Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Petite Picassos

"Mermaid" drawn by my 11 year old daughter using Mark Kistler's Online Art Lessons

"Fish" drawn by my 9 year old son using Mark Kistler's Online Art Lessons

"Lovely Doll" made by my 7 year old daughter

"Tree" made by my 3 year old daughter. She glued green squares on the brown trunk.

If you want to check out more creativity be sure to see this post HERE where I give a shout out for my friend, Lynda, who is starting a new blog design business at My Heart's Desire Creations !

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Do You Need Any Help with Your Blog Design?

When I first began blogging in June 2010, I really had no clue what I was doing.  But, through trial and error, visiting great blogs, asking questions, and frantically clicking away with my mouse to set up my blog, I was able to learn so much to get a blog started to document "a slice of Smith life."

My Heart's DesireSo when my great bloggy friend, Lynda at My Heart's Desire, surprised me one day with my banner which is the photo above and the banner is located at the top of my home page, I was grateful for her help to make my blog more personal and eye-catching!    She used my photos of some cakes I have made for my children and made a beautiful banner that I proudly display on my blog here.  I love how she personalized it using my own photos and the colors fit my blog so well.  Thank you Lynda!

Lynda also designed and created the blog banners/blog button for our mutual friend, Anna-Marie, at Life's Adventures and Anna-Marie's blog hop banner/button at Field Trip Blog Hop.

Lynda makes all the blog buttons at NOBH (No Ordinary Blog Hop) that I co-host with her and 4 other bloggers.  Lynda is able to not only create buttons, banners, and signature tags (You can check out the signature tag she made for Anna-Marie HERE) that are beautiful and creative, but she also makes them so quickly.

Lynda is starting a new business where she wants to help bloggers add a little special touch to their blog by designing banners, blog buttons, and signature tags for you.  If you are like me, you don't always have the time to figure out these very technical and sometimes complicated features of blogging. Lynda has great rates and she will listen to what you want before she creates something that you will also want to proudly display on your blog. You will not be disappointed! You can find out more information and contact Lynda at her business site at My Heart's Desire Creations.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene Home Videos and Photos

Hurricane Irene came and went where we live and we have so much to be thankful for:  We were in the 50% that did not lose power in our area, my cupcakes slept through the night with the heavy rain and wind, and besides some debris in our yard there was no damage to our home.  Also, our chickens were locked up safe and sound in our coop and they survived the storm too! :) 

I know that things could have been so much worse, especially if Irene was a stronger hurricane and I know that others may be suffering with damage and loss.  As Hurricane Irene moves up north currently, my thoughts and prayers are with my relatives in Boston who will soon be getting the heavy bands of rain and wind.  

I thought I would post these short home videos that were taken from our front porch.  The yelps and screams in the background are not my children in distress, rather they are full of excitement to experience the power of Hurricane Irene.  We are just so thankful Irene was not so mean as once predicted for our area!

We couldn't travel to the beach closest to our home since police would only let residents onto that beach.  So this afternoon we decided to jump in our van to travel about 30 minutes to another local beach to walk around since one of my friends told me that there were clams, crabs, and sea stars along the shore.  The wind was still going a little strong and the sand was blowing, stinging our legs, but it was a great trip and we found lovely treasures that excited my children.  Here are some gifts that Irene left behind for us to find:
 Sea star on a shell

 Lots of sea stars that my children put in a clam shell!

Shrimp on right and sea star in a shell in front

My son is holding a small crab.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Hurricane Irene is a threat for our coastal community. I have lived through hurricanes and I remember as a child, my family huddled in our hallway, during one hurricane (oops, I can't remember the name of it).  Our windows were boarded up with plywood, our home was dark due to either the power being out or experiencing the storm in the middle of the night.  We had our flashlights and we were listening to news reports on our radio.  Outside our home the wind howled and we could hear branches cracking and snapping.  When the storm passed there was alot of debris scattered and I remember one time our neighbor had a tree fall on their roof.  But, overall the hurricanes I have experienced have not caused significant damage and friends and family have been safe through them all.

However, hurricanes are nothing to play around with.  A friend of mine told me yesterday that lifeguards have been pulling people out of the ocean left and right because even knee deep water can suck you out with Irene churning the ocean waters.  Yes, the ocean is fascinating to WATCH preceding a big storm, but it's amazing how people don't think and risk their lives for a (sometimes fatal) thrill! As the newscasters warn, expect the worst (by making preparations) and hope for the best.  Our family is preparing and praying for friends and family who are also in Irene's path.  Please join me in prayer with this prayer I found on a friend's Facebook page.  Thank you and may God protect us all during this uncertain time!


Lord and Holy Protector,like the disciples who were caught in their tiny boat in the midst of a mighty storm, we come to beg Your Help.

We are fearful as we are surrounded by danger.

We feel helpless and small before the great power of this storm which is beyond our control.

While everything seems dark and dangerous, we place our trust in You, our Lord and God.

Sheltered here in our home, we are also shielded by Your Love against all that might harm us.

We know that You hear all prayers; so we now, filled with confidence, lift up our petitions to You, our God.

 (silent prayer)

Lord, we fear for our home, for our lives and for all we hold dear.

Your Sacred Blessing is upon this home and upon each of us as well.

We are secure in the power of that blessing.

May the saving power of the Cross of Your Son, Jesus, encircle us and our home.

May all evil, all harm and injury, be repelled by that Sacred Sign of the Cross.

May the light of this candle be for us a holy sign of Your Divine Presence that fills our home in the midst of this danger.

Lord and Creator of Storms and of Rainbows, be with us in this time of danger.

Amen +

Prayer Credit:  Miracle of the Rosary Mission

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: My Early Birthday Celebration!

It's very early Wednesday morning (like 1 AM early) and I'm going to pay dearly for staying up so late. :(  But, since it's my birthday, maybe my cupcakes will let me take a nap today! :)  

I wanted to post some pictures of our dinner that we had as a family to celebrate my birthday a little early.  Wednesday night, my birthday, our family will be busy with soccer practices so we went out to eat a day early.  My kids loved watching the fire and all the cooking going on in front of us at this Japanese Hibachi Steak restaurant.  They were quite entertained!  It was delicious and so fun to be with my family as I turn 25 (again) :) 

Join August's No Ordinary Blog Hop (NOBH) by clicking on button below!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Great Article Worth Sharing!

Abby Johnson, the author of unPLANNED,  wrote an excellent article that is worth sharing.  I support breast cancer research, but I will not support a breast cancer research organization that supports Planned Parenthood.  You can read Abby's article by clicking on the title:

Pink Ribbons Not Cute When Komen Backs Planned Parenthood

Join August's No Ordinary Blog Hop (NOBH) by clicking on button below!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My Project for the Next Few Days...

I used to take digital pictures and print ALL of them.  Then because I printed hundreds of pictures at a time, the pictures would then be all shuffled out of order for some reason when I got them back from the store.  Then it would take me literally hours to put my pictures back in chronological order, then slide the pictures into photo album sleeves, and document the dates and events in the albums.  Well, I don't have time to spend hours and hours on sorting and then filing pictures in albums! (Especially since I now document pictures on my blog here)

Below is a picture of part of the 44 photo albums that I have sorted and labeled since my oldest was born 11 years ago.  

My children flip through our albums almost everyday and they love looking at how much they have grown and changed through the years.  So I hate that all our pictures are now stored on our computer only and not in albums.   Because I want to preserve photos, but I don't want to spend the time and money on printing out photos, I have been making a few digital photo books.  In this way, I can download my digital prints into the albums and a hard copy is sent to me from the company.  Yes, it takes time to make the albums, but not as long as sorting and filing pictures in traditional albums.  Yes, digital books can be expensive especially with shipping costs so that is why I wait for a great sale on digital books to make a few.

My friend, Delly, at Delly's Deals, just blogged about how Shutterfly has an offer until this Wed., 8/24/11 where you can get a 8X8 photo book for FREE, you pay shipping costs, but still a great deal!  This is a value up to $29.99!

So my project for the next few days will be to make one of these books and take advantage of the great offer.  Go to Shutterfly's website, create an 8x8 hardcover book, and when you pay enter the promo code: RXV4-CV37-9YZR-YUN31Z

This summer, Snapfish, had an offer where you could buy one $29.99 album and get 2 free!  I quickly made 3 albums for this great price.  So I think for now on, when I hear about digital photo album sales, I'm going to quickly make one to get the great prices.  Now, I'm off to download some pictures for my 8X8 photo album offer...

Join August's No Ordinary Blog Hop (NOBH) by clicking on button below!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Featuring My 300th Follower !


Ever since I featured my 100th follower, I decided to feature every 50th follower from now on because every blogger has a story and a life to share and I love letting others share their world with me and others!  You can read about my 150th follower,  my 200th follower and my 250th follower and now it's time to introduce my 300th follower!

Michelle at Adventures in Home Education recently became my 300th follower through the No Ordinary Blog Hop that I co-host with Lynda, Anna-Marie, Melissa, Christine, and Kara.  I asked Michelle a few questions to get to know her a little better.  Below are her answers in red.

1.  How long have you been blogging? I have been blogging for 2 years come December.

2.  What part of the world do you blog from? Hot and Sunny Arizona!

3.  How did you find my blog to become the 300th follower? I found you from the "No Ordinary Blog Hop"!

4.  How did you decide on the "theme" of your blog? Since we are homeschoolers it seem only natural to have a "schoolish" theme. :)

5.  How long have you been homeschooling? We have just started our 2nd year.

6.  Why did you decide to homeschool? Hubby and I decided to homeschool because our oldest was struggling in Math to the point where the schools were not equipped to help her. We decided to bring her home and after having success homeschooling her we have decided that we will continue and homeschool all our children!

7.  What do you like best about blogging? I started blogging as a way to journal our homeschooling adventures but it has turned into so much more! Now I blog not only to chronicle our learning but, hopefully, to help other homeschooling mamas as well!
Workbox Wednesday
8.  Do you find any challenges with maintaining a blog?  If so, what are they? My biggest challenge with maintaing my blog is remembering to post my "Workbox Wednesday" link-up each week! ;)

9.  If you had 3 wishes what would they be? Wow...this is a hard one. Let's see...1) That my children will have a strong testimony of Christ.
 2) That all three of my children will grow up happy, healthy, productive members of society. 3) That we will know where we will be living when our lease is up in December!

 10. Where is your favorite place to be with your family? At home. We love being together in the comfort of our home.

I encourage you to visit Michelle's blog, Adventures in Home Education, and see all the wonderful things she is doing with her children and world!  Thanks again Michelle for following my blog!  It's been great getting to know you a little better!  

Join August's No Ordinary Blog Hop (NOBH) by clicking on button below!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Are You a Good Enough Teacher?

I just came across a brief article from Kylie's Our Worldwide Classroom Facebook blog page and I thought it was worth sharing since it inspired me and gave me encouragement and hope.

I know I feel inadequate sometimes about teaching my children at home and I'm assuming others may feel the same way.  I hope this article, Are You a Good Enough Teacher? from Simple Homeschool (dot) net will give you encouragement too!

Join August's No Ordinary Blog Hop (NOBH) by clicking on button below!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Missing our Chickens, But A Family Is Missing More

Everything was going so well with the 5 hens a friend of ours gave us.  We let our 5 feathery friends out during the day to free range and roam our yard and our woods to find bugs, critters, claw the dirt.  Then in the evening all 5 of them would return to the coop that our friend built. We would lock them safe and sound in the coop until the next morning where the routine would start all over again.

Our kids have enjoyed collecting the eggs during the day and we have enjoyed eating these delicious eggs.  Well, this past Friday, after a short heavy rain, only 3 out of our 5 chickens returned from the woods. After some searching,  my husband found one lying dead at the edge of our woods and another one is still missing :(  So we are left with 3 now.  Who knows what might have happened during the day, maybe our neighbor's dog might have had something to do with it, but we don't know for sure.  So now my husband needs to build some type of enclosure with posts and wire around the coop to make sure we don't lose anymore.  We are sad, but we must keep it all in perspective.  They are just chickens after all. 

Below is a video of a family who is missing their little girl which definitely puts our chicken tragedy in perspective.  This is a video with a special message from an angelic little girl and it is just too good not to share.
Grab a tissue :(

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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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