This is going to be short and sweet:

I need a little break.  Over the past week or two, I've been feeling led to put blogging aside for a little while, probably a few weeks or so.  I've suddenly gone from working at DangerBear's business for 2 hours per day to 5 hours per day, and it seems my blogging time was in those three hours.

I'll also be getting used to a new routine as Chickpea starts first grade at a nearby Christian school.  My goal is to work in plenty of fun things for Chickpea and I to do in the afternoons, like crafts, baking, and going to the park.

To you ladies who have multiple children or who homeschool: You have my undying respect and admiration.  Right now I feel like I'm doing all I can just to keep my head above water.

I'll definitely be back, so I hope that if you haven't already, that you'll subscribe so you'll know when I start posting again.  I might be on Twitter from time to time as well.

I love you ladies, and I can't wait to get back to blogging! =)

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(Photo of clocks courtesy Leo Reynolds' Flickr photostream.)

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I feel like I've been in information overload lately.  There are so many great blogs and web pages and lots of wonderful people.  I'll find one great link that leads me to a dozen more.  Here are some nifty things I've found lately:
  • I've always wanted to make petit fours, and I've bookmarked Bakerella's post, with its beautiful photos and a delicious-looking recipe for cream cheese pound cake.
  • Cooking During Stolen Moments has some great recipes (check out her top 10 chicken recipes).  I also love her cooking method: Use those little moments throughout the day to prepare dinner so there's no need to panic at 5:00.
  • Looking to create good habits or quit bad ones? My Bad Habits is an interesting blog by a psychology professor all about the science behind habits.
  • Check out Alyssa Avant's webpages: Beauty by Design Online, and Life From My Laptop.  She's a Christian writer and speaker, and I've really been enjoying her blog.  I've also been following her on Twitter (@alyssaavant), and she's always gracious, even when I ask her lots of questions. =)
  • Have you seen Homeschool Freebie of the Day?  Every weekday, they offer a new homeschool-related download for free.  If you sign up for their e-mail newsletter, you'll also get a subscribers-only freebie each week.
(This picture of our garden was taken a week or two ago.)

Isn't gardening amazing?

I've never really had a garden before, but Chickpea really wanted to become a farmer.  She may have been born in Jersey, but apparently she's a country girl at heart!  So we tore up a 50 square foot patch of grass and tried to squeeze in way too many plants.  So began Chickpea's "small-scale farm."

Yesterday, we had our first harvest: four beautiful, tasty-looking jalapenos!


I'm just as excited as Chickpea.  It's been so much fun watching the plants grow and produce fruit.  There are more peppers on the way and oodles of tomatoes.  We also planted watermelon and muskmelon plants.  We kind of ignored the spacing requirements for those, but apparently they really do need ten feet of space.  Those things are taking over!

I realized last night that I should be keeping a gardening journal of some kind, both as a scrapbook and as an idea file for future years.

I'd love to hear from those of you that garden!
  • What kinds of things do you plant?
  • What tips do you have for a newbie?
  • Do you keep a gardening journal?

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(This is not my library.  I'm so sad.)

I have five different library cards:
  • Smalltownville Library
  • The Town In Which We Used to Live library
  • Cute Historic Town Library
  • Town With the Grocery Store Library
  • Big City Library
Why?  Because libraries really, really Work for Me!  Here's why:

Free Books!  This is obvious, but I think we tend to take this for granted.  Think of it: An entire building filled with books that you are welcome to take home and read, for free!  It's the perfect opportunity to try something new without worrying about the cost.  I currently have about 50 books checked out of various libraries.  Assuming the average book cost is $12, that's $600 worth of books sitting in my living room.

No Clutter!  Sure, some books are worth owning.  You'll read them over and over again, or they're reference books.  Most books, however, are read once and then placed on a shelf to collect dust.  Why not let the librarians do the dusting instead?

Any Book!  If you can't find the book you're looking for, many libraries offer an Inter-Library Loan program.  They'll find a library that has the book you want and will have it shipped to your local branch.  Some libraries do this for free, while others charge a small fee.  (My library will do it for $1 per book.)

Just Pick 'Em Up!  I love this one!  If your library has an online catalog, you may be able to reserve the books you want.  The librarian will gather your books and have them waiting behind the circulation desk.  This is such a timesaver!  No more running all over the library with a scrap of paper filled with call numbers.  It's especially awesome at my Big City library.  It's actually a network of five or six libraries, and I can use the online system to reserve books from any of those branches.  They'll deliver all the books to the central branch without charging me ILL fees.

(Oh, and two final tips: Keep all of your library books in one spot and mark the due dates on your calendar in red ink.)

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(Library photo from Radioher's Flickr photostream.)


I love the idea of homeschooling.

As a kid, I went to public school, and really hadn't heard of homeschooling.  I had some great teachers and got a good education.  Plus, my mom's a teacher, and last year she became an elementary school principal.

But I still wanted to homeschool.  Even before Chickpea was born, I dreamed of homeschooling her.  When she started showing an interest in reading, we bought Hooked on Phonics and I taught her to read.  It was so much fun for both of us!  I always assumed we'd homeschool full-time when she got old enough.

Now here we are.  She's about to enter first grade, and for the past few months, the issue has been on the front burner.  As much as I wanted to teach her at home, as much as I was looking forward to it and had my heart set on it, it doesn't seem to be God's plan for us right now.

It broke my heart.

DangerBear tried to comfort me by reminding me that I could still do homeschool-type things at home, and that in reality, EVERY parent is a homeschooling parent.  That's totally true, by the way, and besides, academics is only one part of a well-rounded Christian education.

It still broke my heart.

On thinking and praying, though, I'm able to see how God has orchestrated this.  Even though we're in a pretty rural area, there's an excellent Christian school nearby.  I've set up a meeting with the principal and the first grade teacher, and the principal is incredibly nice and enthusiastic.

We haven't made a final decision yet.  The meeting is tomorrow, so it depends on the answers to the questions we have.  If you have a moment, I'd like to ask for your prayer.  I know God has a plan for Chickpea's education, and we want to follow it!  I'd also love to hear about your experiences, whether your children attend public or private school or are homeschooled.

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Schoolhouse Photo Source: AriCee's Flickr photostream.