Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Freshman Year for Free with Modern States (CLEP tests)

At the end of our homeschooling journey, I had the padawans take several CLEP tests to save time and money.
We didn't know for certain which college (if any) they would end up at so we stuck with some basic gen ed CLEP tests that we thought would be accepted at most schools. (Although, we did confirm that their most likely college choices would take these tests.)

Tenor took the US History I, English Literature, and US History II CLEP tests.
Soprano tackled US History I, English Lit, and American Government.

I recently decided to move forward with finishing my degree, and I just took the American Government CLEP test.

What I didn't know until Soprano's last test was that we could have done them all for free. *cue the sad trombone wah-wah
Since I learned about Modern States 'freshman year for free', I was able to take my first CLEP at zero cost.

Here's how it works:

1. Go to Modern States & create an account.

2. Go to & create an account.

3. On the College Board CLEP info page, you can search for your chosen school to see which CLEP tests they accept and what the minimum passing scores need to be. When you find your school, you can also click on the "Find nearby testing centers" button to also make note of where you can take the test.

4. Pick your course of study at Modern States. I read somewhere that about an hour a day for about 6 weeks should be enough time to finish the course.

5. When you're done with the course (all the reading, all the homework), you can submit a screenshot of your progress (needs to be 100% done) to Modern States to get a voucher for the CLEP test fee.

6. Then, find a nearby testing center and register for your exam. Here's where you can select your college of choice. Modern States will send your score directly to them. (Don't forget to put in your voucher code to skip the $80 test cost!)

7. Schedule your test with the testing center, pay their proctoring fee (my center is $30), take the test. If you pass, you've just earned 3 college credits! Woo-hoo!!

8. If your score is high enough, you can also get a testing center fee reimbursement from Modern States. You'll need a receipt from the testing center and a copy of your test score. Take pics of both and upload.

And that's it! Super easy process to earn college credit at no cost.
I've got 1 more to go. :D

Saturday, October 2, 2021

WCMD 2021 - 2 MFT Cards

 It's World Cardmaking Day! I have 2 cards featuring My Favorite Things stamp sets that I made.

I used blender brushes to create a savanna sunset then cut it using Snowdrifts Cover-up Dienamics.

Card Details:
Color - Memento: Tuxedo Black, Rhubarb Stalk, Morocco, Cantaloupe, Peanut Brittle, Espresso Truffle, Tangelo, Elderberry / PTI: Harvest Gold, Plum Pudding / Copic markers
Stamps - MFT: Happy Hippos, In Paris
Dies - MFT: Snowdrifts Cover-up

Card #2 features a sweet little elephant from Adorable Elephants.
I used cardstock strips for the background and cut a base for Ellie from the MFT Pizza Maker Dienamics.

Card Details:
Color - Memento: Tuxedo Black / PTI: Stormy Seas / Copic markers
Stamps - MFT: Adorable Elephants, Essential Sentiments
Dies - MFT: Pizza Maker
Cardstock - PTI: Spring Moss, Stormy Seas, Aqua Mist, Soft Stone, Weathervane / Taylored Expressions: Cookie Monster / Stampin Up!: Island Indigo

Monday, February 22, 2021

My Top 7: Favorite Helpful Homeschooling Books

I've been sitting on a draft of this post for ages now, for absolutely no good reason. :) With the world functioning the way it is right now, homeschooling has come up more and more as an educational option. It's doable, folks... all the way through high school. And the benefits are amazing and eternal! (Doesn't mean it's all sunshine and roses everyday. We don't wear coordinating outfits made out of draperies and skip through the hills singing. lol)
But homeschooling and getting started in homeschooling can be intimidating, so here's a list of my favorite resource books!
(No affiliate links are used.)

 1. The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach by Robin Sampson

     A very thorough look at what Bible-based homeschooling should look like and helpful instruction and rationale about why a Classical approach doesn't line up with biblical principles.

2. Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie

    If you're Type A with OCD and perfectionistic, have-to-cross-out-everything-on-the-list tendencies like me, this book will help you chill.

3. The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling by Debra Bell

    The name says it all

4. The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias

    A great help in understanding learning modalities (how people learn) and finding out how your kids will learn best

5. Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt

    Lists of good, appropriate literature by age/grade

6. Any books by Lee Binz

     Her Coffee Break books series is fantastic. Short, quick, easy-to-digest, informative books on a variety of homeschooling topics. She helps to break down homeschooling high school with very helpful advice.

7. Blueprint Homeschooling by Amy Knepper 

    A helpful resource to plan out what you want to do.

Honorable Mentions:
Beyond Survival: A Guide to Abundant-Life Homeschooling by Diana Waring

    This has book recommendations, examples of how they chose to homeschool, and how to make homeschooling fit your life and your kids so it doesn't become drudgery.

Worth Looking At:
Approaches to Christian Homeschooling by Kerry Beck

    A good overview for beginners of various teaching styles and methods

For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
A Biblical Home Education by Ruth Beechick

    I like Heart of Wisdom better but this one has good points.

Recommended by others but I haven't read yet:
Homeschooling for Excellence by David and Micki Colfax
You CAN Teach Your Child Successfully by Ruth Beechick

100% Skippable (save your cash and time):
101Ways to De-Stressify Your Homeschool by Aimee Colbert
Approaches to Christian Homeschooling by Kerry Beck
Homeschooling High School: Planning Ahead for College Admission by Jeanne Gowen Dennis

Monday, May 25, 2020

Craft Room Sources

Here's a quick run-down of some of the construction things, decor pieces, and organization items I used in my new craft room. (No affiliate links.)

LED lighting (similar)

countertop laminate sheets

cabinet knobs (in flat black)

door paneling

paint colors: Valspar Seashell Gray (walls) and Olympic Crumb Cookie (trim)

Ikea Linnmon desktop
Ikea Olov adjustable desk legs

Union Jack bunting (similar)

arched wood shelf

Moda Farm Girl Vintage fabric

Moda Granny Chic fabric

photo boxes

Bino white woven bins (for 6x6 paper)

Clear fridge bins (9.5x6.5x4 for stamps)

Clear bins (10x5x6 for extra envelopes)

Copic/marker storage X cubes (Deflecto)

Flyt magazine holders from Ikea (for letter-size cardstock)
Mainstays white storage baskets (assorted sizes available in store for only a few dollars per pack)

More craft room posts: 
Sewing Projects for Craft Room Decorating

Friday, May 22, 2020

Papercrafting Organization in the New Craft Room Part 2

The big craft room reveal post got so long that I absolutely have to break down the decorating projects and organization into separate posts.

Here's part 2 of the papercrafting organization aka what's in all of those cupboards.
Let's start this one by finishing off the base cabinets of my long work counter.
From the left:
Cabinet 1 is only one door. It's the perfect place for my manual diecutting supplies. I have some close-ups in this post. (Plates and stamp storage envelopes in the drawer)
(generic-shape dies in the box | scenic, sentiment, non-stamp image dies in the basket | envelope template | embossing folders in another basket | Cuttlebug)
Cabinet 2 is very wide. The drawer holds my stamping cushion and stamping mat paper and my aqua crayons, which like to lay flat.
The shelves below are not the best set-up but I don't have any vertical space to stand my scor-pal, glass work mat, and stamp platform. The bottom shelf holds all of my pocket scrapbook cards and a little photo box of extra pockets and the melding tool. Looking at it right now, I might just swap the two shelves for easier access to the scrapbook cards and see how that works. Hmm... #ideasideas

Cabinet 3 has my Creative Memories templates, ATG, and CM mini trimmer in the drawer. Easy to get to, easy to hide away when not in use.

Underneath I keep some extra storage bins for stamps, card stencils, my laminator (yet to be used #muchshame), card and scrapbook sketch ideas, and my big 'ol trimmer. (Seriously, best trimmer ever! Self-sharpening blade, cuts straight, folds out for 12"+ base.)

And that ends my main work space! At the end of the counter, we stacked matching 42" cabinets, which fit with 1/2" to spare under the beams of ceiling. They are upper cabinets so they aren't as deep, but they're still pretty useful. (Although it took me awhile to find bins that fit how I wanted.)

The first set of "pantry" cabinets holds my completed cards. They are housed by category in white photo boxes.
The cabinet on the bottom has cards that ready to send. OCD as it is, in December I pick all of my cards for the year and very lightly write the name, date, and occasion in the flap area of the envelope. I put them all in order and grab the next month's worth and take them to our household command center and address and stamp them. You'd think I'd never miss one but I'm usually late in sending cards more often than I'd like to admit. lol I also have some random stationery for writing notes, pre-cut A2-size mats, extra envelopes, my small amount of wood-mount stamps, and idea books.

The larger set of pantry cabinets hold my stamps in the top. Unmounted rubber are stored in clear DVD cases while acryclics are stored in clear pockets. I showed that a bit more in this post.
There's still some room in there for more stamps. Right?? 😋

The last bottom cabinet holds my 6x6 paper pads, sorted by category. (Also in hard-to-find baskets) Our family photos (either in-process for scrapbooks or extra prints from our pre-digital years or extra prints that didn't end up in a scrapbook or were given to us) and card kit binders. (I like to make card kits in steps --sketch the idea, cut the cardstock base, find the patterned paper, etc.-- and then take those kits to girls' weekend crafting get-togethers. I get more done there when I can just glue and assemble instead of trying to chat with friends and be creative at the same time.)

And, y'all, that's it! The whole craft room drawer-by-drawer and shelf-by-shelf. There's just a bit of tweaking that might happen...I really want to buy an air plant and once stores open again see if there are any decor switches but otherwise it's done, it's functional, it's purtty, and I can close the door. lol
Now on to the next house project...

More craft room posts: 
Sewing Projects for Craft Room Decorating

Linking up at:
Tutorials and Tips

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Papercrafting Organization in the New Craft Room Part 1

The big craft room reveal post got so long that I absolutely have to break down the decorating projects and organization into separate posts.

Here's part 1 of the papercrafting organization aka what's in all of those cupboards.
I'll start with the first base cabinet and work my way around the room.
The first section is for my die cutting machines, the Cricut and the Scan N Cut. This first drawer holds those cutting mats and accessories. I like a clean countertop so the cords live in here too.

In the door underneath, I keep my Cricut cartridges in photo boxes. The bottom shelf holds my essential oils and jug of water for my diffuser. Behind my EOs I have 3 12x12 cases that hold my vinyl rolls and additional Scan N Cut accessories.

The drawer unit next to that holds punches of all sorts, some random tools, and my chalk sets.

Up above the drawers is my only glass front cabinet. Of course, this is where all my pretty bits get to be. Buttons and flowers are on the top shelf; two baskets of embellishments are in the middle.
Enamel dots and gems are in their original packaging and tucked in on the left.
Sequin mixes are great in these little containers from Michaels (Recollections brand).
The bottom shelf holds 3 Ikea Birken jars (no longer available -- boo!) of washi tape and a lazy Susan with more buttons and pre-made paper succulents. 
The little tin holds handmade cards that friends and family have sent to me.
Turning the corner, this closed cabinet holds a box of extra supplies and a box of extra ATG tape. I keep my stickers and loose die cuts in 3-ring binders in here. The other side of the cabinet has ink cubes and dewdrops as well as EK success cases with embellishments, ribbon, and more washi tape.

That cupboard sits next to the paper palace. All rainbow-y. There are 3 separate units side-by-side, which hold all of my 12x12 and letter-size paper.
Unit 1 has pocket scrapbooking page protectors, old calendars (for memories), and 2 albums that hold the padawans oversize memorabilia on the top; 12x12 patterned paper on the bottom. I used to split stacks apart, but found I like keeping them together. The first couple of 12x12 holders have mixed brands of paper, then they're kept as stacks.

Unit 2 has my branded, heavier cardstock from Papertrey Ink, Stampin Up, Taylored Expressions, etc. on the top shelf. I broke down how I label my paper in this post. The bottom shelf has more patterned paper 12x12 stacks and then my 12x12 cardstock.

Unit 3 has the remainder of my heavyweight, branded 11.5x8 cardstock then my store brand cardstock on the top shelf. On the bottom, I have 12x12 sticker sheets, a couple of mini album projects, and the scrapbooks I'm working on currently.

One last spot I'll share in this post. We have this ruffled curtain because there is piping and a radiator heater in this corner and we (1) couldn't fit a cabinet in this space easily and (2) it's better to not block off the mechanicals. It ended up being a great place to hide this super cute little cart.
I tend to do my stamping and coloring and assembling while sitting. It is much more convenient to pull this over to my desk-height counter than have to dig things out of drawers and be standing, sitting, standing, sitting. Plus it's one of my favorite colors... and it's cute. #therealrationale
I keep my Stickles, Nuvo drops, stamping blocks, stamp cleaners, Taylored Expressions blending brushes, full-size ink pads, and basket of dry adhesives on it.
When I'm not using it, it gets tucked away right in here.
More cupboard organization pics are on their way. Stay tuned!
Do you have one of these carts? What color did you pick?

More craft room posts: 
Sewing Projects for Craft Room Decorating

Linking up at:
Tutorials and Tips
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