Friday, April 30, 2010

Diary of a Room Makeover: PROGRESS

The fabric for the quilts is all washed and ready for cutting.
That's a LOT of fabric. Sigh. Anyone want to come have a cutting party?
This is Little Bit's banner to hang over her loft. I love it so much. (That's the dining room its hanging in now-just for the picture.) It has fabric from lots of places.

An old banquet dress of mine from high school. It was very Pretty In Pink-ish.

The girls' old Easter dresses.

My 1st grade dress.

Sweetheart and her friend will be completing their banners this weekend in sewing class. You can make these with precious little sewing, but I chose this project for sewing class, so I included lots of sewing in our banners.

We also have the room rearrangement of the new room figured out.

Tomorrow we will be going to pick up the used loft from my friend and then S will have the really fun and rewarding job of taking apart the bunk beds and putting together the loft beds.

More updates to follow! Things are getting exciting now!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Let's Just Practice What We've Already Learned This Week, Shall We?

Clearly, with the going out of town and taking a bit too long to get back in the swing of civilization, I am running behind and there will be no Casually Feminine this week.

I DO apologize.

We will resume next Wednesday, as scheduled. The topic when we return will be tops. As in shirts. Blouses. Whatever you wear above your waist. :)

By the way, have you noticed that we have been concluding that our adornments can be casual, but not our actions? Anyone else noticed that?

And also, at Subway yesterday I saw a woman. She worked for a construction company according to the logo on her polo shirt. It was light blue and she was wearing jeans and black shoes and a big belt. She had her hair in a simple pony tail and no make-up. Want to know what I noticed immediately? Her earrrings! She had on shiny silver hoops and a silver bracelet with her outfit. They did not look out of place and I thought were just the right touch to make her look feminine in an obviously masculine job. See? Accessories DO matter!

See you next Wednesday for our discussion on shirts!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Just Like That...We're On!

Diary of a Room Makeover--April 27

I saw a friend post something about a used loft bed on Facebook the other day. Hmmm....I mentioned it to S and he thought it sounded good. We checked the store where she purchased it and one location still had 2 in stock. So, off we went yesterday to get the one from the store and we will pick up the used one on Friday.

And just like that, the girls will have the long-awaited loft beds. And the Room Makeover is back in full swing!!!

Now I've really got to get with it! I just hung the re-painted mirrors up, even though I'm not finished embellishing them. Here is Little Bit wiggling her loose tooth in her mirror last week. (She finally spit it out in her hand on Friday morning.) Now, of course, the mirrors will have to be moved. Sweetheart's is hung higher, can you see it to the right?

I also found this fabric a few weeks ago. I'm intending it will go on the window, but I have no idea how. There isn't that much of it and I bought what was left on the bolt. Any ideas?

Here is all the flannel I have collected for their rag quilts. I just waited for the fabric store to have flannel on sale and stocked up when I could. My mom had some scraps....I think I still need a few yards, but this is enough to get started with and now I really feel like I need to get with it!!! Regular comfortors will not work on their loft beds but they will have to for the time being.

So....window treatment, quilts, new beds.....not to mention all the plans the girls have for under their lofts....we have a lot to do all of a sudden! I guess that's how it goes when you are working on no budget and doing it all yourself!

Monday, April 26, 2010

We Washed the Car When We Got Home Because I Wan't Ready to Be Inside

That's how nice camping was.

S had to make himself put on "real" clothes to go to a meeting when he got home. We still wanted to be camping.

Spending time together.

Eating outside.

Enjoying God's creation.

It was a great weekend.

And I'm glad I took so many pictures. Because these cute little girls are growing up fast.

And I want to remember what they looked like when they were...


and 10.

And so stinking cute.

You can keep your big vacations.

If I could have more weekends like this, I would be a happy woman.

(But I really do need to turn my attention INSIDE the house now.)

Even though I prefer this kitchen. (The ONLY time I cooked all weekend.)

And this help.

And this food. (Mmm....peach cobbler.)

It's OK. I'll adjust.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Casually Feminine: Accessories

Did you enjoy my catchy title? Good.

I have had two accessories in my lifetime that were my absolute favorite. Whenever I added them to my outfit, no one was looking at me or my clothes or my hair or anything. If you have any flawed spots that you would prefer no one see, I highly recommend adding these to your accessory collection.
I find them harder to carry around these days.

And without a cute baby on your hip, you are so....vulnarable, so....naked, I mean, how am I supposed to keep my stomach sucked in all the time?

OK seriously. I'll tell you the truth, if it were up to me I would carry no purse. It is a necessary evil and I buy a new one every 5 years or so whether I need to or not. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. In the summers I prefer to find a cute bag to carry around. I used to use the excuse of "well, we are past the need for a diaper bag, but these are so easy to throw a pull up and a juice cup in" but we are past that too. I like this one at Target. Or this one. I don't carry HUGE bags, but more the size of purses.

As far as jewelry goes, I wear earrings. I usually only wear them to church or if we are "going somewhere." (Giovanna, clearly your house doesn't count since you told me you've never seen me wear any!) I do like bracelets and will wear those to church. My wedding ring doesn't fit right now, and I'm completely out of the habit of wearing other jewelry. I used to--when I went to work. I haven't worn a watch in 10 years. I am whatever the opposite of flashy is.

Make-up? See above.

Shoes. Let's see---for summer I have tennis shoes, flip flops, and sandals. If we are home I usually do wear shoes simply because we have laminate flooring and it hurts to walk around barefoot all day. I keep my toes painted but suffer from a severe lack of pedicures. On that note, I do not paint my fingernails and my nails are quite short. I do not understand how a woman can work around the house all day and keep long nails. If you can do that, feel free to explain it to me.

Here's the thing: I am not an accessories kind of girl. I don't need "extra" stuff to mess with. I know my husband doesn't prefer a lot of fussiness, so that works out well. I do not think accessories are a sin! I know some women who do a fine job of accessorizing and it makes them look lovely. I do know the Bible says our beauty should not come from those things. Still, if I knew a bit more about how to accessorize well, it would probably be good. Perhaps some of you can teach me.

I feel I've been a terrible lot of help today.

You're welcome.

And here's a there such thing as "casual accessories"? If so, what are they? Do "sunglasses as a headband" count?

Join in the discussion with us and enlighten me on this whole accessories thing ladies!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Claim to Fame

Today Boomama posted the video for the new Hanson song, "Thinking 'Bout Somethin'." Oh boy is it ever catchy. You can click on over there and watch it now if you like. I'll wait.'s good.

Maybe it's because I was reading about Hanson on Boomama's blog, but it made me remember a story. If you know Boomama, you might be surprised to find out it does not involve bacon, but rather gravy.

When I was little we had this singing group that was based out of our church. They were all originally from up north, but somehow came to land at our church for quite some time. They had a tour bus that they parked in our church parking lot and I remember getting to ride on the tour bus one time ALL THE WAY ACROSS TOWN. I think I thought I was in another state, but now I realize I was probably less than an hour from home.

My parents routinely had the members of this singing group over to our house for dinner. Sometimes there was a whole passel of them around our table. Sometimes we just had one or two of them. I suppose part of the reason was that they didn't have much family here, or maybe my parents were just really hospitable back then. At any rate, they were all mostly young folks and by that I mean they were in their early 20's. I don't know....I was 4 or 5 years old so to me they were all just grown ups.

Now, you must know that for my 5th birthday, I got this doll:

(My Joey doll is still at my mom and dad's house but I'm too lazy to walk all the way down there, pose him and take a picture of him and upload it. So thank you to for all the wonderful information. My sister had the Natalie doll.)

I was so proud of my new doll and wanted to show him to one of the pretty ladies in the singing group, whom we will call D. D was already sitting at the table when I walked up to show her my brand spanking new doll. She took him by the legs and began to exclaim over his wonderfulness, turned him around to show someone else at the table and his legs bent just like they were designed to do and his whole head dove straight into the bowl of gravy.

Oh I remember this scene like it was yesterday. My dad, who had just set the bowl of gravy on the table, was trying to not show how irritated he was that his gravy just got ruined. He jumped up to get the bowl. D was embarrassed and was trying to not laugh. I was standing there trying not to cry. I mean, he was NEW and I really liked D.....but, doll.

D took me to the bathroom and together we washed Joey's hair in the sink. With shampoo. I didn't think you could do such a thing but after a good towel drying, he looked great. I was happy, I'm sure D was relieved, and I really don't know if they went ahead and ate that gravy or not.

By the way, D and her husband went on to have a passel of kids. You can see three of them in that video I mentioned earlier.

Clearly, that makes me famous. Right?

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Only Thing I Need More of is Bags

Great. I've been at it again. I've been reading about simplifying.

This always sets off confusion. Not because I don't know where I stand on the issue, but because it's just so hard. I want a simple house. I want to have fewer things all around me. Fewer things to clean, pick up, move around, wash, fold, put away, dust, and deal with.

Ah. Peace. (in my mind)

Yes, I know that the children contribute to some of the mess and I wouldn't have it any other way. Most days, I know and remember that kid mess is a blessing. One that will be over way too soon.

But....Do we really need closets and dresser drawers and tubs full of clothes? Do we really need an entire kitchen with cabinets full of kitchen stuff and dishes? Do we need an entire coat closet full of coats? A garage full of stuff? A craft room over-flowing? Bedrooms you can hardly walk in?

Do we REALLY need this much stuff?

No. The answer is, no. We do not need all of this stuff. In the last month, I have gotten rid of probably 8 bags of stuff. Oh it felt so good. I don't miss ANY of it. I want to get rid of more. Not the stuff we need but the stuff we do not need.

That is part of The House That Cleans Itself plan, by the way. Decluttering is a big part of turning your house into a house that cleans itself. The 2 areas I have done really are less full. They look so good when they are picked up. I am excited to move on.

And just to let you know my handicaps.....I come from a long line of "keepers." My Grandmother and my mom both lived during the depression and saved/save everything. It's perfectly good. You might need it. I understand the mentality now, I really do. I'm not so foolish to think that we will always have access to every single thing we might need. I understand about holding on to things just in case.

And yet....isn't there a multitude of thrift stores around? Craig's List? E-bay? Friends?

And aren't there many, many people in need who could use some of the extra stuff I have laying around? And shouldn't I share my "extra tunic" with them?

Sneaking In Reading

Little Bit is in Kindergarten. wasn't an option for her this year. When she was "in Pre-K", if she didn't feel like doing school, well, she didn't. I sent her to go play.

We're slowly working our way through her Handwriting Without Tears book. She's on lowercase letters now. We set aside our Math U See Primer sometime back in the fall and just now picked it up again. She's more ready for it now. We're still LOVING Five in a Row and it has transformed what was, to me, a failing Kindergarten year. She wasn't failing, mind you, but the year wasn't going like I wanted. Then FIAR came along and everything is better. And she still does a lot of stuff with her sister's work.

She also worked through books A, B, and C of Explode the Code. And LOVED THEM. Seriously. She got excited every single day that we brought them out. We finished those before Christmas and began book 1 in January. Eh, it's going OK, but she's still not exactly reading.

I'm not worried. Back in my day as a teacher, children were expected to start reading in 1st grade, NOT kindergarten. Even that is too early for some children. So it isn't that I expect her to be further along, it's just that I like to see progress.

I don't know where this idea came from, but it is GOLDEN! Each day, I write 2 sentences on the white board in our school room. They all follow the same pattern:

Little Bit, is the cat wet?
Little Bit, is the tent big?

OK, so we'll mix it up a bit later. Right now, is and the are sight words she is supposed to know (but really didn't) so I keep throwing those in. This morning there really was a wet cat outside and we really do have a new, big tent. After she reads the question, she answers it and then draws a picture about that question with the erasable markers.

How cool is that when you are little?

She's super motivated to read the sentence (especially since Sissy and I already know what it says!) and get to draw with the markers.

Well, that's my idea for the day. It's working for us right now.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Casually Feminine: Week 5 Assignment

This week's assignment is.......accessories! You know, jewelry, glasses, hair stuff, purses, shoes, belts, etc.

How can we be feminine, Biblical, and casual all at the same time with our use of accessories?

Join us on Wednesday!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pop Culture At Our House

Notice I'm not writing a post about pop culture and homeschooled kids....because I can only speak about what I know. That is, I can speak about my family.

I think my daughters are very oblivious about pop culture. I would love for someone to come up with a little quiz about "Things Tweens Know and Love" and let me give it to 10 1/2 year old Sweetheart. I think she might fail. She doesn't know who Justin Bieber is. She's never watched American Idol or Dancing With the Stars. She hasn't read Harry Potter or Twilight. She could not list one single Jonas Brothers or Taylor Swift song if you offered her money. She doesn't have a cell phone or a Facebook account. I have no idea what popular things I am leaving out.

This isn't entirely because she's a homeschooled kid. 'Cause we know plenty of homeschoolers and many of them would know every single thing I just listed. Sure, it comes into play. She isn't around a roomful of her peers for 8 hours a day so she simply does not know what is popular at the moment. If she did, she'd be all in. She's always been sway-able. It used to really concern me. When she went to private school there was a popular girl in her class who was really into Littlest Pet Shop toys. Sweetheart HAD to have them. She worried about how she only had ____ when (popular girl) had ____.

Know what happened? As soon as summer hit, those Pet Shops went by the wayside. The whole first year we homeschooled I was delighted to watch my little girl realize what things SHE was interested in and spend time pursuing those things. Things I know she might have been ridiculed for liking by school friends.

That's just an example. It still happens. What little things Sweetheart does know about what's popular usually comes from church. She came home talking about The Diary of a Wimpy Kid the other day. Told me who all at church had read it...who had seen the much she wanted to read it. So, I looked into it and set her up online reading at this website and after a while, she was done. She hasn't mentioned it again and I'm not sure it's something she really liked or just thought she should like. It's hard to tell.

There's nothing wrong with hearing about something everyone is talking about and being interested. Truth is, now that we don't have TV, all the talk about TV shows on people's Facebook statuses bore me. I know what show they are talking about, but I'm not INTO

And yes, I really do think the lack of TV is causing seriouse lapses in my children's pop culture knowledge. They used to know who Hannah Montana was and oh that's the girl from (fill in name of Disney channel show). But now, nearly 4 months after turning off all TV service, we are clueless.

Magazines? Uh, we have Golf Digest and my mom's hand-me down magazines. Books? We go to the library mostly instead of the bookstore (or to the used bookstore) so they don't even see the big displays that scream HERE IS WHAT YOU SHOULD WANT TO BUY! Movies? There is so little worth going to see. We used to get Netflix so we stayed up with what was out there a little. I'm pretty picky and look everything up on Plugged In Online.

And we don't parent based on what other parents are doing. Your friend has a cell phone? That's nice dear. If you need to make a call, you are more than welcome to use mine. You want to get on the internet? There is your favorites folder, call me if you want to search for anything and we'll do it together. You want to watch TV? Run down to Grandpa's house...I'm sure Tom and Jerry is on.

Today I'm not going to talk about all the WHYS behind our decisions. That's another post in itself. The only point I'm trying to make is we are really out of it over here and we have no idea what's cool.

And I like it that way.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Casually Feminine--The Feminine Face

When I was about 10 years old, my oldest sister rolled her eyes at my dad. I well remember this scene as I was sitting on the couch folding clothes. Oh boy was he mad! She got grounded, which very rarely happened at our house, and I made a mental note. Self: do not roll your eyes at dad. Ever.

But the thing is, I did roll my eyes. I was just smart enough to not do it to his face. I waited until my back was turned. Or his was.

That's not really better by the way. The heart attitude behind the eye rolling was the problem, not the facial expression itself. So even though I may not be an adult who makes ugly faces at people, my heart attitude sometimes DOES roll my eyes at them. And maybe even sticks out its tongue sometimes, so to speak. That is not OK.

Sometimes it just takes acting to have the proper facial expression. Like when a child in your class is hurling all over the floor. What is required in that moment is compassion and action.....not a gagging face and wigging out. It's just not proper for a teacher to have a "gross me out!" look on their face when a child is sick. Inside you may be grossing out, but outwardly you don't want to show that.

OK that's kind of a funny example, but I do think it's important to not show exactly how we are feeling through our facial expression at all times. I don't always wake up feeling joyful, but I can still smile at my family. Sometimes there is a heart attitude that needs to be dealt with, but other times, it just takes choosing the right action in spite of our feelings.

That is true for anyone. But ladies have some other things to consider. David says something similar to the following many times in the Psalms:

Answer me speedily, O LORD;
My spirit fails!
Do not hide Your face from me,
Lest I be like those who go down into the pit.
Psalm 143:7

Do not hide Your face from me. We would not want the Lord to look away from us. Ladies, do you look away from your husband when you are upset with him? Do you avoid eye contact?

Do you remember that scene in Monsters Inc. where Boo sees Sulley scaring?

Just watch from 5:45 to 6:32 in case you don't have the movie memorized like me.

I have seen mothers out in public with their children before and the entire time the mother is griping and fussing and frowning at those children. Look, I know everyone can have a bad day, and I really try to give folks the benefit of the doubt, but honestly? I can watch you for 10 minutes or 30 minutes and not once do you have a smile or kind word for your child?

I suspect if many of us saw ourselves on TV like Sulley saw himself (the way Boo--or our children see it), we would be ashamed. It's easy for me to see these other mother's faults because I am watching them from afar. If you were following me around with a camera, some days I wouldn't look so great myself.

Wonder how our face looks when we are having a conversation with our husband? A few weeks ago at the grocery store I told the girls, "Aww. Look at that sweet little old couple up there." I just love old folks. The wife was sitting in an automatic cart and the husband was shuffling along beside her. They were by the yogurt, shopping together.

Then we got closer.

"I want the low fat kind." said the wife.
"The what?" said her husband.
"The LOW FAT YOGURT." she said, a bit too sharply.
"I can't understand you." he said, exasperated.
She looked at him like he was the biggest idiot on the earth and shook her head. "NEVER MIND!"
He shook his head back at her.

Never mind girls. DON'T look at the sweet little old couple! Come on, we don't need yogurt!

Gee whiz. It was not lovely. Last week we talked about what words come out of our mouth, but if it isn't matched with a loving facial expression, we might as well not be saying anything.

And you know moms can shoot looks that can kill. It cracks me up when I see a "mom look" being shot across the room at church. I can line up the death stare and find the kid who is receiving it in 2 seconds flat. And clearly there is a time and place for "non-verbal communication", but I think the majority the time, our family should see love and patience on our faces, don't you agree?

Join in with us this week! Share what "the face" and "casually feminine" makes you think of!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Casually Feminine Assignment

Boy, "the mouth" turned out to be a really good, convicting topic, huh? I got a lot out of it. We are going to use the broad topic of "the face" this week. That can be make-up, your facial expressions, what things you let your eyes look upon, more on the mouth if you had more to say (ha ha--no, really), whatever "the face" brings to your mind.

See you Wednesday with a new MckLinky!


One day last year we were driving to the zoo or the museum or somewhere and right beside us on the highway was a big, shiny, chrome tanker truck.

I pulled up beside it to show the girls, "Look! You can see our car!" And we were all merrily waving at our reflection in the big shiny truck.....

....and missed our exit completely.

You know they JOKE about being distracted by shiny objects, but for some of us, it's true.

In the spring, I always get distracted by the house. The closer it gets to summer, the more I want to concentrate on projects around here and the less interested I am in school work. We have pretty much followed a traditional school schedule since we started homeschooling, mostly because we were used to it and also wanted to have the summer off with our cousins.

This year, I have declared May 28 to be the "last" day of school. We will take off a week or so, and then begin "summer school." Well, I was going to call it summer school, but Sweetheart, who attended school for 3 years, was very upset. "That's for kids who failed!" she said. OK FINE. We'll call it our "summer schedule." I'll let you know what that means when I figure it out. Basically, there will be some school work still going on....but on a much more relaxed schedule.

Mama needs her mornings back.

I wake up so full of ideas and energy for things to do. Currently, I'm really wanting to attack our paperwork--a monumental task to be sure. I need to start something like that early in the morning when I am full of energy and wakefulness. Not after lunch.

So I'm having a really hard time staying motivated. Maybe it's time to sit down and see how many more math lessons there are in the girls' books, how many more history lessons, how many more Botany pages to read.....

I'm ready to wrap this year up is all I'm saying.

And I'll be back later today with our Casually Feminine assignment for the week! Check back in!!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Bit More About the House

It worked! It really worked!!!!!
Today was the first day I REALLY cleaned the areas I had already "done" according to the HTCI system I've been using. So here's my report:

The entryway area had stuff that didn't belong on the cabinet. Stuff that had just been laid there. But not stacks and stacks of mail like before. So, I got the trash sack, cleaned it off, polished the wood, swept the floor, cleaned out my purse and church bag and straightened the little white shelf and it took about 10 minutes.

TEN MINUTES! And it's back to gorgeous. And I did everything but mop! I mean, I know it's just an entryway, but this was wonderful.
(that's the original pic there)

Having the trash can right there caused me to not have to walk to throw stuff away (thus getting distracted in the process), and knowing exactly what stuff belongs in that area made it easy to eliminate those things which do NOT belong.

Then I moved on to the living room. This room has really fallen into disarray in the past week. Easter baskets on the fireplace, me sorting through summer/winter clothes, and various stacks of books/Bibles left laying around made a real mess of it.

So I have found a new problem to solve in this room. I originally solved the problems of where to store the printer paper, how to get books back in the library box, and where to set stuff when we walked in the door, but now I see another problem and it's name is my husband.

Just kidding. But he really does have books and Bibles and stuff that get left on the coffee table and that can't be. So I need to make sure the desk in our room is clear at all times so he can stack his stuff there when he's through.

Or, you know, I can do it. Whichever.

I made 20 cents yesterday off the girls but I went a little easy on them. I gave more reminders than I plan to give next week. Thought I'd give them a few days to get used to this before I drain them dry. It really helped though and we didn't even have to do the 4:00 pick-up because they put their things away all day. This will help the living room.

I'm really looking forward to implementing this system all over the house. These first 2 areas have given me such hope! I also saw some pictures posted on the HTCI Facebook group and they encouraged me as well.
I can't WAIT to have this kind of house!!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Please Someone, Come Help Me

Can we just have a big 'ol cleaning party at my house today? I really need the help. I promise I'll come help at all of your houses afterwards.


I posted a few weeks ago about our book club reading The House That Cleans Itself and posted gorgeous pictures of my living room. If you didn't see them, feel free to go gaze in wonderment at their beauty.

In REAL life, it doesn't look quite like that right now, but it isn't hard to get back in order since there is a place for everything that belongs in here.

It's the stuff that DOESN'T belong in here that's causing the mess. And that means one thing: we need to declutter. I have a small stack by the coat closet right now of things the girls picked to give away to a garage sale. That pile needs to get bigger fast.

So, the entry way and the living room are the only two areas I have done the HTCI system on and they are really easy to get back in order. Which means I need to get back to this book because I could just scream about certain areas of our house.

I would declare today house cleaning day but first I have to do the checkbook, pay some bills, and finish teaching school. Oh, and go grocery shopping.

See? That's why I just really need all of you to come over and help. I'm sure we'd have it done in no time. I'll serve snacks.

No? OK maybe I'll just pretend you are all here. And in my imagination, none of you are horrified at all.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Casually Feminine: The Mouth

Boy is this a big topic. Hee Hee. I really mean it. The Bible talks A LOT about the mouth. Oh there are many, many things to say.

But we are looking at "the mouth" in light of being casually feminine. And if I may say so, I don't think that what comes out of our mouth needs to be taken lightly. Therefore, there isn't much "casual" to this part of femininity.

When I think of casual speech, I think of sloppy, slang, joking around, even cussing. All things that a lady should not be doing. We had a visiting family at our church a few years ago when I was teaching Sweetheart's class. At the end of class the mom came in to pick up her little girl. She was really a pretty lady. That was really the first thing I noticed was how pretty she was.

And then she opened her mouth. She was impatient, snappy, and even just downright rude to her little girl. I figured maybe she was having a bad day. You never know what her morning had been like. But I will never forget how quickly the image of "pretty lady" was completely and totally CRUSHED.

So what we say and how we say it really do matter. These verses should give us a clue about our speech:

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. Ephesians 5:3-4

I grew up in a very sarcastic family. It took me a few errors before I figured out that not everyone appreciates a good sarcastic remark. My blunt joking was unappreciated by some, to say the least. Note to self: pass on this information to daughters.

Obscenity is never feminine. A woman who cusses like a sailor is not lovely to behold. Foolish talk---well, I think gossiping falls under that. It is not how the Lord would have us to act. Instead, our mouths should be used for thanksgiving. A woman with a thankful attitude is lovely in every way. Even if physically she isn't much to look at.

Now, let's discuss volume. I have consciously worked on this one in the 17 years we have been married. I used to be LOUD. In high school I thought the louder I joked and made everyone laugh, the better. My husband is a quiet person and cherishes a quiet environment. I know there were times I embarrassed him early on in our marriage just because I was talking or laughing loudly in a room full of people. I was flabbergasted! But in my more mature years, I have noticed that women who speak quietly are truly lovely to be around. I am more and more turned off by loud and obnoxious. I'm not talking about turning into one of those people that you have to lip read to follow their conversation.....just about not being the one who is always LOUD.

I don't think we can leave this topic without discussing the physical problems with the mouth.

1. A lady does not talk with food in her mouth. I am STILL trying to teach this one to my children. WHEN will they learn? I have intended to put a mirror in the dining room for quite some time now so they can see their loveliness in action. Also, a lady closes her mouth when she chews. Still working on that one too.

2. Good breath/bad breath. Here's one advantage of being quieter. If you do have bad breath and are unaware, you will be sharing it with fewer people.

3. And while you would think gum might be the answer to number 2....I have noticed more and more lately that chewing gum is not always lovely. Oh I think there is a time and place for it, but I have noticed women chewing gum when they are giving an announcement in a group, talking to a lot of people, just about anywhere! I think that chewing gum just anywhere you are is being a bit TOO casual. I used to chew gum a lot, but I think it's more a thing for very casual settings now. Just something I've been noticing lately.

4. Lipstick is not always the answer. My roommates in college, and they would not mind me sharing these stories with you, were big on lipstick. When L was student teaching, she always made sure to touch up her lipstick throughout the day. She was convinced she looked more professional with it on and freshly done. Before she left, one of the little girls in the class wrote, "Thank you for teaching us Mrs. J. You always have nice lipstick." She was ecstatic!

BUT, my other roommate K went by the same theory in childbirth. She ended up having a c section but she touched up her lipstick before wheeling off to surgery. She was determined to look good in the hospital pictures. When she got them back, here was her pale face with BRIGHT CORAL LIPSTICK emanating from every picture. It was hilarious. I think, being women who prefer a more casually feminine look, that chap stick or lip gloss might be our best friend. I wear lipstick to church. Other than that, it's just Vaseline or whatever.

5. Do I even need to tell you about how it looks for a woman to have a cigarette hanging out of her mouth?

Like I said, many things to talk about here. What matters most is what the Bible has to say about it. The other things require a mirror and becoming a people watcher. If it doesn't look lovely on anyone else you see, it probably isn't a very lovely or feminine thing at all.

Do you think our more casual dress and more casual (about everything) society has affected the way we speak/chew/talk etc?

I'm Going to Be So Rich

I think I am going to incorporate a new system. We haven't been too consistent with paying our kids an allowance. As in, we just pretty much expect them to do the chores and sometimes, when they really want something, we pay them if they go above and beyond the norm. They have to show initiative if they want money. :)

My children's lack of funds does not bother me because they are not in need of anything. But I do have ONE BIG PROBLEM!!!!

My children, Hansel and Gretel, are leaving bread crumb trails throughout the house. It's driving me crazy. I've called them snail trails before and it's gotten bad. Last night there was a certain object lying in the bathroom floor. We don't need to discuss what item of clothing it was, do we? Someone was told to pick it up. This morning....there was the item of clothing in the hall floor outside the bathroom. It was pointed out. THEN, it was found on the bathroom cabinet, where the owner laid it and forgot AGAIN to put it up.

So, in my new plan, I would now be 30 cents richer. Want to know how?

I got this idea from a friend but I'm tweaking it a bit. Each week the girls will get a jar of dimes. How much I'm not sure.....probably just $2-3 at first. Each time a chore goes undone, or an object is left out....they lose a dime. Dad and I get paid. Whatever is left over at the end of the week in their jar...they keep.

I'm thinking they won't lose all that many dimes once we start this. Especially when mom yells "CHA-CHING!" every time I see something laying around.

By the way, I'm reminded of the time my dad instituted the "anyone who leaves dishes in the living room owes me a quarter" until I told him he owed me a quarter for leaving his coffee cup by his chair. So....this plan would mean that S and I need to be good examples. Although, we are the parents and it's our house and I won't have sassy girls pointing out each little thing to us

I'll let you know how it works out!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Casually Feminine Assignment Week 3

This week our Casually Feminine feature will be appearing on Thursday. I sure hope some of you will consider joining in on your blog or in the comments section. We've been having some good discussion.

The topic this week is our MOUTH. You can take that however you want, but we were sort of thinking that what comes out of your mouth can make you look feminine or not. Then there's make-up options for your lips, gum chewing, manners while eating....etc.

The mouth is a big topic is what I'm saying.

Thank you, I'll be here all week.

See you Thursday!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Have to Dos

A friend had this as their status line on Facebook yesterday:

When most of what you do is because of what you think you're supposed to do you begin to resent. Happy is the person whose "wants" and "shoulds" coincide.

It made me think of one year in first grade. That particular year we had a heck of a class. The previous year teacher filled out a card on each child to be passed on to the new teacher. These were laid out on the table to form classes. Even number of boys/girls, even race distribution, siblings not together, special needs given to the right personality of teacher, etc. This particular year over half the cards we got looked like this:

Shelby's card: Do not seat next to Evan.
Evan's card: Do not seat next to Terrence.
Terrence's card: Do not seat next to Angel.

On and on it went. Figuring out a seating chart that year was like doing one of those slider puzzles you get as carnival prizes. There are only four corners in a room people.

All I'm saying is it was a difficult year. And so "literacy centers", as we had been trained to use them....weren't happening. They broke, tore, or destroyed every single thing we made to be used in center time. Laminating didn't help. Steel bars might have.

And so the Have To Do and Want To Do system was born. When your regular work was complete, you had to do a certain number of Have To Do tasks before you could choose from the Want To Do tasks. They were kind of literacy center type tasks, but they had to be completed at their desk. One at a time. There were very few privileges given to that class. By the way, some classes are just like that. Our school shuddered all the way to 5th grade with that group. I think we heard the middle school teachers scream the next year, but none of us were willing to go investigate.

Anyway, it drives me crazy when I hear Sweetheart talk about not liking school. What? You have it so good kid! One day she told me, "All us kids in my Bible class are sad that spring break is over. We don't want to go back to school!" I know she's picking up the "school sucks" attitude from friends who go to school but I'm not sure how it applies to her.

I promise all this is going to come together in a minute.

In the morning I am facing down a house that has fallen apart a bit over the weekend. I have to find the homeschool table again. There is laundry. Grocery shopping needs to be done. I am not looking forward to it. Where did I pick up this "housework sucks" attitude?

I realized today that my have to do's better become my want to do's or I am going to be pretty miserable in life. Sweetheart too. We talked about how you don't have to like school work, but you can still like learning. I think a lot of it is just that when you wake up, the day is not yours. I have housework. She has school. Neither is what we WANT to be doing.

I think this is where having a grateful attitude comes in. Counting your blessings is truly a great way to start the day.

I am blessed with a working washer and dryer.
I am blessed with the money and car to go grocery shopping.
I am blessed to be home to clean the house.

She is blessed to have a say in what she does in school. And in what order.
She is blessed to get to learn God's word in school.
She is blessed to get lots of play breaks and be done really early in the day.

Can counting your blessings turn "have to do's" into "get to do's"? What do you think?

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Week Before Easter

We've spent this week in Bible time at school learning about the wonderful story of our Lord's death, burial, and resurrection. We kicked it off on Saturday learning about Palm Sunday. I just read it straight out of the Bible and then we did some crafts. Little Bit's Bible class also did some things in church so we hung those up too. The donkey papers have Zechariah 9:9 written on them.

Monday we learned about Passover and read the instructions the Lord gave Moses and Aaron to give to the people. We baked bread without yeast and ate it standing up, with our shoes, belts, and walking sticks. We talked about how we don't celebrate Passover, but how we partake in the Lord's Supper and the significance of it.

We set out some of our bread and some "wine" to remember the lesson. I'm sure these are as hard as brickbats by now.
Tuesday we read the passages about the garden of Gethsemane. Actually, no where could I find the word "garden" when referring to Gethsemane. Maybe some of you know where that is found or where that came from? The Bibles I looked in did talk about it being an olive grove, so that is what we made. Well, kind of.

Then we placed Jesus in the garden to pray.

Wednesday was all about errands but Thursday in school I read the rest of the story out of God's word and showed the kids this movie. It tells the whole story of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection but without scaring the children to death. Honestly, Sweetheart is old enough to see a more realistic movie, but this one is still good for Little Bit. They pointed out a lot of errors though.

We also have our Resurrection Eggs that the kids have played with this year, but we haven't done much else with them. We will do some things with those over the weekend.

Hope you all have a blessed Sunday!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

March Wrap Up

When I actually sat down to upload pictures the other day, I realized we'd been pretty busy lately!

The girls participated in our home school group's science fair again this year.

Little Bit, who has a tendency towards shyness, actually gave a presentation! In her memory, she did it "without any help from Mama." We might differ on the details of that, but she did really well.
(taking questions)

Sweetheart got her orange belt in karate! (her 3rd belt)

We went to a free outdoor play and picnic with some friends.

The girls helped daddy (and Grandpa) with the garden.

And we took a miniature (overnight) vacation to a hotel and to see Sam Houston's homes. (Sweetheart was studying Texas history.)
We had a fun month!