Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Todd was WRONG!

OK, maybe not completely wrong, but.............

Today was not a good day.  

It started out OK.  Everyone did their morning chores and got ready for school. Little P even put his breakfast plate in the dishwasher without a fight!  No one argued when I said we needed to clean off the entertainment center before starting school.  Then we started school on time (well.... almost).  

And that's when things started downhill.  

Little P and Little Bits insisted on playing nerf guns in the livingroom, making quite the ruckus, while I was trying to read the history lesson.  But a raised voice (once or twice) and we made it through.

Then we started on Kindergarten.........And things got worse......Way worse.

Today's lesson was our first introduction to reading a simple story.  We were working our way through and she got stumped on a word.  No big deal.......sound it out.  But she wasn't getting it.  The kicker?  She had just read the word FOUR times in the previous sentences!  My mind just couldn't wrap it's self around the idea that you can struggle with a word you've already read 2 seconds before.

And I found myself getting frustrated.  Really frustrated.  And (I hate to admit it).....Angry.

I finally threw up my hands in defeat and stomped into the bedroom.

I texted my frustration to my husband (it's easier for him to text than call when he is at work) and he responded "right" with words of encouragement.........."You can do it."

And I got angrier........

Now, let me deviate from my story a little and back to Todd.  Todd Wilson is one of my favorite homeschool speakers.  He's funny and real and I can relate to him.  His concept of "be real" is great and something I think we homeschooling moms tend to ignore. 

Hubby and I heard him for the first time a few years ago when he came to our states' annual homeschool conference.  One of his concepts that really stuck with us then was the idea of "shutting the escape hatch".  In other words, committing to homeschool and taking public school off the table.  So, Hubby and I did just that.

For a while things seemed great.  But then I started feeling like I was clawing at that escape hatch, trying to reopen it on a regular basis.  After several blow-ups, I finally put my finger on the problem.  I explained it to Hubby this way:

"It's as if we were both in a room and closed the escape hatch and then I turned around to find you had snuck out of the room and locked me in by myself."

Ouch!  Well, after a long heart-to-heart and some reorganizing of our homeschool, things got much better.

But lately I've been feeling like I'm back to clawing at that escape hatch.  And today, things really came to a head.

One of the things Todd stresses to homeschool dads is to be encouraging, especially when your wife has a bad day.  My hubby has latched on to that and has always been very encouraging.

However, today I finally discovered something about myself....... Encouragement doesn't help!  Well, at least not on a bad day.  'Cause, don't get me wrong, I need encouragement just as much as the next homeschool mom.  But, when I throw up my hands in defeat and stomp out of the room, the last thing I want Hubby to say is "you can do it!".  'Cause what I hear is "you have to or I won't love you anymore".


What I need is for Hubby to give me "permission" to take the day off, to take a break.  I already feel guilty for walking away, but know I'm too frustrated to go back.  So when Hubby says "you can do it!" I feel like he is pushing me to go back.  

And I know I can't.

Thus, I feel like I have failed him and he won't love me anymore.  So my only solution is to accept failure and put my kids in public school.

Thankfully, all these realizations have helped and Hubby and I have had a heart-to-heart this evening.  He is more than happy to simply give me "permission" to take the day off when things aren't going well and I'm beyond frustrated. =)  

So, I'm laying all this out there just in case I'm not the only one who feels like this (Please tell me I'm not the only one?!?) and it may help someone else.  

And, Todd, if you ever read this, maybe just a little clarification from you that not all homeschool moms are made exactly the same?


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Week of School

Well, we did it. We finished our first official week of school {yeah!}. And without any serious meltdowns or temper-tantrums...........from the teacher anyway, lol.

I decided to go with My Father's World again. We enjoyed it last year and, while I debated on coming up with something on my own to save on money, in the end I decided (well, truthfully my husband decided) my sanity was more important! I'm just not very reliable when I try to come up with my own lessons. I tend to not do them rather than figure out how to. So MFW is a really good fit for us (read that ME, lol) as I don't have to do a lot of teacher prep or planning of my own. I can just open the manual and go!

Munchkin doing her reading assignment.

I also decided to stick with pretty much everything else we were using, although, I did switch our writing program. MFW recommends Writing Strands (level 3 for Munchkins age), but it just really didn't work for us. Both she and I were ending up frustrated every time we worked on a lesson out of it. So, after a little research, I decided on Wordsmith Apprentice. So far we are really loving it. She loves the idea of being a reporter and the lessons are short enough to keep her interest, but challenging enough that she has to really think and apply herself.

I've also added in a few things. First is A Reason for Handwriting Transition. We've used this book (and the one before it) before, but it was rather hit and miss. I decided to more "formally" schedule it this year as I think her handwriting could use some help. Second is a workbook called "Comprehension Detective". I've felt like her reading comprehension hasn't been as good as I'd like considering she is reading above grade level. So I got this book to work on a couple times a week to try and improve that area. I also have a book of Multiplication Practice Tests (that comes with a CD as well) and Times Tales that I will add in as I see a need. Right now they are not scheduled, but I have them on the shelf ready to pull out if needed.

I started Peanut with MFW Kindergarten earlier this year. We've taken some time off here and there, so we are only finishing up lesson 12. So far we have been really enjoying it. I've been trying not to go too fast or push too hard because Peanut has needed more time to be "ready" for school. But I do think we are finally there {yeah!}. I'm hoping to be able to move into MFW 1st grade after the new year.

Peanut working on her Picture Cards
(notice the Ocean poster from week 9 in the background?)

Little P has been mostly tagging along with both Munchkin and Peanut. (All three of the kids participate in most of the group stuff in Creation to Greeks, although Munchkin is the only one I "require" to do the notebooking and other written assignments.) He knows most of the songs in the Kindergarten program and is starting to recognize some of the letters. But he's not ready to do more yet :o). He does frequently do his own version of the worksheets (both from K and CtoG) and has his own notebook to put his schoolwork in.

Little P working on a coloring worksheet.

Little Bits has thankfully been napping during school time. She has become somewhat of a handful, always wanting to be involved. However, her involvement usually entails taking all the pencils out of the supply tote, dumping the crayons out and throwing them around the room, or writing/coloring on my lesson plan! Occasionally she likes to take whatever worksheet one of her older siblings is working on, which prompts them to grab for it, usually resulting in said worksheet getting torn. I'm hoping that by the new year (when she'll turn 2) she may be ready for some more independent toddler activities and not be so focused on getting into whatever her siblings are doing. (Hey, I can dream right?!? LOL)

Peanut and Little P working on their individual worksheets.

This was supposed to be a post about our first week, but it seems to have turned into a post about our curriculum for the year! Mostly that happened because I don't have much to report on this week. It did go well, we got a lot accomplished. We studied Creation and started our timeline (picture of that coming soon!). We also did our version of a Sabbath meal. That was fun and the kids really enjoyed it. We may try to do it again sometime. They did have a science experiment, but daddy did that with them, so I can't really give an update on that!

So, that's our first week in a nutshell and where I see our year going. I hope to get a post up soon detailing some of the scheduling and organization that I have implemented this year, but I need to get pictures taken first :o) Hopefully I'll get to that in the next day or two. Until then...


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A new schedule

A couple weeks ago, I saw THIS post with the idea of a visual schedule. I immediately loved it! I've tried a schedule several times, but every time I failed. I've mostly followed the MOTH system, but I always seemed to "fall off" the schedule and never figured out how to successfully get back on. However, I have noticed that Peanut does much better with a schedule. She needs to know we are doing this, then that, then food (she's all about the food, lol). So I've been trying to come up with a way to do a schedule that works for both of us. I'm hoping this idea will be a perfect fit. It's still a schedule, but easy to change on the fly if necessary.

Now, this post will also show that I am not a very good blogger, lol. I failed to take pictures of each step, so only have pictures of the final project. I'll do my best to walk you through how I did it, though =)

First, I created a document in word with all the items we would need on our schedule. I added a clip art that "matched" the item to make it easier on my non-readers. I then printed them on regular paper, 5 per page. I cut them out and glued them on a slightly larger piece of scrapbook paper.

I then glued it on some foam board. Finally, I added a strip of magnetic tape on the back.

My Hubby then took the cabinet doors off our old BBQ and mounted them on the wall for me. Wala! Ultra cool visual schedule.

Close up of the top panel.

Close up of the bottom panel.

Wanna know what the best part is? I used materials I had on had, so it only cost me $3.99 for the magnetic tape! We haven't "officially" started using it yet (I only got it finished last night, lol), but I'm really excited to start. I really think it will help us stay in a routine.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Where has the time gone?

Wow, I've been seriously slacking with updating my blog! Where have the last few weeks gone? I feel like I've simply been in "survival" mode. Just get the basics done. Ever been there?

I'm horribly behind in menu planning. I didn't even make a menu last week (or go shopping!) Somehow we made it all the way to Saturday without eating out or take out! Definitely have to go shopping this week, though. We are seriously out of staples.

We have been busy, though. It's the end of the school year. So there is that push to get everything done before the weather gets too nice and you don't want to do school anymore =) Munchkin had to test this year. It was the first time for both of us. She did really well, though, I'm proud of her. A little weak in math, but we knew that going in. Now it's time to re-evaluate curriculum and determine what to do for next year. I think we'll probably stick with MFW, but I may switch a few other things around. We'll see.

Peanut has been doing really well in school as well. She finally seemed ready for "formal" schooling around January, so we started her in MFW K. She's taken to it like a duck to water =) Little P has also been working with us some. It won't be long before he's ready for something more formal as well. Little Bits has truly become a "toddler terror", lol. She does her best to disrupt school as much as she can. Thankfully she naps most mornings, so we can get something accomplished!

We also made it up to my parents "cabin" for our annually Memorial Day trip. It was cold, it actually snowed on us! But the kids had fun (as always) even if I was a little whiny =).

We just celebrated Munchkin's 10th birthday. I can't believe she is getting so big, she's going to be a 5th grader next year! {Yikes!} She's definitely turning into a little lady. Makes me feel old {sigh}.

P.S. What's a blog post without pictures, lol? All the pictures in this post were taken last weekend at a marsh that's near the "cabin".

Monday, May 9, 2011

Menu Plan for May 9th

Here is my plan for the week:

Monday - Swedish meat pies, salad

Tuesday - Crock-pot chicken, rice, corn

Wednesday - Shepherds pie, salad

Thursday - crock-pot sausage & potatoes

Friday - Beef tips, rice, broccoli

Saturday - My brother's wedding

Sunday - Burrito night

For more menu plans, visit Organzing Junkie.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cookbook Giveaway!

Kitchen Stewardship is giving away a copy of the cookbook "Gluten Free and Good For You" on her blog today. Some of the recipes look super yummy! Head on over and check it out!


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Saturday...er....Sunday Confessions

So one of the blogs I like to lurk on, A Familiar Path, has started "Saturday Confessions" and I thought I'd give it a try :-)

1. Well this one is pretty obvious, today is Sunday, but I'm participating in "Saturday Confessions". I'm frequently slow to catch on...........

2. I left my purse in the car at Trader Joes yesterday. I didn't realize it until the gal started ringing me up. I had to run out and get it while she (and everyone in line behind me!) waited for me.

3. After Trader Joes, I pulled into the parking lot and parked at Safeway before I realized I didn't want to go to Safeway, I wanted to go to Market of Choice. Yesterday wasn't a good day.....

4. A few weeks ago I created another blog for my photography so that I could blog more about "life" on this blog. The last couple of weeks I've only posted my menu plan. {sigh}

5. I DVR'd the Royal Wedding and my girls, my mother and I had a "Princess Party" Friday evening and watched it. We dressed up and wore tiaras and plastic jewelry =)

6. I have a group picture of us, but I don't want to take the time to download it from my memory card, edit it, and post it here.

7. We fast forwarded through a lot of the wedding......

8. You may not believe me because I was only 2, but I still remember staying up and watching Charles and Diana marry.

9. I have pictures of sewing projects I've done that I need to blog about, but haven't. I also have several projects sitting on my sewing table that I need to start.

10. I took some beautiful pictures of my oldest two last Saturday up at my in-laws. Later in the evening I realized I had my camera in the basic-only-fit-for-facebook setting. I almost cried.


Menu Plan for May 2nd

Here is my plan for the week:

Monday - Spicy chicken chow mein (in the crock-pot), rice noodles, fried rice.

Tuesday - Crock-pot turkey dinner, rice.

Wednesday - Rice, bean & cheese squares, spanish rice.

Thursday - Dilled chicken & potatoes (crock-pot).

Friday - Swedish meat pies, salad.

Saturday - Roast, mashed potatoes, salad.

Sunday - Hubby's making me dinner :o)

For more menu plans, visit Organizing Junkie.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New ebook!

31 Days To Clean by Sarah Mae

I've been looking at this book since she first released it! I absolutely LOVE the tagline "Having a Martha House the Mary Way". That is definitely what I want! Today only if you blog or tweet about the book, you get a free copy! How cool is that?!? I can't wait to get my copy and start getting my house and heart into shape! And I will keep everyone updated with how well it goes ;-)

Here is the link to her blog with more information: http://31daystoclean.com/


Monday, April 25, 2011

Menu Plan for April 25th

Hubby is finally back to work (although at the moment, it is only temporary )-: ) and his new schedule has been throwing off my grove, lol. I had been doing my grocery shopping on Mondays and, since he wasn't working, the kids stayed with him. Well, now he's working. And he's working 4 10's which means he's home on Fridays. OK, no big deal, I'll just switch to shopping on Fridays. So far, though, that has not worked so well! I have NOT made it to the grocery store the last two Fridays. The first week, hubby went on Saturday and then I made it to the story he missed on Sunday. This week, though.........Well here it is Monday and I STILL haven't made it to the store! I finally decided I would see if I could just plan through Friday with what I have in the pantry/freezer and go shopping then. And, guess what? I succeeded! Well, hubby will need to stop and get a few fruits and veggies on his way home, but it should be a quick stop. Anyway, here is my plan:

Monday - Leftover Minestrone soup, bread.

Tuesday - Creamed beef over noodles, cauliflower

Wednesday - Chicken broccoli divan

Thursday - Pasta bean-fredo, salad

Friday - Tacos, beans, rice

Saturday - I'm not sure yet. Probably leftovers, but if we don't have enough, I'll come up with something when I go shopping on Friday :o)

Sunday - Split pea soup, bread

For more menu plans, head over to Organizing Junkie. She's also giving away the book "The Reluctant Entertainer."


Monday, April 18, 2011

Menu Plan for April 18th

Here is my plan for the week:

Monday - Turkey stir-fry

Tuesday - Oven fried Chicken, mac & cheese, corn on the cob

Wednesday - Cheese burger buns, salad

Thursday - Minestrone soup, bread

Friday - Pesto "bean"-fredo w/turkey, salad

Saturday - Meat loaf, rice, asparagus

Sunday - Easter - Not sure yet, most likely will be at the in-laws.

For more menu plans and lots of ideas, visit Organizing Junkie.



Monday, April 11, 2011

Menu Plan for April 11th

Here is my plan for the week:

Monday - Steak, shrimp, wild rice, & asparagus (Date Night - kids are at the in-laws)

Tuesday - Crock-pot turkey dinner

Wednesday - lentil enchilada casserole

Thursday - Ham, au grautin potatoes, green beans

Friday - Chili & corn bread

Saturday - Potato bar (hubby will be handling dinner, I will be at a class)

Sunday - Beans and wheat-free tortillas for small group.

For more meal plans, visit Organizing Junkie.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Pillow Case Dress :o)

After making an outfit for Peanut to wear in my brothers wedding (that girl REFUSES to wear a dress {sigh}) I got bit by the creating bug :o) So I decided to sew a pillow case dress for Munchkin.

It was super easy. And I thought the heart applique made it a little more "fun".

Then I decided to make a pillow case dress for Bits.

* Disclaimer - Getting my 1yo monkey to stay still long enough for a picture is virtually impossible! So I apologize in advance for the poor quality pictures :o)

I did bring the sides in a little on hers. I was afraid it would look too much like she was wearing a bag if I didn't, lol. I also added a ruffled "pocket" to the front. I then threaded a ribbon through the pocket and it ties in the back.

Here is the back.

I was still feeling creative so I decided to make another dress for Bits.
I made the bodice out of a pillow case and then the skirt is the skirt off an old bedskirt!

I'm also contemplating making another, more elaborate dress for Munchkin. It's a little more involved though, so I'm a little nervous not having a pattern! It will be made from scraps and such I have laying around.........Which I probably wont use for anything else........So I probably should just go for it. There, I talked myself into it ;-) I'll keep you updated on how it goes!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Menu Plan for April 4th

This week I'm doing my best to plan from my freezer and pantry. And I think I've succeeded! It looks like I only need a couple of chickens and some produce and I'm good (I haven't double checked my lentil supply, so I may need those too). Anyway, here is my plan:

Monday - Broccoli Chicken Divan

Tuesday - Italian Lentil & Barley Soup

Wednesday - Turkey, mashed potatoes and green beans

Thursday - Crock-pot Rotisserie chicken, rice and salad (chicken, mac & cheese and salad for Meals Ministry)

Friday - lentil & rice enchilada casserole

Saturday - steak, potatoes and salad

Sunday - leftovers

For more inspiring menu plans, head over to Organizing Junkie.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Menu Plan for March 28th

Here is my plan for the week =)

Monday - Chicken alfredo & salad

Tuesday - Sweedish meat pies, salad, red potatoes

Wednesday - Soy balsamic chicken, green beans & I'm gonna try quinoa for the first time!

Thursday - Stroganoff & cauliflower

Friday - Potato Bar

Saturday - Split pea soup

For more meal planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Recipe Organization

My recipe organization has always been lacking. A lot of the recipes I use (when I use a recipe, lol) I have printed off the internet or scribbled on a scrap of paper. Then they got shoved in a drawer, or cubbie, or pretty much wherever I could find when I was done with it! The biggest problem with that system was finding it again later. Here are some examples of my recipes:

This is a bunch of them laid out on the counter.

Here is a close up of one. You can't see it very well in the picture, but this one is actually splattered with Teriyaki sauce!
(This one got me a new kitchen floor, but that's another post, lol)

Here's another close up of a recipe. Can you tell what it's for? This would be one of the times I just scribbled the ingredients on a piece of paper rather than printing off the recipe.

I also have a few favorites in these cookbooks.

And this shelf has the rest of my cookbooks, which I only use occasionally.

So, back to the organization issue. The other night I looked everywhere for a recipe. It happened to be one that I had scribbled on a piece of paper and I didn't even know what site I had found it on so I could look for it again. It was imperative that I find the recipe, our dinner depended on it! I did finally find it (it was on top of the paper towel holder. Great place for it, I'm sure), but it took me close to 20 minutes.

Since I'm also the type of person who suddenly goes "Oh shoot! I should have started dinner 10 minutes ago!", spending 20 minutes looking for a recipe can be a real drag. So, I decided it was time to do something about it (finally!).

I went to Michaels and got these cute recipe cards for $1 a package.
Then I went through all the recipes I had stashed different places and wrote the ones I use frequently on the cards. I then filed them in this old picture album that I already had.

For a couple of bucks, my recipes are now organized! I do still have a stack of recipes I want to try and one of recipes I only make rarely (like desserts). But they are all together in the SAME drawer. I will, also, probably add recipes to my book as I go.

Another thing I discovered while working on this project; I don't actually USE a recipe very often! I didn't realize it because it always seemed like I was searching for a recipe. But I went through a bunch of old menus to see what recipes to gather, I kept passing meals by because I didn't need a recipe for them! I guess most of the things I cook, I know what goes into and I just wing it, lol.

This realization of my cooking does pose a new problem, however. I'm trying to be more diligent about having my kids in the kitchen with me when I cook, so that I can teach them how. But I don't have a recipe to hand them for the majority of the things I cook. So, I will be getting more recipe cards and as I cook something that I don't already have a recipe for, I will write it down on a card. Eventually I will have a collection of recipes that Munchkin can take with her when she marries. I will also be able to use them as copywork, since she will need to make a copy of the recipes for her sister :o)


Monday, March 21, 2011

Are you a Mary?

So, this morning as I sat down to do my morning bible study, I felt compelled to share my journal entry here on my blog. This was interesting since I hadn't even opened my journal yet, let alone written anything! Then as I finished my reading and opened my journal...Nothing. Hmmm....The plot gets thicker!

Usually I start my journal with what ever verse or verses jumped out at me in my reading. This morning, however, nothing did. As I sat there staring at a blank page, wondering where on earth I got the conviction to blog a blank page, the verse I included in my post last night came back to memory. So, I started with that and ended up with four pages! And, since I felt compelled to blog, here it is:


Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called. - Ephesians 4:1

Nothing jumped out at me in my reading this morning, but this verse did last night for a blog post. This is one I struggle with a little bit. I very much want my life to reflect Christ. I want my walk to be worthy of my calling. I do my best to make good decisions and to choose the right path. But when I look at our struggles I wonder if I really am?
If I was walking worthy of my calling, would we be struggling so much? Am I doing something wrong? Am I missing the right path?

For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. - Matthew 7:14

Have I missed the gate? "The gate is small and the way is narrow", did I pass it in my haste to do good, to walk in a worthy manner? Maybe I should go back, retrace my steps and look again?

Two weeks ago our pastor talked about how all through the Gospels, the disciples listened, but didn't really hear what Jesus was saying to them. All through the Gospels they are surprised when things He said come true. Even after His death they are not there, at His tomb, waiting for Him to be risen. He told them several times what would happen, and yet, they still did not expect it.

There was one, though, who did. Mary.

Mary of Bethany. That's right, Lazarus' sister. She was the one chastised by her sister, Martha, when Jesus came to visit them. Martha was upset because Mary wasn't helping her. But Jesus said to let her alone, she was doing what was right. She was keeping her eyes (and ears) fixed on Jesus.

Later, it is she, Mary of Bethany, who pours expensive perfume on Jesus shortly before His crucifixion. Again she is chastised, this time by the disciples, for wasting such a costly oil. But, again, Jesus told them to let her alone. He knew that she was preparing Him for what was to come. She had HEARD what Jesus had been telling them all. That soon he would be sacrificed.

Mary was also there when Jesus rose from the tomb. She kept her eyes fixed on Jesus.

I find it interesting that all through the Gospels, as Mary does what is right, she is chastised by others. Not by the world, as you might expect, but by other believers. She kept her eyes fixed on Jesus, and literally everyone thought she was wrong! But she never wavered. Their negative remarks fell on deaf ears. The only voice she heard was Jesus'.

I want to be like Mary. To keep my eyes on Jesus no matter what. Maybe, just maybe, with this as my goal, I will turn a corner in my walk and spy that narrow gate.

Lord, help me to be like Mary of Bethany. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on you. And lead me to that narrow gate. Amen.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Blog Split

I've recently been convicted to blog more about... well... life. In the past, I've always waited for something "important" to blog about. But the reality is, LIFE is important. Things that happen every day, shape who I am and who my kids are and will be. Everything that happens each day, good or bad, is important.

"...I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received." Ephesians 4:1

So, I'm turning this blog back into what I originally intended. A place for me to jot down snippets from everyday life. That may be my menu, or something silly one of the kids did, or my bad day, or a great day of school. I will, however, be moving my photography posts and link-ups to a new blog. Don't worry, I will still post pictures of life here, just not all the post that were dedicated to photography =)



Menu Plan for March 21st

Here is my menu plan for the week:

Monday - Pot roast, mashed potatoes, green beans

Tuesday - Crock-pot rotisserie chicken, rice & salad

Wednesday - Baja bowls

Thursday - Chicken stir-fry w/rice noodles

Friday - Beef tips & rice

Saturday - BBQ chicken pizza

Sunday - not sure yet

For more meal plans, check out Organizing Junkie. She's also having a giveaway for the book, 7 Day Menu Planner for Dummies. All you have to do is leave a comment on her blog! Head over and check it out.

Background Papers and Embellishments Created by Marie Stones