Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I have a few things I am really happy about. That's a good way to start the day, huh?

  • I have lost 20 pounds this year. TWENTY! I cannot tell you it was through hard work either. I have not been working out. I have been eating differently and obviously, it has made a difference. I am just so happy every time I look in the mirror. The funny thing is, I'm BACK TO the weight I once lamented over and worried about how big I was getting. Oh well, it feels good to be back. I wore a skirt on Saturday that I haven't fit into in at least 3 years. I am 10 pounds from my goal now. It actually seems possible.
  • And by the way, I still wear the same size really. How is that possible? Sure, things are baggier but still. Wouldn't you think 20 pounds would mean at least dropping one size? Oh well. The next 10 will do it. Surely.
  • Happiness is spraying yourself in the face with the water hose!
  • The house has been staying nicer. We've all been helping to get that done, but really I feel great about how the main part of the house has looked. And the girls' room, ever since S has been inspecting at night, has been more than acceptable. That just makes me so happy. Come to think of it, our room has been much improved too. A clean, picked-up house will make anyone feel happier and less stressed. (Let's not discuss the sewing room or laundry room OK?)
  • Happiness is going to a good friend's birthday party!
    Happiness is getting a new fish!
  • S is taking vacation tomorrow and we are going to tackle the garage. Yes, we really know how to party. We've been wanting to get my car parked in the garage and since the neighbor's car was broken into the other night, we really want to get that done. We discussed renting a storage facility to store S's lawn trailer (his side business) but I really feel that if we can't fit into a 3 bedroom, 2 car garage house....SOMETHING IS WRONG. Just look at this and tell me we can't do it.
  • I am also happy with my plan to set up the sewing machine in the homeschool room. It will be SO NICE to have a place to do my Christmas present sewing and NOT have to set up and break down four hundred times.
  • Happiness is pretending to be a vet!
  • And most of all, I am happy to be home. I am constantly amazed and thankful that I am here. I wish I could go back in time and quit my job about 5 years sooner than I did. Or maybe...what if I had never worked at all but had been a housewife from the start? I can't go back, but I am thankful to be where I belong now. I maybe might possibly be getting my groove around here.
And that makes me really, really happy.

What are you happy about today? It doesn't have to be deep. Found a bag of chocolate chips in the pantry? You can see the laundry room floor peeking through the piles? Celebrating "no one is sick" day? Loving your Christmas decorations? Husband has been working late but got you a chocolate shake on his way home? 

What's making you happy today?

Monday, November 29, 2010

What I Accomplished and the Importance of Good Buttonholes

First of all, over the holiday weekend, I turned this:

into this:

It might as well be a mile high.

Now I just have to work my magic and turn that (see above) into 2 quilts.

Concerning Christmas parties. I always go straight to Dress Barn for my outfits. They have never let me down. One year when Little Bit was really little, I had a great pair of black pants that made me look and feel thin. My entire goal that year was to find a shirt beautiful enough to go to a Christmas party in that matched those pants.

Here is what I found. Isn't it lovely?

The bad news about that shirt is that I was seated next to Mike D. all evening. He works with S. He was sitting on the unfortunate (depending on how you look at it I suppose) side of me all evening. It would have been better if S had been on that side because not once, not twice, not even 3 times, but AT LEAST 5 times that evening I would look down and 3-5 of my buttons would be popped open.

I am sorry to say I was not wearing a fancy bra either.

And also, it's difficult to discreetly AND QUICKLY button that many buttons at a dinner table.

Dear me.

You have never seen a shirt be disposed of so quickly upon my arrival home.

Needless to say I am not looking to get that intimate again with my husband's co-workers. Dress Barn, don't fail me this year!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Best

S and I decided to not go out of town for Thanksgiving. We had our first-ever just us family Thanksgiving. It was so nice!! I cooked the entire Thanksgiving meal and I felt no stress. I usually wig out when we have something big like that but no one was coming over...it was just us. No problem. The next day we got our Christmas decorations out and I let the girls decide where most of it went. I was so laid back!

It was just the nicest weekend ever. S was home the whole time and we just had a nice time being home and not running everywhere.

I'm sort of stunned I have to get up in the morning and make a lunch and teach school and do housework type things. 

But, it's only for 2 weeks and then we get another break. I know I should be terribly concerned about Christmas presents but we don't really have the money to shop right now, so why worry? The girls both want dollhouse furniture this year, which does not excite me to purchase, but it's what they want. Other people? I have no idea.

Hey, it's still November, OK? Lay off.

Oh! I did accomplish one important thing this weekend, but sharing that with you requires me to put down the laptop, walk across the room and turn on the other computer, find the camera and cord, upload the pictures I took this weekend, edit them really quickly if needed, and insert them in this blog post.

I think we can all see why THAT'S not going to happen!

But I'll share them with you in the morning. How's that?

Also, in case you aren't full enough of trivia from my so-called life, I typed up our December calendar and it's really full. Already. I am frowning about that, by the way. THREE different times in the next week or so I am signed up to bring stupid food to a stupid event at church. I am way over signing up for things. I am way over cooking food for things.

And, while I've got you all here and I'm on a complaining roll, S and I both have to purchase something suitable to wear to his work Christmas party. This is never a fun thing for me. I always think I'll just run into Dress Barn and walk out victorious.

Incidentally, I have a story about that. I'll share that in the morning too.

See? Now doesn't waking up tomorrow seem a whole lot brighter with all that to look forward to?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I Can Be Thankful Even Without My Notebook

I have lost my spiral people. That is really bad news. Thankfully, it was a newish spiral so it ONLY had 2 important things in it, instead of lists and lists and other important stuff like my spiral notebooks collect over time.

Let's see, I only lost our menu plan for the week and our Thanksgiving menu.

I certainly hope I can remember what I was going to cook!!

I am so excited. This will be our first ever Thanksgiving at home with just our little family. The girls are going to put on a short Thanksgiving play. I have to finish up the felt turkey. Hee Hee. It's going to be cute. We have our beautiful centerpiece that I wrote about yesterday. We have food in the kitchen. S will be off work. I have MUCH to be thankful for.

On Saturday we are going to take the girls to see Madeline's Christmas at a local children's theater. It's a surprise. I can't wait.

Hope you all have a great holiday!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why Should I Think of Everything?

What do people who don't read blogs do??? WHERE would you possibly get ideas from? Earlier this week Connie at Smockity Frocks posted about their centerpieces. So cute! We had a couple of pumpkins still sitting around from October so I decided to do it.

Along with our everyday table cloth and Thanksgiving place mats from the dollar store!
We spent $3 on scrapbook paper and we had some left over. One large sheet was enough, but I wasn't sure. I already had Mod Podge in Gloss-Lustre, which is apparently different than "Gloss" because the Smockity bunch's pumpkins appear to be shinier. Oh well. It's what I had.
Stems look nicer. The girls picked out such pretty paper too!

Also, I think pumpkins with stems look nicer than pumpkins who have no stems or not enough stem. These pumpkins were given to us, but next year I might keep my eyes open for good ones for this project.

Honestly, this whole thing took way less than 1/2 an hour. It was so easy and quick. I went ahead and wrapped the two tiny pumpkins we had also. I set them all on candle holders that were in my china cabinet and I hardly ever use.

The centerpiece needed something else so we went on a walk to the end of our block and picked up some pine cones. I dabbed gold paint on the edges of them and now it's beautiful!

Our golden FREE pinecones and Little Bit's pumpkin.

Much better than our every day "centerpiece" which includes salt, pepper, sugar, and medicine. I think a lot of things say "Thanksgiving" better than diabetes and allergy pills, don't you?

 I'm glad I decided to do this project with the girls even though our pumpkins were getting squishy. I took a gamble and decided they COULD make it 3 more days before exploding into a pile of goo on the table. I'm hoping the Mod Podge will hold all that in until after Thanksgiving dinner!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Week of No

I keep a calendar of the current month on our fridge. I looked over it this morning when I got up and I liked what I saw!

No piano lesson.
No small group on Wednesday night.
No karate class.
No school (later in the week).
No work for S (later in the week).

Ah, I like an empty calendar every now and then! Not that I have nothing to do...but nowhere to BE. That's enough for me.

Actually, we had the youth group over Saturday night for about 15 minutes. They were having a progressive dinner and we were hosting the salad portion of that evening. It took a lot of work getting the house clean and the groceries purchased and the food prepared and the kitchen set up for self-service and everything just so.

And 21 of them descended into our little house like a swarm of locusts and in 15 minutes they were gone. We weren't sure what had happened when they left. I've never seen anything like it. But the happy result is our house is clean.

We do have 3 days of school planned but that's OK since we JUST had a week off recently, right? :) Actually we don't have all the subjects planned for this week to make room for some Thanksgiving activities. School should be a breeze this week. 

You might be glad to know the girls now have curtains in their room. Well, they will be hung up hopefully today. All it took was Little Bit, whose loft is by the window, to tell me she's been cold at night because of the window. She and I drove straight to Big Lots, chose plain white tab top curtain panels, and I sewed ribbon on them to fancy them up. Someone gave me a bunch of ribbon last week. There wasn't enough of any one kind so we just used 4 different kinds. There. No more sheet. And no more cold.

Looking forward to spending lots of time relaxing with my family this week!
Now I must go print pictures of Henry VIII's wives for History. Here's hoping you have an easy week with lots of "no's" on your calendar and lots of time for family.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bug Day

Today we met up with some friends for some science activities. We are both using the book "Flying Creatures of the 5th Day" from Apologia Elementary Science this year. We've been studying butterflies for several weeks now and going we so we wanted to wrap things up with some fun. It's so nice having another family to do things with!

*Huh? Did you just read that sentence up there? This is what happens when you start a post in the morning BEFORE the event happens and then the pictures won't upload in time so you save it and go to your event and when you get home you have to change everything to past tense cause you already did the event, of course. Just wanted to explain that but the sentence is so bad it's funny so I'm leaving it. Back to the post...

Several weeks ago we took an Insect class at the museum together. Several other families from our homeschool group joined us.

The class getting ready to make a butterfly craft.
And no, the instructor did not give directions to put the
coffee filter on your head. Hmm....

Some sweet little volunteers gave us another lesson and a tour.
These glasses made things look like insects see them.
Little Bit with a different pair on.
 Today we made moths becuase all the butterfly craft projects were starting to look the same. No one ever makes the poor moth. After we were finished, the girls all agreed that even though moths are "drab", they are still beautiful.

Of course, being homeschool moms, we peppered them the whole time with questions.
"What's it called when the pattern is the same on both sides?"
"Every one's moths look different. What do we call that? It starts with a "u"."
"Do you remember why moths are drab colors?"

I mean, this was school today!

Then we made insect snacks.
Laughing with us about how she made the legs and feet on her butterfly.

See who is choosing the absolute smallest vegetables she can?
After all our fun at the table, we watched a "Magic School Bus" movie about insects from the library.

Fun Friday school is the best!

And now we will be moving on to studying birds. If you'll excuse me, I think the girls are shutting each other in the closet and I think I should go investigate that.

What do we call it when children are bored and need more chores???

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Eating at the Table Just Turned Into Luxury

Once the Christmas crafting begins around here, our table is covered in mess for the better part of a month. Even when I manage to clean it off before supper, it just goes into the corner of the dining room floor. FESTIVE!

I've been working on quilts for the girls' beds for months now. Well, for several days out of the last few months anyway. I'm still cutting the fabric. Once I get that done it will go quickly, but the cutting part is getting really, really old. I am over it. And there is MUCH fabric left.

I like to give handmade gifts so I have been scouring the internet this week looking for ideas. I have found a few good ones and even some that Sweetheart can help with. Last year the girls made sachets for every lady in the family. I haven't found something that both the girls can be involved with yet. Still looking.

To top it off, we are considering not going to see my family for Thanksgiving, but instead celebrating here at our home. That would be a first! We've never done Thanksgiving with just our little family except the first year we were married and I flew out to California to meet S and stay in the Navy Lodge. I loved that Thanksgiving. But that introduces more crafts and things that need to be done for Thanksgiving!!

I'm thinking I might need to dust off the TV trays.

OOOH! I just had a better idea!! We have this small folding table we bought for camping. I can set that up in the dining room and stack stuff there and we can eat on our table. Of course I'll move that for Thanksgiving. That would not be lovely.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I am Not Over Protective

Many friends of mine with boys went on a boy scout camp out this weekend. They had a lot of fun. The boy scouts seem to be doing things right.

When Sweetheart was a Girl Scout, for one year, parents were not allowed on the camp out. I seriously disagreed with this. My child was in 2nd grade. I wasn't sending her over an hour away from home with people I barely knew to sleep in a cabin with NO ADULTS in it with 20-30 other girls in 30 degree weather. Sorry.

I ended up becoming a leader that year just so I could go on the camp out. Then we quit.

I am afraid that some folks think I am overprotective. But what I think is.....some people are under protective.

Why are people so eager to send their kids away? Why is it OK with them that one of the "main things" Girl Scouts teach is for the girls to be independent from their parents? Why do the parents and families of Boy Scouts all go on the camp out and have a marvelous time? I'll tell you what I think: feminism.

But I really started doubting myself when we heard of American Heritage Girls. It's like a Christian Girl Scouts and I was so excited when I first heard about them. Then I found out that girls Sweetheart's age go on 4 or 5 camp outs per year. Most of those without the families. But Brenda, these are Christian homeschooling moms leading the troops. That's surely OK, right?

Well, not if family is as important to you as it is to me. The more time children spend with peers and the less time with family...the more out of whack things get. I don't want peers to be more important than sisters or parents. I'm not opposed to my children doing things, I just want to do them together. I like to see several Christian families all going camping together. Letting the kids go play...but all right there with their families.

Does any of this make sense?

I'll tell you one more "Brenda is so overprotective" story. A friend I used to teach with and I had Sweetheart and her daughter 5 months apart. When the girls were less than one year old, but both able to sit up in highchairs, S and I met she and her husband at a restaurant. They plopped their daughter down in the restaurant high chair. No seat belt. No buckle. (And yes, she did almost fall out.) They let her drink coke all through the meal. My friend's husband turned and started to offer some of his coke to Sweetheart and I kind of laughed and put my hand in front of her face. "No thank you!" I said jokingly but seriously at the same time. My friend elbowed her husband and whispered, "I told you! That's just how they are." I know they thought we were crazy. We buckled our child in the high chair. We gave her apple juice and cheerios. But what I thought was they were very under protective.

I suppose some of it boils down to differences in parenting styles. But for me, I take very seriously the fact that these children were given to us by God and WE are their protectors. WE are their trainers. WE will answer for how they are raised. I'm not comfortable shipping them off to others all the time to fulfill those duties for us.

I don't care if you want to give your baby coke. That's your choice. But I do care when parents are expected to forfeit their parental authority at younger and younger ages so that children can be independent. That's our ultimate parenting goal I suppose, but it's a long range goal...not one to start when the kids are still toddlers. (Think: parental preschool pressure--He needs to play with friends. You need a break. It would be so good for her. She needs to learn to be around other people besides you.)

And on a side note. I'm all about my kids being "independent" with me there. What I mean is, they do hard things. They learn a lot of jobs. They go play for hours outside without me. I encourage them to try new things. I'm just talking about  them doing those things with us nearby. Not completely independent of their parents.

So what about you? Do others consider you over or under protective?  How do you see yourself?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

From Where I Sit

The books are straightened. The pencils are found and sharpened. The crayons are picked up from the floor. The rug is vacuumed. The white board has been cleaned. The lessons have been planned.

The order has been restored.

We also changed seats in our homeschool room. I didn't want to rearrange, but changing seats is a nice...change. Now, I will be sitting across from Sweetheart and still beside Little Bit. That SHOULD work as Sweetheart is in 5th grade, but we'll see.

I made a word wall also and it's lovely. Now Little Bit can find her sight words better and hopefully learn them easier. And in my new seat, I can utilize my awesome organizational thingy that Sister gave me over the summer to keep my teacher's books in. Heavenly. Perhaps I won't constantly have a stack a mile tall under my elbow?

See my cool see-through organizational thingy?
Anyway, we only have 1 1/2 weeks until Thanksgiving break. I think I can do that.

On another note, Little Bit celebrated her 7th birthday this weekend. I cannot believe my baby is 7! I haven't even uploaded the pictures yet as I need batteries for the camera. I was stealing batteries from remotes during the party so I would have enough battery juice to make it through the party. Anyone been there?

This year was MUCH better as last year for her birthday she got the flu. And this was the first "friend party" Little Bit has ever had. I couldnt' sleep Saturday night for thinking back over the day and being so happy about how it all went. It was a good, good day.

But her tics! Oh dear. They have been really, really bad today. She pretty much spent the better part of the afternoon complaining about them.

"I'm frust-er-ated."
"I hate my tics."
"Make them go away!"
"I have tics right now, but I'm not doing them."

That last one, I think, is her attempt to control the Tourette's. I don't really think self-control will make all the difference, but she seems determined to beat them. Anyway, it's been a frustrating day on that point. It's very trying for her sister as well, who tries to be patient while she is patted on the head, or her head, nose, and lips are touched in order, or her wrist gets squeezed. Tics ON someone else are harder to deal with. How much do I ask Sweetheart to endure? And yet? She needs to be patient about it because Little Bit really can't help it.

Tomorrow is a clean, shiny new day. I'm hoping everything will be in better order then.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Taking Back the Reins

I like hashing out parenting problems with my husband. Last night I had one for him. I'm mainly the one who deals with the problems all day, but he has a different perspective that I like to hear. Plus, he backs me up.

One of our children, who shall remain nameless, is not taking to responsibility as I would like her to. I thought she was getting old enough to tell her, "don't forget, you have to practice piano before Daddy gets home" and then let her decide when to do it.

The problem is, she will never do it. I know every child is different and there are probably 4 year old who can do that and 17 year olds who cannot. We decided in talking last night that she simply is not there and still needs to be told: "you will practice piano at 4:00." I think, even though she would not admit to this, that she will prefer operating like that.

I have also realized I need to step up the responsibility expectations. In part, because of this video:

OK, I'm only slightly kidding about that. But really, husband had one complaint/concern and that was that the girls seem only interested in playing all the time. They jump up from supper and run off to play. I told him that we do chores before he gets home, but all he sees is the playing. So, I need to get better about involving them in more things like having them help me cook and also clean up the kitchen afterward. It would be best for them and for me--I just really hadn't thought much about it. Honestly it's kind of nice having them GO play away from me and I can just clean up in peace.

But harder is better sometimes.

Also, he is going to start inspecting their bedrooms before bedtime in the evenings. This is a HUGE help to me as I don't have to be the one always dealing with that. They will fully know the expectations of keeping their rooms picked up.

I'm spending today following around after them making them put every single thing up when they are done. We have some bad habits to break around here.


Go visit my other blog and see what I got rid of in my kitchen this week!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Where You Learn Matters

When you walk into a room and forget what you were there for, what do you do?

I've been taught to "go back to where you were when you thought of it." Have you? It really does work. Sometimes you'll even remember on your way back to where you were. Other times you have to walk all the way back to where you were when you had the thought and then BOOM it comes to you.

It's really strange how the mind works.

I had a professor in college who ran a review packet for us before each test. The review packet was always on yellow paper based on the research that yellow helps you remember. (Legal pads anyone?) The test was always on blue paper based on the research that blue calms you down, thereby eliminating test jitters.

It's really strange how the mind works.

When Sweetheart was struggling through public school 1st grade, I had to work with her A LOT in the evenings. We studied for the required spelling test each week. Each week she failed. I started wondering, how can she KNOW the words at home sitting at the dining room table with me....and then NOT know them in her classroom on the day of the test?

So I set out to prove to her that she knew the words no matter where she was. That she did not have to be sitting at the dining room table to get her spelling words right. I studied on my bed with her, in the kitchen, while she took a bath, in the car, and even in the hallway of our home. I don't remember how she did on that test, but I wanted her brain to be able to retrieve the information no matter where she was.

I also used color coding with her. I had a very strange friend/acquaintance in college named Rick who I have not thought about in years. We used to end up in a group of people who would go down to the cafeteria and study and eat late at night. Rick had this elaborate system of marking his notes that required 5 highlighters. I would study with him, learning the correct color to use on what type of information. It all seemed very complicated. He told me it would work.

The next day I took my exam. I got to a fact I could not recall. So, I did what Rick said and closed my eyes and pictured the information on the study sheet. I'm telling you, not only could I recall WHERE on the sheet the information was, but the colors came leaping out to me as well. And I remembered.

The brain is SO interesting.

Colors matter. Location matters.

How does all this play into homeschool? Well, I think one thing we have going for us is the location thing. We study all over. We learn all over. We are not confined to one spot. BUT, having said all that, 80-90% of our school work does take place at our table. Sometimes we move to the couch. They both use the computer in the living room. We do use the floor when needed. And of course we learn other places as well.

But this is why it's so powerful to read a history lesson at the table....and then watch a movie about it on the couch...and then find a book about it at the library...and then go on a field trip. Of course that is not always possible.

I think about how my daughter's eyes lit up last week when we went outside so Little Bit could practice writing her numbers in chalk on the driveway. Of course, Sweetheart wanted to come too. Later I thought, why couldn't she practice her multiplication facts on the sidewalk?

Every now and then I really rock in this area. I need to get better. When Sweetheart was learning her letter sounds in Kindergarten, I wrote letters on our ceramic tiles in our kitchen. (This was at the old house) I called out a sound or a word and she had to jump on the tile that had the correct letter. She loved it.

So, I write the answers to the 8s on the driveway, and she jumps on the right answer! Isn't that better than computer practice every day? I really need to think on this.

Trying to float our Viking ships in the bathroom sink.

We went mining for coal during a Five in a Row book. We mined
in the only dark room in the house---the bathroom. Again!

I am good about this...sometimes just letting them get up and work on the
white board is better than sitting at the table.

Another FIAR Kindergarten moment...floating Ping down the Yangtzee River
with a friend.

Sweetheart working in the kitchen floor a few years ago.

Making mummies in the living room floor--the day before we evacuated
for Hurricane Ike.

Making quilt toast in the kitchen.

Sometimes, when you've worked at the table too long, you should just get ON the table!
I used to be better at this. I don't feel like I've done enough "get up and go" stuff around the house this year. How can we get our kids up and in different locations around our home and still purposefully learning? What do you do at the table now that you COULD do somewhere else? Help me think here...

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Sun is Up!

Ah, we are off of daylight saving time!! I really do like daylight saving time in the summer when we have more time to enjoy the outdoors, but it goes on a little long these days. They just keep stretching it. I really like when we get back on "God's time" as a friend of mine calls it, because now when it's time to get up, the sun is actually shining! It's much easier to wake up when there is sunshine.

I probably should have waited to write this post later in the day when I had actually done something worth talking about, but whatever. I made a lunch and breakfast for S. I checked my e-mail. I'm all about early morning success.

I have big plans for housework today. I will not be putting on nice clothing. I will be putting my hair up in a big 'ol ponytail. It's a work day. It was 40 degrees when I woke up this morning so we have actually turned off our ceiling fans. (We have one in nearly every room.) Now that they have stopped spinning for the first time in 8 or 9 months, it is not pretty. They are COVERED in dust. Good grief! Who puts white ceiling fans up?

So, I am starting at the top with my cleaning. No where to go but down from there.

HA!!! I am so witty even this early!

So, if anyone needs me, I'll be folding laundry, straightening up kitchen cabinets, cleaning out the fridge, assigning chores, and ignoring the big mess in the homeschool room.

I have to save something to look forward to later in the week!

Also, I have to figure out how to turn our patio into "Tinker's Nook" before Saturday. (That's where Tinkerbell lives and works if you don't have little girls.) For Little Bit's party the kids will be building birdhouses on our back porch. It cannot look like it does now, which is a place where you can find a hay bale, old lawn chairs, an assortment of shoes and rain boots, and bikes.

I think I might need a miracle.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Some Reasons Why It's Good to Take a Week Off

Next week is our week off on our "Sabbath schedule" that we are using for school this year. (6 weeks on, one week of rest) This is our second week off since we started the school year and I have found many good reasons to take this time off:

1. We have lost all the pencils by now. Last time I gathered up pencils from all over the house during our week off--most of them from the girls' bedroom. Then I sharpened them all and had them ready to go for the next 6 weeks.

It's that time again. The pencils have all gone missing.

2. The house needs to be reigned in. Yes, I clean every day and we've gotten the house good and cleaned up for company several times in the last 6 weeks, but there are SO many jobs that get neglected....and mostly, that I DON'T HAVE TIME TO DO DURING SCHOOL. Like, for example, bag up giveaway items for the truck coming next week. Next week is my time to really dive into housework first thing in the morning instead of after school.

3. Lesson plans. In the past when I only taught Sweetheart, I didn't really make lesson plans. Maybe I was rebelling because I hated making them when I was a teacher? Maybe I wanted to fly by the seat of my pants and enjoy the freedom of homeschooling? Most likely it was because I knew what I wanted to do and really didn't need to write it down for ONE CHILD. But with 2? Yeah....I need lesson plans. Last time I planned out the whole 6 weeks and it was SO loverly to walk in the school room each day knowing what we were going to do. I devoted 2 days to school stuff last time and it was very worth it.

4. Avoiding burn out. The girls are ready for a break. I'm ready for a break. It comes just in time. Actually this week we were ready for a break but we pressed on, knowing we only had one more week to go. These rests really are important.

5. Permission to do frivolous things. I try to take off from all activities the week we are off. If there is a field trip or homeschool event, I try to say, "sorry, we're off of school next week" and not go. That way I have time to sew, work on Christmas presents, plan a birthday party (this time) or whatever seems to be at the bottom of the list under laundry, cooking, bills, and school.

6. Rest. I know I almost missed talking about this one, but there really needs to be time for rest, not just "no school." I don't sleep any later, but I find time to sit down and sew, etc. The girls have lots of time to relax, watch some movies, and play outside.

7. Time to implement changes. I have realized that Little Bit's growing list of sight words taped to the wall is not working. I have them written on index cards and taped to our mirrored closet doors. But, the list is so long that she can't reach the tops ones! So, I decided I need to make a word wall with the cards put up in alphabetical order. I'll have time to do that next week.
Also, their binders we keep work in are a mess and need to be organized. And I need to write descriptors in Little Bit's timeline for Mystery of History. Little things that get overlooked and I get behind on during the regular days...I have time for these on our week off. And so we start back feeling all caught up and clean and shiny.

I am sure I'll think of more later, but suffice it to say: I LOVE our new schedule.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

His Loss is My Loss

I have lost 5 more pounds recently without even trying! I think this diabetes diet thing is really working for me. I think this because I have NOT been exercising.

Anyway, this means I have lost 17 pounds total since January! Imagine what I could do if I exercised!

And just so I don't get too big of a head about it, I have to remember that maybe, just maybe I only now weigh less than my dad. And S is really near my weight too. Sigh.

But still! 17 pounds!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Not to Be Confused With the 1500s

I've tried to come to you earlier, my friends. However, my computer + attempting to upload pictures has equaled frustration lately. I'm back now to try again.

We had our fall costume party on Saturday. The skirts were finished just in the nick of time.

We had a lot of fun activities for the girls, along with Gnat and Moose, my nieces:

First, we looked at pictures of people in the 50s. Some nice ladies at church had loaned us some pictures of themselves in the 50s. It was neat seeing people we actually know and how they used to dress and wear their hair. Then we played with 50s toys like hula hoops, Slinky, Barbie, Legos, and Mr. Potato Head. We showed them some old commercials on You Tube for these toys.

We built Mr. Potato Heads with vintage parts (used to be my oldest sister's)
and real potatoes. Just like children in the 1950s had to.

Paint-by-number was popular beginning in 1950.
Each girl got to do one.

We taught them the bunny hop. It was hilarious.
See the girl in the orange? She's the youngest.
There's a reason her nickname is Moose, people.

Learning the Hand Jive. My mom, oldest sister, and other sister
are laughing along with them.

There is a 50s style Denny's near our house. We
went there for lunch.

It was a good day.

Before this day, the girls didn't have much knowledge about the 1950s. Now, they do. If only I can get Sweetheart to stop referring to it as "the 1500s"....we'll be OK.