Saturday, January 31, 2009

January Wrap Up

It seems like we just put the Christmas tree away, and here it is already the end of the month! Well, for some people...they may HAVE just put the tree away! cough*Karly*cough

We kicked it off with my birthday. Always a grand event.

We went on a field trip with our homeschool group to the Health Museum.

Posing with some of our newest friends...

Learning about the liver...

Transformed the classroom from this: this. (Much better!)

Attended a mermaid birthday party. Modesty + January weather called for some creativity on my part!

They kind of crack me up. The costumes, not the girls.
We are very into dinosaurs around here. Yes, in a girl house!

I've sewed Chomper, Little Foot, and Spike so far. Three more to go. I'm sick of dinosaurs, by the way. But this little sweetie loves them.
A t-rex...
I was impressed by this triceratops...
A long-neck....can't even think of the real names anymore.

Not sure what species this is, but it cost me an entire box of toothpicks!

Worked with base ten blocks...well, OK...they played with them actually. Sweetheart made this:

Little Bit worked HARD on this. I was impressed.

I also transformed some things around the house.

Before--under our bathroom sink. Pretty!
After--all is hidden.
The bathroom window BEFORE I saw this site: (thank you to my source!)

The bathroom window after:

Sweetheart's too-short jeans BEFORE:

And now? Sassy capris! (thank you to my sister for helping me "think it out")
February will bring this:

More on that later.

I knew we had been busy, but man! And these are just the times I grabbed the camera! Hope you all had a great month too.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fitness Friday: The Temptation Edition

Well, first I will let you know how I did on my goals this week. I think the word I'm looking for is TERRIBLE!

Let's see--I truly ate too many sweets. I didn't eat nearly enough fruits and veggies. But I did cut down the cokes a lot. So, one out of three ain't bad.

The exercise? Well...I decided what I want to do. I looked at the library for the DVD but sadly did not find it. I did a lot of housework and didn't sit down all that much. I was busy, but I didn't really exercise in the strict definition of the word.

I did well on the clothes in spite of it being cold weather. I felt really great today. I put make-up on, fixed my hair, put on nice-ish clothes ALL BEFORE SCHOOL STARTED! It was a nice way to start the day.

Spiritually, I finally remembered to ask the Lord for strength today and I had a great day. I must remember to depend on His strength and not my own.

I'm not changing my goals for this next week because they were good ones. Perhaps I'll even meet more of them this next week!


The number one thing that tempts me is sweets. I don't have "a" sweet tooth, I have a mouthful of them! I do better when I keep 100 calorie sweets around. That way I can have a sweet, but not bust out of my clothes at the same time. Chocolate is really a downfall for me!

I like fried foods but I don't crave them really. I can't really think of anything I am tempted to do or have except the sweets. My biggest problem is that I am so terribly tempted to do NOTHING. That's worse than anything! I am too sedentary, too content with not-so-healthy food, etc. Is laziness or apathy a temptation?

As far as what I'm going to do about it...I think I should treat it the same way as sin and run away. I need to walk away from the kitchen when I'm tempted to shove a quick cookie in my mouth. It doesn't help that I must walk through my kitchen to get to the laundry room, sewing room, garage, etc. Perhaps I should go back to colonial times and have a detached kitchen off the back of the house!

Oh! I know! I'll just run through the kitchen instead of walking! That way...I'll run away from the temptation, get my laundry done faster, and get in some exercise all at the same time! I love it when a plan comes together. (name that TV show!)

Let us know what your temptations are and how you deal with them. The pounds you lose may be your friend's!

FF Assignment

I'm so sorry that this assignment is so late. Don't worry, it's just a thinking assignment! I really didn't have any ideas until last night.

We are supposed to report on our improved goals this week and, if you are making weekly goals, you need to let us know what your next week's goals are going to be.

Besides that, I'd like you to tell us what tempts you--(in the fitness area anyway)--and what does not ever tempt you. We probably don't struggle with as many things as we think. It can be food, bad habits...whatever things cause you to struggle on your fitness journey.

And if you have any tips for overcoming those temptations to share with us...that would be great too!

See you tomorrow!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fitness Friday: The NEW IMPROVED Goals Edition

When Fitness Friday first began, we were all really good about stating our goals each week. Many of you have still been good about it, but not me! I think that is part of why I have been sort of just wandering around; surprised when the news is good on Friday and not too happy when the news is not good. I gotta be more focused!

So this week you were all invited to really think out your goals. To be more specific. To make our goals about more than just one part of our lives.

And now I'm realizing that was a hard assignment!

But I'll give it my best try because I really, really NEED more specific goals if I'm going to keep moving in the right direction.

1. Limit my sweets. It's OK to have a cookie or two....but I have to know how many I'm going to allow myself before I start. Also, getting back to the 100 calorie chocolate snacks would be helpful.
2. Decrease the cokes. I've fallen back into drinking them too much. I need to keep tea in the fridge.
3. Keep veggies to snack on. I bought a small veggie tray this week and husband and I ate the whole thing--and enjoyed it! I've always said if I had a personal chef to cut up and keep on hand those kinds of things I would be much healthier. Well, my arms ain't not broke as they say! (Around here we say that anyway)

1. Do something. ANYTHING resembling exercise. Walk. Vacuum. Step up and down off the bathroom stool a bunch. Dance with my kids. Jumping jacks. Goodness sake--just DO something!

I have been making an effort to dress nicer and it has really made me feel good. Of course, we all have sloppy days or a day when you are going to be getting really dirty and you need to wear your scruffy clothes...but it's not "every day with a Y in it"! So...
1. Wear other clothes besides jeans/sweat pants several times a week.
2. Pay attention to details such as my nails, hair, a little jewelry, etc.

The best beauty is inner beauty...a gentle and quiet spirit. That can only come from our Lord.
1. To watch my words and tone of voice. Even the loveliest of women can ruin the whole effect by being loud, obnoxious, crass, rude, shrill, etc. My family especially deserves to hear the effects of a gentle and quiet spirit.
2. Pray for the Lord to help me with my fitness goals. He is my source of strength!

Well, those are my goals for this week and there are so many of them I need to write them out and post them where I can see them and be reminded!

If you have written a blog post on your Fitness Friday goals, please link us to your post on the Mr. Linky below!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fitness Friday Assignment

Your assignment this week for Fitness Friday is to expand your goals. Some of you have been so good about this, but I would like us all to think about goals in a lot of different areas.

Food goals
Exercise goals
Beauty goals (yes, yes...the Lord looks at the heart and I'm not encouraging us to be vain--just to look great for our hubbies and to feel better)
Spiritual goals

What other kind of goals should we think about? When we first started, our goals were pretty much all about food and I think it's cool that we are branching out--realizing there is more to it than the kitchen!

On Friday, post your goals on your blog and sign up on Mr. Linky. Please be sure to link directly to your FF post, not just your blog.

See you Friday--and yes, you can start on the new goals this week or next. You just need to think/pray/decide on them by Friday.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Will Never Feel Like a Bad Mom Again

We all have those days. One of those days where you feel like you are NOT on your best game in the mothering department. For whatever reason. Today wasn't one of those days for me, it's just that I know them well.

But life is not made up of little bad moments--it's not even made up of bad days. It's bigger than that.

Tonight when I was tucking Sweetheart in bed (in the messy house, with very little groceries, non updated checkbook, etc.), she told me:

S: Mommy, Shannon told me she stayed up until 1:00 in the morning.

(Shannon, not her real name, is a friend who is about 8 months older than Sweetheart.)

M: She probably did.

S: Why?

M: Well honey, remember that Shannon's Mommy and Daddy are divorced? Well, Shannon's Mommy has a new boyfriend and I think she spends a lot of time with her boyfriend.

S: And she smokes. So does Shannon's sister.

M: I know.

S: So why did she stay up until 1:00?

M: Well, Shannon lives with her sister and it's not her job to take care of her (she's in college) and her Mommy. And I think her Mommy goes to work, and then spends time with her boyfriend, and....

S: And no one takes care of Shannon?

M: Well, I'm sure her Mommy does take care of like....

S: Not like you would take care of me?

M: (smiling) Right. Not like I would take care of you.

Then she sat up and hugged me.

Man, I love that girl.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fitness Friday: The Wardrobe Tweaking Edition

Edited to defend myself! Scroll down. :)

We are not off to a good start. I had big plans of sleeping in husband-approved nightwear and wearing feminine, flowing skirts all week.

And then I checked the weather forecast last night. Nights are all in the 30's and days are in the 50's. Hmmm.

OK--so today I am wearing a sweater and brown pants. NOT jeans. NOT a sweatshirt. It's a sad start.

Purging the drawers might be a better solution this week. We'll see...

Yesterday I changed out of that sweater and brown pants because I thought I looked like a dork all day. The sweater will be donated, thank you very much. I didn't have much choice but to put on jeans and a black mock turtleneck. I put on good shoes with it and brushed my hair before husband got home.
Then I wrote this post. And just when I got up from the computer and walked past Little Bit, she looked up and said, "You look like Daddy cause you have on jeans and a shirt." Ironic, no?

Today I wore the same black shirt and jeans to the library. I just really don't have skirts for this kind of weather.

I got out some kicky little boots to try to dress up my jeans and maroon turtleneck today. It looked so bad there are not even words. My wardrobe is crap. I can't decide what to wear to Bible study tonight. I really want to wear skirts--especially after looking at some picutres of myself from last month in the jeans. It's not as good looking as it feels, that's for sure! The girls have on pink corduroy pants and a shirt today. They look sweet and warm. But Mama does not have anything to wear. And naked isn't an option, OK?

Today was easy. It was a field trip day, so the girls and I wore our matching homeschool shirts and jeans. I still haven't DONE anything to my wardrobe other than decide that it's not that great. It's fine...I have clothes to wear every day, they just aren't exactly how I want to look. I have been sleeping in a nightgown the last few nights instead of flannel pajama bottoms and my husband's long-sleeved Old Navy t-shirt. A few nights ago I slept in my silk pajamas but I spilled something on them the next day.

And now I have to post Fitness Friday in a few hours and I have nothing to report! The one thing I have decided is that I need to learn to sew better so that I can make the kind of clothes I want to be wearing. I really want to clean out my dresser drawers and plan to tomorrow so I'll just go ahead and tell you what I plan to get rid of: a bunch of old t-shirts and anything that doesn't fit.

I sure hope some of you had a better, more successful week with this assignment! I can't wait to hear what you did. I need some inspiration.

Now I have to defend myself! I am wearing Levi's 505's. They look like this:

I'll admit, there are nicer jeans to be had. But they are NOT granny jeans! :)

THESE are bad jeans! Can I get an Amen?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Because She Loves Them

Little Bit is into dinosaurs right now. It all started with a Land Before Time video my sister let us borrow earlier this year. Both girls have been watching these videos for several weeks now, with only minor corrections from Mama reminding them that the dinosaurs did NOT live "millions of years ago before any people walked the earth."

So this launched a desperate Christmas time search for Land Before Time toys. You know, when your kid falls in love with something from the 1980's, it's not so easy to find. But finally I hit the jackpot with a "Buy It Now!" item. (I had already lost 3 bids.) S wanted to know, "WHO saves Burger King toys from 1987?" I told him I didn't care WHO, I was just glad SOMEONE had!

So that's that, right?

Ha Ha. Silly reader. One of Little Bit's nicknames is "One Track." For when she gets her mind on something...she's not really very distractable. And that is how it happened that I began sewing felt plush dinosaurs for no profit. These things go for $40+ on etsy!!! Not that mine are good enough to sell for $40 smackers. Believe me, I shot this picture purposefully so that you can't see all the little mistakes.

This is the first one. I finished it today and she asked, "Are you going to finish the other ones now?" And actually, the answer is yes. Not because I love making them. But because she loves them, and I love her.

That's how it works. No one told me that before I became a Mommy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Picture Tag--Here Goes

I got tagged for this and it looks easy and fun! Laura over at Drill Sergeant Redeemed tagged me for this Picture Tag. Here are the rules
1. Go to your fourth picture folder
2. Pick the fourth picture--no exceptions!
3. Post it, and tell about it.
4. Tag four more people

That last part ain't happening because I hate tagging.

OK--so this is my husband (in the brown shirt) when he was part-time youth minister at our church. He's talking to the yewts (name that movie!) in this picture.

Join in if you want to! It's kind of funny to see what will come up!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Captions Everyone Would Want to Read (or not)

The coverage on the soon-to-be first family is cracking me up. Now granted, I was very interested to read about how they move the new presidential family into the White House and the former presidential family out at the same time--IN SIX HOURS!!!!

But I'm not really sure I need to see 25 pictures of their family boarding a plane. You know?

So I got tickled after I got up from the computer and went back to MY daily life. What if reporters were following me around instead of the Obamas?

Oh, it would make for some exciting media, let me tell you!

Just imagine the pictures. Here are some possible captions from my day today. And let's just pretend my name is Michelle Obama because it sounds really good, OK?

*Michelle Obama searches her Texas garage for trash bags after her husband, President Elect Barack Obama moved them without telling her.

*Michelle Obama discusses the state of the living room with daughters Malia (10) and Sasha (7). Both girls will have their own room upon their arrival at the White House on January 20.

*Michelle Obama pulls a box of macaroni and cheese from her Texas pantry to feed her daughters for lunch. At the White House, the Obama family will enjoy a personal chef.

Alright, on second thought...they better just keep running those plane boarding photos.

Why Do I Do This?

Why do I like to share pictures with you of how messy our house gets? (I know you can't really see how bad it is on this picture.)

Well...I just sort of think it's....incredible! We are over-achievers in this area.

I know other people's houses get this way too, but we don't talk about it.

So, rest assured, someone else's house is as bad or terribly worse than yours.

Feel better?

Now, I'm going to go attack this room because it's making me crazy!!!! THEN I'll be back later today with more profound things to say, so tune back in.
But first my family needs groceries, the car has to get inspected, there is (obviously) cleaning to do, school must get finished, a new fish and book must be purchased and THEN....THEN, I'll blog.
About an actual topic.
From my clean living room. :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fitness Friday Assignment--Wardrobe Tweaking

I've been nice lately. I've given easy assignments. You've been able to think on them a bit, and then post.

No more!!!! (insert evil laughter here)

This week's assignment will make you DO something in order to post. Cause it's time to stop talking about our fitness and our looks and our attitudes about the whole thing and start DOING something about it!!!!

In other words, the counseling sessions are o-vah. (for now)

So, this week we will be tweaking our wardrobes. As usual, I'm leaving this very open. I'm posting this early so you'll have time to think about it before next week.

Here are some suggestions:
1. Change what you wear to bed. I could certainly stand to improve in this area.
2. Purge your wardrobe of things that make you look bigger than you are, are sloppy, old, etc. Be sure to take pictures of what you get rid of!
3. Purchase something new!
4. Dress differently than you usually do.
5. Buy some new undies.

It doesn't really matter what you decide to do to your wardrobe this week, just do something! Many of us have said that we dress like we feel about ourselves. Well, it's time to change that!

Who's with me?

Think about it this weekend. Decide what you are going to do. Then, journal your experiences this week. You can write a bit daily, letting us know how you feel or what you did. (but just save the post, don't actually publish it until Friday!)

Can't wait to see what action everyone takes with our wardrobes!

See you Friday!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fitness Friday: The I Feel Good Edition

I hope you all had a great first week post-holidays! It was nice to get back on a normal schedule. Let's remember to pray for each other during the week!

Things that make me feel good:

1. Not drinking very much Coke. When I drink a lot of tea and water, I feel lighter. I do enjoy a Coke sometimes, but when I drink them too much I feel icky.

2. Serving fruits and vegetables to my family. It's more fun doing something together and I'm glad when we are all eating good things at the table together.

3. Sleeping. I don't have much trouble with this as I don't really have to get up at a certain time. If I went to bed late, I can make up for it in the morning. But when I toss and turn or the girls wake me up a lot in the night---oh boy do I feel horrible the next day!

4. Stretching. I'm not a fan of all the cardiovascular stuff, but I LOVE stretching. I forget to do it and I get "stove up". (Does anyone know that phrase?) I can feel my knees hurting and it's because I need to stretch my hamstrings. Even if you don't have time to "work out", stretching can make you feel good!

5. Looking nice. When I am dressed in comfortable, but not sloppy clothes...with hair fixed, make-up and body spray on, toenails polished, etc. I FEEL GOOD! Dragging on jeans, tennis shoes, and an old grey t-shirt with a ponytail in my hair day after day does NOT make me feel good. It calls to me....but it doesn't make me feel good.

6. Having a clean, picked-up house. Probably NOTHING makes me happier and more content.
It's called peace. Everything is better when the house is good.

7. Spending time with my husband. Enough said.

I have to measure tomorrow although I'm not expecting much of a change. It was my birthday last weekend and I'm not sure this week has been full of excellent choices.

Which is why I'm going to bed now. Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Nerd Confessions

When I get really interested in something, I research it. I read everything I can on the subject. I think about it a lot. And then when I've learned everything I want about that subject, I'll move on.

I'll give you an example of my nerdiness. Many years ago before we had children, the movie Apollo 13 came out. S and I went to see it and I was so amazed! I had never heard about this event in my life! We talked to our parents about it afterward and my dad remembered it very well. He talked about the early space program and I began to understand why my dad used to wake us up to see shuttle launches when we were younger. It had been no big deal to me--I was born into a world where man had been to the moon. But I began to marvel at the whole thing.

I also got confused. I didn't know the difference between the Gemini, Apollo, and Mercury missions. So, I started researching. I got SO interested in the early space program! I read autobiographies of astronauts, I watched movies that had been made, I looked up what few websites were available back then. I even went to our library where they have bound LIFE magazines on the shelves and looked up old articles about the astronauts and the space program.

So. Did you know I was that big of nerd?

(That was a rhetorical question, by the way.)

I'm thick in the middle of a topic of interest right now but I'm not quite ready to blog about it. OH but I'm going to! As soon as all of this stuff I've read has a chance to bounce around in my brain for a while. My head is swimming with new information!

But I will tell you that it's about women's clothing. And it's not the "pants are sinful, dresses are mandated from heaven" argument because I've already studied and settled that one a few years ago. I have found out some really interesting things and I think some of you might be interested in them too.

So, hopefully soon!

But right now: your Fitness Friday assignment, if you choose to accept it:

Things That Make You Feel Good

Yeah, yeah. We all know "eating good foods" and "exercising" make us feel good. I want specifics. What habits and things in your life make you feel your best? Maybe thinking this out will help us incorporate more of these things into our daily lives. See you Friday!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

We Took a Snow Day

No, not from school...just over the holidays. Usually, sister and I get the girls together to make and decorate Christmas cookies. This year the schedules didn't work out the way we wanted so we waited until after Christmas and had "snow day" instead.

It was after Christmas, remember? We weren't on our best game.

(This may remind you of our summer theme-a-weeks. It's just how we do things.)

First, gather your supplies. We spend no money on these fun days. Just dig around the house and library for stuff.

Don your snowman clothes, if you have any. Since Little Bit receives 100% hand-me-down benefits in our family, she did happen to have just the right shirt.

You might want to decorate a cake to look somewhat...just a smidgen....resembling...a snowman. You might want to dig in the stocking stuff and find decorations because money, after Christmas, not on our best game.

OK, moving on.

The little girls, ages 4 and 5, did a fun craft first. I got this idea from Allie at No Time for Flashcards. She used cotton balls, we used poly fiber fill.

Just look at the concentration here.

Moose is telling us something about hers in the background there.

Here's the finished deal! They loved playing with these. And we'll come back to this facial expression in a minute

They painted 3 sections of egg cartons white. We turned those into snowmen but I didn't get a final picture because remember? After Christmas...not on our best....OK, I'll shut up now.

Then we had them make Rice Krispy treat snowmen.

Sweetheart, my natural over-achieving mess-maker, was actually the only one who could do this. The other kids ended up gluing their hands together with marshmallow mush.


But it all came out good in the end. (Yellow eyes do not = hepatitis in snowmen. Besides, one eye already fell off.)

What is this dead look in my kids' eyes when they pose for me? We gotta work on the natural look. (Less robot!)

Then we set the big girls loose with supplies to make a snowman out of a CD (head) and paper plate (body). They wanted to make girl snowmen so my sister gave them cotton balls for boobs.
After much screaming, they opted to leave those off.

And again, no final picture.

I'm a little better at summer themes.

Check It Out!

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up and running over at Why Homeschool. This is the 3rd anniversary version and there are a lot of great links! (I'm about 1/2 way through reading them!)

Go check it out!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Other Stuff

The first week we began homeschooling I remember standing in the middle of my living room blinking at the clock.

There is no way we are done. How can we already be done? It's only 11:30 in the morning!!!

But we were done. And that was my first taste of freedom. Schooling one kid (or even a few) simply does not take all day. There was time to play. There was time to do housework. There was time to run errands.

There was time for other stuff.

My older daughter went to public school and private school. I know how much time it can take out of a family's week. I also remember being hostage to the preschool calendar on my refrigerator. I must run to the store at 10:00 at night because she is supposed to bring a WHITE SNACK tomorrow. I must do laundry after she goes to bed because tomorrow is RED DAY and her red shirt is dirty.

So we were loving the freedom last year...our first year. I continued to walk around and blink in disbelief. We have the whole park to ourselves? We can go to the museum while everyone else is at school? We can have school in the backyard? We can do "reading" on the couch?

For a former public school teacher and former public school kiddo--the freedom was so much fun!

And yet, academics have eaten up too much of my time. Too much of my thoughts and concerns have been focused on "the subjects." I feel the need to do math, reading, spelling, writing, science, history (NOT social studies--that was news to me!), etc. The subjects have been keeping me too busy. If you place too stringent of expectations on yourself or your child, you can lose that freedom in a hurry.

And folks, there is other stuff I want to teach my girls.

I've been thinking a lot lately about manners. We must have time for fancy dinners and tea parties so they can practice being young ladies.
There has to be time for cooking lessons. I want my daughters to know how to cook and cook quite well before they leave home.
There must be time for archery and bike riding and swimming and playing with sidewalk chalk and blowing bubbles and playing with play-doh and working puzzles and drawing and reading and all kinds of childhood pleasures.
There should be time for sewing lessons.

Oh there is so much I want to teach them!!!! May math and reading and science and all the other subjects never cause my children to miss an opportunity to learn something really exciting that they can use for the rest of their lives!

I know academics are important. They absolutely are. And maybe it's other things in our life that threaten to squeeze out that free time with our children. But it's time we cannot ever get back.

That's why this year I plan to make time for that other stuff. The stuff that I'm allowed to do because we homeschool. I guess I'm just saying that this year I want a little less attention on the "school" part and more emphasis on the "home."

So today I'm dreaming. I'm dreaming of all the things a mama and two little girls can spend their days doing. What's the "other stuff" you are going to make time for this year?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Fitness Friday: The Add and Subtract Edition

Don't worry Ladies, no math required today! The question I posed to you this week was "What do you want to add to your life and what do you want to subtract?"

I haven't measured in a few weeks but I feel a bit bigger than I was before all the holiday merriment. Time to get back to better habits and less sweets. Oh, and exercise would be good, huh?

So, here's my plan:

I want to add................more skirts to my wardrobe. I have talked about this before. I have studied it before. But I keep feeling convicted about being more feminine and less casual. I don't know why. To wear skirts more, I need to lose a bit more weight because I'd like to wear the skirts with some of the undergarments subtracted, you know? (If you remember the comments on this post, enough said.)

I want to subtract.................more inches. I want to get into a smaller size! I love seeing the inches go away each week when I measure and they haven't been doing enough of that lately! ***Edited to add...I just measured for the first time in a few weeks and I HAVE lost! My total is now 10 inches lost since the end of September. They are in various places (1/2" from my arm, 2" from my thighs, etc) and I couldn't be more thrilled! You know, if you really want to get technical...I've lost 2" from EACH thigh and 1/2" from EACH arm....Hmmm. I could really make it sound good, couldn't I?

So share with us! What do you want to add and subtract?