Archive - December 2007

More About My Circa Notebook
Notebook Love
Birthday Fun
Another Birthday!
The Way it Was
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Dear Rebecca,
Do Pirates Celebrate Christmas?
Kickin’ It
Homeschooling is fun

More About My Circa Notebook

So, here we are on the last day of the year and I’ve noticed a trend around the homeschooling set on the internet.

We’re looking to be more organized this year. Lots of people like Dawn, are sharing their planning and organizational tools, so we can try to find a system of our own. Yesterday, I shared my love of list-making and how I keep my lists and notes organized. I admit that I went on a bit about my new Circa notebook.

I’ve spent the last couple of days transferring any notes and lists worth saving from my 2007 notebook into my 2008 book. As I was busily writing, it occurred to me that with the versatility of using a Circa, I won’t have to start a new notebook next year. I can just remove the pages that I don’t need, add some fresh pages and I’m ready to go. Cool.

I’ve just got to admit one thing here. I hate having unused pages in my notebook at the end of the year. I feel like I wasted them. I also hate tearing pages out of my notebook. The paper it leaves behind is too messy, even if the pages are perforated. I know, I know…let it go. I’m trying. But of course, with a Circa I can add and subtract pages all day, without a mess.

So by now, you’ve either stopped reading or you’ve clicked over to Levenger to get yourself one of these Holy Grails of Organizational Madness.

Let’s go on a little tour of my 2008 and Beyond notebook.

Here it is.


It doesn’t look like much, I know. I have terrible lighting in my house and the flash didn’t help. I’m using the “junior” size, which is approximately the same size as a half sheet of paper. What you can’t really see is that the cover is translucent and I have 5 tabbed dividers. I’m planning on finding some pretty scrapbooking paper to use inside the plastic cover to make it prettier.

Here’s the first page of my first section.


It’s the current week’s page from Motivated Moms. I printed a whole page of the half page size, folded the paper in half so that one week is showing on each side, and punched it. The rest of this section will be my everyday lists and reminders, including menu plans and shopping lists.

Section 2 is my homeschool plans.


Here you see my Plan from now until the 2012-2013 school year. Remember, I’m using Sonlight, so this is just an outline of which cores and language arts programs I’m planning to use and when. Next is a list of timeline figures I’m using with my current core. Then is our Catholic homeschool group’s plans for the remainder of the school year. Other things I’ll be including in this section are art ideas, school shopping lists, and anything else school related. When it comes time to review our school year, I’ll write my notes here.

The next section is for thoughts, ideas for blog posts, funny things my children say, that kind of thing. Sometimes I use it to maintain a prayer list.

Section 3 is for projects. Right now I have a list of the try-its our Brownie troop will be working on. All Brownie related notes will go here. I also include non-school related projects here, primarily shopping lists or ideas. For example, if I need a certain kind of yarn or needles for an upcoming knitting project, I’ll write it here.

The last section is for anything else, usually something temporary. Christmas lists, packing lists for upcoming vacations or anything that doesn’t fit into any of the other sections. Here is where the Circa is really going to be helpful. Lots of times I’ll start a list, like to-do lists for a vacation, in a different section. Then the project or the planning grows and starts needing a section of it’s own. Now I can just move the pages, instead of having to flip back and forth between sections. Or the opposite will happen, I’ll start notes in the temp section, only to realize that they belonged with my homeschooling notes.

Well, there you have it. The secret to my success. Or the manifestation of my madness. Whichever. If I’ve bored you to tears, blame Matilda. W-a-y back in June, she asked me about my notebook. I bet she thought I forgot.

Notebook Love

It’s the end of the year and time for a new Notebook.

I’ve always been a Writer of Lists. It keeps me focused and theoretically organized. The problem was, my lists were never in one place. My homeschooling plans were usually folded into the current Sonlight catalog and my to-do lists were lost in a pile of stuff to do. Holiday plans were who-knows-where.

After Rebecca died, I struggled with my short term memory. I’ve since learned that is a common symptom of grief. I couldn’t remember the simplest of details. The task of planning a funeral while living in a different country overwhelmed me. I started writing everything down. And I do mean everything. Whatever I wanted to remember, I wrote down in one notebook. Later I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, focus on anything more than two weeks in the future. I kept writing things down and it helped tremendously.

steno1.jpgThe notebook I was using was a steno pad we had around the house. When I filled that one, I bought a medium size 5 subject notebook. Each section was for a different kind of notes – random things, homeschool plans, upcoming projects, our upcoming move. Now I was able to find the information I needed quickly. The dividers even had pockets to keep small papers in. At the beginning of 2007, I started a new notebook with a different color cover.

But early this Fall, I was sitting planning the Brownie year with my co-leader, one of my 7 Friends Named Jen. Jen just happens to be practically identical to me, right down to our husbands who sing. She and her husband, and me and Philip are all working our way through Star Trek Deep Space 9 from Netflix, completely unknown to each other. Which doesn’t really have anything to do with anything, but I thought I’d mention it. Which makes twice I’ve mentioned Deep Space Nine on my blog, so I’m afraid I’m starting to look like a Trekker/Trekkie/Big Geek. Which I’m not. Really.

What was I saying? Oh yes…Jen and her notebook.

Jen has a notebook, too, of course, being the Me that lives in New Housing. Except she doesn’t just have a notebook, she uses a Circa. The best was to describe a circa is that it’s the versatility of a three-ring binder with the slimness of a spiral notebook. But better. With a Circa, you can move pages around however you want. You can use any size paper. Did you write an address down on a scrap of paper? Just punch it with the special Circa punch and add it to your notebook. And with no heavy binder rings to bother with, your Circa notebook stays lightweight, slim and portable. Here, go watch the video. I’ll wait.

I’ve wanted a Circa system for years, but they are expensive to get started. But watching Jen moving her pages around her notebook sealed the deal.

When we went on our Disney Cruise, Boo and Pumpkin Girl wanted autograph books. My plan was to carefully remove the pages to include the autographs with the characters pictures in our scrapbook. Phil recommended making circa books, brilliant man. They worked wonderfully. I used scrabooking cardstock and each autograph will just pop right out of the book when I’m ready.

Ok, so I’ve gone on and on about the Circa notebook. I’ve got more to say, but I’ll save it for tomorrow. Let me just fill you in on how to get a Circa system. Right now the best place to get them is through Levenger. If you have a store near you, go in and have them make you a sample book, in your choice of sizes, for free. It’ll be small, but you’ll get the covers and rings that you’ll need to get started, plus a sampler of paper. Close your eyes and buy the punch, and you can punch whatever cheap paper you can find and be all set. Or, order online. They’ve got a $40 sampler that comes with a $40 gift card. You’ll be all set and you can use the gift card to buy that expensive punch or a really nifty leather cover.

Birthday Fun

So yesterday was Pumpkin Girl’s special day. Several years ago, Philip started taking each child out to lunch on their birthday. Somehow that morphed into the whole family going out, if the birthday child chooses, to dinner. Since Pumpkin’s birthday is so close to Christmas, Phil can easily take the whole day off to spend with her.

What did she choose to do? Go to IKEA. Love that girl! More Disney Cruises for her.

Off we drove to our local Ikea, which is about 40 minutes away. We ate lunch there, then dropped Pumpkin and Boo off at the children’s play area while we shopped. I don’t really like most of Ikea’s stuff. I’m more of a country furnishings kind of girl, but even I can manage to spend some money there.

Two bags of meatball for Bip who could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus some more of their bag clippy things (cheaper than Pampered Chef and work just as well). I also found this little magazine rack to hold books downstairs. We used to have a book bin in the living room, but I don’t know when and why it went away. This is cuter anyway.


But the best thing we bought was this ottoman with storage capabilities.


(Don’t you love how with a some careful cropping the living room mess is instantly gone? ) It’s got a washable, denim colored slip cover which has blue piping that matches the couch in the background. It also goes very well with the armchairs (bought at Ikea at last-year’s birthday lunch) in our red, white and blue living room.


But wait! There’s more! Life the lid on this ottoman and look inside:


It’s our school books! No, not all of them, of course. Just the ones currently in use. History, science and religion are in the two bottom piles, with my teacher’s guides and workbooks in the top piles. For over a year now, I’ve been using a rolling rubbermaid bin for in-use books. It was strictly functional and not one bit attractive. It often doubled as a coffee table. It got pushed to an out of the way, but still very visible location during the weekend and school breaks. It worked and when you live in cramped quarters, you do what you can.

But now, our Ottoman of Organization can stay right in front of the couch. Our school books are readily accessible when needed and out of sight when not. Bip can do somersaults from it on to the couch. Philip even put magic sliders under the legs so we can move it when we want. I love it!

We all left Ikea very happy. Boo and Pumpkin had a great time playing, I had a great time shopping. We came home and Pumpkin opened her presents (lots of pink!), then we had cheesecake.

A good day, don’t you think?

Another Birthday!

This time we wish a Happy Birthday to our sweet Pumpkin Girl! She turns 7 years old today and what a fun seven years it has been. She is our chapter book reading, dancing and singing, big brother squeezing, joke telling, big eyed girl. What a blessing she is! Happy birthday, Pumpkin! - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

The Way it Was

So Christmas Day has come and gone and now we are basking in the calm, relaxed days before the New Year.  This is one of my favorite times of year.  I enjoy the anticipation, the hustle and bustle, and the excitement of Advent.  But this week is just so restful.

Except for the sounds of Bip screaming, “No!  Boo-ah!” from upstairs.

Christmas Eve was a good one.  Mass was different this year.  A couple of months ago, the military Arch-Bishop (did you even know there is a military archdiocese?) decreed that we could no longer have a re-enactment of the Gospel during Mass.  Not even if it was after the actual Gospel reading.  Sigh.  I have some strong feelings on this issue, but this is not the time or place.  Instead, we had a small childrens choir which sang appropriate songs interspersed through the Gospel.  I’m not sure the bishop would have liked that either, but since we  no longer even have a bishop, any complainers will have to take it up with the Pope.

Anyway…there was a tense moment during “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” because during rehearsals my two children kept skipping the second verse and taking the whole choir with them.  After some intense practice at home, they were doing fine and got it right during Mass.  They both beamed at me immediately afterwards.

We came home to our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of tamales, rice and beans.  We got the children all nestled snug in their beds, but not after a last minute note for Santa.  Pumpkin Girl very nicely thanked him for coming, asked about Santa Mouse, then wrote “Sign Here” and drew a line for a signature.  I suspect next year she’ll be requiring 2 photo IDs and proof of insurance.  Of course, Santa was more than happy to sign her note.

Christmas morning dawned not too early with the sound of a herd of buffalo stampeding down the hallway.  Several minutes later, the herd returned and revealed itself to be Boo and Pumpkin who were anxious to get us up and going.

Forty-five minutes later, the presents had been opened, wrapping paper was everywhere and all was good and right in the world.

One of our biggest surprises came later in the morning when the phone rang.  I thought it was my mom, so I had Boo answer it.  He was silent for a while, then said, “it’s Goofy!”  We all crowded around two phones and listened to Goofy welcome us home from our cruise and wish us happy holidays and a festive New Year.  He hoped to see us again soon, then had to rush off because his cookies were burning.  Nothing like a little Disney magic to brighten your holiday!

And now we’re enjoying some time off from school and general responsibilities.  We may go house-hunting later today – in the most non-committal, we’re just looking kind of way.  I wonder if there are any good 50% off after-Christmas sales on houses?

We Wish You a Merry Christmas


And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2: 7-11

Dear Rebecca,

…winter is here. And so is your birthday! I remember that day, just 4 years ago. I was hoping you would arrive in time for us both to home for Christmas. I thought it would be particularly special if you arrived on the first day of winter.

And you did! How fun to have my little girls born 3 days before and 3 days after Christmas. And both of you were born at 8 pm! You, however, outweighed your sister at birth by 2 pounds!


I remember seeing that you were a girl and being so happy! We hadn’t really decided on a boy’s name. Then Daddy made the announcement that you had two deep dimples. Oh no, we were going to be in so much trouble as you grew up!
We talked the doctor into letting us come home on Christmas Eve. It was our Best Christmas Ever.

I remember Christmas Night and your brother and sister were asleep. Daddy was working on assembling more of the castle. I sat on the couch and snuggled you. You looked deep into my eyes and I fell in love.

So Rebecca, winter is here again and so is your birthday. We miss you so terribly, sweet baby and it hurts worse than anything we’ve ever known. We’ve already cried today, so we’ll try to rejoice now. Because today is the day that you arrived and brought us more joy than you could imagine.


Happy Birthday, Rebecca.


(the book Dear Rebecca, Winter is Here is available at

Kickin’ It

I just bought these totally kickin’ boots:


Pumpkin Girl says they make me look younger.  I love that girl.  I’m off to buy her a car.  Nah, she’s too young to drive.  I’ll just take her on another Disney Cruise.

Copyright © 2014. Created by Meks. Powered by WordPress.