Sunday, December 20, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
The Little People Nativity set. Family Christian Store had it on sale. It's not elegant. It's a bit cartoonish. But it's got A (5) and K (3) enjoying the Christmas Story for hours on end and sparking their interest in hearing the story from the Bible.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Mrs. Wilson wonders if Paul had mothers in mind when he wrote I Thessalonians 5:14 "Admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all." Don't you agree with her that's a very good description of mothering?
I made myself a sign out of the verse, printed in one of my new favorite colors (orange :) and mounted on a slip of scrapbook paper. It now hangs prominently in my kitchen, where I see it often - to serve as a reminder of my job description.
It's been posted for about a week now. I find it interesting that each time my one of my children has a need - a need that "interrupts" my "work" and I'm tempted to get frustrated - meeting the need falls easily into one of the four categories! The Big Boys getting off-task in their schoolwork? An opportunity to admonish the idle. The 5yo has a high fever and keeps us up all night? An opportunity to help the weak. The Littles are grouchy and lacking self-control because of hunger? An opportunity to encourage the fainthearted (and give them a snack.) The end of a long day, when my "to-do list" seems untouched and I feel like what I need most is just a BREAK!? An opportunity to be patient with them all. (And... as Amy Carmichael says ... a "chance to die" to self.)
Is it my nature to do this? No way! I'm so selfish, and I do love crossing things off my list. I wrestle with my flesh constantly when it comes to dying to myself and "walking" in the "good works" (Eph 2:10) the Lord has prepared for me in each moment - especially when those good works seem to be interrupting the good works I've planned for myself. That's exactly why I made the sign - I need a visible, present reminder for I have much learning and growing yet to do in this area.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
The one I listened to today was called "Sulking." I was attracted to the title because it's something I never do. Har har har. It was SO good to hear the voice of my old friend again, a spiritual mother whose writings and talks have encouraged me since I was a teenage girl.
Monday, October 26, 2009
After several weeks of hunkering down and working hard to keep our little home and school on track, I just needed some beauty! You know what I mean? So I poked around on a couple of user-friendly decorating blogs (The Shabby Nest and The Nesting Place are my favorites - go check 'em out) I got inspired.
Now, remember, I'm no Martha Stewart. Don't wanna be. Just want to bring a little beauty into the lives of the people I love and make our home a haven. It all began when I found this little basket at Good*will. It used to be an icky shade of sea foam green. But I liked the shape and thought it would be a cute way to contain our keys, etc. on the kitchen counter. So my Sweetie spray painted it black for me. Isn't it cute? (I'm really loving the way black looks with my fun green kitchen paint. hmmm.... )I had noticed how both of the bloggers mentioned use monograms a lot in their decorating. Lettering is definitely a fun trend. Our guest bathroom has needed some art for a while, so I found an old picture frame, got out the black spray paint, and went to work. I removed the glass, cut a piece of burlap to size and used spray adhesive to stick it to a piece of cardboard (also, amazingly, cut to size LOL.) I looked and looked for a letter just the right size and shape at the craft store, but struck out. "C" is not a very pretty letter. But as I was about to give up, I found this little one in the dollar bin! It's really meant to be a little velvet coloring project for kids. But more black spray paint and voila! (I'm really getting addicted to black spray paint. And burlap. Just think of all the things we can do with them....)In the closeup you can see the how the "C" is embossed with little stars for coloring - oh well, adds texture, I say! The fern leaf was created using an inexpensive stencil and black acrylic craft paint. Next I tackled the need for art in the guest bedroom. I bought frames at I*kea months ago, but finally printed some of my photography to put in them. (The "Sisters" frame was a gift from - you guessed it - my sister! Aren't we cute?)<>Then I "shopped my house" for another set of frames and random accessories (and added some more of my photography.) My Sweetie helped me hang everything.Next I put away the pile of shoes and purses that tend to collect on our hearth and "shopped the house" for some happiness to put there. (The picture frame is another .99 GW find. I just added my 13yo son's favorite art print.)Throw in some little punkins from W*l-M*rt and the fireplace looks almost pretty. Speaking of WM, I found the most adorable ceramic pumpkin for $5! Added to a clearance charger and placemat and I ended up with a cute fall centerpiece.
I also prettied up the front porch. More burlap (yay), some beads I already had on hand, a welcome sign on clearance, a punkin and some mums on sale at the garden center.
All of these little changes were affordable and quick - we did most of it in one weekend afternoon - but make a big difference. A little frugal creativity can go a long way to achieving a little Hidden Art. That is Mrs. Schaeffer's main point, after all - that ordinary people can have beauty in their homes without spending a lot of money or being interior designers by trade. Simple. Cheap. Beauty.
Happy Fall Ya'll!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
"Bethink thee of something that thou oughtest to do, and go to do it, if it be but the sweeping of a room, or the preparing of a meal, or a visit to a friend. Heed not thy feelings. Do thy work." (quoted in George MacDonald: An Anthology, C.S. Lewis, ed.)
Monday, September 28, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
(Meditation on Matthew 6:34 "Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
Part of saving faith is the assurance that you will have faith tomorrow. Trusting Christ today includes trusting him to give you tomorrow's trust when tomorrow comes. Often we feel today like our reservoir of strength is not going to last for another day. The fact is, it won't. Today's resources are for today, and part of those resources is the confidence that new resources will be given tomorrow.
A Godward Life, (Multnomah Books, 1997) p.25
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Here's how it goes: Drive around aimlessly for 20 min, unable to find Greenway until helpful bro-in-law gives directions to a park with easy access. Ok. Now, get out the clunky, old Gra*co single stroller for K (3), as well as scooter & helmet for A. Think to self: "why do I not own a jogging stroller?" Decide that training for a half-marathon requires some actual time running, and this is the best I'm gonna get today. Load K in the stroller and set off. (M leaves her scooter in the car, saying she'd rather run like me. I'm concerned about this, but I'm also concerned about how I'll carry 2 scooters and push the stroller when everyone gets tired before 3 miles are up. That's one of the reasons I picked the Greenway, though, instead of a loop trail ... once we're on it, ya gotta finish to get back to the car! *wink*)
Running with this old stroller isn't easy - it has to be man-handled through every turn and I have to bend over to push. Hard on the back, but good for the biceps! ;-) Jog at a pretty good pace for the first 1/4 mile or so. Concrete sidewalk gives way to lovely boardwalk along the creek. Splat! A wipes out on his scooter on the wet wood (did I mention it was drizzling? What is wrong with me?) Biker speeding by beeps a wimpy little horn and narrowly misses the fallen boy on the trail. Hug, wipe the knees, and lay the scooter over the stroller handle so A can go on foot. Continue jogging, with the scooter's extra weight now making the stroller a real challenge.
A quickly tires of running. Asks to get in stroller. Ok, K is ready to stretch her legs, so I slow down and walk a bit. Scooter still "parked" on the stroller handle, as we're still on wet wood. Wood gives way to asphalt and M decides to take a turn with the scooter. A doesn't want to give up his spot in the stroller, so I put K ... in the basket! Running uphill with 2 kids in a non-jogging, single stroller! Are we having fun yet?
And so it went for the first two miles. We had no other major incidents, even when the trail briefly followed a busy road, then went d.o.w.n a steep ramp to cross under it. We finally hit our stride for the last mile, with M happily scootering (wth only one little wipeout - silly wet wood!), A running, and K in the stroller. After all his complaining on the first leg of the trail, A ran the whole last mile! I had told them we were doing 3 miles total, and when he reached the car, A kept saying, triumphantly, "I ran a 5K! I ran a 5K!"
And you know what? Perhaps not the most serene run I've ever had, but definitely a workout and definitely a memory made.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
We had a rough week, to be honest! I posted the picture at right (taken at Cloudland Canyon while on our anniversary trip last month) because it reminds me that in our school year there will be times we are on the mountain-top and times we are in the valley. And times in between where we, with firm resolve, struggle to climb back to the top!
Monday was spent organizing last-minute details for the boys' first day at Veritas Classical School, as well as getting books ready for M & A to study here at home. I hadn't run errands - or run my feet - in a while, so I ended up doing both Monday afternoon and evening, and was a little scattered and tired Tuesday as a result.
The boys liked their classes and teachers, but it's going to take some time for them to adjust to the workload. S (almost 15) did a tutorial three years ago and we learned the hard way how easy it is to leave too much work to do at the end of the week. So the 2 boys and I sat down Wednesday morning and mapped out their assignments by days. S. had quite a lot of literature / writing to get done over the weekend and will have a busy day Monday. C. has been able to keep up with his assignments, but he's a fast reader.
The other big change for the boys is that we've dropped Saxon math. It simply wasn't working for us anymore, and the DIVE cds weren't helping, either. So S is doing Jacobs' Algebra, and so far is loving it's straightforward lessons and narrative style. C. is using BJU Press 7th grade math. No cd-rom or DVD means Mom will have to be more involved in the instruction, but I've scheduled that during K's (3yo) nap and A's rest time. I'm pretty good at algebra and at least this way when they have a question, I won't have to spend 45 minutes reading through what they're doing to answer it - we'll all be on the same page, so to speak! ;-)
M (10 -5th gr) and A (5 - K) got a little bit of work done each day, but I'm still tinkering with the schedule and still trying to get my planbook organized. M is really motivated this year, and is already reading ahead in history! I'm stremlining for these two, using mostly curriculum from Christian Liberty Press, with a little A Beka and some living books thrown in.
My mission for this school year is:
-to help S & C succeed at Veritas and spread their wings as young men, learning to be responsible for themselves, be challenged academically, and begin getting out from behind Mom's apron strings and into the world;
-to get M up to grade level. As the middle child (and one with special medical needs that at times distract us from school), her academic progress has gotten kind of lost. I'm calling her a 5th grader, though some of her work is still 4th, but I'm optomistic by the end of the year, we'll "be there." If not, we'll just call next year "5th grade, part 2!"
-to simplify!!! I'm learning more and more that the specific curricula we use and the grand plans I make matter less than just "doing the next thing" - just diligently working through whatever we're using.
-to create a pleasant, Christ-honoring atmosphere in our home, no matter what we accomplish academically. I've only a few years left with S at home, and I want to impart a love for the Lord, His Word, His people, and the nations. He can always study and learn and fill in the gaps of "information", but I don't get a "do-over" in training his heart.
I finally posted C's 7th grade line-up here, and M's 5th grade on this page. Kindergarten ideas still to come. (And no, I've not forgotten about chores! More on that coming soon, Lord-willing.)
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
S – 9th Grade Curriculum Plan, 2009-2010
(S will be attending Veritas Classical School one day per week for humanities instruction. Their book list is copyrighted and is only available to registered students. So I can't list the books here, but trust me, they're good!)
Bible - New Testament Survey
History -U.S. History
English - grammar, writing, vocabulary
Rhetoric / Debate
(S. will also be taking an apologetics elective at a local a la carte homeschool enrichment program)
Apologetics -The Quest for Truth Chris Sherrod
Algebra I - Elementary Algebra Harold Jacobs
Physical Science - Exploring Creation with Physical Science Dr. Jay Wile
Fine Arts - Appreciation: Annotated Mona Lisa Carol Strickland
Young Persons Guide to Music Neil Ardley
The Story of Classical Music CD by Darren Henley
Various composer studies
Studio arts: Various drawing exercises
Guitar - weekly lesson & practice
PE - fitness training and various group classes at YMCA
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
This was a fun giveaway, and I wish I had something to mail to all of you! Thanks for visiting and commenting. If I can ever find time to blog again (with the craziness of illness, last-minute end-of-summer trips, and school starting) I look forward to making some new homeschool bloggy friends!
Have a great week!
Friday, August 7, 2009
*Note to the curious... yes my children received the vaccine. But 10yo M has a rare blood disorder and she just marches to the beat of her own drummer, medically speaking. =)
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations is sponsoring a Curriculum Cleanout. Now through August 15, lots of great resources will be recycled through giveaways. Have something that needs a new home? Need a few items to round out your curriculum? Then check out this great blog carnival that grows daily!
My giveaway is for Exploring God's Creation Science workbook from Christian Liberty Press. First, I just want to say how much I love Christian Liberty Press! They are affordable, user-friendly, and have a solid Biblical worldview. This science workbook (we used it more as a "text") has information and activities on a range of topics in all the major areas of elementary science. It's listed in their 3rd grade materials, but we used it as a group when my kids were in 4th, 2nd, and K. (The first couple of lessons have some marks - before I got smart and photocopied the lessons.) Each chapter has a bit of info on the topic, followed by some questions and an experiment that uses easy-to-find household items. We supplemented each topic with books from the library and spent about a week on each lesson.
The way to enter this giveaway is to leave me a comment on this post - it's that easy! (Be sure to leave me a way to contact you.) Contest ends at midnight on the 15th - I will randomly select a winner from all the entries. Hope you win!
**Tune in tomorrow for part 2 of the Chores series!
"Can I do yogos on the map, Mom? Can't I? 3yo K asking to do yoga on the mat one morning. I had to stop laughing to say "yes." She tends to end all questions with a sweet little, lilting "can't I?" What - does she think that makes her hard to resist? She's right!
shaps ships -- chap stick
sssip sslops -- flip flops
precious -- princess
Blessed Jesus to Your Name -- title of her favorite song, "Blessed Be Your Name"
"I think 21 Gu*ns is the best song ever. It makes me cry." 12-going-on-13 yo C, commenting on music by Gre*en D*ay
"Mom, K had to go potty at 5am and I took her." 10 yo M being a sweet big sister. She's done a good job with the middle-of-the-night potty breaks and hugs now that K has a big girl bed and shares M's room.
That's some of the chatter happening around here. Go visit Mary's place for more Tiny Talk Tuesday.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
So part one is an overview of our family's basic principles and some resources we have found helpful. And remember, I never claimed to be perfect. *wink* There are dozens of good books, ideas, and methods out there. This is just a sampling of what we've liked and used.
There are two resources that influenced me more than any other in the early years of chore training in our family: The Heart of the Home cd set (well, my original was cassette tapes!) and a book titled The Managers of Their Homes.
Heart of the Home is a 5-cd set by Sue Jakes and Priscilla Stewart that is a wealth of encouragement on many topics relating to a biblical view of motherhood. I really can't recommend this product strongly enough! It was originally a gift from my mother-in-law in 1997, and changed and blessed me, as a young wife and mother of two, in so many ways. It's full of encouragement - both from Scripture and from two moms with a total of 11 children between them. It's also full of practical ideas on everything from learning styles to discipline, to --well -- chores! (It includes a handy study guide with its own resource list, diagrams, and Scriptures mentioned in the talks. And though I love all of it, my favorite talk is "How a Good Mom Can Be a Great Wife" - but that's a post for another time.) I listen again and again for encouragement and have loaned it or given as gifts to many people. Fantastic stuff! (click here for a link to the PCA bookstore, then search for the title, if the link above doesn't work.)
From HOH I gleaned many things that relate to chores. First is just an overall desire to instill in my children a servant's heart. Living in a family is a great way to demonstrate, "by love serve one another" on a daily basis as we work together to make our home a nice place to live. Second, was the "chore fishy" idea. I think they mention it in the talks, and instructions are in the study guide for making the little fish tank. Third, was the "swat team" approach to tidying up - I've sort of adopted and adapted this using some FlyLady ideas and call it "Room Rescues." Quick clean-ups with each person tackling a specific zone in the main living areas - good for sprucing up before Daddy comes home or being ready for that unexpected visitor. Lastly, was a very handy teaching tool for young and old alike:
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
**ha ha ha - 10yo M just got up and walked over to me, "Good morning, Mommy. When are we leaving?" Guess I'd better go get this show on the road, huh? ;-)
(If you're curious about the "chore fish" - I'm planning to finally get that chore post going soon... check back later!)
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Ok, now on to "3.4 miles - unplugged." As a novice runner, I have been using my iP*d as a crutch to keep me going -- fast-paced (and often loud) music that makes my feet move fast! But after several months, the playlist was getting tired - or I was getting tired of it.
On my long run Saturday, I experimented with a more mellow playlist, and just enjoying the music of Indelible Grace and Caedmon's Call, etc., as I ran - not needing the music to push me on. I thought about what Wendy and another new running/blogging friend said about feeling close to the Lord when running - and wondered if I could ever get to the point where I don't need the iP*d to run. And then it happened...
I grabbed my iP*d at the beginning of my run last night only to discover little A(4yo) had drained the battery! At first I was mad, then I thought, "ok, here's my chance to be a real runner - just me, the Lord, and the trail."
It was nice! I did spent quite a lot of time in thought and prayer, when my mind could focus. I enjoyed being able to give a nod and a hello to the other runners/walkers on the trail and hear their reply. I enjoyed the crickets and the rush of the wind in my ears as I climbed the big hill. And oddly, I enjoyed the rhythmic sound of my feet hitting the pavement.
I'm not saying I'll put away the earbuds forever, but I may have to do more runs unplugged!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Finding Titus 2 encouragement here.
The sound of S (14) trying to learn the guitar chords for Holy, Holy, Holy so he can play it for K. It's her favorite hymn.
A cup of this before bedtime
Watching Mr. Towhee hop backwards on the ground under the bird feeder, flicking the dirt with his feet and grazing on the seed dropped by other birds. I love his striking black and orange colors and I love that his bride is always nearby.
My Da*isy Fu*entes Favorite Tee in "orchid." Found on clearance. Lightweight, comfy - the perfect layer over my workout tops for running.The way all five kids pile all over me when I read a story. Even if they've heard it a hundred times, the Big 3 still cuddle up when they hear me reading Corduroy or Winnie-the-Pooh to The Littles.
Holding my husband's hand during prayers at church.
The truth of this verse:
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things
present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything
else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ
Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's "own" or "real" life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life -- the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls "real life" is a phantom of one's own imagination. This is at least what I see at moments of insight: but it's hard to remember it all the time.
------C.S. Lewis, in a letter to Arthur Greeves (as quoted in Shopping for Time, p. 86)
Monday, April 20, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Me: A, you need to quit playing around and finish your chores.
A: Well, I want to, but my brain is just making me silly!
Me: Your brain is going to get your bottom in trouble, so you need to put that away and get finished!
A: Oh, I'm remembering how to do my chores now!
"Hey, Mom! I did 43 jumps in a row using the crutch as a pogo stick!" 14yo S, who along with 12yo C has been inventing new uses for old crutches. pogo stick and stilts top the list. I just close the door to their basement room and pretend I know nothing. :)
Go visit Mary for more Tiny Talk Tuesday
Monday, April 6, 2009
I've discovered two great sources for lovely skirts and dresses that will make any "twirly" girl's heart sing.
First up is Cupcakes -- "tastefully sweet fashion." Check out their blog for samples of some precious dresses for spring.
Second is Amoretti. I love the sweet dresses and skirts. I also love their signature item, the "skirty." A skirty is a must for any girl (like my two) that prefers to wear skirts and dresses. Simply, the skirty is an undergarment, but a pretty one - covers like bike shorts but so much better looking! Check out their website here.
Now for the Giveaway ... Amoretti is giving away a skirty (and some other fun things) in their "Fortnightly Purse" blog. I'm hoping to win one for my warrior-princess! Click here to enter.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
"Wait - is this a cautionary tale?" 12yo C said with a smile while I was reading Storytime with the Millers the other day at lunch. I almost couldn't continue reading because I was laughing so hard.
"Mommy, can I have a nutcracker?" 2yo K asking for her favorite morning snack - a graham cracker.
"See, mama! See?! She hurt she-self!" K trying to show me the owie on her dolly's leg. For some reason, "she" is her all-purpose pronoun these days.
"Hey, Mom - I think we can safely say I have the biggest feet in the house!" 12yo C's recent proclamation, which happens to be true.
"Sometimes I just need to get out of the house!" 14yo S, after an especially difficult time babysitting The Littles. This is why he'll be spending some time interning with his Dad at work next year. Time to start spreading his wings a little bit.
Go visit Not Before 7 for some more Tiny Talk Tuesday.
Friday, March 20, 2009
If the cozy coupe toddler car is fun for little kids, I bet it would be fun for me. But I don't fit very well, so let's take the roof off. Now, what would be really fun is if we rode it down the driveway. [our drive is slightly sloped] "Hey, A! (4yo) Come over here and let me push you down the driveway in K's (2yo) car! Coool! Now, grab the end of my grappling hook and I'll pull you!"
Their ability to come up with creative ideas of trying to kill themselves never ceases to amaze me. Thankfully the only casualty in this escapade was a sippy cup.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
The check-in lady was gruff, the x-ray tech chided me for K's paci, and the doc missed the day in med school when they handed out bedside manner. Oh, and I had a headache all day.
Relief came after dinner when I was able to get to the Y and burn off some stress and then come home and LMAO watching The Office.
I'm sharing all of this because it gives me an excuse to use my favorite new quote:
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
12yo C, pretending to fall on the floor and die, "Ahh, I'm dyyyiinnng!" A rushes over, bends down, proclaims, "True love's kiss!" and smooches C on the cheek.
As little 2yo K tugs at my sleeve..."Mommy, you look cute! You puh-ple! I wike your shirt!" so sweet!
"Dad, I wan bagel-nut." 2yo K declared at breakfast. "A what?" asks Daddy. "A bagel-nut! Like Dah-doo!" (that's what she calls A)
Turns out a bagel-nut is, in fact, a crueller!
For more Tiny Talk Tuesday, go visit Mary at Not Before 7. Happy Tuesday!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
In the meantime, let me post a passage here from today's devotional. It was very timely for me as I wrestle with my own very light afflictions and watch some friends walk through much harder times.
Prosperity is often a mixed blessing, and adversity is far from being an unmixed calamity!