Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Soft Star Shoes

I was just doing some work on my website (I had LOTS of things to update!) and just got a reminder about these amazing shoes and wanted to mention them. They are a little costly, but quality is important to me, so I know there are others out there who feel the same way! I have been extremely happy with the qualiy of Soft Star Shoes, and I am saving up to buy myself some slippers. I'm hoping Santa will bring me some for Christmas.

Before I send you to learn more, I wanted to ask you a question. Have you taught your children about the value of quality, and why it is important that we support US manufacturers as much as possible? My children are 5 (birthday last week!) and 6, and they are already getting that education by being home with me. I'll never forget the conversation we had at Taco Bell when my son said that the next time we went to Taco Bell he was going to get a kid's meal because he liked the toy. (As if we don't have 500 similar toys floating around our house already!) We get kids' meals at McDonalds, because it just makes sense, but I *despise* the toys that come with them!! Anyway, I explained that we would NOT be getting the meal just for the toy because there were poor children in China that were working their fingers to the bones for that little toy that is going to end up in the trash, taking up landfill space! It went something like that, so I'm thinking it was probably "that time of the month!" Anyway, you get the idea. We really need to think about our shopping experiences and what we are teaching our children through them.

Long story short, Soft Star Shoes are made in the US and last forever. That is a good sign. I would rather put my money into products like theirs, and honestly, I realize that if everyone were like me, our economy would plummet. So would China's! :o)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thanksgiving Activities

We just arrived in Atlanta today, about 1,000 miles from home. And I can see the unused Thanksgiving projects that have been waiting for us to use since LAST Thanksgiving tucked away in our craft cabinet back home in Kansas. I am kicking myself. You know how you are driving further away from home, knowing that you forgot to pack something, and wishing you could just figure out what it is so you can move on to thinking about something else? Sigh. At least I didn't forget something that we can't live without!

Anyway, we will still be doing something for Thanksgiving. I brought some reading, handwriting, and math work to complete. And for Thanksgiving we will probably make our "Tree of Thanks" which is a brown tree with trunk and limbs. We make colorful leaves and write something on each leaf that we are thankful for. One thing that I like to remember is to be thankful all year. We do a pretty good job of this. But Thanksgiving is a yearly reminder for me to keep this up. Thankfully (see, I'm good!) my kids are still pretty thankful for the little things. I love how they get so excited! I see other kids who think they are too good for things. They can't enjoy the little things and can't even stop to say "thank you" when they have received a gift. These are the same kids who rip through their toys on Christmas day without even looking at them and get to the end, looking for more. If your child is like this, what can you do to help him appreciate what he has received?

Feel free to share what you will be doing this Thanksgiving. Maybe it will give us an idea for another project to do together.

The week after we returned from our trip, I got out our "Trees of Thanks". Here they are!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veteran's Day

We have a very patriotic town, which maybe is typical for small towns. American flags adorned main street yesterday and today, and many houses displayed their flags as well. As I ran a quick errand and passed by Municipal Hall, I could tell something was happening. After enquiring, I found out that every Veteran's Day, the older school children do a report and display on either a family member who is/was a veteran, or someone else they know. The younger kids sing, and there is a speech. So Thomas, Anna, and I made our way, they on their bikes, me on my shoes, up to Municipal Hall. It was a very emotional tribute to those who have served, as each branch of the military had veterans who stood to receive an American flag from a child. But I came away with one thing I will never forget.
In the speech, Randy, one of our postal workers, provided statistics for how many people served in our military during each war, compared to the population of the time. By far, there are MUCH fewer serving the military today even though our population has exploded. What does that say about us? While many would blame the Iraq war and our poor leadership, it isn't that. Have we lost our patriotism? Are our children growing up to become apathetic? What exactly is it?
More than once I have looked at my son and teared up imagining him serving in the military and putting his life at risk. But today I reminded myself that if that is what God calls him to do when he grows up, there is nothing I can say or do to change his mind. After all, someone has to serve, and I know my son would be a good soldier and an excellent leader.
I remember reading an article recently about the "education" that schooled children receive in public school. It stated that the job most frequently taken by a public high school graduate was...get this...a Wal-mart employee! I don't know how true that is, and I wish I could remember where I found the article, but that would explain where all our would-have-been soldiers are- working at Wal-mart!
To those brave men and women who have served our country, and those currently serving, I offer a very gracious thank you on behalf of my children and me. The fact that we can homeschool without our government knocking down our doors makes me very grateful for the soldiers who have provided this freedom and the many other freedoms we enjoy.
THANK YOU!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

When you live in a small town...

Life in a small town is VERY different from a larger city. If you have never lived in a small town, perhaps this will help you understand some major differences! When I lived in a large city, a visit to the post office would not illicit too much of a response. Since I went there every day, they pretty much recognized me, but probably did not know my name. Today my son and I went to the post office in our small town to take our regular daily shipment, and Val, the postal employee, upon seeing Thomas, said, "I saw you made the paper!" Because I get the paper every blue moon or so (I keep promising myself a subscription!), we did not know what she meant. She went to the back, brought out a copy of the paper which had just come out that day, and there on the front page was Thomas in a strangely wide-eyed photo that was taken right after he won the costume contest Halloween night. It goes without saying that in larger cities, the costume contest would NOT have made the paper, much less the front page! I must point out as well, that if you have visitors come into town, that will probably be in the paper as well!

Needless to say, for the next week or so, Thomas will be a celebrity. This is a unique position for him since he does not attend school, and many of the news articles regarding children have to do with school functions. Which makes me think...perhaps it's time for us homeschoolers to send in news stories about homeschool functions! I will have to think about that. But for now, I will celebrate our small town "hero" making the paper this week...

Tom Woods