Monday, November 30, 2009

Yup, I finished this one too!

I was a writing DEMON in November, my friends! I completed a 50,000 word novel, I blogged every single day (sometimes twice a day) AND I wrote every day for the Examiner with the exception of one (dang it!).

So here's to me...and my writing...and to hopefully, someday, having a laptop of my very own where I can sit in comfort any place that I want to, when I want to and actually get some REAL writing done where I will actually MAKE money!

Now I'm off to write some more!

Thank God, It's Almost Over!

Can I just say how glad I am that this month is just about over?? I mean, seriously, this has been like the WORST month ever!

Why, you ask?

Okay, first there was the sinus infection. That wasn't pleasant. Then it was the strep throat. I am having some major neck and shoulder issues from being at the computer all day long, too. It's all making me feel very, very old. Then there was the three-day-car-repair extravaganza. Did I not blog about that one? Frank's van broke down two weeks ago and we thought it was merely a broken belt which would have been a quick fix. But this is us that we are dealing with and so of course it wasn't just that. We have AAA which we could have used to get the car towed to our house but the registration wasn't up to date and so we had to take care of that BEFORE we could tow the car. Once that got resolved, it was the next day, and we find out that it is not just the belt but also the water pump. Poor Frank worked like a fiend for a total of three days because numerous obstacles kept coming up.

Now add to all of that that as of this posting, he has been out of work for a little over two weeks. The savings are all gone. I'm still unemployed, my birthday is in two days and Christmas is around the corner. How much is my birthday going to suck? A WHOLE LOT!! I don't ever want to do much to begin with, but I do appreciate not having to cook on my special day (or at least have something better than Burger King!). I haven't begun to Christmas shop because there is no money and I am just ready to be done.

Then there was losing Collette. I was sitting at church today and I just sobbed the entire time that the music played because she was on my mind and all I could think was that she was up in heaven now, hopefully watching over us, and know how much we miss her. I lost two amazing women this year and I just can't seem to wrap my heart around it and not be so sad.

And then there was the computer crashing. Oh, it's up and running and all that but it's still not quite right. I'm going to try and get some more work done on it again this week to tweak all of the programs that are still acting a little floopy and it's made my life a little more complicated.

Oh, and did I mention that I heard Nick calling his girlfriend's mom "mom"? I mean, why not just get a rusty carving knife that just cut up some raw chicken and stab me in the heart!! Honestly, I died a little bit when I heard him say it!

So be GONE November! I am so done with you!! I just want, no NEED some good news!

*Today's article is on educational programs at the park. You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Back from the mountains!

So we survived our Thanksgiving in the mountains. It got off to a rough start - mixed/crossed communications on arrival time - we arrived and no one was there. It was pitch black for the last 90 minutes of the drive which was a bit scary because that was where we were actually going UP the mountain; very narrow and winding roads. Scary!

Everyone arrived around ten p.m. and luckily we had a key to get in so we were already settled. When we woke up the next morning, I was blown away by the view. I don't think I could ever tire of looking at it! The house that we were staying at was high up on a mountain and had a small, man-made lake that Frank and Michael fished, we drove over to Chimney Rock with the intention of going to the park and climbing the mountain but they were closed. We ended up walking along their River Walk which was pretty breathtaking, too.

night the winds whipped up something fierce and in all of my life I had never heard wind howl like that. It was pretty intense and creepy, but I seemed to be the only one bothered by it. Dinner was wonderful (and healthy!) and we left Friday afternoon with the hopes of visiting with some other friends who live in the area. Unfortunately, the hostess was deathly ill and so rather than head back over to the mountain retreat, we headed home. I'm not going to lie to you, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel on the way and feasted on a lot of unhealthy foods - I had chicken fried chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy and biscuits! And a Coke!

All in all it was a nice change of pace but I really am just too
much of a food control freak (especially on the holiday's) to do something like that again. Any other time of the year would be spectacular - there was mention of how on the Fourth of July you can see more than a half dozen fireworks displays around the mountain in her back yard - now THAT I can do!

I hope that all of you had a fabulous Thanksgiving!!

*Today's article is on homeschooling the only child. You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What is the fascination with trash?

Do you ever want to get your husband or your children to pay attention to anything?

Simply throw it in the trash!

Yes, I'm serious. In my house, I can have papers on every surface of our home - you can be walking on it, eating on it, sleeping on it, heck, even eating on it and no one will think to look at it to see if it is important or for them. But once it goes in the trash? "Why is THIS in the trash?" "How did THIS get in the trash?" "Why are you throwing THIS out?"

Um...why did you not notice it sitting on the couch for the last week? I mean, it had YOUR name on it. Why could you not read that until it landed in the big heaping pile of trash in the pail?? And you know the sad thing here? I'm not making this up!

My boys share a room. It is piled high with crap. Today I asked them to please clean it up a little. I even offered a shovel. The declined. So Nick threw out a bunch of stuff that had been scattered about the room and not five minutes later Michael comes up to me and asked "Why is that envelope with Nick's name on it in the garbage?"

Sigh. It didn't even make it in to his range of vision while on the floor in his room when he stepped on it and over it a dozen times. Covered in garbage, NOW he's drawn to it. Frank does it to me too. He NEVER looks at the mail. Ever. Until it is in the trash. "Hey? What's this?" "Garbage," I answer. "Why?"


*Today's article is on A Beka Books. You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Scam or Confusion?

Okay, so we're sitting here having dinner one night and the phone rings. We have caller ID and so if we don't know the name or number, we let the answering machine get it. It was a California call and we did not recognize it so we let the machine have at it.

This woman starts talking about looking for some relatives of someone who she has some possessions of and she's been researching and researching and if we knew of this person (who is now deceased) could we please contact her so that their belongings could go to their rightful family. Well, I convinced Frank to answer the phone and talk to this woman because it was just too odd not to! So he talks to her for like ten minutes and agrees that he will speak to his parents and IF we are related we will get back to her. Long story short, we're not. End of story.

Or is it?

Today I come home to find a FedEx envelope by my front door. So I open it and in it is two DVD's plus a letter from this woman telling us that we ARE related to this deceased person and as such she is mailing us FIVE BOXES of ... get this...
SCIENTOLOGY books, CD's and transcripts! But wait, that's not all...she encourages US to start using the program ourselves!! I mean REALLY?? Now, I believe I have mentioned this before, but I am a Christian. I got to a Baptist church. I was actually raised Catholic but now go to a Baptist church where I am very, very happy.

So I call this woman (because all of her contact information is on this very businesslike letter on Scientology stationary) and I get her secretary. I'm told that this woman is not available and to call back later. Luckily I have unlimited long distance calling otherwise I'd really be ticked off at having to field this expense! I call back later and got the woman I needed to on the phone and explained to her that we are of NO relation to the deceased and do NOT want these boxes. Her response? "I had it on very good authority that you were related." A statement that she repeated THREE TIMES.

I have a feeling that these boxes are going to show up here anyway and if they do? They will go directly in to my trunk and take a very quick drive to the local Goodwill. So is there really confusion on who this guy was related to or is Scientology just looking for a way to get their stuff out there? Is Tom Cruise (who I DESPISE, btw) going to come-a-calling?

I hope not...

*Today's article is on The Woodcock-Johnson standardized test. You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Some People Just WANT to be Mad: aka: Bratty Adults

You know how it's really annoying when you're out somewhere and a child is throwing a temper tantrum somewhere near you? You know, the yelling, the whining, the crying and just how painfully annoying it is to listen to? So you tell yourself "Why doesn't someone shut that child up?" (or maybe something a little more sensitive).

We've all been there. Either it's YOUR child being a brat or someone else's but we've all dealt with this kind of a situation. Let me just say that it is like, oh, I don't know maybe seventy-freakin'-bajillion times more annoying when it is an adult acting like this. In the last month I have had to deal with more bratty adults than I have ever wanted to! Do we not spend a large portion of our time as parents telling our kids that life isn't fair and that they can't always have things their way? Why then, do we, AS THE ADULTS not get this?

The day that we were awaiting word on my stepmom (dad's second wife) who was in a nursing home, on hospice and how they believed she will not make it through the day was the worst. The people who were down there with her (dad and stepbrother) were not really focused on HER they were focused on an on-going argument between the two of them. REALLY?? For ONE day you cannot let that go and maybe GRIEVE together?? I can't really blame my brother on this one, this was his mom that he was dealing with and I knew it was going to be DEVASTATING for him when she passed. But dad? BE THE PARENT HERE!!! Be a nice man and maybe offer this man/child comfort! OOOHHH it just makes me so mad! There were phone calls being made to me and my sister with "he did this" and "he said that" and lucky for me, I'm only getting that from my brother, poor Karen was getting it from brother AND dad! Oh, and Nancy if you're reading, go ahead and hit "print" and be sure to get this to dad over a nice glass of wine for more fun for you.

Then, in the midst of all of that, WHILE they were arguing, dad throws out there to brother to NOT trust ME!!! I've left this miserable man alone since JULY. JULY!!! Not one word to him in all that time - and believe me, I tried to make peace but he is too spiteful to hear it. And you know what my big crime is that I am being crucified for? I blog. That's right, I wrote the TRUTH about things that upset ME. It's amazing I'm even allowed out in society so hateful am I. So instead of maybe hearing and listening to what my brother's issues are with HIM, this miserable human being had to throw the blame on to someone else. "Oh, date hate me, hate Stace!" There is not a hot enough place in hell for you, sir, but I can only hope the devil is preparing one.

And just one more note on that one: So you're mad now that I didn't send a mass card to you? Really? Has no one reminded you that you were NOT married to Collette anymore? You are not the grieving spouse! Or maybe you are, I mean, you are married to a crazy woman and hopefully regretting it. But I, I did not send a mass card. I don't do that. Ever. You know, I held a memorial service here and YOU did not send ME a card. So I guess I'm mad at you too. Also, you're mad that I didn't call you? Why should I when you've REFUSED my calls for the last five months? Make up your mind, man. Either you want to talk to me or you don't. But for crying out loud, stop changing the reason why you're mad because really, no one cares and I don't care to try to keep up with your crazy list.

It's not just them, there just seems to be a lot of stress and pressure lately that is bringing out the brattiness in a lot of people. We all do it so don't sit there thinking that you don't ever get bratty or anything like that. It's human nature. We get mad when we don't get our way. What I find annoying is when seemingly mature adults resort to childish behavior when they don't get their way - snubbing someone as you walk by, refusing to acknowledge them, refusing to answer your phone when someone is calling to mend a relationship...I mean, com ON!

I'm not perfect. I can be down-right bratty too. I'm being bratty right now with all my complaining but I keep it limited (for the most part) here to the blog. I would hope, however, that I don't do that on someone's DEATH BED! Please, I hope I have learned a little something in this life!

*Today's article is on Thanksgiving books for children. You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Small Crash, but We're Back...

Hello, friends! Just wanted to let you know that my computer crashed this weekend in a BIG way. It seemed to stem from my using Mozilla but I can't be 100% sure.

I am EXTREMELY blessed with some wonderful friends. The type of friends that don't mind if you call after 10 pm crying that your computer crashed and are in need of assistance. After trying unsuccessfully for several hours to fix the problem myself (and we know how uneducated I am!) I called my dear friend Cathleen because I know that her husband is a tech-genius. So there we were, late Saturday night on the phone trying to diagnose my problem. Steve talked me through some things but the bottom line was that he would need to be seeing all of these things himself. Even though they were getting ready to go out of state for Thanksgiving, he offered to come by on Sunday to help me. I baked him a cake to show my love and appreciation.

After three hours of intensive fighting with the computer, he got it up and running for me and there aren't enough words (or cake!) for me to thank him. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU, STEVE!! YOU TOTALLY ROCK!!

I just wanted to let my e-card buddies know that I am sorry that I have not been around for a couple of days dropping and commenting, I will be back to all of that tomorrow. It's just so good to even be back on-line! Yeah!!!

*Today's article is on homeschool magazines. You can read about it HERE. Thanks!*

Don't Hate Me But...

I don't like "Twilight".

There, I've said it.

I cannot even begin to tell you how all of this publicity and hooplah has annoyed the snot out of me - and has been for a long, long time. Nick read the whole series and kept trying to get me to do it. Now I'll admit that I jumped on board the Harry Potter train back in the day but stopped reading after book four (or was it five?) because it got too dark and too confusing for me and I just lost interest. I DID, however, read the last two chapters of the last book - just so that I could know how it all ended. That made Nick CRAZY!

So when all of the Twilight mania started, he asked me to read it. I declined. He asked again and again and again until it just became the principle of the thing - I said no, and I'm not going to do it. When the first movie came out, I was asked to see the movie, at least. No. Okay, then the subject of the book came up again. No. I had to stop sending flairs on Facebook because all there seemed to be were Twilight flairs! I'm not on Team Edward or Team Jacob. I don't like vampires.

You know, there was a time when that was a GOOD thing. Now if you say that, you are looked at as if you are some sort of freak. It's blasphemy! Give me a break. It's a teen story - a teen LOVE story - and I am a 40 year old woman who finds no joy in it. Sorry. I know that there are many women my age who LOVE this stuff. Good for you. Read and be well. It is JUST. NOT. MY. THING. Get over it.

So I will NOT be going to the movie. I will NOT be reading the books. There will be no TEAM gear to be found anywhere near me. Personally, I don't find the lead actor guy so unbelievably handsome or the chick to be beautiful - although in her case, it could be the Joan Jett mullett she's sporting right now for a movie. Either way, I'm not impressed with any of it. The coverage on it is almost as obnoxious as the Michael Jackson dying coverage. Were you aware tha Michael Jackson died? Five months ago?


Saturday, November 21, 2009

An Unflattering Observation...

So I've come to a point in my life where I am taking a good look at myself. Some things I am pleased with - I am married to a man that I love that loves me, my children are happy and healthy, I'm writing like I always wanted to. Then there are the things that I am not pleased with - my weight, our finances, some family relationships that are forever ruined because of a deranged woman. But all that is really nothing new.

Recently, however, something new DID occur to me: I am an idiot. No, seriously, I am an idiot. Not in the sense that I do idiotic things (at least not often and really, I don't care about that). No, I'm talking about the fact that apparently EVERYONE around me is smarter than me. Sure, I play a mean game of Scrabble and am good at word games but education wise? I am a complete loser. I graduated high school, I know, but I was a middle-of-the-road-student. I wasn't near the top of my class but I certainly wasn't at the bottom. I didn't finish college because of family issues and finances. I really didn't regret it at the time.

But now? I mean, I hang out with a lot of great people and they all have degrees and talents and skills and knowledge that is so far beyond me that it is scary!! I'm starting to not mind not having a job and just doing my piddly little freelance-writing-for-a-penny thing because clearly that is all that I am worth and why should I be out there for the world to mock??

I have found that a lot of my friends are not only college graduates but they graduated as scientists or have doctorates or PhD's! Sure, they're all stay at home mom's like me but it was their CHOICE! I'm a stay at home mom because I am too unskilled to actually get hired for anything! I have to tell you, it is NOT a good feeling.

Good thing my computer desk is in a corner because now I can wear my "Dunce" cap in the proper location.

*Today's article is on standardized testing and the Iowa test. It goes well with today's blog, don't you think? You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Okay, so do you guys know about Craigslist? It's like a local e-bay only with no bidding. Kind of. You can go to the site, click on the city closest to you and then either post stuff that you want to sell or look for stuff that you want to buy. Posting is FREE!!

We have been kind of successful with both things on Craigslist. We've sold some stuff, we've bought some stuff. Recently, Nick decided that he wanted to get rid of some stuff and so we posted it on the list. I was amazed at how fast some things moved (a BROKEN iPod for $30) while he has some XBOX 360 games sitting here unclaimed. It just seems weird to me. We've posted books, movies, games and on his first day, he made $65. Not too shabby.

Then there's me. Anything that I try to sell does not move at ALL! I mean, ever. I've got a metal, two-door cabinet FILLED with books and curriculum that I can't seem to get rid of. They're all like new. I have posted them everywhere and not one person is interested in them. There are consignment shops that might take them but having worked in one, I know that you don't get a lot of money and you certainly don't get it fast so that's not appealling to me right now. I'm looking to clear away some clutter and make some money for Christmas.

It's not going well. However, back to Craigslist. I was impressed that a majority of the people showed up when they said they would and pretty much handed us the money and left. There were a few who either never showed or showed up hours after they said they would and I'm like "Really?" I just think that's bad manners and it totally ticked me off. I mean, I TOLD these people when we would be available and they agreed to come then. There were no calls saying they weren't coming or that they were coming late. Manners, people!!! Try having good manners!!! I guess that's the downside to picking things up in person rather than shipping them out. Sure you save money but you have to deal with this sort of nonsense.

I'm off to try and find some more stuff that nobody wants.

*Today's article is so ME!! It's on Homeschool Days at Walt Disney World!!! You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oh, It's ON!

For you long-time readers of this blog (and Yes, this is a blog, NOT Facebook), you know that I stopped any family stories because of some issues that came up. I never went in to details because I was trying to make some peace but apparently, there is no making peace with some people so here it all is.

Dad's wife, Crazy Nancy, found this blog. It wasn't hard to do, I had sent her an e-mail over something and at that time, my blog address was part of my signature. Well, she went and read it and then e-mailed me about how DEVASTATED and HEART BROKEN my dad would be if he knew I wrote such things about him. She then went on to encourage me to confide in her if I ever needed to vent. Sounds nice, right? Well, what she wasn't saying was that she had gone and PRINTED OUT each and every blog that had a mention of family in it! Not the workings of a normal mind, if you know what I mean.

When we went to Florida in July for dad's birthday, which she INSISTED that I go to even though I originally declined because we really couldn't afford to (she offered to pay for our hotel, gas, food, whatever, just as long as we came), I finally met her for the first time. Well, it didn't take long to realize that this woman is in desperate need of a padded room. She heard voices, she heard things that people never said, she demanded to know why me, my sister and step-brother would say that dad would kill himself if she left him...none of which EVER happened. When she left dad in the middle of his party - class act, Nancy - we all looked at dad like "Well, you always said she was crazy, you just never said that she was clinically insane!"

During her three-day e-mail/text/phone message escapade, besides telling the whole family every sick and disgusting thing my dad had ever done in his life, how much she hated all of us and everything that we did that offended her (the woman has NO sense of humor and apparently gets offended easily) she tells dad that I write all sorts of heinous things about him on Facebook. She is OBSESSED with Facebook. Again, note to Nancy, this is a BLOG...spell it for me...B...L...O...G, not Facebook. She then proceeds to SHOW my dad all that I wrote on here, because she's got pages and pages and pages of it printed out!!!

So dad stops speaking to me (we haven't spoken since July), he takes her crazy ass back and after all she said and did - insulted him, his family, his friends, his GRANDCHILDREN (she said my born-again Christian son is a drug addict), he took her back and I am the enemy! Oh, and did I mention that during their brief separation she did everything humanly possible to get my sister's boyfriend to sleep with her? But really, hate me. Another point of interest that I think needs to be cleared up, all of my information about her and what a crazy, empty-headed bimbo she was that I got BEFORE meeting her? That all came from my dad and my sister. But because I said it and wrote it, I'm the bad one.

Now, because all that wasn't enough, she continued to cyber-stalk me and my blog. Because it's not enough that she already had dad not speaking to me, it apparently was best to keep it going. She then printed out anything and everything that I wrote about anyone in the family - particularly the boyfriend she was trying to sleep with - and sent THEM copies of the blog. She taunted my step-brother via text messaging whenever she could, and told him that I wrote terrible things about him...again, on Facebook. She told him that dad hates both me and him and that Karen is the favorite and soon our family will be obsolete because he has her. LUCKY HIM!! DING, DING, DING!!! What a prize!!

So I did my apology here on the blog, I tried to be nice and if my being in their lives was so offensive, I kept away. When Nick got accepted to college, I tried to call and dad refused to answer. I had a friend who was going down to Florida and would be in the area stop in to say hello for me (she said she was bringing him a hug) and he never acknowledged it. When my step-mother died last week, he never called to tell me.

And here we are. Why now am I letting loose? Why now, am I pouring it all out? Because that crazy bitch had the AUDACITY first, to even GO to my step-mother's funeral where she had NO RIGHT to be, but while there, STILL felt the need to tell everyone who WAS there about all that I write guessed it...Facebook. WHY am I even still an issue? I've left you all alone. I live 700 miles away. And really, is a FUNERAL a place to be spewing your craziness?

GET A LIFE, NANCY!!! Oh, and get lots and lots of ink for your printer, crazy one, because family stories, are BACK.

*Today's article is on You can read it HERE. Thanks and enjoy!*

Monday, November 16, 2009

Leg Stress

So I've been having some pretty major leg pains lately. I mean, bad enough that I have to take something for the pain. It would start on the outside of my knees and radiate out from there. At first I thought it was from the walking but since getting sick, I haven't done any power walking. So I mention this to my mom the other day on the phone and she tells me it's my desk chair causing the pain and the fact that I am sitting at my desk all day.

And you know what? She's right!

I'm now in search of a desk chair that will alleviate the pain and be affordable to me. Not a simple task, I can tell you that! I went on line (because I am already here!) and searched and then Both had chairs that would work except the Walmart one actually SAID that it helped with leg stress. So I hopped in the car and drove to both places - because they are each within 5 miles of my house - and neither store had those chairs in stock! They were both on-line purchases only. What are the odds of that?? Then, because I wasn't annoyed enough, the guy at Staples looked at me like I had 12 heads when I mentioned needing a chair that would help with my leg stress. How do you sell office furniture and not know about that?

Needless to say I am still sitting on my desk chair that came with my bedroom set when I was 13 years old (hard chair - formal, like a dining room chair) except now I have a pillow on it. The pillow has helped a little but not much.

The seach continues...

*Today's article is on homeschooling during the holidays. You can read it HERE. Thanks!! *

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Biggest Loser Update

Okay, so I can FINALLY go back to watching The Biggest Loser!! Yeah!!! I mean, I know Tracy has been gone for over a week but I didn't find it out right away. I am very sad that Abby had to leave the ranch - I was really hoping that she would win.

I've kept myself busy on Tuesday nights so I wouldn't be tempted to tune in and watch but once I heard that Tracy was gone, I felt free to go to the web-site and catch up. YEAH!!! I really did miss the show. I can only hope that maybe NBC got some complaints about how this whole situation was handled and not do that again on future seasons. And if they haven't heard anything and would like my opinion, here it is:

Dear NBC:

I really do love the show "The Biggest Loser". I find it to be very inspirational and normally a high quality show. This season's issue with Tracy should not have been allowed. It did not make for "good" television and did not fit with the expectations of this particular show. Tracy had health issues from the first ten minutes of the first episode. At that point, a spot should have been held for her for a future season but she should not have been allowed to participate this time around. It was not fair to the other contestants and really, did not fit with the premise of your show. She managed to lose weight by sitting still! How does that fit in with the diet and exercise training the other teams learn from Bob and Jillian??

For the sake of keeping with a quality show, meanness is unnecessary. This woman was heinous to watch and I know that I, personally, stopped watching (and encouraged others to do the same), until she was gone. Please don't do stunts like this again. It doesn't help.


I think that says it all, don't you?

*Today's article is a response to a comment left to me regarding how homeschool graduates do once out in the "real world". You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mixing Things Up This Year!

I am a creature of habit. One of the things that used to make me squirrelly when we lived up in New York was that on the holidays everyone expected us to be everywhere on one day. Of course that only happened after we had Nick and the fact that my parents were divorced and Frank's parents always had everyone to their house just made me CRAZY!

Once we moved away and had our first holiday on our own, I found them to be much more pleasurable. For a few years we would go to Frank's aunt's house - she lives like 90 minutes away. But after a while we decided that we preferred doing the holidays at our house. We would invite friends and it would all be very casual and laid back. No pressure to impress. Well, Thanksgiving had two pretty steady themes - either Frank's parents were here visiting, or we'd be down in Florida visiting them. There were a few years that we hung solo but for the most part, it was always with my in-laws and that was fine. I loved it.

Well this year I'm mixing it up! I'm getting daring and caving in to some pressure but I think it's going to be good. We are going to...drumroll please...
The Mountains. Yes, we are actually going AWAY to some place that isn't Disney for a few days. Can you believe it? And not just any mountains, my friends. Oh, no. We are going to the mountains to stay at the same place that Nick stayed back in September with his girlfriend's aunt. That's right. We are hanging with the future in-laws for a holiday.

I'm still feeling weird about it. My parents NEVER spent time with any of my boyfriend's families (or even with my in-laws for that matter). So I'm going to be in a strange house, eating strange food - remember, this aunt is a famous nutritionist who only cooks healthy! There probably won't be so much heavy, fat-laden stuff that we all enjoy so much. I may have to have a second Thanksgiving when we get back. But the point is that we are going to go away and do something NEW!! We've got a house-sitter and now we're ready to go. Sort of. On Thanksgiving.

Yeah for us!

*Today's article is on Scholastic Warehouse book sales and library book sales. You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bad Mommy Moment #72

I have often mentioned here on All Stace the differences between my children. Besides having a huge age gap, they are as different as night and day. Nick is dark haired, Michael has light. Nick has brown eyes, Michael has blue. Michael is very gifted athletically, Nick is not. I mean, their personalities, their temperment are just worlds apart.

One thing, though, that seems to get to me more than anything else is pictures. I take a LOT of pictures. I scrapbook and I love it. Nick, is very photogenic. I mean, even in the womb the boy cooperated with a camera. Not Michael. Nick always takes a good picture. Even when he was in to wearing all black, not shaving and having shaggy hair, he still managed to look good. Poor Michael is not comfortable having his picture taken. It is RARE to get a good picture where he is not looking like a deer in the headlights or as if someone were holding a gun to his back.

So back in September it was picture day at school. I always order the package because we have so many people to share with. I know it's more expensive than going to Wal-Mart but it saves me time. The first round of photos I did not like. I apologized to Michael and told him that we wanted them to be done over. We did that last year too so he was okay with it. Well, yesterday we got the re-takes back and I think they were worse than the first. Was the photography bad? No. Was the quality poor? No. Did my child look like someone who had fallen asleep behind a dumpster and was pulled out and photographed for ID purposes? Yes.

Shouldn't I love these pictures merely because they are of my boy? Shouldn't I look at that little raggamuffin and think of how he looks like this a LOT and embrace it? I can't and I feel HORRIBLE about it! I know that I had my fair share of horrible photos growing up and my mom still kept them. We have a long running joke about a picture she had taken of me right before I had my open heart surgery at age 4. I HATE that picture - and it's kind of morbid. But she loves it and cherishes it. Why can't I do that?

Bad mommy moment. Seriously, bad moment.

*Today's article is on special deals for homeschoolers. You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Monday, November 9, 2009


I got this one from over at Lola's Diner last week and it took me like forever to really think about it and put it down here in to a post. The question was put out there as to what we are doing in these tough times to bring happiness in to our lives. I'm over-simplifying, I know, and I apologize. To read Lola's entire post, click HERE.

Okay, so what have I been doing to bring more happiness to my life? Believe it or not, writing more. Yes, yes, I know I've complained about it all but it really does help me a lot to write. It is like therapy for me. I still wish I could go back to writing about certain topics but until some issues are resolved, I'm keeping my fingers still!

With the holidays approaching and two kids in the house, I am stressing a bit. But we have always struggled at the holiday season because it is Frank's slowest time. We never have money in December. We are fortunate that we have wonderful relatives that give generously to our children and they have never felt slighted on Christmas morning.

Next week, I am getting together with a bunch of friends to scrapbook. A wonderful friend has offered her home for us to use for the day. We are all bringing snacks to share and are just going to scrap and enjoy each others company. It cost nothing (unless we have to buy supplies beforehand) and the result is priceless.

I did start going back to church around 6 months ago. That has been the most helpful to me. It's not like I had lost faith in God or anything, but I just didn't have a church that I wanted to attend. I'm back at the church I first started going to 14 years ago and it is home. Being surrounded by such wonderful people and hearing strong sermon's every week has really kept me from having a constant pity-party.

So what about you? Where is your happiness at this time of year? Link up to Lola, too, if you want or let me know here. I'm curious to hear how we can all life one another up!

*Today's article is on the homeschool school room. You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Sunday, November 8, 2009

We said goodbye...

In the same manner as we did back in January with my grandmother, we held a small memorial in our backyard today to say goodbye to Collette. I had purchased purple and white balloons and some lillies and we went out in to the field behind our house, each said a goodbye and then released the balloons with the flowers tied to them. I always tell Michael that when a balloon flies away that it goes to someone we love in heaven. We truly hope that these reached her.

Rest in peace, Collette. May our Heavenly Father be holding you close this day. You were loved. You will be missed.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Beautiful Life Gone Too Soon

I woke up Saturday morning to the news of my stepmom passing away. Many of you may remember that she was my dad's second wife. She had a brain aneurysm eight years ago and after suffering for so long, her body just finally gave out last night.

It's not like we did not know that this day was coming. For most of us, we wished for her sake that it had come sooner. No one should have to suffer as long as this sweet, wonderful woman did. My heart aches each and every time I think of her. She was so cheery and always had a smile on her face before this hap
pened. She was an amazing grandmother to my children. Frank often tells the story of how she saved Nick's life. You see, when Nick was born, I tried breast feeding him. I was not producing enough for him and was very stressed and upset but the nurses in the hospital made me feel like a failure for wanting to quit. So I kept at it. On our second day home from the hospital, Collette came over to help me with whatever it was that I needed. Nicholas was screaming and crying, I was crying, Frank was pacing - we had no idea what to do to comfort this baby. Collette took one look at him and said "This baby is hungry!" She ran out the door, went to the store, bought a case of formula and a bunch of those Playtex bottles kits, came home, sterilized everything and after we fed him that first bottle? The boy slept for 12 hours!! She was truly a lifesaver. As first time parents, we were so afraid to do the wrong thing but Collette, being a mom, knew exactly what to do. We will be forever grateful for that one act alone.

She was always cleaning. Seriously, she worked at the deli with my d
ad for just about their whole marriage and whenever you saw her, she was cleaning something. When we went to their house, there she was, cleaning. That's why this picture of her is so perfect and makes me smile. Even dressed up (this was taken at Nick's christening) she had on a pair of rubber gloves! You could eat off of the floor when Collette was around!

I have struggled with extreme guilt about not being able to see her more since the aneurysm. I hated the fact that I couldn't be there. There was even a time when I wanted to try and get her moved here (from Florida) but I knew my dad would not agree to it. He divorced her three years ago - saying that his lawyer had advised it so that Medicare or whoever could not take anything from him in order to cover her medical expenses. So this vivacious, lovely woman became basically a ward of the state. I think it is a very sad way to end up.

I am not g
oing to pretend that she was a faultless human being. I openly admit that I did not like her when I first met her but I think that had more to do with my being a teenager and not wanting my dad to date anyone. As the years went on, she was always honest with me - if I hurt her feelings, she told me so, and I know that I did often. I didn't agree with the lifestyle she and my dad chose to live but that was my issue. The one thing that I can and always will say to describe Collette is that she was REAL. She didn't lie to any of us and she was great to my children. She did everything that she could to keep our family together (which is no easy task) unlike dad's new wife. Collette was the true grandparent in that relationship. My children both cried for her - and Michael really has no memory of her EXCEPT of her being in a nursing home - 80% paralyzed and unable to speak!

So rest now, my angel. Thank you for the love and support that you showed to my family. I am glad that you are finally free now of the demons that chased you in life and that in death you can have peace. We will never forget you and will always love you.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bad Cholesterol

So in all of my fun and frolic last week with feeling bad, it turns out that on TOP of everything else, I have bad cholesterol. Oh, not all bad. My good levels are good but the bad levels are...bad. When the doctor called me with the results she's like "You need to be on a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet". That translates to "low-taste, low-yumminess diet."

I cook with butter. I LOVE butter. I know that I can use LESS of it,'s just not as yummy. I'm a food snob in case you haven't noticed. So I started cruising the internet for a menu plan and you know what you find? "Foods to help lower your cholesterol" but no real menus. I need a menu. I do better if it is laid out for me a little bit otherwise it is all up to interpretation and that never ends well. I mean for instance - dark chocolate is good for you! Okay, but eating 12 pieces of it a day is NOT good for you. But do they tell you that? No. So with these cholesterol lowering foods, how much? In what combination? How many times a day? Why can't I eat ice cream, exactly? Or maybe, how much ice cream is okay BEFORE your cholesterol goes through the roof?

I NEED ANSWERS!!! I am so stupid when it comes to these things! So I will go and I will search. And search. And search some more. I'm already on this darn computer writing like a fiend. I might as well take hand-cramp breaks and search for a diet that is idiot-proof for me.

Wish me luck! I'm baking cakes right now and I don't give a damn about the cholesterol involved!!

*Today's article is on the Curriculum Exchange of Wake County. You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Can we reform THIS???

Okay, so because my husband is self-employed and has been forever, we don't have health insurance. Yes, yes, we are one of THOSE people. Luckily, our kids are eligible for health insurance through the state's insurance and that has been a HUGE blessing.

Unless you forget to send in your renewal paperwork.

Who KNOWS where my head was at on this one but I got the paperwork back in July and just pulled them out the other day because we got the cancellation notices in the mail. Yes, yes, poor parenting, I KNOW!! So most of the paperwork I had filled out back in July so I finished filling in the rest and drove it over to the local human services location that is like two miles away.

I walk in and hand the pile of papers to the lady at the desk and she's like "Oh... you'll have to fill these out again." So I ask "Why?" and she tells me it's because the DATE on the first paper says "JULY". Are you kidding me? I told her that all of the information was EXACTLY the same. I provided CURRENT proof of income information on my husband and everything else was EXACTLY the same. Nope. No good. Here's another stack of twenty pages for you to fill out. I mean, this woman would not BUDGE on the issue.

I walk out mumbling under my breath on the stupidity of it all and maybe THIS is the type of nonsense that should be reformed! I mean, come ON! What a waste of time and paper! Twenty pages of the same information except the DATE? OOoooo....I still get mad just thinking about it. But, being that we NEED to do this, I come home, sit down, roll up my sleeves and get to it. I'm barely in to page one when the phone rings. Human Services. Long story short, I do NOT have to re-fill out all of the paperwork. They have no problem working with what I handed in. Granted, it wasn't the desk woman calling but I sure can't wait to waltz back in there today with a few extra pieces of information that they requested and fling them at her!

Not nice, I know.

*Today's article is on Why colleges should want homeschooler's and it can be read HERE. Thank you!*

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Fun Giveaway!

I love giveaways. I just never WIN giveaways. So if I cannot win one, I will at least try and help somebody else win one!

Frugal Vicki over at Frugal Mom Knows Best (I LOVE her!) is doing a really cool giveaway right now. I'll give you a quote from her site:
"Why is it that bad habits are SO easy to acquire, but good habits are near impossible? I know there are about a bazillion things that will directly benefit me if I start drinking more water, but for some reason no matter what I do, I can't seem to drink my eight glasses. Believe it or not, I even made myself a little chart similar to my son's potty training chart. Didn't work. So, I was happy to find Habitwise. Though skeptical, I figured it couldn't hurt, right?"

I'll be honest with you, after reading the rest of Vicki's post, I was all about hearing about Habitwise. Well, it turns out, you HAVE to learn a little more about Habitwise in order to enter the giveaway! So go and check out the site at and THEN head over to Frugal Mom Knows Best and enter to win!

Good Luck!!!

*Today's article is on Homeschooling with un-supportive families. You can read it HERE. Thanks!*

Monday, November 2, 2009

National blog posting month!!!

Since I don't seem to have enough writing to do, I decided to join not only National Blog Posting Month for November but also the National Novel Writing in a Month Challenge!

Should I have my head examined? Um...yes.

*Oh, and today's article is on Homeschool Co-ops. You can read it HERE. Thanks!

A Lesson in Convenience

As I have mentioned in many posts of late, our teenage son really has no desire to be around us. Okay, fine, I'm dealing with it. He left the house Saturday morning to go to work (at 5:50 in the A.M. might I ad) and a friend was going to pick him up. From there he and the friend were going out, he was going to sleep at the friends house - since it was Halloween - and come home on Sunday. Early in the day was what I was told when I asked.

We don't make plans, in general. Unless we are specifically going to someone's house to visit or someone is coming here for dinner, the day is up for grabs. So, after sleeping in late Sunday because of a sore throat and cough, I made us lunch and tried to call the boy. No answer - his phone went directly to voice mail. Frank was in need of some new sneakers so around 3:30 we went shopping - with still no word from the teen. We went to Target - no luck with shoes. We get back in the car and drive up the road to Payless and lo and behold, my phone rings. Guess who?

"Where are you?" he asks. The weird thing here is that the phone number showing up on my phone belongs to my friend Adrianne. So I'm like "Um, where are YOU?"

"I'm at Miss A.D.'s house."
"You forgot your keys, didn't you?" I ask.
"Yea, where are you?"
"You said you were going to be home!"

Big sigh of frustration on my part because no such conversation ever took place.

Long story short, the boy now is going to meet us as the Payless because he needs a key to get in to the house. Fine, we'll be here. He comes storming in, like this is all OUR fault that HE forgot his key and so I told him that he can send his friend on his way because now he will stay and SHOP with us!

You can imagine how well that went over.

He yells, he pouts, he stomps off. Really, he's 17, not 4. After leaving the shoe store, we stop at the grocery store. Hey, I had things that I had to get and I was not going to let anyone dictate to me how fast I had to get done. This caused a fight in grocery store. The ride home from there was LOUD!

So here's my thing. Were we wrong? I mean, the boy forgot his key. He was ticked off because he had plans and by not getting in to the house, he was going to be rushed and behind schedule for HIS social life. Should we have just given him the key and sent him home? Shouldn't he be inconvenienced for being irresponsible and selfish? We reminded him of all of the ways that WE are inconvenienced by his actions and that seemed to do the trick but seriously? Way to ruin the day!