Sweet Critique: My Memories

My Memories

You guys know how much I love technology!  If I can automate it and put it on my phone or my laptop, I’m in heaven.

When digital cameras came around {yes, I’m old enough to remember when they weren’t around!}, I was excited.  Taking a picture, being able to delete it right then and there, retake it, then put it on the computer and manipulate it?   Yes please!

One thing I always wanted to do, but never could do for a variety of reasons, was to put together cute little photo albums of Babydoll when she was little.

I just don’t have a very good eye for design with some stuff {well, it takes me a while anyway} and sitting there with glue and scissors and stuff just wasn’t my idea of a good time.

I was recently introduced to digital scrapbooking and MyMemories, though, and I thought, “What a neat concept!  All the embellishments and patterns and everything all right there, digitized!”

MyMemories has some really cool features:

One of my favorites?  The fact that you don’t have to drag out a bunch of stuff and then put it away!

At just $39.97, it’s a great value for those of you who really enjoy doing this and having options.

I will admit, when I first sat down to use it, I was a little intimidated.  I had a blank canvas and tons of options; scary!

But, if that type of thing doesn’t phase you, you’ll absolutely love this stuff.  It really does have just about anything you’d need to make some awesome stuff!

Do you enjoy digital scrapbooking?  Have you created anything?

Sweet Cause: Sharing Domestic Violence Experiences

There is so much to talk about when it comes to awareness for any campaign:  how to help, what to look for, when things start happening, and who it happens to.

I’ve blogged a bit about what the signs of domestic violence are and what you can do to help someone who is a victim of domestic violence.

I plan to continue posts like these because I believe it’s important to educate people.  I couldn’t help but think, though, that personal experiences really drive home the importance of this awareness.

While I’ve briefly touched on my experience with domestic violence, and I’d like to give others the opportunity to share their experiences as well.

I’d like to feature survivors, those still in abusive relationships, children of these relationships, any story at all.  Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to contribute.  You can do so anonymously if you’d like.

Some posts will be guest posts here on Sweet Phenomena and other times I’ll link to posts that have been done before.

My bloggy friend, Meagan, is sharing her story today.  Meagan is an incredible lady who is always ready to help another blogger out, without even being asked.  You’d never know she had been in several abusive relationships.

Visit Meagan at Sunshine and Sippy Cups to read about her experiences with domestic violence, what finally caused her to rid herself of these relationships, and how she’s doing now!


How I Do Our Homeschool Daily Lesson Planning – Part 2

The first post in this series can be found here.

So how, specifically, do I use Dropbox for our daily lessons?

I was already inputting daily lessons into Excel.  I printed each spreadsheet and put it into a binder for Babydoll.

She had a week’s worth of lesson spreadsheets in her binder and she used that to know what work she would be completing each day.

When we didn’t get around to completing some lessons, we had problems with the system.  The rest of the spreadsheets in the binder reflected completion of the prior day’s work.

Sure, it was easy for me to go into the computer and make changes on my end, but that meant I had to re-print this stuff to give it to Babydoll.

Dropbox allowed me to continue using my spreadsheets and sharing them with Babydoll, only it was done electronically.

This way, if changes needed to be made, I could make them and they would automatically be updated on her computer.


  1. I decide on what work we’ll be doing for the week and input the lessons into Excel.  Each day has it’s own spreadsheet, and is saved as it’s own file with the date {this would be “3-17″}.
  2. Each file is saved in a Dropbox folder.  This folder {named by Babydoll} contains all of the daily files I have.  Generally that means the current week’s worth of work, and the days we’ve completed.  As we complete a day, the file name is edited to read “Date – Complete”.
  3. Each day Babydoll knows to check her Dropbox folder after her chores are finished.  She works on her independent work first and then we complete the work we need to do together {this stuff is italicized}.
  4. After completing each assignment, Babydoll opens the file and fills the cell with color and adds a little note to me.

As I said earlier, this system has worked really well for us for several months now.  If I need to make changes, I can do so immediately and they’re also updated immediately on Babydoll’s computer.

I can  make changes from my phone or my computer.  It also keeps a record of attendance for me since I mark each day’s file complete once it’s finished.

This might not work for some, but it’s something that’s proven to be a great way for us to do this aspect of homeschooling.

What’s your favorite way to keep track of what your daily work should be?


How I Do Our Homeschool Daily Lesson Planning – Part 1


As I’ve progressed through homeschooling, I’ve learned that there are several types of planning that need to take place:  lesson planning, school year planning, curricula planning, etc.

Some take longer than others, but they’re all integral to the success of your homeschool year.

I am by no means an expert, and am still in that “we’re trying different things to see what works” phase, but I’ve given my current method a try for almost three months before coming forward with it.  It seems to be working better than any other method I’ve tried, by leaps and bounds, so I wanted to share.


I am a gatherer of information.  That’s always been my knack.  While this skill has many benefits, it also has a few drawbacks.

One of those drawbacks is the ability to be swayed by eye-candy.

By this I mean that it’s easy to see what others are doing or using and then want to try it myself.

Sure, this works well for the most part, especially when it comes to homeschool planning.  It does, however, take me out of the equation.

I hadn’t ever really sat down and thought about how I might do our lesson planning.  I “ooooed” and “ahhhhed” over everyone else’s methods, but nothing stuck.

They weren’t me.


One day I was talking with a fellow homeschooler about something completely unrelated.  She was sharing something in Dropbox with me, so I signed up for an account.

I quickly fell in love.  I’m a huge tech nerd and just fell in love with the concept.

Dropbox is essentially file sharing.  What I put into a folder in Dropbox can be accessed by those whom I share it with.

Plus, Dropbox has wicked cool artwork:

Photo Credit

Babydoll has a computer, and I’m pretty much always on my computer {or tethered to my phone}.

The light bulb came on:  Why couldn’t I use this for daily lesson planning for school days?

Stay tuned for the second part of this series {on Monday} to find out how I use Dropbox to accomplish this task.

TOS Sweet Critique: Creek Edge Press

PhotobucketWhat:  Creek Edge Press Geography & Culture Task Cards

Cost:  $18

Recommended Ages:  K-8


What are Creek Edge Press Geography & Culture Task Cards

I think the Creek Edge Press site best says what exactly these cards are:

Our goal is to provide a simple tool that pulls together the best of Classical, Charlotte Mason, and Montessori education. We do this with affordable, topic based Task Card Sets that facilitate discovery based, research oriented, independent learning.

Each card has a theme {Maps, Maps and Globes, Climate and Habitat} and a number of tasks to be completed related to that theme.

For instance, on the Maps card, some of the tasks are:

  • Define cartography.
  • Read about maps in an atlas.
  • Find a map legend.


Students use a variety of resources such as encyclopedias, books, maps, etc., to complete the cards.

Our Thoughts

Overall I love the concept of these cards.  Babydoll did similar work when she was at a Montessori school, and she loved it then, too.

I enjoy the breadth of topic covered, and like that they utilize a variety of resources, methods, and activities.  Anything that involves food is good in my book!

One thing I wasn’t prepared for was the enormity of preparing for these cards.  Maybe I’m just a bad homeschooler, but I didn’t have a lot of the books listed such as encyclopedias or a variety of atlases.

Then again, maybe this is just my issue, since I know all of this can be used at the library.  I just like having our own stuff!

Thankfully the publisher gives you a great list of resources needed.  It is broken down into specific types, which I really like.  It helps those of us that are list people to go through and mark off what we do have and purchase/borrow what we don’t have.

I was surprised and happy to see that the Instructor’s Guide also listed subjects/concepts covered by each card.  Great if you just want to grab one card to enrich a study.

I also love that they go into great detail about how to set up an area for these if you will really be delving into them for the year.

I think it was a little daunting for me, at first, to see all of this and try to incorporate it midyear {I’m just weird like that}, but I think going into next year these would be an awesome resource to include in our studies.

They cover a crazy amount of stuff for a very small price.

One thing I just have to note, and I’m probably one of the only people that noticed something like this {because I’m OCD and crazy}, but I’d like the comb binding to be a bit wider.  I had a little trouble turning pages in the Instructor’s Guide and some of my page edges got a little wrinkly which drives me crazy.

Creek Edge Press has cards related to other areas like science, art, grammar, and music; win!

What Others Thought

Be sure to check out what other members of the Crew thought!

True Confessions:  I received this set of cards in exchange for my honest review.