Monday, May 31, 2010

The Summer Plans

A few folks have asked me if I'm going to do weekly summer themes like we have a few summers now. Well, this summer I thought we would focus on homemaking skills. Between sister and I, we have 4 daughters who will hopefully one day run homes. There is a lot of learning to do!

That's why I was so excited to see the launch of the new website Raising Homemakers. This site is going to be a wealth of information this summer as I try to figure out what to teach my daughters. Summer is such a great time to work on homemaking skills as there are far less studies and planned activities to get in the way.

Hop over there and see what they've got going on and also sign up for the awesome giveaway! Man I would LOVE to win that!

On a side note, I've had some, um, concerns with my pregnancy this weekend. I won't know anything for sure until I see the doctor this week but please keep our family (especially the girls) in your prayers. Thanks.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Because I'm Done

I'm already thinking of how I'm going to organize the school room next year. Yep. Already. Mostly because right now I want to go in there and completely take it apart. I'm done with this year. (Tomorrow actually is our last day. Did we finish? Well, we came closer than we ever have before. Five more lessons in math and 2 more chapters in Botany. We'll do them in a few weeks.)

I liked the arrangement this year but it is genetically impossible for me to leave the homeschool room arranged the same way two years in a row. Completely impossible.

With the addition of one new little child, something is going to have to change. But not yet. I did some figuring and realized this baby won't be into anything THIS NEXT school year. The next year? Yes. Then we're going to have to re-think all the scissors and markers and papers and books that are so easily accessible for those under 2 feet tall. That's not something I've ever had to worry about since Little Bit was already 3 when we started homeschooling.

Plus, I don't have the space in there to add a shelf of "tot school" type things. Maybe it's possible, but not without some rearranging. My family just loves it when I want to move those giant IKEA shelves. I want them back where I used to have them. Everyone is going to love me. So much.

And of course I feel the pressure to get in there and get going before my belly is bigger than my ambition. Some things are just going to be harder in a few months.

Don't even get me started on the girls' room makeover and how I need to finish that before I have to create some new space for a little one. (WHERE?)

Clearly, I need a summer break. And a whole lot of energy.

Do you pack up the homeschool stuff for summer or leave it out year round? Anyone else purging right now? And one more question....what essentials do you HAVE to have for your homeschool? Could. Not. Live. Without. Kind of things?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's Summer Somewhere

I see people on Facebook who live in other parts of the country who are already out of school.

I want to be done with school.

The thing is, as a teacher (and before that as a student), there was closure. You cleaned out the desk, locker, backpack, etc. You took down the bulletin boards. You boxed up the stuff and shoved everything to one corner.

And you were done.

You could drive away and feel free.

Our homeschool room is A MESS. We will still do some school stuff in the summer. And I just don't feel free. I really really want to pack it up and clean if off and be DONE. Then I think I could feel like summer was here. I guess I will do that on Friday. (Thursday is our last day.)

On another note, my new housework schedule is working out great! I love it!!! Yesterday I worked in the kitchen and dining room. Today was errand day. I don't worry about the other things because I know their day is coming. The girls have been cleaning up the living room each day. (It really IS all their stuff like I thought.) It's great. I think it will really help me keep up. Still, I'm really looking forward to waking up and having the whole day to do what needs to be done. I'm going to give us all a week or two off before I start doing any complicated summer activities. Just let 'em play. Then we'll start being more purposeful with our days.

Thank you to everyone for the congratulations on our great news. I am so excited and cannot wait to see the little heartbeat and be assured that everything is going as it should. I don't really feel pregnant except all the naps I've been taking. I usually hate naps. It is unfathomable to me that I worked up until the day I had the other two. I am very thankful to be home this time and be able to rest when needed. Very thankful indeed.

So....when does your summer start....if you have one?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Back On My Game

Thanks for all the encouraging comments guys! I made a housekeeping plan for the summer and I'm very relieved. Instead of wandering around looking at all the chaos, I knew that today was laundry day. I could relax and just do today's job.

Sweetheart had some input in the schedule and she had some good ideas. Tomorrow I will share it with them and make sure everyone is on the same page. Basically I have a....

  • planning day (menu and school)
  • an errand day (grocery shopping, library, etc.)
  • a kitchen/dining room day (heavy cleaning)
  • a bathroom/bedroom day (again--heavy cleaning)
  • a laundry/clothes day (wash and iron and straighten closets and dressers)
  • a fun day (play with cousins, swim, etc.)
  • and a playroom (girls) homeschool room (me) and sewing day. I teach a sewing class once a week so I figured if I was going to drag all my sewing stuff out for class, that would be the perfect day to work on my own sewing projects as well.
Then there is the every day stuff:

Girls’ jobs

o Morning chores (rooms, beds, personal hygiene)

o Clean up living room (absolutely their job to keep this room clean--EVEN IF they didn't get the thing out. I figure if I can wash their dirty dishes, they can put my shoes away for me sometimes.)

o Straighten front hallway (same as above)

o Pick up floor and put things away when you are through with them

Mom’s jobs

o Cook meals

o Pay bills/keep up with checkbook

o Wash dishes

o Teach school (what little we will do this summer)

o Pick up and put things away when I am through with them

o Help Dad

Whew! What a load off my mind!!! Now I know that each room is getting the attention it so needs. Yes, sure, things will go wrong. I'll need to run an errand when it is NOT errand day. Someone will get sick and laundry day won't be able to wait. I know this. But at least I have a plan.

Again, thanks for all the encouragement!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Taking Back Control

It's night. And I get my best ideas right about now. Lofty plans for the 'morrow. All the ideas for things I will accomplish after dawn.

Kinda like that big bag of papers I used to bring home to grade every night. And never took it out of my car.

For some reason I have just been wandering around my house these last few weeks. I haven't been keeping up with things like I need to and I certainly haven't felt "accomplished" at the end of the day. Ug. I just cannot break out of this fog.

Do you get that? Kind of a housekeeping funk?

Then today, Suzanne posted her new laundry room plan (which was inspired by something I wrote back when I was feeling more useful). And then my friend Jennifer posted pics of her home binder.

And I feel just a little twinge of "let's get back on track-itis" coming on.

Maybe if I go lie down in will pass.

Come on folks--I need some encouragement. Where do you start when you feel overwhelmed with your house?

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Eye-Opening Conference

So I told you that Saturday our youth minister had coordinated a seminar on sexuality in today's culture. Kind of a "here's what our kids are up against" report.

Wow. I am really out of it.

When we sat down, we had several packets to leaf through before things got started. One packet included the lyrics to a few currently popular songs. I was embarrassed just reading them. But I'm glad I did. It made me remember a friend in high school whose mom was upset he was listening to "Jump" by Van Halen. At the time, we all rolled our eyes and laughed and wondered what on earth was wrong with that song. He said she was afraid it was about suicide. We laughed some more.

I'm not laughing about the song lyrics I read on Saturday. They make Van Halen look like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. These links are NOT to the videos but rather to the lyrics if you should like to see what some kids today are listening to. (Caution: do not click these if your children are hanging over your shoulder!) "3" by Britney Spears, "Rude Boy" by Rihanna, "In My Head" by Jason Derulo, and "Bedrock" by Lil' Wayne were the songs given in the packet. I'm sure they are just a sampling.

So the first speaker went over the purpose of sexuality. His answers were: 1. Pleasure (Gen. 2:23, Song of Solomon), 2. Procreation (Gen. 1:28), and 3. An image of Christ and His church (Eph. 5:22-33). Then he started talking about sexuality in technology and media.

One thing I learned on Saturday was how p*rn*graphy has changed. He told the typical story of finding some one's Dad's magazines at a sleepover. Yep. That's true for me except it was some one's older brother's magazines. Well, it ain't like that anymore. P*rn falls into three categories today: er*tica (which would be the old-school magazines), hardc*ore, and sm*t (r*pe, death, besti*lity, and children). It's WAY more depraved and WAY more accessible. They gave a lot of statistics and basically nearly every school-aged child has encountered p*rn on the internet in one way or another.

He went on to discuss how music (see above), movies, the internet, and "s*xting" (sending stuff via texting) has affected our culture's and our children's view of sexuality. Everyone had stories of stuff sent to their teens on their cell phones, solicitations made while playing X-Box, and just the hundreds of ways our children are encountering an ungodly view of it all. Boy is it out there and it is rampant and it is depraved.

A middle school counselor was the next speaker and he talked about several things. One thing that really struck me was the report that a female coach (PE teacher) at his school doesn't let the girls shower after class because she's afraid of what would go on in the showers. Seems h*m*sexuality is very common and kind of popular among the girls.

And that is where I wrote on my notes NOTE: CONTINUE HOMESCHOOLING.

I'm not saying I can protect my children from everything because clearly, it's everywhere. But I can say I will not knowingly put them in a situation to be affected in that way. But our children, yes even our dear sweet innocent homeschooled kids, need to be prepared to deal with what is out there. I believe that begins by knowing exactly what God's Word has to say about it all as well as being told what to do when they encounter it in their real life....which they will.

Any thoughts?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

This Would Be Great to Live Blog

Today I'm going to a seminar at our church. The topic is "Examining Sexuality in American Culture." It's aimed at parents of teens--or any age children for that matter. I'm really excited to go hear what they have to say. I also really hope lots of parents of our teens at church choose to attend.

If we had a reliable laptop that didn't like to overheat every 25 minutes, I would totally live blog from the seminar and keep you guys updated on what they have to say. Guess I'll just have to take notes the old fashioned way and share with you later.

I'm very high tech.

Friday, May 14, 2010

I Used to Go Out on Friday Nights

So, I got my hair done today. It hadn't been cut for about 6 months and I was really needing something done. My hair was choking me in my sleep. My hair lady cut 4 inches off and I was just going to tell her to stop there because I really don't mind leaving the salon with my hair wet. After all, I was just going to the grocery store.

But she put some gel in it and started blow drying. And you's kind of nice to have someone do your hair. So I sat. Then she got the curling iron out and curled all my hair. Then she sprayed hair spray on it.  I don't think I've had hair spray on my hair in 5 or 6 years. Maybe longer. Probably longer.

Then I went to HEB with my very big, fat, Miss Texas pageant hair. And my no make up and flip flops. They were my really cute flip flops though so it's OK.

I had a short-lived stress attack about 5:00 when I realized I hadn't started supper and didn't have a single pan I needed clean in which to cook. S called and said, "let's go out." I love that man.

But on the way out of the restaurant we got rained on. A lot. And when we got home and I looked in the mirror, I remembered how gross rain + hairspray is. S just looked at my hair and suggested I take a shower.

So now I'm sitting here with my clean, soft, flat hair in a pony tail. The girls are asleep in the living room floor because they don't "do" thunderstorms very well. The dishes are still dirty too.

Just thought I'd share my Friday night with ya'll.

I wouldn't trade it for all the hairspray in the world.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Casually Feminine: The End

I'll start right off by telling you that I've written a lot about women's fashion on this blog. I've researched and read and thought and studied and prayed. And where I sometimes wish we would go back to being a country where women wear modest skirts and dresses....I dont' see that happening in the near future. Or the far future for that matter. I pretty much think that ship has sailed. Understanding how we got where we are was very eye-opening though, and I'm glad I studied it.

So even though we live in a society where women wear the pants just as much as men (but still do have the option of wearing dresses and skirts), that is no reason, in my opinion, to dress like a man. There must be something distinctly feminine in our culture about the pants we wear (if we choose to wear them).

Enter: the capri pant. My favorite. Distinctly feminine. Men do not wear capri pants. A cute top, cute sandals...and you have, in my opinion, a feminine look.
I'm a really big fan of the pants that either roll up or down. Perfect year round here in Texas.

And while these aren't exactly my style, I think print is a way to keep a distinctly feminine look.

I just flat out love capri pants.

BUT, there is one downside. There are times (zoo, parks, lots of walking) when you will need to wear tennis shoes with your capri pants and THAT is not the best look in the whole world. Although I have done it. (shame) Enter: the athletic capri pant.

I have some of these in navy blue with "athletic looking" white stripes down the side. Very deceiving. But they look pretty good with tennis shoes and that's what matters. And they are much better than sweats, in my opinion. And may I just say that my husband also likes capri pants on me, but much prefers khakis to denim. So, OK. I found some really cute ones at Target but I don't see them on the website now.

When I'm not wearing capri pants, I prefer two things. One, I have a great denim skirt that was a hand-me-down. I have no picture but it's knee length and wonderful. Then I prefer really long flow-y skirts. I love to buy them from the beach. They have good ones down there.

Here is my final thought. Casually femininity CAN be done. And it cannot be divorced from modesty. There are things, I have learned through this series, that should NOT be casual about us. Our clothing can be....but should still be feminine. Not just sloppy. Our speech and actions should NOT be casual. I will remember this series for a long time every time I buy clothes or get dressed. Thank you to all who participated!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Casually Feminine--Wrapping Up

This Wednesday we will conclude our Casually Feminine series. The topic this week is two-fold.

First of all, we will be covering bottoms. (hahahaha) What you wear from the waist down.

Secondly, I'd like any final thoughts you have on being casually feminine.

Hope you can join us!

Almost a Week!

I very rarely go that long without blogging. I have a great excuse, but that's a post for another day.

What we've been up to, is trying really hard to do nothing. The homeschool group's activities are winding down and we've had a lot of places to go and be these last 2 weeks. This week? I have next to nothing on the calendar. Pure bliss. Today, specifically, has nothing written on it. That's a nice thing for a Monday.

Sweetheart is down to just 2 subjects to finish up fourth grade. Little Bit could do a lot of things but I'm just doing 1 or 2 things with her each day as well. Next week I'm helping administer a standardized test for our homeschool group so precious little else will happen that week.

And with all this shedding of "normal" scheduling, I'm turning my attention to the same place it turns every June--my house. Including the oft-neglected regions of the homeschool room, laundry room, sewing room, and my bedroom. The rest we keep up with pretty well during the year. I always feel a need to accomplish great things during the first part of the summer. Anyone else get that? It's like a spring-cleaning, end-of-school, gotta-get-things-done-before-next-year FIT.

I've already started making lists.

And doing laundry.

Hey, give me a break. It's not June YET, OK?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Casually Feminine: Shirts, Tops, and Blouses

You should not listen to anything I have to say. I just saw pictures my mom took around Easter and I looked so humongously fat in every single one. I thought I had on good, flattering shirts, but apparently I was sadly, sorely mistaken.

That's it. I'm sticking with black every single day of the week. I tried color and it was not good.

For those of you who look better in shirts than I do, you should try layering. Oh I love layers. I don't have nearly enough layering stuff. Here are some great under layers. They help with everything. Cleavage? Covered. Shirt ride-up? Taken care of. Rolls of fat? Held in place. I'm telling you, layering is the way to go.

I don't think I have worn a button up shirt since I had children. Buttons always seem to tug and gape. There was an unfortunate incident with a pretty shirt from Dress Barn and S's Christmas work party and the guy on my left but we won't go into that.

Which reminds me.....get good bras!!! I'm preaching to myself here too. I did go get new ones last year and used Oprah's bra sizing guidelines. It's time to go again though. I would love to have a professional fitting. Well, let me re-phrase that. I would love to have a professionally fitted bra and look all slimmer and younger. I am slightly horrified at the thought of the fitting though.

Two more things come to mind and I feel like such a hypocrite even sharing this stuff. It just goes to show I KNOW what should be done, but fail miserably when I do it. I really need Stacy and Clinton to come running in the store and slap stuff out of my hand. Or some of you girlfriends to come shopping with me.

OK the first thing is: find out what colors look good on you. Secondly, get a neckline that flatters you.

I think shirts are where modestly falls all to pieces for some ladies. A full length mirror is important. I don't wear sleeveless shirts, but it's important to check if the person beside you can see all the way through your armhole or not. Then there's cleavage.....transparent fabric....too short shirts...the list goes on and on.

And most of all, forbid photographs being taken around you when you are wearing a bright turquoise shirt.

OK, your turn. Teach me the right way ladies!

This Ain't No Magazine Shoot

I've been meaning to post pictures of the girls' room makeover for several days now but the room wasn't, you know, perfect. Or even really tidy. So I was waiting. And then I thought forget it. It's "in progress." I'll keep it real for you, ok?

We got the used loft bed on Friday and S put that and the new loft bed (for Little Bit because it's only fair that Ramona get something new) together Saturday morning.

Here is the underneath of Little Bit's loft. We threw some $1 carpet squares under there that had been in the playroom, her bookshelf to hold her favorite things, and her Tinkerbell chair. It will look better later and I also plan to put a curtain on this area for privacy/beauty.
And here is a lamp I found at Hobby Lobby for 50% off. Sweetheart already has a hot pink one which also matches this room. The shade is light pink, despite it's purple appearance in this picture.

Here is Little Bit's dresser. In this picture, I would like you to see the basket on the dresser. I bought these to hold all of their "treasures." My girls are forever finding feathers, sticks, rocks, and other various objects that come home and find their way on top of the dresser. This is meant to corral all that and keep it out of sight. Also, please enjoy the lovely curtain-sheet that is still hanging on the window. Gotta get on that.

Next to the window is their mirrors. I need something to hang above these. Something bird-y.

Here is Sweetheart's dresser. She always has so much stuff. And it all means something to her. She's terribly sentimental. Which makes for a cluttered dresser, I suppose.

And under her loft. She really played under here yesterday and is sick today so I didn't make her clean it up for the picture. I'm so nice. See the kitchen stool there? That is what I have to use to tuck them in at night. I am 5' 7" or so and what I'm telling you is these lofts are TALL.

Here is the banner hung above Little Bit's loft. And yes, in case you were wondering, the girls have been sleeping on these for 3 nights now with no sheets. I needed to wash all the sheets but I had to make a new batch of laundry soap and so it took longer than it should have and then last night we just flat didn't feel like messing with it. It's on the list to do.

So that's where we stand. A lot of progress in one weekend, but still a long way from the pages of a magazine.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

  • I printed out a calendar for May last week and started figuring out how many lessons we have left in each subject for Sweetheart. I think, if we work really hard, we might be able to finish up all of her major subjects by the end of the month. That's what I'm hoping anyway. We don't plan to take the summer off like we have in years past, but I am ready for this year to be over. I'm ready for summer to begin! This is where it gets exciting. AND extremely hard. Anyone with me?
  • I have such progress to report on the girls' room makeover. You will not believe all that happened this weekend! And yeah, OK my kids have slept without sheets for 2 nights. It'll all work out, I promise.
  • Speaking of weekends, I do not remember such a busy weekend ever as the one we had this weekend. We survived, and I can't wait to go to bed tonight and rest. Monday will be a very welcome addition to my life. :) Monday. In which we stay home and do things that need to get done.
  • Remember we are discussing shirts during Casually Feminine THIS WEDNESDAY. See you then.