Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thank You for My Versatile Blogger Award

It's been raining for 4 days straight here on the East coast of NC and today our local schools are closed due to more rain and a tropical storm.  One advantage to homeschooling...I'm able to teach rain or shine.  (Although, I do allow my children to have snow days and cancel school since we rarely see the white stuff around here :)

So despite the lack of sunshine these past several days, Rebecca at Mom's Mustard Seeds passed on some blog sunshine by awarding my blog the Versatile Blog Award.  It was such a wonderful, unexpected surprise to receive this award from a beautiful blog!  Thank you Rebecca for passing this on to me!

To accept the Versatile Blogger Award the rules are:

  • Thank and link back to who gave you the award.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Pass it along to 15 blogs you've recently discovered and enjoy
  • Leave your recipients a note, telling them about the award

Now 7 things about me:
  1. My favorite scripture verse is John 20:29. Look it up. You'll be blessed.
  2. One memory I have from my elementary Catholic school days is when my teacher (Sister ?) stopped class every time we heard a siren outside. We would then say a prayer for the doctors, nurses, victim(s). When our family hears a siren, we say a prayer.
  3. I was playing volleyball at our local beach in 1992 when I met my best friend & future husband.  We've been married since July 12, 1997.
  4. I couldn't homeschool without my husband's constant love, support and encouragement and without the support of the families in my homeschool group.  And now recently I am encouraged by all the comments and emails on my blog :)
  5. Three out of four of my children were born on the 19th of the month.  My first two are exactly 17 months apart. They were both born on a Friday, the 19th.
  6. My husband and I have been certified Natural Family Planning (NFP) teachers since 2003.
    What is NFP? Go to my blog page here.
  7. I love creating and sending unique, personalized, and creative greeting cards using the SendOutCards web based greeting card system!
And the best part of getting this award is being able to pass it on to the following 15 wonderful blogs:

Thanks again Rebecca at Mom's Mustard Seeds for passing on this award to me!

Thank you to Anna-Marie at Life's Adventures for awarding this award to me also! 

1 click on "Fence" button below = 1 vote for         
"A Slice of Smith Life"

You can vote for my blog here too! 

(I just registered with Top Mommy Blogs)  


Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

(Not quite) Wordless Wednesday-Magnificent Harvest Moon Shots

Last week I was visiting a local beach with some friends and we just happened to see the most beautiful full harvest moon while the kids played and my friend and I talked.  Here is God's beauty captured with my digital camera:

When we first arrived at the beach, the moon was red/pink/orange in color and beginning to rise over the ocean.

As the night sky grew darker the moon turned a bright yellow-orange color.

The moon light is reflecting on the water.

I'm not sure what I did to get this photo, but it looks cool and looks like the moon is falling.  I love the moon light on the water.

My 3 daughters and their friend moon dancing.
~~I see the moon, The moon sees me, God bless the moon, And God bless me.~~
Thanks Annita for reminding me about this moon prayer!  :)

My dad took this photo from the beach he was visiting during the harvest moon.  I love how the birds are flying past it.

 I just found out tonight that my blog was chosen as "Blog of the Week" on Angela's Blog Mommas site!
Angela linked back to my SendOutCards business page under my Money Makin' Moms tab on my blog.  Thanks Angela for choosing my blog!  What an honor!

If you are a mom (or dad) and you have a personal blog and/or a blog about your business be sure to visit Angela at Blog Mommas and get your blog listed in her directory.  Angela is very supportive of all bloggers and she would love more mom and dad bloggers to join her directory!

1 click on "Fence" button below = 1 vote for 
"A Slice of Smith Life"

Saturday, September 25, 2010

(Organization) System Saturday- Fall Bulletin Board

Last year I had good intentions to update my hallway bulletin board in my home as the seasons changed, but that never happened.  This year I made another new school year resolution to update our bulletin board and I'm happy to say that I started our homeschool year out with a "We've had  a "Tee-rific" Summer" bulletin board and now as Fall approaches I have changed the board to this:

I found the apple cutouts in a bulletin board book that I have, but you can find any apple coloring page on the internet. I found one here.  Then for the basket, I took light tan paper, cut it into a basket shape, cut slits in the paper so that I could weave the dark brown, construction paper strips in and out of the slits.  Then I took 2 of the strips, stapled them and used that as my basket handle.
The theme of the board  is a title I made up called,  "We love FALL-ing in love with Jesus and school".  Here is a close up shot:

I got the top and bottom leaf patterns from Microsoft Word's Clipart and I just found a leaf image and copied it over and over again to make the pattern above and below the title.  I had my children and a visiting friend write why they love God/Jesus and/or what they liked in school.  Here are some of their apples:

 The blue colorful apple is my 2.5 year olds and my daughter's friend wrote what she said.

I wrote down what my 6 year old daughter narrated to me: " I am thankful for horses and dolphins.  I like riding horses.  I like flowers and I like seals."

I didn't have any pre-cut Fall themed bulletin board borders, so I went on the internet and did a Google search for Fall borders and I found this one from Preschool Printables. (see sample above)  I made several copies of the leaf pattern and cut and stapled them around the board. 

So I am happy to say that I have completed an August and September bulletin board with my children.  Now if I can keep the momentum going, I'll look forward to finding a fun idea for October's board!

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"A Slice of Smith Life"

Friday, September 24, 2010

My Every 50th Follower Feature!

Not too long ago, my Google Friend Connect (GFC) Follower total reached 100 so I thought it would be fun to feature my 100th follower and get to know her a little better.  You can read my blog post here about Brenda at WV Stitcher, A Blog About Reading, Reviewing, and Stitchery, my 100th follower.

Getting to know Brenda was so much fun that I decided to not wait for another 100 followers, but to feature every 50th follower of my blog from now on.  So this week, my 150th follower was Shelby at Homeschool Highway.  She homeschools her children like I do and we use some of the same curriculum for our children.  Shelby shares so many wonderful ideas with her readers as she travels on her "homeschool highway".

To get to know Shelby, I asked her the following questions and her answers are in red:

1.  How long have you been blogging?
I have been blogging steady for a little over a year. I started my first blog, though, over two years ago when I had a life or death scare. It was very therapeutic for me to blog about it. I did not share the blog or post with anyone and after time I forgot I even started the blog. Over a year later I joined a yahoo group where so many of the women had blogs. I was inspired to create one as well. I began a homeschool blog to share all of the things that we do in our homeschool. I thought it would be a great way to keep those distant relatives up to date. Earlier this year I created a second blog to blog about the things in our live that are not strictly homeschool related, like my passion for taking pictures.
2.  What part of the world do you blog from? 
The Southern United States
3.  How did you find my blog to become the 150th follower?
I believe it was through Anna-Marie's blog, Life's Adventures, when she awarded me the One Lovely Blog Award.
4.  How did you decide on the "theme" of your blog?
When I began my blog my theme was all about our journey on the homeschool highway. I even had little nicknames for each of my kids (booster seat, student driver, etc.), but as I was needing to update the blog with the graduation of one of my children and other changes in our life, I got lazy and was short on time and picked one of the generic blog themes to make life easier. Some day I may go back to doing it all myself, but for now it is what it is.
5.  How long have you been homeschooling?
My eldest is 18 and we have always homeschooled. He graduated this past year, so now we are only homeschooling my 17 and 7 year old daughters.
6.  Why did you decide to homeschool?
Ya know, a friend and I were just talking about this the other day. I really can not remember what the deciding factor was, but I do know that as everyone else was getting their kids ready to go to school, it just seemed right to keep them home. Now it is just such a part of who we are that I often forget that we are doing something "different" than everyone else.
7.  What do you like best about blogging?
I like to share the things I create for our homeschool with our homeschool moms.
I also love to share my pictures. I used to participate weekly in Foto Friday, but it has been discontinued and I really miss it. I am thinking of starting my own, but I have to figure out McLinky first.
8.  Do you find any challenges with maintaining a blog?  If so, what are they?
Just finding the time to actually blog. I love playing around with the HTML and layout, but again it is very time consuming.
9.  If you had 3 wishes what would they be?
World peace, ending child exploitation and abuse, and educating people on how to be responsible pet owners - these are my global wishes. 
My more personal wishes would be . . .
To be debt free. To live closer to our extended family. For better overall health.
 10. Where is your favorite place to be with your family?
Home. We all love being at home and being together as a family. It may sound funny, but we actually like each other and each others company.

I am thankful for all my other 149 GFC followers (and those that follow my blog that I may know or not know about) and I wish I could feature all of you!  I hope you have enjoyed getting to know Shelby as much as I have.  Make sure you stop in at her blog, Homeschool Highway, and say "Hi!"

1 click on "Fence" button below = 1 vote for 
"A Slice of Smith Life"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- Happy Fall Ya'll !!

What do you get when your daughters and their friend gather art supplies and use their imagination?
 .... a beautiful Fall poster to say "Happy Fall Ya'll!"

One of my blogging friends, Anna-Marie at Life's Adventures, recently posted some awesome sea creatures and scenes made from pumpkins and colorful squash!  Click here to visit her "Autumn is my favorite season" post. (You can click on each photo to make it larger to see the lovely Fall masterpieces.)  Thanks Anna-Marie for sharing these photos!

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"A Slice of Smith Life"

Monday, September 20, 2010

Stories for the Homeschool Heart

Not too long ago, I did a blog post on a contest where you could nominate someone you felt had a 'homeschool heart'.  The winner received the newly released autographed copy of the book, Stories for the Homeschool Heart, that has just been released in August 2010!  I nominated my friend who I felt had a homeschool heart and the authors of the book, Patti Maguire Armstrong and Theresa A. Thomas , emailed me to tell me I won 2 copies of their new book!  So I have one and I gave one to my friend who I nominated!

Do you need to be encouraged as a parent whether you homeschool or not?  Are you looking for stories that inspire, give you hope, and joy?  Do you want to be lifted up in mind and spirit when you sit down and read several short stories from several contributor's from all walks of life?  Do you want to see how God's grace is sufficient even in the most difficult trials?  Do you want to laugh, cry, be thankful, and smile all in one sitting as each short story gives you a glimpse into other's lives?

If you said "Yes" to any of these questions, then I highly recommend purchasing Stories for the Homeschool Heart!
I can't say enough good things about this book!  It is evident that Patti and Theresa, and all the amazing contributor's not only worked hard, but they spoke from their hearts to bless others with their stories.  Besides the 2 copies that I won, I bought 2 other copies and I gave them away to homeschool friends that I know will be encouraged when they read this book.

I am amazed that the authors found the time and energy to publish this book.  As they have mentioned, this project was completed by God's grace, lots of  prayers, and the unconditional love and support from their families. 

Speaking of families, Patti is a homeschool mom and she and her husband, Mark, are raising ten children, eight boys and two girls, including two adopted orphans from Kenya. She is also the author of 9 books.

Theresa is also a homeschool mom and she and her husband, David, raise nine children, ages 5 to 22.  Theresa is also a  freelance writer and speaker.

And I thought I was busy!  

You can read more about the authors here.

You can also find out more about this book at the Stories for the Homeschool Heart webpage here or check out their Facebook page here.

I encourage all parents to find out more about this great book and purchase a copy for yourself or others.  You will walk away from each story in the book with a new look on life and be inspired to continue on your faith and homeschool journeys.

1 click on "Fence" button below = 1 vote for 
"A Slice of Smith Life"

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Spotlight Sunday

 The Things We Find Inside

I am very flattered and appreciative that Marie at The Things We Find Inside is spotlighting my blog on her blog for a week!  Marie has placed my blog button on the top header of her home page and has written such lovely things about my blog.  Marie gave me my first blog award too and I am grateful for Marie's kindness!

Marie started blogging in the summer like me and has a huge number of followers!  I can see why because Marie has always been very supportive, helpful, and encouraging for me and I am grateful that she has chosen me for her spotlight section on her blog.  Bloggers put alot of time and thought into their blogs and it's so nice when another blogger recognizes this hard work.  Thanks Marie and may you continue to bless others with your blog!  Be sure to pay Marie a visit, leave a comment, and vote on the Picket Fence and 1 Award for her on her right sidebar!

1 click on "Fence" button below = 1 vote for 
"A Slice of Smith Life"

Saturday, September 18, 2010

(Organization) System Saturday-Organizing our Pantry (finally!)

I have discovered one way to motivate myself to organize and clean out my pantry...take a before picture and then when everything is nice and neat, take an after picture and post it on my blog :)  So my husband couldn't believe that I was snapping photos of our food closet ( I couldn't believe it either),  but he wasn't going to say too much since he was glad I was getting motivated to clean out this messy and disorganized part of our kitchen!

So for those that care to know what our pantry looked like before here it is:

 Looking in to the pantry from the doorway.  Things were thrown in there and very disorganized!

Here is the floor. I found empty boxes that were taking up lots of space and even some out of date canned goods that found their way into the trash can.

And while my husband took our 2 year old to the doctor to see if she had strep throat (which she didn't), I was able to get to work and organize our pantry like this:

Well, I can cross off "organize pantry" from my "to do" list, but something tells me it's not going to stay this neat and organized for very long since little hands like to drag all kinds of snacks out. 

Have a blessed weekend!

1 click on "Fence" button below = 1 vote for 
"A Slice of Smith Life"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

we love "Signing Time!" all the time

Last month in August, Rachel Coleman, the founder and creator of Signing Time!, came to my hometown to perform and Coleman's great concert was sponsored by a local autism group.  

I don't know if you have heard of Signing Time! before, but all my children love the videos, including Baby Signing Time!  My 2 year old loves the videos so much that she was crying when we had to return one of the Baby Signing Time! videos to the library! 

All 4 of my children,  have learned so many signs with Coleman's fun, entertaining, and educational videos.  I'm excited that they are learning sign language and having fun at the same time. No one is deaf in our family and we don't know anyone personally who is deaf, but my children may meet someone one day who depends on sign language for communication.  I think these videos will encourage my family to try to communicate with someone through sign language.  Learning American Sign Language has many benefits for all children of all ages! 

Coleman's story is inspiring and during her performance I was getting choked up as she was tearing up telling her story about her first born, Leah, who was born deaf, but the family didn't know it until after Leah was a year old.  You can read more about Rachel Coleman's inspiring story and learn more about her 2 beautiful daughters, Leah and Lucy, here.

Here are some pictures I took during Coleman's performance:

Then after the performance we were one of the first people in line to meet Rachel.  It was a great night for all!

While sign language is beneficial for every child, Rachel confesses a more personal goal. She says, "My hope is that everyone will know a little sign, just as most people know a little Spanish - so when your child sees my child at the park, there would be no awkwardness, no communication barrier, just three signs... "Hi ... friend ... play'... that is all it would take to change her world."

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"A Slice of Smith Life"


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I'm Tracy. I love my faith, family and on most days, homeschooling my 5 blessings. When I'm not busy baking cakes for my family or making memories in real life or dreaming I had a housekeeper or professional chef, I enjoy documenting a slice of Smith life in blog land.

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