Follow our family as we journey through life.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Weekend Recap

We wrapped up our time in Washington west by seeing old friends and exploring new places.




Friday, July 26, 2013

7 Quick Takes

We are wrapping up our BIG summer trip and our thoughts are returning to what we are going to be doing once we get home to PA. Our way home will hopefully not be as eventful as our way West.
My brother and I split the cost of a riding lawn mower for my Dad as a house warming/ early Christmas/ early birthday gift (for the next 25 years!).
There's barely any grass yet, but he still got out there to mower what there was.
It was hard to say who was more excited about the gift, Dad or the boys.

Isaac and Henry didn't weigh enough to trigger the safety that would let the mower run so they had to ride with someone else. Next visit and all four will be fighting over who gets to mow the lawn.
Still enjoying the fact we are so close to the water.
Can you see the giant starfish in the water? That sucker was huge!
Picture for our map wall back home
This place is a magical summer land.
Check out more Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fun Times

When the grandkids visit it can be like having a frat party in you house, but without the music and vomiting.

Yes, those are pants hanging from the light fixture.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

Weekend Recap

We are still enjoying our time out west. Relaxing, playing, and catching up with friends and family.

With Auntie April

With Cousins Nick, Lauren, Britany, Shayla, and Reiley.
With Aunt Tudi and Uncle Donny

With the Fryer Kids

Keeley, Me and our girls
With Uncle Joey and Sara

With Mema and Pepa
It is amazing how many people you can see in a single weekend!

Friday, July 19, 2013

7 Quick Takes

What are you reading? Have you read "Dad is Fat" ? I have been hearing about this book everywhere and hope to read it soon. Cari over at Clan Donaldson wrote a funny blurb about it. Click here to see what she has to say.
I have kind of a reading addiction and so I only allow myself the pleasure during school breaks and in the summer. Otherwise my children run wild and I forget that school work actually has to be done every day, or at least more than a few times a month.
Since summer break is officially half over (GASP!), I have several books lined up and plan to begin power reading soon. I need to coordinate this with the hubby because someone has to prepare meals and make sure the younger children have clothes on before playing outside. When I start a good book, I no longer exist in this world.
I recently finished reading Calling Me Home. Really a good book. Several stories going at the same time, and during the whole book I couldn't decide which story I was more emotionally involved in. Definitely recommend.
I love that we are a reading family. If I really have to get something done, I take the kids to library. When we return I am guaranteed at least an hour to myself. Double bonus is when I make the kids earn the trip to the library by cleaning before we leave.
So Michael and I were on a walk when a growling dog decided to chase us. Michael tried to grab the dog before he bit me (no one was hurt but he did get a hold of my skirt) and I screamed bloody murder under the owner came out. By this time we were well into the street and away from the house. The owner was very defensive and said the dog was only barking. He also didn't see the problem with letting his dog roam free at night. After all, he was only barking. That's what dogs do.
I already didn't care for most dogs and now I don't really care for the owners of said dogs.
Are you remembering to pray for my preggo friend? Nothing could be worse than repeated miscarriages, so please do whatever you do to send prayers and good thoughts her way. Baby news is always the best news!
Check out more Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Product Review: Picaboo Yearbooks

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I love making digital photo books that I can print up and share with others. I make several a year, some for myself and some for family and friends. When Picaboo Yearbooks offered me a free photo yearbook in exchange for a review on my blog I said yes right away!
Picaboo Yearbooks is an inexpensive way to create a photo memory book for your homeschool, family, co-op group, etc. Starting at just $8.49 for 20 pages, Picaboo offers many different layouts and creative options to help you personalize your memories.

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Photo from website~ not my yearbook.
Similar to other digital photo creations, you upload photos from your computer to use in your yearbook. Photos are uploaded into different themes or sections. This was both good and bad. It's nice when you are dealing with a whole bunch of photos, like 100 holiday photos, that you can upload them into different sections that you've named Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc. That way you are not looking through dozens of photos from your Easter Egg Hunt when you are working on your Thanksgiving pages. The bad thing is that if you have a photo in one section that you want on another page, it takes a bit of work to get it to another section. It can be moved, but not until you go and move it from section to section.
How I Used the Product
Here is the cover of my yearbook. Its gorgeous quality. But my lack of creativity shows because it's kind of boring.

Well, I of course created a photo yearbook! I definitely isn't a quick process. You are truly starting with a cover and each page has to be added individually. After each page you have to add background design and/or color and then choose a layout or place and size the photos yourself. Text boxes are also added by layout or individually.

 Was this really only a year ago? They all look so little!

 I started out by being really creative and using photos for backgrounds and playing around with photo effects. But then I thought that although those pages are fun, they just aren't me and they take away from the photos themselves. So I used basic color backgrounds and put my photo in based on theme.

My one attempt at creative layouts. I used photos for the backgrounds and turned them black and white. Then I individually placed each photo and text box.
My whole book is one school year from July 2012 to June 2013 for just our family. In addition to regular school activities such as science and history fair and soccer, I have given each child a two-page spread. On one side is a current 2013 close-up photo. On the opposite side is a display of photos from birth to 2012. These pages are my favorite part of the yearbook:


James doesn't have a birth photo because we didn't own a digital camera until he was four months old! So his first photo is at four months instead of birth.
The large photos on the left are taken by my very talented friend and next-door neighbor.  
I hit a lot of set backs while creating my book including the page freezing (a lot) and me having to log-in again. Thankfully the site automatically saves your book every minute so very little was lost when this happened. And the customer service folks at Picaboo were amazing. Most of the problems came from user error (not surprising) but the ones on their end they were able to fix in less than a day.
What Did I Think of the Product
Would I use Picaboo Yearbooks to make another family photo album? No, probably not. The work involved to create the album from scratch just wasn't worth my time. Especially when for more money I can have a program that basically makes the book for me after I upload the photos. And I am just not creative enough to take full advantage of all the little extras that make it so labor-intensive. So for personal use I would say no.
Would I suggest to the LMCA (our new homeschool academy) that we should use Picaboo Yearbooks to remember our school year? DEFINITELY!
There is so much about this program that would be perfect for LMCA's yearbook. One, we can sign-up the older students as team members so that they can work on pages and sections at home. Multiple people being able to easily contribute to the same book is definitely a bonus in a group setting. Even parents would be able to get in on the fun by uploading the photos they have.
Two, by having students involved we can utilize their creative abilities (and their apparent endless available time) and they can get some art credit for their contributions. Double bonus!
Three, the price is perfect for homeschooling families. And if we set up a Picaboo store, then families can go online and order if and when they want to. We aren't stuck holding the bill if we order copies and then a family changes their mind.
It is easy to get started making a Picaboo Yearbook. They start at $8.49 for a softcover (plus $8.99 shipping) and can be created on their website. In addition to softcover, you can create a hardcover yearbook or an e-yearbook. Picaboo also offers other options to create photo memories including calendars, photo albums, and photo cards.  Click here to see products on the Picaboo Yearbook Website.
Many other reviewers on The Schoolhouse Review Crew created a Picaboo Yearbook. I encourage you to head over and see their books because we have a lot of very talented and creative folks on the Crew this year. Click here to read their reviews or click the banner below.
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Rules for Using the Bathroom at Grammy's House

 These rules are now hung on the bathroom door at Grammy's house.

Rule #1: Shut the door.

 Rule #2: Do your business. Use the potty, wipe, flush the toilet, and wash your hands.

Rule #3: No playing in the bathroom.

Rules are courtesy of Margaret.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Weekend Recap

This is more of a review of our trip thus far.

It started with our family being moved to a different flight that didn't leave until 17 hours after we were originally scheduled to leave. With that and a five hour long layover we arrived almost 24 hours late.

The kids enjoyed the flights, well as much as any kid does anyways.

We settled into a short Portland routine and visited with as many folks as possible and watched a movie in my brother's new home theater. We also bought craft beer at Target. Who knew the treasures that awaited us!

Malcolm is enjoying himself by filling his onesies with toys he won't share and sleeping long hours again.

After two short days we headed north to check out my folk's new place. We were not disappointed! The smell of sea air, 90 foot trees, lots of land for the kids to run on, and a brand new house were there to welcome us. 

A little carnival fun for Sunday and we are already settling in. We'll spend the week here and the weekends in P-Town.