Thursday, October 29, 2009

Raking in the Dough

Tomorrow I'm going to earn some money. The first money I have earned in at least 2+ years. I have always worked up until I quit a few years ago to stay home. I worked from the age of 13 until I went to college. I took off my freshman year at the request of my dad so I could "learn to study." After that I worked the remainder of college and after graduation, began teaching. After I quit teaching, I worked part-time for several years. I have nearly always drawn a paycheck of some sort.

Tomorrow I will use all the training I received as a reading specialist to test a little girl who is struggling with reading. I will earn $10.

I know! But I'm still excited. It feels good to use what I know to help someone else and earn a measly little amount to help our family. Who knows? Maybe testing will turn into some tutoring jobs? It certainly would be nice.

It's hard to trust God for the future sometimes. I know so many families who have operated under the philosophy that mom will stay home when the kids are little and then return to work when they are in school. Many times the reason given is because they have to do something. I mean, in a few years the kids will be in college and they will need money for cars and braces, etc.

I understand that way of thinking, but if you understand God's word to say that wives should be keepers at home, then that plan doesn't work as well. Homeschoolers really have a problem as no matter how old the kids are.....they aren't going to school. It makes it doubly hard for mom to help out earning money. Which makes you begin to question all the things you are "supposed" to do.....college, cars, vacations, etc. Who says that's how we must live?

I've heard women say that they truly believe God wants them to be home, but then when they throw their job application out there and get a job offer, they say that clearly God wanted them to have that job! Either the Bible addresses this or it doesn't. I don't believe God would leave us to wonder on such a huge topic.

We are just better at listening to our culture than God's Word.

So why am I taking this job? Because it will take 1 hour and my kids will not be neglected. I can help a friend, earn a little money in the process and be done. I think there are probably tons of ways for wives to earn money and I am all for that if it can be done from home. The more a job takes a woman away from the home (and from her family!) the more leery I am. It's hard to keep the home if you aren't there.

Ah well. I never thought this way until a few years ago. My heart changed long before I came home. I didn't think there was ANY way I could ever become a homemaker but by the grace of God....I am. Whenever I think of it, I am motivated to work even harder for my family. I am so grateful to be here.

I just found out about a friend who has gone back to work full time as her youngest child is now in school. It breaks my heart to think she is not at her house taking care of things anymore. I am praying for their family. I hope they will decide it's not worth it, trust God, and she will come home again. I do not think it is impossible anymore. The Bible transcends culture and years. His plan for the family still works.

Even if you have to eat a lot of bologna sandwiches. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What's Better Than Schoolwork?

Field trips, of course!!!

Train rides....

Spending time with friends....

Searching for...
and finding that perfect pumpkin.

All of that is better than schoolwork!
(But tomorrow it's business as usual. :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Your Daily Cry

I love Sara Groves. I love her even more now. I'll give you a few reasons why in this post but first of all, if you do nothing else, listen to this story she tells.....



...and then tell me how you can not want to go give away half of everything you own to someone who needs it. I love because he loved me when I had nothing. I was not a person of promise either. He gave everything. He loves us.

Here are some other great links.

I Saw What I Saw
Love is Still a Worthy Cause (the song)

Monday, October 26, 2009

I Can't Even Concentrate on the Furniture

We are in the market for a new chair as our ten year old recliner finally bit the dust. We really need a chair because without it, we only have the couch to sit on. We do not enjoy sitting that close to each other in the evenings....all four of us. Lined up like little monkeys.

We have Bible study with good friends every other Friday and last week I grabbed the outside chairs from the garage and put them in the living room. They are really good friends so you can do that. S got home from work and said, "We're back to lawn furniture?" Actually even when we were newlyweds we didn't have lawn furniture. He suggested we get a cable spool for an end table too. Hey, I liked the cable spools. Mostly.


So I've been looking on Craig's List hoping to score a great chair for very little money. Can we just establish a few things?

1. It's called a dining room table. NOT a dinning room table. Stop it with the double n already.


2. I don't care if you paid $4,000 for it new....it's not new anymore and you need to get rid of it so come down on your price.


3. If you are going to post a picture of a chair and matching ottoman, consider taking the baby toy off the ottoman. Consider taking the heap of whatever it is out of the chair. (Is that laundry? Is that the baby???) It's just a thought.


4. "It rocks back and forth" is not tantalizing me either. It's a rocker. I expect that.


5. Throwing the word "designer" in the title doesn't fool me. Everything was designed by somebody!

And for goodness sake use spell check or get a friend to look over your work!

Still looking.....

Sunday, October 25, 2009

When It All Fell Apart

I am always honest about my lack of natural organizing skills. I am a work in progress in this area. (An entire category called "disorganization" is a dead giveaway, huh?)

To be fair, I am still pretty new at all this homemaking stuff. In the days of yore, ladies got married, set up housekeeping, and started running a house. A while later, children came along and they adjusted as they went. Plus they probably learned a lot about being a homemaker as they grew up.

Not so my generation! I've been a wife for the better part of two decades and a mom for one decade.....and something as simple as allergies can throw our whole household into a tailspin.

See, I became a full-time homemaker a little over 2 years ago. I already had 2 kiddos and a house full of accumulated stuff. (I would REALLY like to wake up one Saturday and clean the whole house in 3o minutes like I used to.) We were in the thick of life and THAT was my training ground for full-time homemaking. Oh, while learning to homeschool too.

Which is why I'm still learning.

Anyway, we went to some local historical places yesterday and enjoyed it so much. What a great way to spend a Saturday! Part of the local historical place was "restoring the landscaping to historical accuracy" which S said was fancy talk for "we aren't mowing anymore." :) It was really neat to see all the native plants around and it made me wonder out loud if pioneers had allergies. I wondered that as I had been sneezing my head off for half the afternoon.

I managed to cook supper but by 8:00 I could no longer keep my eyes open because they were burning so badly. Plus I had taken an allergy pill and I was sick of blowing my nose so I just went to bed. I woke up....get this.....12 HOURS LATER! I would have been really nice had I been able to breathe.

So, I woke up in a still-groggy, drug induced state and realized that it was impossible to get all four of us dressed and out the door in 45 minutes for church. IM-POSSIBLE! Wanna know why?

I normally do all this on Saturday evening, but I needed to locate outfits for all of us, iron them, find socks that match the outfits, and fix 3 heads of hair. Plus feed 2 faces and find Bibles, shoes (again that match), etc. Forty-five minutes was not enough. So instead, S went to church and I sat on the couch and stared while the drugs wore off.

My point is, our lives should not be SO disorganized that it takes this much effort to get ready for church. If the laundry were done, if some clothes were ironed, if breakfast was thought out, etc. it would be so much easier.

Still working on it. I'm new at this. But I want to be able to face down an allergy emergency and come out victorious.

What sets your household on "out of control" mode?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Can You Guess What Book We Are Reading Right Now?

No? Here, let me open the door for you. How about now?

Look closer.....

So far, NOTHING, but at least they tried.

Something Awesome

I'm in love. My sister shared with me something she uses in her classroom and I have found it to be a wonderful fit for Sweetheart.

See, I haven't really taught Grammar or Language or English since she did some of her Abeka Language book in 2nd grade. I found it to be really easy for her and didn't see the point of making her do all those pages when she already knew the material. I figured I would begin more formal grammar when she was in 6th or 7th grade. I think after a child has read for a number of years, grammar and usage comes more easily. I know when I was a teacher we taught the same things every single year from 1st grade on and the kids still didn't really seem to know it. Why not wait until they are ready and then they can learn it quickly?

So I wasn't planning on teaching this subject this year, but I love what I've found. It's called Drops in the Bucket and it provides very short, daily practice on a huge variety of skills. Here is a sample sheet, and the one we are working on this week. We've been using it like my sister uses it with her 6th grade dyslexic students--by doing 2 boxes a day. On Monday we covered homonyms and ending punctuation. No problem. Tuesday was commas and verb tense. These were both new to Sweetheart but she picked them up very easily. She's since pointed out a list of commas in a book we were reading. We've also covered fact/opinion (new to her) and possessives (also new to her). Even though she hasn't really seen these things in a formal way before, "teaching it" takes about 2 minutes. The whole Drops in the Bucket sheet probably has not used up 10 minutes of our week and yet I think it's very powerful.

Every week she will repeat these skills. A little bit at a time. We are using Level D (4.0-5.5) and it seems to be a perfect level. They also offer Math, but I wouldn't dare mess up what we've got going on in Math right now. Although I'm sure it would be helpful to many. Probably it would be really good to use on summer break!

Just thought I'd share!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

If You Say You Trust Him...

Today I read 2 Samuel chapter 24. I don't remember ever reading this story before in the life of King David. I have been thinking about it all day.

King David told his men to go and take a census of all the fighting men in his kingdom. They acted a bit shocked that he would want to do such a thing, but they obeyed. After they had counted all the men, David felt guilty and admitted he had sinned. It wasn't readily understandable to me why....but apparently he was not trusting in the strength of God but taking matters into his own hands and taking inventory of what he had at his disposal. You know, God never was interested in his army having more fighting men than the enemy!

I thought about this story all day as I mulled over our finances. I say I trust God to provide....but then when things are tight I sit and scheme how we can make more money. If I'm not down-right worrying about finances (which I don't do NEARLY as much as I used to) then I'm thinking, thinking, thinking about how I can solve the problem.

Look, I'm not saying that I should just sit here on my rump and not work and wait for God to provide. We must be good stewards. We must do our part. In that light, S and I set up a craft booth last month at a local craft mall. We haven't made any money to speak of on this endeavor. I keep wondering if God really wanted us to spend our time working on things for that booth, or if He just wanted us to trust Him to provide so that we might spend our time serving Him in some way. Did we miss an opportunity? Are we spinning wheels He never intended for us to spin?

Where is the line? Did I move from worrying about finances, to scheming about them?

Either I trust Him to provide or I don't.

I'm not saying no one should do things for extra money! I'm saying that taking matters into my own hands (even just mentally) and planning all the ways I can take care of things just in case God doesn't come through for me is wrong. It's sin.

Either I trust Him or I don't.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Teaching What You Want to See

If you aren't happy with some behavior your kids are (or are not) displaying.....it might help to teach the behavior that you do want to see.

Not a hard concept, huh?

Lately I've been a bit disappointed in lack of responsibility, lack of manners, etc. in our girls. I stumbled on a list of character qualities with definitions and Bible verses and printed it out. I've been thinking all evening how I'm going to fit this into our homeschool day.

I guess it's not surprising that they are not displaying the character I want them to unless they have been explicitly taught how to behave in that way and seen it, um, modeled. Ahem. There are 49 character qualities on this list. That is a LOT of character traits to learn.

Character and morals are things that anyone can teach their children, but I want to teach them from a Biblical point of view. I'm not sure how much schools are teaching and reinforcing character traits these days, but I know the best teaching comes from home.

Sweetheart learns best by drawing and reading so I think we will make a notebook for these character traits. Some of the things I'm thinking of are:

--copywork on the definition of the character quality
--look up and copy the Bible verse that goes along with it
--illustrate the character trait
--read a book that goes along with the trait we are studying. Most likely it will be The Children's Book of Virtues but there are others

I'm still thinking about all of this. How do you teach "character ed" in a formal way?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Journey of Octobers

A few years ago we began to change the way we did things. As a newlywed, I decorated a really cute Halloween wreath to hang on the front door of our apartment. S told me he didn't like it and he didn't really think we should be celebrating Halloween. I, of course, thought that was the silliest thing I'd ever heard. I ended up throwing the wreath away, but when our kids were born, we started them off celebrating Halloween just like everyone else. Oh don't get me wrong....we didn't do "scary" Halloween. So it was okay, right?

I thought I would post some of my older posts about this. It's interesting to see how our family has been transformed these last few years.

2007--Changing is Hard

2008--A New Tradition

2008--The Tea Party

I have found our new tradition to be very satisfying. The kids get a costume. We make sure there is some candy involved in the activities (but I can control how much!). They get a day of fun. And it has nothing to do with Halloween. There are no Halloween decorations--nothing scary, nothing evil, nothing gross. AND they learn too!

This year's theme is Pioneers. All the girls will have a pioneer dress, provided we finish sewing them in time and they will do pioneer era activities that day. I can't wait!

Anyway, two years later I no longer find it hard to do this. Halloween is NOT something we participate in. The kids are used to it. We have no desire to celebrate Halloween any more. The thing they really liked about it (the costumes) have been preserved. It works.

Sometimes I guess you just have to practice a bit.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Do You Have Days Like This?

I don't watch Spongebob and neither do my kids. Not because I'm morally opposed or anything---I just think it's dumb. And gross.

BUT, one day I happened to catch this episode. And I thought I would die. I called my sister to tell her. THIS is how talking to your kids can be some days. She got it.


This is how school is going so far today:



Taking a break now!

Monday, October 12, 2009

OK--That Was Pretty Smart

During our phonics lesson today I asked Little Bit to go find something in the house that began with the sound of J. We do this with every sound we learn and her face just lights up. She always brings a little toy, or something from the kitchen or whatnot.

Today she wandered around the house for a while and finally I went to get a drink from the kitchen. She met me in there and said, "Mom, I have something for J but I can't bring it to you. If you go into the homeschool room, I'll tell you."

OK....I figured it was something big or something attached to the house.

When we got into the homeschool room she turned to me and said, "Why did the robot go to the bakery?"

See? It was a JOKE! Joke starts with J. (I won't bother telling you the ending because she made this one up a few weeks ago and, you know....five year old joke. So, yeah.)

But I marvel at the way that girl's mind works! I really do.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Ah.....Friday Night

Cold front blew through, giving us "fall" for a few days.

Windows open.

Rain outside.

Supper and chocolate cake at home tonight.

Kitchen and living room are clean.

Working on our shower this weekend.

Thank you Lord for all these blessings.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I Have Good Ideas During a Massage

Yesterday I cashed in my gift card from S for a 1/2 hour massage. Oh it was wonderful. I have not been able to lift my left arm a certain way for months and now I nearly can. The masseuse noticed the problem under my left shoulder blade immediately even though I had not told her I was having trouble lifting my arm. Amazing what massage can do.

So while I was laying there I thought of two things. First, and this almost made me laugh during the massage, but while she was rubbing my neck, I kept thinking of this.

Secondly, I got to thinking about how massage might be good for Little Bit when her tics are bad. How could it not be? It's relaxing and tics are always better when a person is relaxed.

I looked up some articles on it this morning and it seems I'm right. Perhaps when she's older we may have to look into that. Then it occurred to me that she already takes care of this herself. All her life she has LOVED for someone to sit by her and gently rub her arm or leg or tummy or face...whatever. "Tickle me soft" she says. Still, I think when she's older real massage techniques may be useful.

Looks like I may need to add "masseuse" to my job description. I wonder if there are classes you can take?

But first I'm going to need to learn how to spell masseuse without the help of Google.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Brenda The Overachiever

See this closet?
It sits in our living room beside the fireplace. We call it "the coat closet." It measures 25" deep by 30" wide.

Kinda small, huh?

So tell me, please, how THIS MUCH stuff


was crammed into that closet? I'm not even including the 7 or 8 coats hanging up on the fireplace in this picture.

You can see my "Put away", "Give away", and "Throw away" designated spots were not quite big enough. (That would be the laundry baskets buried in the background)

So how did it all fit, you ask?

Hard work and determination baby.