Simplifying in 2011

One of my New Year’s plans is to simplify things.  This is a tough one for me, because I have so many interests and I love diversification… but I have decided that one of my simplifications will be moving this blog over to Blogspot, as I have a few others over there as well.  Having everything together in one place will be easier on me, I hope, and I hope that it won’t be too much trouble for you, either.  🙂

In the meantime, I may post a few more things here, and this site will remain up for some time, but please check us out at Making Our Dream Life Happen over at the new site.  There are some exciting changes coming up this year for us, so I hope to see you there!

As always, I enjoy hearing from you, so please check us out, and I hope to see you there!!!

I’m also going to post a quick list of blogs that I have.  Some of these are new, and some have been around but quiet for a while.  I have plans to keep these blogs going, and a plan for regular updates on them.  Please feel free to check them out as well, and drop me a quick line, letting me know that you found me.  🙂

My photography blog.

My photography website.

Inked in the South.

As I said, I’m pretty sure I’ll be back by within a couple of weeks, so feel free to leave me a comment here, but I’ll be checking the new blog daily.  🙂

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Filed under Education, Free Stuff I find, My Writing, Our Businesses, Parenting, Plans for our Dream Life, Trips, Uncategorized

What we’ve been up to

OK, so basketball and NaNoWriMo (for me) has had us pretty silent for a few weeks.

I’ve already tooted my own horn everywhere else, so I’ve got to do it here.  I WON NaNoWriMo this year!!!  To understand what a major accomplishment I am, see my post titled Finally Someone Understands Me.  🙂  Then check out the graph below.  I hit two plateaus, but managed to push through them, which is the big accomplishment part.  I’m still working on finishing the book (still have a chapter to go), then I’ll have a major round of editing to do on it, and it’ll be ready for first readers.  This is the first novel I’ve (nearly) finished, so it’s very exciting for me.

Then, Chris has been playing basketball.  We average 3 games per week, so that keeps us pretty busy.  They’ve been doing GREAT, and have a 7-2 record so far.  Coach just enrolled them for the state tournament in February in Frisco, and we’re all really excited about that, too.  They have a ton of games between now and then, though, so we’re keeping focused on December games.

The twins are still working on copy books, their letters, numbers, reasoning (i.e., which pictures are smallest, which are largest, etc.).

Chris has hit a small snag with his schoolwork.  Our computer has a file that’s corrupted, so he’s not able to do math, science & bible at the moment.  So we’re concentrating on English, Grammar, Spelling, Vocabulary, and History, and we’ll have to get it fixed so he can get caught up on the three he’s missing.

We’re all doing a unit study on Alaska, which includes reading aloud from a book about Alaska (reading, grammar), watching videos of the Alaska Highway being built, the Alaska Pipeline being built (both History), and tomorrow, I’m going to pick up a video about the Aurora Borealis (Science).  We also have geography cards that the boys look at and look up where we’re reading about as we read our books.  I’ve included a travel guide for Chris, so he can look up the city we’re reading about, and see what all there is to see in Alaska in that area.  We look up the weather patterns in Alaska, highs and lows, talk about earthquakes, snowfall, etc. for Science.  We map and try to figure out distances from one place to another for Math, and look up information online.  This has been one of our first full unit studies, the first I’ve put together on my own, so it’s been fun to try to figure out how to include all subjects based around a unit.

In other news, Chris (14) is going through that phase where he would rather hang out with adults than children, which is very typical of this age.  But he still is seriously lacking in manners and etiquette.  A lot of this was realized at Thanksgiving, so I’m looking for a good secular book on manners and etiquette for boys.  We’ve come a long way on his table manners, and he no longer tries to talk to people about how much money they make or have (grin), and mostly about not talking about religion and politics to anyone he encounters, but I’m still missing some of the basics, such as:  a) not interrupting.  When he walks into a room, he pays no attention as to who else is talking, but just starts;  b) not bugging adults to play with him.  He loves basketball.  This is great, but he pesters adults to play with him when there’s a bunch of people here;  c) sensing someone’s mood.  He has no idea when it’s alright to joke and when it’s best if he doesn’t.  His dad and I will be having an intense discussion about something that’s upsetting to us for one reason or another, and he feels it’s perfectly okay and appropriate to pipe in with a joke.  There are others, but these are the most frequent.  I have tried giving him examples, and I continue to try to correct him when it happens, but sometimes I’m not sure how to explain it to him.  So I’m putting this out there, wondering if you’ve heard of anything that would help with this.  🙂

Other than that, hubby and I are both still looking for jobs.  We haven’t decided how we’re going to handle schooling once we get them, but I guess we’ll decide when/if we get to a point where we are both working, or both have the opportunity to work.  Construction is still really really tight around here, so my options are looking better than his right now.  Maybe he’ll be a homeschooling dad for a while, while I work.  We’ve always been a pretty non-traditional family, so that’s a definite option.  I keep telling myself that no matter what, it’s all steps towards our dream life.  In the meantime, even families with big dreams need to eat!  🙂

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Filed under Education, My Writing, Parenting, Plans for our Dream Life


Just to let everyone know, VCA Fundraising is now closed.  Thank you to everyone who expressed an interest, and who supported our boys!  We wound up raising just a bit over the amount needed, and with permission of the one who sent us the overage, used it toward uniforms and a hoodie for Chris.

The Cobras have played two games so far, and their record is 1-1.  The first one was a close game, but they were beat.  The second one (last night) was a great game, and they played very well!!!!  It was a lot of fun.  Chris made his first basket, and a couple of assists, as well as a couple of steals, so he was very excited!  They have another game tonight (FOUR this week… ouch!!!), so I’ll be uploading pictures tomorrow of some of the games.

I’m in the process of creating a website to sell Event Photography (as well as the portraits and landscapes that I occassionally do).  SmugMug (where I had previously hosted my photography) was a little out of my price range this year, so I’ve had to change it over.  My new website will be:  I don’t have any of the photos uploaded to the website yet, but will also be working on those in coming days.  So give me a few days, and we’ll see how this one works out.  It’s less than half the cost of SmugMug, and in tough times like these, I’ve got to watch every penny.  🙂

I’ll also be posting a list of the businesses and individuals that supported Chris and VCA in our fundraising efforts, as a Thank You!!!

So, ’til next time… 🙂

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Filed under Our Businesses, Parenting

FUNDRAISING request Basketball VCA

Chris (13) is playing basketball for a local homeschooling group this year with Victoria Cobra Athletics.  We are doing fundraising for his entrance fee ($275) and uniforms (unknown amount as yet).  He has raised nearly $100, and still needs $175 plus his uniform.  The fundraisers are due this Thursday (November 11th).  We are learning that it is much more expensive to participate in extra-curricular activities in a homeschooling situation, but are thankful that we have the option.  In the meantime, we have to ask for your support.  🙂

The fundraisers include:

Donation: will receive a frame-able certificate announcing your support of Victoria Cobra Athletics.  Donations are appreciated in the amount of $20 or more.

Chick-fil-A 2011 Cow Calendar: $6 each, includes $30 worth of Chick-fil-A coupons.  ($3 of each purchase will support Chris in his fundraising efforts) **Please be sure to let us know how many you wish to order, as well as a physical address to mail the calendar(s) to.  As a thank you, we will be covering all shipping and handling of each order.

Chick-fil-A Cheesecakes:  $20 ($5 of each purchase will support Chris in his fundraising efforts.)  Pre-cut into 20 slices, creamy vanilla cheesecake.  **For this one, you’ll need to be local to Victoria, TX… within an hour at the most.  Be sure to include your name, phone number and email address, as well as a physical address so that we can map the delivery location.

If you’re interested in helping support Chris in his fundraising efforts, please see our Fundraising Page, and donate via our PayPal button.  Please be sure to include your mailing address on your donation, as we’ll need it to send to your order and a thank you note!  And thank you, in advance, for anyone willing to help support Chris!  We will be posting game results and photos!

Alternately, you can send a check to our home address (email me at kimberlyearley ‘at’ yahoo ‘dot’ com, for our address and put “Donation to VAC” in the subject line).  Please make sure that the check will arrive by Wednesday (i.e., it will need to be sent Priority Mail or through any overnight service), and make checks payable to Victoria Cobra Athletics.  Should you need a Tax ID number, we will be happy to provide that for you upon request.

As we understand that times are really tough for everyone, if you are unable to donate but would like to help in some way, could you take a moment to share this post with your friends?  A quick link on Twitter or Facebook could really make a difference!  If there are any excess funds, they will still be donated to Victoria Cobra Athletics, for another child on the team to use.  There are several that have fallen short this year.


Filed under Education, Parenting

Two friends making their dreams happen

I have two friends  involved in something to make their dreams happen, that I wanted to share really quick.  If you subscribe to my The WAHM Experiment blog, then you’ll be seeing posts on both of them soon (probably after December 1st.  I’m still working hard on NaNoWriMo, and we’re trying to get to some past-due remodeling on the house, so any posts I do to my blogs are few and far between this month.).

One is a an author, and has created a blog to chronicle her family’s attempts to survive in this economy on her blog, Families Making Fortunes.  She’s got some great ideas and resources in these tough times, and a great outlook on a situation that’s really tough.  If you find you want to follow their attempts, please comment, subscribe, and check out some of her links!

The other is someone that I have a lot in common with, and she has teamed up with her sister-in-law to create Pin-Up Faerie.  They’ve just started their venture, so the blog is new, but if you love pin-ups, and you love faeries, you won’t be disappointed!!

Hope everyone is having a great November!  I’m looking forward to our learning this month, working on a couple of business ideas of my own, and looking forward to spending some time with family!


Filed under Free Stuff I find, My Writing

Halloween 2010

Halloween 2010

Halloween 2010

OK, I don’t normally take pics of me and upload them without heavy touch-up (LOL), but I forgot to have hubby take one of the kids without me.  So here I am, with Kyle (Luigi), Chris (Scream), and Kody (Hiccup/Viking).

Since we live in the country, we took a drive into town to do some trick-or-treating.  I have to say I LOVE Halloween.  Always have, probably always will.

I honestly think this is the first Halloween that my Luigi didn’t scream his head off at least once at jasome frightening costume, so that was a definite plus!  🙂  Seriously, though, it was a great night.  We had a lot of fun, have enough candy to rot their teeth for a year (LOL), and now, they are all laying down watching a movie.

OK, this may be my last post for a while.  I’ve been trying to update everyone.  I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year, and will be in way over my head, trying to write a 50K word + novel in November.  Between homeschooling, birthdays, Thanksgiving, job hunting, and all that good stuff, you may not see me around much.  🙂  So have a great month!!!


Filed under Education, My Writing, Parenting

Chris’s new business

Chris (our 13-year-old) has started making and selling The Disciple’s Cross.  He’s been really excited about making them, and finding them new homes.  🙂  We’re working on fixing his Facebook account (don’t know what’s wrong with it, but he no longer has access to it), and getting him set up with his own page, but for now, I wanted to give everyone ordering information.  He’s excited about sharing his ministry and his business.  If you know someone who might be interested, please share this post!

Here’s a sample:

Individual orders are $9.99 each, with discounts for multiple crosses ordered at once.  Each cross comes packaged with a tag explaining the significance of each of the elements that make up the cross, and packaged in a bag for easy gift giving.  They are easily shipped ($5.00 S & H for one, $1.00 Handling each and actual shipping for multiple crosses) and can be ordered to your choice of colors, or can be picked up in Victoria, TX to avoid the charge.

If you’d like to order a Disciple’s Cross from Chris, please feel free to leave a comment here with your email address, and Chris will send you an order form.  He accepts checks and money orders in person or by mail, or I can send you an invoice through PayPal, where you can pay via credit card, PayPal funds, or e-check.

I’ll do another post soon, listing colors available.  All orders are shipped within 3 business days of receipt.

With the holidays right around the corner, you can get a jump start on your shopping!  =)


Filed under Our Businesses, Parenting, Plans for our Dream Life

Notes from TWTM for K

I’m re-reading TWTM with an emphasis for the K’s.  These are just my notes, not anywhere near comprehensive for all of what is laid out in the book.  As a side note, I really need to get my own copy of this book.  If you have one for sale, please let me know. 😀

Nice to know that during our read-aloud time, I’m already doing what they suggest, and choosing words for them to sound out (“sticking on a word”).  If it’s what I call a “weird word” (because it makes the boys laugh), then I explain the rule and move on.  They’re already picking up on many of the rules due to that.

Books on tape.  Not children’s versions, but “densely written” adult versions.  Children will learn to grasp language from the sounds of the words, even if they don’t fully understand the content.  I love this quote, “Books on tape stock a child’s mind with teh sounds of thousands of words.  When children start sounding out words later on, they’ll progress much more quickly if they recognize the words.”  For my purposes, I’ll combine this with my reluctant classic reader, and choose the classics that he needs to be working on.

For teaching beginning reading, they’ve suggested Phonics Pathways. Phonics Pathways: Clear Steps to Easy Reading and Perfect Spelling.  I’m afraid we’re already past this, but I might have to check into it to be sure.  If you’re not, that’s what’s recommended, and the link is within.

So, all in all, it’s a pretty good day!  Always nice to know that I’m doing what needs to be done (or more).


Filed under Education, Parenting

The WAHM Experiment

I’ve started a new blog.  🙂  Not a big shock, right?  I’d actually talked to my husband about this a while back, and he agreed it was a good idea (and hoped that I’d at least make some of the money back that I’ve spent trying on home based businesses…LOL).  Now I hope that you will like the idea, too.

So, I’ve spent the better portion of my adult life trying to find Work at Home businesses that could supplement (and hopefully eventually match) my office job income.  For me, a good portion of those businesses have failed for one reason or another.  Either I’ve lost interest in them, or didn’t put the time into them that I should have… some have just been not a good fit for my personality.  Lately I’ve been reviewing them again, hoping that I can find something that will allow me to stay at home with my kids, and together with that and my blogging, earn a decent income.  While I review so many opportunities, it’s easy to wistfully read the articles and testimonials of those who earn money while they sleep, and forget what I’ve learned through the years.  Yes, I have tried a few of those… in my much younger and slightly more naive years.  🙂  I even (gasp) tried a chain letter once… I think I made $8.  Of course, I spent $40 trying it.  Anyways… my point.  Yes, there was a point.  The point is that with my business sense (developed since the chain letter years, I assure you), I see a lot of these business opportunities that could potentially change someone’s life.  But knowing what I know now, there are certain things that just aren’t a good fit for me.  For you, they may work out great.  I’m a pretty good judge of people most of the time, and I can typically tell the type of person that a particular business opportunity will work for.

So, that’s what The Work At Home Mom Experiment is about.  I’ll do (or have done) the experimenting.  I’ll review the opportunities.  I’ll request the information to start that opportunity.  I’ll interview people who are doing the business.  And I’ll condense it, and report it all back to my loyal readers.  Then, I’ll go a step further, and try to give the reader an idea of the types of people who would do well in this business.  And equally important, the qualities that someone might have that says they might not do so well with this business.  Then the reader can look for something that they might enjoy instead, and NOT have to waste everyone’s time and money trying to do a business that they’re just not “wired” to do.  Make sense?

I’ve found a couple of sites that do this already, but the majority of them are either sales sites for a different business (don’t do business A, do business B), or they are unhappy former consultants who have a need to bash the entire business rather than recognizing that it “just isn’t me”.  Alternatively, they are some subscription-only sites.  The WAHM Experiment isn’t any of those things.  It’s FREE (although there will be advertisements, so please click if they interest you…LOL).  If I have a particular one that requires money to join, I’ll do a post with a ticker asking for donations.  That way, if there are ten people who’d all like to learn more, we can each pitch in a small amount and learn from the review whether it’s worth our time.  But I won’t require any membership fees, and nobody is required to pay anything.

Please be patient with me while I build up the content on the site.  If you are a rep for any company, head on over and leave me a comment, and I’ll interview you if someone’s not ahead of you in the pipeline.  Anyone who is interviewed for a review will receive links back to their online store/site for their time (FREE advertising!!!).  And if you’re looking for a new home-based business?  Well, keep checking back, or comment me and let me know what company you’d like to see reviewed!  🙂

I’m excited that I’ll be able to share this information with everyone, and that it may help someone looking to start their own business find the perfect fit for them!

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Filed under Free Stuff I find, My Writing, Our Businesses

Our Dream Life that others are living :)

Some of these websites I’ve visited quite a bit.  If you take bits and pieces of each of them, you’ll find families that are living my “Dream Life”.

This was the first blog I found… ever… that matched what we want to do almost perfectly. 🙂

Here’s another great family living life on the road.  What I really like about this one is that she pulls no punches.  She tells you just how tough life on the road can be.  My hubby’s not a pipeliner, but if we actually did this, he’d be doing shut-downs (he’s an electrician), and so our life would be very very similar, I’m sure.  Road Mommy:  Adventures of a mom on the road.

Here’s a really neat site.  She’s gone tons of photos, and it’s beautiful!  Walk Slowly… Live Wildly.

Another is Poor Pitiful Pearl.  I found her button, so I’m including it:

Alternative Name

I’ve included this family at another blog in my sidebar, but wanted to post their new blog here.  It’s just getting started, but it’s another great blog!  We Live Creatively.

That’s it for today.  I know our “DREAM LIFE” is still years away… today it seems farther away than other days.  Until our finances get back up to speed, and we’ve leveled out some…   But it’s so cool to see others who are living the way I want to live.  That it can be done, that it’s not for everyone, but it might just be for us…


Filed under Free Stuff I find, Plans for our Dream Life