Tuesday, December 21

A Big Ho Ho and a Merry Christmas to All!

Greetings from the Bailey house. I love this time of year. It personifies everything that I am about, all rolled up in one month. I am busily making my home ready for the holidays, each and every day during the month of December. Advent is such an important part of our lives, in so many ways. From Christ's humble beginnings on this earth to leaving this earth to again reign over the heavens and the earth at Easter tide. The story is so important, and one that so few hold dear in their hearts these days. Oh Christmas is always there for everyone and commercialized to the hilt, but the true meaning of Christmas is held dear by so few. This is what Christmas means to me:
A homemade Santa.
A boy one day, a man the next.
Non-electronic play. Constructive play.
Snow!!!!Visiting with old friends.Having old friends visit us. And new little ones.
Handmade nutcrackers out of toilet paper rolls.
Handmade venison steak that my Dad shot, and pomagranites. Grandma always sent us some every Christmas. Figs too. I guess that's why I always buy both each and every December.
Hand sewn tree skirts.
Or a super hero cape.

Craft days.
Nifty Lego Santa creations during breakfast.
Friends to exchange gently used toys with.
Two children counting down every minute until Christmas.Eating broccoli (even though you hate it) because you want to be good so Santa will come.
Warm hearty oatmeal on cold mornings, and coffee with lots of cream and sugar. Yes, I let my kids have coffee.
Snow Angels!
Creating so others in foreign countries can have food and shelter.
A fun, old fashioned game of spoons. What could be better than that?

Merry Christmas Everyone! We love you!

Thursday, October 7

What We've Been Up To Lately

Hunter had his fall piano recital and did a great job!
Matt and his date Emily before the Homecoming dance at LCHS. He doubled with his friend Josh and his date.
Hunter at his piano recital with others who take lessons with Heidi.

Hunter playing his recital pieces (this is a posed photo, as no photos were aloud during the recital).

Hunter and his piano teacher Heidi. She is a very accomplished classical pianist.

STL Cardinals vs. Brewers game.

Enjoying our first MLB game.

A quick shot of Nonnie and Papa.

All the boys were very much into the game. I have to admit it was fun to watch, and I had my crochet hook and a ball of cotton yarn. I completed an entire dishcloth (start to finish) during the game.
Me and one of my boys. The one that is most like me in so many ways.

4 little pumpkins laying hanging on a vine.
The first one said, "Oh my, I'm looking fine."

The 2nd said, " I smell winter in the air."

The 3rd one said, "but we don't care."

The 4th one said, "We'll roll, and roll, and roll."
Ooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! and OUT went the light,
and the 4 little pumkins rolled out of sight.
Crockpot Applesauce! YUM! It must be Fall.

Oatsies! Double Yum! A chocoholics dream!

Our 20lbs of organic beef. Stocking our freezers for a long cold winter.

12 organic chickens and 1 20lb. organic Tom for Thanksgiving Day.

2 cuddly little kittens to brighten the long winter ahead. They are basically twin tabbys. Hunter named his Stripes, and Ethan named his Fluffy.

Last but surely not least. Close friends to spend the night, and play board games with. It truly is a wonderful Life.

Friday, August 13

Scrap Room Tour - Stacy Julian's Scrap by Color System

Hi and welcome to my scrap room :)
This area is part of the color organizing system that I use inspired by Stacy Julian. I use the same color bins she uses. Mine are from Walmart and I believe I paid $3.99 a piece for them. Maybe $4.99. I can't remember, but not more than that. In these bins I use the same color sorting technique she uses. I do put my color letter stickers and chipboard in my bins. I do have a jar in each bin that I use for small items, although mine are mason jars. They are labeled with the appropriate color ribbon, as well. My center bins are for storing other items such as deco scissors, punches, powder embossing items, borders, and photo mats (which are also sorted by color vertically). Above this small bookshelf (Walmart, $15.00); is a poster from Stacy's Photo Freedom book that illustrates how her photo tracking system works. Mine is still a work in progress.
Because I have more bins than shelves, I put 3 more color bins on this green plastic shelving unit. I think it was given to me, so I can't tell you how much it cost. On this shelving unit I have my 3 least used color bins, which are pink, purple, and multi-color. I have all boys, so I don't get to use these very often. Multi-color is a bin I store striped and misc. color items that I can't find a place for in the other color bins. On these shelves I store my pizza boxes, flowers (in an XL mason jar), misc. tools, pens, inks, and a bin for misc. chipboard on the bottom.

This is the bottom section of a wooden LP record stand. I actually got it for free from someone who used to own a record store. If you can find one of these, it is perfect for scrapbooking, in my humble opinion. On the bottom shelf of this record stand I store my stamps, dry embossing plates, paint, photo boxes, and misc. ribbon.

I prefer to vertically file my paper. I have a lot of paper, and it always ends up taking too long to find what I am looking for when I file horizontally. Filing vertically makes looking for just the right paper very easy. I file my paper by color. Each slot of the LP record stand is 12x12 because LP records were 12x12. So I use 1 slot per 2 colors of paper divided by a piece of chipboard in between each color. I also use the extra slots for misc. items such as page protectors, stencils, and large 12x12 chipboard pieces.

This is my photo filing system. It is not Stacy's system. I saw it in a scrapbooking magazine once, and I can't remember whose system it is. I am thinking maybe it was Heidi Swapp or Becky Higgins. Possibly Ali Edwards. Anyway, it is a bill paying file system. I purchased it from Target for $20. I have a recipe card posted on one end of the file system that tells me what is in each file slot. Each are numbered accordingly. Such as #1 is January photos, #2 is February photos. After #12 which is December, I start in with #13 Birthdays, #14 Christmas, etc...

In one section of my LP record slots I keep my scraps. I rarely throw a scrap away, unless it it too tiny to use. I a sort these by color as well, and keep them in 2 gallon size ziplock bags. Mine are acid-free as they are from CTMH paper packs that I have collected and saved over the years.
These are my pizza boxes. They are from Club Scrap. I currently have a membership with them, and so I save the boxes that the kits come in. I use these for my holiday memorabilia, simply because I don't want to see Christmas items every time I pull out my red and green bins. My color bins are mainly stored with general items that can be used for any layout or theme. I keep anything pertaining to specific holidays (including baby and birthday) in these boxes. It also makes it easy if I need to make a card for someone. I just pull out one of these pizza boxes and can make a card quite efficiently.
Lastly, this is where I store my tiny items such as buttons, brads, eyelets, jewels, charms, etc. I was given this storage system, but I've seen them in the tool dept. at discount stores. They are mainly used for storing small screws, or nuts and bolts. I sort by color in these as well. I labels each drawer with a small scrap of cardstock, and simply keep all those tiny scrapbooking items in there. I am missing 1 bin so I keep my chalks in there. On top I store misc bottled items that I don't want to spill such as crystal lacquer, staz-on cleaner, and ink spray cleaner.
Well, thanks for stopping by. I hope I helped in some capacity. I think it's important to remember that Stacy's method is a great method, but as she always says that you have to make it work for you. So if some area of her system doesn't work for you, there are other ways that might. This is my version of her system. Hope you enjoyed!!!
Now back to the festival!!!

Monday, June 28


Mckmama- Not Me Monday

This has most definitely not been the week for NOT ME's. I most certainly did not take a nap an hour before our minister and his wife were supposed to drop our son off from church camp this week, instead of cleaning our house. Then when they both came in wanting to use the bathroom, I didn't even blink an eye when directing them to the dirty kid's bathroom that had underwear and toilet paper all over the floor, instead of our nice clean adult bathroom in our bedroom. I also would never go to bed at 8 p.m. with the TV babysitting our 6 and 8 year old until their father came home at 10 p.m. I would most definitely never do that. And there is no way that I would only weed around the plants in our garden and forget about the weeds growing everywhere else. And you would never see me bringing a 1/4 eaten container of salted peanuts to a 4-H meeting because I was too lazy to bake the brownies I promised I'd bring. And you can be sure that you would never see me washing only my own clothes in the washer on a given day, and no one else's. And lastly you would never catch me doodling funny notes to my husband during a slightly boring church sermon on a Sunday morning. Not Me! I'm a respected Sunday School Teacher. Are you kidding me? That could never be me!!!

Thursday, June 24

Recipe for Disaster

This is sort of an update post. It's been a crazy summer so far with 4 days of school left. Lots of very hot days and thunderstorms at night. Luckily we live on a small hill, and we are toward the top, so we don't ever get any flooding like our counterparts at the bottom of the hill. We do get the majority of tree damage though, and luckily the tree that is causing the most damage is slowly being cut down by the city. I say slowly because they come every couple months and trim parts off. Eventually the tree will be gone, but it may be 2012 before we see that happen. Plus it's not our tree, but our next door neighbors. It's a massive cottonwood that has been a pain in the butt for all of the 6+ years we've lived here. It will be nice to see it go, but sad in part because it's really only 1 of 2 huge shade trees in our tiny subdivision. Well, aside from the woods behind the houses across the street. It's big enough that it shades our vehicles in the driveway. I guess now we'll actually have to put up a carport.

M is at church camp this week. I'm sure he is having a good time. His battery died on his cell phone a couple days ago, so I won't really know until tomorrow when he gets home. I'm sure he is having a better week then poor H. Not only is he battling rude and obnoxious neighbor kids, but he has a terrible case of dermatitis that has covered 3/4 of his body. Scott and I took him to the ER this morning because we weren't quite sure if our 8 yo son wasn't turning into a lizard. It all started 3 days ago. I noticed that he had this small rash on his armpit that made his skin look and feel like shoe leather. I put some ointment on it, and the next day it spread to his stomach, rear end, and the insides of his arms. I then made an appt with his pediatrician for Friday (tomorrow). This morning he woke up and it had spread to his neck and legs. He was starting to look like a shriveled up old man. It totally freaked me out, so we decided to take him to the ER. They told us that he must have had some reaction to the pool water. Scott tests the pool water every time he puts chemicals in to make sure that it's safe to swim. Besides, it hasn't effected any of us other than H. So he is itchy and miserable, and looks just awful. Poor kid. He wanted to go outside and play catch with the neighbor boys (who generally are rotten) but I told him that it sounded like a recipe for disaster, but that he could go. Fast forward 5 minutes and the neighbor boy (I call him Eddie Haskell, for those of you old enough to have watched Leave It To Beaver) comes to my window, knocks on it, and says that Hunter threatened to throw the baseball at him. Now, knowing H the way I do (I am not just saying this because I am his mother) he is non-aggressive. He would never threaten to harm anyone, unless he was provoked. Also, knowing "Eddie" the way I do, and by the smile on "Eddie's" face, I knew that this was not the entire story. H (in the house now) enters the room crying, stating that the 3 boys (recipe for disaster) were calling him names, and when H said he was going home and that he wanted his ball back, they threatened to beat him with a bat. Lovely little heathens, they are. I then told all 3 boys to go home. Tomorrow, it is certain that at least 2 of them will be knocking on our door to play. Karma is lovely that way. It's not surprising that our society has this problem, when these kids (who are 8-10 years old) are never watched by anyone, and they roam the neighborhood. It seems I pray consistently that these renters will move, but we will just get more renters in with rotten little kids that congregate at my house. Uggghhh... Can you hear my frustration? Well, I can at least pray for Fall to come quickly, so the rotten little heathens will be in school terrorizing other little kids instead of mine. Sorry for the negative tone...because I know that we've all lived next to naughty kids before. This is nothing new.

On to something else. I had minor surgery on Monday to remove an endometrial polyp from my uterus. Is this really any better? Everything is fine except that I can't seem to get rid of this headache. I can't seem to shake it. I first noticed it after waking up from anesthesia. It's not a bad headache, just an annoying one. I wonder if that is normal?

Scott is working tonight, and we have our last 4-H meeting until Fall. We are planning on playing games and just having a fun night. Hunter is showing 3 exhibits in the fair this year. 1 in Cooking, 1 in Bicycles, and 1 in Outdoor Adventures (camping). He is pretty excited about it, and looking forward to getting paid for his accomplishments.

Matt is looking forward to attending the high school next year. He had to take a diagnostic exam to determine what classes he would be in this fall (because he was homeschooled) and he did very well. They placed him at 483 out of 500 students. He tested out of History and Science, so he doesn't need any of those for graduation unless he chooses one for an elective. He absolutely loves history and geography so he will most likely choose one of those. He was only slightly above average in Math and English. Overall very good scores. He shouldn't have any problems getting into the college of his choice. I have to say that I was a bit nervous when he went in for the test because (as his teacher) I didn't want to feel like a failure if he did poorly. He really has worked very hard these past 3 years, and I assumed he would do well, but you don't know. So I was a bit freaked out until we got the results. I guess I'm an above average teacher, or maybe it's just that I have above average children.

Well, I better get ready for 4-H tonight. I still need to bake some brownies. Hope everyone is having a good summer!

Thursday, June 17

Experiment In Writing

I just had a brilliant idea! I was reading Ali Edwards blog post this morning, and it really affected me. You can get to her blog and read her post by clicking on "Ali's Blog" on my side bar or clicking on this http://www.aliedwards.typepad.com/
To make a long story short, Ali's husband recently took their son Simon on a camping trip. While on this camping trip he wrote a letter to Simon telling him how very much he loves him. The letter truly brought tears to my eyes. I thought about all the children in the world that have never received a letter from their father telling them how very much he loves them. What about the moms in the world that have never written a note to their children telling them how very much they love them? I think the world would be a much different place if parents gave this small gift to their children. A gift that costs nothing but their time.

Words are so important. Words can more often than not, hurt people. They may have been provoked or said out of anger and frustration. They may have been misinterpreted or misunderstood. Words can kill a relationship. This is sometimes all a child ever hears from their parents. What a small existence this poor little child must feel.

A written letter is a bit different. Especially one written out of love. A letter is a tangible thing. It can be held, and touched. It can be read over and over. It can be saved for a lifetime. Writing your child a letter of love can help reconnect a tie that has been broken. In the book "To Train Up A Child" (Paul and Debi Pearl) they talk about reconnecting ties that have been severed. That a parent and child relationship consists of many ties or strings. Each time a conflict arises in which the child feels betrayed by a parent, a tie is severed. Some children get through childhood with only a few strings left. Rarely do children reach adulthood with all the strings intact. More often than not, all the strings are cut by the time a child reaches adulthood, and they are left feeling unloved and betrayed. These children (more often than not) go off and either find their own way while still holding onto a lot of resentment; start abusing drugs or alcohol; commit crimes; or worse. Some may simply treat their own children the way they were treated.

Is all hope lost if you are one of these parents? Maybe not. It is possible to reconnect each broken tie, one string at a time. Each time you say a loving word (one string is reconnected); each time you write a small note telling your child you love and respect them (one string is reconnected); each time you tell them you are proud of them (0ne string is reconnected). Get my point?

Being a child that was rarely told how much they were loved or respected, or even valued, I have tried to instill the fact that I love my children first and foremost, under God and my husband. I am a child that never received a letter from my parents telling me that they loved me, and neither was my husband. We were children of a younger generation. Children of children. Parents who were trying to find their way in the world themselves while bringing children into the world. Everything looked great on the outside, but gray on the inside. I am not saying that my parents did not do the best they knew how to do at the time, and I am very sure that my husband's parents did the the best they knew how to do at the time also. It was simply a different time than it is now. I don't feel that this is a good excuse, but do feel that people can only do what they are taught to do. There is so much more information these days on how to raise children. Lots of conflicting information as well, which leads to very confused parenting styles, and very disturbed children, but that's a post for another time.

So, my experiment is this. Starting this month, I will be writing a love letter to each of my children, hiding it in their bedroom. My teenager's bedroom is usually a mess, so he may not find all the letters I write, but at any rate, I'm still going to write them and post what I have written here. I will write each child a letter once a month for the coming year, hiding them throughout their room. So at the end of the year, they will each have 12 letters. These letters will never be mentioned unless they happen to bring them up, and even then I will just smile and say it's true. These letters to each child will reflect only positive things about them, explaining to them how much I love them. They won't say things like "I am so proud of you for .... but you need to work on ..." There is a time and place for these conversations, but this is not one of those times. Not a time to list past struggles, etc. Just a time to reflect love and admiration for that person. Scott has never been much of a writer, but I am hoping that he will jump on board as well. I want more than anything for my children to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my love for them is completely unconditional, and that I cherish exactly who they are, and who they are becoming.

There is so much bull in the world today. I just have to get this off my chest. Why do teachers tell students that they won't be able to get into a good college if they don't take certain prerequisite courses in high school? That AP courses are the only way to get into good colleges? What a line of horse manure. You may need 2 years of Algebra and 1 year of Geometry to get into a university, but you don't need to take those courses in high school. Many students attend a community college to complete the courses they need to get into a university. These have smaller class sizes and instructors that have more time to help a student. It may take the student a bit longer to get through college, but does it really matter?

Many students I went to high school with, who took college prep courses, and graduated with honors, flunked out of college the first or second semester. Even our Valedictorian flunked out the first year. One thing I learned in college was that it really doesn' t matter how old you are when you begin your degree. I also learned that it's more about your grade point average than it is about what college prep or AP classes you took in high school. I also learned that just because you have a college degree doesn't mean that you are hireable, so don't expect your dream job right out of college. So why tell students that everything is black or white? I feel that teachers, advisers, and parents should be honest to students and not tell them that their grades are not good enough for college, but instead, give them all the information so they can use it to their benefit. Many students are told that they are not college material. What a detriment to the student who realizes when he is 35 that this was not true. This student has given up a good portion of his life, changed his goals, all to start working in a lesser field he has no interest in. Shame on those people who are misleading our young adults. You can become a student at any age, and complete any goal you have for yourself at any age. Most likely, your goals will have changed some over the years.

My initial major in college was Art, and then I switched to Fashion Design. I found that I didn't enjoy art projects completed according to other people's standards. I lost the love for it. In fact, I found that I had formed more of a love for Art History, than Art itself. I then found that most people who majored in Fashion Design neither had a gift for drawing or sewing. Most of the girls and guys in my classes were "beautiful" bimbos that simply wanted an easy break into a modeling career. I have never worked in either of these fields, but have used what I learned in those classes many times throughout my life. I graduated with a Business Office Degree but found that I didn't like Corporate America. I found it stressful and a bloodbath to step on each other's toes to get to the top. Hated every minute of it. Ten years out of college, I found that I had a love of teaching. This led to 7 years employment at a public elementary school until my young ones were school age. Who knew that I would love doing that? Certainly not I.

By the time my middle child was ready for kindergarten, I began feeling the urge to homeschool. I think back to those years that I worked at the grade school and it all seems like a blur. I can't remember much from when H was a baby, or when E was tiny. It all went by so fast. That was my turning point. That was when I took a step back and saw my life flashing before me. I knew that I needed to be home with my kids. Now my days are slow, and joy-filled. I am where I am supposed to be at this time in my life. If I am 55 when I go back to work, so be it. I know without a shadow of a doubt, that I was created to teach. What was your child created to be? Write them a letter telling them you love them. Great idea, Ali! Thanks for sharing.

Friday, June 11

Playing around with Glimmer Mist by Tattered Angels

Okay, I am so excited to share this with you that I could almost bust. Today I was fooling around with Glimmer Mist by Tattered Angels. I've never used it before. I've been watching Noell Hyman from http://www.paperclipping.com/ use it over the course of the past few months on her website, and decided to give it a whirl myself. It is quite addicting! I think that there is something very cool about misting dye onto paper, and watching different color combinations emerge. I am definitely not an expert. Sorry these photographs are nothing to write home about either, but you will get the idea.
Last week on www.paperclipping/live.com, Noell mentioned a contest that Tattered Angels was sponsoring. The winner would receive the same Glimmer Mist products that were used in Noell's Live show the previous week. What you had to do was post something that you were interested in seeing on upcoming Paperclipping subscribers videos. I posted mine, which had absolutely nothing to do with Glimmer Mist, but did have something to do with using up old product (paper/stickers/embellishments) and then I started reading posts from other people that were stating that they wanted some ideas on how to use old product that they already had on hand. More than a few people posted this. That got me thinking, and I wondered if spraying old product (paper) with glimmer mist would make it more relevant or current. I quickly posted the idea to Noell. Today, I decided that I wanted to give these ideas a try. I started with some of my older style scrapbooking paper, and just started playing around. Then I got another idea. What if I used some of my old stencils as masks? Hmmm... so I tried that. I really liked the outcome of that idea. Then I tried letter stencils. Liked that too. Some of the older style papers I tried turned out nice. Some are just okay. A few were ugly. It's all trial and error, you know. So below, for your pleasure, are some of the things I tried. None of them are perfect, but it was fun. So play around with your Glimmer Mist. I hope you have as much fun as I did. Mist away ladies!