All About Spelling

I broke down and bought it. I did. I ordered the first two books plus the kit and am now awaiting their arrival. I’ve tried for the past two years to try to make a go of it with Spelling Power and the Writing Road to Reading. Both are terrific, WRTR is an amazing manual (I like an older edition that comes with phonogram cards) but it just wasn’t working as well as I would have liked.

My children are both fantastic readers and have always spelled phonetically – the things I’m looking forward to most are the fact that with AAS the rules of why things are spelled a certain way are explained. I think that alone will make this program a big hit.

I will certainly post updates as to how the program works for us. I understand that there are a lot of AAS reviews and I think I may have read each and every one when I was debating and going back and forth on whether or not to make this relatively pricey investment (I’m a notoriously frugal person) but I decided it was better to give it a try than keep spending the money on programs or books that don’t work well for us and have wound up on a particular shelf in my homeschool area where homeschool materials go to die. The reviews helped me greatly in deciding to go ahead with this purchase and I hope I may be able to assist someone in the future myself.


Our own traditions

It’s November, so it’s that time of year again. The time where I get a bit manic trying to do everything I want before the commencement of holidays in December.

When we lived back East every Thanksgiving and Christmas we would travel around to visit and dine with family. When my girls were about 1 and 2, we had a Thanksgiving that made us rethink how we did things. It was an evening event, we went, bringing two young sweethearts who were more ready for bed than an evening out. First – there are candles all over, the ones that smell nice in small batches but when there are about 5 or 10 of them going, not so much. Second – there’s nothing I can eat. I followed a strict vegan diet back in those days (I was a pretty hard core vegan for 20 years, until about a year ago) and I had been instructed not to eat since there would be plenty that I could eat. However, there was not. We had an enjoyable time anyhow, spending time with family, enjoying the giant stone fireplace and warmth emanating from the merry flames.

We drove home around 9 or 10, driving through the heavy, wet snow that had started while we were visiting. The girls were crying, past ready to be nursed and sleeping. When we got home, I got into bed with the babies and tried to calm and soothe. They were so over-tired by then that neither of them were able to fall asleep until after 11 pm. After they were asleep I had a quick bite in the kitchen with my husband and we talked. I suggested that we might consider staying home during the holidays, at least while the girls were so young, and that we just relax and enjoy our little family. My husband was overjoyed by this suggestion and, much to the dismay of our families, we stayed home during Christmas. I look back on that Christmas with such fondness and remember the sweetness of the day, I missed our families, but was thrilled to be able to focus on the happiness of my children as we all played with new toys together without feeling pressure to get dressed and ready to drive a distance to be somewhere by a specific time.

Our Thanksgiving is simple – no one really likes turkey all that much, so I make a giant batch of pizza dough and we take out a jar of our summer-canned tomato sauce and make pizza. It’s easy and fun for everyone.

Christmas can sometimes be a little more formal, with perhaps an actual sit-down meal of pot roast and mashed potatoes, honey glazed ginger carrots and a close-to-bedtime mug of cocoa in front of the fireplace.

I love our holiday traditions, they work for us beautifully.


But back to my pre-holiday mania – I do a lot of baking, we make presents to send to far-off family, and I try to make a few gifts each year for my girls and husband. The gift-making is often very time consuming and I’ve been giving thought to taking it a little easier and making less.





How do you celebrate holidays? What are some favorite holiday meals? Do you make gifts? If so, when do you get started on those?

Here’s the part where I come back after being gone for months.

And here’s a recap of what this is all about. 

This blog is all about how I clean my house, exercise six days a week, homeschool, and make perfect crafty gifts for holidays and birthdays, as well as putting a gourmet meal on the table for dinner every night. Oh, and let’s not forget about the fact that I make all my housecleaning products by hand. All, while being a perfectly appreciative wife and doing what I can to further martyr myself. 


No. That’s not me.  At all. That will never be me, unless I’m lobotomized for some reason, and even then, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Okay – I do homeschool, and I love to make crafts (except when they turn out horribly and they so often seem to do just that), and I do make my own cleaning products but only because I have really sensitive skin and chemical smells give me an almost instant headache. I do appreciate my husband, but I love that his hours are such that I usually get a nice hunk of time to myself each night – a couple hours of me-time. Peacefully sleeping children, a new library book to read, or a stupid adventure movie on netflix. 


I don’t wake up each day with a smile on my face, or with one in my heart. I’m angry about certain things, and I’m scared. Of a lot. I used to think that when I was an adult I wouldn’t have to be frightened of anything. What a laugh that turned out to be; I had no idea that the time for true stress was coming up. Not to come across as a drama queen, but just basic adult/parent worries. 


I rarely cook gourmet meals – I adore eating them however.  But prepping, cooking, and washing up is so not my idea of a good time.  Only the eating is. But that never lasts as long as the following cleaning up does. I’m trying to grow out a super short haircut and it’s currently in a terribly awkward stage.


A lot of things I’ve tried haven’t worked (i.e.; moving to a small island in the PNW and trying our hand at country living with chickens) which I will delve further into in future posts. But I keep coming back to try more, and you know why? Because when it does work, it’s the most wonderfully fantastic feeling in the world. 


I’ve been very busy these past few months – we moved (it went well with DC’s allergies, thankfully), I finally finished my final edit of the manuscript I’d been working on and released a novel (YAY!!!!),  and I’ve been working daily since then – homeschooling, acclimating to our new city, and writing. If you’ve stuck around all this time, or are only just finding me, I appreciate it immensely and look forward to blogging a bit more frequently than I’ve done these months. 




Friends? What are these things you call friends?

I’m going to be completely honest here… I have an extraordinarily difficult time making friends as an adult.

I had (and have) friends back East, people I grew up with, people I met as a young adult. When I worked, I was friends with some of the people I worked with – when I stopped working, not so much.


After my first child was born, I met a woman who was new to the neighborhood, new to the entire tri-state area; she was a preacher’s wife and she was, without a doubt, the cheeriest, most upbeat person I’ve ever met. Within a matter of weeks, all the other Moms at the park flocked to this woman, and I felt completely and awkwardly out of place.


It was like being in school again, but it was worse. It was worse because I wanted my child to be liked, to make friends. These other moms didn’t talk to me in more than a cursory way and if I directed my child to play by their child, they would suddenly have a burning desire to leave the park, or go talk with some other mom who knew the secret password to this mom’s club that I didn’t know.


(Before you ask if my child was a biter, or we were zombies or lepers, or anything else, really, the answer is no. we weren’t any of those things.)


Then we moved, and one of the things I was most looking forward to was the possibility of making new friends. That didn’t really happen either. I made some great acquaintances – a super sweet older man at the food co-op who I talk to whenever I go, a brutally funny older man who was a local chocolatier, and a fellow Italian older man at one of the Holiday markets I sold my homemade skincare products at. Are you getting the picture? Two keywords here – “older” and “men”.

Now that my husband and I are planning on moving our little family again, I dream of making friends. I love my husband, immensely, but I truly long for a female friend. Hopefully more than one.




Have you had difficulties making friends as an adult? Have you found anything that made the process easier?


*Note, in no way is this post making light of the suffering of those inflicted with Hansen’s Disease, i.e.; leprosy.

Me and my Kindle

I will happily admit it – I’ve been a consistent and voracious reader since I learned how to. Reading is one of my all-time favorite past times and I cannot imagine my life without it. So many of my childhood and early adult memories are of reading – cozying up on the couch with a book, in bed under the blankets during a snowy night, walking around outside with a book, reading during study hall in school, in a hot bath, during labor,  et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Most recently, I like to read while on the treadmill, standing in front of the wood burning stove during a particularly chilly evening, or sitting on the couch during the night with my husband.


I earned a whole lot of swagbucks and traded them in for Amazon gift cards – I bought a Kindle last year and it has quickly become a favorite purchase. I love my books, and there are some that I’ll never willingly part with, but with the Kindle, I can happily see getting rid of many paperbacks, which will free up space, which will come in especially well when we move (moving numerous boxes of heavy books cross country is not inexpensive).


I’m able to rediscover old favorites that are on kindle, and learn about new. I’m able to easily access classics I haven’t read since high school. I’m able to take kindle books out from our local library, which I love. I’ve found a number of free books (mostly on  history) that I plan on using in future homeschooling years when my children are older.


My only complaint about some of the books I’ve read, is that the formatting leaves a lot to be desired. Along with spelling. I’ve noticed the formatting issue most often in cookbooks.


Do you have an e-reader? What/who are your favorite books/authors? Which books do you re-read? Do you use your e-reader to help teach your children? What are your favorite homeschooling resources for your e-reader?