homeschool, organization, organizing, writing

How to Prettify Plain, Cardboard Magazine Holders

I’m cheap. (Really, Mum, even though I know you don’t believe it!) So when I needed magazine holders, I went to Ikea and bought the 5-pack of cheap, flat (to assemble), white, cardboard file holders. Sorry I can’t remember how much they cost, but 5 were way cheaper than 1 of the expensive, brand-name ones at an office supply store. 
But plain, white cardboard is so boring. So, I took some contact paper, cut it a few inches wider than the  width of the holder, and voila: a prettified magazine holder! Then I printed labels for the contents onto my pretty Martha Stewart labels so I can tell at a glance what’s in each holder.
Above, you can see what several of them look like next to each other on my bookshelf. Below you can see how I wrapped the contact paper around the edges of the back so as to prevent it from peeling off.
I saved money and completed a DIY project. What could be better?


My Daughter, the Writer

I am proud to announce that my daughter, Mercia Dragonslayer (no, that’s not what her birth certificate says!), is a guest blogger over at Write It Sideways! Please check out her wonderful tips for NaNoWriMo, 5 Ways to Avoid One-Month Insanity. I’m so proud of her!! Check out her blog, Slaying Dragons, for all sorts of fun and crazy writing and drawing ideas.


What I Did Yesterday Instead of Writing Blog Posts

I rearranged the furniture–again! A few months ago, I had moved my office stuff into the guest room so that I could close the door on the TV, warring radio stations, and door slammings. Well, I realized that just was not going to work too well for school (which starts today), so now Emily has a school desk in my office/guest room. Don’t worry, Mum and Dad, there’s still plenty of room for when you come to visit us!


The Graduate

Two weeks ago, my oldest daughter graduated from our homeschool. Yay!! I shared a little bit about persevering through all the hard times. Now, I’d like to share a little bit about my special girl through the years. I’m joining up with the Heart of the Matter Online homeschool high school graduate celebration blog hop today, so be sure to congratulate all of our graduates (and their moms!). Congratulations to Meghan, who graduated at age 16!

We had a private graduation with just her, mostly because none of her close friends were graduating this year (especially since she jammed 2 years into 1 this year). Over 40 friends—and a few family members—came out to help us celebrate. The ceremony itself lasted just about half an hour and was rather nontraditional. My father, a pastor, was the MC and also gave a short charge to her, as did her own father. No Pomp and Circumstance. No 2-hour PowerPoint of 20 kids we barely knew. But, Meghan did read her favorite Scripture passage and we listened to one of her favorite Christian songs. Her sister read our original homeschool vision/goals that I composed in 1999, and I awarded her a lovely diploma, obtained from and printed by HSLDA (also the source of the cap and gown). Since I taught her everything she knows from reading to bike riding, from basic math to driving, I figured it was my right and my pleasure to do the actual presentation. After that, we partied!

Future plans include attending a local community college for the next year (or 2?), then moving onto Columbia International University, where she will study communications. She feels as if God has called her to the mission field, but doesn’t have any more specifics than that. She’ll also be getting a real, paying, part-time job when she returns from working at summer camp.



Moms & Grandmas

I pray each of you had a very blessed Mother’s Day yesterday. Well, on my nifty writing/blog planner, I had written “Ode to Moms” for today. But, I couldn’t find the time to write it ahead of time (it’s now Sunday night). So instead, y’all can catch a glimpse of my real-life mom (you don’t mind, right Mum?) and my grandmothers. After all, I wouldn’t be here today without their influences. Enjoy!

 Annie Cecelia Jarre Cramer (great-great grandmother)
 John Hillard & Pearl Constance Cramer La Shell (great-grandparents)
 Jack Hillard & Anne Elizabeth Crook La Shell (grandparents)
 James Matthew & Margaret Elvira Lamb Crook (great-grandparents)
 Aunt Janet Elizabeth, Grandmother Janet Elizabeth & Mother Heather Margaret McGee
Incidentally, today (May 9, 2011) would have been my grandmother’s 98th birthday if she were still living.
my parents on their wedding day, John Kenneth & Heather Margaret McGee La Shell
my dad’s parents on the left, Jack & Anne La Shell
my mom’s parents on the right, Janet & Jim McGee


You Might be an Obsessive Organizer If . . .

1. You thought of the post-it flag pen first.
2. Your calendar consults you.

3. You label your labels.

4. Your closet is so clean, the skeletons have disappeared.

5. You hold the world record for never losing a sock’s mate in the dryer.

6. You make lists of your lists.

7. You wander into office supply stores to window shop.

Of course, if you’re totally unorganized, here is your list of ideals to which you need to aspire.

Number six is my glaringly obvious hint that I’m a little obsessive about organization. What’s your biggest clue that you’re totally organized?

This is a repost; I admit it! But, it’s from almost 2 years ago & I have so many new readers that I wanted to share it with you :-). Plus, this is what the very organized homeschool mom does when she’s also writing a research paper for her grad school class. This list was snagged from a recent (2009) First for Women magazine. 


DIY Designer Bulletin Board

Y’all have already seen my fabulous new desk, bookshelf, and accessories, right? If not, be sure to take a look. Well, I had this old, boring bulletin board hanging around, and I decided I wanted to snazz it up some to match the rest of my (non) office (aka the school room).

I stapled quilt batting to the cork board, bought some really cool black & white fabric (about 1/2 a yard, with a smidgen left over – be sure to measure how much you need first!). Then I cut the fabric to the size of the frame (about 1/2 inch bigger on all sides than the actual cork). Then I folded under each edge and hot glued it to the inside edge of the frame. No sewing required!

Here’s before: 


Here’s the process: 
Here’s after:
Here it is with my stuff on it. I think I need non-pink sticky notes & 3×5 cards. 

Q4U: Ever done anything like this before? Inspired to try something new? Let me know!



Y’all know how much I love lists, but there is one thing for which I don’t need a list: our Christmas morning traditions. It’s been pretty much the same since I was a kid. My own kids have taken over waking up their parents way too early.

Christmas stockings are placed by the side of the beds before Santa (aka Mom) goes to bed on Christmas Eve. When I was a kid, we were allowed to open our stockings whenever we woke up–even if it was 3 a.m.! Our kids usually wait until 7 or so and bounce on our bed with their stockings. We groggily open them together, then read/recite the Christmas story from Luke 2. The recitation usually comes from the KJV because that’s the way I memorized it years ago.

After reliving the REAL reason for the season, we troop (or race, depending on the age!) to the tree. Instead of a free for all, the dad (my hubby or my dad, if we’re together) hand out presents a few at a time. That way we can enjoy the opening process and see what each other received. That’s also a good way to stretch out the presents.

As we open our gifts, I make a list of who received what from whom so proper thank you notes can be written. We also munch on the Chex mix and other goodies that were in our stockings. That’s usually our breakfast (hey, it’s just cereal minus the milk!).

Then we laze around and I work on a nice dinner. We usually call the family members who aren’t with us and try to Skype my brother and his family, who live overseas.

Q4U: What are your favorite Christmas traditions?