Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Could J'ya Get Any Lazier??!

(pic taken by the teen in Rome, May 2010.)

So, I'm sporadic in posting. I've been enjoying my summer so far although I'm not doing nearly anything that I wanted to do except couponing, being with the kids, being their taxi, reading and computer surfing. Yeah, the glamorous life I always dreamed of. Lazy with a bit of driving, is what it really is. I plan to post everyday this summer even if its just a picture or a newsy post of nothing important. They say a habit can be formed if done for a whole month. We'll see how long I'm able to stick to it. Now... what's been going on lately?

Cooking - For some reason, in this heat I've been wanting to cook. Go figure. If you follow me on Facebook you've seen me link to some of the recipes I've tried. Others have ended up on my foodie blog. I think this new fascination is in direct correlation to having more time and having the teen clean the kitchen. What do you think? :) I think this week I'm going to make my own Sourdough Starter. Have you used one of those before? I love the smell (and taste) of fresh bread. This new cooking habit is wreaking havoc with my diet...

Couponing - This is a new venture for me and of course, I have a new blog to show for it! As most a lot of Americans, we're broke financially strapped half the time. We have bad habits of eating out and buying what we want. Thankfully we have no credit cards but we spend all we earn. I figured it was time to nip that in the bud. There are things I want to do like vacation, fix up our house, maybe even build on to it someday (or move!), pay off our newer car, save money for goodness sakes (not in that order of course)! It all starts with a budget, couponing and sticktoitiveness. I have a new couponing buddy too. An artist who also coupons! Could it get any better?!

Art - Two weeks ago we had a torrential downpour. And when I say torrential, I mean, so much water we had a lake in our backyard and one running down our street. So much rain that the ground couldn't soak it all up so it came up through the window wells and poured into our basement. Guess whose art room is in said basement? *raising hand* Guess whose storage of ebay items to sell is right under one window? *raising other hand* My wonderful husband spent the whole night running outside scooping out window wells to help keep the basement dry-ish. The first four hours he stayed outside practically. After that he went out every 10-20 minutes for the next 7 hours! He catnapped in between on a bed of towels on the floor since he was so muddy. No sense in changing. He is my hero. All this to say, I had to quickly move most of my art supplies away from the windows (shelves line the walls) and pile it all on tables, chairs, desk, anything that was UP. And today it still sits that way. I haven't had the gumption to do anything about it. So needless to say, I haven't done any art. I have ideas, but no want to reorganize. Plus it wasn't a neat room before the water came rolling in. I'll get to it I'm sure. Hopefully sooner than later. I have 2 altered books for the Altered Gypsy raven book swap to work on, several small projects I had started and I have a few things to make for the winners of the books (announcement tomorrow, so get in your last minute entry today!!!)

Girls - Crossing fingers, turning around three times and knocking on all the wood nearby... the kids have been doing the daily chores I lined out for them and will hopefully continue to do so.  We've tried to set up daily chores before. But chores are not a responsibility for the kids. It's really mom keeping after them to do what they're told everyday. "Yes, you have to do that before you go out to play/go to a friend's house/watch tv/go bike riding/read your book." I made them simple. The teen has to have the dishes washed and counters clean. The little one has to wash/dry/fold/put away 2 loads a day. Simple. This doesn't exempt them from other things like living room or bathroom cleaning when its needed. Oh, and I've heard the 'I'm doing everything, why aren't you doing anything?" Backtalk. Guess what that earned the child? An extra chore! I always challenge them: "go ahead and talk back and be smart. I have a whole list of extra chores that need doing. Go ahead, I dare ya!" lol Yes, I'm that mean.

Okay! Oh my goodness. Enough talking. No wonder I don't post everyday. I'm writing books here and its taking me 2 hours to do so! Talk to you soon. How's your summer?

I'll be back tomorrow with winners of the books and artwork from this post. Last chance to enter is now!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Whole Lotta Winnin' Going On!

Yes, I'm behind. Yes, I know the giveaway for the kids' book was in April and the mystery book was in May. Give me a break. I'm behind, as I said!

Today's Winners:

I'll get these books out to you ASAP as soon as I get your addresses. (Off to contact you both via blogs/emails.)

I have a pile of books I was supposed to review here on the blog but as you can see, my spring ran away from me, taking all of my sanity with it! So here, in one post, you will get a massive review of the books I've read, mostly. Didn't finish a few but I got the gist. Just comment with the top two books that would be your favs and I'll choose winners someday soon (NO, it won't be FALL when I get around to it!!! *Stop snickering!!*)

* Note: ALL UPCOMING WINNERS will receive a piece of my art as well; be it an ATC, card, little sewn bits & bobble, etc... Whatever, so enter away!  It's a two-fer day (art and books to win!)*

(Can be purchased here.)
I did actually finish this book. I'm no longer one for historical romances although I do love the history but this book was great! I love the relationship the girls have with each other (I never had sisters and know that I missed out), and the view of this point in history. It has some predictable moments but I loved it all the same. Basically it's a family of sisters, the mother has disappeared when they were young. Flash forward to when they've grown up. One is being courted by someone. The others are enamored with boys. One liking most of the boys, the other contemplating being a mail order bride to someone in the way out west. Then a baseball team comes to town, one player gets hurt (their father is a Doctor) and the fur starts to fly for all of them and their comfortable lives. You'll enjoy this read I would think.

(Can be purchased here.)
This book I'm not finished with. It's based in the future, a Sci-Fi thriller type book. In a world where people can have their brain downloaded into silicon form thus eliminating physical death altogether. Sounds spooky huh, and something right out of Dr. Who (remember the giant head - Face of Bo? Or the Last Human alive who was basically skin? But anyway, I digress...) A missionary daughter leaves where she has lived all her life to come back to America, a country that no longer has Christianity. The back of the books says 'The spiritual future of all humanity hangs in the balance." Sounds exciting! This is not a lighthearted romp through the future. There will be advanced technology stuff in here that points to a not so distant future of our own, some we may not want to acknowledge.  It's an enjoyable but heavy book. Thought provoking would be a better term. Very enjoyable so far.

(Can be purchased here.)
Secretly I've been wanting to better my life for years now. (Did you happen to read yesterday's post?) This book promises 'Ten Ways You Can Live More Richly, Deeply, Fully.' Sign me up! I'm ready! Just what I was needing! I have not read this book yet except the forward but I'm intrigued. Read what the product description on Amazon is: 
What if you only had a few days to live?
Would you love?
Would you laugh?
Would you give?
Would you live differently than you do right now?
            --Billy Joe Daugherty

If possible, would you do a makeover on parts of your life? Most of us would gladly say “Yes!” to a fresh start, and that’s exactly what God offers. 

So many people live empty and frustrating lives, which is tragic because God desires a full, productive, and satisfying life for His children.  360° Life explores how ordinary people, regardless of their challenges, can experience life-altering change through simple faith.  Billy Joe Daugherty weaves material from the Bible, his own experiences, and riveting interviews with contemporary Christians to reveal how not just to survive struggles, but to rise above them. 

That’s the fulfilling result of a 360-degree life.  
I think about this sometimes. What would I do if I knew I only had a few days, weeks to live. What would I do differently? What would matter, what wouldn't? Once I think on those things though, why am I not living like that now? (Sounds like another LIST is in order!!! ha) This book is very intriguing to me and I anticipate it making changes in my life and anyone who reads it. 

(Can be purchase here.)
I'm in the process of reading this thriller. It has mystery, intrigue, psychological drama, secrets. My kind of a good time! lol I'm very fond of books that center around a small town. I like books that become series. I haven't finished this one yet so I don't know if it does but it has that potential when you get intimately familiar with small town characters. Plus it's written by a homeschool mom. Can't imagine how she had the time! The book centers around a now-sober Police chief with guilt that haunts him. Supposedly the crime in his city is about to escalate throwing everything asunder. There's a drug threat, animals that meet their demise and there's a girl. There's always a girl isn't there?! Girls are trouble, I can tell you from personally being one... ha I can't wait to finish this book!

To recap:
1 - I have lots of reading to catch up on, don't I?!
2 - To enter to win one of these books, comment with your top two choices from among them and you'll get one entry.
3 - To get 2 more entries, follow me through one of the follower things on the right (Networked Blogs is on Facebook, the other is through Google.)
4 - For one more entry, tell me what your reading list looks like for the summer. After I'm done with these books, I need new suggestions!

Check back next time for more art! I have a whole pile waiting to be shared...

P.S. Is anyone up for an online book club that would be through a Facebook Group? I was thinking of starting one. Needs a good name though (and willing participants!!)... any thoughts?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Impossible Things...

I think I have an allergic reaction anytime I read about the Calls for Publication at Somerset Studio. I get all excited, start to make stuff and then... ppfffttt. I don't send anything in. It's probably that little voice in the back of my head that likes to stomp its foot and tell me how utterly untalented I am. I try to ignore it but, we're all really just little children inside who want to be accepted, huh?! I ignored it this week and sent in a few things just for fun. And I plan to ignore the voice again next time. I'm thinking its not the publishing I should be worrying about, but the willingness to listen to a voice that tells me I can't do something.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

I was reading the blog of an adventurous family today. They've been biking for 2 years. With 11 year old boys. From Alaska to Argentina. Apparently they homeschool along the way as well. That's a fair bit out of my comfort zone. Imagine pulling up all stakes to your life and hitting the open road. Living on quick food, snacks and hopefully meeting only kind helpful people along the way. Sure we've talked about that before. We thought of doing the same in an RV but we were never brave enough to do it. We're comfortable with our lives; grocery stores on the corner, fast internet at our fingertips, actual beds to sleep in. I can't help but envy this family just a bit though. They're doing an impossible thing. They made it a reality.

Lately I've been contemplating my life, probably too much, DH would say. I'm thinking about the 20 years I've wasted, not doing the things I've dreamed of doing. It hasn't been a waste. I have wonderful children, loving husband but the little things that I wanted for myself... I haven't reached for them. Too many excuses for why not. I've put them in a little mental box as unobtainable. We are our own worst enemies aren't we?

I watched the new Alice in Wonderland last week (which, by the way, was not scary and too dark for my little one, as I had heard it would be. No darker than Chronicles of Narnia!) I love the line where she says her dad believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. She used that bravery and knowledge to help her in the end of the movie. It seems silly to utter outloud but I'd like to be like Alice. A character in a book.

I think today I will make a list of the things swirling around in my brain, the things I've labeled impossible. The stuff only dreamed about... What would be on your list?

(all artwork shown is snippets from pieces submitted for publication.)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer Is Here!

I was talking with my mom the other day and got all excited that homeschool was about out for the summer. Then I realized... my teaching experience is different from other teachers. Their kids go home and the teachers get the summer off. For some reason my kids are still here. lol I'm still determined to do some fun things, important and necessary things and maybe even some frivolous things as well.

The last several weeks have been all about graduating the teen. Helping the teen pass her ACT coming up this Saturday. And its also been about Doctor Who. Yes, I've discovered this show! I mean, I knew it was around but had never watched it. Have you seen the current series (season 1 was in 2005)? I'm in love. All those British accents swirling around with time machines and aliens? I'm in heaven. I swear I've started talking to myself in a British accent, you know, when no one can hear me. :) I'm all caught up on the shows. Now I'm waiting for the current season to come out on disc so I can see it as well. Do you remember The Phantom Tollbooth? It was one of my favorite books growing up. We have no less than 3 copies in this house as we speak. I keep snapping them up at garage sales. Anyway, he drove through the tollbooth into another land. Kind of like Doctor Who's time machine.

I've made a few art things lately. Well, actually it was in the beginning of May and only just started creating again yesterday. Time flies when you're vegging in front of the TV. I did finish up the crocheted afghan I started awhile ago. I'll have to take a picture. When I do, I'll share about the new afghan I've started. It's a doozy but oh so fun.

I tried my hand again at poppies. I really like having the painted background instead of the white. Somerset Studio has a calling for Poppies creations in August. I think I might have to come up with something, just so I can keep playing with this theme!

I joined a 'Grunge' ATC swap last month. It was a blast to design cards for that. I scraped paint, drew, spray painted, inked, sewed flowers and wrote with india ink. 

The teen had a graduation party and I sent out announcements. But I couldn't just be normal and pay for graduation cards. Oh no, not me. I had to play. I think they came out quite unique despite a bit smelly from the spray paint. hehe I didn't take a pic of the inside but it was on printed vellum with a recent pic of the teen attached.

Shoot, I've run out of time to keep sharing. I'll have to tell you about the Raven things I've made  recently plus more ATCs! I know I have a few books I haven't drawn winners for yet, so I will do that next time as well. What are your summer plans?