Monday, December 12, 2011

From the Heart

I hate December. There, I said it. No really, I do. I hate the commercialism of it. I hate the hype.......this year its just too much for me to deal with. Too many people have forgotten what it is truly about.........too many people get depressed this time of year because they think its about giving and receiving gifts. I used to be one of those people. Then I realized, hey instead of focusing on what I dont have and what I cant give, why dont I focus on the things I do have. What resources do I have in my hand? Well, for me personally I am a crafty person. God has blessed me with the gift of creativity. I have alot of fabric, a ton of two by fours in the back yard that I am sure could make some beautiful things. Not a crafty person? What about the gift of your time? People these days would rather buy someone something than actually do something for them. They "buy their time".  Time is more valuable than money. If your hands work,then why not use them? Help them clean their house or their car. Walk their dog?  I guess the point I am trying to make here, is its not the gift itself, but the condition of the heart that is behind it. The best gifts are the ones that can be given, not the ones in which you can receive. A wise man named Dr Suess once said Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more."

May you be blessed this Christmas season and focus on your ability rather than your inability.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Back to the Basics

  Ok, its time to come clean.  I have a serious addiction. Or at least I did. Its name is Swapbot . Its basically a really fun trading site where you can trade all kinds of wonderful items from people all over the world. I have made some really awesome stuff, i have received some equally amazing items. people have sent me treasures from all over in exchange for whatever.Here are a few pics of things i have recently made:

A few altered bottles I made recently

Christmas journal made for tonie2weeks

These are just a few of the hundreds.

 I have been participating on this site for almost three years now, and do an average of 10-20 swaps a month. Like I said, its a great site. But here is my problem. Ask me how many things I have made for my family or friends in the past three years. The answer is nada. So the conclusion I have recently come to is why am i making all of these things for people I dont even know, when I could be making them for people I know will love and appreciate them?  So, Rachel is taking a break from the swap world. It has sucked up too much of my time for too long. Dont get me wrong, I am still going to do them, just in moderation. and when i do I will post pics here.        My other vice has been facebook, but with all of the recent changes it is just too exhausting to mess with, so I am going to not be on there as much eiether. I really want to devote more attention to this blog, and post about things that are important to me, what I have been making,etc. Its a good hobby, plus its free. Thats my story for now, and dog gone it, I am sticking to it..............

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Homeschool Times 5.3

                    4 weeks into homeschool and six weeks into college. Id say things are going pretty well.........I am loving the four day sonlight program,and although not attending co=op at first was sad i think it has been a blessing because we have used the extra day as a catch up debating on wether we should go back next semester.  I have an awesome geography class idea based on the eastern Hemisphere explorer we are doing. I will have top ray about it though. Oddly enough, things have been much more easygoing with no co-op on Mondays now. I realy dont think she even misses  it.
          I am pulling all As/Bs  in my classes.  Its funny how back as a young adult fresh out of high school how much I took education forgranted.  I am soo greatful for the opportunity now, only wish i would have started a couple of years ago.......I have a new appreciation for learning now,that I didnt have back then. I dont enjoy the late night studying, and it is most definately harder to do when you have a kiddo and a family  but if I can do it anyone can
     So, homeschool is going pretty well, we have already worked out way through 4 books.  I am using a points system for geography and her history reading. Basically she has to do certain assigments and they are worth a ceratin amount of points, and she has to accumulate a ceratin amount of points by the end of the year. Larger projects will earn her more points, while things like book reports will be worth a smaller amount.........
    We are coming to an end in out Apologia anatomy curriculum, and I am trying to decide where to go next. I am thinking of reverting back to lapbooks, which we havent really done since 2nd grade. We will see.
   So, that is whats going on in our school world in a nutshell..........

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

awake and alive

Death .  Its a strong word  that can bring about alot of emotion.  For some it means the end , for others it is just the beginning  . Death. What is it really? Is it the period in our life story or just the dot dot dot? We will never know until we experience it for ourselves .  Life.  Most of us on the other hand, think we have this all figured out.  What does it mean to you?  Making money and having things?  Family and friends? Perhaps being with the one you love? Or maybe you are on the opposite end of the spectrum, and you feel as if your life is over , and that there is nothing left to live for..............
     For those of you who think you have life all figured out and think life is about something tangible,such as money, a job,an education, even family and friends, or even something abstract such as love, my question for you is that if that is truly indeed what life is all about, wouldnt we cease to exist after those things fade away?  If that is in fact the case, if that is truly what life is all about, then why dont we?
Mother teresa once said "Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.

Life is beauty, admire it.

Life is a dream, realize it.

Life is a challenge, meet it.

Life is a duty, complete it.

Life is a game, play it.

Life is a promise, fulfill it.

Life is sorrow, overcome it.

Life is a song, sing it.

Life is a struggle, accept it.

Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is an adventure, dare it.

Life is luck, make it.

Life is too precious, do not destroy it.

Life is life, fight for it."

Are you still breathing?  Then the good news is that there is still life yet to be lived..........there is still beauty, there are still dreams to dream and songs to sing. Yes, there will still be struggles and challenges,sorrows and tragedies and what not.  I personally beleive that life is a journey to our final long as we are still breathing there are duties left to be completed. Every sorrow, every unexplained occurence,if it doesnt kill us,  it makes us stronger............
   Life. Its a journey. Its a gift. ITs short.  YOu never know whats in store for it, or when it is going to end.Enjoy enjoy enjoy

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Homeschool Times : Version 5.2

I cannot beleive this has been only the 2nd post i have written this year about our homeschooling journey.Wow. It has been a long year. But its been a good one.We made it through 5th grade.But I have decided to do another year of "5th" grade. I am doing this because if she were in "normal" school, this is what grade i would put her in...........or maybe I just dont waNT HER TO GROW UP.....LOL.
   So, over the past several years,I have noticed that my daughter has had some learning diffuculties. I often blamed myself for this,maybe it was something I was doing, or something I wasnt doing. This year, i was finally able to pinpoint what was wrong. I beleive she has CAPD, also known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder.These kids can't process the information they hear in the same way as others because their ears and brain don't fully coordinate. Something adversely affects the way the brain recognizes and interprets sounds, most notably the sounds composing speech. So yeah, its been difficult, but we are working our way through it. I tried to get her tested at various places, but to no avail,which was uber frustrating. Interestingly enough though, this was a really good year for her. Remember the kid that hated to read? Well, thats changed. She actually enjoys it now.
       This coming year is going to be different for us, and most of her lessons will be on the computer I have decided to stick with sonlight for history and geography, Teaching textbooks for math, and the rest will be Switched on Schoolhouse, which will be new for us this year
      Other new things happening this year(or this coming semester I guess I should say),are that we wont be attending co-op for the first time in like 6 years I am really sad about that, but I felt that with all of the changes going on, that it was time. It was a very hard decision for me, and I am still trying to work up the strength to tell my daughter I think she will be ok with it.I think we will reserve this day for field trips,and may even plan a fall vacation.We usually dont do anything in the fall because it is soo extremely busy, but hopefully this will free up some time.
     and the last change, which isnt really homeschool related is that I am going back to school I havent decided on a major just yet, although I am leaning towards biblical studies,music , or counseling. So this year we will both be doing school together The whole idea of us both being in school together sounds like fun,but I am sure it will present itself with challenges.hence the new computer curriculum.The only things i will be instructing her on , and actually teaching are history and geography.
   So, that about sums it up, school starts in 2 weeks(for me), and i will give you an update then.

Kids with APD often do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words, even when the sounds are loud and clear enough to be heard. These kinds of problems usually occur in background noise, which is a natural listening environment.  So kids with APD have the basic difficulty of understanding any speech signal presented under less than optimal conditions.
    After much research, I decided to try to go through the system and have her tested.This didnt turn out soo well,and we were denied time after time. Talk about frustration.............I finally decided to give up, after all, there is nothing anyone can really do about it, other than diagnose her.The rest would be left up to me(the exercises,etc).Sometimes it is good to get things validated, other times it isnt, and i really felt like this was one of those times.................the good news is now that I know what it actually is we are dealing with  her quality of learning has changed immensely.
      So this year, as I mentioned previously we used the Sonlight program. I went with a condensed US History(which is like 2 years in one). That was a big mistake, and I wont be doing that again. I have noticed a huge improvement since we started sonlight, however, so we will be using it again for History/ Grammar

Friday, June 10, 2011

Where wishes come true

Hi. Im Rachel. I have this blog,and I hardly ever write in it, even though I have soo much to say..............
No, but seriously, I am going to try to do better. Things have been soo crazy here. My daughter broke her leg in March, got her brace off early last month(yes, they put a brace on and not a cast which was really annoying).Oh well, I guess thats what happens when you dont have insurance.........She is doing great,took a bit of a fall on it last week, which was super scary, but seems to be fine now .

    Also, last month we went to...............DISNEYWORLD =) aH,exciting stuff. It has always been a childhood dream of mine, and my husbands to go, and it was soo neat to be able to do something for our daughter that we didnt get to enjoy as kids. Here are a few pics:

At Hollywood Studios, We got to see the live Beauty and the beast show, and The Little Mermaid. Both shows i knew all of the songs and words For Beauty and the Beast we got to sit in the very front row,so close the characters were spitting on us. I could tell they were trying not to laugh as i sung every word with them.Really good show.Other honorable mentions are the Toy Story ride, where you ride through a big video game thing, and shoot at stuff.

me and the kiddo at Epcot.This was my 2nd favorite park, the world showcase was   AMAZING!!! Best ride here, handsdown is the test track,where you are the crash test dummy, and get to test a vehicle through all kinds of conditions, super high speed, weather,etc. There was also an exhibit called the sum of all thrills, where you get to create your own virtual ride. We chose a bobsled for ours, and named it the Artic Flyer.

Then it was on to the Magic Kingdom. I cant figure out how to rotate the get to the Magic Kingdom, you have to ride a ferry, and that was a little annoying(it was the slowest thing ever), but after that it was all smiles and we had a glorious day.Westarted out on main street, where we were serenaded by street performers, then it was onto the castle for a show with Mickey and all of his friends(see above) We rode everything there was to ride. My favorite ride was Space Mountain.

We ended the day with a electric parade(Of course), and then the castle display(video shown here).This was probably the highlight of the entire trip, and it is definately something I will never, ever forget.Right along the lines of my wedding day and when I gave

that was our trip to Disney in a nutshell. We did alot of other really cool, fun things light visited an orchard and toured a few lighthouses........
I am going to try to be more diligent about blogging,especially our everyday life.If for no one elses benefit, then just my own. Have a great day!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

AI 10: The top eight.

Well, my friends, it is hard to beleive that we are down to the top eieght idol hopefuls of the season........all is going swimmingly, well, except for last weeks shocker with the exit ofPia Toscano , who by the way, was mine, and I think everyone elses favorite female contender.  Its fair game, and this is the first season i havent been able to peg the winner, thats just how good everyone is..........What is really super awesome about this seasons contestants is that its almost like the battle of the genres. Youve got Casey Abrams , who is real jazzy, haley who is bluesy, Jacob is our gospel man, James is the heavy metal guy,Scotty and lauren are our country crooners, and then theres Paul and Stefano, and well, i dont know really what they are.If qwirky were a music genre Paul would fit right
    As we were proved last week, anything goes and no one is safe. That being said, i think it may be Jacob, Stefano, and Paul in the bottom three this week, with Stefano going home. I disagree with everyones opinions of his performance and thought it really didnt fit his voice, and was really screechy. However, if we were basing things on performance last night, Id say Haley is the one to go. I honestly dont know why she is still there....................her voice is still very immature,even at her age. its like trying to put a kitten in a catsuit.
       My pics for top performances of the night go to Casey, lauren, and Scotty. Im proud of casey for bringing out the bass, and staying true to who he is. Lauren  can outsing Miley anyday,if she (Miley) was watching last night, well, I feel bad for her. And Scotty sang my favoritist(lol) country love song ever. He needs to work on his mic technique though, I find the way he holds it a little I really think they could easily make the final three.
   So, those are my thoughts, take em or leave em.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

American Idol:Top 24 The guys

Well, the time has come America to vote your top 10 into the competition. Its going to be tough this year, there is soo much talent. The guys were up first last night.Man,soo much talent.
Clint Jun Gamboa, “Superstitious" Out of the guys left he is probably one of my least favorites. I think it may be the However, his performance last night of this song was quite good, and if we were basing it by performance alone, i think he would make it. Since it is a popularity contest, however, I dont think he will make it through.Well shall see
*Jovany Baretto, “I’ll Be.”  What a complete waste of airtime....I really cannot beleieve that they let this guy through. Hes pretty, but this is a singing competition, not Mr USA. Go Home. Back to the shipyuard for you. If he does make it through, it will be based on looks alone, and not for talent.
*Jordan Dorsey, “OMG.”  OMG is right, what were you thinking?heres a guy with an amazing talent,and he chooses to waste it on a song in which he hopes will attract more female fans. Cmon, dude.......
*Tim Halperin, “Streetcar Symphony.” Another one of my least favorite contestants,I just dont think hes really that good.Just because you can sing while playing piano doent make you talented.Then again, we havent seen a whole lot of him.So, its a maybe for me.Bad song choice.
*Brett Loewenstern, “Light My Fire.”  You just cant help but like this kid, he is a great performer, and could outlast anyone in a hair flipping contest. He is in my top five for sure, but Im a bit worried he wont get enough votes. If he doesnt make it to top five, he will def be a wild card pic for the judges I think.........
James Durbin "Another thing comin"I give him the best performance of the night. I like him as a person,but to me it just seems like he is trying a little too much to be like Adam lambert. He will definately make it through for sure.
*Robbie Rosen, “In the Arms of an Angel.” aw, poor Robbie, poor,poor Robbie. This was a very weak performance. Ive been a fan in the past, but he just isnt top 10 material. I predict him and his nose will be on a plane home very soon. But theres always next year.
*Scotty McCreery, “Letters From Home.” Ok, this guy is flat out amazing, and did you hear all of the cheers? He has quite a fan base. I honestly dont think guy even needs idol to make it, with the talent that he has. He could go to nashville and pick up some sort of record deal. Im interested to see how he does, and if he will show some versatility, because that is very important.....Top 5 for sure.
*Stefano Langone, “Just The Way You Are.” it was a good song, but it was just too nasal for me.Theres not more I can say about him except that i hope he goes home..........
Paul McDonald, “Maggie Mae.” This guy is such a cutie, and he has such a unique quality to his voice. Im just not picking up on the qwirky thing that everyone has been referring to,he doesnt appear that way at all to me..........
*Jacob Lusk, “House is Not a Home.” Wow. What God given talent this guy has. He appears to be the resisdent AI religious guy. Such a big strong voice, and he gave it 100 percent last night. Great song choice plus talent plus incredible performance = top 5
*Casey Abrams, “I Put a Spell on You.” Ah, they saved the best for last.Yes, ill admit, I am a huge casey fan, my money is on him, but this perfomance i was not digging at all. It almost seemed forced and like he was acting, and not displaying his true talent, but trying to put on a show.......he sure has some bad to the one music skills.
So, my top 5(ok, I cant narrow it down to five, so i am going to do 6) predictions are as follows:
Casey Abrams
paul macdonald
Scotty Mccreery
jacob Lusk
Brett  Loewenstern
James Durbin

Friday, January 28, 2011

AI 10: Nashville Auditions

OMG, Ive got two words for you America. Lauren Alaina . Theres just nothing more to say about the Nashville Auditions. That girl can blow.They might as well shut everything down, because she is going to win, and if she doesnt win, she will at least make it to top 5. Lord have mercy. Watch the video. She almost made Steven Tyler cry. And their duet gave me goosebumps.Wow.Normally I wouldnt give props to someone soo young, but wow.She stole the show.

  Some other noteworthy auditions that I dont want to leave out:Matt Dilliard, Jackie Wilson(lose the old guy) ,Adrian Beasley(I have never heard a black girl talk like that, Jimmie Allen(too much like Jerome, they wont both make it), and Paul MacDonald.

American Idol:Season 10

 Ok, it has been at least 2 seasons or more since I have blogged about AI Since the talent has been, in my opinion, over the top this year, i have decided to pick back up the AI torch. I am not bragging or anything, but I have called the winner out from nearly the beginning almost every season. With the exception of Kris Allen.........    Can I just say, and Id never thought Id be saying this, how much I love Steven Tyler. I have never been a huge fan,except for his early 90s stuff, but man, I think he is just what this show needed. I like jennifer too, and I am soo glad randy is still there to keep them in line............
  Well, today I wanted to blog about the Milwaukee auditions, and I am going to try to blog regularly.
Ok, so I am kindve glad they decided to lower the age requirement. ,man, the 15 year olds have been tearing this thing up. I feel kindve bad for the "older ones" My thought is that if they are going to lower the age requirements, they should up it as well(Hint hint)
   So, Miwaukee, lets start with Scotty, their very first audition. man, what a voice. But, in my opinion, he sounded a little too much like Josh Turner and it sounded too forced. Hes good, but I dont think he'll make it to the top 24.......
  Bring in Emma, the 15 year old who drove herself and her entire family 16 hours to the  auditions. Very pretty voice. I liked her song pick, true colors by Cindi Lauper. Randy made the comment that she would get eaten up in Hollywood, and not in a good way. I would have to agree. She just doesnt seem to have the maturity, but we shall see.
  Next, there was Naima  aka "the toliet scrubber". While I dont necessarily like her voice, or at least her audition, I think she has an awesome look, a very marketable one. I think, if she does make it through, she will go far based on that. How awesome of a story that would be. From toilet scrubber to pop star. Sounds like a good made for TV movie =)
  Ok, did anyone catch the 54 year old dentist Chris kammer? They only showed him for about 5 seconds. What a pathetic sad attempt at trying to become the next "Pants on the ground" guy "get out the Brush, get out the brush......"
    Then there was Jerome Bell,the wedding barmitzvah singing guy. I have a really hard time picturing this guy singing at a and i know i spelt barmitzvah wrong. He sung marvin gayes Lets get it on. Very strong audition, he will be in the top 24 for sure........
   15 year old Thia megia(try saying that 5 times fast) came in and sang "Chasing pavements. Another 15 yr old going to Hollywood, as does haley Reinhart...............she was just Ok for me.
Then there was vernicka"loving you is easy". She said no to Hollywood.Vernicka, you are beautiful, but you couldnt sing..........and well, if you think you are fat, maybe you should try Biggest
   Daycare Worker Tiwan Strong  gets the award for best reaction from supporters........."To God be the Glory" To God be the GLory". I think he'll make top 24.
    Next was the accountant Steve Beghun, who shocked us all. I dont think he'll get far, but for a number cruncher, he was alright.............
Albert Rogers  aka...........Obama. Go Home.
My favorite guy of the night was Scott Dangerfield, the student teacher from ??????? If he doesnt make it to the top 12, I will eat my
Then there was Alyson  Jados,  who i am designating or AI season 10 rocker chick(Until someone dethrones her,which is highly possible). Rock on ,Alyson.
  Most touching story of the evening hands down, went to Chris medina,who happened to be an awesome singer as well.If he doesnt make it,well, its probably just because because he had a bad audition in Hollywood. He is on my list as well. You can read about his heart breaking story here  . What a guy.
  My favorite female of the evening goees to Molly Swinson.the harvard graduate and White House intern. Wow. What a soulful voice. She will make it for sure, but ifshe doesnt, at least she has something to fall back on........
An honorable mention goes to confederate soldier nathaniel Jones, who sang the Lion Sleeps tonight. What a funny guy. His dad, is not, i repeat, is not a Hippie............
   So my picks for the Milwaukee auditions are Jerome Bell. Molly Swinson, Scott dangerfield, and Chris medina. Lets see how they do..............

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Future Coupon Mama?

   Ok, so a few weeks ago, I watched a TV show called extreme couponing and it really intrigued me. They introduced three extreme couponers(one who even dumpter dives for them, talk about whack, who go on shopping trips and save literally thousands of dollars in product.They all had stockpiles of grocery and toiletry items that they literally get for pennies on the dollar. At first I thought that this was a bit cukoo, but alot of times they donate the stuff to food banks. And its always good to be prepared.
  Couponing is always something I have wanted to try, but it just seemed like too much of an effort to me. Clipping out all of those coupons,etc. But I think I am going to go for it, and for the next month, I have vowed not to go to the grocery store unless I have at least 8-10 coupons to use. I went to coupon clippers and ordered a bunch of coupons to get me started. My next step is to get some sort of organizer, and you know me, it will be a pretty crafty one..........
   In the meantime,check out Hip2Save   for some awesome deals. Future coupon mama? eh, maybe.

Friday, January 21, 2011

From Messes to Masterpiece

I have a dear friend who is an amazing artist. The things she creates on canvas , if you saw them, would literally take your breathe away.She takes no credit for her works of art,she simply holds the brush,and lets God do the rest.Painting can be a messy hobby, as with any artistic sort of hobby. I imagine the paint often gets spilled, and maybe she has even gotten it on her clothing a time or two. But after the mess has been cleaned, here sits this beautiful work of art, a masterpiece, for her and others to enjoy.
     Art and painting are alot like life. We all start with a blank canvas,filling it as we go with the various events of our lives.The brush is a representation of what controls us,whether it be other people, our own thoughts, wants or desires,various situations in our lives, you get the idea .As long as we, not God, are in control of the brush, we will be left with alot of messes to clean up. Its only when we allow God to take ahold of the brush that he can take our mess,whether it is created by ourselves,others, or just life in general, and turn it into a masterpiece for us to enjoy.That is also where his restoration comes in,after all he does have to restore what we ultimately screwed up
       This gets me to thinking about other types of art in general.Anyone that knows me knows that I am crafty. But what alot of people dont know is that I like to take things that would normally be thrown away in the trash, like cans, old boxes,records,and the like, and make altered functional pieces out of them. I like to give something that which otherwise be discarded new purpose and meaning,and make it beautiful.This is what God loves to do for us. He gets such pleasure and joy out of picking us up, molding and fashioning us into a beautiful piece of art. But we have to be willing.
   My friend, if you are hurting, carrying around your past mess ups and wrongdoings, or maybe troubled by something someone else has done to you, well, you dont have to be.It was never intended to be our burden to carry. Give it to God so he can create something beautiful out of it. A Masterpiece.

Rachel =)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hap Hap Happy New year

Wow. January. Can we just slow down already?This month is always the craziest. Its always the month I feel the most hopeful, yet the most down. Its the one month you just wish would hurry up,but then again dont want it to go too fast because that would make it February and who is ready for that? Im not. Something soo refreshing about "starting anew" and yet soo scary about the uncertainty of whats to come. Yep, thats january for you.
  So, this year my motto is "No regrets",and my goalis to do everything I have "thought about" doing the past several years. Getting a part time job, and going back to school to name just a few. I am finally starting to realize, I think that things truly are possible if you just put your mind to them.I am looking into medical transcriptioning as well as a few other things.There are ways and methods and systems. You just have to find your way around them or through them.
   A Little weight loss update, I didnt win the competition, I got 2nd place(sigh). I ended up losing 24 pounds in 6 weeks which is pretty stinking good. After the competition, I decided to pout a little while and just kindve get off course a little bit, and gained like about 8 of it back. I really need to get back on track. It has been soo hard to get back on track after the holidays.
  So, thats just a little bit of an update.Happy New Year everyone.May this be the best year ever for you and yours.May you make lemons out of lemonade and learn and grow from each experience life throws at you.