades. Once I hit high school, it wasn't so bad. But, because of the ridicule and rejection I had experienced for so many years, I constantly doubted myself and what others saw in me. I carried these feelings all the way through college. In fact, it made for a rocky start when I first started dating my husband and through his efforts and the wonderful grace of God, I have been finally able to shrug that lack of confidence and self doubt.  (Although it tries to creep back in every so often.)  I don't believe for a minute that any of this was necessary, except that I might have more understanding for others in that situation.

One of the frequently asked questions on the Focus on the Family website is, "Do you think home schooling might negatively impact the socialization process?" James Dobson had a lot to say on this issue, but this quote sums up my feelings on the current matter, "If acquainting them with ridicule, rejection, physical threats, and the rigors of the pecking order is necessary to socialize our children, I'd recommend that we keep them unsocialized for a little longer."

For the most part, (just as there are 'weirdos' in the school system, there are a few being home schooled too,) home schooled children are very well rounded and adjusted among their peers. Home school students are privy to all kinds of activities where they can learn to interact and become friends with others. They are usually busy with some kind of sport activity, music, dancing, 4H clubs, Boy/Girl Scouts, name it, they do it. Home school kids are exposed to a wide variety cultures, backgrounds, family dynamics, and other situations that will help expose them to the wide world we live in. There are home school cooperatives, known as 'co-ops', that many home school students attend with others in a class-like setting. In fact, studies conducted over several years are now showing that home school students are actually more confident with themselves, more socially adjusted, and less peer dependent than their traditionally schooled counterparts. Contrary to popular opinion, home school is more than just sitting at the kitchen table. It is a very busy and active lifestyle that takes education out of the doors and into the real world. While traditionally schooled students are put in a class, behind a desk, for several hours a day with same age peers and not given much opportunity to interact with different ages, home school students often take classes and participate in activities with many different ages, giving them the social advantage of learning how to interact with peers of different ages and interests from early on, which I'd say is better preparation for the 'real world.' (I've yet to work in a job where they separated us by age, have you?)

To wrap up all the questions, I am in no way saying any of this is true of EVERY public school student or EVERY home school student. There are always exceptions to the rule, both for the good and the worse of the situations. I just want you, whoever you are reading this, to know that there is more to home schooling than what is on the surface. It is hard work, but, so is everything worthwhile in life. Even if you don't feel a calling to home school, educate yourself on it. There are a ton of good books out there on the subject of homeschooling. I will try to post a list of some of my favorites that you may find helpful to understanding this way of life. I'm sure you can find them in your local library, or from a friendly home schooling parent, so you don't have to purchase them.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Homeschooling: Missed Opportunities?

Homeschooling: Aren't my children missing out on opportunities?

"Aren't my children missing out on opportunities?"  This question was certainly a forerunner in our own list of concerns we had when deciding to homeschool. It is definitely something not to be taken lightly when deciding on how to educate your children. Ultimately, there are advantages and disadvantages to both sides of this issue. In the end, you have to decide what opportunities are worth giving up for the other opportunities, and which ones are not optional. Obviously, this is a very personal decision because each child and each family are going to be different, have different goals, values, etc.

One of the biggest opportunities that parents are often concerned about is sports. If I home school my child, then he won't have the opportunity to play on team sports and he also might miss out on a scholarship. I will admit, this was a concern within my own household. However, if you know myself or my husband, then you know that neither one of us went to college on a sports scholarship. I would actually much rather my children go to college on an academic scholarship because, in my opinion, intelligence is more profitable than physical ability in the long run. Just to be noted, many Ivy League colleges and universities and other very elite schools are specifically seeking home schooled students out and recruiting them to attend their schools. This is because on average, home school students are mature, independent thinking, creative, and oh yes, perform above the national averages on the ACT and SAT.

There are also other venues to play on a sports team than just through a traditional school setting. Upward Sports is a great way to get your young child involved and their are leagues and other teams for the older child. Home school children are often eligible to play on private or public school teams, as well. (We do still pay taxes for public education, so I don't feel a bit guilty about this.) Tim Tebow was home schooled all the way through high school. A local private school allowed him to play on their football team, he was recruited by University of Florida, and achieved the Heisman Trophy as a college sophomore.

What about band, homecoming, and proms? Home school students have all of these. Well, maybe not homecomings. But, they have winter formals and other alternatives.  Home school students also have opportunities that their traditional schooled counterparts may not have. Did you know that many local community colleges welcome home school students to take part in their classes, as well? A high school level home school student can graduate from high school with an associates degree, at the same time!! (We happen to be friends with one such young lady!) They can also take their dance lessons, music lessons, swimming lessons, and other lessons during the day, instead of trying to work them around after school, home work, and other after school activities. It is part of their education, not something thrown in extra, if you can manage the time. The world is their classroom! Every outing can be a field trip, an educational experience. Oh, yeah...and way too much fun!

Because we are home schooling, we didn't have to fit our vacation somewhere between June and July, when everyone else has to fit there's in. We are actually on vacation right now, the week after Labor Day. Since President Obama recently went on what he called a 'working vacation,' I'm going to call ours a 'schooling vacation.' We took Buddy's basic school lessons with us, then used the great out doors, and our other visits we decided to take, as hands-on learning time. (Our "sit down" lessons only took about an hour, so don't feel too sorry for him. Sweet Pea had not yet started schooling and Sunshine was not even thought about when this was originally written.) We all observed a turtle in it's natural habitat, went to a museum about the local history of Waynesville, NC, then we spent a whole day on a 'field trip' to Cherokee, NC to learn about the history and culture of the Native American Indians. Who knows where our 'schooling vacation' will take us before it's all over!  What student is going to complain about a week of school like that?  *(This actually happened a couple of years ago, now.)*

I could go on, but I hope you get the idea that home schooled students may miss out on a few opportunities, but there are so many more opportunities out there for them, they really aren't missing anything at all.

The Complete Idiot's Guide To Couponing Giveaway

Are you overwhelmed by the coupon guru's out there?  How do they do it?  I love to save money and use coupons, but I confess...I am not a coupon diva.  I have often wanted to sit at the feet of one and glean their knowledge about how they work the coupon world.  Well, Ann I Am is giving away a free copy of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Couponing" to the winning contestant!!!  This book has lots of tips and advice to help any novice learn how to make the most out of couponing and save LOTS of money.  And who doesn't want to save money???  Enter here today!!  (I already did!!)

Funky Monkey Snacks Giveaway (for kids of all ages!)

If you have kiddos, then I know you are always looking for that healthy AND yummy snack to give them.  Funky Monkey Snacks sounds like the perfect combination.  They are freeze-dried fruit snacks with no extra additives, preservatives, or as I call it...'junk.'  They come in a variety of flavors and are individually packed.  My friend at Ann I Am will give away a set of these delicious snacks to one lucky winner!!  To enter this giveaway, click on Ann I Am: Funky Monkey Snacks Giveaway.  They also make a great healthy snack choice for adults.  Try them today and enter the contest to win them for free!! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

To Answer the Question: Qualifications

HomeSchooling: Am I qualified?

Inevitably, when I first tell someone that I home school, they usually start asking all sorts of questions. I really don't mind them, though, because how do any of us learn about something if we don't ask?  I asked myself some of these same questions before making the final decision.

There are almost as many questions about home schooling, as there are homeschoolers. But, I'm going to focus this series on what I feel are the three most frequently asked questions. You also have to remember that these are my answers and my opinions. Although many of my answers are based on a lot of studying I have done to prepare my heart and mind for this mission, (my basis for answers are not just random and made up), and there are many who share my thoughts and views, ultimately, I'm only speaking for myself.

I also want to share something with you up front. Although I choose not to use the public school system, I do not believe that everyone should pull their children out the public school system and start home schooling. I sincerely believe that as a Christian, home schooling is a calling from God. I applause the Christian teachers that are out there in the class rooms every day, teaching and guiding the leaders of tomorrow. I also support the children that are in these classes as well. I shudder to think about a public school system void of all Christians. Schools are a wide open mission field, ripe for the picking. If all the Christian teachers and students would consistently stand firm in their faith and live out their faith for others to see, we would see a change unlike no other. So, the answers I give are not necessarily against those going and working in public schools. It's just perhaps, a view to the other side of the spectrum. An understanding of the other side of the story.  So...

 "If I don't have an education degree, am I qualified to home school?" We could even take this further and ask, "If I don't have a formal college education, or a college degree, am I qualified to home school?" I'm sure these questions alone have brought doubt and confusion to many home schooling parents, and perhaps, have caused a few to not do it at all. Therefore, I think this question is worth addressing.

Education degrees are vital and important and not to be taken lightly.  I believe the overall purpose of an education degree (but not the only one) is to prepare the teacher to instruct several students at a time on a specific subject, in a designated amount of time. A degree does not mean they have to be an expert in all areas of education. Let's say the average teacher has 20 students per class. At the beginning of the year, she (and I'm going to use She to make it easy, but the He's are not forgotten),  probably doesn't know much more about the students than the names on her list. And each of these students are beautifully different than the rest. They have different interests and learning styles, not to mention how different each family and home situation is. The government and school system tell the teacher what must be taught throughout the year, (not to mention the government decides when/what grade levels certain things are to be taught and what curriculum to use), and each lesson is given a specific amount of time to go over. This teacher also has to keep in her head that the test results of her students at the end of the year are seen, not only as a reflection of the student, but of the teacher, as well. This my friends, is not an easy undertaking, and that's just the "tip of the iceberg" of teacher responsibilities. This is why I support teachers and feel they are among the most underpaid professions in our world today. This is why they need an education degree.

ADHD. Their minds are ready to go go go, and they have to wait wait wait. At home, when I know my child fully understands and grasps a concept, we can just keep on moving at his speed, not someone else's, or someone else's system. It doesn't take a college educated person to do this. Just a parent, that knows their own child.

I know many college educated people that don't have any sense to them. I also happen to know several people, who never earned a 4 year college degree, who could better teach than some others. My parents and in-laws, for example. None of them have 4 year degrees. But, I believe they can teach my children how to learn many necessary concepts, such as math, spelling, reading, writing, history, etc. They are among some of the smartest people I know. My parents helped me with my homework and come to understandings that I didn't grasp in the hour of class at school designated for that subject. I can say for certainty that my in-laws are no exception to that. I have even witnessed them helping grandchildren learn. Teaching your own children doesn't take a degree. It takes understanding your child, a willingness to help them be the best they can be, and a love for your child that no teacher will ever have. The learn along with them! There is always something new to learn. Education and learning should be a lifestyle, not just a means to an end.

Prologue to: To Answer The Questions of Homeschooling mini-series

A few years ago, in another blog, not so far away, I answered three popular questions that homeschoolers are frequently asked.  I've decided to re-post these on my new blog.  Some have been edited, updated, or revised, and others have not.  But, the answers are the same.  I'm going to spread the questions out over the next three days to make it easy to digest.  I'm certainly not trying to talk anyone into homeschooling, or out of it.  Just trying to help others make sense of it all from a homeschooler's point of view.  Although a lot of the information is based on lots of studying, the rest is my opinion.  That, and 50 cents, will buy you a can of certain locations.  Comments, respectful disagreements, and of course, agreements are welcome. 

God bless!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thankful Thursdays-Independence

As we just celebrated America's Independence, yesterday, I think it is only appropriate for me to say in writing how thankful I am for a free nation.  I am thankful for the men that fought hard, many who gave their actual life, to keep this nation free from religious and governmental oppression.  I am thankful for their wives and children who had to deal with hardships of all kinds, including threats to their lives.  I am thankful for all of the men and women that were brave enough to do something different and stand behind their decision, no matter the cost, so that the rest of us could have a better way of life.  And, I'm thankful for all the men and women, past and present, that continue to fight for our freedom and security each and every day.  I am so thankful to be an American. 

God bless!

Check out these great giveaways!!

I wanted to share some love by sharing these great giveaway contests from some great bloggers!!!
Enjoy their blogs and have fun with the contests!! 

Christian Momma: What's In The Bible? Vol. 8
These videos are great for teaching the Bible and it's truths to the entire family.

Ann I Am!: Tiny Prints Invitations
Check out these very cute invitations for all of your party needs.

Hobbies On A Budget: Aqua Sport Sunscreen 
Keep you and your family safe from sun damage this summer with a quality sunscreen.

Pillow Case Style Dresses

What else do you do when you have two girly girls, but learn how to make things for them?  I have had my mind on learning how to make a pillow case style dress for quite some time and finally got the nerve up to try it.  (Seriously, the only other thing I've ever sewn with the machine is a tissue cover!)  My basic design came from The Polkadot Chair pillowcase shirt tutorial.  She has a LOT of great tutorials for many different things.  But, I liked that she used 'fat' quarters and I thought that would be easy enough.  I did look at a LOT of other tutorials, though, and kind of used ideas and tricks from several of them.  For Sweet Pea, it turned out nicely as a 'shirt dress' (that's what we call long shirts.)  And it's a full dress for little Sunshine.
 (Sunshine wasn't too sunny at the moment, lol!) 

I've always been told to wash and dry all fabric before sewing...and so I did.  When I took the fabric quarters out of the washing machine, however, they were unraveling something fierce!  I untangled and cut as much as I could, then hoped for the best as I put them in the dryer.  (Which didn't seem to cause further harm.)  I'm not sure if I should have used pinking shears on them first, or what, but they survived without too much material lost.  I'll definitely have to figure out what to do before my next attempt.  
I did the "J" cut for the armholes as suggested on several sites I studied.  For Sweet Pea, I measured down 
5 1/2" and over 2", and for Sunshine, I measured down 4" and over 2".  Sweet Pea's shirt was the first one I made, so I learned a lot and Sunshine's was much easier.  I used pinking shears around the entire outline, but didn't use it around the armhole cuts after they were made on Sweet Pea's, then tried to trim it after it was already stitched~not easy.  I also did not use the pinking shears on the coordinating trim on Sweet Pea's shirt, another lesson learned before I attempted Sunshine's.

For each dress, I did a 1/4" stitch around the entire dress form, front and back pieces, before I did anything else.  I don't have a surge machine, so I figured this would help reinforce and hold everything together a little better.  
I attempted to do the trim around the armhole, as instructed in the above mentioned tutorial, but was very confused, so I just left that part out.  I am just going to see how it holds up with just the basic 1/4" hem.  Next time, I will either figure out how to cut a better piece from the bias and use it, or buy bias tape.  
I never could get the bottom trim to line up equally on both seams, either.  One side would be even, but the other would be off by 1/4" to 1/2".  But, I'll figure that out one day.

I am quite pleased, though, with my first ever attempt at sewing something to actually wear.  I made these in time to wear to the 4th of July picnic at church, where the pics were made.  My Sweet Pea is very happy with her momma's creation, and that makes it all worth while.  And Sunshine, she likes having an outfit just like her big sister.

God bless!!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thankful Thursdays-cool luxuries

Today, the temperatures are estimated to reach 100 degrees in my area, and higher as the week ends.  I am utterly and truly thankful that I have a home to stay in and an a/c unit that works.  I know there are many out there with no air conditioning system in their homes, or even a fan, or worse, no home at all.  I'm thankful for shelters for the homeless to go to for relief from the heat, and for ministries that try to provide fans or window units to the elderly and medically weak.   If you are among the fortunate to have the luxury (it is a luxury) of air conditioning, count your blessings today and don't take it for granted.

God bless! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How We Became Homeschoolers

As previously posted from my older blog...

HomeSchooling From My Heart-The Journey  Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Home schooling is not really a new thing. It has been around for a very very long time, in fact. But, there has been such a recent surge to home school in the past couple of decades that it causes quite the stir, from the government to down to family, friends, and even strangers you meet in the school supply isle at your local super store. So, I'm going to share my journey in this decision and my heart on the matter. I hope you will read it with understanding, whether you decide to agree or not.

Before my husband and I ever had children, we had the blessing to know others that did home school their children. On of my dearest friends in fact, has home schooled her children from the very beginning and I have observed how well they do. We also had the honor of having a young harpist play at our wedding, who was just early in high school at the time. Her much younger sister assisted her and even played a couple of songs herself. They and their brother were also home schooled. My best friend home schooled her daughter the last 2 years of her high school years. She was able to graduate a little early and has just started college. All of them can think for themselves, are very confident and stable, and have a level head on their shoulders. They are blessings to know.

Honestly, I didn't really think when I first got married that I would actually home school myself one day. At the time, I didn't have the confidence in myself to think I could possibly teach my own children, much less anyone else. But, there was a seed planted in my heart. When we were finally able to have our first child, we lived in a small town in which I had worked with many of the children in the school system. I saw first hand how the system worked, or rather, didn't. However, I was honored to go to church with some of the best teachers in the county. I knew their hearts and thought I would be okay with my child under their watchful eye.

But, something deep down inside wouldn't let me go of the thought of home schooling. So, I began praying. Yes, even as my first child was just an infant, I started praying about this decision that would have to be made one day. And as we all know, those precious years fly by before our very eyes. On and off this went for several years. My husband was not a big proponent at first, and I would never make a major decision like this if we weren't in the same boat together. He knew I didn't have confidence in myself and worried about that. And of course, there is the whole issue of sports. So, back and forth I went, battling with myself, mostly. I would ask myself the same questions that others ask. "What about socialization?" "Aren't you afraid they are going to miss out on something?" "You don't have a teacher's degree, so are you sure you can really do this?"

I brought these questions to the Lord. He knew my concerns, already. But, I believe that the Lord gives you the desires of your heart. I tried to deny this growing desire I had to teach my children at home, but the more I prayed, the stronger the desire actually grew. I started praying that if this is truly what the Lord wanted me to do, then to make it very clear to me and to work on my husband's heart on this matter.

God works in mysterious and even humorous ways, sometimes. A couple of years ago, a young gentleman named Tim Tebow won the Heitzman's Trophey award, probably the most prestigious college football award around. He was home schooled all the way through high school. Not only did this open up a lot of eyes and opportunities, it helped bring my husband around. I also grew in confidence that I could do this home school thing, one year at a time, one step, one day. I also talked to friends at church who's children were in the public school system. All of them encouraged me to home school as long as I can.

The more I prayed, and studied God's word, the clearer His answer to me became. So, this is how my husband and I, together, came to the decision to home school our children. I don't regret for one minute making this decision, even though I know it will prove to be challenging at times. We are grateful for the family and friends we have that have given their full support and are understanding of those that give loving skepticism. It will remind me that others are watching and that I need to be 'diligent to show myself approved.'

This is my journey on how we came to be a home school family. I don't ask for you to agree or disagree, I just ask for your continuing prayers as we start on this new and strange adventure in our lives.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Feed the Birds

*This post was originally posted by me on my older blog, but I liked the activity, so I'm re-posting it to my new blog...enjoy!*

One of my children's most requested bed time songs is "Feed the Birds" from Mary Poppins.  I love to sing it to them because I want to instill in my children a sense of caring for the world around us and the creatures that share the world with us.  Our little feathered friends are easy to help care for and a great way to teach a lesson of taking care of what God has given us.  There are several easy-to-make bird feeder ideas in the internet world, and I'm going to share just a few. 

A very simple and "green" bird feeder idea is to simply find a pine cone, tie some yarn at the top, making sure you have enough to hang from a branch, and cover it with peanut butter.  You can add lard or cornmeal to the peanut butter to help it go down easier, but there is no evidence to suggest that peanut butter can choke a bird.  For an added treat, you can sprinkle birdseed on the peanut butter and pat it down lightly to make sure it sticks. 

Another simple idea is to take yarn and thread it with Cheerios or other cereal that is round with a hole in the center, make a loop, then hang it from a branch.  This is great for small children because you can do counting lessons, or take the colorful cereal and practice with patterns.   If the little birds prefer, you can cover the cereal with peanut butter, and for an extra treat, sprinkle with bird seed.  With this idea, or any of the other ones, you can also keep watch of what kind of birds come to visit your little cafe.  Take pictures or keep a sketch book and then look them up on the internet to find out more about your wild neighbors.  You can also keep track of what time of day the birds visit, how long your particular feeder lasts before you have to create another one, and so on.  The educational lessons are almost endless.

As a fun Christmas idea, take your (real) Christmas tree outside when you are finished, and adorn it with the above ideas until you just absolutely have to get rid of it.  Popcorn is also a safe treat for birds and would look so cute.  What a great idea to get a little extra use out of those trees!

For other ideas, just search the net.  There are several ideas as well as food options for our little friends.  Have fun and feed the birds!! 

Enough Said Saturday

Honey bees...beautiful...enough said.


Funnies on Friday (a day late!)

I know this is already Saturday, but I still want to keep up with my new Funnies on Fridays, so....
Yesterday, Friday, I picked my Buddy up from a week long camp adventure.  After a very long afternoon nap and a good supper, he finally started talking about his experiences.  And he was cracking me up!  So, here is my top 3 list of funny things little Buddy learned or said about camp...

Number 3 ~ the "Fart gun", where you take your hand under your armpit, make a noise and act like you are shooting a gun with your finger.  Buddy says he learned this at camp.  He says, "It's kind of a boy thing, because you have to use your armpit."  I laugh because he had to explain that it's a boy thing.  (I would 'never' have guessed, lol!)

Number 2 ~ Buddy made a new friend.  He said his friend "did crazy things, like he would clap his hands then have everyone else clap their hands."  His friend would sing, "I'm sexy and I know it and I'm not afraid to show it."  Buddy explains the song to us, "It's about inappropriate your underwear and your belly button."  Underwear and belly buttons, yeah, I'm glad to know that's all he thinks it's about, lol!

Number 1 ~ I knew in advance that my Buddy never intended to take a shower the entire week he was at camp.  It's like a secret badge of honor among the boys.  But, I was not lost on the irony of his reason for not taking a shower this year.  "Did you take a shower this week?"  Buddy, "No."  Daddy asks, "Why not?"  His answer, "Because the showers were too dirty."  Not taking a shower for 5 days because the shower stalls are dirty...priceless.

I hope this made you chuckle, laugh out loud, or at least smile a little.  If you can't laugh at yourself, laugh at me!

God bless!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thankful Thursdays

This is the first of the Thankful Thursdays posts and since I have been missing my oldest while he is away at camp this week, I'm thinking about how thankful I am for my children.  All three of them.  They are such a blessing in my life and I can't imagine my life without them.  I know what it feels like to think you may never have children of your own, and I'm now honestly thankful for those days and years that taught me a lot about myself and drew me closer to the Lord.  I'm thankful for all of my friends that have chosen to adopt a child and make them their own.  Although that opportunity has not been able to happen for us yet, I have not given up hope for the possibility of it in the future.  Whether you have one child or 21 children, they are each a perfect gift from God. 

What are you thankful for today? 

Friday, June 15, 2012

First 50, First Giveaway!

I want to have a fun little giveaway!!  When I reach my first 50 followers, I will give away one of my own creations that I have blogged about.  Perhaps a tutu and coordinating hairbow?  Maybe...but there might be other things coming between now and then I could giveaway.  More details will be given the closer we get to the goal, and the more I blog about.  I'm sure you know some little girly girl that would love a fun, surprise gift.  I hope you will follow me, today and join in the fun.  (And don't be stingy...tell your friends, too.)

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

My First Handmade Hair Bow!!!

With two very cute girly girls, it is inevitable that I learn how to make hair bows.  With Pinterest and Youtube, there is no excuse not to learn.  There are so many amazing resources out there with step by step instructions and even videos, you can learn to make any kind of bow you want. 
I picked Twenty Three Oh One to start my bow making adventures.  Her list and instructions were simple and easy to follow and her pictures were very helpful, especially for this visual learner.

 So...drum roll, please...My First Hair Bow!

I will confess, I did not follow the instructions on the site I chose, completely.  I did not have enough 1 1/2 inch wide ribbon to make a complete one~layer bow.  So, I decided to do the triple bow, only I used one layer with the 1 1/2 inch ribbon, and the other 2 layers were 1inch ribbons.  I think if I had enough ribbon, I would have used contrasting colors with the different size ribbons.  But, as it is, I used left over ribbon that I saved from various gift packaging.  (That, my friends, is called recycling, lol!).
I don't think it's quite 'etsy' quality, yet, but my Sweet Pea was very pleased with me and with the bow, and was a most gracious hair model. 

Here's how it looks on a headband for the littlest ones...
(This was the only still picture we could get of Sunshine, and just before she removed the bow...again!)

All in all, I am happy with my first attempt and my girly girls are happy, too.  And that's what matters to me.  Thanks to Twenty Three Oh One for your awesome directions and pictures. 
I can't wait to make even more!!

God Bless!!