Archives for March 2009

Photography Tips & Tricks: Posing Babies

We’ll take the next few weeks and break down posing different age levels. This week, let’s start with babies.

Posing babies can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. When they’re an infant, find a way to safely prop them up. A great trick is to use a boppy pillow with a blanket thrown over it. Baskets are also a fantastic way to pose a newborn. I stuff a basket full of blankets and tuck the baby down in there. Some of my favorite poses are of newborn babies in baskets. Remember, don’t just get full length shots. While they’re in the basket, you can also zoom in on their little feet, hands, ears, and other body parts. Another fun option is a blanket made out of fake flowers. (Think Anne Geddes.) You can easily make your own (if you’d like me to post directions, say the word!), or you can purchase them online if you don’t want to take the time to do it yourself. Just think outside the box when it comes to posing a newborn. Because Parker was due on Halloween, I wanted to do something different and pumpkin themed for his announcements. I bought a great big pumpkin, put Parker on top of the pumpkin, and edited hubby out of the photo. It is one of my all time favorite photos that I’ve taken.

As babies get older – and more mobile! – It can become more and more difficult to keep them still. Once they’re crawling, it’s next to impossible to keep them on the backdrop for more than 2 seconds. A Bumbo chair is great for sitting them in. In the closeups, you’ll never even know the child is stuck in a chair! 🙂 Another fun option is a washtub. These are GREAT outside once the weather turns nice, or you can even do them indoors and use a “bath” theme. Hang a wash cloth over the side of the tub, put some bath products in front of the tub, and boom! Instant scene.

Once baby starts standing up well on his own, another fun shot is to take a large wooden stool, place it on the floor upside down, and put baby inside the legs. They sell these stools at Walmart for a fairly cheap price.

Confining a baby is always going to help you get better photos. A highchair, a crib, a swing. Anything you can put them in will help them hold still, and you won’t have to chase them around everywhere.

If you try some of these tips and trick, post them on your blog. Then, come back here and leave a comment. I’ll gladly stop by and check them out!

Next week we’ll talk about posing toddlers! Hope you’ll join us.

Happy Re-Birth Day, Ashley!

One year ago today, Ashley asked Jesus into her heart. We think that’s worth celebrating, so we surprised her with cupcakes and a cross necklace.

We are so proud of Ashley and the sweet young lady she is becoming. She is always kind, thoughtful, and will help anyone out who needs it.

Whenever Ashley is around someone, she has a way of cheering them up and making them smile. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of compliments we get from everyone that Ashley spends time with.

I am so blessed to have this young lady as my daughter, and I’m so thankful that she has given her life to Christ. I know that God is going to do great and mighty things through her!
I love you, Ashley. Thank you for being such a help to me and for all you do around here! Always keep Christ first in your heart. Love Him more than anyone else. Obey Him. Serve Him. Make Him your priority, and He will bless you all along life’s journey. The road won’t always be easy. You will face battles and heartbreak. But always know that He is one Friend who will never, ever leave you. One of my favorite songs says, “His grace reaches lower than your worst mistake.” He doesn’t expect you to be perfect. He just expects you to love Him and serve Him. Just keep pressing on. I am so thankful that God has put you in my life. You are such a blessing and an encouragement to me. I’m lucky to be your mom!

A Fun New Blog Design to Share!

Ann of A Latte in the Morning won the $75 Gift Certificate Giveaway on BuyByMom. She decided to use her certificate on a custom 3-column blog design.

I had so much fun designing her blog, and I am so glad she likes it!

Head over to A Latte in the Morning and check out her new look. While you’re there, be sure to enter her awesome giveaways!

Winners of the Pearl Bracelets from Cheerios

Congratulations to Natalie, yyeres, and Eli’s Lids!

I’ve sent each of you an email. Please claim your prize within 48 hours, or it will be repulled.

Thanks to all who entered!

"When I grow up…"

Jace was mad at me this afternoon because I wouldn’t let him do something that he wanted to do. He told me, “When I grow up, I’m going to do whatever I want to do!”

Zander jumped in and said, “Only if your wife says you can!”

MagnaPlay Toys (Review & Giveaway -Closed)

I am so excited to introduce a new toy company to you! MagnaPlay asked if I would be willing to let my kids try out some of their toys. I agreed, and they sent me the MagnaPlay Magnetic Activity Travel Set with the Wooden Magnetic Number Match Up Puzzle and the MagnaPlay Magnetic Coloring Travel Set.

When the MagnaKases arrived on Tuesday afternoon, I wouldn’t let the boys open them. I’m so mean. I know. But, I really wanted to put them to the test on our drive to the dentist on Thursday. However, the boys wouldn’t stop asking to play with them. They went to bed really well for me that night, so I allowed them to play with their new toys first the next morning.

First, they had to decide who was going to get which case. Jace loves blue, so he asked if he could have the bright blue MagnaKase. It had wonderful magnetic number matching shapes in it. He played with it for the longest time and was so proud of himself every time he found a match. I love that the shapes are not only fun, but Jace is also learning while he plays with them. He has a hard time with sight-words, and these shapes have already helped him learn what the number words look like.

Here’s Jace enjoying his MagnaPlay Magnetic Activity Travel Set with the Wooden Magnetic Number Match Up Puzzle:

Zander got the dark blue case filled with markers and lots of dry erase activity pages. He loved them! He easily read the directions and knew just what to do. I’m pretty sure that in the last few days, Zander has done each sheet about 10 times. He never gets bored with it, and I love that it’s helping him improve his reading skills.

Here is Zander playing with his MagnaPlay Magnetic Coloring Travel Set:


Even Lucy joined in the fun! She loved matching up Jace’s number shapes and counting all the adorable pictures on them.

When we drove to the dentist which, as you know, is 2 hours away, the boys played with their MagnaKases the entire time…. There and back! At one point, I listened as Zander would write a word on his Kase, and then ask Jace what the word was. If Jace didn’t know, Zander would help him sound it out. Then, they would both draw a picture of the word that Zander had just written. They were nice to each other! No fighting. No screaming. No “He touched me!” Nothing. Just 2 little boys playing nicely with each other…. something this mom has only dreamed of until now!

I love MagnaPlay toys! They are wonderful when we’re on the road or at home. The kids love playing with them, and I love that they are educational *and* fun. Living in the mountains, we have to drive everywhere. The grocery store is 20 minutes away, Walmart is about 45 minutes away, and the mall is almost 3 hours from us. Keeping 5 kids entertained for that long is next to impossible. However, MagnaPlay has proven that siblings can get along on a long trip, and they can have fun while learning!

If you don’t think that’s enough, I’ve got *more* benefits of the MagnaPlay toys for you:

  • The toys are safe – CPSIA Certified
  • There is no other magnetic case on the market like the MagnaKase.
  • Can be used with other magnetic toys and activities you already have at home.
  • 2 Magnetic surfaces for tons of creative play, and plenty of storage space inside the case.
  • Comes with 2 magnet strips that can secure coloring pages to the activity surface. Great for coloring with crayons, markers, or pencils at home or on the go. You can even download coloring activities and puzzles on the MagnaPlay website.
  • Easy to carry, and easy to clean up!
  • The write-n, wipe off front of the case means your child can customize his case any way he wants to over and over again!

I am going to be ordering a MagnaKase for Lucy soon, and I will also be ordering some more activities to go along with their cases.

Would you like to have a MagnaPlay toy for your kids? MagnaPlay has graciously offered a MagnaKase Magnetic Dry Erase Activity Kase to one of my lucky readers!

Here’s how to enter:
Visit MagnaPlay’s website and tell me your favorite item they offer and why.

For additional entries:
1. Follow my blog
2. Subscribe by email or in a reader.
3. Favorite us on technorati.
4. Follow me on twitter.
5. Blog about this contest. Please include links to 5VinezMonkeys and MagnaPlay.

**Please leave a comment for each entry that you complete. If you already follow my blog, subscribe, have favorited us on technorati, or follow me on twitter, leave a comment for each that you already do. Thanks!**

Really want to win?
If you do all six of the above, you can have unlimited entries. The only catch is that you can only talk about MagnaPlay and their products.

The contest will end on April 10th at 11 pm. A winner will then be picked using Random.org. Good luck!


Only in the Mountains #1

I am going to start a new meme. I don’t know how often it will be, but because we live in the mountains and have to drive hours to get anywhere, I come across some pretty strange stuff in my journeys.

For example, you know how I’m often complaining that we have to drive almost 3 hours to find a mall? Well, I was wrong. Completely wrong. Yesterday, while driving to the dentist’s office, I found a mall – just a mere 45 minutes from my house!

See for yourself…..

And all this time it was just hiding right under my nose!

Gum + Infant Hair = Sticky Mess

I handed Parker over to Ashley this afternoon so that I could run to the bathroom. I came back and found this huge clump of gunk in Parker’s hair. At first I thought it was a spider, and I totally freaked out. (I don’t like spiders.)

After I figured out it wasn’t a spider, I asked her what happened. She said that Lucy climbed up on the couch beside her and bumped her. When Lucy bumped her, the gum in her mouth fell into Parker’s hair. When she tried to get it out, it just made it worse.

I panicked, thinking that we were going to have to cut Parker’s sweet hair. Then I remembered the Peanut butter trick – only I didn’t want to expose Parker to peanut butter yet, even if it was just on his head and not in his mouth. I remembered how well canola oil had worked on his cradle cap, so I soaked the clump with canola oil, let it sit for 15 minutes, then used the brush and the sprayer on the kitchen sink to wash it out.

It slipped right out, and thank heavens you can’t even tell there was gum in there. Whew!

So, Canola oil saves the day again! I should by stock in this stuff!

Another trip to the pediatric dentist.

This time, I left the girls with a sitter and took the boys down to the dentist. After all, it’s a 2 hour trip, and I thought it would be better for Lucy if she wasn’t stuck in the waiting room of the dental office.

On the ride down, I made promises to the boys. “If you’ll be really good and let the dentist do her job, I’ll take you to the toy store and you can pick out a new toy.”

We got to the dentist’s office and the boys stuck to me like glue. We sat down, and they called their name a few moments later. Neither one freaked out, so I figured the toy promise had worked.

Boy, was I wrong.

Not two minutes later, I hear Jace screaming at the top of his lungs. They tried for about 5 minutes to calm him down, but they couldn’t even get him into the chair. The dental assistant came out to talk to me about sedation and why they thought it was the best route to go with Jace. I totally agreed.

While I was talking to Jace’s dental assistant, Zander’s assistant came out with a paper for me to sign. Zander was kicking and squirming like crazy, so they needed my permission to put him in a “papoose” and then brace his head and shoulders down. It was the only way they were going to get him to stay still and get any work done. I signed the paper and let them go ahead.

Almost an hour later, Zander came out with tears streaming down his face. He is bruised all over his shoulder and chest area because he fought and squirmed so much while in the brace. We decided that it would just be best to do sedation for him next time as well.

I almost wish we had just gone with sedation in the first place. What did all the trauma of today teach them aside from how scary the dentist can be?

I wish I could help them understand the importance of the dentist. Any tips or suggestions? I never had this problem with Ashley. She’s always been so good for the dentist. In fact, on her last trip, the dentist told her she was their best patient in their office. Now how’s that for a compliment?! I certainly didn’t hear that about my boys today. Wish I could change that!

The North Face

I have always been a fan of the North Face brand. From their warm winter jackets to their stylish summer clothes, they’ve got you covered for every season.

Every single one of their items is perfectly manufactured for those who love the outdoors. Things like waterproof trousers, waterproof jackets, insulated jackets, they are the first place I think of whenever I think of clothing for outdoor activities. I have always, for as long as I can remember, wanted a North Face down jacket. We moved south a year and a half ago, and it still gets really cold! A warm, fluffy down jacket would be the perfect thing to wear on those bitterly cold days.

But, did you know that they offer more than just clothes and jackets? I also found gloves, running and walking shoes, hydration bags, travel bags, and even a super-cute messenger bag…. among so many other items!

My husband and I love walking the trails here in the mountains. The scenery is just beautiful and we could spend all day just hiking. However, the weather gets hot, and we get thirsty quick. The hydration pack are awesome! What a great way to stay hydrated no matter what outdoor activity you choose – hiking, cycling, running, etc.

When you buy something in the North Face brand, you know you’re getting top quality items at a price that won’t break the bank. They are sure to last you for many years to come.

You can’t go wrong when you buy north face!

Food Network Challenge: Last Cake Standing

I have been a fan of Food Network for as long as I can remember. I never learned how to cook, so when I got married and had to learn, I turned to Food Network for tips all the how-tos that I was never taught.

Aside from learning how to boil water without burning the pan, I’ve also found some really fantastic, highly addictive shows. Ask my kids. If we’re not watching kid shows, odds are, our tv is probably on Food Network.

Now, they’re introducing a new show. And it involves cake. Anything that involves cake just has to be good!

FOOD NETWORK CHALLENGE’ CHAMPS BATTLE FOR TOP CAKE TITLE

Special Four-Week Stunt “Food Network Challenge: Last Cake Standing” Premieres April 5th at 8pm ET/PT

Since 2005, Food Network Challenge has captivated viewers with exciting food battles from around the country. Now in it’s first-ever elimination-style competition, Food Network Challenge: Last Cake Standing, six Challenge all-stars vie for the title of “Best Cake Artist in America.” Premiering Sunday, April 5th at 8pm ET/PT, the series throws the pastry chefs into a grueling four-round cake competition. The Challenge alumni will be thrown a number of difficult tasks, from creating one-of-a-kind wedding creations to undergoing a 24-hour cake-making marathon. Each week the judges eliminate one cake artist, and the winner takes home the biggest prize in Challenge history: $50,000! Challenge emcee Keegan Gerhard serves as host and notable pastry chef Patrick Coston and famed cake designer Kerry Vincent lead the judging panel.

Last Cake Standing super- charges our popular Food Network Challenge series to make it the toughest, longest, most extreme cake competition ever,” said Bob Tuschman, Senior Vice President, Programming and Production. “Viewers will be amazed, not just at the brilliant creations, but at the fierceness of the competition. Who knew cake decorating was an extreme sport?”

The six Challenge all-stars are: Michelle Bommarito (Ferndale, MI), Courtney Clark (Ann Arbor, MI), Mary Maher (Chicago, IL), James Rosselle (Los Angeles, CA), Elisa Strauss (New York, NY), and Bronwen Weber (Dallas, TX).

Episodes include:

Episode 1 – Premiering Sunday, April 5th at 8pm ET/PT- In the premiere of Food Network Challenge: Last Cake Standing, six enthusiastic Challenge all-stars receive their first task: illustrate one aspect of their lives through cake! The action-packed competition begins with surprise instructions to move into their kitchens and immediately start creating their signature cakes. At the elimination ceremony, a curveball shocks the competitors when they, instead of the judges, are told to eliminate the first cake artist.

Episode 2 – Premiering Sunday, April 12th at 8pm ET/PT- The five remaining competitors take a field trip to Denver’s City Hall where they embark upon an exciting, but complicated challenge: create a top-notch wedding cake in only eight hours. The competitors serve as wedding ceremony witnesses and consult with the newlyweds before completing impromptu cake sketches. The judges reveal the next elimination and the winning cake is served at the reception that very night.

Episode 3 – Premiering Sunday, April 19th at 8pm ET/PT- The competition heats up when the four remaining competitors design over-the-top cakes based on an original superhero, decked out with extreme elements like moveable parts and fireworks. Hours before the competition, they are divided into teams and required to combine their cake designs. The winning team advances to the finale, and the losing duo faces off in an intense, 30-minute “cake-off” to determine who will move on and who will go up in smoke!

Episode 4 – Premiering Sunday, April 26th at 8pm ET/PT-The final three competitors endure a 24-hour cake-making marathon – the longest competition in Challenge history! The finalists create a unique five-foot birthday cake for a set of sextuplets. Upon completion, they must transport their cakes 20 miles to the birthday party. Strategy, endurance and skills are tested and one talented cake artist is finally crowned the winner!

Doesn’t it sound exciting? I certainly can’t wait to watch how this plays out.

Tune in to Food Network starting April 5th at 8PM ET/PT to watch all the action.

Do you live in Texas?

And have you heard of DirectBuy?

Want a free pass to check out any of their Texas locations? Click here: Direct Buy San Antonio to find out how easy it is to get one! (No obligation to buy anything, and no strings attached!)

I wish that I had a DirectBuy closer to me. I would certainly take advantage and replace the 12 year old couch we have in our living room. 😉

Wordless Wednesday: Look at me!

Thank you, Jackie, for sending this photo my way. I haven’t stopped smiling since I found it! 🙂

Photography Tips and Tricks: Use your flash outdoors!

Use your flash outside? Really? Why? Don’t you need a flash when it’s dark, so that it will light the subject up a bit?

Yes, of course you need a flash then. But, using a flash outside can also make a big difference. All of the photos in this post were taken outside using a flash on a sunny day.

The sun casts shadows, right? So, if you don’t use your flash, you get those shadows all over your subject. (Ever taken a photo of your child in a hat outside? The shadow covers most of their face.) If you use your flash, those shadows will be eliminated.

Sometimes, especially when using a point-and-shoot camera, the flash is way too harsh and can cause burn spots on your photos. (Bright white spots on the subject.) To solve this problem, cut out a small piece of tissue paper or vellum paper (available in any scrapbook section) and hold it in front of the camera’s flash when you take a picture. This will diffuse the light from the flash similarly to how the clouds diffuse sunlight. If you use an SLR with an external flash, you can take the piece of vellum paper and cover the flash. Be warned, though, this will eat your batteries up! (Speaking from experience here! I used the vellum paper over my flash to shoot my first wedding, and I had to change the batteries 12 times during that wedding. I immediately ordered a light sphere after that.)

It may take some practice to getting it right, but it can be done, and you will soon notice a huge difference.
Now, you try! Go outside and try taking some photos with your flash on. Then, post them for us to see. Leave a comment here and I’ll be sure to stop by!

Photo of me was taken by my friend Jewels of Impressions Photography. (That’s her in the last picture. Isn’t she gorgeous?!)

Corneille: The Birth of Cornelius (Review)

Thanks to Music Moms, I had the opportunity to review Corneille: The Birth of Cornelius.

I put the kids to bed, popped the cd in the player, lit some candles, and settled in for a nice long bubble bath and some much-needed “me” time.

The CD was fantastic. I didn’t want my time – or the CD – to end! With elements of acoustic-driven R&B, Corneille sings about love, the heart, and his own personal life experiences. If you are a fan of John Legend, Tracy Chapman, or Marvin Gaye, you will quickly fall in love with Corneille.

I don’t often get the chance to enjoy grown-up music. Every time we get in the car, we listen to the kids’ CDs. This was a much-welcomed change of pace for me, and I savored every moment.

Originally from Rwanda, this singer/writer/producer scored a number of hits in Canada, France and even Japan. The Birth of Cornelius is Corneille’s English-language debut. His parents and other family members were killed in Rwanda during the genocide in 1994. He alone managed to escape – first to Kinshasa, and then to Germany, where he was taken in by some family friends. He is a Red Cross Canada spokesperson, and has been made a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. His story is truly amazing. To learn more about him, please visit his website at www.corneillemusic.com.

Corneille says, “Music has been the place where I could go to hide and forget about the world. I couldn’t make sense of a majority of the things that happened to me, so I used music as a shield. But over time, music has become a vehicle to channel out evertyhing that I’ve been keeping from myself for all these years. And the new album is definitely the most honest, real assessment of everything that’s happened in my life, because I’m not trying to hide as much.”

The Birth of Cornelius from Universal Motown Records is now available in stores and online. I highly recommend it if you like the sound of the original Motown music and if you just want some good music to relax to.

Dudley’s Solo (Review)

I love books. I love reading. Reading to my kids, and watching them read are two things I enjoy most in this world.

I was recently given the opportunity to review Dudley’s Solo. Written by Tiffany Alexander and Illustrated by Jeremiah Carstarphen, Dudley’s Solo is about a sweet little boy who wants nothing more than to perform in his Children’s Band’s choir concert. The only thing is, Dudley is deaf.

Even though he is deaf, it still doesn’t stop him from doing what all of his other friends do. He performs in the choir concert, and he even gets to do a solo!

This was such a sweet little book. I love the values portrayed in it. It teaches kids to embrace each other – we’re all different, but we’re all special. Dudley’s friends wanted Dudley to be a part of the concert just as much as he wanted it.

The kids all loved the book. Zander had a tough time with some of the names, (Ebenezer, Esmerelda, Dezzi, and Tito), but after reading them several times, he had no more problems.
To learn more about Dudley’s Solo, and to purchase your copy, go to www.ChildrensBand.com. It’s a cute little website, and you can also learn more about each of the characters from the book over there.

Thanks for the opportunity to review this wonderful little book. It’s been the perfect addition to our home library!

How to make your comments numbered in Blogger.

I figured it out! Wooohooo!! Doing giveaways has been time consuming because I’ve had to go through and physically count which comment was the winner. Remember this giveaway? It took me hours to count out the comments – but boy, was it a fun giveaway!!

Well, thanks to this article, I was able to make the comments numbered.

That article will walk you through, step by step, and hold your hand the entire way. They’ll tell you exactly what code to change, and you can have it done in just minutes. If you’re afraid to touch your html code and really want someone to hold your hand – or just do it for you – drop me a line. I’d be happy to help!

Totally easy peasy! I’ve seen websites that will charge to do this for you, but it’s so quick and easy to just do yourself. (And free is always good!)

Now, the only bummer is that Blogger paginates things, so if you have more than 200 comments, things could get funky. (I think it may start over at 1 once you hit 201, but I’m not sure. I’ve never had that many comments on my blog…. yet!)

Oh, and one more thing – before you start messing with your blog’s html code, make a backup! Copy and paste it somewhere or do something. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and believe me, I say this from experience.

I really hope this helps someone out. If it did – let me know. Leave a comment – maybe I can break that 200 mark and find out what happens! 🙂

I hate to do this….

and I’ve actually debated for a very long time on whether I should say anything or not. But, after reading this post on Susan’s blog, I figured it was time to say my peace.

In December, I won a contest at Mom to 3 Angels. The prize was for a custom hand-stamped necklace from Elli Noelle Designs. Now, I won’t be linking to her etsy shop or her blog because she doesn’t deserve any kind of linky love at all, but I will tell you that you can find links by going to this post on Jamie’s blog. She also has a website now, and you can find that by doing a google search.

At first, the sponsor of the contest was impossible to get a hold of. I have 35 messages in my inbox between Jamie and I regarding this giveaway. Jamie was so sweet and so apologetic. It absolutely is NOT her fault. She did her best trying to make sure I received my prize. When we finally did get a hold of her, she had one excuse after the other. (Just like you’ll find on her etsy shop and her blog.) It’s been over 2 months since I’ve even heard from her, and over 3 months since I won the contest. On her blog she says, “I have many emails asking about my jewelry and what my plans are. Well a month ago i was getting ready to open my website however i have been on hold and i have not even checked that email box. So if your waiting on a response i’m sorry there has been a lot going on my life.” Are you kidding me? I have 5 kids, and while I’m not perfect, I do my best to get to my clients in a very reasonable amount of time. ALWAYS. And if something happens, I contact them immediately, and give them a target deadline date (that is well within reason). Oh, and if you do find her website, it’s open! She has items for sale on there, and not one word about “a lot going on” in her life. It all seems a little fishy, doesn’t it?

I think that people need to be aware of this person and to be careful if she contacts them about doing a giveaway – or if they happen by her website.

Do I need the prize? Certainly Not! I actually offer hand-stamped jewelry on my designs website, and if my designer there didn’t have what I wanted, I would go to Kristen’s Custom Creations. Kristen does an amazing job, and she’s fast and super pleasant to work with. She just had a cute piece in her shop that I thought would make the perfect gift for Ashley. So much for that!

My point to this post? Don’t offer up a prize if you don’t intend to follow through. And don’t go shopping at Elli Noelle Designs.

Issues with Homeschooling.

I am having some issues with homeschooling one of my kids, and I would love some advice from other Homeschooling Mamas out there.

This is our first year homeschooling. I currently teach Ashley (11, and in 6th grade) and Zander (5, and in Kindergarten). I absolutely love teaching them and can’t imagine sending them back to public school – ever.

I have no problems teaching Zander. He is doing so well in everything. He is reading and spelling on a second grade level now. I am *so* proud of him and how hard he works every single day.

My issue is with Ashley. I got back a batch of her grades on Friday, and I wanted to cry.

We use Christian Liberty’s homeschool program called CLASS. It is awesome. My brother actually attended Christian Liberty for several years, and I had a boyfriend that went there – a long, long time ago. Their CLASS system is fantastic. I teach the kids, give them tests, send the tests to Christian Liberty, they grade the tests, and they email me the results. I absolutely love it.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I sent in a *huge* batch of tests. They emailed me the results and I was floored.

Ashley is doing fantastic in the subjects that I sit and teach her. A’s and high B’s in English, Math, Geometry, Spelling, and Science. Awesome! BUT, the two subjects that she reads and studies on her own, she is failing. And I don’t mean she’s failing a little bit, I mean she is getting 40’s on her tests. (The subjects are reading and history.)

Right now, our process in those two subjects is this: She reads the set pages each day and takes notes on what she’s read. At the end of the week, we discuss what she read, the important key words, and review the pages. But, apparently that’s not working. Even after doing that for months now, she’s getting 40’s and 50’s as her test scores in those subjects.

Do y’all have any suggestions? Obviously I can’t do this for her, and I don’t think I should have to hold her hand through these two subjects. She has to learn to be able to do things on her own. After all, what boss is going to want to hire someone that can’t read and comprehend what she’s just read without being told a gazillion times?

I really don’t know what to do here. Ashley is *such* a smart girl. She’s proved that with her other test scores in other subjects. So how do I get her to do well in these two areas that she’s lacking?

Man, I never saw this coming. I thought she was doing really well. Now what?

Ultimate Blog Party ’09

Ultimate Blog Party 2009
I know, I’m a day behind. I’ve been busy trying to transfer everything over to this new computer! BUT, I definitely want to join in the fun!

First, a little about me. I’m Angie, mom to 5 Vinez Monkeys…. and if you’re wondering, it’s actually pronounced “Vinnie.” But, most people get that wrong, so I answer to just about anything. (Well, usually. As long as it’s nice!)

My husband and I will celebrate our 7th anniversary this September. It’s been a crazy 7 years, but I wouldn’t change a second!

I homeschool, run a photography business, an online web, graphic, and design service business, and also run BuyByMom – a fantastic website to find wonderful businesses and support WAHMs.

I love to be busy (obviously), but nothing is more important to me than my relationship with Christ, my family, and my church.

My kids are Ashley (11), Zander (5), Jace (4), Lucy (2), and Parker (5 months). They light up my life, and are such a joy to me…. even if they can drive me batty! Here’s a picture of them:
Blogging is a passion for me. I blog from every day topics like parenting issues, life with a large family, and sometimes just rambling thoughts. I also participate in Wordless Wednesday and offer Photography Tips & Tricks on Tuesdays. I also have 2 fantastic giveaways going on right now: the first is for a pearl bracelet (retail value, $65) and the second is for a set of 3 Chicken Soup Books – geared toward kids in middle school, high school, and getting ready for college.

Also, over on Buy By Mom, I’ve got a giveaway going on with a chance to win a $75 gift certificate to Angela Vinez Designs . Click here to enter – but hurry, that contest ends on Tuesday the 24th.

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I look forward to getting to know you.

If you have no idea what the Ultimate Blog Party is, you need to read this post. There are tons of opportunities to win TONS of really cool prizes!

My favorite prizes are these – in order of preference:

All of the prizes are fantastic, and I’d be happy with anything. If I can’t use it, I’d love to pay-it-forward to my fantastic readers!

Also, I’m offering up a prize in the Ultimate Blog Party! It’s in the International category – INTL 15 – a $75 Gift Certificate to Angela Vinez Designs. Go check it out!

Now, Let’s Party!