Friday, July 30, 2010

Fitness Friday: The Something Version

I don't know. I was just sweeping the kitchen and it came to me, OK? Join in if you like!

Something Old
Ha! I guess that would be S and me! My husband was explaining to a friend on the phone the other night why we wouldn't be participating in something that cost a lot of money. He explained how I had surgery last month and we are still paying for that, and how he was diagnosed with diabetes this month and we had to buy the medicine and the meter and all the supplies.....I told him to just say, "Paw Paw and Maw Maw have some health issues so we won't be able to go." :) Oh the 40s are going to be fun.

Something New
Well, this is our dining room table nowadays. See? Two medicines for S and also some low-carb bread I baked for him.

Also, take a look at our kitchen counter! We went to a farmer's market on Saturday with my parents and came home with all our loot. This much produce is definitely something new for this family! (And the oatmeal for breakfast with cinnamon on top, and the baggies b/c I've been packing his lunch every day) I really need to clean off the cabinet!

Something Borrowed
I guess technically these cookbooks were given to us to keep from a sweet lady at church whose late husband had diabetes. But boy I have been borrowing everyone else's ideas and recipes from the Internet! What would I do without it? I would have to try to figure all this out on my own! ACK! I am very thankful for the ability to borrow everyone else's hard work! [Insert picture of cookbooks in your mind here....because Blogger can't. Grrr.]

Something Blue
I have yet to master the smoothie. I have tried a blueberry recipe that is OK for diabetics but both times it wasn't all that great. I'll keep working on it though. I am determined. [Picture of blueberries goes here. See above. Grr.]

Can't wait to see what you've got that's old, new, borrowed, and blue!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Because Why Not?

In our new homeschool room, which I have yet to post pictures of the final product because it's still a mess, there is an art table in one corner. The purpose of the art table is to give the girls a place to work besides our homeschool table. I dream of one morning walking into the school room and being able to SEE the top surface of the table and maybe even SET MY DRINK DOWN on the table top and START WORKING IMMEDIATELY instead of spending 15 minutes every morning cleaning it off.

If it doesn't work out I'll have to think up another reason why it stays a mess. I'll let you know how that goes.

Last year the girls sat in some old chairs that belonged to me and my sisters growing up. They were our desk chairs. My biggest sister had a white one and I had a brown one because those matched the furniture in our childhood bedrooms.


I got some cushier chairs for school time so those old desk chairs have become the chairs for the art table. And the girls wanted to paint them.

So I said...."Go for it" and laid down ONE layer of newspaper and handed them the supplies and then walked out of the room. I made no suggestions and only came in every few minutes to assure myself that there was not paint all over the floor. I thought I had finally lost it, but they had so much fun.

Now if we just had a lovely room in which to use the chairs. Sigh. Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

On Our Shelves for the School Year

This year Sweetheart will be in 5th grade and Little Bit in 1st grade.

We have a few thing from last year we can continue with:

These are the Bible workbooks from last year. They are from Bible Study Guide for All Ages. They cost less than $6 a book. Well, actually, I made them in to books. I blogged about them here. We have several months before I'll need to buy the next set of these. (Cost for this year: free) Not sure why the picture wouldn't turn.

This curriculum is new for this year. I bought it for our Bible classes back when I did that sort of thing. I taught it to Sweetheart's 1st grade Bible class the entire year because I wanted them to have some consistency since it goes chronologically though the Old Testament. I remember enjoying it. It will be a bit different teaching it to one 1st grader as opposed to a Sunday school class, but I think Little Bit will enjoy it very much. The 2nd grade year covers the New Testament. Both can be found here. (Cost for this year: free, borrowed from church)

Little Bit will begin using Level 1 of All About Spelling this year. There is nothing I need to buy for her. Sweetheart will need Level 3, but that's not in the budget until later. I blogged about it here. (Cost for this year: free for Little Bit, $40.00 for Sweetheart)

They didn't finish their handwriting books last year either. It was the second book Sweetheart did last year, so that's OK. These are from Handwriting Without Tears. (Cost for this year: free)

Neither girl finished their math book last year. Again, Sweetheart's Gamma was the second book she worked on last year so that's OK. She only lacks about 5 lessons and then we have our used Delta waiting. Little Bit is half-way through Primer and then will begin the Alpha we already had. (Cost for this year: $40 for used Delta materials)
Little Bit began Explode the Code last year and completed books A, B, and C and started this one. She's mostly through, but we'll pick back up with what she hasn't finished. (Cost for this year: free, for now)

There were a few new things we had to add:
We are beginning Zoology 1 this year. Little Bit will be joining us for science always instead of sometimes like in Kindergarten. Book from here. (Cost for this year: free, borrowed from friend)

Until we get Sweetheart's spelling curriculum, we are going to do this together a few times a week. I think we will do this on Fridays throughout the year. This will be really good for Little Bit, and good practice for Sweetheart. There is a way to adapt the lesson for all levels of spellers. (Cost for this year: free, I already had these.)
We're on Volume III of the Mystery of History. I had to buy this new...but it's non-consumable. I opted to get the CD instead of the book of activities. It was cheaper and I can print only what I want to use. (Cost for this year: $80. Ouch)

There are other things we will be using and learning but these are the bare bones. This is the main part of our curriculum plan. If we did just these and only these I think the girls would get a good education, but Mommy might end up talking to herself in the corner somewhere. I cannot JUST do the curriculum. It bores me. I'm working on a plan right now for how to have time to spice things up. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's Not Just for Weddings Anymore!

This Friday's assignment, for those of you participating in Fitness Friday, is:

Something old
Something new
Something borrowed
Something blue.

See how you can fit your fitness life into those categories! :) See you then!


The white board in our homeschool room reads:
Time to get things in order around the house so that when school starts you can have PLAY breaks instead of CHORE breaks! Straighten a few areas each day!
I really don't feel like I can sit down and complete any planning or preparations (although I have sort of started) until I have some things in order around the house. I know we've done a LOT to the house this summer, as it should be, but there is more to do. It's not major things anymore like painting or's just little things.

So this morning I made a Word document and a list of little jobs the girls could do this week. I showed them how to highlight a job in their preferred color once it was complete. Then, at the end of the week  I will pay them for however many jobs they did. would be easier to print but we are out of ink. Our family is just so "green" that I didn't want to waste paper.

Some of the jobs include cleaning up the closet floor, straightening book shelves, wiping down the cabinet doors in the kitchen, cleaning up under the china cabinet (we keep the box of play dough there), and cleaning under the bathroom sink. I really think that 20 "little" places getting straightened up will make the impact of totally revamping one room in the house. It's that little clutter that eats at you, you know?

THEN I can begin getting ready for school. Anyone else got little jobs to tackle this week?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fitness Friday: What Are You Focusing On?

Won't you please enjoy my green and blue template? The Cutest Blog on the Block was having some issues this week so I just quickly switched to a blogspot template for the time being.

I'm so encouraged that many of you wanted to jump in with Fitness Friday again! Yeah you! If you wrote a FF post, just link up at the bottom of this post. Or, as usual, feel free to jump in the comments section as well.


Obviously, my focus for the past 2 weeks has been my husband's recent diabetes diagnosis. I can honestly say that I did not understand anything about the disease before that. Talk about a crash course! I am happy to report that his blood sugar is down to the 110-125 range which is amazing for only 1 1/2 weeks of medicine/diet changes. Very soon the doctor said we may have to decrease his medicine, which I think is good news.

So I had this little goal for the month of July to get my 30 meals list finished, the cards printed, and the spreadsheet made. I started all of that--and then we got slammed with the big D. :) So a lot of my recipes are not going to be good for the 30 meals list. (Pasta addicts anyone?) So.....I will just have to work on that at a slower pace. I made a Farmhouse Casserole yesterday that was diabetic friendly and received 3 out of 4 thumbs up at the House Revised. It's going on the list. I'll just have to keep trying new things.

Our snack life has also changed. Goodbye Little Debbie's and knock-off brand chocolate chip cookies. Hello fruit. Listen, I know none of this is earth-shattering or news to me. It's just that we finally received the kick in the pants we needed to DO what we know we should have been doing all along. I was reading my Bible this morning--a rare occurrence. I was thinking to myself, "Maybe all those women who say it sets their day off right to read in the morning are right." And I've known that all along too. Why am I just now doing the things that I know to do?

Lazy and mule-headed comes to mind.

Anyway I'm not spending so much time researching on the internet now. I think I'm starting to get the hang of what he can and cannot eat. I will continue to search for diabetic friendly recipes however. Gotta get my 30 meals done so I can have an easy meal-planning year. My dream!

Oh, and I'm happy to report that I have already lost several pounds since last week!

So, what are you focusing on lately?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Apparently I'm Still in Jr. High

I am so easily influenced. Ug. I hate that. A few weeks ago I read several really good articles and blog posts about homeschooling. The authors were classical educators and I totally started planning (mentally, that is) memorization tasks, and how I'm going to include more narration and copy work in our year, and how I need to read better literature with the girls.

And I've started writing plans down in my little notebook and I'll be dadgummed if they don't all require us to be sitting at the table! Oh boy do I have big plans for their learning. It's time to get with it. We need to grow and stretch the girls a bit. Big plans.

And then I read this. And...sniff, sniff. This is Sweetheart's last year of elementary. So in the shower tonight I'm planning to do all the activities that go with our history curriculum. Every single one of them. And every science activity known to man. And we'll do our reading lessons on big pillows on the floor. And we'll do theme units once a month. Now let's see....if we do 3 weeks of regular curriculum, and take off one week to just do Bible and a theme unit (and OK maybe math too)....we should finish 1st and 5th grade in about what? Three years?

Sigh. What pants are cool this week? I'll make sure to wear them tomorrow. Now you call me in the morning and let me know what shoes you are going to wear because I'm not going to be the only one showing up wearing them if you aren't. Oh, and by the way, how are you wearing your hair tomorrow?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Opposite of Progress

Fitness Friday: This week I would like everyone to share what they are focusing on currently with their fitness. Are you focusing on eating better? Share a recipe or tell us what you are doing. Are you focusing on exercise? Share your plan. Whatever it is you are focusing on.....let's share with each other!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fitness Friday--Because I Have To

I had no intentions of resurrecting Fitness Friday right now. Right now I should be thinking about the upcoming school year and showing you pictures of our classroom and updating you on all the wonderful projects I'm accomplishing around the house.

But instead we got thrown a curve ball this week. S has diabetes. It's really no shocker since his whole family has or has had it. We sort of expected it one day, but not right this very week.

And I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed as Tuesday I embarked on a crash course called, "What Do I Feed My Family Now?" I asked him ever so kindly if he could do without food for a few days until I could figure this stuff out but he said that wouldn't work for him. Fine.

So here we go. I'm not assigning anything this week so you can talk about whatever you want to. Let us know how you've been doing. Or, you know, your dog. :)

The Beginning of Our Diabetes Journey
I've never understood carbs. Whenever anyone talked about carbs and proteins all I heard was blahblahblahblahblah. My menu planning and grocery shopping for the last few years has been all about being frugal. Only. I haven't read a label in years. When you are pinching pennies you can't worry about which cheese is the healthiest. My dad had heart surgery when I was in college so I actually know a lot about heart-healthy diet and I used to read labels all the time. This is somewhat different and I'm out of practice.

Good for me though, I've been learning to cook from scratch this year. I can't do a whole lot yet, but I'm confident enough to start googling recipes and diving right in trying them. I think my kitchen will be more used than it has ever been now. I'm going to be in there a lot and planning is going to take a whole lot more time. I was already up to 22 meals on my 30 Meals list and now I have to review them. Sigh.

So I've been learning and reading and taking notes all week. I've managed to put several meals in front of my husband and tell him with some level of confidence that it was all good for him. Let me give you some facts if you know about these things, they will mean something to you.

On Tuesday my husband's A1C level was 11.8. A really good level would be a 6. So....yeah. His was nearly double what it should be. And his blood glucose was over 400. It should be under 100 for a healthy non-diabetic person. more showing love to my husband with chocolate. How I love baking him a cake or making cookies to put in his lunch! Now I'll show love through apples or something. The girls haven't seemed to notice the lack of sweets around the house. Anyway, they can always score some cupcakes at Grandpa's house. There has been no caffeine or sweets around here all week and we've all been civil to each other with a minimum of Tylenol being taken, so that's good.

I feel a lot of pressure. His health is up to me! Not really--of course he is the one who has to live with it. But I do feel a great responsibility and I know how much easier I can make things for him by making our pantry a no-brainer for him. By educating myself and having things around that he can eat...he won't have to think about it so much. I also need to teach my daughters since they have a good chance of needing this knowledge one day.

I'm going to leave you with a tip. Whenever you want to learn about something totally new to you, head to the children's section of the library. When my dad had cancer and the doctors were going on about this organ and that organ and my family all admitted (after the doctor left the room) that we didn't know where these things were he was talking about, I went to my school library and checked out a book. I brought the beautiful colored illustrations of the internal organs the next day to the hospital and we all passed it around. I did the same thing this week. I checked out two non-fiction books on diabetes and I actually learned quite a bit from them. It's a really good place to start.

OK Ladies, if you are so inclined, feel free to join in. I'll be back next week talking more about our health and fitness!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Insert Riveting Title Here 'Cause I Ain't Got One (or clearly, not a post on grammar)

I sat down yesterday and sewed my little heart out. I cut up some fabric I had and then just pretended I had a serger and zig-zag stitched all the way around the edges.

See? Napkins for us! And on the right there is an old towel that was falling apart. I cut it up and stitched around it to make cleaning rags. They are for wiping up spills, scrubbing things...whatever. I guess they are sort of the paper towel replacers. I think we'll need more cleaning rags, but the napkins should be enough because I already had some. Now I just need a basket to put them so they are easy to grab and look nice.

I am teaching the children's class tonight at church and substituting in the nursery class the next two Sundays for my friend who is 100 months pregnant and can't bend over to help the children anymore. And also doesn't fit in the teacher's chair very well. And that will take me to the end of July and then I have to take some time off all this volunteering because I will need to focus big time on getting our school year ready.

I bought some school supplies today at Wal-Mart. I'm telling you, you have to be really alert when you shop. I got 4 boxes of 24 count Crayola crayons for .25 each and right above them were 8 count Crayola crayons for .78 cents each. Hello? Also, I got 16 glue sticks for $2 and right above them was a pack of 12 glue sticks for $3.88. It's like they put the sale stuff out but leave the regularly priced stuff out too. Watch out!

Erin had a really great Fitness Friday post the other day. I've thought about it several times. It's funny--but easy to apply to your own life! :) And because S was diagnosed with diabetes yesterday...I'm thinking it's time for Fitness Friday to reappear for awhile. Anyone interested? I'll be posting on Friday and I'll throw up a MckLinky or whatever that's called now if you like.

I'm off to make supper and get snack and Bible class stuff ready. These last few hours before mid-week church are the busiest and fastest-paced of my entire week.

Monday, July 12, 2010

About This Spelling and Grammar...

I promised I would share with you what I use to teach spelling. I'm sorry to break it into two posts, but good grief, I had already written a book over at Suzanne's!

So you know I taught 3rd, 4th, and 1st grades in my former life. But that was only half of my teaching career. The second half of my career was spent being a "pull-out" teacher. Meaning I didn't have a class of my own but pulled small groups of children from other classrooms all day to work with them. Sometimes it was early literacy groups of struggling readers from the 1st and 2nd grades, sometimes it was dyslexic students from all over the building, and sometimes it was just to tutor kids for the state test all day long. I think my official title was "Early Literacy Specialist/Dyslexia." Fancy, no?

What I'm telling you is I had some training in teaching those who struggled with the language arts subjects.

Here is what I know about spelling and reading curriculum: you want one based on Orton-Gillingham research. There are a lot of them out there. Just look for the names Orton and Gillingham. Different curriculum cater to different personalities, but if it is based on their research, I would trust it more than anything else out there. In public schools, Orton-Gillingham based programs are mainly used for special education classes or dyslexia classes but the truth is, many, many students would benefit from them.

If you have a natural speller, this may be a non-issue for you. However, if you have a child who needs and requires spelling instruction--not just spelling lists and tests--now you know what to look for.

I use All About Spelling. (I'm an affiliate--go ahead--click my link!) It is Orton-Gillingham based. Let me show it to you.

These are the books we have so far. We have done levels 1 and 2. These are for the teacher.

You get a stack of cards for each level. They are very organized and easy to use. These cover both visual and auditory learning styles as you review each day.

Each level comes with a packet of materials including a certificate and progress chart to put on the wall.

And a jail! That's where you send the "rule breakers." *smile* My daughter loved sending them to jail.

You also get all these colorful letter tiles. They are color-coded and help your kinesthetic learners as they get to slide the tiles around to spell words instead of filling in worksheets. See those colorful disks? Those are for the kinesthetic and auditory learners too.

But if your child happens to spill NOT ONE BUT TWO COUNT THEM TWO glasses full of water and or coke on the letter tiles so that they curl up a bit and aren't really as good as they used to can use something else. This is what I plan to use with my younger daughter anyway because it's easier for little hands.
Just get some burner covers from the dollar store.

And some magnetic letters. Mine are from here. (And so is the container.)
Open it up...

...and the letters are right there in alphabetical order for you to grab and work with your student.

I prefer the magnetic letters, but the letter tiles have a purpose too. We switch back and forth.

There is a part of every lesson where your student must write 10 words that you dictate to him or her. We sometimes do this on paper. We sometimes do it on the white board. The point is...there is very little writing and very little paper used in these spelling lessons. This is all about moving and doing and saying and spelling. Not filling out a worksheet or memorizing a list of words.

Now...if you have looked at the price of this curriculum you might be thinking, "Brenda, are you crazy?" Well, let me tell you two more things because honestly, I thought long and hard before I spent that money.

#1--the lessons are scripted. I don't mean scripted in the "I'm going to poke something sharp in my eye if I have to read this boring stuff" but rather...there is NO prep. None. It is so easy to teach and it is all there for you. I just write on my lesson plans, "Lesson 1" then "Lesson 2." I have never heard my daughter complain when it was time for spelling. I think one reason she enjoys it is because she's going to get to DO things. And, they aren't that long.

#2--they are completely NON-CONSUMABLE. You heard me right mama of 5. You can use Level 1 and all the materials that came with it over and over and over again. Especially if you make a rule about no drinks at the table. There will be nothing to buy for the next child. The only time there is more to buy is if you are going to use the same level with 2 students at once.

Now, I did sign up at one time to be an affiliate for them but I have no idea where that information is and I haven't made one red cent on it. I'm telling you because it's good and it works. I don't have time for affiliates, just like Mr. Incredible.

Now quickly before this crosses the line from "blog post" to "needs to be bound and put on a library shelf." Grammar. I told you I expose my girl to grammar before we start formal instruction. Well here it is:

It's called Drops in the Bucket. This sheet will last one week. I have her do 2 sections a day. Then we check them together. Or do them together. I haven't "taught" any of this beforehand but you can teach it on the run if they have a question.

See? We're covering adjectives and adverbs. I've never even taught that but it's fairly easy to figure out and she's getting exposed to grammar terms and uses each day.

If you made it this far....congratulations. I sure hope this helps someone! If you have any questions, feel free to ask! And...please share what you use.

I'm Not Here

Today I'm over at Suzanne's place The Joyful Chaos. Go read my post about why I don't teach grammar...yet. I'll be back here later today or tomorrow to tell you more about the curriculum choices I've made. Just in case anyone wants to know. :)

Friday, July 9, 2010


We are both on board with the finances together lately and it feels so good. (Just say no to Peaches and Herb. If you have to google that, you are young.) We really want to get the debt paid off. We want to increase our giving to church. We want to be responsible.

But tonight I just really, really wanted to go to a restaurant. I was tired. We had a birthday party from 3-5 this afternoon and so there was not time to cook when we got home. I was kicking myself for not realizing the time of the party because I could have prepared things ahead of time had I noticed. So we all got home within 15 minutes of each other and we were hungry and there was no food. Going out to eat would have been a really bad choice.

I finally drug myself off the couch and ran to buy hot dogs at the grocery store. Maybe not the most nutritious meal, but definitely not $25-30 out of our pocket either. my meal plan will last longer, right?

I'll tell you, getting out of debt (especially when you seem to keep adding to it thanks to a recent surgery) is not exciting. It's challenging and it's every single day.

May I just say that I took my girls to that birthday party today, which was for TWO KIDS AT ONCE, and we spent just over $4.00 on gifts? Thank you. If you'd like to hear how I did that I'll be happy to brag tell you.

So here is my big plan for helping us stretch those dollars so we can climb out of the hole:

1. Homemade cleaners. I already make my own laundry soap thanks to Suzanne and that saves TONS of money. It really does. This week I learned about  Grocery Shrink and if you sign up for her newsletter she sends you recipes for homemade cleaners and they are different from what I have seen online before. I'm trying some soon.

2. Cloth napkins and rags. Angela at Grocery Shrink talked about this and I've considered it many times before. I think I'm just going to do it now. I've sewn cloth napkins but to make it through the week we may need more. No problem. She also mentioned cutting up old t-shirts (they don't ravel) and I think I'll cut up our old towels that are falling apart to make rags for the kitchen, spills, cleaning, etc. The only thing we should need paper towels for is grease, right? I can stop buying paper towels every week. I KNOW it would save money to go cloth in the bathroom too but I draw the line there. Sorry.

3. Not totally related to money, I'm also going to start using glass jars for leftovers and throw away the plastic. I read something that grossed me out and scared me all at the same time. I may go back to washing my hair with baking soda and rinsing with vinegar. (yes, if you clicked on the link above about the laundry soap, my 2009 self was dissing folks who do this--I've crossed over, what can I say?) We did that for a few months and it worked just fine. It will be fewer chemicals AND less money as well. I still draw the line on natural deodorant. Sorry.

4. Be diligent. Raising Homemakers had an article about this and it really struck a chord with me. Quit whining about how you don't FEEL like doing ______. Just get it done. Dirty dishes really do cost money and time. So can dirty clothes. And library books. Disorganization can cost time and money also. Be diligent and take care of things.

5. May I just say that since my daughters have been washing their own clothes (I have pictorial instructions I made for them if anyone wants me to e-mail them to you) there have been fewer and fewer dirty clothes in their hamper? Interesting. I KNOW FOR A FACT that clean clothes were being thrown in there because they didn't want to put them away. I'm not saying it doesn't still happen, but they have figured out that they are only shooting themselves in the foot and have nearly stopped that behavior. More savings!

6. Grocery shopping/menu planning. I will continue this. I do not coupon, but I am getting better and better at the shopping. I've been spending less each week. It's really exciting to outdo yourself at the checkout lane. Is it wrong to yell, "YES!" and do a celebration dance in line? Starting 30 Meals is part of this money saving plan.

7. Stay home. You really do save money by NOT going out. :) My girls don't see things they want. I don't see things I want. Since I stopped shopping at Wal-Mart, my grocery bill has gotten smaller and smaller. I go there for paper goods/toiletries sometimes. I was there recently and was astonished at all the things there were to be had that we had not even thought about wanting simply because we hadn't seen them. Saves gas too.

8. Sweat a little. My grandmother lived in Texas and never had central air. If she can do it, I can live with the thermostat on 80 for heaven's sake. We have fans in almost every room. If we're hot, we change clothes. I keep the curtains and blinds closed until evening. I hate that, but it helps the electrical bill so much. Also, get a clue and get up early to do the hard work like my grandmother did and sit your butt down in the heat of the day and do sit down work then. Duh.

Did I forget something important? What do you do to save money?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Sneaky Peeky

Oh I am SO close to finishing!!!! What a load off my mind ya'll. Since summer started, I have gotten our financial paperwork, etc. in order and switched these 2 rooms which REALLY made me deal with a lot of piles and boxes and STUFF that was everywhere. I would have told you I was doing a good job of ignoring it before, but let me tell you something.....

....I feel free now. I mean, I really, actually, enjoy being home. I like our house so much more now.

So here's a sneak peek into our new homeschool room:

This is the math corner. We've got our little TV/DVD combo there with the Math U See DVDs ready to watch. Also, a calendar and clock (had nowhere else to put it) and a number line. And a stuffed rabbit and frog. Moving on....

Directly across from that corner, we have this. The cubes are mine for my teacher's books, etc. And reference materials are in the bottom but who knows if they'll stay there? And Kleenex. We're very sneezy around here.

Back over by the door we have our class pets. (They were in here when it was a playroom and I'm not moving them) I'm thinking the hermit crabs right as you walk in the door may not be the best thing, nasally speaking. Oh, and extra stuffed animals. Hey, it's a girl house, what can I say? See the stacks in the hallway? We took care of those already.

Now, if i had stood with my little hip jutted out like Nester or Pioneer Woman, perhaps that last picture would not have been blurry. Whenever they photograph mirrors they are all cute in the refection. Maybe it's because I don't have little hips? Anyway, from where I'll be sitting at the table, I'll be looking right into these mirrored doors. No thank you--I hung stuff on 'em. This is only showing one door.

So, what do you think? Yeah, it's still kind of messy. I think I'll be through tomorrow though and not a moment too soon as the children's brains appear to be turning into liquid.

I do have one question. Anyone know of a great caddy or something to put in the middle of the homeschool table for scissors, pencils, etc.?

Later I'll show you the art corner. Right now it's a mess.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I Have a Good Excuse

OK Fine. I tweeted.

I'm only sharing that with you because there are sometimes things I need to know and quickly. Who has a good idea for _________. Has anyone used _______ curriculum? Does this color look funky on the walls? OK, well, maybe you can't help with everything. But Facebook is full of friends from ALL the years of my life and I don't share just everything with them, you know? As in, I don't announce my blog. Very few real life friends know I blog. I like it that way. Same reason why my twitter profile does not have my name.

But YOU? My blog buddies I have never met? :) YOU I share everything with. This twitter feed is for US.

So I tweeted. It didn't hurt at all. If you are inclined to do such things, feel free to follow.

We'll try it out for awhile.

Around Here

Soon, I will be talking about homeschool planning non-stop. Those of you who don't homeschool are so thrilled I'm sure. But summer really is the time of year when I focus on this house, and there is still much to do around here.

First of all, thanks to a commenter (and I cannot find the comment to give credit), I learned about 30 Meals. Oh how I like this idea! They say if you really sit down and think about it, you can most likely come up with 10-15 meals that you regularly make. Then, you just add to it until you have 30. I mean, just LOOK at step 2. How happy that makes me! And the spreadsheet with the ingredients (which husband will have to help me make--I don't know Excel very well), will be very useful. You save money by keeping stocked those things you use for your 30 meals, and by being able to cook out of the pantry at a moment's notice.

I WANT to get this together in July.

Then there is the new homeschool room, which is a lovely shade of blue, but cannot actually be walked in. It's BAD. Must attack.

And of course just the general non-stop other housework that accompanies a family living in a house.

But what my mind is on planning for next year. Will someone please tell my mind that there is no point in planning when there is not a visible floor or table in the homeschool room?

Thank you.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Just Remembering

God changed my heart long before my circumstances changed. I found myself desperately wanting to be at home but I wasn't. I found myself wanting to homeschool, but I wasn't. But this evening I'm reminded of some of the blessings that God poured out on our family during that time.

I had quit work and stayed home one year, babysitting for extra money. We were broke. I had to go back to work at least part time. Being the teacher's aide at a preschool doesn't pay well so I eventually found myself as the part-time secretary at our church. This was a job I had NEVER done before and I was a little lost with the financial part of it, but it was not that stressful. I guess when you work for people you've known all your life, it makes you relax.

Anyway, because of that job, I was able to pull Sweetheart out of her public school (where she was floundering) and enroll her in the private Christian school in our church. ALL OF US....Little Bit, Sweetheart, and I drove to the same building each day. This was really something new! Little Bit went to 4 hours of daycare down the hall, Sweetheart went to 1st grade down the other hall, and I was right there in my office.

Why was this so significant? Well, the two reasons I had been praying so hard about getting home was 1. I wanted to physically take care of, and raise, my children and 2. I wanted to be the one in charge of their education.

So it hit me tonight that both of those prayers began to be answered before I was even home. There was the day that Sweetheart had an accident at school and the teacher just came to get me. Off she and I went home to change and back to school. No big deal. There was also the day one of the lunch ladies called my office from the kitchen,

"Have you seen the bite on your daughter's leg?I told her I had and that we had put medicine on it that morning.
"Yeah, that's what she said. wanna come down here and look at it?"

It turned out the bite was infected and she had a bump on her leg the size of a walnut. I took her right on to the doctor and it was taken care of. Had I been working across town and she in a public school you think that scene would have played out the same?

God had let me be *more* involved with the physical care of my children!

And obviously, since I was just there in the building, I was also more involved in her academic life. Conferences with the teacher? We ran into each other in the hallway all the time! (Also good for sneaking hugs in from my daughter!) I could walk down there anytime and peek in or chat with the teachers to find out how she was doing. It was still frustrating to watch her get bad scores on tests that I would never have bothered giving her....but still. God had allowed me to be more involved with her education.

After 18 months at that job (the end of Sweetheart's 1st grade year) I found myself home. It's like it was a "bridge year" for us.

God is so good. If you are unhappy with your situation right now, PRAY. And look for His answers in ways you don't expect. I never realized until this evening that He was answering my prayers long before I thought He was.

Monday, July 5, 2010

New Month....New Focus

Happens every year. I spend June working on the house and July is all about the getting ready for the new school year. I have no idea when I plan on starting. I can't even think that far as the room is still covered in boxes and junk.

First, how about we find a place for everyone to walk?

But I can feel my brain gearing up for the planning. In June I accomplished a few things:

1. I attacked our desk/place we stack lots of paper. I filed away old paperwork to put in the attic. Guess what? I hadn't done that since we moved to this house. I created a place to pay bills. Now husband just wants me to clean out a filing cabinet and I'll be done out there.

2. I switched the homeschool room and playroom and got the playroom all set up and cute.

3. I painted the new homeschool room and hung the curtains and put the furniture in place.

Uh....that's about all I can think of. But that was a LOT!

Now, to start thinking about what to do with a 1st grader and a 5th grader. What do you have going on in July?