Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fitness Friday: The Holiday Edition

Today it's all up to you. IF you want to post. WHAT you want to post about. It's a free topic week--so enjoy. (If you have time.)

Thanksgiving turned out to be a breeze for me. We had a stomach bug at our house so this was the first day S and I were eating real food anyway. You know you aren't hungry very much after that so I ate, I got full, I stopped. End of story.

And my inches lost this week totals up to 8 1/2!!!! Eight and a half inches off of my body since we started and here's the real kicker: I haven't done a lick of exercise yet.

I KNOW I KNOW I'm the one who started this whole thing on my blog but it's true. I'm sorry. I don't have a gym membership and I just haven't done a thing. So all you ladies who keep typing, "Oh I only worked out 2 times ALL WEEK..." you can start feeling better now. 'Cause you are doing double of what I am doing. :)

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I have a very exciting event coming up this weekend that I can't wait to blog about when I get home--if everything works out like I hope it will!!!! I can't promise it will be exciting to you, but it will be to me. And if you can live through my normal posts, this should be a good break from reality.

Have a great weekend everyone! (And I'm not worried about how the title says "Friday" but I'm really posting on Thursday because clearly, from the looks of some of our Mr. Linky's, "Friday" is just a suggestion for "sometime between Friday and Tuesday." HA HA!)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Can Take a Hint

Before Karly and I got the idea for "Fitness Friday", I posted about all the things I had been ignoring that were telling me "get fit girl!" I finally listened and started DOING something about my weight. It ONLY took 6 months or more of hints, OK?

So, the other day I posted about a few kicks in the butt I received that got me to doing things I needed to do anyway. I'm beginning to think my head might be a bit thick. One of those things was my 9 year old's migraine. As usual, I hopped on the computer and started looking up information. I'm a research nerd...queen.

Basically, changing our diet would help some. Sweetheart needs to eat regular snacks to avoid these headaches. She also could stand to eat better. So could the whole family. So that sent me off on a whole goose chase around the internet with such phrases as "organic food" and "health foods" and all such as that. It can be completely overwhelming, let me tell you. On some sites I began to think that my whole life was one huge dangerous health-hazard. Even the use of hand cleaner is bad for you according to some.

The reason its overwhelming is because I'm not going to get my family to start eating bean sprouts for snack anytime soon. I hardly even know where to get really healthy food and even if I managed to get my hands on some, would I know how to cook it?

Then I stumbled on a tip that was the best thing I ever read. It basically said, "Eat things your grandmother (or great-grandmother) would recognize as food."

Ah, very wise. This means avoid the overly processed and prepacked stuff we depend on today. It means eat more fruits and vegetables. It means...learn to cook Brenda.

So THAT got me to thinking--hmmm, food my grandmother would recognize? I then looked up recipes from the 1940s. Guess what? I'm not worrying about all the organics and all the bits of advice that make my head spin. My grandmother served meat and vegetables and eggs. Sure, we should try to make sure that it's safe meat and vegetables and eggs and I think that's where the organics argument comes in. But the point is, my grandparents ate real food. They had never heard of some of the junk in boxes I now own.

So I made out a menu for the week. I changed a few things. It's a start, OK? I served meat loaf and carrots last night. REAL carrots. Like, they were raw and I peeled them and cut them up and cooked them! And the girls ate them! (Did I mention the brown sugar and butter? Oh, never mind.) I plan to make several things from scratch too. Little changes.

And then, to further complicate the journey, we went to the doctor today for Sweetheart's 3 day migraine. He told her to avoid chocolate, peanuts, cheese, and hot dogs. Do you have any idea what that does to her diet??? I mean, we can all live with fewer hot dogs and less chocolate...but no peanut butter or cheese? That's getting personal!

And in light of those doctor's orders...shall we examine my menu this week? Let's see--pizza tonight, cheese quesadillas for lunch tomorrow--it's not looking good. I will continue to research and learn. And we will get healthy around here.

The Plan Isn't Working

We were to have 3 days of school this week.

I was to go to the grocery store today to get the few items I couldn't find on Sunday.

We were to complete many festive Thanksgiving projects this week to decorate the house with.

Instead, Sweetheart has had a headache since Saturday afternoon. It was a migraine and it's still holding on. Her stomach has also hurt and let's just say I've mopped the floor a few times due to that hurting. Is it a stomach bug? Is it because of the headache? Is it both? Why won't the headache go away?

We're off to the doctor today to find out what's wrong because 3 days of a headache is too much.

I'll let you know what we find out and THEN I'll have something to really say on here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fitness Friday: The Thanksgiving Edition

Since we will likely all be very busy this week, I'm going to leave Fitness Friday completely open this week. The Mr. Linky will be up on Thursday night and if you have time over the weekend to write a post, that would be great!

The topic is entirely up to you. You can just write a note of encouragement, tell us about your successes over the holiday--whatever.

Remember to keep each other in your prayers.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Boost In the Right Direction

Several things have happened lately that gave me a kick in the butt in just the areas I needed it in.

#1 Kick: Sweetheart got a bad migraine this weekend that lasted about 1 1/2 days. She's had migraines before, but normally she tells us she's getting a headache and we dole out the pain medicine before it gets bad. She gets a lot of headaches, but they don't all turn into migraines.

Well, Saturday found her playing at the cousin's house all day and she was having so much fun she didn't stop to snack. She had lunch, (although I doubt she ate very well due to the fact she was ready to get back to all the playing!) but that was it all day long.

This has happened before at a friend's house when they didn't eat supper at nearly the time she is used to. And she got a migraine. And I had to go get her early. And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. So, Saturday, on the way home (an hour's drive) she told me her head hurt and of course there was no way to get medicine in her quickly. She got nauseated, then sick, and lay around all day today.

Which is what made me get more determined about eating healthy.

More about that later.

#2 Kick: Since we started homeschooling I have tried about 50 bajillion things (it is TOO a word!) for Bible time. They have all worked great for a time. But nobody that I know wants to do the exact same thing every single day. And I'll be happy to tell you all about the things we've done because I made most of them up and they didn't come from a book.

Now, understand when I say "Bible time", I do not mean "family worship" or "daily devotionals" or anything like that. I just mean Bible, as in a subject in school. The most important subject in school. When Sweetheart began private school, Bible became a part of the schedule and she learned a lot. They did that as part of their morning routine, just like the pledge of allegiance. (should that be capitalized?) I like to begin our day with Bible too. And I have about 500 more things to say about that.


But before we go, I have a quick question: What do you use for Bible time (assuming you are 1. a homeschooler 2. a Christian homeschooler 3. a Christian homeschooler who uses a Bible curriculum)??Did ya get all that?

What do you use for Bible time at your house?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fitness Friday: The Excuses Edition

We wouldn't have gotten in the shape we are in had it not been for our over-active imaginations. You heard me right! Where other women realized that their body needed good food, less food, less stress, and more exercise, WE were far more creative than that.

We made excuses instead.

And they served us well and helped us increase in size. BUT NO MORE!!!!

Any and all excuses having to do with our health.
Date of Death: Friday, November 21, 2008
Here were some of mine. Some are old and I haven't used them in a while. Those are the kinda dusty ones there in the back. Others get a lot of use and I keep them right here by me so they are easily accessible. In no particular order:
1. Life is meant to be lived! (I should enjoy dessert because what good is life if you don't get to indulge in the little pleasures?)
2. It's not that bad. (I'm not THAT fat. I'm not THAT out of shape. I can still fit into these. This outfit makes me look pretty small.)
3. What do you expect? I've had 2 kids! (Yeah, like I'm the only woman on the planet to undergo pregnancy and childbirth--and besides, it was FIVE years ago!)
4. Other people go work out, but my kids need me here at home. I'm not going to go selfishly pursing a perfect body at the gym.
5. We just need to be frugal right now. I can't afford to eat healthy.
6. I had a salad for lunch, so I can have this now. (usually JUNK food)
7. Why should everyone else get to eat ___________ and not me?
Oh I could probably go on and on. I'll bet some of you will think of ones I forgot. The time when I tell myself the biggest excuses is in front of the mirror. There is where I work really hard to convince myself it's not so bad. Maybe the kitchen in your mental battleground. Perhaps we should hang up some Bible verses in our area of weakness to help keep the excuses at bay?
My successes so far:
  • Last week marked 7 1/2 inches lost total!
  • I've been wearing my wedding ring all week!
  • I wore a skirt Sunday that hasn't fit me in 1-2 years!

These little successes feel so good. I need to have more of them. I WANT to have more of them. Which is why I'm going to keep going.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Looking Back At Faithfulness

If you've been blogging for at least a year now, I encourage you today to go back and see what you were blogging about at this time last year.

I like to do that from time to time. I also do it on some of your blogs--just because I'm nosy like that. I looked up my friend Rachel's archives sometime last year and discovered her post about how she was pregnant with Lorelai. It was neat to go back and see what she had to say at that time in her life.

Last night I re-read another document from last year. It was the journal I kept of Little Bit's tics before we got the Tourette's diagnosis. Her tics were REALLY REALLY bad this time last year. It made me sad/happy all at the same time. Sad-remembering how bad they were and happy--knowing how well she is doing today in comparison.

But what really strikes me in looking back a year ago is God's faithfulness. Problems we were facing that have now been overcome...issues we were struggling with that have now been settled in our hearts...memories of the blessings we had received...

So I encourage you to look backwards today, in a journal, on your blog, or in pictures, and see how far the Lord has brought you this year.

For He is always faithful.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

When You Just Can't Wait...

...for Mom to start reading the next book in the series, you pick it up and start reading it yourself.

And what was "too hard" a month ago is now "just right."

Good job, Goldilocks!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Doing the Once Impossible

The longer I homeschool (and this is only our second year!), the more I believe that parents really can teach their children at home. Huh? Of course you can or you wouldn't be.... What I mean is...we can do more than just teach them reading, math, science, history, etc. I truly believe that parents can teach their children far more than they realize.

One of the results of public compulsory education is that we have lost the art of teaching our children at home. For the most part, anyway. Years and years ago there was no question who would teach the children---their mom and dad would! When they were older, they might apprentice with another trusted adult to learn a skill, but education truly began in the home.

We now have parents convinced that their 2 year old MUST go to preschool or else. How did we get here?

I'm getting on a soapbox. Sorry. I remember reading a debate about whether homeschool parents were allowed to teach driver's ed to their kid or did they have to enroll them in the classes? If we can drive, and we can get our hands on a driver's booklet from the department of public safety, then I feel sure we can teach our daughters to drive.

But music lessons? No way. I can't read a note of music! I told myself, "I will just have to sign the girls up for music lessons and pay a lot of money for them to learn. I can't teach music, because that is something I don't know about."

Well. I mentioned that a very kind man from our church is teaching Sweetheart to play the recorder. She had a lesson with him last week, but it wasn't really enough to leave her knowing how to DO anything with her new instrument. So, she's frustrated.

I began nosing around the internet and found a wealth of information on learning to play the recorder. Certainly I cannot do more than our friend who plays the recorder beautifully, but I can teach her something. I have the added benefit of knowing her learning style. So, I'm printing off pictures of what her hands should look like when making certain notes. I found an online tutorial complete with pictures and a movie and sound clips. I can teach some music to my girls.

It's very freeing to realize that you don't have to always depend on "the experts." Wonder what else we can learn around here?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fitness Friday Assignment: Our Best Excuses

We all have them...those little excuses. Little ways that we reason with ourselves about our weight. Little things we tell ourselves to make it all OK in our minds. Otherwise, how could we get in the shape we are in?

Excuses...there are many of them.



I said...right?

That's more like it.

So....what were your best excuses? What were the little gems of reasoning for your eating habits, for the way you looked, for your lack of exercise?

Perhaps you are still holding onto a few of those excuses? (I am.)

Time to get them out in the open so we can shut them up once and for all. Think hard. And publish your best excuses for your habits on Friday. And don't forget to tell us your successes and goals! Oh, and don't forget to pray for each other!

See you then!

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like CHAOS!

I love being home.

Now, having said that....

EVERYTHING IS A MESS! I feel like such a failure right now. I'm not whining. I promise. I'm just frustrated and I feel like there is not one area (home, kids, school, laundry, finances) where I am on top of things.

And the holidays are coming people!!!!! I feel like I just need to hole up here for a week and get things done, but we are always running. I don't even want to bring Christmas presents into this house until we get a reign on the stuff we already have.

OK---get a grip Brenda. What are your rocks?

1. School
2. Pay bills
3. Clean kitchen (floors, everything)
4. Grocery store
5. Those 4 are big enough. No 5 today.

What do you do when everything is tumbling down? Maybe I'll call my mommy today to come help. :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fitness Friday: The Eating Out Edition

I don't want to know what life would be like if there were no restaurants. I love eating out. Not every day, mind you. Sitting down at least once a week where someone brings me refills is just wonderful. Of course, it might be easier on our budget if we lived out in the sticks and eating out just wasn't possible. I've heard that some people live this way...some by choice!

Probably, it would be better on my waistline too. But even if you took away the restaurants, there would still be the church get-togethers, parties, holiday events, etc. We MUST learn to stick to our goals even outside the walls of our kitchens.

I had a success at a restaurant called Kelley's a month or so ago when FF first began. The girls eat pancakes really well so we stopped there. It's like a Denny's in that it serves breakfast all day, but the biscuits in this place are the size of my kids' faces. I'm not exaggerating. Let's not even talk about the health effects of good southern cooking, OK?

So, I flipped to the back of the menu and found "carb friendly" selections. I chose an omelet filled with onions, ham, etc. and served with sides of sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. I FILLED UP on those sides and ate about half the omelet. BOY it was good! A lot of restaurants offer healthier choices.

But there is still the portion size to worry about. That omelet was seriously the size of my forearm. In thinking about this post, I decided what I need to do. I've talked before about how out of proportion our serving sizes have become. Isn't it true that a good serving size is often the size of your fist? What we need to do is ask for an extra plate when we order. Then immediately take off of our plate any more food than the size of our fist. Our plate will probably be looking empty now, but that's only because the plate sizes are ridiculous. Then, you will be able to take your time eating, knowing that you can indeed clean your plate without over-eating. I was also thinking it would be a good thing to serve myself chips onto a plate before I start eating. Plunging your hand into the chips and salsa while chatting is a very bad way to start a meal if you care about your clothes size! Don't ask me how I know.

At church a few weeks ago there were snacks being served after a special singing service. I got in the room first (right behind all the kids) and started opening containers and setting things out to serve. Then I got busy helping little kids get some food without touching everything. When we left, I realized I hadn't eaten anything myself! I couldn't believe it! I had not planned on that happening but it seemed to have worked. So, I tested my theory at Bible study Wednesday night. I headed to the kitchen and started helping prepare things and serve cookies to the kids. Well, I did stay away from most of the snacks, but I did try the desert the hostess was serving. It was so unusual and I'm really glad I did (got the recipe too!). It might work better for others to just stay away from the food completely, but I know a lot of hostesses who don't eat much because they are busy so I thought it was worth a try.

I'm planning to employ both of these tactics during the upcoming holidays. 1. Serve myself small portions of things I want to try. 2. Stay really busy helping with food and such so I don't have as much time to stuff my face. How does that sound? And on a side note, I totally think there is a time and place to indulge. If we can just get a handle on the every day stuff, we would still be doing good.

The last thing I could do to improve our eating away from home is to keep non-perishable snacks in the car. I cannot tell you how many times we end up running through a drive-through because the timing of our errands didn't work out. Sweetheart gets headaches if she doesn't eat regularly so if we had snacks and drinks in the car it would really help.

OK--your turn. If you have written a Fitness Friday post on your blog today, please sign up on the Mr. Linky below to share that link with the rest of us. If you don't have a post to share, feel free to say your piece in the comments section. We welcome all great ideas for helping us eat healthy away from home!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Fish Tank is a Rock

I'm still thinking about my rocks. It reminded me of Terry's post on 5 things on her to-do list. So, I kind of put all these thoughts together...still working on it...and came to some conclusions.

One or two of the items on my "5 things list" need to be the big ones. The rocks. I know in the example the rocks are supposed to be the really important things in life, but I'm using that to mean the things that are really important about housework. For example, today the fish tank is a rock, because soon we won't be able to see the fish if I don't get it done. Little Bit's closet, the laundry room, sewing Christmas presents, and putting away 3 baskets of clean laundry are also all rocks right now--they are the big ones that make me feel overwhelmed. If I tried to do all of them every day (which I wake up with those intentions every day), I would not only NOT get done, but I would also NOT get to anything else...the pebbles or the sand. That would be things like coloring with my girls, cross-stitching something, looking at a magazine, etc. I NEVER feel like I have time for those things because these rocks are hanging over my head.

So, each day I will choose 1 or 2 of those rocks to be first on my to-do list. If I get the fish tank cleaned FIRST today (first on my homemaking agenda, which begins after school) then I can cross that item off and give myself permission to do some less pressing things. I can rest knowing that the next big rock is on my to-do list first thing tomorrow. In a week, I could get at least 5 big rocks DONE! Imagine that! And still have time for some other stuff.

I think I just feel so overwhelmed by all the things that very obviously need to be done, that I end up not really doing any of it. I busy myself trying to get everything else straightened and cleaned up around here, THEN I will feel like I have time to go clean out a closet. I feel like I cannot start those big projects until I'm caught up around here.

That is why I have been so frustrated...I've been putting the sand and pebbles in first...waiting for "time" to get to those rocks. No longer. Those rocks will come first from now on. And? I need to delegate a lot more of the little housekeeping tasks to the short people around here while I work on the rocks.

I know the demonstration is supposed to be about life, not housekeeping, but it worked for me!

And now, a Keepin' It Real item for your reading pleasure. Terry pointed out yesterday some very real differences between blog world and the real world. It was a great post. Reminded me of why I started Keepin' It Real in the first place. Behind the keyboard where we spit out all of our lofty intentions, homeschool success stories, and highlights of life...behind that keyboard is a lot of stuff we don't share.

From time to time, I like to. So, did you know?

*that I have 10 undeveloped disposable cameras? I had 12 but my dad grabbed two the other day and took them to be developed. They were from 4 YEARS AGO!!!! Yep, Sweetheart's 5 year old birthday party. So, yes. One day after Little Bit's 5 year old birthday, we finally looked at pictures of Sweetheart's 5 year old birthday. The irony did not escape me. Wonder what else I'll find on those cameras?

OK--your turn. Tell me about your rocks or a Keepin' It Real fact from your home! I love hearing from you all...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Identifying My Rocks

If you've been in the business world at all in the last decade, you've probably seen the demonstration (credit is sometimes given to Stephen Covey) of the rocks, pebbles, and sand. Our principal shared this little experiment one year before school started. Even though we were all adults, it is still amazing to watch.

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, here is a video link using some other materials, but the concept is still the same. It's a great little experiment to do with your kids too.

But this post is not about a cool homeschool activity. This post is about me needing to find my rocks. I am so frustrated at the end of every day because it seems I never got to about 50 things on my list that I wanted to get to. To look around here at the end of the day, sometimes I want to ask myself, "What did you do all day?"

That's pretty bad.

So this demonstration came back to me today. I made a list of the most important things to get done in school with Sweetheart. If we didn't get all the way down the list, at least the important things got done. And that's exactly what happened. In order, today: Bible, spelling, handwriting (those last 2 get left off SO easily), math, then colonial times, then reading (she reads all the time anyway). I can now rest knowing that even though we didn't get everything done, we got the important stuff done.

I need to do the same thing with housework. With my spiritual life. With the things I do to help my husband. With my time in general. The point is...if I focus on the important things first, there will still be time for the other stuff. I won't be stuck doing "have to" things all day. I will get a chance to do some things I want to do.

So today I'm thinking about my rocks. What are some of yours?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Of Monkeys and Music

Little Bit is 5 years old tomorrow. She crawled into bed with us Sunday morning and snuggled in just like she used to do those 7 months we shared a bed when she was nursing. I have to say, it hurt my hormones just a little bit to realize how big she is getting.

But oh we celebrated on Saturday with her request of a Curious George party. Because this little girl has sat through an April birthday, a July birthday, an August birthday, lots of friend's birthdays, and was her turn.

There were monkey masks.

There was coloring and a craft. (I couldn't find a craft so I e-mailed Allie at No Time for Flash Cards and she MADE ONE UP FOR ME! She totally rocks.) I am afraid ours look like frog-monkeys.

There was much eating. That's my sister making a banana split. FITNESS FRIDAY LADIES PLEASE AVERT YOUR EYES. No, scratch that...LOOK! Fruit on the counter!!!! Sigh.

There was even a lame game. (which they loved)

There were much anticipated presents.

Incidentally, she picked out that Dora gift bag herself. I said, "Yeah, we can get that. I think one of your presents will fit in there."

LB: You can put my big George in there.
Me: How do you know you are going to get a big George?
LB: (incredulous) I told you I wanted one!

And she was right. Over-confident, but right.

Tomorrow, on her actual birthday, there is one small present and pancakes at Denny's with Grandpa. She is just so cute.

Always has been.

But I'm biased.

Now, Sweetheart has exciting news too! A man at our church is getting together a recorder band of sorts for a talent show around Christmas time. He asked if anyone in our family would be interested in learning how to play. We volunteered Sweetheart and she began weekly music lessons with Mr. J today. I thought she might pop waiting on him to get here with her new instrument!

It is a real blessing to us, these free lessons, because S and I really want our girls to learn to play multiple instruments. Between the two of us, there is a bit of guitar playing and that is it. And I'll give you a hint: I'm not the guitar player. So if music is to be a part of our homeschool curriculum, we will be depending on outside help. I'm so excited for her to have this opportunity! Today she learned about notes and measures and frankly, she has already surpassed her mother.
I'm better at making frog-monkeys than music.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fitness Friday Assignment: The Eating Out Edition

Ladies, this week we will be discussing the problem of eating out. If you have a busy schedule like many people, you may find yourself at restaurants more than you would prefer. Or, maybe your family does not eat out much, but you find yourself hosting or attending get-togethers with friends and family. We're pretty much including all eating in public or with people other than just your spouse and kids. Plus, with all the holidays coming up, I think it's a relevant topic!

We had a birthday party for my (soon to be) 5 year old this weekend. There was pizza, there was cake, there were banana splits....thank goodness I have the rest of the week until Fitness Friday! Anyway, with a bit more planning for success, I could have done something differently and still had fun/enjoyed the special day/indulged some. I think there is a time and place for that.

So, how do you handle the eating out? What tips and strategies do you have for us? If you don't have any, just post your concerns and weak spots and let everyone help you out in the comments section. We will probably always have restaurant and get-togethers in our lives, even when we meet our goals, so let's plan for success now. OK?

Also, we are adding PRAYER to our Fitness Friday plan. Please remember to pray for the other ladies in our group this week and know that you are being lifted up in prayer as well.

See you all on Friday!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Prayer Needed

I read Carisa's blog 1+1+1=1. She has great homeschool ideas and her family has a neat story of how they became missionaries in Philly. Plus her kids are really cute.

Carisa just got out of bed a few weeks ago from terrible pregnancy sickness and now her husband has been diagnosed with testicular cancer. Please pray for their family and his healing.

Her post is here.

Fitness Friday: The Shopping Edition

This week we are sharing our online or real-life shopping experiences and showing off what we want to wear and look good in. Let's jump in, shall we?

I know modesty is an issue, but let's just say that in OUR backyard, in OUR pool, swimming with MY husband....I would love to look good in just about anything on this page.

OK--back to reality for a minute. I really dress pretty simply. I am not a fancy, fru-fru girl. I would love to look good in just simple t-shirts such as this one.

Maybe it wouldn't have those exact words on it, but I would like to wear more fitted shirts. I don't want tight shirts, just not loose, sloppy shirts. I think we try so hard to hide our weight that we end up looking worse. I know husband and I disagree on what looks good on me. I think he's blind, he thinks I'm crazy. All I know is I think fitting into more attractive shirts is possible. (Unlike the swimsuit page, which is a more, um, long-term goal.)

Now, about skirts. First of all, I want to be able to wear loose, flowing skirts in the summer without all the undergarments I now depend on to keep things in place. THAT would be a dream to me. (I'm getting excited just thinking that this could be possible!) Here is a casual skirt I would like to wear and feel good in.
Hmmm. I think I'm beginning to see a pattern here. Obviously, I want to wear more fitted things and feel good in them! Right now, tight worries me. Tight makes me feel self-conscious. Fitted things are not my friend.

I love shirts like this but I always feel like I can't wear them. Maybe it's because I think they wouldn't look good on me (my size isn't as cute as the one on the rack) and maybe it's because button up the front things can be tricky when you are too big. I would love to wear this and feel like my boobs weren't too big, my arms weren't too fat, and my stomach wasn't sticking out. Whew! It takes a lot of emotional energy being overweight!
And these pants are pretty cute. I wouldn't mind wearing them without worrying about my stomach.
NOW, how will I get to the point where I can wear these things? By getting back on track. I have learned something through these Fitness Friday posts...busy weeks can throw EVERYTHING off! I need to really, really be planned for success. I planned meals this week, but somehow only fit one salad into my mouth this week. I fit no exercise into my life this week either, unless you count housework. I know that I have to exercise before I will begin to see any real changes. Not that 6 1/2 inches lost is a small thing...but it's not enough for me to look like this:

I'm just sayin'.
Have a great Friday everyone!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Making It Up as I Go

This school year looks nothing like I expected. Last year was such a sweet year of homeschooling around the dining room table, using familiar curriculum that Sweetheart had used in private school the year before. She loved all things schoolish and loved for me to act like it was "real" school. (She would come in every morning and say, "Good morning Mrs. E" or "Mom, pretend like I'm a new student and you have to introduce me to the class!") I really enjoyed last year.

But having the summer to think about things and research my options a bit, I changed a few things. What worked really well in 2nd grade wasn't necessarily going to work again in 3rd grade. And I'll be honest, it was very hard to let go of my preconceived notions of what 3rd grade "should" look like. (I used to teach 3rd grade.) I branched out and got some new curriculum that would allow us to study things from a Christian perspective and I'm very glad that I did. I have enjoyed the curriculum we purchased, but the year still doesn't look like I thought it would.

For one thing, the younger grades (Pre-K through 2nd grade) lend themselves to thematic units. That's how I always taught. If we were to the part of our reading book where we read stories about the ocean, I stayed late at school hanging blue plastic wrap from the ceiling to transform our classroom into the ocean. Then I researched and found extra books to go along with our study. We had the best Titanic unit back then. When the movie came out, my former students all had to stop off at my door to ask if I had seen it yet. They remembered that unit because their interest was sparked. I love theme units. It's so fun to put huge dragon footprints in the hallway leading to your room and decorate your door like a castle and watch your students' faces as they walk up. "What are we learning about?????" The answer? Fairy tales. Don't even get me started on my pig unit. I stayed late hauling landscaping timbers to my classroom to build a pig pen that we filled with the students' stuffed pigs where they could sit and read.

Sigh. School used to be so much fun.

But because of the curriculum choices for Sweetheart's 3rd grade year, there really isn't as much time to do a theme unit. Besides, she knows all about Johnny Appleseed and the first Thanksgiving already because she remembers from last year. And if we do our History curriculum every day, it is a theme unit in itself. (The Ancients and all that encompasses.) But to us, that is boring by itself.

I could not believe the transformation in my oldest daughter when we began learning about horses two weeks ago! Since she was already interested, I think I could have gotten her to do just about anything. And we've pretty much kept up with our other subjects. Kind of. But how else can you find yourself watching Mr. Ed and The Roy Rogers Show on Youtube? We were studying famous horses, OK? We have had so much fun.

And that led into our Colonial Unit. I wanted to do some stuff on the 13 colonies, then I got a homeschool freebie download of a colonial book that looked awesome, then I thought, "Why not read the Felicity American Girl books next?" Hmmm. Then I remembered a free lapbook for American Girl books on Homeschool Share.

Another unit is born.

And if you think I have a plan past this you are VERY, VERY funny.

Or new to my blog.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mark This One "Done"

The American Girl tea party was a great success! Here is the table, all set and ready to go:

The place settings go along with the era each American Girl is from. Above, we have Fire King Jadite dishes for Molly from 1944 and the Depression Glass for Kit from 1934.

And here are fancy dishes for Felicity from the Colonial Era (well, Felicity is from the Colonial Era, not the dishes!), and our real 1970's dishes (and place mat) that my sister and I grew up eating on for Julie. My mom still had them. :)
First, we got everyone dressed and took their picture with the mini-doll of the character they were playing.
My niece Gnat as Felicity (1774)...

My other niece Moose as Julie (1974)...
Sweetheart as Kit (1934)... and Little Bit as Molly (1944)...We had a dance in the living room. My sister had searched YouTube for music to go along with each era. We just let the girls dance however the music made them move. Let me tell you, going from colonial era music to "Shake Your Booty" in 10 minutes' time can make you laugh. A lot. And depression era music? It's...depressing.

On to the tea party! No one had actual tea, by the way. I guess it was really more of an orange juice/milk/water party.

We got so tickled watching Gnat eat her cupcake as "Felicity". There was much sticking out of the little pinkie and dabbing of the mouth with her napkin. The right dress and fancy dishes just bring out the manners I guess.

So what do 1970's melamine dishes bring out?

After that each girl made a mobile of her character. We had a great time and I am glad it's over as we now have a birthday party to get ready for next weekend. Whew. I'm kind of glad it's Monday!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fitness Friday Assignment

Hey Ladies!! We didn't hear from some of you on Friday, but it's NOT too late! Add your post whenever you like...the Mr. Linky stays up and we will check in on you.

Aunt Bossy left a great comment on my post and it inspired me to make a new button. HAAHAHAHAHA! You know me better than that. Actually, it inspired me to ask JulieMom to make a new button. She made a new and improved Fitness Friday's has a catchy slogan (thanks to Aunt B)...AND as a bonus feature, if you add it to your sidebar it will actually give you will power!

OK, not really on that last part.

Here's the button:

I'll have the code up as soon as I can--technical difficulties. You can e-mail me for it if you want!

Oh! I almost forgot. For our posts next week here is your assignment. You are to go shopping (online or real life if you have, you and pick out a few things you would like to be able to wear one day and feel great in. It might be new pajamas (my capri pants, yes THOSE capri pants, were falling off of me this week), a cute style of dress, whatever. Just something that you would like to be able to wear, but your un-fitness has kept you from wearing up until now. Post links, or pictures, of your choices. Sound fun?

Have a great weekend everyone!