Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tomorrow Is a New Day

I feel like I've been kind of negative around this old blog lately. Well, if you had talked to me in person you would have heard the same thing. I've been overwhelmed.

I spent some time last week planning and writing things out and trying to figure out a plan of attack. The goal this time is NOT to "get the house clean" or "finish the laundry" or "get on top of things" or even to "declutter."

The goal this time is MUCH MUCH bigger than that. I am trying to become an organized person. At least in the area of homemaking.

It is a need. I believe that I am the keeper of this home. We are becoming a godly family. Therefore this is a godly home. And God is not a God of disorder but of peace. Therefore, our home should be a place of order and peace.

Did any of that make sense? I know there is more to having a peaceful home than the look of it, but it does absolutely make a difference. Take it from someone who is sitting in disorder at the moment. I should know.

I spent eight bucks on a tool for our home yesterday. I first saw this on Terry's blog, but it was an older version. It suddenly occurred to me that there is probably a current version, and there is. Eight bucks to help me develop better habits? I'll take one please.

This is just a simple checklist. It's not meant to induce guilt. If you can't get something done that day, you just scratch it off. You do NOT move it to the next day. Just go on with your life because it will come up again.

Oh I have so much more to say about all this but I wanted to share this first step. I'll be starting my checklist tomorrow on June 1st. We'll see how it goes!

You can look at all the products here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fitness Friday: The Anything Edition

Welcome ladies! I'm glad to be back. Sorry I haven't had time to look at anyone's stuff from last week when Karly hosted. We had a great camping trip and although it was not a chocolate convention, there were s'mores involved. Actually, s'more. I only had one. Thank you Karly for hosting and putting up with Mr. Linky, who is having an identity crisis of late.

I can't talk about a thing I've done great lately. I am just trying to make it through May. We have 5 more days of school left. We've had our end of year party with the homeschool group. The awesome camping trip. Several swim parties. Now we just have a car wash, dinner out, Sunday, otherwise known as "meeting day" this week, and a few other things to make it through and THEN.....

I'm going to exhale.

If you've been reading you know I'm on a total organizing blitz around here. This naturally includes the food. The kitchen. The pantry. The fridge. The shopping. The menu planning. It's all there, baby. I hope to post super great results really soon.

Today I'd like to share a recipe with you. Here is a great way to get some veggies in your day. In fact, when asked if she wanted to try some, Sweetheart looked at my plate and said, "No thanks. It's full of vegetables!" What was I thinking?

I got this recipe from our homeschool group. This is lovingly called Alpha Salsa. Can't remember the story behind that....they learned how to make it or first ate it at some convention...was it an Alpha Omega workshop??? I wasn't listening, I was busy eating salsa. There is a story but who cares. It's delicious.

You will need:
2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can kernel corn (drained)
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies (hot, regular or mild)
1 jar roasted bell peppers (chopped)
1 jar Pace Picante Sauce (you choose the heat)
1 can Snappy Tom's or Spicy V8
1 bunch cilantro (stems removed and chopped)
1 large tomato (chopped)
1 bunch green onions (chopped)

Pour all ingredients in a big bowl. Mix well. Refrigerate and enjoy. Eat with tortilla chips. It's wonderful!

My dad whipped some up and we've been eating it all week. Of course, used baked chips to be healthier. The great thing about this is you can make it hot or not (my choice) depending on your taste.

Here is where I would include a picture because it really is pretty salsa. But the camera is broken so I guess I'll include some directions instead. Since Mr. Link-o is off having his identity crisis---today we will have to link a different way. Please just leave a comment and include your link to your post. Please don't like to just your blog URL, but directly to your FF post for today. We will have to work a bit harder to encourage each other and visit each other's posts this week. So, since you may have to be at the computer a bit longer than usual, I've included something special for you:




Have a great weekend!

When Revisions Are Necessary

Let's first establish something: I don't WANT any revisions. Revisions to our family and life are fine when they benefit me, but revisions of ME? Not so comfortable.

It has been made terribly evident to me what my funk has been about this last month or so. I feel overwhelmed about the house, the finances, the food and cooking and meal planning and laundry and cleaning and...well....just about my job in general. There isn't one area I feel on top of.
I'm outta control over here folks.

Yesterday I sat down for a day morning of praying and reading (organizational websites and such) and planning. It's hard to do that with the kids in the house and I was thinking that idea for a weekend getaway for the husband and I before the new homeschool year starts was a good idea. Where did I read that? She said to go somewhere nice but not too nice--you'll need to stay in the hotel and actually get some planning done part of the time you are there. But, that's not going to happen any time soon and I've got to get control around here.

So I wrote out a lot of thoughts yesterday, but I didn't get a lot decided. It was good to read over things I know, but have forgotten. It was good to sit and try to make a plan rather than just wander around putting out fires. I wish I could finish that today, but I don't believe there's time in the schedule today.

Today will be a day for rocks. I decided my rocks are: cleaning the kitchen, picking up the living room, doing a bit of laundry or ironing, homeschooling, and making the beds. These are the bare minimum. BARE minimum. So now I can give myself permission to do only those things some days.

I'm still working on the rest of my plan. I don't need to just declutter. I don't need to buy new organizational tools. I don't need to do anything really to the house----I need to change ME. I have to change my habits. I have to become that which, to this point in my life I have considered completely impossible.

I have to become an organized person.

I have never considered myself organized. Probably because it is not in my nature. One of my favorite shirts (sister gave it to me--she knows me well) says:


People like me, who struggle with organization, always laugh when they see that shirt and ask where I got it. Yes, it's funny. Yes, I am not a B.O. (Born Organized--a la Fly Lady). But when it comes to this home and family, I've got no choice.

I have to become organized.

I cannot transform myself, but am depending on the Lord's help. If this revision does not occur, I might lose my mind. God has called me home, so I know He can help me learn what I need to be able to do this job. I remember how happy I was when I first came home part-time. ALL I have to do is the dishes and the laundry??? I thought it was all so simple! It sure seemed a lot more simple than working full time AND trying to keep a house.

But this snake of a messy house and all the homemaking responsibilities has started swallowing me up. Do you know that old song (oh, I think it's a Shel Silverstein peom) about being eaten by a boa constrictor? Oh no! He's up to my toe. Oh gee! He's up to my knee. Oh fiddle! He's up to my middle.

Well, I'm on the "Oh heck! He's up to my neck." part.

So, that's the latest revision around here. I know thousands upon thousands of women have worked all this out before me. I could just read and apply their wisdom....but I really think you have to work it out yourself.
Anyway, I'll be sharing as usual.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Brain Is Really Active--That Counts, Right?

I just cannot believe that it is already time for me to give out a new Fitness Friday assignment. I have really been off-schedule and off-track lately. I've misplaced my groove. If you find it, let me know.

I'm going to make it easy on myself and give open posting this week. You may talk about anything you want (fitness related, of course). You can give a fitness product review, a recipe, talk about spiritual health, anything.....can't wait to hear from you all.

I have so much to do and so much to mull over in my mind that I'm looking like I'm getting NOTHING accomplished. The homeschool room sits there half torn up. The aprons I'm supposed to finish by the end of the month are half-sewn. The girls' room re-do is not...well, doing. I feel a bit overwhelmed.

I have found great comfort in reading some "organization" sites today. I feel like sitting and planning. I feel like I need to just have some time to write out some things and plan and organize. I think I shall try to accomplish that tomorrow. Then maybe I can get busy.

Now, let me quickly share how I'm keeping the girls stuff out of the living room. I feel that since we provide them with 2 whole rooms in which to put their belongings, the living room should not also have to house their stuff. We need one space where we are ready to receive visitors and relax as a family.

So I found these small collapsible hampers at Target in the Dollar Spot. Only they weren't a dollar, mind you, but rather $2.50. The lady at the register informed me that the back wall of the Dollar Spot was actually not a dollar. But I bought them anyway, dang it. My digital camera is broken but they are kind of like this (but smaller):


I bought them in the girls' current favorite colors. They sit quite nicely on the fireplace. I planned to have the girls grab them before lunch and before Daddy gets home and gather up anything that is theirs from the living room, toss it in the hamper, and deliver it where it belongs. But instead, I have been filling them for the girls this week. I just pick up their stuff and drop it in their hampers. Then I call them to come empty them. They have been VERY surprised at how full their hampers are!!!

I praise the one who has less stuff. I praise the one who has less stuff than yesterday. No yelling, no fussing. They have had less stuff in their hampers each day. The first day I couldn't even FIT everything in the hampers!!!

I also put their folded clothes in these and they carry them to their room happily to put the clean clothes away. So far, this is working nicely. They seem very satisfied when the hamper is empty and returned to the fireplace. It makes the task have a definite ending point. Instead of making them work until every last thing is out of the living room, "all" they have to do is empty their hamper. It's all psychological, baby. And they are putting their stuff away in half the time.

I'll let you know how it goes further down the line......

So, got any great organizing sites for me? Or better yet, wanna come over and help me?

Oh, and on a good note, sister and I have our summer Theme-A-Weeks all figured out for this summer! Here is an example of one we did last year. I'll be posting our themes soon.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thanks for the Break!

Aaaahhh. I feel so relaxed. Our family went camping with our homeschool group earlier this week. S took off work and everything! That was his first vacation in a really long time. Karly was nice enough to host FF for me (on the day Mr. Linky spazzed completely out--sorry Karly!). I will get around to reading your posts from FF (and last weeks'--never finished those b/c of getting ready for the camping trip). Anyway, it was really nice having a break. Thanks for understanding.

Now we have the weekend to take care of several things. First off, we got "new" drapes. My parents are getting rid of theirs and I would have scoffed at them being old and out of date most days of my life, but we really need drapes (not curtains) over our sliding glass door. They were free. I love them. I really hope they will help keep the house cooler and we've got to hang those up.

Secondly, we have to get a new washing machine this weekend. The other one finally gave up the ghost. My iron broke also. And the fan in the girls' room. I have been assured that these things happen in threes so we are in the clear. I certainly hope so. Thankfully, my mom let me use her washer to take care of our camping clothes because some things just can't wait.

The girls are playing museum with their doll houses. Little Bit's dollhouse family is going to the museum today, which is located in Sweetheart's dollhouse. They have dinosaurs set up all over the dollhouse and a gift shop as well. Oh yeah--my digital camera bit the dust too so there goes that "threes" theory.

The girls' room re-do has come to a screeching halt until summer. But, I have 2 things to share soon. I found a great way to keep their crap out of the living room and I have a new plan for summer chores. I'll be sharing soon. Maybe I can borrow a camera? Carrie, don't you have 2? :)

Have a great weekend everyone! I'm off to hang up my flag.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Must Keep Going

6 days left of History.

3 days left of Math.

More left of Astronomy but it's not too bad so we don't care.

I am leaning so far over the edge I'm about to fall off. I CAN NOT wait for summer.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fitness Friday Assignment: Let's Go Visiting!

Since I will be out of pocket this Friday, Karly at Indescribable Life has graciously agreed to host Fitness Friday this week.

She even has a great topic for you! Understand, where Karly and I live (different states too!) we are already really, really HOT. I know that not everyone has gotten there--and others are even moving into a different season than us, but a change of season is coming one way or another.

So the topic this week is: What will you need to adjust in your health and fitness plan for the upcoming season? (for most of us: HEAT) What will you do differently this next season as related to your health and fitness goals?

Great idea Karly! Better to plan ahead so we don't fall off the wagon and use the weather for an excuse! Not that any of us would do such a thing!

Go to Karly's blog on Friday to sign up on the Mr. Linky. Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A New Approach to Homeschool Planning

So. It turns out that the blog I found a few days ago...well, she's more than just a pretty homeschool room face.

I've read some of her older posts on homeschool organization and I am absolutely inspired. This year I will be doing a few things differently. And also, I AM planning for next year when TECHNICALLY we have not finished this year. But oh well.

I'm beginning, as she did, with my ideal. That is what I'm thinking about this week:

What would my ideal homeschool look like?

And, in light of my new friend Belinda's awesome article that I read the other day....my husband's vision will be a part of that ideal.

Instead of standing in the middle of my homeschool room thinking, "how do I want to arrange this room for next year?" and being limited by our physical surroundings, (even more so for those without a "space" for homeschooling), I am going to think about my ideal and then make it work in the space I've been given.

Make sense?

Good. And also, perhaps we should work on finishing this year up while I'm dreaming.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Breathe In. Breathe Out.

Having trouble over here.

I still get google hits for "homeschool organization" from this post. But that was before I saw this blog.

Just look.

Really. Look at this too.

What would I do with that much space????????

Probably wander around a lot thinking, "Where can I put this?" Just like now, but with less chance of running into furniture or tripping over piles.

I know, I know. The grass is always greener. I AM thankful for my extra room I can use for school.

So...maybe I can talk her into a trip to Texas to help me de-clutter then?

Fitness Friday Edition: The What I'm Up Against Edition

This year I went to a new ob-gyn and after interviewing me for some time, the nurse practitioner finally said, "Well, I'll quit hunting! I guess you really are just healthy!" That was nice to hear, but I've also had a doctor, after viewing my family history ask, "How are you still alive?" Niiiice.

We really have it all. Prostate and colon cancer on my mom's side. Heart disease and cancer on my dad's side. Scattered throughout, we have some relatives who actually lived quite long lives with no huge problems. So even though I'm glad to be healthy right now, I feel like something is always looming up ahead I should be preventative with my health and fitness. (That's more positive, huh? ) :)

And THAT is why it's so important to talk about this. If you know a hurricane is coming, you prepare for it, right? Well....chances are very good that I'll one day face heart disease or cancer. I should be preparing right now for prevention.

A friend of ours lost his battle with cancer earlier this year. During his fight, he and his wife went on the Johns Hopkins Cancer diet. I read over part of it, and it was very convicting. Cancer feeds on sugar. I've never heard a better reason to get off of sugar in my life. Plus S has diabetes on his side of the family.

And I know ALL about a heart-healthy diet as I was in college when my dad had his triple bypass surgery. (His dad died of a heart attack.) I spent that summer reading labels and learning how to prepare ground meat the heart healthy way. I used to do it all the time, but I've been slacking the last few years. Why? That's silly! In fact, although I wrote a poem that summer about just wanting a donut...when I got back to college and ate pizza it tasted gross. I got over it though.

Food and exercise really aren't just about how we look today. Or about what the scale said this week. Or about how our clothes fit.

There is so much more riding on this. Research. Read. Arm yourselves for what YOUR family is up against and let's get serious.

Your turn. What are YOU up against?



Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Nice House

We meet for Bible study in people's homes on Wednesday nights at our church. There are several families with young children like us in the group, and just as many retired empty-nesters. We met at one of the retired empty-nester homes tonight.

As we left the girls were talking about it being a "rich house" and asking me if I wished I had a house like that.

"No. Because you wouldn't be allowed to play. There are too many breakable things!" :)

So we talked about how their children were grown and they could have fancy, breakable things around and how that would be not so good for our family. The girls kept going on about wanting a nicer house.

Sigh. This is all so relative. The home we were in tonight was lovely, but some people would laugh to consider it a "rich house". There are much richer, finer, larger homes in this world. At the same time, OUR house would be considered luxurious in much of the world. We tried to explain this on the way home. S had me drive the girls by the home he grew up in. It's older and smaller. And yet....it too would be considered luxurious to many. We talked about how S thought I lived in a "rich house" when we started dating. (The same street we now live on that makes the girls lament their poor surroundings! :)

It's all perspective. And our girls need some.

It makes me want to take them on some mission trips to see how the rest of the world lives. We talked about families who live in dirt houses with one set of clothing and MAYBE a toy. We talked about how fancy things don't matter. We talked about how we've chosen the house and lifestyle we have on purpose. We talked about how we could go buy a bigger, nicer house and I could go back to work to pay for it.

Where does this come from? Where do small children get the desire for riches? Why do first graders covet their neighbor's tennis shoes? How early this folly begins!

Here is what I know:

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-22 (italics mine)

I'm not saying you are sinning if you have nice, breakable things in your house! If you read here regularly, you know I am always working on the house and trying to make it nice for my family. I'm just saying it's hard to teach this verse to children. Their dad and I have chased earthly treasure and have seen it come up short. They have not experienced that yet.

How do you teach the truth about treasure?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fitness Friday Assignment

This week's assignment is called, "What Are You Up Against?" There are many, many other reasons to lose weight and become more fit besides, "I want to look better." Yes, that is probably my #1 reason, but there ARE better reasons, I admit.

I have learned through our Fitness Fridays that many of you deal with health issues and that is one of the motivators for your fitness goals. So, what are you up against? And for those of us who don't specifically know of a health issue right this very second...what are you up against in your genes?

There are many, many more reasons for getting fit besides looking better. Let's talk about the serious side of this on Friday. And update each other on our goals. How did your this week's goals go? What are next week's goals? See you Friday!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tics and All

That's how we love Little Bit. I thought I'd give a little update on her Tourette's since I haven't talked about it in a long time.

Shortly after we watched the movie "Front of the Class", I e-mailed Brad Cohen and thanked him for sharing his story. I mentioned in my e-mail that we really hadn't talked to our just-turned-five daughter about her Tourette's as she really didn't seem all that aware of the tics.

Well, he wrote me back! I was so happy to see an e-mail from him. He encouraged me to talk to her about her tics and said she more than likely was aware of them and needed to know why she was doing what she was doing. At first I kind of doubted that, but then I thought, "hey, he's the one with TS, not me!"

So one day while we were sitting on the couch I said to Little Bit, "You've got a lot of tics today." (she did!)

"What's tics?" she asked.

"Tics are like when you (I demonstrated several of hers). They are little movements or noises you make because your body needs to."

"Oh."

I told her she had Tourette Syndrome and that's why she had tics. After that conversation she began talking to me about her tics and using the word "tics" in everyday conversation. Sweetheart has absent-mindedly told her to "shh" during a TV show before and Little Bit let her know, "I have a TIC!" Well OK then Miss Sassy Britches.

A few days ago Sweetheart asked me, "Mom, how many tics does Little Bit have?" I said, "I don't know, why don't you ask her?" (Little Bit was grinning while she listened to this.)

She proceeded to demonstrate every single one she could think of. I recognized most all of them, but she threw a few in there that I have never seen. I did find it interesting she only demonstrated the motor tics. I said, "You also have the (demonstrated a noise she makes) tic." Oh yeah! That set her off to demonstrating all her vocal tics.

So, Brad Cohen was right. And he gives good advice.

The tics have not frustrated her in a long time. She has cried at night before because she couldn't stop ticcing and get to sleep, but thankfully that hasn't happened lately. I won't say the tics aren't frustrating, though. I've been pretty impressed so far how easy they are to ignore but right now she has a tic of gulping. Really loudly. I have to bite my lip to keep from saying, "Stop that!!!" That one is not my favorite.

I'm not complaining because some tics are painful. I can stand to listen to a minor tic like that.

I did want to say one thing. Many children have Transient Tic Disorder in which they will demonstrate a tic or 2 for a while and then it will go away. Sweetheart did this a few months ago and we got on to her all the time. I had forgotten about TTD at the time and just thought, "she has this bad habit." After all, SHE'S not the one with TS!! I guess we should have been more patient with that, as it has now gone away completely. If you think hard, you might be able to remember some little tic you or one of your children have done at one time or another. It doesn't mean TS. The criteria for a TS diagnosis is both motor and at least one vocal tic for a period of 12 months. As many tics as Little Bit has....and knowing her case is really not all THAT bad....I'm thinking you will know if you are seeing TS or not. She probably demonstrated 20 tics the other day.

I'm still interested to see how TS will affect our schoolwork next year when Little Bit starts Kindergarten. Brad Cohen calls his TS his "constant companion." It's so true. I expect to make room for the tics in our classroom next year.

I gotta clean out in there. We may need more room! :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fitness Friday: The Sneaky Exercise Edition

OK--so I see on my Google Reader that several of you have already posted! I guess I better get with it, huh?
I don't have a gym membership. I don't own a treadmill or a bike. I don't have any exercise DVDs. Yet. I really stink at this part of fitness. Making better food choices is much easier.

I didn't say easy. I said easier!

So this week's assignment was really for me. But I hope some of you can benefit too! If there is one thing I've learned during Fitness Friday, it's that busy weeks can throw our plans completely off. We've got to sneak some exercise in sometimes.

1. Get a pet! We got rabbits recently for the girls. See how cute they were when we got them?
They've grown a bit, but they are mini-lops so they will stay pretty small. Anyway, cleaning out their bunny house is HARD WORK! And it has to be done twice a week. We feel like regular farmers mucking out the stall. Removing the old hay and newspapers and all the other pleasantries that bunnies leave behind, then re-papering and putting fresh hay out....it's exercise, trust me.

2. Swim. We get an above ground pool each year. Like this one:

Yes, theoretically you should be able to use these again but so far that hasn't worked out for us. Long story. Anyway, it's worth every single penny especially considering the drive to the public pool and the cost to get in. We swim nearly every single day for about an hour. Now, understand there is precious little "swimming" going on in a pool this size. Today, however, the girls and I had a kicking contest, I threw them both up over and over, we run from each other, etc. There is a lot of activity going on there where normally I would be inside doing not so much.

3. Tackle odd housekeeping jobs. Scrubbing baseboards comes to mind. Cleaning out behind the fridge. Scrubbing, and moving furniture are physical tasks AND you get the added benefit of a cleaner house. Just one job a day and it's good for your muscles.

That's the bulk of my ideas. Now I can't wait to read yours! Here are my goals for this week:

1. Eat more fruit and veggies. I've added these to nearly every meal this week. So far, so good.
2. Pray for strength and help from the Lord. This is hard and I do not need to try to go it alone.
3. Move furniture and clean behind it. My sneaky exercise this week.
4. Drink water with meals. Well, not breakfast. Ew.

Hope you have a great weekend ladies!!! Can't wait to read all of your great ideas!

You CAN Teach Your Child

I am my girls' best teacher.

Wanna know how I know?

Quick recap if you are new here: I taught public school for 11 years. God changed my heart and our family a LOT in the course of 3 or 4 years and I prayed fervently for God to bring me home. He did. We are now a homeschooling family. Something I NEVER thought I would be doing. Being home seemed an impossible thing to ask for.

And now I have trouble watching others teach my kids. Let me explain.

Sweetheart and Little Bit were taking karate. Sweetheart is STILL taking karate, but Little Bit hung up her gi after the first time she was expected to spar. She was not a fan.

So the parents sit there and watch the class. Sweetheart (and Little Bit) were both a bit lost for the first few classes, understandably. I think I've heard the teacher say to them, "Don't look at your mom! Look at me!" about a hundred times. Why do they keep looking at me? They didn't know what to do, and so they looked to their parent. I think that's how it should be, by the way. And I hear that I should expect them to look more to their peers as they get older. Is that true? Do I have to let that be the way things play out? Don't worry, I'm not suggesting they sit at my feet until they are adults....I just mean, can't parents have such a relationship with their children that they don't necessarily depend on their friends only but on their parents as well? I'm just asking. I think that may be psychology talking.

So anyway, it's totally frustrating to sit there and watch my children be confused and listen to the instructions that are being given to them and see that they still do not understand. I KNOW if I could just say one thing to them, it would all be clear. I even know what that one thing is. I know better than their karate teacher. Not about karate, mind you, but about how to teach my children.

And since I am the one teaching all the subjects to them, I know what they've learned. How different that is from when Sweetheart was in public school and I would wonder what she was learning all day! The backpack didn't offer any clues, and she was full of information as most children are when their parents question them about their day at school. But now....

At our mid-week small group meeting last night, my girls were the only children there besides a 12 year old girl. It was very strange--our small group is normally crawling with kiddos. So instead of leaving the room for a children's lesson, the girls sat with us. I had Sweetheart open her Bible and read along with the story. It was from Acts 14 when Paul and Barnabas healed a man and the people in the city thought they were gods. Our ears perked up when we saw that they thought Barnabas was Zeus! I bumped Sweetheart, whose eyes got wide. We've been studying Zeus in history and so she very well understood this story. No one else would have known that. I'm not saying that's bad-it's just that it is so much easier to help your child make connections when you know what they are learning.

We are the only homeschooling family at our church and I think people look at us and think, "Well, Brenda was a teacher, so I'm sure she does OK." Karly and I dealt with that myth here and here. You can teach your child. You are the parent. They are probably already looking to you. You will be involved with them and know what they are learning. There will be no gaps as the new teacher next year tries to figure out what they know and don't know.

Homeschooling just works.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fitness Friday Assignment

Your assignment this week is twofold. Ready?

Part 1: Tell us how you sneak exercise in when you can't "get to they gym" or "the treadmill is broken" or whatever. What do you do at work/around the house/etc. to move more? Let's put our heads together and figure out how we can sneak in some more exercise. You know, I've read that vacuuming burns a lot of calories, but I don't have much carpet!

Part 2: Let us know how your week went. Let us know your goals for next week. Not your long-term goals, just your goals for next week.

See you all on Friday ladies!!!

Oh, and I corrected at least 3 or 4 Mr. Linky entries last week. Make sure you link directly to your Fitness Friday post and not just to your blog, so that we can find that entry even a few months from now. To do that on most blogs, you click the title of the post after it has been published and paste it in the Mr. Linky box. On other blogs, you click on the timestamp. Let me know if you need help!

You are all such an encouragement and I am thankful for you. Oh! And don't forget to pray for each other!

Now My Planning Will Come to a Halt So I Can Think

If you can carve out 20 minutes any time this week, PLEASE watch this speech.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

This talk was given at a conference by Sir Ken Robinson. He is extremely enjoyable to listen to, and funny. He is speaking about the need to change how we educate our children. I am sure he means "within our school systems", but that isn't really the focus of his talk.

I will not go into the possibility or non-possibility of our school systems ever being reformed, but trust me when I say this made me think about how I educate my children at home.

Some of my thoughts:
  • Why does homemaking get dropped down to last place? Why is that something I have to work so hard to fit in?
  • Where have the arts been in our homeschool?
  • I must be prayerful about what to focus on....not just follow the models given to me by society.
  • Even within the arts, the focus might should follow each child's lead...rather than what I think is important. Again, prayerful.
  • I am suddenly reminded of how far behind Sweetheart fell while in public school. I remember the meeting when it was suggested we might want to "test her further" in a few months. I've given those talks--I know what was being suggested.
  • I am suddenly amazed by how well she is doing in homeschool. And how much art plays a part of her learning. If she can draw it, she can learn it. They don't allow that in public school so much. Unless it is "art time."
  • How many other children could be saved?
  • And how perfectly horrifying it is to think of strip mining. I've seen strip mining. Is that really what is happening to our kiddos?

If you do get a chance to watch this, please come back and let me know your thoughts.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Do We Really Have to Finish the School Year.....

...before we start planning next year?

Good. I thought not.

I'm going through my awesome homeschool links section on my computer (and husband's laptop). I have so much there I can't even find what I want. I thought I'd share while I go through them.

Bible Stuff
The Crafty Classroom shares about a children's Bible they can be independent with. My girls would love reading this.

First heard of this from Grafted Branch (who remembers her? Sniff. Come back GB!). This scripture memory system works. Just look. Here's the link. Actually, the whole site is pretty great.

Preschool and Kindergarten Stuff
All 4 1 and 1 4 All shares a long list of preschool activities. Very worthy of bookmarking!

Brightly Beaming Resources and their free Letter of the Week curriculum. I CAN NOT say enough about this. It is so wonderful. I'm not getting rid of this because it starts at nursery age and goes up much higher. It is a just right fit for little ones. I used this with Little Bit when she was 3. It's JUST ENOUGH.

Color Mountain offers these very simple coloring sheets of letters and numbers. PERFECT for gluing buttons on the "B" and Cheerios on the "C", etc.

A Kindergarten theme round-up at Early Childhood Links. I'm a fan of the thematic units, especially at this age.

Have mercy. This site is from a private school Pre-K teacher. She has THE BEST IDEAS!!!! We used several of them this year. Prekinders.com ROCKS!

Did I mention I like thematic units?? Kinder Korner has a great list of themes and tons of activities. It's all right there.

Reading and Writing Stuff
The Dolch Sight Word Lists are a gold standard to some. THESE, at JanBrett.com are GORGEOUS!!!

I just found this blog last week and I love what I see. All things writing at The Write Start. Very worth a visit but ESPECIALLY if you have a reluctant writer.

Writing worksheet maker. Not sure I've ever used it, but I'm glad I "re-found" it.

Something from the government I bookmarked! Hmm. Beginning to Read activities for pre-school through grade 2.

Ready to go copywork over at Simply Charlotte Mason. Just print and go!

Free printable little books at Nellie Edge. Five Little Monkeys, Eency Weency Spider, Spanish titles too. (This could have gone under Preschool and Kindergarten Stuff as well.)

A page of free printable little book links over at Mrs. Jones' Room. Just follow the links and have your printer ink ready!

Notebooking/Lapbooking Stuff

Free printable resources at Notebooking Pages. Tons of categories to choose from!

I can't give you a direct link to all the lapbooks here, but go to Jamin's blog and scroll down her sidebar for "Our Lapbooks." Good stuff there!

Carissa's Tot Books are miniature versions of big kid lapbooks. She is so nice she shares all the awesome stuff she makes. Little Bit LOVED the tot books we made last year. Sometimes we just printed parts of them---check it out if you have little ones.

General Homeschooling Stuff
Ann Ziese's site Home's Cool is a gem.

For the organization-lover. Or the organization challenged. Donna Young's printables are a girl's best friend.

I go to this every year. World Book's Typical Course of Study for each grade level will alleviate your fears that you are "forgetting something."

Encouragement from Cindy Rushton. Great for new and experienced homeschooling moms!

Lesson Plan Stuff
Fun themes at Fun Lesson Plans. Makes sense, huh?

I print one of these calendars every single month. Very helpful for planning! (not just school but family activities too!)

College Stuff
Just looking ahead. I bookmarked this article by Voddie Baucham. If you have older kids, it's worth looking at.

For the Kids Stuff
Good math practice at Hungry Frog. I like this one because it doesn't go too fast and you can change the options. Also, Multiplication.com has great interactive games. Try Patty's Paints or the Penguin Ice Cream game.

Starfall. Need I say more?

Some blessed soul has gone and put all the old stories on 45's on the internet. Your child can listen to Robin Hood, Peter and the Wolf, etc. Very nice over at Kiddie Records Weekly.

Because hard work deserves a reward....let your kids have 5 minutes on this after they do actual school work. Mom might want to play too!

Learn the states at Jims Pages.

Online flash cards at Mr. Martini's. They look just like the real thing and offer great practice when no one has time to flash cards at Junior. Plus, some kids just respond better to the computer on this.

Well, I hope any of that was helpful to some of you. I cleaned out my "Homeschool" bookmarked pages in the process.

What sites can you NOT live without? Let us know in the comments. I love getting new links!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Fitness Friday: The Picture This Edition

Your honor, the State would like to present it's evidence now.

Go ahead.

Thank you your Honor. This woman (gesturing toward the accused) claims to host a "Fitness" event online every week, but we have evidence that she is not qualified to do so.

If it would please the court, I would like to enter into evidence this photograph:


Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, please direct your attention to the photograph on the screen. The defendant blathers on endlessly about....

Objection!

Sustained. Counselor, please re-phrase your statement.

Your Honor, the defendant talks about purchasing an exercise DVD and working out right here on this spot in her living room. As you can see, there is ample room for such activity, but closer examination proves that the carpet is not worn at all. We move that no such activity has occurred here.

And now I would like to enter into evidence this photograph.
On the left, you will find the drink of choice that the defendant USED to consume on a daily basis. However, just when her "fitness" activity online has resumed, we have evidence that she actually spends far more time drinking the beverage on the right. Clearly, this is an unhealthy choice for someone who claims to host a fitness event.

Your Honor, I have just one more piece of evidence to present before I step down. The following are photographs of the defendant's pantry. Please take note of the disorganization, the unhealthy food choices, the lack of any ingredients to form a meal with. The State moves that this woman (again with the gestures) doesn't even complete a weekly meal plan on a regular basis. How can she expect to lose weight with such poor planning?

Objection!

I have nothing further, Your Honor.
Someone help me. I seem to have misplaced my motivation.