Tuesday, September 30, 2008

BFS Assignment #104

This is WACKY WEEK here at Blogger Friend School! Everything is wacky fun! This week YOU, the student, get to share something of your choice that is little “Wacky”!!!
Have you done something crazy in your homeschool? Do you fingerpaint with your toes? Do you let your children do your hair? Do you wear your pajamas during homeschool? Oh, the list is endless, but it’s up to you and how much fun you want to have.

Oh my goodness, we are definitely a wacky homeschool family. This was fun to reminisce over the past 15+ years of homeschooling. Back when the boys were young, I didn't have a digital camera and I wasn't really one to stop the fun and take a picture anyway. I still forget to take pictures!! We just like to be silly and have fun. There was the time I used a washable marker and wrote the name of the bones on all the boys, so they would remember them. (it really worked, too!) Then, there was the time we had a huge "Thankful Tree" on our foyer wall and everyday each of us added a paper leaf with something we were thankful for written on it. We've had forts and teepees, dinner on the floor without utensils, dropping eggs off the fort in various packing material just to see what worked best, and so on. All those pictures are on "old fashioned" paper and I don't have the time to hunt for them and scan them.

So, we will have to just look at some wacky moments with kid #4. She likes to have fun, too. (and we laugh and laugh almost every single day over something silly)
To us, homeschooling is something that occurs anytime, anywhere. It really is just a way of life. We don't always learn sitting at a table and looking at books.
We like to dress up!!

We love learning about animals!

Even our snowmen have a sense of humor. These two were smiling with their little yarn smiles. Then it started to rain and look what their little smiles did!

We love art, even silly art. This picture was done with all sorts of things added to the paints.....like crushed egg shells, salt, flour, etc.

Silly faces are common in this house!

Having fun cooking and decorating is a big part of our school!

Pets are included in celebrations!

Where else, but in a homeschool room will you find a monkey sitting on top of the world and the student still learning.

Well, that was just a little look of life here. I really must start carrying that camera around more!! The point is....have fun and remember learning is an ongoing process. Every minute they are taking something in and processing it. Make sure it includes silly moments that have nothing to do with reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Healthy Steps Update

Well, I have done really well with my first two goals. :) They were to cut out drinks with sugars and sweeteners (other then Stevia) and to take a daily vitamin.

I thought quitting soda was going to be rough. It always has been in the past. However, this time it was rather easy. Sure I thought about having a nice, bubbly, cold, sweet drink. It was easy though to just not have one. My first week flew by and then I went to a party. I grabbed a cold water, but so did everyone else. In no time, my bottle of water was mixed up with a dozen others. So, without thinking I quickly thought to myself, "I'll just grab this soda here and it won't get mixed up." You know what? I didn't even think about it until about 20 minutes later. I hadn't finished the drink and looking back it really wasn't all that refreshing. So, I showed myself that really it is no big deal. I think I am better off without a soda addiction, so I will keep that as a habit for now.

Taking a vitamin was easy enough. I put one in each day of my pill minder, so I was able to keep up with that. A friend even gave me two packets of a vitamin that you mix with water. It makes a bubbly berry drink She really likes them and says she feels great taking them. I am looking into purchasing a month's worth to give it a try. I'll write a review about it after I take them. (I have to share the good, bad and the ugly here!)

Now to make two more goals to work on for the upcoming week. Hmmm, let's think about it for a minute.

I know...

1. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. I found when I stopped the soda, I would often go longer without a drink. Then I would wind up with a headache until I drank a huge cup of water. So, I am going to try and make a healthy habit of drinking plenty of water.

2. Eat at least 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables. I plan to read this site and take some notes!

Anyone else working on healthy steps? I'll be back in a week with an update.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

last look at summer '08

Assignment: This week I want to invite you to take a moment and post a Summer Photo Essay memoir. Starting from around the official date of Summer to this past week - just give a basic summary of your summer as I know someone of you are photoholics! Haha! Make sure you jot down your memoirs about each photo so everyone can read about your summer.

Our summer began with a rainbow in the backyard. We actually had several days that week with double rainbows in the evening. What a pretty way to start the season.

We expanded our front garden and added a large rock to compliment the new sidewalk we had put in earlier.

This summer we got to enjoy our new kitchen remodel with cookouts for friends and family!

Summer evenings were for riding our scooter and watching the hawks that lived in our backyard.

They were also for goofing off in front of the camera.

Yes, believe it or not it was also the first day of the new school year, right in the middle of summer! I am a mean mommy!! ;)

We cheered on the USA Olympic team and made a whole photo essay with these little critters that Kid #4 made. You should see what they did in one day!hehe

Summer was also good for working on new projects. She decided on her own to work on a notebook of her favorite bible verses.

We found some time for fishing! All we caught were these little guys, though. Kid #4 managed to snag over 25 of them!

We took some time to visit George Washington's home.

Even fit in a stroll with George and Martha before we left.

Our flowers grew this summer and put on a pretty display.

The dog spent some time outside wishing he was on the inside. He always wants to be where we are.

Kid #4 decorated this lovely cake for a school project.

We worked on some science projects.

Changed the art display featuring kid #4.

Tropical Storm Hannah came for a visit.

We ended the summer with friends and a big ice cream sundae bash!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

BFS Assignment #103 It keeps going, and going, and going…

Housekeeping: that household mess, it keeps going and going and going. It’s a perpetual chore that we diligently need to keep going on to stay on top it. We all have different ways of keeping ourselves energized.

This week's assignment: How do you keep energized so you can get it all done? bouncy music? treat it like a workout? Do you use a schedule?, a housekeeping binder system? luck of the draw system?.. or is this an area where you need encouragement? Do you need God’s help to keep order and beauty in your dwelling place? Take this week to tell us how You diligently keep going with your housekeeping chores.

Housework...gotta love it, right? Right?? Well, I can't say I love it, but it isn't a horrible thing either. I'm somewhere in between. You see, I try to keep the attitude that I am keeping my home. That simple attitude adjustment can keep me going for weeks. I want my home to be my husband's retreat. The place where he is excited to be after work, where he can relax and think, "Yes, I'm home!" I also want it to be a place where we can have anyone over and they will feel relaxed.

My home is not always spotless, but it is clean and fairly organized. Any room could be picked up and company ready in just minutes. It hasn't always been this way and I have struggled in the past. What has changed? The boys grew up!LOL Well, that and I found flylady. I have mentioned her in the past and I really do credit her with a lot of my thinking nowadays. You cannot organize clutter. I spent a summer going through the entire house and decluttering. We seriously reduced what we had. That was key. Now I regularly go through things at a much more relaxed place. A closet one week, a drawer weeks later, etc. When things that you own have a place it makes it so much easier to keep clean.

I have also been blessed with a daughter who loves to clean. She has grown up with my flylady attitude and happily purges her room regularly without me asking!! My friends often joke about how they want to "borrow" her.

Another thing that has been a blessing is that Mike has been doing the dinner dishes. I hate facing the dishes after I cook and eat dinner. Leaving them until morning is NO WAY to wake up and start a day. So, now that he takes care of them I can relax. No more walking into the kitchen in the morning and groaning!

Schedules? Nope. I stopped following flylady's routine years ago. I sort of have my own routine in a non-routine sort of way. The one thing that really, really gets me going is turning on some favorite music. Nothing like sweeping to a good beat. ;o)

If things do happen to get backed up and ugly around here(like after a really hectic time or illness), I keep in mind that it won't take as long as my mind thinks it will. I turn on some music and set a timer for 15 minutes. It's a challenge to see just how much I can get down in 15 minutes. After the timer goes off, I allow myself to walk away if I need to and take a break....or switch rooms for a change of scenery. Anyway, a few 15 minutes sessions has never failed to bring about results that at least give me hope!

For everyday cleaning while kid #4 is working on school, I slip away and do quick chores. (throwing a load of clothes in the laundry, making a bed, sweeping a room, wiping a bathroom down, etc) When we are done with school we usually finish up any chores that haven't been completed. On Fridays, we do a little extra in preparation for a relaxing or busy weekend. It works for us.

Here is a picture of our kitchen area this morning. We had a huge kitchen remodel done this year. If you are interested in seeing the progress you can check the beginning of my blog. You'll find all kinds of steps, choices, plans, etc.

We also did a laundry room update on a much smaller scale and truly, "The Dirt Stops Here!"

Memory Verse: 1 Timothy 4:15 (NIV)
Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fall Reading List

Wow...I have quite a list going already. I love reading and this is a perfect excuse to keep me reading during the fall. :) Of course, I am sure to find other books that grab my interest along the way. That's ok, I'll just add them to the "Books I Read for the Fall Challenge" List. Most of my list is just "fun" reading. I like it that way. It's not to late to join us!!! Just pop on over to Callapidder Days and get the details. You can check here for the official launch post and check out everyone's book lists!!

The Cat Who Dropped A Bombshell by Lillian Braun

The Longing by Beverly Lewis

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

16 Lighthouse Road by Debbie Macomber

204 Rosewood Lane by Debbie Macomber

311 Pelican Court by Debbie Macomber

44 Cranberry Point by Debbie Macomber

50 Harbor Street by Debbie Macomber

6 Rainier Drive by Debbie Macomber

74 Seaside Avenue by Debbie Macomber

8 Sandpiper Way by Debbie Macomber

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

Can you Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella

A Sister’s Secret by Wanda Brunstetter

Dear to Me by Wanda Brunstetter

Allison’s Journey by Wanda Brunstetter

When the Morning Comes by Cindy Woodsmall

The Life You Always Wanted by John Ortberg

Who Holds The Key to Your Heart by Lysa Terkeurst

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

Friday, September 19, 2008

reading challenge

Fall is fast approaching and with the cooler weather and grey skies, what better way to spend the day then curled up on the sofa reading a good book? Ok, maybe that's just fantasy for some. I never get to spend a day reading...but, I do love reading. Callapidder Days is having her 3rd annual Fall Into Reading Challenge. It begins on Sept. 22nd and ends December 20th. All you need to do is put together your list of books that you hope to read during the fall. Don't worry, it really is a no pressure deal. You post your list on your blog and link it back to her site. Then at the end you post a followup talking about the books you managed to read. There is even a prize to one random blogger and a weekly drawing for a free book. Make sure you read all about it here. I'm going to work on my list!! :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

healthy changes...one step at a time...

Getting healthier is my goal for the next year. I figure that taking it one step at a time will take a year....and it seems manageable that way. I don't think one can wake up one morning and decide that from now on they are going to eat only whole foods, exercise daily, go to bed early, cut out sugar, etc. Well, they can decide it, but I don't think it will work all that well. At least for me, it wouldn't!

Fortunately, I don't smoke and don't drink, so I don't have to tackle those habits on my quest to be healthy. We have also been eating healthier over the past year, but it certainly is time to step it up a notch. I find myself slipping back into sugary processed things and that just isn't good.

I plan to post my weekly goals and then follow-up on Thursday with how I did and make some new goals. They will be seemingly simple goals, but if you only knew how difficult some of them will be you would cheer me along!! ;o) I would love to lose weight, but not all the goals will be in that area. The idea is to get healthier....not just lighter.

I have fibromyalgia and managing it can be a pain! (in more ways then one!) However, one thing that really does help those with fibromyalgia is to have some consistent healthy routines. A normal bedtime, regular light exercise, healthy foods, etc. So, it's time for me to just step up to the plate and tackle it head on. I get tired of aching and tired of being tired! It's that struggling with routines thing I shared about earlier that has kept me from being consistent. I am hoping that just putting it out there(or here) will be enough to keep me going on the right track. I look forward to sharing the successes here each week.


1. Cut out all drinks with sugar and sugar substitutes (except for Stevia)

2. Take a daily vitamin with iron

That's it! I only plan to post two new habits to work on each time. The first one this week will be tough enough. I don't expect to never drink something with sugar in it, but for now I need to cut it out. I need to get in the habit of drinking things like water and tea. The vitamin is needed because the doctor said I was getting low on iron again and she advised a daily multivitamin. It's been months and I haven't even taken one. So....I'm starting today.

Now, I would love to cheer you on, too. So, if you have some changes you want to make please share them on your blog and let me know or just tell me in the comment section here. Let's do it...one step at a time!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

BFS Assignment #102 - Try it, You’ll Like It!

Intro: Try it, you’ll like it! (Life Cereal)When everyone else was afraid to try Life Cereal, they called on Mikey. Sometimes stepping out of our comfort zone is just too scary. Have you felt God gently (or maybe not so gently) nudging you to do something for someone else? You know that it needs to be done, but you keep putting it off because it is outside of your comfort zone? Well ladies, this week we are taking a step outside of our comfort zones.

Assignment: This week I want you to do something for someone else. Whatever you choose to do is between you and God. Our rewards are in heaven, not here on earth, Mathew 6:1. I want you to post about how doing this “act” made you feel. Was stepping out of your comfort zone in this area as hard as you thought it might be? If this is an area that you are already active in, tell us how you feel this has impacted your life.

Memory Verse: Psalms 26:2 Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.

This one wasn't really easy for me. I love to help and I love to serve. So, why would I say it wasn't easy for me?? Well, have you ever felt something being laid on your heart ever so gently and you acknowledged it, but decided that you were busy and besides you did plenty of other things for others and I'm sure someone else is addressing that and besides what difference can I make? Oh, you haven't felt that way? Sigh.... Well, I have. I guess I should say I am feeling that way. This assignment really helped me realize that I need to act on what God has been telling me to do for Him. Truthfully, it isn't that big of a deal and it really isn't out of my comfort zone. I can't even give a good reason for not already have taken care of it other then I feel helpless. I don't have the answer for this person who lost a loved one...but I guess she doesn't want an answer. She just wants to know someone is still thinking about her and knows that her husband was a good man and misses him, also. So, yep....I will be taking care of that this week. Thanks for the reminder! Just that little thing that isn't even out of my comfort zone brought me to one of those "A-ha"moments.

Sometimes we are all quick to answer that yes, we love to help and love to serve....but are we always listening to God's prompting or are we doing it ourselves. Making a dinner for a friend, writing an encouraging note, babysitting, etc is all GREAT and can be a tremendous blessing. However, please make sure you are not just looking for your own ways to bless others and that you are not ignoring what God wants from you. If He is telling you that your family is who you are to be serving right now, then that is what you need to be doing. If He is telling you to step out into your neighborhood and serve, then you need to take that step. If He is telling you to volunteer at a Crisis Center, then I would be looking into that. Just make sure your serving is actually serving Him and not just ourselves.

I think God often wants us to step out of our comfort zone. Then He shines. When we know that we did not have the strength or the will to accomplish something, yet we were obedient....that is when God was at work and where His work will be done. :) I am praying that we can all tune into God's will for our lives and be in touch with opportunities that He brings our way.

Homeschool Memoirs: #5 My Favorite Things - Er - Sites!

So, this week our assignment was to share some of our favorite sites. Sounds like a great time for me to go through my bookmarks and remember some favorites that I may have forgotten over the summer.

One of my all time favorite blogs is http://thepioneerwoman.com/ It isn't necessarily about homeschooling, but she does homeschool her children and occasionally writes about it.

My favorite magazines are Reader's Digest and Family Fun. Oh, and just about any cooking magazine and housekeeping magazine.

Some of my favorite educational sites:

Some of those sites just happen to go hand in hand with what we are working on this year. This leads me to my favorite curriculum. My Father's World: Exploring Countries and Cultures.

One of my favorite Christian Mom sites: http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/ They have great daily devotions that can be delivered to your email box.

One of my favorite kid's devotionals and it's free is

One of my favorite frugal money saving blogs is: http://www.moneysavingmom.com/

Well, that's about it. I forgot that I lost all my bookmarks when my computer died and my hubby's computer just doesn't have the extensive list built up. I will be checking all your responses and hoping to find some new favorites!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Gifts from New Mexico

Mike was gone all last week on a business trip. We stayed home and held the fort without a computer. That was not easy for this mom!! Our week was spent doing lots of reading, school, and working on some house cleaning projects. Nothing exciting!

When Daddy came home he brought gifts. (that almost made up for the no computer thing) Kid #4 now has a beautiful shirt from New Mexico, a porcelain frog and a new key chain from Texas. I got two things to hang in our kitchen/great room. I knew about them, because he called to ask my opinion on them and even sent a picture of one of them. I love them both and they look great. Want to see?? Well, I'm showing you anyway. :)

This is my frog! I happen to love frogs and this is the second one in this room. I love it, though and it looks a lot different then the other one. #4's frog is much smaller and isn't for the wall.

Here are some ceramic peppers. I love the splash of red on the yellow wall. I've seen quite a few pictures of paprika hanging (the real stuff) in Hungary. I know this is more Mexican, but it does make me thing of Hubby's roots in Hungary.

Now, this is not new. It did, however, finally make it up on the wall this weekend. Mike always wanted it up, but I kept dragging my feet as to where it should go. I guess I got caught up in all the hanging going on this weekend!

Friday, September 12, 2008

something new....

Assignment: This week I hope you’ll share something new you’re using, why you’ve decided to use it, and if you have used it how you like it. Make sure to include the publishing information and where you got it from so others can look into if they like.

Well, wouldn't you know this is the first year in over 14 years of homeschooling where I am NOT using anything new. I am down to just teaching one child in 3rd grade and we loved our curriculum from last year, so I didn't change it up. Well, I did buy a health book this year from Horizons, but I can't say if I like it or not. We won't be doing any health until spring '09. I can't recommend it until then. Everything else is the same.

We are using My Father's World and this year it is Exploring Countries and Cultures. That has to be my favorite. Running a close second is our Apologia Science. I have linked them in earlier posts for those that are interested in checking into them. If anyone has any questions about those two, just ask away. I'll get back to you with my opinion or any other info you might need.

Blogger Friend Assignment....

Assignment: This would be a good week to tell about your worst struggles with a lifestyle of homeschooling. Tell about something you’ve struggled with and how God’s mercies gave us the strength to get past it. Also, share any curriculum/homeschool methods that have been a relief to you, i.e., a particular Teacher’s Manual or Homeschooling method that’s been easier for your family. Talk about how you felt when the burden was lifted and Oh, What a Relief it is!

I would say one of my biggest struggles with a lifestyle of homeschooling was finding a way to keep the house together and organized. The kids all had chores and my husband would help me on the weekends, but it seemed that the work was never done. Not even close. Things would look great for a day and then be chaos the next. That would weigh heavily on me and just bring me down. I don't need my house to be spotless, but I do work best when things are in order. I found our schooling even seemed to suffer when I was stressed from my lack of order.

One day many years ago, I stumbled across Flylady's website. What an eye-opener for me. She describes Chaos as Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome. She talks about our attitudes and stinky thinking. She points out that we act defeated before we even start and asks how long does it really take to empty the dishwasher. She says get a timer and make baby steps and most importantly you cannot organize Clutter. Ahhh, that was the point for me. My husband was pretty good about letting things go, but I liked to hold onto things. Let me tell you though...that summer I was brutal. I went through closets, drawers, cabinets and every other hiding spot. I got rid of junk, donated things that we no longer needed and gave things to people that would love them or needed them more then we did. I discovered that the house began to stay cleaner longer and if things were messy it was a snap to pick up, because everything had a home.

I worked on my attitude and realized that I really could accomplish A LOT in 15 minute sessions. No more feeling defeated before I even started. I learned that with minimal regular cleaning, I could virtually eliminate having to have long cleaning sessions before company came over!! It was freedom. Yes, quite a bit of it is common sense. However, it was something that had been buried in my mind under tons of clutter.

I learned to declutter not only my house, but our schedules. We can't be running 3 different directions everyday at every moment. This was really helpful when we had 3 active young boys and even more helpful when my youngest son was 10 and we had another baby. That decluttered schedule was a lifesaver at the time.

Nowadays, I don't follow any set cleaning schedule and I no longer do flylady's zones. However, I keep the basics in mind. Things are in order and I am smiling most days just from the burden that was lifted. However, after a major remodeling project I had to pull out my flylady knowledge to overcome my defeated attitude of putting my schoolroom back together. :) I posted about it. You can read about it here, but beware the pictures are scary!! hehe

As far as any homeschool curriculum that has been a relief to me, I would have to say I love My Father's World!! Kid #4 loves it, it's mom friendly, and it's organized. What more could I want??