Thursday, December 26, 2013


"Is she always that happy?"

"Yes, always!  She really is."

Spending the entire day with family yesterday, this made my eyes water a little more than anything else. There's something to be said for being full of His Joy.  It's even better when people start to notice.

May your 2014 be so full of Joy that people start to look at you funny.

Monday, December 23, 2013


I made a plan!  I'm not always the most organized, so when I have a plan and actually do the work to stick to it, well, that's something!

So today, I had a plan.  I had been adding items to my "final shopping trip before Christmas" list for a couple days now.  My hubby has the van for an away-from-the-office work trip today.  But that didn't matter, because my parents' car is just sitting here, taking up space in my driveway while they're taking pictures of turtles off on some faraway island.

So, list in hand, I corralled the kids and told them to grab a book because we were going to be out for a while.  (I had a few stores to visit, after all.)  We went out, unlocked the car, and figured out where we all wanted to sit (this is a big deal when you're eight and nine, apparently.)  I got in and turned the key.  The lights lit up.  And then they didn't.

And there was silence, save for the wind whipping around outside the car.

I turned the key again.

Lights.  No action.

"Well, kids, looks like we're not going out right now."

"Can we watch Elf when we get back inside?"
"Yeah, that's my favourite Christmas movie because it's so funny."


We'll jump-start the battery later.  The list will wait.  It's suddenly a lazy day around here.  I can't say that I mind too much.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Three Months

It's December. School children have been released from their classes and are at home anxiously anticipating the arrival of the present-bearer of that home, whoever that might be. It seems to be the time for folks to start asking me this one question: “So, now that you're a few months into it, what do you think of homeschooling? Do you still like it? Are you still happy with that decision?”

I always answer with an exuberant, “Yes! We all love it! The kids love it; I love it; it's just a good thing all around.”

Let me elaborate though.
Three months in...

The Pros

The three kids get along better than they ever have before. They have so much extra time in the afternoons now that they've been forced to play together and work through their problems. With Mom-Intervention and without.

With so much time on their hands, the kids are getting really creative in their play time. The two youngest love making up stories with all their stuffed animals and Schleich figures. Sometimes they're on a big train-ride and other times they're running a vet clinic. The older one, with any extra people added in, loves to design with his Legos and K'Nex. It's really cool to see what kind of stuff these guys come up with, given enough free time.

My kids love to read. All of them! The boys are racing through a 600 page novel right now to see which one can finish first, while my girl is enjoying an adventure/fantasy series about a boy who finds a whole world underground. I love that they read first thing in the morning, while we're out driving around, and at night before falling asleep. They read before, but only because they had to. Now they love books!

I have met some amazing families, with whom we have so much in common. It's really encouraging to see so many great families in one place!

I am learning so much that I had forgotten from my school days. (Yeah, I have a bad memory!)

My kids are able to zip through some work (Math) while we take longer in other work that doesn't come as easily (Science.) My youngest has nearly finished his first year of math and is a couple weeks away from starting on the book that his sister is doing.

I love seeing how the different subjects blend together so easily... Especially Science, History, and Geography. It's so easy to start on one topic and go to the next and so on.

Having the kids at home all day really is a great thing for teaching them chores and self-care. They're learning to make lunch on the stove, clean up after themselves, and be more responsible in personal grooming.

The Cons

I can only think of two things that I've really found to be problems.

The first was just so unexpected that it sneaked up on me and punched me in the face... I have no idea how to Christmas shop for my kids! I've chatted with other homeschool moms who have given me some great ideas for next year, but really, I just have fight the crowds like every working mother this year. Ugh. The ease of being a Stay-at-Home-Mom is no longer accessible when it comes to any kind of shopping.

The second thing is something that no one ever really talks about. I am lonely. You would think that with three other people around me all the time, and a network of homeschool moms who I see once a week, I would feel surrounded by people. And I am. But I can't just pick up and go visit a friend when we're missing each other, like I used to. And with how scheduled we were these last couple months (my fault, I'm not doing that again any time soon) it's hard to have a clean-enough house to invite friends over through the afternoons when we are free. I don't have the daily bell time chats that I used to have with other moms on the schoolyard.

So, that is that. I do not regret this decision at all. The kids love it and are so glad that we're doing it. I'm amazed at the opportunities available to us... From a great Arts group to a Lego Robotics League to a crazy fun Gym Day, we have a huge range of options for extra learning. We just need to pace ourselves and keep at it.

We are so blessed.

Making "cells" with Jello and different candies

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I feel like giving something away!!!

'Tis the season, right?

The kids have had fun checking the mailbox and looking at the cards we get from different people.  New friends, childhood friends, family, neighbours...  We love opening Christmas cards.  I got one in the mail yesterday that seems to have put a permanent smile on my face.

Well, before it makes you smile, I should explain.

I've been a fan of a company called Elegantees for a year or two now.  Their mission is to provide work (and ultimately to donate profits) to rescue women from sex trafficking.  

As conversations are started around the proverbial water-cooler (Truth be told, I don't think there really is a proverb about a water-cooler, but you get the idea)...  Anyway, as conversations are started that cause me to think about what I am supporting with my money, I got to thinking that it would be good to make more ethically-purposeful purchases.

Wait, don't think that I'm saying that I am able to change all of my spending habits to suddenly not purchase anything made through slave-trade.  I still buy a lot of things that are likely produced or manufactured by unethical means.  BUT instead of feeling overwhelmed at it all, I decided to start making a difference, one purchase at a time. The fair-trade coffee that I buy now is the same price as most other coffee on the shelf. That was an easy switch.

Clothes...  Most people wear them.  It's winter here.  I'd find myself a much bluer colour if I didn't have some clothes around here.

So, when I came across Elegantees, I was ecstatic.  Their prices are so reasonable; their fashions are really cute; and the clothes are downright comfortable!  This is the kind of company I'd love to support.

And I have!

I've probably annoyed my friends with links and coupon codes and ads for free shipping for this company, but when I love something this much, I just can't help it.  Occasionally, friends will ask where I got a cute shirt and I always beam when I tell them, "Elegantees!"

Let me share my purchases with you so far...

So back to yesterday, I got a Christmas card in my mail box, hand-addressed, in festive green and red, with a lovely message inside.  I smiled and my eyes may have misted over at the obvious thought that went into this. (Hand-addressed?  Different coloured printing?)  And then, what looked like a business card fell out.  It was... Well, look:

They gave me a $10 gift card, just to say thank you for being so supportive of their business.  I could probably get a clearance shirt from their website for about the amount on the card, but I'd rather share it with someone else who may not have had the money or inclination to try something from Elegantees.

So, I'm offering one $10 Gift Card code to the Elegantees online store.  This card code has no expiration date, so you can take your time browsing.

Anyway, if you'd like a chance to win, please Like my Facebook page, Wanda Whoopie-Cushion, and Like the Elegantees Facebook page, and then leave a comment on the Wanda Whoopie-Cushion page letting me know that you've done so.  If you don't have Facebook, that's okay, just leave a comment here letting me know that you don't.  (If you just leave a comment, though, you're on the hook though for contacting me if I draw your name.)  I will select one winner from all the people who have commented through the Wanda Whoopie-Cushion Facebook page (or on this blog post, if you're unable to do it through Facebook.)

One entry per person.
The winner can live wherever they want.  But, as with most things, shipping costs from their store will be higher outside the U.S.
Contest closes on December 31, 2013 at 11:59 pm.
I'll draw a random winner on January 1, 2014, announcing the winner on my blog and contacting the winner through Facebook (or you can contact me if you're not on Facebook.)

**A winner has been announced and contacted.  Thank you to everyone who joined the contest.**

In the meantime, feel free to share this contest with others, and then click over to browse the Elegantees shop.  You may find a cute tee for someone special.

*I have not been paid for any kind of endorsement.  I'm just giving this Gift Card code away because I want to share the awesomeness with everyone.  The Elegantees team was happy to hear about it though.*

A Thinly Veiled Compliment

I was outside just a few minutes ago, getting my daughter to take some pictures of me (for a very exciting giveaway that I can't tell you about yet.)

She looked at the display screen,which was focused on me, and said, matter-of-fact-ly, "You look fatter than usual in here, Mom."

Ahhh...  I do love that girl.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Beyond Reason

Back in "the day," when I pretended I might one day have a career, I received a Bachelor's degree in English. I know, it's hard to tell some days as you're reading this blog, but it's true.

15 years later, I am finally doing what I always dreamed of...  Editing!  A friend has written a book and is kindly (and oh-so-patiently) waiting for me to finish reading it and making suggestions for revisions.  I'm about half way through.

(And there was much rejoicing.  Yaaaaay.)

Anyway, as you may have guessed, I'm a bit rusty when it comes to proper AP Style grammar and all that. What's changed?  What are the rules about commas and quotation marks?  Are there exceptions?  And how many tenses are there in the English language?  Good grief!

So, I've been looking up a lot of these questions.  Online.  [Gasp]  There are a few websites that seem to be quite accurate and thorough in their grammatical explanations.  Occasionally though, I just can't find an answer on one of those sites.  So I go exploring.

Today, while looking for rules on the proper use of "half" vs "half of," I read a comment from someone who seemed quite knowledgeable.  Except that one of his sentences began with "The reason is because..."

I remember learning early on that I should never say "The reason is because..."  The reason for this is that the proper way to say it is "The reason is that..."  See what I did there?

(I'm slyly winking at how clever I am.  Can't see me?  Hmm... I'll work on my sly winking for future editions of "So I Think I'm an Editor.")

All that to say, I found the blunder of this grammar genius amusing.  And I'm back to digging up an answer to "half" vs "half of."  The reason is that I just can't trust this The-Reason-is-Because Guy to lead me down the right path.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

As You Wish

I found this list the other day.  I like it.  I've tried to memorize it, but sometimes I get the items mixed up.  So I'm thinking I should just put it up on a wall somewhere.

Anyway, as I think about this list, I realized that I'm really good at some of the stuff on this list.  For example, I've got a pretty bad memory, so I'm pretty good at forgetting the transgressions of others against me.  But then there are other things on the list that I need to keep working on.  The more I want someone to know that I love them, the more I need to make an effort to do these things.

Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy.
Love does not boast.
Love is not proud.
Love does not dishonor others.
Love is not self-seeking.
Love is not easily angered.
Love keeps no record of wrong.
Love does not delight in evil.
Love rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects.
Love always trusts.
Love always hopes.
Love always perseveres.

Love never fails. 

Go ahead and print it out if you want.  I don't think God will mind.  Don't get stuck in the tedium of reading it.  Read each sentence and really think about it.  I'm planning to take the next couple weeks to do that.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Some days

Some days it's nice to feel useful...  like I'm making a difference in my kids' lives, like I'm helping friends in need.

Some days it's just nice to eat brownies.

I'm going to schedule "eat brownies" into my week next week.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


My nine year old girl has been listening to the YouTube video of the Hallelujah Chorus flash mob, performed at the mall down the road from us.
(You can click on the video below to watch it...)

I asked her how many times she was going to listen to it.

"I just don't ever want to stop listening to it!"

I know how you feel, Sweetie.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Screech go the brakes

You've probably heard this joke before:
Q: What goes "Vroom, Screech, Vroom, Screech, Vroom, Screech!"
A: A blonde going through a flashing red light.

I thought maybe the answer today was "Wanda."

As I was driving around town today, ferrying kids back and forth, traversing from one side of the city to the other and then doing all that again (carefully avoiding, that second time through, the awful traffic jam that construction caused), I realized that I should have some kind of sticker on my van...

I love my kids and I love running them around to different events.  I love the chance to help out a friend by giving her kids a ride home.  I love hanging out with my niece.  Next time, I'll just plan for it not to all happen at the same time.

Gotta go.  Kids have to get to their mid-week Kids Club at the church down the road and hubby needs a ride home soon.



p.s.  A while back a friend kept saying, "Boom goes the dynamite."

A my insistent questioning, he explained that it had its origins on SportsCenter (or something like that) and I echoed back my understanding by saying, "Kinda like 'Screech goes the train?'"

He laughed and said, "Yeah, kind of like that...  But not."  So now when someone says, "Boom!" I always think "Screech!"