Saturday, October 29, 2011

Have I Ever Mentioned that I LOVE to Decorate?

One thing I love about moving is that a new house means I have a fresh slate to decorate; and I do LOVE to decorate!

The drawback to decorating is that it can be expensive, especially if you seem to be starting from scratch. When we moved from our Ohio home and into our motor home, we had planned on being on the road for several years. Instead of paying costly storage rental, we parted with many of our furnishings and only kept the most cherished of our belongings. 

When we surprisingly settled in Huntsville a year later and faced furnishing a home with basically nothing, I turned to Freecycle and decorating with thrift store finds. I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the results.

One short year later, when we decided to move back home to Ohio, we kept very little. Sure, I kept my table and chairs, our bright green Lazy Boy couch that I snagged at a thrift store when we first moved in our house, and a few odds and ends. Even then, we were pretty much starting over. That’s okay, because as much as I loved how our little house was decorated, I was ready for a change.

I love the idea of soft fabrics, flowers and simple, worn touches sprinkled throughout our house. After careful consideration, I decided a Shabby Chic decor would be a perfect compliment to our country home. Or at least that’s what my eclectic-whatever-appeals-to-me-style resembles.

The blue curtain at the end of the room is on the way out, by the way.

To achieve the result that I had in mind, I’ve once again turned to thrift stores and this time, my husband has recommended that we visit some of the antique stores that our area offers as well. I love to window shop in the antique stores and then try to find similar furnishings at the thrift store or flea market. This allows us to copy the look that we love without placing a strain on our budget.

I found this ugly chair recently at a thrift store. I know it’s not the most appealing chair, partly because of the low price of $4.99- (especially for a piece of that is solidly constructed)- and partly because when the nice man came over to help me load it up he actually said “You aren’t really buying that *bleeping* ugly piece of *bleep*, are you?” Hmmm...maybe someone needs to tell him that his response may not be the best for business, ya know?

I have to admit that the pattern didn’t thrill me, but I loved the style and the woodwork. The idea is to cover it eventually, but at the moment, it’s kind of grown on me. Go figure.

The ottoman doubles as extra seating and cost a mere $2.99- again, my thought had been to cover it, but since I’m decorating with a lot of shades of red at the moment, I’ve decided I’ll keep it a bit longer as well.

This antique chest is our real bargain. My husband and I have been scouring antique stores since July but haven’t found one for much less than $150. We found this at a flea market for only $35- marked down from $45! Don’t you just LOVE sales?

It now holds the cherished afghans that my great grandmother and grandmother made for me years ago. It’s also a great way to show off my husbands’ adorable handmade teddy bear.

I found this bookshelf last week for only $20.12! Did I mention that thrift stores have an odd way of pricing things? What's up with 90 cents, $1.91, or $20.12 anyway?

The shelf serves two purposes- 1) it displays our books and other knick knacks and 2) it allows me to give some height to the room by displaying one of my large, oversize wall hangings and some picture frames. We aren’t permitted to nail into the walls so this is a perfect solution to my dilemma.

My room wouldn’t be complete without an area rug- I snagged this thick, shaggy one for $20 bucks. Isn’t it great?

Finally, the item that we really splurged on, what I’m using as a sofa table- this little table with the black chairs was spotted by my husband and I in the corner of a little flea market. It may have cost $60 for the set, but we thought it was a pretty great deal.

I’ve dressed the table up a bit with some fake flowers and some more of our much loved pictures.

We had thought about painting the chairs, but decided that the black was a nice contrast with the rest of the room.

I didn’t even mention my slipcovers! As of right now, I have four! They are the best invention for fickle home decorators like myself. Oh well, I’ll save that for another post.

Do you want to shop at thrift stores but aren’t sure where to start? Make sure you check out my post, 10 Tips for Making the Most of your Thrift Store Shopping Experience.

Do you love to decorate? What is your favorite source for finding inexpensive, home furnishings and accessories?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Physics and Astronomy Open House at Ohio University in Athens

Ohio University is offering a free Physics and Astronomy Open House on Saturday, November 5th from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The varied activities and talks are geared towards a range of ages so you should find something that anyone from school age and up will enjoy, making this a great outing for the entire family.

This is a huge event and times/activities may vary depending upon equipment, people and weather. Here is a tentative schedule:

Physics Shows

All physics shows are 20-25 minutes in length unless otherwise listed.

  • Fun with Liquid Nitrogen - Clippinger 119 10:00,11:00,12:00,1:00,2:00,3:00
  • What NOT to Do with Your Microwave - Clipping 135 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30
  • Levitation: Beating Back Gravity - Clippinger 133 10:00, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 4:00
  • Sharks with Lasers on Their Heads - Clippinger 205 11:30, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00
  • Twist 'n Spin in the Nanoworld - Clippinger 131 11:00, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30
  • Power of Air - Third Floor Lobby Clippinger 10:30, 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, 2:30, 3:30, 4:00 (Ping pong ball cannon and pencil through plywood demonstrations)
  • Tachyon Beams and Other Bad Astronomy - Clippinger 115 10:30, 12:00, 1:30, 3:00
  • Snowflakes: No Two Alike?11:30 and 2:00 - Create your own snowflake
  • The Physics of Musical Instruments

Single 40 minute talk with lots of demos begin at 1:30

Hallway Activities and Displays

The Hallway Activities are scattered throughout the lobby area on the three floors and are available the full day.

  • The Sky is NOT the Limit ... with a Telescope
  • How to choose a telescope.
  • Hovercraft
  • Physics Arcade
  • Physics Projectile Challenge
  • Physics Construction Challenge
  • Bowling Ball Slalom
  • Angular Momentum Demos
  • Water Rockets (Weather Permitting)
  • Solar Viewing (Weather Permitting)
  • Physics and Toys Corner
  • Cosmic Ray Booth
  • Sweet Matter - Nanotube construction activity
  • Enlightening Pencils
  • Physics Art Table
  • Future Scientist Prize

You can also earn small prizes by attending shows and participating in activities.

Lab Tours

Some labs will be open for tours, make sure you stop by the Welcome Table to pick up your free ticket, reserving your place if it is required.  

  • Edwards Accelerator Lab 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 - Ticket required. Leave from first floor lobby.
  • Single Atom Manipulation Lab – Nanoart 10:45, 11:15, 11:45, 12:15, 12:45, 3:15, 3:45 - Ticket required. Leave from first floor lobby.
  • Up, Up and NOT Away: Tour of Helium Liquefier Facility 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00 - Ticket required.
  • Laser "Tweezers" Lab - Clippinger 352 11:30-12:30, 2:00-3:00 (tentative)
  • Scanning Electron Microscope - Clippinger 353 11:00-12:30, 1:30-3:00


  • The Dark Side of the Universe - Clippinger 259 11:00, 1:00
  • Stalking the Moon's Shadow - Clippinger 259 12, 2:30
  • Relative Reality - Clippinger 259 1:30, 3:00 - 35 minute video exploring a drive through a town at nearly the speed of light.


The easiest way to reach Clippinger Labs is to follow US-50/S.R. 33 to the 682 exit. At the roundabout at Richland Avenue, veer right. Cross the Hocking River and turn right onto South Green. The stadium will be on your right. Continue past Oxbow Trail and turn left onto University Terrace. As you swing around to the left, Clippinger is the large building on your left. You can park in any of the lots in the area.


Parking is free and available in Dark Green and Purple color designated lots including lot numbers 81,82, 83, 84, 86, 88 next to Clippinger Laboratories. Additional parking is available in Dark Green and Purple lots 132, 133, 134 next to Peden football stadium and Margaret Walter Hall. A parking pass is not needed in any of these Dark Green and Purple lots.  Clippinger is building 81 and is located at H-6.

More Information

Contact Prof. Mark Lucas ( (740)597-2984 for more information. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Take a Virtual Tour of Plimoth Plantation and Learn about the First Thanksgiving

It has been a dream of mine to visit Plimoth Plantation, especially for the Thanksgiving Dinner. I thought I had my husband talked into it one year, but as cool as it sounded, visiting Plimoth Plantation meant that we wouldn’t be visiting our families.

This year, that is going to change. Why? Now we can have the best of both worlds- visit with our families and take a field trip to Plimoth Plantation. Maybe not on Thanksgiving Day, but this November we’ll take a virtual field trip back in time to 1620 to visit the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians courtesy of Scholastic via three separate webcasts.

The best part is that you can go, too! 

Just head to Scholastic to sign up for the free virtual field trip to the First Thanksgiving. Here’s a peek at the schedule:

Nov. 2nd tour the Plimoth Fort and Plimoth homes.

Nov. 9th- Visit the Wampanoag home sites

Nov. 16th- Thanksgiving Video webcast replay

All webcasts begin at 1 p.m. EST.

Additional free teacher resources are conveniently offered for all ages to help you prepare for your trip.

Now, who’s traveling with us?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

November Homeschool Days at Burton 4-H Center on Tybee Island

Burton 4-H Center in Tybee Island is offering two more special homeschool sessions in November. These overnight, environmental education programs are not only very educational, they are also FUN!

There are two different sessions offered; November 16-18 or November 20-22.

Classes are designed for students aged 5 to 17. Students will be grouped with children of similar ages for the classes or if you have a group of 10 or more, you can reserve your own private session.

The cost for adults and students over the age of six is $90 per person and includes on site lodging, classes, and meals. All children between the ages of 3 to 5 are half price, while 2 and under are free.

If you opt to stay off-site but eat your meals at the complex, the cost is $68 per person,  or if you prefer to find your own accommodations and meals you are welcome to attend the classes only for $48 per person.


Day 1

2:00 p.m. and later Check in (option to check in a day early)

3:30   Optional dolphin tour

6:00   Orientation

6:30   Group games led by Burton staff

7:30   Campfire

Day 2

8:00 a.m.   Breakfast

9:00 – 10:30  Orienteering                  

11:30     Lunch

12:30 – 2:00    Marsh Ecology

2:45 – 4:30       Beach Ecology

5:30                     Dinner

7:00- 8:00        Squid Dissection

Day 3

8:00 a.m.           Breakfast

9:00 – 11:00    Crabs & Critters

11:30                   Lunch

12:30-2:30       Choosies class on the beach

You can view a description of the classes at the Burton 4-H Center website.

You can find more information or download a registration form here or call David Weber for more information at 912-786-5534.

Freezing in Ohio, Already?

Freezing in the 50 degree weather.

Yep Dorothy, we ain’t in ‘Bama anymore.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a LOOOOOOOONG, COOOOOOOLD winter.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Moving Forward

I can’t believe that it’s been over three months since we last had internet in our home! Wonder why it’s taken so long? Take a peek at our driveway.

Apparently it is quite a costly ordeal to service houses such as ours. I finally got tired of waiting for the local internet company that I had contacted the beginning of September and added Mi-Fi to our monthly Verizon bill. If it wasn’t for cell phones and internet, we’d be rich. ha!

I’ve fluctuated between loving the absence of  internet and thinking that I couldn’t possibly survive one more minute without it. I hadn’t realized just how much we depend on the internet for our day to day tasks. I also hadn’t realized just how time consuming my “blogging” had become. I guess you could say that I was a bit out of control.

My forced break has given me more time to spend with my crazy family (I actually had to sit beside these freaks at a football game!),

take my son to football most days of the week,

play catch outside with our fur baby, 

and actually read some books! I just finished Kiss by Ted Dekker and The Plain Truth by Jodi Piccoult, both of which I really enjoyed.  

My unexpected break has also given me time to consider where I want to go from here. As much as I love sharing where we’ve been and what we’ve been doing, I was getting to the point where blogging just wasn’t fun anymore. Writing does keep me sane though, so rather than give up and throw in the towel, I’m going to make a couple changes.

I spent a great deal of time moving my blog towards a travel site. As much as I love travel, writing exclusively about one subject just isn’t me. As hard as I try, it just isn’t my personality to focus on one subject at a time. I just naturally bounce from one subject to another. You should watch me clean my house sometime. :) 

Don’t worry, if you’re here to read about the fun, family friendly, educational outings that my family enjoys, you’ll still find those posts. I’ll also share more about our homeschooling successes (and failures), as well as my own insecurities as a wife and mom. I’ve also decided that I’ll share more about one of my obsessions hobbies; decorating with thrift store finds. Check out some of my recent finds:

 The flower arrangement and picture frames (from Kirkland's and Hobby Lobby) all cost less than $10!

Honestly,  if I could justify devoting the time to it, I’d branch thrift store decorating  off into a blog of its own. Right now my goal is not to spend more time online, even if we do have internet.  

Friday, October 14, 2011

Body of Evidence DVD: The Skeletal System, Cartilage, & Bone

 skeletal system

As a member of  Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I was thrilled to receive a free copy of the Skeletal System, Cartilage & Bone Parts 1 & 2 DVD by Body of Evidence in exchange for my honest review.

My 16 year old enjoyed Biology and the few dissections that we did so much last year that he asked specifically to learn more about the Human Body and Anatomy as part of his studies this year. For my visual/audio learner, the Body of Evidence DVD’s couldn’t fit more perfectly. 

The Body of Evidence DVD 2 - the Skeletal System is actually a recorded as an informal presentation given by Dr. David Menton. It is broken down into two parts, each are very manageable at just under 40 minutes in length. 

The majorityof the program shows Dr. Menton speaking at a table with two students as he refers to his computer screen or classroom skeleton. The material is presented in easy to understand language and a laid back style that includes fascinating facts about the human body that I never knew.  Take the ear bones for instance;  

  • did you know what they are the smallest bones in the body?
  • they are also the only bones in the body that do not grow.
  • and, they happen to be the only bones in the body that are solid, all other bones are hollow.

Some of the topics covered include the different types of cartilage, different cells that are found in the cartilage, the different functions of the bones, a comparison of cartilage and bone, the types of cells found in the bones and the two different components of bones. 

I encouraged my children to take notes as they watched the DVD and at the end we discussed what they had learned.

I knew my 16 year old would enjoy the lectures but surprisingly, so did my 15 year old that bores very easily. This is what she had to say when I asked her what she thought ….

“I’m not at all interested in anatomy and the skeletal system so at first I didn’t really pay too much attention because I expected it to be really boring. When I began to listen, I was surprised to find out that the DVD was actually interesting. I really learned a lot and I’m looking forward to watching some of the other DVD’s in the series.”

If you’re looking for DVD’s to supplement your anatomy study or simply want to offer your children an overview without a full blown course, the Body of Evidence DVD Curriculum - Set of 8 DVDS are a great way to do just that! The Skeletal System, Cartiliage & Bone Parts 1 & 2 retails for $14.99 or you can purchase the entire 8 volume set for a reduced rate of $99.95.

If you’d like to read reviews written by other homeschooling parents you’ll find them here.

I’ve been purchasing homeschool supplies and homeschool curriculum from Timberdoodle since we began homeschooling 13 years ago. They are my FAVORITE homeschool company so I’m honored to be able to do an occasional review for them!

I wholeheartedly encourage you to stop by the Timberdoodle website to take a look at all the wonderful products they offer. While you’re there, don’t forget to request a free homeschool catalog

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fun and Frugal Fall Field Trips


Ever since I was a little girl, fall has been my favorite time of year. I love the transformation of the Midwest landscape as the beautiful fall foliage appears, raking and playing in the leaves with my kids, the smell of fresh cut hay and warm bonfires, the aroma of pumpkin bread and the taste of caramel apples. Yes, there is much to love as autumn dances into full swing.  As a homeschool mom, I also love all of the wonderful opportunities that come along with fall in the form of fun field trips.

You can read the rest of my post today at The Homeschool Village where I share 10 Ideas for Fun Fall Outings.  I hope you stop by and don’t forget to leave a comment with your favorite fall outing! 

Monday, October 10, 2011


It happened.

I turned the big 4-0.

Amazing, huh?

When I was in fifth grade and my teacher mentioned that she had turned 40, I just knew I was never going to live to be THAT old. EVER.

Nope, I probably wouldn’t make it much past the ripe old age of 25. And yet here I am. 40.

And you know what? 40 doesn’t seem nearly as old as it did when I was 10.

Isn’t that funny?

Hope you’re all having a very blessed week….:)

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