Sunday, November 29, 2009

November Ice

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On the hard days....

Schooling is wonderful. I love it. It's wonderful and it's wonderfully challenging.

If you've been schooling at home you'll have had some really, really hard days. I find it's about this time of year that we start having some of those days again. The excitement of school is over, and the work starts feeling like same-old-work. I was just talking to a friend about this, it got me thinking about some ideas that have helped me to work with a boy who fought me tooth and nail over school.

One of the best things I've ever learned with schooling is not to engage your kids in conflict or argument during school. If you can avoid engaging, the conflict dies down. This was really good for me to hear. I used to think the kids should know how lucky they were to not be in public school...and I'd try and argue that with them. Anyhow, when I heard my son say 'I wish I could just be in public school' I'd answer "I'll bet you do" and then, "Ok, where were we?" When he'd say, "Just one more problem then I'm done for the day" I'd say..."Nice try." It diffuses the tension for awhile. Repeated, the complaints grew farther and farther apart.

Every situation, every child is not the same, but the concept of not engaging works. Addressing the attitude after school with dad in a civil conversation might help.

There are really hard days. Sometimes mama's having a hard day. Give yourself grace and let yourself have "easy days." Last week I had a hard, hard day (emotionally) so I just sat down while the boys were playing legos and read chapters and chapters of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was great. I had NO guilt about "just reading" to my boys b/c I saved them from the potential of a grouchy-mama-school day and I just want to avoid those all I can.

One last thought- let your student take some ownership of her schooling. Let her help you with the planning. She has to get her work done, but what does she want to do first? What is her favorite schooly-fun thing to do? Go for a hike, bake cookies, help with the shopping list or grocery shopping? Let her put something fun on her school calendar for the week. Let her choose her reading materials, do the research on the topics she's studying to find books at the library. Letting her make some of the choices will help her take ownership and might make it more fun.

On the planning note, (I've just started mine for the week) doing it once a week works for me. Remembering that this is a full time job helps me think of it as a job...preparation time included. I do my prep work Sunday or Tuesday nights and carve a few hours out to do it. Grab a favorite cup of tea and chocolates and make it a pleasant ritual. I have some planning forms I've downloaded from (under free stuff) that I use to plan out our week. Going week by week helps me to switch things up or plan around events to keep it exciting.
So now peepers, you share? What is in your toolbox for those tough days? The days when you or your little ones are not enjoying school? Do tell!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

we packed
we slept
we rested
we chatted
we hot-tubbed
we jumped (trampoline)
we laughed
we cooked
we ate
we talked
we ate
we ate
we vegged
we slept
we jumped
we drove
we cooked
we ate
we wii
we sang
we puzzled
we ate
we drove
we slept
we packed
we drove
we're home
we unpacked
we ate
now I'm going to bed.

Happy, happy thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2009


By the time it came to the edge of the Forest, the stream had grown
up, so that it was almost a river, and, being grown-up, it did not run and jump
and sparkle along as it used to do when it was younger, but moved more
slowly. For it knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, "There
is no hurry. We shall get there some day." But all the little streams
higher up in the Forest went this way and that, quickly, eagerly, having so much
to find out before it was too late. -A.A. Milne
I read this tonight while
reading to Nate; the World of Pooh. He fell asleep before I finished the
story but I thought this first bit was enough good nature-love for a sweet boy
of five. Me, however, it just made me want to slow my life down so much
and get outside more. The weather battles me on that one. It's cold
out there. But slowing down, feels so good.

Last night I took Joey grocery shopping last night, and then we went to ice
cream. I had a yum coffee drink, Joey thought on it and decided the ice
cream chill was worth it in spite of the ice and snow on the ground. "Why
else do they sell ice cream in Winter?", he asks. We played a long, fun game of
Triominoes, one of my favorites. It was nothing but delight. I
love slow time with a kiddo or three to linger and ignore my growing list of
things to do before, well, February. Make that March.

it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used to
do when it was younger,
but moved more slowly. For it knew now where it was
going, and it said to itself, "There is no hurry. We
shall get there
some day.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Exhaustive Thankfulness

The last few weeks have been nothing short of exhausting for me. Think I've mentioned that before. It's been a season of learning for me. Of falling down, getting up again. A time of remembering just how much God loves us when we can say we've no strength in Him, because I see that I have no strength without Him.

While I'm still struggling some with getting myself out of the way, I have been reflecting on just how much I have. Just how much goodness God has poured out on me, undeserved goodness.

I often times wonder just where I would be without the sweet salvation, friendship, comfort and wisdom that God has given me over the years of my life. I have known Jesus for all of my adult life, through my teens and was raised in Him as a child. I have moved closer to Him over the years as I've desired more of Him. I was, however, a boy crazed teenager, angry with my family and unkind to myself. Where could I have been without Jesus, those nights that I talked with Him for hours and learned from the letters He left to teach us. I was already filling that God-hole in my heart with Him. What if I didn't?

I cringe to think of how I flirted with danger. How I searched out all the wrong ways to find acceptance and approval. Many offenses I passed out, forgiven. Where could I have been without Him?

I married young. I was just 21 when I married a man who just didn't know how to be kind to himself or me. For three years we fought. He was so, so unkind and I was so, so angry and lost and hurt. I was distanced from my family and friends, and felt so alone. I turned to God every night. I talked to Him and He gave me peace in that painful time. I had peace when the future looked so bleak and I loathed my hopeless life. God walked me through the painful days of betrayal and divorce, He was my friend when no one knew the shape of my heart. Oh, God. What would I be, where would I be without You?

He walked with me during the long winter of my newly-single life. I talked to Him and made Him my best friend. He spoke to me and reminded me of who I was to Him. I wasn't alone. He forgave all my unkindnesses, my anger, my own rebellion. He gave me hope for a life I felt was spent and worthless. I have to say, I truly felt used up and broken after my marriage failed. I didn't think anyone would want me..and I wasn't so sure I wanted anyone either. Who, who could have told me I was worth something? No one could have told me that in those days in a way I believed it. I was so broken.

But then like a breath of fresh air, I met my sweet husband. We met at a church camp. He was a Youth Pastor and I was there to help out with the church of my Youth. We had a few conversations and a sweet friend set us up for a double date (with her husband and her) for the following weekend. This sweet man fell in love with me fast and hard, and wooed me in a way I hadn't before been loved. Redeemer, God is. He lined me up to meet this sweet man who showed me that marriage can be a wonderful, beautiful thing. A man who supports me and treasures me. Where would I be without God's great big grace and God-match? Lonely? Still chasing love in all the wrong & empty places?

And through years of marriage, with the ups and downs.
And through babies, sleepless nights and hormones.
And through losing my two sweet little ones before I ever got to see them or meet them.
Where would I be? The holes in my heart....He has mended and filled.
And through healing and forgiveness only God can teach.
And through mothering- God has shown me so much about my boys when I was desperate for answers.
And through schooling- God gives me peace when I'm unsure and joy on the long days.
And through friendship, and pain, and growing in Him, and now telling others about Him.

How can I not? I tell everyone about the benefits of home school, of breastfeeding, of all the things I believe in because I have seen how they work.

And I have seen how God works. He works! He fixes, heals, forgives, holds, redeems, listens, gives hope, and wisdom.

I'm forever thankful for my home, my family. My job, my friendships, my church family, my home school family-

but I'm amazingly thankful for my God. The One God who thought I was worthy of His time and redemption when my life was a mess, running the other way to find something to fill me up. I am so thankful He has walked through every day of this life, miserable or not with me. He loves me.

He loves you.

Where would you be without God?

...or maybe, where could you be with Him?

Autumn Walk

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Planning Your Day

I'm always looking for ways to plan my day better, make my time most efficient and get the important things done. I came across this article at the Unclutterer, I love the idea of planning your perfect day. Read on if you think this will help you;

At the beginning of every day, I set aside five minutes to plan my perfect day. It doesn’t always turn out exactly the way I expected, but it rarely gets completely uprooted. Also, the plan is more about putting anxieties to rest than a rigid to-do list.

How To

  1. Identify the work that has to be completed by the end of the day. What, if you fail to accomplish, will get you fired/stressed/full of anxiety/arrested/etc.?
  2. Identify at least three things you want to do in addition to the must-do items.
  3. Identify any routines that should take place to keep you on track. Is today a laundry day? Is it your night to make dinner?
  4. Estimate length of time to complete all of your must do, want to do, and routine projects.
  5. Write out a plan for your day, where you stagger easy and difficult tasks and schedule the hardest task when you’re the most alert.
  6. Get working.


  • 6:10 a.m. Wake up, drink coffee, eat breakfast, enjoy the silence.
  • 6:30 a.m. Get ready, shower.
  • 7:00 a.m. Go to work.
  • 8:00 a.m. Check in with staff/boss.
  • 8:15 a.m. Plan day, check e-mail, read RSS feeds.
  • 8:30 a.m. Work on difficult projects.
  • 11:30 a.m. Have lunch.
  • 12:30 p.m. Check e-mail.
  • 1:00 p.m. Work on easy projects.
  • 2:30 p.m. Zone out unintentionally, drink coffee.
  • 3:00 p.m. Work on difficult projects.
  • 5:00 p.m. Check e-mail.
  • 5:15 p.m. End of day check-in with staff/boss, file, put materials away, set up desk for next day.
  • 5:30 p.m. Go home.
  • 6:30 p.m. Fix dinner, eat dinner.
  • 7:30 p.m. Daily chores.
  • 8:00 p.m. Help children with homework.
  • 9:00 p.m. Relax, spend time with spouse, be social, read, watch tv, meet a friend for a drink, call mom, work out at gym, and/or do something fun.
  • 11:00 p.m. Bed.

The example schedule isn’t mine (I don’t have kids needing help with homework, and I’m already at my desk writing on my book at 6:30 a.m.), and it probably won’t work for you either, it’s just here to give you an example of how you might schedule your day. The point of the example is to show you how you could keep time from slipping away from you, and make sure that you accomplish what you want to accomplish. Give it a whirl and see how you might plan your perfect day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Reason #259 to go for a walk

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Monday, November 16, 2009

For School and Fun...

First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise
I'm using this for 1st and 2nd Grade Language Arts.

Story of The World by Susan Wise Bauer
We use Vol 1-4 in correlation to our Classical Conversation Memory Work.

Alpha Phonics by Samuel L. Blumenfeld
A book to use for beginner readers.

Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots by Sharon Lovejoy
A fun book for gardening fun with little ones.

Saxon Math
We're using Saxon 1 & 5/4

Bob Books
for learning to read to early readers,
it's great to hear a five year old to say "I read a whole book!"

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Autumn berries against the sweet High Desert Sky.

I'm loving autumn this year. I can't get out enough. Perhaps it's because the season is so short, and I know that Winter is around the corner I just want to be out...and I'm completely enamored with the nature that is changing before my eyes; all of summer in it's glory is quieting itself to sleep into long Winters night. These are samples from my backyard. A little art inspired by my neighbor the Eclectica Chica. It's so fun to get my hands in the crunch of the leaves. The textures the sounds...feeling like a little girl again hiding away in my big, big backyard in secret corners. The wonder of it....
All tucked in for Winter's night.
Do you see Old Man Winter?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Becoming Part

It's been a long, long time since I've taken the time to share a bit of what's really going on with me. I love sharing the photos (obviously) and I think it's so fun to read & share with you all schooling and home keeping ideas. But I crave authenticity. I love to hear it from those of you others who brave it.

I am 32 years into this journey with my Savior. For about 23 of those years, I've come to know God, not only as the God who gave his son to be the Redeemer of my sins, but as a friend.

He listens.
He holds me up.
He walks with me.
He teaches me.
He wants to see me become, become more like Him.

I so want to be more like Him. And we know that God isn't finished with the work He's doing in us, we know that He will be faithful to complete it.

On my bathroom counter I have the verse; "...sell everything you have...come, follow me." (Luke 18:22.)

In my adult years with the Lord it has been clear that I am not called to material poverty. So pondered, what does this scripture mean to me? I began to see it differently.

What do I have to sell? What does God want me to give? What am I to give up in order to be more like Him? My desire is that others would see God in me.

Then He whispered to me what God is calling me to sell.

My dreams.

(I'm all heart here)

My dreams.

God didn't create us to live large. He didn't call us to get fat and happy. He didn't call us to get our "mom time" or have rights or deserve time or respect or love.

I know this is going against popular ideas.
Not only that, it's just going against everything in me. I love to dream. I tend to think I deserve certain rights as a hard working mom. I should be loved by friends and family, right? I should chase after what I want, no?

God created us to serve first.
God created us to give, to love, to teach, to humble ourselves as He did;

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Phil 2:5-11

Living humbly means letting go. Letting go of my dreams, my desires in life, all the things I think I need, the things I think I deserve.

Now I'm not saying I think it's wrong to work hard and care for yourself, your home and your family. Making your home a place you love to be is an art and a treat for your family. What I'm working toward changing is the attitude. The one that sneaks in and reminds me that I always eat last, or that I just need 5 minutes of quiet or that I really want this or that in order to be more comfortable. Some of the dreams I'm letting go of even seem selfless. Dreams to minister to others in a particular way, to do good in the way I want to. Instead, I want to yield to God, let Him show me how I can best do His work and live my life. His way is always, always, always best. (If you're not sure about this, let's have tea and chat. I'll share with you my story.) But I may need to wipe my ideas about the best way off the slate and let Him show me His perfect plan.

I'm certain this is a process, as is everything with God. (There's not a better counselor to work with.) And I know that I have a lot to let go of. I write to you with an achy heart, because letting go hurts. But I write because I want to encourage you all in this journey He's called us all to. I would love to pray for you if you're on this journey with me, and I'd love to know I have friends praying for me too.

So there it is, what's really happening in my heart, the story that's coming together in my journal. I hope these words will spur you on to run the race wholeheartedly, and in letting go of all that hinders.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1

*God is always doing a new thing in each of us and I know it's a different thing for each, but do share with the rest of us..what is God stirring in your heart? Are you sitting on that potter's wheel, allowing Him to do something new in you? What is it?

Once again..

Overheard in little boy play:

Nate: Boys, don't you know you're supposed to love your enemies? That means you're supposed to love your brothers and your sisters!

This photo cracks me up...taken at the History Museum in Denver. Nate wasn't too happy about the group photo.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Goodbye Garden

Parting is such sweet sorrow....I'll miss you little garden.

And now, for the birds....

Again....I'm laughing

In the car I put on hand lotion. A few minutes later, Nate asked me,

"Mom, what smells like Egg Noggin?"

I had to ask him to repeat himself because I wanted to be sure he said what I thought he did. I laughed tears this time.

Nate makes me laugh.

Nate put on his swim trunks to get ready to head to swimming lessons;

"Mom, you want to hear how excited I am? I already smell like the swimming pool."

:) *sigh*

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Winding up October

Apple-Lanterns carved for a Halloween snack. The apples were cored and stuffed with Peanut Butter. My favorite snack!

This month has gone by so quickly here. Soccer, school, surgery and Autumn have been the topics of the month. I have a few random photos floating around that I wanted to share. Bear with me while I sum up the month. My mind is always coming up with serious topics, long and interesting blog entries for you all... but these days of caring for a house, schooling and lovign three little boys and a forever-on-the-couch hubby I don't get a lot of time to really get those oh-so-interesting thoughts on paper.

October marks the end of summer around here. The garden is officially done, and I'm as sad as these sweet sunflowers are. I've got them all waiting to feed the birds for a snowy Winter day.
...and so then we celebrate by using cookie cutters on our cheese to make these cute little guys. I saw the idea over at Chasing Cherrios. The boys wanted more before they'd even started eating them, of course. As is our tradition (until our trees fill out a bit more) I took the boys to the park for a grand leaf jump. It was good friend. Nate was handy with the rake and the boys ran and played in the masses of leaves.After a trip to Costco the boys literally fought over the rolls of tp....they had a wonderful time building and bowling the toilet paper rolls. Perfect, functional Christmas Gift.And Halloween breakfast (cause we like to celebrate with Pumpkins)A little Curious George has a fantastic time collecting goodies at the harvest party we went to on the 31st. We "made" all our costumes...Eli helped me to make the ears and tail of his costume. I couldn't get him to wear the "scratchy" brown pants. Nate dressed as a soccer player and Joey (who else?) Luke Skywalker. It was fun night, but we missed having Ralph around...he was brushing up on his Chess skills at home.