Category Archives: Blogs & Websites

Linky Love

I thought I would share some fun links I discovered this week:

BooMama is offering a $100 Gift Card from Lands’ End. All you have to do is pop by BooMama’s site and leave a comment. I’m torn between shopping for the children and getting myself a new winter jacket.

I’m sure the children would want me to be snug and warm in a new coat. They’re always putting my needs first.

Rocks in My Dryer (where you can find me most Wednesdays, hanging out, reading tips and becoming a better person) has a Bloggy Giveaway Site. There are several giveaways going on right now. Stop by and enter for a clothing certificate, a blogging design package, and a chance to win a scripture bag.

Michelle over at Scribbit is hosting a photo collage giveaway. Fill out her giveaway form and your name is entered into the drawing. Super easy.

Michelle also has a great collection of Winter Activities to do with the children over the holidays. Of course, the snow suggestions make my kids sigh with envy.

“Go out and play in the rain, kids.” Just doesn’t have the same ring to it as sending them out in the snow.

I end this blog with a link to a hysterical story that literally made me laugh out loud. Bathroom Emergency My kids love to hear stories about Jacqui and her unique approach to life. Michelle at In Life of a Child is a wonderful writer who captures the antics of her children (down to the pitch and lisp of their language) perfectly. Spend some time with Jacqui and you can’t help but smile.

Have a lovely Sunday!

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Tuesday Tips for Parenting – Christmas Gift Ideas

new logoI can’t believe December is literally racing around the corner. This weekend a friend suggested I write something about Christmas gift ideas for kids. You know, the gifts that will actually hold the children’s interest and survive more than a week or two of playing. Classic toys that have proven to be fun and timeless.

I thought this was a fantastic idea, especially the part about how it should all be organized by age with suggestions for each grade level. Great, wonderful, excellent idea, except for one thing. I don’t have time to write this amazing blog. This particular friend is not only a serious bargain shopper, but a woman of discerning, good taste, so I asked (begged, pleaded) if she would email me the list of gifts that have been favorites in her family. “I’ve started writing down a collection of ideas, including catalog clippings, several times,” she said, “but I just don’t have TIME to finish.”

Obviously what we moms need is more TIME. I hear time makes a great stocking stuffer, gift certificate and looks great wrapped under the tree. Right.

Okay, in lieu of actually doing the work of creating a gift idea blog myself, I figured I would share what I’ve found online. I’m not ruling out the idea of generating my own Christmas treasure blog, but for now, let’s steal from others.

another round of Bang

Of course, games are ALWAYS a hit in our family.

Not Made In China – you’ll love this, a blog dedicated to toys and other products that are NOT made in China. As toy recalls continue to mount up, it’s nice to know there are other options available.

Holiday Gift Guide – this blogging mother of seven shares some great ideas for Christmas.

Christmas Shopping Carnival – this blog post has links to 70 other blogs (each one opens in a separate window) where people share what they are buying this year. If you have time (there’s that word again), you might enjoy browsing through some of the blogs and see if anything inspires you.

Christmas Books – a homeschooling friend has a collection of favorite Christmas books (complete with cover shots) on her blog. I saw some old family treasures as well as some new ones I’m eager to read.

Christmas Countdown – this website helps you get organized and enjoy a stress-free Christmas.

Advent Bible Study for Children – this is a wonderful, inductive Advent Bible study. I have done it several years with the older three children. There are coloring pages, scripture passages to study, and questions to answer.

advent study

Unusual and Unique Gift Items – cause you never know when you might want to buy someone a duct tape wallet.

There you go, I’ve exhausted my knowledge on the subject of Christmas blogs. Now it’s up to you to share your creative ideas, favorite catalogs or blog links. This is a safe place to reveal gift purchases and secret plans, as I highly doubt your spouse or children will pop through and read the comments.

What is your favorite children’s gift idea for this year? What about for your husband or wife? Grandparents? I have an EMPTY gift closet so I can use all the suggestions I can get.


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Building the Blogging Community

I recently read an article on 5 Minutes for Moms regarding the difference between writing and blogging. Blogging, according to author Jim Dubin, requires more than good writing to succeed. In order to build a dynamic, growing blog there needs to be a developing sense of community. “Blogging is more than writing. It’s forming friendships, and sharing inspiration, and working with others to build something greater than you are alone,” Dubin writes.

david and sarah

These two definitely share a precious friendship.

Interesting. It has certainly been my experience that as I connect with other bloggers, leaving comments and partaking in an internet conversation, my own blog grows and blossoms in response.

Of course, many of the faithful Duckabush readers are family members and friends scattered around the states. They aren’t particularly interested in engaging in a global, blogosphere dialogue, but come to the blog to catch the latest family news and enjoy pictures of the kiddos. As Tim would say, the blog is not lacking in the photo department. Hardly a post is published that doesn’t have at least 3 pictures.


Without pictures I am going to fall asleep, Mom.

The one time I posted a blog without pictures I received no end of fussing from family and friends. I’ve surely learned my lesson, even if it means handing the camera to a random child to ensure Project 365 integrity.

In an attempt to “have my cake and eat it too” I thought I would introduce some fellow bloggers while being careful to scatter about a few family pictures.

princess Sarah

Token picture of a cute five year old.

  • If you haven’t already discovered 5 Minutes for Moms, I recommend stopping by for a visit. This blog, run by sisters, strives to connect moms and establish a community for mothers on the web. They continually present giveaways and product referals, everything from preschool books to vacuum cleaners and clothing gift certificates. There is an extensive blogging directory and Susan and Janice regularly feature “mom-owned stores.”
  • Every Day Mommy has a beautiful website and offers affordable blog and graphic design. Look over some of her sample designs and see if you aren’t as impressed as I was. As Tim and I work on our own blog and additional projects for church, we are reminded over and over that graphic design is not one of our gifts. In fact, we seem to be anti-gifted in this area. Thankfully there are creative people like Jules to come alongside and help those of us who are artistically challenged.
  • I stumbled upon a wonderful collection of game reviews when I was wandering through a trail of blogs one day. Katrina, at Callapidder Days has done a marvelous job of reviewing board games. Her posts are colorful, well organized and thorough. Many of the games are geared toward younger children but we saw several favorites among her reviews and others I am eager to try.
  • Another helpful blog, this one with a focus on personal blog consulting, is Mama Blogga. Jordan hosts regular Group Writing Contests and encourages “mommy bloggers” to develop and refine their blogs. Her post on Guest Blogging was particularly intriguing. Since then I’ve been thinking about several friends who would make excellent guest writers.

favorite book

Super Blogger!! David loves this book.

It was difficult selecting just a few blogs among the amazing collection I have discovered in the past year. This is definitely only a very small sampling. I use RSS Reader to manage my blogs. Google also offers a Reader for RSS feeds. The readers make keeping track and organizing blogs very efficient and nearly effortless. The program is structured like an e-mail program (Outlook Express) with a preview pane for reading posts and numbers indicating unread blogs. I can quickly identify who has written something new and move among the blogs with ease.

In April I tagged several blogs with the Thinking Award. These are blogs that I continue to enjoy and read regularly.

Hope you enjoy this assortment of blogs. Leave a comment and share other favorite blogs.

Doing my part to build up the blogging community. :)

Project 365 – Day 250

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Homeschool Conference

Last weekend I said goodbye to my darling husband, adorable children and set off for the big city. Since we live in the suburbs this doesn’t have quite the dramatic flair it could have, say if we still lived out in the country. Ah well, we take our flair where we can, exaggerated if necessary.

I wrote about my search for beauty during the weekend (found it in my feet, of course) but I never blogged about the homeschool conference itself. I thought it was obvious that the conference was just an excuse to go away for the weekend, enjoy some time with an old friend and shop, but I guess I should at least write a little bit about the conference.

I would certainly be remiss if I didn’t mention one particular individual I saw at the homeschool conference – Lee Binz. Lee is an amazing woman I first “met” through an online homeschool e-mail group. Last year we visited over coffee with another loopie, Cynthia. My family has learned to accept the fact that a good portion of my “friends” and homeschool buddies are known to me only through cyber space.

cindy, lee and kathy

I met Cynthia and Lee “in real life” at Starbucks June 2006. Nothing bonds a trio like legally addictive stimulants.

Lee homeschooled her two sons through high school, graduating them both last year. Since then she has developed a consulting business for families homeschooling high schoolers. She offers help with transcripts, scholarship search, general record keeping and assignment scheduling. Her website, The Home Scholar provides more information on these different services.

lee's table

Lee also has a wonderful blog and e-mail newsletter available. Her blog features links to articles, tips, product samples and more. I highly recommend grabbing a cup of coffee (or mocha smoothie) and spending some time reading Lee’s blog. You can even listen to a radio interview of Lee and her son from Seattle’s KGNW 820 AM.

Lee and her husband had a beautiful table at the conference. They probably had the most stylish and attractive display of any of the vendors. Featured at one corner was a drawing for a lovely (huge) gift basket. At another spot they had small give-aways for the children. Everything was coordinated, the colors bright and fresh. It was a delight to look over all of Lee’s materials and talk with her about her business.

Last summer Lee came to my house and directed a course on teaching math through games, using the book, Family Math. She was an accomplished teacher and did a wonderful job. She could easily have led us through another entire workshop. Perhaps next year she will be one of the speakers at the homeschool conference as well as one of the vendors.

lee and kathy

It was lovely to see you, Lee!

P.S. The rest of the conference was nice too. :)

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Some fun blog links

Some fun posts I’ve read this week on friends’ blogs:

*Best souvenir from a homecoming military dh – De’Etta (aka Burka Babe)

*Weirdest Cat Art (Is this for real??) – Don’t Try This At Home

*College Reflections – Rachel (one of my awesome W&M roommates)

*Decorating the home for Easter – Emily

*More Inspiring Easter decorating with Emily

*Travels around England with Betty the stuffed duck – Romany

*Photography book review – Kristine

*Lots of pictures of a great trip to Disney – Cynthia

*10 Requirements for Surgery – Ginger

*Night with the Moody Chorale – Carl

That’s just a little of what I’ve been reading lately. It’s a wonder I have any time to blog at all. But then I just let the children clean the house so I have plenty of time to sit around and browse blogs.

Share some of your favorite blogs in the comments section! Remember, 72 million blogs and counting.


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