Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In Which I Become Literate

Great Illustrated Classics have been some of Sweetheart's favorites for well over a year now. They are condensed version of....classics. Huh. And guess what else? They have illustrations!

I am a wealth of knowledge.

Anyway, they can be had for very cheap at Michael's stores. Strange combination, I know. Also our local used book store has a good stock and then we borrowed a bunch from my sister. They were a perfect reading level for her for quite some time (actually, I do remember having to read them to her at first) but now they are easy.

In part thanks to the book club we were in, and also these books, I have finally read books that I have only heard about my whole life. I knew the term "Liliputians" but honestly had no idea that was associated with Gulliver's Travels. But I totally read "The Natural" for a novel unit in high school and then watched the movie, so there's always that.

Sweetheart just finished reading Little Women and we watched the 90s version last night. SO enjoyable. I could not have told you ONE THING about Little Women before this year even though I've heard of the book all my life.

I have to say, Sweetheart catches references in books and movies and even cartoons all the time because of reading these classics. I think that's part of what being literate is about.

Now, do I want her to read the original versions? Maybe. Some of them. That would be good. But having read these condensed versions, she knows enough of the story that it will make reading the original easier.

I highly recommend them.

And also, what DID I read in high school? Why am I so illiterate and poorly read?

I'm telling you, Sonlight and I are going to be friends next year. I want my chidlren reading GOOD books.

Do high schools have a required reading list? I bet there are no standards and that it varies from state to state and district to district. I also bet I wouldn't want my children reading half of what's on those lists. Tell me how it works where you live.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Y2K and Other Such Nonsense

Do you remember all the scare in 1999 about how every computer was going to crash and our world would be upside down? There was so much hype it was hard to not be a little concerned. Knowing nothing about how computers actually work, I thought it was all foolish, but went and got some cash out of the ATM anyway.

My old babysitter stocked up though. We didn't start leaving Sweetheart at her house until late 2000, but the lady had some serious cabinets full of stuff. She admitted she had been scared and had stocked up. Oh well, it all got used and she had fewer trips to the store that year.

It all seems kind of funny now. I remember the computer people in our district were working overtime. After they checked a computer, they took a sharpie and wrote "Y2K Compatible" on it. Awesome.

And so maybe I don't need to get all worried about how we are behind in school and now today I can't talk (and therefore read out loud) without hacking up a lung. Maybe I don't need to freak out about the laundry (in all its various stages) covering my house. Perhaps finances are not worth the worry. I am certain in 10 or 11 years, these things won't be a blip on my radar.

Here is what I would rather think about as I go about my business:

*there is a bird singing in our backyard. Beautiful. Hope you get a mate, dude!
*our garden is planted.
*our bills are paid.
*the lost title is in the works of being replaced.
*since we won't be getting all our subjects done in school (cough, hack), that gives me more time to restore order around the house.
*my girls are healthy and at home with me.
*I have a big, black trash bag that I can't wait to fill up.

and finally, the most important thing:

*Jesus is LORD!

Now I may need reminding of these blessings as I go through my day. I'm having the hardest time having a good attitude lately! I have no idea why....I have so much to be thankful for. I just can't seem to catch the "spring spirit!"

What do you do to get out of the winter funk?

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Princess Party

We've been involved in a "Carrie Co-op" lately. She's good at coming up with these. She invited some other girls around her daughter's age to participate. It was fun. Today was our last class.

Each week we watched the DVD, which is where the main lesson is found, and where the girls learned parts of a song each week including the sign language to go along with it. Then we went back to the table and did some activities and crafts and had a snack. But THIS week....was the grand finale.

Oh, HOW many times did Little Bit ask to go to the final princess class? I lost count. She could not wait!

 Before we left....had to show this picture. I made this dress a few years ago from a tutorial and it finally fits her right!
 I know you can't tell in these pics, but the dress is made from a man's dress shirt. Also, LOOK how long her hair is!!!! It only took 7 years to get here people.
 We worked on their foam castle kits at the beginning of class. Carrie is weilding the hot glue gun--watch out!

 Sweetheart joined the class one week when we had a few girls out, so she made a castle as well.
 During the video--the girls are praying. So sweet.
 Then we played a quick game together from the activity book, then sent them upstairs to change.
 And then each girl came down the stairs and were presented with a flower and a tiara.
 Do you love their dresses? We got them at thrift stores. :)
 The princess banquet!
 Four lovely little girls who now know that being a true forever princess doesn't mean wearing fancy clothes or living in a castle. Fancy clothes and tiaras are fun, but a true princess (daughter of THE King) shows God's love to others.

Meanwhile, Sweetheart and Kate (can you see her back there in the flowerbed?) dug up lizards and snails. So, let's just say they were enjoying the King's creation shall we?

Thank you Carrie, for organizing such a fun class!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Insomnia, Dish Soap, and Money

*I have an 11 year old asleep in the living room floor. She was still wide awake at 10:15. Said she was hungry. I told her to get a snack. (I knew she wasn't making it up because I lovingly donated all of my metabolism to this child in utero or during the birth process somehow which is why she is bone skinny and I am not. It's a medical fact.)

She's sleeping now. I guess all she needed was her pillow, a blanket, and a peanut butter fold-over.

*I am out of dish soap. And apparently my brain is so small it cannot hold the information, "BUY DISH SOAP." It's tragic. I ran 2 loads in the dishwasher tonight but I am still not totally caught up on dishes.

*Money. I hate worrying about money and finances. I really do. God provides. He is so good. But I wish I did not have to track it or think about it at all.

*And just for a bonus feature: my garden. Apparently it has decided it would rather be a lawn. I have pulled so much grass out of that place it is ridiculous.

That is all.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Falling Behind

We are behind schedule in school. I'm starting to feel the pressure! We are a week behind in History, dangerously close to being behind in spelling, and very behind in math. (But we've been behind in math and you can't really move on until they are ready--so what can you do?)

I'm getting stressed is what I'm saying.

Then this morning I woke up with a sore throat and really didn't feel like reading History or Science or any of that out loud stuff. Sigh. We got some school done anyway, but I am not feeling very good about where we are.

So...of course you get up determined to get lots done and just ignore everything else, right?

Uh, no. Had to go to the grocery store. Taking Little Bit to get her pictures made this afternoon. Piano practice after that for Sweetheart.


Think if I record the lessons and play them while they sleep that would count?

Oh! Go check out my saving grace recipe on my other blog. It'll help your menu plan, I promise!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Have Located My Organizational Skills

Seems I left them in the nineties.

Y'all. On this hunt for the lost title, we have drug boxes down from the attic that haven't been opened in years. They were all labeled "Financial Records" or some other such important sounding title so obviously we have moved them from house to house with us.

One of them was a treasure trove. In it, I found all my old checkbooks and bills from 1992-1998. Let me explain what I was doing in those years.

1992--my senior year of college. Oh those checkbooks were a hoot. Had to call my old roommate and let her know what we did with all of our time. Dairy Queen, Texas Burger, Mazzio's Pizza, WalMart, Campus Bookstore, etc. Every check was written for $3-$4. Oh dear. We had a blast talking about that. We had an apartment at that time. WHY did we not feel we had time to eat at home? And how annoying were we with our $3 checks?

1993--this was the year I both got married and began teaching. The credit card bills from this year were cool. Every month had something insignificant like gas for the car and then a plane ticket. Always a plane ticket. S was still stationed in California and I was here in Texas teaching. One of us flew to see the other every month for the first 6 months we were married. After he got home, our grocery bill checks shot up to $70. Seventy dollars!

It went on and on. In 1998 I got pregnant with Sweetheart and that is why, sadly, my organizational skills ended in 1998. This box was IMMACULATE. Discover Card bills? All in chronological order and rubber banded together. Each set of bills was stored like that. Each bill was stamped "PAID" with a stamp I used to have. Each checkbook register was reconciled and each bank statement marked up from the reconciliation. Each booklet of check carbons was stored in order in the original box they came in. And neatly labeled on top with a marker.

What has happened to me?

The box that is storing stuff from 2007-2010 doesn't have much in it. I pay most of my bills online now and don't get paper statements from the bank anymore. That's sort of sad. I will look back in 10 years (or the next time we clean the attic) and have no idea what we were doing with our time. Checks gave a record of our life.

A record that is now shredded, by the way.

Anyway, I'd like to travel back in time a bit and get my old self to teach my new self a thing or two about organizing. Besides having kids, and if you are as old as me you can appreciate this statement:

we have had to learn to do things completely differently than when we first became adults. I truly think that is one reason I lost my skills. We don't pay bills the same way, we don't write checks for everything, I check my account all the time online--I don't wait for the statement at the end of the month...things are just different. My mom taught me very well how to take care of bills and my checkbook but things have changed.

Does that make sense?

Anyway, it was encouraging to remember that at one time in my life I had it together. Gives me hope that I can get it together again.

And maybe find that title along with my skills.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Paper Chase

So. S has been driving a really old truck for years now. If you didn't already know this, he has a lawn care business. Well, WE have a lawn care business. He does most of the work though. Last summer he drove his really old truck which had no A/C AND the driver's window does not roll down and I think we can all see why that arrangement will not work for long in Texas.

We've been without a car payment for about 6 months now but we've known we just need to bite the bullet and get him a truck that a.) has A/C b.) has windows that roll down c.) has paint on its exterior surfaces.

That last one is just being picky, I know. The point is, we need to get rid of our 12 year old truck while we still can and before the heat of summer.

That's exactly what we did on Saturday evening. And you know how buying a car is. After hours of being there...we were almost done.

But we didn't have our insurance card with us. By this time it was 9:45pm. Sigh. It's a long story, but we drove away without a truck. SO frustrating.

We thought about it all weekend and decided to go back Monday morning when they opened and try again.

Guess what? This time we couldn't find the title. Tore. This. House. Up.

I hate paper. I hate paperwork. I hate my disorganized house.

S was frustrated with himself because he remembers saying, "We need to put this in a really good place so we don't lose it."

Apparently we did just that. Really good.

I was frustrated with myself for not being better organized. I really suck at paperwork.

But we did get the truck. Now we just have to find that title so we can sell the old one.

I could really use one of those makeovers from an organizational expert.

Or maybe just TV so I can watch shows about people who are more disorganized than me. That always makes me feel better.

And that is my excuse for not posting every day.

The End.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Yee Haw!

Rolling down the AstroTurf hill? Free.
We went to the Rodeo yesterday for $12!!!! Thanks to our awesome homeschool group, we got free tickets, free parking, and because we are cheap, we did only free things. At the very end of our day (and our energy) I let the girls ride the ponies for $6 a piece. In all, we were gone for 5 hours and filled that time up with free things! Not bad.

Let me clarify for those of you who don't rodeo, we did not watch the rodeo, we just went for the extra stuff.

Our little group of homeschool friends...

This little lamb was born yesterday afternoon. There were lots of new baby piggies too.

Just hatched!

This little one was loving the heater.

So we walked through the rows and rows of places where the contestants keep their animals. Not sure what that's called. Apparently, they have to decorate their little "stall" which I am sure everyone loves the person who started that. This Princess Cow booth was our favorite.
Petting zoo...

They had a really cute section called Kid's Country. I won't bore you with all the pictures but it was Little Bit's favorite part.
At the end of Kid's Country, they got "paid" and got to buy a snack.

Went to the pig races and saw the famous swimming pig. They worked for Oreos.
But what did my children REALLY want to do?
And of course it was free, so I said yes. It really is a BIG escalator.
We were exhausted at the end of 5 hours. NO idea how many miles we walked. But, I'm hoping this gets us back on track with Daylight Saving Time. We went to bed at a decent hour so that's a good start.

Today is Princess Class. I still need to tell you about that. And of course, it's Friday night Bible study so we've got to get the house cleaned up. Didn't we just have people over here on Wednesday night? What happened to our clean?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Super Bloggers Don't Skip A Day

Whew! I made it. I must post every day because Carrie says that's what super bloggers do. Today you get a bullet list.

  • We have our church group coming over in t minus 1 hour and 50 minutes. I just scrubbed the toilet and now I'm going to make hamburger patties. #thingsyoudon'twanttoknowwhenyougotosomeone'shouse
  • Ridiculous hash mark, that one.
  • the girls are cleaning too
  • we tilled the garden last night but I didn't have time to plant anything today.
  • we went to the park
  • and we did school
  • We have 13 more weeks of History to do this year and 12 more weeks of school.
  • I've been running like a chicken with my head cut off today.
  • We planted flowers in the front yard yesterday and spread mulch.
  • I am very nature-y.
  • One thing that is important to do when company comes over is hide all the containers of dirt and slugs the girls have been collecting on the back porch.
  • Remember that, OK?
  • Especially if you are grilling hamburgers on said porch.
  • After you scrubbed the toilet.
See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

They're Listening!!!

Over the weekend I gave a little lecture entitled, "Put Things Back Where You Got Them."

Then yesterday, I went to make a sandwich and saw this:

That's an empty container that used to have ham in it. The plastic bag is laid neatly to the side.
So, this is progress, right?

Monday, March 14, 2011


Sunday afternoon S declared we were picking up the house. We all worked together and got the girls' room, their bathroom, the homeschool room, and living room cleaned up. What a difference!

Today I got groceries for the week and got a lot of laundry done. The girls have the day off of school (we are taking 2 days of Spring break this week and 3 another week.) so their job is to clean the toy room.

But even before we got all that done, my husband said, "We have such a peaceful house."

Looking around at the chaos and disorder around here sometimes would make you wonder. Knowing the worry and swirling thoughts in my head sometimes might not make you think of peace. Looking at our family calendar might not either.

But it's true. S grew up in a home that wasn't all that peaceful. In our house, there is no fighting. There is no yelling or slamming of doors. There is not uncontrolled anger or alcohol or many other things that make a home un-peaceful.

Why? Because we have arranged our lives in such superior ways? Because we are not busy? Because I am so organized and on top of things that there is never a moment's concern?

Please. You must know me better than that.

Peace is a fruit of the Spirit. It is given from God. We cannot manufacture it ourselves. It is not a feeling. I don't believe it is solely dependent on our circumstances either. God is bigger than that.

Can our brothers and sisters in Japan feel peace right now? I pray that they will, even though their circumstances are anything but peaceful right now. God can give peace to His people. It is a fruit of the Spirit, if we are walking in the Spirit. And no matter what circumstances we are in....we are at peace with God because of the sacrifice our Lord made on the cross for us.

That is maybe the best peace of all.

So if you are in an unpeaceful circumstance today---house is a mess, kids are sick, bank account is empty, not sure what you are going to do about supper, loved one in the hospital, marriage on the rocks, etc. know that peace does not come from those things anyway.

Peace comes only from God.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Is My Favorite

I love Fridays. We never get as much school done on Fridays but usually that's OK because I feel pretty good about what we've gotten done earlier in the week. My Friday schedule is lighter on purpose.

It's house cleaning day. I really like to clean on Fridays and have a pretty house on Saturday morning. I don't like spending my whole weekend cleaning.

Plus, we have some folks over for Bible study on Friday nights so that's really good motivation for cleaning.

And Bible study? It's the best. We all just love it. It's so nice to have time to really dig into God's word. It seems at church there isn't really a time to do that. Which is too bad.

And one of the ladies brings over her 7 year old daughter so Little Bit has a playmate and they have a good time. Sweetheart goes back and forth between playing with them, doing her own thing, or organizing activities for the little girls. She's very helpful. Sometimes she sits in with us for awhile but it's all really over her head and boring so she wanders off.

Friday nights are not about the kids. And I guess that's OK.

Oh, and we have to go to the grocery store but that is NOT my favorite Friday activity. However, we like to eat so I shall procure food. At least enough to make it until payday.

And I had to turn on the heat this morning. Ridiculous because it will be in the 70s today. March is always like that.

OK then. I think that's all the disjointed thoughts I can throw your way on a Friday. If you made it this far, I hope you didn't have a brain spasm trying to figure out any cohesiveness to this post, which seems to be absent.

Happy Friday!! Especially if you love Fridays like me!

Also, I could use some Spring Cleaning motivation. Anyone got a good website to encourage me?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Homemaking Encouragement

I enjoyed this article, found at Ladies Against Feminism:

Don't Revere the Pioneer.

Good encouragement! Enjoy!

The "E" Word


It's considered a bad word at our house if you asked the girls.

They strongly dislike the errand running. But alas, that comes with the territory for homeschoolers. Mom can't run and do things while you are in school and then be home smiling with milk and cookies as you walk in the door from school.

But she can run you through the drive through after the library on the way to the post office!

In a few years, the girls will be old enough to stay home by themselves while I run to the store. Especially if my parents are home 3 doors down. But for now, they must come with me unless Grandma and Grandpa are willing to keep them. (Which they really are, but I don't like to take advantage of that AND I happen to think errands are good for them.)

So I told you our schedule a few days ago but I forgot to mention our backwards day. I usually do this on Wednesdays but I forgot yesterday. It's when we start at the bottom of our schedule (the things that ALL too often get left off!) and work our way up. That way, we leave off different things! Just kidding. Kind of.

Well, the girls really like backwards day. It feels good to do things in a different order every now and then. Today, I've decided to REALLY do backwards day. We're going to run our errands first and then do school backwards.

The girls talked me into this. They hate afternoon errands. Here are the reasons they cited:

1. We always get headaches riding in the car. (Sweetheart)
2. We're always tired.
3. We can get the errands out of the way and then stay home the rest of the day.

I pointed out that they will now be tired and get the headache in the middle of school....but Sweetheart said, "Well, at least I'll be at home instead of stuck in the car."

Are you feeling very sorry for them now?

Something inside of me wants this to work, but I'm hesitant. Little Bit asked me just a few weeks ago, when we were off school and therefore running errands in the morning, if we could always run our errands in the mornings. But I'll tell you, afternoon school around here has not been very successful.

Today, we shall try again! I'll let you know how it goes.

How do you handle errands? Do you pack it all in one day? Have certain days assigned for certain things like grocery shopping on Thursdays? Do school in the car while you run? I really would like to know!

And I was just thinking about our life several years ago. Thankful I don't have to go to the laundromat anymore. Thankful I have a car to run errands with. Just wanted to make sure and point out I am thankful for this "dilemma."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I Am a (Good) Homemaker

We've got people coming over tonight so we've got to get the house in order.

Not REAL order, mind you....company order. You know the difference, don't you? REAL order is when you actually organize things and spend time getting to the root of the problem and do not ignore areas like cleaning out the fridge. REAL order is when you do actual spring cleaning and completely finish a room and feel good about it.

Company order is when you pick up and surface clean and "make it look good." Heaven forbid someone open a closed door, right?

I want to do the spring cleaning, but I'm going to have to settle for company cleaning today. Still, we have a lot of folks coming over who are not homeschoolers and I feel responsible to have our homeschool room looking really good. I hate to give a bad impression of homeschooling.

I am really feeling the responsibility of keeping and managing this home. Of being a good homemaker. S had a pretty significant job change happen this week. It's a good thing---pretty much a promotion if you will. He's just doing something totally different and I know for a while, that means more stress. I know his mind will be focused on work a lot. So I am really feeling the need to keep up with things here so that his evenings are peaceful and he doesn't have to worry about things.

I don't really feel that women are encouraged to be good homemakers much anymore. Well, despite the fact that they aren't encouraged to be homemakers at all! It's just seen as totally acceptable to just "get a maid" or to "tell your husband he can do it then!" The whole attitude for stay-at-home moms is often wrong. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with having a maid--it's the whole attitude of "why should I have to do it?" If a woman works outside the home, the attitude is even worse! "How can he expect you to (fill in the blank)? You have a job too!"

For me, it isn't what my husband "expects." It's what God has said. I like to read Titus 2:3-5 in a lot of different versions. No matter how it's worded, the message is clear. We are to keep our homes. Now 6 years ago when I had a baby and a kindergarten student and was babysitting another baby, my home did not look that great. I am in a completely different stage of life now. I have 2 helpers! So yes, we must extend grace to ourselves when little ones are underfoot, or when there is sickness in the house, but not constantly be finding excuses to be a bad homemaker. We need to be good homemakers. As good as we are able to be.

Pretty hard when you weren't raised to be one, huh? I cannot believe how much better I have gotten at things these last 4 years that I've been home. I know I am not the only one who has struggled with this because I get more hits to my blog for this post than any other. Constantly, there are people googling "how to be a homemaker." Isn't that sad? Their own mothers did not teach them and now they are trying to figure it all out. I'll tell you, if I had started learning to be a homemaker in 1993 when I got married, instead of after we had been married a long time and had 2 kids....I would be better at it right now. I cannot even imagine how my house and my time might look differently!

But being a good homemaker is all for naught if I don't teach my daughters to be homemakers as well. We all know someone whose mom did EVERYTHING for them when they were growing up and then they practically had to learn to dress themeselves as adults. I can have the best house ever and if I'm not teaching my daughters...I've messed up.

And of course, if I don't show love while I'm doing it, I've missed the whole point.

Honestly, I don't "feel" like a good homemaker yet. But I think I'll start saying it anyway and then live up to it!

What area of housekeeping are you good at?
What area do you need the most help?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Round Here

I've been on a Counting Crows kick lately. I do not know why. I was not particularly a fan of Counting Crows in the early 90s, but suddenly I have their songs in my head. Gotta love me some "A Long December" even if the lyrics make no sense. Who needs sense, right? I also gotta love a Jewish guy who gets fake dreds and pulls that look off for more than a decade.

Anyway.....don't know what's going on around here but Saturday Sweetheart started cleaning her room without being told. Then yesterday she took a bath of her own volition and asked me if she could paint her nails. Yes, I suppose all children get to the age where they start to care about how they look but if you know Sweetheart in real life can appreciate the amazingness of this. Of course I don't want my girls to be obsessed with how they look or spend hours primping and fussing in front of the mirror....but caring if your hair is brushed or not is good. Cleaning your room is even better!

I think it's about time to read Beautiful Girlhood with her. I have hesitated to read it in the past--you may think this is crazy--because of the part that talks about "soon you will lay aside your dolls and pursue other things". I didn't even want to put the idea in her head that she should stop playing and enjoying being a little girl. Maybe we'll skip that part. The rest of the book is SO good. (That link is to the book! Wow!)

It's very cool watching her become a young lady. You know I said we are skipping "teenager" around here.  Oh the best laid plans.....  I mean it though. I do not want to raise my children with the expectation that they can BE a teenager for 6+ years and THEN become a young adult. Rather, like the book talks about, I would prefer they transition from "girlhood" to "young lady." Oh if I could figure out how to do that.

Part of the plan is to not listen to what the world says about being a teenager. We can set our own expectations. Not being a part of a youth group will no doubt help our cause as well. One of the teens at our church was lamenting that she wished people would mature when they reached puberty. I told her they used to do just that. Goodness, children her age were living a very different life less than 100 years ago. Times have certainly changed and we seem to think this is how things have always been. I think so much of it is about expectation.

I've also been dreaming and planning and researching for next year. For the record, we have 12 1/2 more weeks of THIS year. I have no business looking this far ahead, but it's so fun! I should be making plans for summer first, huh?

Lastly, I've been enjoying showering in my own bathroom again! It's so nice to have all our home renovations done. I'm really enjoying my new kitchen! S mentioned that Little Bit's tics might have been so bad last week because of all the commotion of the renovation and the not eating at the table and just the general schedule disruption. Duh. I had not even thought of that. I bet that was it.

OK. Play break is over. Gotta get back to work. Carrie, I hope you are enjoying my DAILY posting.

Monday, March 7, 2011

In Theory, This is What We Do

Except when we don't. :)

Here is the schedule that has been working for us since January. I had to switch things up a bit. I felt the need for Sweetheart (11 yo, 5th grade) to work independently for a bit of her day. It's time to move her on to that. She would never choose it. She would happily sit right under my armpit and do her work through 12th grade, I believe.

She really loved it at first and now she begs to stay in the room with us. Only that doesn't work because she gets distracted and I have to interrupt Little Bit's reading lessons too much. The girl has to learn to read. Splitting up for a bit is important. Also, it is teaching her to be organized and neat on her own. And she has to keep her desk cleaned off in her room. Win-win-win.

So here goes. We try to start by 9:00. Except when we don't.

Bible (together)

Sweetheart: (at her desk in her room) Daily Bible reading, Journal, Grammar or Map work, Handwriting, Math Practice.
While Little Bit and I work on Reading/Spelling/Handwriting. We usually only get 2 of those done.

Then, Sweetheart and I do math and Little Bit works on the computer. I lost all their bookmarks with our old computer so I need to re-do those.

Play break!!! (That's why I'm blogging right now!)

History (together)

Science (together)

Learning about birds together.

Math with Little Bit while Sweetheart reads.

She's learning about 100 lately.

Sweetheart does spelling with me and then computer and piano practice sometime in the afternoon.

Math Blaster!!!

I read with Little Bit at some point too. Just for enjoyment.

I'm really thinking about next year and wanting to start planning and dreaming. But I have to stay focused on THIS year, 'cause we ain't through!

So, I need some motivation amidst spring fever. Anyone got some for me?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Food and Frustration

I'm reading a book right now that I learned about from this post. I got it from the library and I've only read the first chapter but it was all about aspartame and the effects it had on some children when it first came out. (I'm looking forward to the chapter on breakfast foods as that affects our homeschool day greatly.)

So the fact that I'm reading that book is just background information. OK?

Little Bit's tics have been bad lately. Last Sunday evening at suppertime she started complaining. She always says the same thing, "I'm frus-ter-ated. My tics are bad." Then I tell her I haven't noticed her doing any tics. Then she explains that she has a lot of tics, but she's not doing them. Then I tell her to go ahead and do them and maybe she won't be so frust-er-ated. Then she says she doesn't like doing them.

We have that conversation a lot.

But this time she really complained. And she came and got me in the middle of Sunday evening Bible study to tell me they were bad. So I went into the room where she and Sweetheart were and talked with her and tickled her arm softly and let her play Smash Room on my phone and tried to do anything to make it better. But nothing was working.

Then she looked at me and said, "Mommy? Isn't there medicine I can take to make them go away?"

Oh my heart. Because there is. But we aren't even considering that a possibility. And I don't want to get to the point where it becomes one. That medicine is big and bad. It's not like administering Tylenol or Benadryl. It's the big guns. And she was very nearly crying.

So I slipped back into Bible study and wrote a note to S for them to pray for Little Bit. And they did. And everyone was concerned for her. My dad's answer was to sweep in when Bible study was over and take the girls to his house and feed them pancakes. He likes to DO something. And she was fine the rest of the night.

I liked it better when she was 4 and she did 372 tics a day but they didn't frustrate her at all.  Can we go back to that please?

Little Bit loves watermelon flavored gum. Sweetheart never chewed gum but Little Bit loves it. We got some today at Wal-Mart. It's sugar-free so everyone in the family can chew it. Later she said, "Mom? When I chew watermelon gum my tics are worse." I probed that a bit and she said she had noticed it before when she was chewing it. So of course I said, "Spit it out!"

Several hours later she tried another piece and immediately said, "Yep. They're worse." I told her to spit it out again. She was upset because she LIKES watermelon gum. I told her we could try another kind. It must be something in this kind of gum. So I look at the ingredients.

Aspartame. I'm not saying that's it, but there it is right on the label and I JUST read that chapter.

But don't let me get all scientific on you because at supper tonight she was eating chicken spaghetti which is easily her favorite meal on earth and she said, "Mom...chicken spaghetti makes my tics better."

Sure it does. I bet ice cream does too dear.

Earlier in the week she was jumping on a mini-trampoline at my parent's house. It seemed to help her frustration so we borrowed it. She jumped so much her back has hurt ever since. Sometimes a change of scenery helps. Sometimes I get her busy helping me with something. Anything to get her mind off the stupid tics. The only other thing I know to try is humor. So when she complained about her new "oy uh" tic (she has to repeatedly say "oy uh"), we made it into a song. It worked really well with Old MacDonald. And Jingle Bells. She giggled so that's good.

I've never read where food causes tics to be worse, but you better believe I'll be reading up on it.

'Cause I'm running out of strategies really fast.

Friday, March 4, 2011


The mom of the little girl I teach sewing lessons to recently brought a book over to show me. She wondered if I already had this book because it contains so many of the things we have done in sewing class. But nope, I got all my ideas off the Internet. Sure enough, this is a GREAT book!

It's called Sewing for Children and I highly recommend it.

Sweetheart immediately fell in love with one of the projects and I finished it in about 3 days. (Having no computer and not being able to do a lot of things because of the workers helped)

Isn't she sweet?

She comes with a sassy jacket.

Sweetheart decided she could make her a hat. "I know how to do it, Mom." And she did. She also picked out all the fabric and colors. I praised her greatly. I hope that ability will carry over into picking out her own clothes!

I told her any additional clothes for Betty would be made by her. Now that I've sewn from this pattern, I know she could do it. And it was all hand sewing (although it wouldn't have to be) and I LOVE to sit on the couch and hand sew things.

I'm also glad my family does not depend on me to sew all of their clothing by hand. I fear we would be naked.

Now I have to make a doll for Little Bit. But she doesn't want one of these dolls. No....she wants a doll made from a drawing she made a few months ago. I think I can adapt this pattern to work.

I guess that remains to be seen.

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Digging Out

Everything that usually belongs on my kitchen counter tops is on my dining room table. We haven't eaten a meal there in a few days. Well, earlier in the week the girls and I all squished up on one end and ate together. Cozy!
Disjointed weeks put EVERYONE in a bad mood!

The contents of my bathroom are scattered everywhere. The girls' bathroom is a wreck and that's the one we've all been using. I have laundry that is washed but I haven't been able to put it away because the worker guys were in the way. We've somehow managed to do school this week despite saws and noise and drop cloths.

They LOVE running errands.

I am not complaining. It is exciting getting the stuff fixed up around here that we've been dreaming about doing for 4 years. BUT....we're in a mess right now.
Sitting in traffic ROCKS!

To be really honest, I can get in this kind of mess even WITHOUT home remodeling! Do you ever get that way? Where every. single. area. of your life feels a mess and out of control? Ug. Happens here often. Sometimes it's not even really that bad, but I feel very stressed out and so every pile of laundry seems 400 feet high, every bill seems like it will take 5 hours to pay, and every room of the house looks like a tornado went through it.

What a great week to decide to pull all the summer clothes out! They are now in the hallway. This is Sweetheart's tub. The one in the back is Little Bit's. Guess who I need to go shopping for?

So what do you do?

Should you do the hardest and most dreaded task first to get it out of the way?
Should you clean something small like the bathroom so you can feel instant success?
Should you sit down and cry?
Should you line the children up in the hallway like soldiers and start passing out jobs?
Should you grab your car keys and go to the library, or your mom's house, or ANYWHERE that is neat and tidy?
Should you sit and read your Bible and pray?
Should you sit down and make a list, prioritizing each thing to be done so you are working with a plan instead of just willy-nilly?

What do you do when it seems like you are buried under a mound of "to do's"? What is your first move?

Or just shove everything on the coffee table over and put your feet up?

(I know there isn't a "right" answer. Just wondering, that's all.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


OK, so if you've been following me here (and at my other blog), you know we are doing some home remodeling right now. By doing, I mean paying for.

THEN, both our computers died within weeks of each other.


Thankfully, (Praising the Lord for blessings!) we had the money to do something about it. Turns out computers don't cost nearly what they used to back when we last bought one. We've been a bit out of the technology loop. So we now have ONE family computer. It has to be taken care of and used well. It will be for personal use, family finances, record keeping for our business, school work, church stuff, etc.

And, of course, blogging. S said on the way home from the computer store, "Now you're all set up. I expect to see SUPER BLOGGING going on."

No pressure. I'm not really sure what super blogging looks like but I'm pretty sure it involves you guys leaving LOTS and LOTS of positive feedback so some one's husband will see the results of his recent purchase. Ahem.

And now I'll tell you that S and I felt a bit like country folks come to town while we were shopping. The young kid (actually, he was the manager) was talking rapid fire about apps on the printer, and how you can send documents from your phone straight to the printer at your house and they print automatically, and how you can scan your fingers on the laptop to access sites instead of using passwords......

...and I think we might have stood there with our mouths dropped open just a bit. And shook our heads a few dozen times.

"I tell you Herbert, I just cain't get over it. You just push that little handle down and the toilet flushes ALL by itself RIGHT THERE IN THE HOUSE!"

We aer so up with it. Kinda reminded me of a few years back when we needed a new phone. We were looking at all the choices that had answering machines built in and one of us said, "Where do you put the tape? I don't see anywhere to put the tape?"

But that is no longer us. No sir. WE are UP with the technology and whipping out SUPER POSTS such as this one.

Ahem. (your turn---make me look good ladies!)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What Was That Nonsense About Me Liking Technology?

Our desktop died. In February our laptop died.

Computers: 2
Us: 0

They are winning. They were tired of performing useful services to our family so they up and quit. I am typing this on my phone. (good phone. Nice phone.) I can't let it hear me speak ill of the technology or it may quit me too.

But, for the record, our VCR still works.

I'm not sure what to make of that.