Sunday, May 29, 2011

My Backyard Makeover Begins Here-with Novica! (Review and Giveaway)



Isn't this the most beautiful blue you've ever seen??

This will surely liven up my backyard garden.  I can't wait to add it to my patio area.  My little one can't wait, either.   My oldest son and my future son-in-law held the hammock up for him to give it a try.

 And then they held it up for their friend.

And then they all ran away with tired arms.


Just look at the beautiful detail.   It's called "Glowing Sapphire".

When a Novica representative contacted me last month I was thrilled to choose an item for review.  Novica, in association with National Geographic, has formed a connection via the Internet between a nation of artists throughout the world and those of us interested in owning such artistic works.  Now we can see, share, and sample the work of artists from Mexico, Bali, and Brazil, and many other far-reaching nations simply by browsing and purchasing from the Novica website.

I am telling you the truth....it took me DAYS to choose this sapphire hammock.  At first I was set on a piece of sterling silver jewelry.  I had my eye on this ring:

Wow.  Beautiful!  So perfect with my birthstone, peridot.

Then I moved to the Unique Gifts.  Then back to the silver jewelry.  Ahhhh....  I still couldn't decide until someone mentioned how nice it would be to have a swing on the patio.  Since we already had planned to boost our backyard living space this spring, I thought this might be just the opportunity to add a little something unexpected.

My Novica experience went smoothly from order placement to delivery.  Since I was given a code to use, I made the purchase myself without special treatment or influence.  I received perfect service.  My hammock was shipped via FedEx and came quickly with full care and installation instructions.

It also came with a card that tells about the history of my hammock and the people who made it.

I will definitely keep Novica in mind for gift-giving opportunities in the future.

What about you?  Are you convinced?  Would you like to have a "Glowing Sapphire" Mayan hammock just like mine?

No?  Well, how about a $50.00 Novica gift certificate?  Yes!

One winner will be chosen at random to win a $50.00 gift certificate to use on any purchase at Novica!  Jewelry, clothing, accessories, home decor.....  Good luck choosing....it is SO difficult to choose from all of Novica's beautiful offerings.

Mandatory entry:
To enter, visit Novica and leave a comment sharing an item you would like to have.

Extra entries:
1 entry if you follow this blog via GFC.
1 entry if you visit NOVICA Live and request information to become a Novica Consultant. Did I mention they are looking for consultants for Novica Live?  Seriously, you should check this out!
1 entry daily if you tweet about this giveaway.

Participants must be at least 18 years old.
U.S. residents only.

This giveaway starts... right now and ends at 11:59pm June 4, 2011.  Winner will be chosen and announced here on June 5, 2011.

Good luck!

*I was offered a $50 gift certificate to spend on the Novica website in exchange for this post and product review.  Opinions are honest and uninfluenced by this compensation.  An additional $50 gift certificate was provided for this giveaway.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday--Color Blur....


This is Lily. 

I think she's beautiful.  A beautiful blur of color.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ahhhh.....Summer Break.....

It goes something like this......


6:00 am

I stumble through the house to wake up my two middles--they still have a couple of school days left.  The little one is already out of school for the summer and due to our late night, I'm struggling and he's snoozing.  I head to the kitchen to start breakfast and gather daily vitamins and meds.

Round two of waking up the middles.  Trying to yell quietly so the little one can keep sleeping.  (Lord, let him sleep until the others are gone!)  

Try again with breakfast and meds in hand.  Curse myself for staying up so late and vow to stretch out with the little one once the big boys are gone.  I turn on the tv to help get them up and going.  I turn on my tv to see the morning news.

Make lunches, comb hair, help with tying shoes...Chop chop!  Let's go!  Shh......   Someone's still sleeping.

Push half-grown boys into separate bathrooms and beg, boss, and threaten them to brush teeth and get.a.move-on.  Now.

Grumble out the door about leaving 5 minutes late.  Leave sleeping little one with sleeping daddy and head out to the van.  Grrrr.....

Each boy prayed for and delivered to school and now I'm back home.  Ahhhhh....   I sit quietly on the sofa for all of 5 minutes before the little one pops up like a daisey.  Now the day truly begins.

Daily chores, dishwasher, laundry, make beds, think about dinner.....how about soup?  Throw vegetable beef soup makings into the crockpot AND cook a box of mac-n-cheese for the little one's breakfast.  (I know, but he wanted mac-n-cheese!)  Clean up the mess I just made.  Clean up the confetti the little one created (again).  Put tops back onto 54 colored markers and charge the Wii controllers. 

Watch parts of two Toy Story movies, two Shrek movies, and most of Over the Hedge.  My little one is running a fever and coughing.  Not good.  :o(  However, it doesn't keep him from dragging his toy box from his room through the family room and into the dining room.  Toys are everywhere.  And the tiny pieces of paper are back on the floor.  What the heck???

Time to get the boys from school.  Already?  I leave the little one with daddy (again) and take off.  At least I'll get to sit and listen to the radio and drink my Coke Zero for 20 minutes in the pick-up line.  Zone out for a minute.

Home with the boys.  I realize that it looks like I sat on the sofa ALL day.  Dishes, toys, paper, markers, shoes, candy wrappers.....  How can one little boy make such a huge mess???  I sit on the sofa and take it all in.

3:10-4:40 pm
Time to get busy.  I send the boys outside or to the Wii and get to work.  Trash bag, laundry bag, ant spray (hate those lil buggers!), Pledge, vacuum.  Check, check, check, check, ANNNDDD check.   Clean like a mad woman for about an hour.  Tackle the little boys' room, wrestle the big boys' door shut (yikes), tidy up the family room, dining room, and kitchen (again).  Clean and vacuum under the sofa cushions.  Worked up a sweat.  But it looks great.  Makes me wish for a new coffee table, carpet, and that I'd get off my duff and paint that art piece I've had planned for about 2 years.   Oh, well.  Baby steps.

More laundry.  More snacks and drinks for the kids. (and me.  Ahem.  I worked hard!)  Gogurts and Capri Sun for everyone!  Think about cleaning the bathrooms.  Oh, wow....just LOOK at the time....

Tune in to WREG for the evening news.  Okay...I love the news.  I get teased about it, but I want to watch the news.  Personally, I think it helps you stay on top of current events and freakish happenings alike.  All good fodder for conversation.  I fold some laundry while I watch.

Dinner?   I throw some cornbread batter together and skewer the chicken that's been marinating all day.  In 30 minutes I have garlic chicken, veggie beef soup and cornbread ready to serve.  Yummo. 

Settle down to watch House.  I turn the volume up and down to correspond with the activity and noise level in the room.  I think I caught about 20 minutes of the show.  That's okay.  That's what Hulu is for....

Time to clean the kitchen (again) and start thinking about tomorrow.  Baths, which means more laundry, nighttime meds and a little free time for everyone. 

Bed time!  Cajole, plead, and threaten until everyone is in bed for ONE MORE school night.  Just one more....   Prayers, conversation, and finally.....lights out. 

Whew!  Veg time.  Couch, laptop, tv, sweet tea.  I'm all set. 
O.M.G.  I did it again.  Seriously need to be sleeping! 

And.....here we go again.  REPEAT.  

Just a day in the life.  This crazy, happy life.  :o)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Ramblings


Well, it certainly has been a while, hasn't it?  Don't you just hate following the blogs of inconsistent bloggers??  As summer break draws near, I'm wondering if this may be more the norm for a while.  It is hard to blog and take good care of your kids all day.   At least it is for me...

I recently had some internet issues that I thought were related to the 40 days and 40 nights of rain we had.  That may be a slight exaggeration, but I don't think so. ( The rain, not the internet issues.  Those were actually caused by the router.)  I'm sure y'all believe me about the rain.  Especially if you've seen Memphis and West TN on the news lately.  The Mississippi River finally crested here at nearly 48 feet--14 feet ABOVE flood stage.  Just a small fraction of residents-I think they said 10% of the area are directly affected-are dealing with flooded homes, but for that fraction, it has to be a nightmare.

The snakes alone are enough to get my shudder going.   Ugh.....  So thankful for my house on the hill.


I found an old piano bench at a thrift store for 10 bucks.  It had been painted a putty color and had a lot of distressed areas.  I thought it was perfect!  I have been wanting a bench to sit near the front door.  Of course, I neglected to take a before photo (as I usually do), but look how awesome it turned out after I added a little barn door red paint wash  and some baskets.....

I love it!  And the storage area under the seat is just deep enough to hide the boys' school shoes, permission slips, etc.  The baskets are for each school boy to have a place for special items, watches, sunglasses, etc.


One good thing I can say about the rain....FLOWERS.  My garden is looking lovely!  The lilies are popping out and spreading out.  Just look!

My crepe myrtle is filling out (see it in the background??) and I can hardly wait for the daisies to bloom!

 Daisies are my favorite...


My little break from social media this month proved to be very eye-opening.  I learned that I waste a lot of time on the computer.  A LOT of time.  Now, I'm not saying that blogging here is a waste of time--quite the opposite.  And I do see value in Twitter, Facebook, and the various groups and message boards I frequent.  But....

Where do you draw the line?  I mean, I can literally hang out on Facebook reading and chatting and before I know it, way too much time has passed.  Wasted.  And yes, I can say wasted because a lot of that time is spent reading posts and statuses that really don't pertain to me, playing a game here and there, snooping checking into the lives of friends, old and new.....

All of that wasted time could be spent here, blogging and preserving precious memories.  Kwim??

During that small break, I got so much done!  I de-cluttered, read an actual book, played outside with my boys.....   all valuable.   So tell me....
Where do YOU draw the line?  How do YOU manage your time online?   I'm looking at some heavy duty time management and organizational changes in the coming days.   Tips appreciated.  Book suggestions and websites, too.


(I'm a MESSIE.)  *blush* 

I was once very organized and neat.  Then I married a MESSIE.  We had five MESSIE children.  They broke me. 


In case you need proof....

My little one made this mess in his room:

Actually, I took this photo AFTER I gave him a trash bag and had him clean up.   Ha!  And to think, he was SO proud of his clean-up job.

He has learned to love scissors.  He can't say scissors, so he uses the sign to ask for them.  So cute!  Obviously, I can't resist.   It's hard to turn down an opportunity to make that kid happy.


Speaking of my little one.....

This photo was taken after a big party last night where he was the guest of honor:

Look at all of that booty!  But please....PLEASE do NOT call it booty in front of him.  He simply loses all control....   Just to clarify....He thinks booties are the most hilarious thing on the planet.  He likes to point at them, pat them, laugh at them....   and it will.not.end.  No pun intended. Heh heh.

Anyway, he received all of this stuff AND got to meet Buzz Lightyear (and some other really cool people, too) and this is just a tip of the iceburg!  I'll share more when I get the photos.  It's super exciting!  His joy was so complete that I couldn't help but tear up.


After the party, that complete joy that overflowed, just kept flowing and flowing and flowing until this FINALLY happened:

At nearly 1:00 AM!!   He had to miss school because of his late night party.  Ha!  Notice the Toy Story DVD?  I think we watched it 3 times last night....

Oh, and meet Kobe, my grand-dog.  He's a huge puppy!  Isn't he adorable??

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Are you Thinking...College??? Cut Costs by Renting Textbooks!

It's that time of year again........graduation!  So many young ladies and gents are gearing up for what they've been looking forward to for the past four years.  FrEeDoM!  

(If they only knew.  And you can NOT tell them anything. lol)

The summer will fly by and off to college they will go.  They will be juggling college classes, expenses, and all of that dreamed-about freedom.  Ahem.


You parents out there are getting ready to watch your baby, your caboose, walk across that graduation stage.  What are you going to do with your new found freedom?  College for yourself, maybe?

Either way, you can save big money, REALLY BIG MONEY, by renting those much-needed textbooks. 
And it's pretty simple to do!  Just ask the folks at Campus Book Rentals.  They have a special page that explains exactly how to rent textbooks for college!  (Shipping is free!  Those darn books are h-e-a-v-y.)

I haven't used Campus Book Rentals, personally, but you can bet your boots that I will when the time comes.  And the time will be here before I can snap my fingers.  *sigh*  

Campus Book Rentals are huge supporters of Operation Smile, an organization dedicated to healing cleft lip and cleft palate issues all over the world.  Did you know that babies born with Cleft palate should be screened for congenital heart defects?  It's true!  The two conditions often go hand-in-hand.  And you all know how important CHD is to me.  

That alone makes them okay in my book. 

No pun intended.

*This post is a non-monetary compensated post/advertisement for the Campus Book Rentals website.  Opinions are my own and are based on information I found on the website and via email conversation with company representatives.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Guest Post & and Update

Hi!  This is Sheri from across the way at The Shades of Pink, hacking into Lisa's blog to tell her Happy Mother's Day, here are some flowers for you Lisa:
My creation

No, actually Lisa is having some minor internet issues and hasn't been able to get into the internet, let alone post on her blog so she texted me and asked me to pop on and let everyone know she's still alive.

Thank goodness for texting, I was actually beginning to worry, you know, given her proximity to the flooding.

(See that flood photo?  Yeah, totally mine from about three years ago and nothing compared to what she is seeing.)

Do you want to know a secret?
Come closer.
A little closer.
I have never met Lisa IRL.
Yep,  you read right.
We have one of those freaky internet relationships you read about in the news section of the paper.
For all I know she is a dude named Bob.  But that's okay because Bob...he's one cool dude.

Seriously though, we know each other from years of using the same homeschooling curriculum (Five in a Row) and chatting on the curricula message boards.  One day our chats were taken off the boards when I asked her some questions about homeschooling her artistic daughter (my daughter is also very artistic).  That quite quickly became regular emails before graduating to  texts and occasional cards, etc.

If you go to my blog you'll find a post about friendship.  A post in which I mention Lisa.  Right now Lisa is my lifeline.  In all honesty,  I asked for a life preserver and God sent me a dinghy in the form of Lisa (Double-entendre was not on purpose there, but it was a bit handy don't you think?  Dinghy...Lisa...HA)  She's been a great friend and is always there to lend a shoulder or make me smile.  

In fact, as I type this out I am texting with her, which means I should pay more attention to either this post or my cellphone.  
Sorry...cellphone just won out!  
I hope to see you ladies around and hope you all have a WONDERFUL Mother's Day.


Sunday, May 1, 2011


Back in 2006, I started a blog at Homeschool Blogger called  Life as I See It.  I was not very consistent (much like now!) and most of the posts were primarily focused on our homeschool experiences. 

Eventually, Homeschool Blogger had so many users that they had to make some changes.  They switched over to Wordpress format.  When that switch happened, many of my photos were lost.  This makes me so sad! 

When that happened, I had already switched over here to All That and a Box of Rocks as my primary blog, but continued to worry about the posts and photos left at HSB.  I wanted to import those posts into this blog, but didn't know how. 

The thought of copy and pasting each and every post was, uh....depressing. 

Especially due to my constant state of procrastination.

Well, today it finally happened!  Thanks to some longtime homeschool buddies, I learned that I could import the whole blog.  And I did!

So, sorry if your feed reader or google reader has been slammed by a bunch of backdated posts.  The good news?  If you are considering homeschooling, you can read about many of our homeschooling experiences from...ahem...2006-2009.  Still totally relevant.

Changing topics here....  Today is May 1st.  Thanks to my previously mentioned (on many occasions) problem with procrastination, I failed to blog much about Autism during April as I had planned. 

Even though I have 4 nearly completed Autism posts sitting in draft right now.

Geesh.  What is wrong with me???

I will finish and publish as I had planned, because Autism is a very important topic, even if it's no longer April.


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