Friday, August 28, 2009

I'm alright, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth !

I had a friend email me yesterday to make sure I was still around and doing OK. I guess that means I haven't blogged in a really long time. It has been about a week and a half. I shot back a quick email to say all is well, we have just been really busy.

My last post was about cleaning out the cupboards and I didn't mention that we were preparing to be gone a week and who wants to go grocery shopping right before a trip. Not me. We just got back from visiting Chuck's family and attending his cousins wedding. We had a great time and I do have many pictures to post and sort through my thoughts about our time. I have to get my pictures uploaded and I just haven't had the time. We came home on Tuesday and I wanted to jump right back into school and get a few really good days of work into the week.

This year with the girls being in 4th and 5th grade, our school day seems much longer and is even more of a full time job. I desire to give the girls the best education I can and that means I don't have as much free time as I used to.

I have been meaning to share some pictures of a little project that we did not long ago. In my constant longing to reduce, reuse, recycle as much as I can, I came up with this cool idea.

Tally had been given a pair of jeans that didn't fit my friends daughter. Tally wore them for several months before she sprouted up and was too tall for them. We needed more shorts for the summer and we found a few pairs of pants that we trimmed down and turned into shorts. This particular pair has such cute trim on the cuff of the leg that I just couldn't throw them out. I wanted to use them for something. Came up with the idea of making a little purse out of them.Here she is wearing the shorts and the purse. I used the cuff at the bottom the pant leg as the opening of this purse. Then just sewed one seam on the other end (while it was inside out) and added the ribbon as a shoulder strap. My mom added the cute green bow. I thought they turned out adorable. I just love them. The girls each got one from the one pair of jeans. The ribbon as the trim was on the leg of the jeans already.

They are big enough to hold a book and a toy or a bottle of water while we are out running errands. Aren't they just too cute ???

I will post about our trip once I get our pictures uploaded. ~~~ One quick little request, please pray for us as we are making some decisions. Praying for wisdom and guidance. Thanks !!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Old Mother Hubbard

I have been avoiding the store. Trying to use what I have in the cupboards and not buy a bunch of things when I have perfectly good food that needs to be used up. So after I served cereal and ramen for a few days, I have resorted to getting more creative. Last night we had 2 kinds of pasta, found some meat balls in the freezer and mixed it with a jar of sauce. I served that with corn and green beans from the farm produce. It was a great meal and didn't seem odd at all.

This morning I am serving muffins and hot cocoa. Now, lunch might get a little more creative and I haven't given too much thought to our dinner. I want to use up the produce before it goes bad and I hate to waste food. It kind of is a game. To see how long I can go with out going to the store for food. Now the snack food like chips and crackers ended days ago, but we might be better off with out it.

This morning, the girls were thrilled to have muffins. They love muffin mornings. My mom used to make muffins when we were little and we loved it too. We even had a very unique tradition of hiding coins in the muffins cups. Has anyone else heard of that? I am assuming my mom would clean the coin and then drop them in the bottom of the paper liner before the batter went in. I haven't done it yet with my girls because I haven't taken the time to sanitize the money. Just wondered if anyone else has heard of that idea.

So, just call me Old Mother Hubbard...I am going to try and pick these cupboards bare.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"What's a PEW?"

That is what Tristen asked me tonight as I was reading aloud to the girls. "What's a pew?" We recently started a new book, Ginger Pye, and the second chapter was about the kids dusting pews in the church building. It never crossed my mind that in just a short generation churches have changed that much. I hadn't realized that my kids haven't really been part of a traditional looking or feeling church (or at least they can't remember one). But if you stop and think about it, church these days is not what it was just 10 years ago. Now this idea that my child doesn't know that a pew is actually a church bench that you sit on during a service doesn't mean that we aren't a church going family. It says nothing for the truth that she comes from a strong, conservative Christian family. Not to mention that her grandfather is a pastor and her parents are Bible college graduates. What is says is that most churches we have visited in the last few years have turned away from the traditional looking church. Pews, stained glass, choir loft, hymnal, little spot for the communion cup or a kneeling bench are gone. As I explained it and kept reading, I found it hard to fully accept this concept. My kids probably won't ever think of church in that traditional way and likely that image will fade quickly away in just a few years.

Now don't get me wrong, I fully understand that church is truly the body of Christ, not the building that holds the gathering. But part of me is a little sad to see the common reference point disappear. When I am reading about these kids cleaning the church pews I can picture it in my head, but I am not sure that in generations to come, that will be an familiar image for them. I wonder if they see video monitors and folding chairs and a drum set up on the stage instead of a pulpit. I am pretty sure my kids don't picture a pulpit when they picture a church in their minds, because Tristen also asked what that was.

Friday, August 14, 2009


My new favorite food from the fresh farm produce. I LOVE it. I had never had it before this year and it has been fun to try something new. I wasn't sure what to do with it. I figured I could cook it up (I use either the microwave or steam or boil it). Then I let it cool a tiny bit and then I enlist the girls for their help. They race to see who can pop it out of the pods the fastest. The looser sets the table.
I have done my usual with it. Stir fry some other veggies ( squash - I have gotten TONS of that this year) and onions. Toss it with whole wheat pasta add the edamame and spinach and top with cashews. For flavor we add soy sauce.

I seriously LOVE this dish. It is yummy. It has a Chinese food taste, and the edamame adds a nutty flavor. Even the kids like it. If my goal for joining the farm produce was to get me to try new things, than it has worked. I now am a fan of edamame.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Catching my breath -

I have been running around trying to get oodles of things packed into each and every day. This is not how I normally roll. I am a homebody by nature. I love to be in my own nest, enjoying my space and my family. And yet, every day has been full of appointments and meetings and errands and needful. Trying to squeeze school in between all of it. Playing catch up on dentist appointments and remainders of moving.

Surprisingly one of my desires and goals is to SIMPLIFY my life and only fill it with things that are worthy. I am working on that. Trying to be selective of activities and events, yet it ALL looks so fun and interesting. I am praying for wisdom and discernment to make good choices. Knowing that every need does not constitute a call for me to respond. And embracing the truth that I don't have to be involved in EVERYTHING. Resisting the normal urge to participate.

So...we will skip heading to the store and library this afternoon. We will spend time in God's word as a family. Make a new recipe together (yummy dessert) and eat dinner around the table.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Back to School

We started back to school last week and it was such a good feeling to get back to some routine. I have enjoyed our summer, but I crave routine and schedules. Our first week was full of lots of extras and we were only able to squeeze 4 days of school in (that extra day was spent helping my friend organize her school room).

This year we are entering our 5 year of home education and we are trying a few new things. I thought I might post some of our curriculum and goals for the year so we can look back at it and see if we are on track.

Regular curriculum:

  • Spelling - Sequential Spelling
  • Reading - Pathway readers (including workbooks)
  • Grammar - Easy Grammar (new for us this year)
  • Math - Math U See (finishing Delta and beginning Epsilon)
  • History - Story of the World
  • Science - Apologia (finishing Flying Creatures of the 5th day and starting Botany)
  • Bible - Precepts (kids book about the names of God)
  • Handwriting - Handwriting Without Tears (Can Do Print)


  • working on "thinking skills"
  • trying to tackle Spanish (the learnables)
  • phonics for Tristen (a little more Explode the Code)
  • paragraph editing
  • learning keyboard (typing)
  • lapbooks (probably and Egyptian one)
  • artist study - Mary Cassatt (and making lapbook)
  • Jr. Naturalist Club (studying reptiles)
  • swimming club (one a week)
  • working on money and time (mostly Tristen)

I am still very encouraged after that great homeschooling expo I just went to. I am beginning to see that educating my kids is a full time job and it's no wonder our calendar fills up fast. It is going to be important for me to decide what we are able to spend our time on for extra activities. I desire to be more purposeful in what we carve time out for. Hoping and praying this is a great school year for us (and you too).

Friday, August 7, 2009

helping a friend get organized

Recently a friend mentioned she needed some help organizing her school room. I took her up on her invite and showed up yesterday with a label maker in hand ready to work. Actually it turned out another friend who enjoys organizing joined us and the 3 of us tackled the job.

First off, I don't want to skirt past the idea that this friend asked for help. Rather than hide behind the overwhelming feeling of not knowing where to start with the clutter and the mess. She swallowed her pride and became real and invited us in to see what life can really be like when you are trying to home educate 3 different ages of kids (not to mention all the extra activities that go along with it). I reassured her we were NOT there to judge, but to help.

Just this past weekend I just got back from a homeschooling convention and was challenged and blessed in so many ways (eager to post more about it). One of the speakers really challenged us to GET REAL. Break down the walls that we hide behind and let true friendship begin. Find those friends that you can be honest with and that will spur you on to "good works". To be a better you. The ones that will walk with you when times are hard and encourage you when you are struggling. And not to mention the ones that will speak truth into your life. Those friendships all start with getting real.

So yesterday when we arrived we started our work in the Dining Room. This is where most of the seat work will take place this year. We needed to move out the china hutch and store and toss the dishes. And I will be honest, we really challenged her to get rid of the extra things that are broken, or the ones she doesn't like or the multiple pairs of candle sticks.


Here is the before picture. This room had 10 chairs in it (too much) and you can't see the keyboard off on the right or the china hutch on the left. Both of those have now found different homes and only 4 chairs remain.

After sorting the dishes we moved onto her curriculum. Finding all the books and teacher guides and workbooks she will use THIS year. We grouped it all in subject categories to store on the shelves. Everything else found new homes. I am so proud of her. We made about 3 huge trash bags and several large totes to take to Goodwill. Some extra things were stores in her expanded laundry room and the rest upstairs at the built in desk on the landing.


Click on the pic to see the clutter up close. We really did more than just clear off the surfaces (which is what the before and after pics look like). You have to sort keep / donate / trash , group like items together and store in a tidy and usable way. That is the part that takes so long.


We also reorganized the kid books. My favorite way to do this is to stack them in categories. Easy readers, chapter books, picture books, science, Bible, art and craft (what ever ones you may have). Then we let our friend quickly go through and toss the ones that she is willing to part with, the put them back on the shelf with labels. Still needs some book ends (that makes a big difference). So here is the big AFTER reveal. What fun to step back and enjoy all the hard work.


Hopefully this will challenge and encourage you (it did me...I came home and cleaned out my fridge and reorganized Tally's bedroom shelves).

Thursday, August 6, 2009

All American Summer

There is something about going to a ball game that makes it feel like summer. Not long ago we found ourselves at a ball game one summer evening and it was the end of a perfectly busy day. It was so much fun and I was a little surprised how much the girls liked it. I am going to tuck these images away in my memory.