Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Nesting Via Others' Hard Work

It's the only way to go! For Christmas I asked S to paint our bedroom. Since baby won't have a "nursery" but instead will be in our room, I wanted to have a fresh space for her. And our bedroom was really not a thing of beauty. Isn't it always the last room to get attention?

I dug up some old pictures of our bedroom for reference.

That wasn't the prettiest it's ever been but oh well. So here are some NOW pictures:

Still need to paint the bathroom door white. It's the last remaining brown door in the house.

And of course, curtains would be good. 

Moved my dresser here to make room for baby. 

The formerly green wall.

Found a sign at the beach Sunday for our wall. Yes, the lack of apostrophe makes me twitch some but it is really pretty. 
 OK so I didn't even plan this, but when I bought the new bedding, I got home and realized it went pretty well with the towels sister got us for Christmas.
Of course, this naturally led right into the bathroom re-do!

Everything was just off-white before with wood cabinets. 

You should have seen this wall before!

Still need a door. Or a new shower curtain.
Here's some before pictures of the bathroom:

Shower torn out.

You can't really tell but this wall was paneling. Torn paneling stapled back together by the previous homeowner with dark wood doors. Odd. 
I can't find all my before bathroom pictures but trust me, it looks a LOT better!!!

So now I have 4 months to get curtains sewn and up, stuff hung on the walls and baby furniture moved in. Husband has done his part. OH! But I may have talked him into framing our bathroom mirror. I've wanted to do that for a long time! He likes it when I come up with project ideas. Makes him feel so needed.

And yes, I almost have forgotten about the girls' room re-do's....why do you ask?? :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pregnancy Update--Week 25

Ha! Since you got no weekly wrap up about school last week, how about I just give you an update on baby?

Went for my 25 week appointment today and everything looked good. Heartbeat was good, and I hadn't gained any weight. Hmm. I was wearing lighter clothes and shoes because last time it was really cold so who knows? Both the nurse and the nurse-practitioner that I saw mentioned that my blood pressure was "better than last time."

Now let me just say that my blood pressure is normally always good. Last time was my big ultrasound and I was nervous! My heart rate was up too. I told them this. They seemed surprised I would be that nervous. But I was! Anyway, everything was good and later this week I get to take my glucose test. Oh joy.

The insomnia is killing me though. Every single night I wake up between 3 and 4am and stay awake until 6 or 7. I can't take much more. I NEED to sleep!!

But really I feel pretty good and very blessed. I love feeling baby kick. I'm so excited for her to get here.

I did have my first ever Braxton Hicks contractions this last week. I have never felt them with any other pregnancy. I was having 3 an hour for several hours. They said if it happens again (that much) to go to labor and delivery to be checked. It happens that drinking and resting made them go away this time. I drink like a camel all day...but I guess I just have to watch it. Since that day I've only had 1 or 2 a day.

Different background! Love the sheet-curtain?

So on days when I have doctor's appointments, we don't seem to get much school in. That's OK because all our 6 week breaks went away, so a light day every now and then is nice.

We did learn something else at the doctor today and that is that my 12 year old is over 5' 4" tall! They measured her out of curiosity. Mercy! I had no idea she was that tall. Just a few months ago she was 5' 1"!

Tomorrow I hope to share our room re-do with you! Or what there is of it so far.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I Just Have One Thing to Say

I feel big. Really big.


Gonna roll myself to bed now. See you in the morning!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Home Improvement Bug....

...has bitten my husband. And I'm not looking for an antidote either! After he painted our bedroom for me this week, he told me to go ahead and get new bedding, which I was going to wait to do. He wanted to be DONE with a project.

And so after our bedroom looked so awesome and clean, I got up Friday morning and cleaned our bathroom. I also took out all the maroon and sage green stuff (the former colors of our bedroom and bathroom) and started replacing them with blue stuff from around the house. When he got home and saw the bathroom all cleaned up, he decided why not go ahead and paint the bathroom too? (It's never been painted---it was ugly off-white.) After all, we had the shower re-done last February. I think he's ready to be DONE with that project too!

So yesterday he started on that. Now I've got to scramble around and get some new curtains up in both places. I also plan to sew on the girls' quilts some today. I hesitate to even get on here and say that "it's sewing day" because as sure as I do, something will come up and I won't even look at my sewing machine. But, I have good intentions, OK?

Very excited to have a nice looking space for us and also to bring baby home to. Speaking of baby, she's kicking up a storm these days and I just love it. I'm not sleeping at night and I don't love that. But so far I haven't done anything stupid from being tired. Give me time.

The girls are at my dad's this morning eating green eggs and sausage in honor of Little Bit reading that book (well, the one about ham) by herself this week in school. Yesterday she started her new book and I just sat there in awe watching her read and work out words that she has never seen before. I've known it for years, but it never ceases to amaze me in action: once kids can read, they just keep reading better and better. It's very cool to watch!

Hope you all have a great Saturday!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Colors on My Mind

...the color of the pajamas I'm wearing right now. And that tub of clothes in the living room that needs to be put up.

...the color of the wedding anniversary we are planning for my parents. Must order the cake tomorrow.

...the color of the walls in my (new) bedroom. So pretty!

...the color of the fabric I need to buy for new curtains in our room.

Can't wait to sleep in my new bedroom snuggled under my new comforter!!

Best Christmas present ever!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Room Progress, School Progress...Two Out of Thee Ain't Bad!

S is off the rest of this week so he can complete my Christmas present. He asked me what I wanted and I told him. I had cans of paint under the tree Christmas morning and this week, he's going to use them!

First, we had this wall in our bedroom which had been covered in wallpaper and then painted over before we moved in. So...I just painted over it too several years ago. That's the only wall we've ever painted in our bedroom since we've lived here. It was ugly. And we weren't about to start peeling that wallpaper.

So I showed S my board of ideas for our bedroom. And he totally caught the vision. So today, he and my dad did this:

New wall all covered in beautiful wood.

And new homemade baseboards...
Oh I love it! And we like it so much we decided not to wash white over it like we originally thought. And it smells wonderful! All wood-y.

Tomorrow the paint goes up on the other three walls. And see? There is plenty of room beside my bed for baby. :)

So having him home changed our day up considerably. First of all, I had to run to Lowe's for a few things this morning and help him move things in our bedroom.  After breakfast I made the girls a list of things to get started on and I ran the errands. We still managed to get most of school done even with boards being carried through the room and the nail gun and air compressor making noise, and all the activity. I had to actually make something to eat for lunch and be a runner for the men working, etc. So I was way busier than usual and did far less sitting on the couch. Probably both good things.

Thankfully, S was tired too so we went out to eat before church. Not sure I had it in my energy reserves to cook.

And I'm really glad for all this progress today. I'd like to tell you that I sewed on the quilts today and that I made progress on the quilts today, but those 2 things are not necessarily the same. Yes, I sewed. But when you have to seam rip the entire thing apart in the end, it's not considered progress. Note to self: don't do it backwards next time. Grr.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sleep is Like Food

It's that important, I've decided. It's my answer to everything!

You're grumpy at your sister? You need to get to bed earlier tonight.

Math is too hard? You need more sleep?

Mama is not feeling energetic? I NEED TO SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT!!

Little Bit with her big bear. :)
Sunday I was kind of concerned about myself. I had been so out of energy all week. I was like 38-weeks-pregnant-tired when I'm only 24 weeks. That concerned me. I know I'm older this time, but man! I should feel better than this!

So I thought I'd call the doctor on Monday if I still felt that way but Sunday night I slept through the whole night and felt great all day yesterday. We did school, we had a Keepers at Home meeting, and had someone over to dinner last night and made it through all of that just fine!

Then last night I lost over 2 hours of sleep again. Which is why I did not get up with S this morning to make his coffee/lunch/breakfast and see him off. Which is why it is after 9:00 and we haven't had breakfast. But it's OK because if I don't make up that sleep I will not make it through the day. We're just on a different time frame than the rest of Texas today. I'm uh...on California time today. Yeah. That's it.

Just gotta have a beach frame of mind today. School hasn't started yet? It's all good!

In other news, I picked up my sewing machine from the repair shop yesterday so now I can work on the girls' room re-dos!! Yay! And tomorrow starts husband's vacation. He's going to be re-doing OUR bedroom. Can't wait. I'm looking forward to a relaxing retreat/nursery/mis-matched-space-for-a-while. We'll see how good I am about getting school done with him here working on the room. I know we'll be off-schedule for the rest of the week but that's OK because obviously I'M PRACTICING TODAY!

Yeah, that's it. We're practicing.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

How Sonlight Works

I'm sorry for those of you who could care less about Sonlight curriculum. It's just that  friend asked me about Sonlight this weekend and I realized when I was first looking at it, I needed a lot of guidance. So, I thought a post was in order. Hope it helps someone!

I don't know why Sonlight is so confusing when you first look at it, but it is. I had Erin to guide me via e-mail and also learned a lot from googling various blog posts. I'm going to try to really easily and in plain ol' English, tell you how it works.

So Sonlight started out offering complete packages for a grade. One of the founders had lived in North Africa and knew how difficult it was to get homeschool materials. You can read the brief history here.

As time went on, as I understand it, more and more people were using Sonlight's materials, but wanted more choice. For example, maybe they really liked everything else, but wanted to use a different math curriculum. So, math was offered separately. Or, perhaps they liked everything but the Language Arts curriculum. So, LA was offered separately. Sonlight kept splitting things up (you could still get it all in a package deal if you wanted) until they got down to BIBLE, HISTORY, and READING. These three, they decided, were not workable if spit up. These three things then, make a "core."

You can still get a package deal from Sonlight with absolutely everything you need for a grade. These are the "multi-subject packages." Want simple? Just order the "Third grade package" for your 3rd grader. Simple. Easy.

But, if you like to pick and choose, you can also order things by subject. Sonlight has a LOT of choices from various homeschool companies including Teaching Textbooks, Saxon, Singapore, Horizons, Mathtacular....that's just MATH! So you can order what you want to use for math, for spelling, for science, for handwriting, etc. I ordered a lot of things we needed from Sonlight instead of directly from the various companies and many times there is a discount offered when you order through Sonlight!

But when it comes down to History and Reading....well those come together. And there is a good reason. Almost all of Sonlight's cores are based on a History theme. For example, this year Sweetheart is studying American History (Core D+E). So all these books I showed you the other day?

Those are her history books and her reading books all together. There is not a huge dividing line between history and reading in these upper cores. You read about history. You don't study history and then some other reading books that have nothing to do with the price of eggs. Your reading and your history are all based on the subject you are studying that year. In our case, American History. Even the read-alouds that I read to her are about American History. And they are SUCH GOOD BOOKS!!!

So here is how we use Sonlight. We ordered a "CORE PACKAGE." They are lettered because they don't have to pertain to any certain grade level. They give some guidelines such as Core D+E is recommended for ages 9-12 or grades 4-7. They say they often run a bit on the harder side, so I chose this core as Sweetheart is 12 and in 6th grade. She's at the upper end of the recommended ages/grades and that is making it just right to easy for her this year. If you have a very advanced 9 year old/4th grader, they might find this core just right.   It's up to the parent.

Then, we did the "pick and choose" method for the other subjects. Math? We did not order from Sonlight. Science? We did not order from Sonlight. Handwriting? Sonlight offered what we already used and at a discount, so we ordered it. Language Arts? We did not order from Sonlight. Spelling? Sonlight offered what we already used, so we ordered it. See? You can customize your order for you.

Whatever you choose to buy from Sonlight--whether a complete package, or just a core, or just individual subjects--comes to you in a box all together and ready to go.

I didn't tell you about Bible. Since many non-religious homeschoolers also wanted to use Sonlight, the Bible curriculum is not automatically included in your core. But it is automatically included in your Instructor's Guide. And one of the books for our core goes along with the History and Reading. It is called The American Indian Prayer Guide.  But I chose not to purchase the other things for Bible. We just use the prayer guide, and a Bible. The assigned readings for both of these are included in the Instructor's Guide.

Speaking of the Instructor's Guides....wow! They rock. No need for me to try to explain these any better than Heather at OMSH did already. Here is her post (and this just about sold me on Sonlight!)

You get a LOT for your money. A lot of materials. A lot of pre-thought out organization. A lot of now-I-don't-have-to-do-everything. I try to read ahead of Sweetheart, but if I don't, there are questions and answers for me in the Instructor's Guide so we can still have an intelligent conversation about what she has read. I can literally wake up on Monday morning, give each child their new assignment sheet, and get to work. And I've already told you about the independence it is fostering in my daughter.

By the way, Sonlight is still available for overseas families AND they offer discounts for missionary families. I like that.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up Week 18

I feel pretty good when I look back at what we HAVE gotten done this year. Using Sonlight means we have read lots of really good books. Not that you can't read good books if you don't use Sonlight, but I know WE would not have gotten all this done without a plan.

The books Sweetheart has read so far...
Little Bit had this time line in Kindergarten when we used Five in a Row the second part of the year. It goes from 1900-2009.

It came with printable circles for the books we read that year. So I printed off little pictures of the books she has read this year and we added them. (to the year they were published)

 Reading big numbers (dates), before and after....lots of good learning with this little activity! Plus, we put pictures of our family on the timeline so she could get a feel for how old a book is

Ping (which we read in Kindergarten and this year), was written the year before Grandpa was born!  (And before Kit Kittredge--American Girl stories help us place them in time too.)

But the Children's Encyclopedia was written when Little Bit was one!
Anyway, it feels good to know we have gotten some things done this year!

Little Bit finished reading her first "real" book this week--a CHAPTER book no less! Now she's reading Green Eggs and Ham.
Sweetheart's assignment sheet said she was to do a report on Andrew Jackson this week. Mama hadn't even read that little blurb, and honestly Mama didn't care if she did that report or not. But she read it and was excited. So at the library, she went and found a book on Andrew Jackson, brought it home and read it, and wrote up a report.

Maybe it wasn't perfect book report form, but she took the initiative to do it and I was very proud. And she did learn!

We had "backwards day" twice this week. This is when we start at the back of our schedule and work our way up. That way, the things we never get to, get done! Like Science. We even did an experiment!

But enough about school. 

Of course I worked in the girls' rooms this week. One way to make your tiny little 8 year old seem bigger instantly? Hang 0-3 month clothes in her closet next to her dresses!

And we found out that three 5 gallon water bottles a month is NOT enough for our family. We ran out this week and we don't have a water deliver until next week! ACK!

Sad and empty.
I'm not really sure four bottles will be enough either as this month we were also drinking the free cases of water bottles we got for signing up. But I think we'll try a month with 4 bottles and see how it goes. We've created water snobs. When the water ran out, the girls were all, "We have to drink SINK water????" Oh puleeze. Three weeks you've been drinking the good stuff!

And of course, a day of too many errands requires some fun. We had lunch at James Coney Island one day. Cute hats. Gross food. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Yesterday we did school from 9-11:30 and were VERY productive. Then, from 11:30-3:30 we made no fewer than SEVEN stops around town (well, several towns actually) before we landed back at home. At which time I started printing inserts for the invitations and counting out envelopes and stamps. Then I may have fallen asleep on the floor only to have a friend come over to pick up a crib we were giving away (it didn't fit in our space). She totally caught me napping. Then I cooked supper and sister came over to get half the invites to address last night and then we ate supper and we ran out the door to church.

Because I thought the day had been kind of boring up until then, I decided it would be a good idea to lock the car keys in the trunk of the car after church.


Today, we are HOME. And I don't want to run any errands. I have enough to do here to occupy me for 3 straight days! And I am very thankful to just be here. I can assure you school will not start on time. We are all still in our pajamas and the girls are playing. I still need to stuff some envelopes and get everything out to the mailbox before school starts anyway.

There are a lot of should do's on my list today like laundry and finding the kitchen sink and school and things like that. Those will get done. But there are also some want to do's on my list and they are calling my name.

We worked in the girls' rooms Monday evening and haven't touched them since. Completely half-done and a terrible mess. I would like to work in their rooms today. I would like to start seam-ripping ribbon off of their curtains so I can re-decorate the curtains for their "new" rooms. If I have 100 things to do, taking the ribbon off of those curtains comes in #99 in importance. Maybe that's why it appeals to me.

I guess I'll share some before pics of the girls' rooms:

Sweetheart's desk area and part of her bed. And always stuff on the floor. 

Little Bit's museum of too much stuff!
While we spent several days in November organizing and labeling everything in Sweetheart's room, it occurred to me that her arrangement wasn't very organized. Now she has zones--the desk is actually beside the locker and bookshelf, etc. But oh there is much more to be done.

And Little Bit's room has to start transforming into a room for 2. I cleaned out the closet the other day and it's all good now. We got rid of her desk and a lot of toys and now I have to figure out where to put the rest of her furniture. She probably has a year before her roommate will move in, so we can worry about getting rid of more furniture later.

And I've decided to call off that mini-vacation I wanted to go on before baby gets here. We are just too busy right now and I think I will be tired of all that walking, etc. I will probably feel better going in the fall with a 5 or 6 month old in tow. I may regret that. Not sure yet.

I'm off to be productive and enjoy my house and all the improvements which will surely happen around here today!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A New Day

I am so glad to start fresh today. Yesterday was an emotional adolescent day at our house. It's truly the first time I can say we had an "adolescent problem" at our house. 

Does anyone have a fit-throwing needs-to-be-potty-trained toddler I can swap you for? 

Just kidding. I love my girls so much but this growing up thing is all new territory for me and I feel totally unprepared! 

And wait!! In about 2 years I can have both the adolescent and toddler at the same time!! (Which, as I understand it, are quite similar things.) 

So as I came into the picked-up living room this morning and saw the sunlight streaming into my yellow kitchen...and thought about the day ahead...I was so thankful for this verse:

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail. 
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

I don't know about you, but I need new compassion every morning. 

And so do my children. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Doing It All

Yesterday on Facebook there was a conversation among some friends of mine about getting fixed up before husband gets home. The poster had been working hard all day and was sweaty and trying to get supper on the table and shower before he got home. This created some interest---one friend of the poster, who I don't know, wondered if she was living in the 1950s.

But another lady was inspired and came back later to say that she had showered and put on make-up and clean clothes before her husband got home. She was concerned he might have a heart failure when he stepped in the door. :)

Do you clean up and freshen up before your husband gets home? Do you clean the kids up? Do you pick up the house?

I'll tell you, we ALWAYS pick up the house. At least the living room...at 4:00. The girls know I expect the disaster to be resolved before Daddy walks in the door. I shudder to think of him walking in early and unexpected one day because I think he would just be in such shock! HOW is it possible they did ALL THIS since I left for work this morning? Sometimes I'm shocked.

Have you heard of this rock stacking thing? We gave it a go this weekend. 

I do brush my hair. I'm not often sweaty and disgusting. But I'll admit I haven't put a ton of thought into what I look like when he walks in the door. Then again, I ALWAYS shower and get dressed every morning. I understand that some ladies do not. It grosses me out to stay in pajamas all day. I just could not do it. So, yes, if I were in pajamas, or yoga pants and a stained shirt--I could see where there would be room for improvement. I also understand how a mom can let that get away from her and not even realize what she looks like when husband gets home. But I think it's important.

Anyway, Carrie piped up in this Facebook conversation to say that many women in the 1950s had help of some sort. Either they had a maid, or some kind of hired helpers, or even just that you could get milk and groceries delivered to your house back then. Also that most of them did not work outside OR INSIDE (read: homeschooling) their homes. Her point was--yes, look presentable. But we can't do it all.

Sweetheart working on her creation. 
This was an interesting thought to me. I hadn't really stopped to consider the time homeschooling takes away from other things I could be doing. THIS is what being a "stay at home mom" means to me because this is the only way I've ever done it--with homeschooling thrown in the mix.

Oh don't think I haven't dreamt of all I could get accomplished if these little sweeties were gone for 8 hours a day! But that's not what I want. Not what we want. I love having them here but I admit--I love the holidays a whole lot when the homeschooling factor is gone and I just get to be a mom and homemaker. It's so nice.

That's why it irritates me that I get stressed out about not doing spelling for the 3rd day in a row. Or how we forgot to do Zoology yesterday. Or the other myriad of things we don't always get to. I have so many other things to be doing! Homeschooling is a lifestyle, but it is not life. 

Meal prep.
Kitchen clean up.
General housecleaning.
Bill paying/checkbook.

JUST those things take up a considerable chunk of time. I don't have time to homeschool for 12 hours a day on top of that! All things in moderation, right? Even lessons. Checking off all the little boxes does not ensure a successful education. Quality over quantity, right? Balance. We have children to educate, but we also have a house and a husband and responsibilities.

Other people before us went ALL out!
So I will not worry about what didn't get done. We will wisely use our time during "school hours" and then move on to other things. (Knowing, of course, that learning doesn't stop at a certain time.)

(I'm trying to convince myself here and I'm not sure it's working. I guess I really do believe somewhere there are families who get all their subjects done, cook a home-cooked meal and have a neat house.)

Your thoughts on all this?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Abundant Blessings and The Room Schizo

First of all, the blessings. A friend said she had some baby clothes to hand down to me. Great! Thanks! We sure need 'em. So I met her at McDonald's for lunch and came home with 3 large garbage bags and a huge tub of clothes. Oh my goodness!

I spent all weekend washing them up. Her house is cleaner than mine but something was making me sneeze. Their dog? The laundry soap? Not sure. Plus I know some had been stored for awhile. AND washing baby clothes and getting them all ready is one of my very favorite things to do! After sorting and washing and weeding out some with stains, (very, very few. These clothes were in GREAT shape!), this is what we were left with:

Wow!! These are mostly 0-18 months!

The striped bag is full of crib sheets and blankets that we already had. The grey tub is full of a few toys, shoes, socks, bibs, burp rags, a baby monitor, etc. Just stuff. What a blessing! This baby won't need a THING in the way of clothing for a really long time. God is good!!

Now, about The Room Schizo. New readers, I am that schizo.

My name is Brenda and I am a room re-arranger. 

But this time I have a really good reason!! 

We aren't really going to have a nursery for this little one. For Christmas I asked S to paint our room (where the baby will be sleeping for a long time). So he's going to do that next week. I can't exactly help with that room too much, so I'm turning my attention to the girls' rooms. Two reasons:

1. To show them that we love them and care about how their rooms look. That we aren't JUST getting things nice for the baby. 
2. Sweetheart asked for her room to "match better" a few weeks ago. 
3. The baby will eventually share a room with Little Bit (our former homeschool room) so some changes need to be made in there to make space. 

So, yesterday I made a plan for each room. It's not going to be an expensive project by any means. The biggest expense will be new rugs for their rooms. The ones they have in there are 5 years old and pretty gross. Other than that, it will just be sewing, hanging things on the walls, and rearranging. Oh, and a dresser for Little Bit. Gotta visit the thrift stores!

Oh, and organizing Little Bit's closet to make room for baby. (And all these tubs that are stacked in the hall!) Her closet is really big so there should be plenty of room. Once I get rid of a lot of crap. 

After I shared the plan with Sweetheart, she immediately got up from her bed where we were sitting and started cleaning her room. Fifteen minutes later she was done. THAT, my friends, is a world record. So...I'm thinking she liked the plan!

I threw supper in the crock pot this morning so I can work uninterrupted in the closet today. 

If I get stuck, I'll send a distress signal or something. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up--Week 17

It's FRIDAY!!!

I am very excited because this afternoon I am going to surprise the girls with a trip to the movies. We almost NEVER go to the movies so it is a big deal for them. It seriously has probably been 2 years since we've been--can't remember exactly. We're going to go see just about the only children's movie showing at our local theater today and that is Beauty and the Beast 3-D. It was 30 degrees outside when I woke up this morning so the movies sound like a good thing to do for fun, huh?

We've had a good week, overall. I still struggle with having the energy to cook in the evenings so we have eaten out more than I would have liked this week but I DID manage to cook 5 or 6 meals at home since last Friday. It isn't just the energy because if it was you could tell me to use my crock pot. No, it's that what I set out to make earlier in the day gags me by 5:00. That's the other problem. Somehow restaurant food never gags me. Hmm.

We started the week out with a flood. It was a nice day to stay home but the rain was a distraction on the school work. But a nice one.

Our street. That's our Christmas tree awaiting heavy trash day. Somehow it didn't float away.

Our backyard was pretty full too. 

On the school front, this week Little Bit and I have been reading Dr. Doolittle. I had never read this book. She's enjoying it and really enjoys getting all the animals out every day to act out the story while I read.
Polynesia, Gub-Gub, Chee-Chee, Jip, Dab-Dab, and Too-Too. 

I've been working and thinking hard about her math and how to get her going on it. This week we played "Your Pile, My Pile" a lot with flash cards. That's a game where you flash the card at her and if she gets it right, she gets to hold it and if she gets it wrong, I get to hold it. Then whoever has the most cards at the end, wins. Of course she won every time because she was not about to let me win. It worked. She finally started getting fast on these easy facts. I thought the day would never come.

But after 2 days of that she was over it. Sigh. I'm still trying to figure this girl out and what works for her. So next I printed off several things for her to do on different math topics so she isn't doing the same thing any day. Variety is the spice of her life when it comes to math, I guess.

I continue to struggle with not getting every subject done every day. I'm just going to have to muddle through the rest of this year and hope that 4-day-a-week curriculum choice helps us out next year on this matter. I don't really mind that we don't do every thing every day....just that we seem to go several days without hitting a subject. That's not good. Maybe I'll spend some time this weekend working on that. It's bothering me.

Well, we've got lots to do before enjoying our movie day. Holding "a fun day" over their head is good for a lot of housecleaning mileage and schoolwork you know!

One last thing:

22 weeks. Please enjoy my towel. And yes, Kathy---the ironing board was up!

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sonlight--How's That Working For You? (Part 3)

The Tweaks

I'm sure somewhere there is a homeschool family who uses their curriculum exactly as prescribed. But i haven't personally met them. We all take the good and the great (and a lot of times, the free and the borrowed!) and then use it in a way that best suits our family. And you usually can't tell how you will change something until you've used it for awhile.

Well, there isn't much to change with Sonlight for me. But there are a few things.


First of all, there was Bible. For 2 years now, we had been using this:
But with the daunting newness of our big new curriculum coming, and considering that Bible was already written in to this curriculum, I decided not to order our next book from Bible Study Guides. I didn't want to make our day any longer or overwhelm anyone. Myself included.

So we spent the first 16 weeks of the year using only the Bible assignments from Sonlight. BUT...let me say...I didn't order all the components of their Bible program so that is probably part of the reason why our Bible time just didn't seem like enough to me. Maybe if we had used their full program, it would have.

Whatever the reason, I felt something was missing. I realized that Bible is more important than anything else we do during our day and its worth the time to do it well. (I already knew that!) So when we started back this week, we also started back with our old Bible curriculum. We've missed it. The girls love it. AND...it's something we can all do together. A great way to start the day.

We are still doing the Bible reading from each girls' Sonlight program as well.

The Days

The only other thing I'm going to tweak, and this will have to wait until next year, is I'm going to go with the 4-day a week option next year. With Sonlight, you can purchase a 5-day curriculum or a 4-day one. We didn't have a choice this year as the condensed American History core already crams 2 years into 1 and that is why the 4-day is not an option with this core. But next year, both girls will be working on a 4-day core. That will free up our Fridays (or Mondays) to work on science, relax, get caught up, do projects, etc. I think it will give  us the breather we need.

That's it! Other than that, I am really pleased with our curriculum.

Math Change Coming!

Now, (this has nothing to do with Sonlight) but I found a Teaching Textbooks used on The Homeschool Lounge the other day and snapped it up. You know I have been thinking about switching to TT for Sweetheart ever since this day  back in November.  I LOVE Math U See and believe in it. I think their way of doing things works! I also feel loyal to Mr. Demme because he has brought us SO far! But when something stops working well for your child, (sigh), it's time to try something else. We will still be using MUS for Little Bit. And this TT is just a trial run. I bought the 5th grade level and I'm going to let her spend this spring and probably the summer too working through it. That should let me know if it's good fit and if I should order it for next year. I decided on the 5th grade because 1. it was for sale :) and 2. she hasn't covered fractions or decimals with MUS yet so I wanted to step back to a level that covered those for her. I'll let you know how it goes!

Anyone else make some changes mid-year? Man, I love homeschooling. When something isn't working for your child in public or even private school you just have to suck it up and make it through and hope for a better year next year. Not so with us!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Pregnant Brain and Some Other Things

So....I've lived here my whole life. I mean, technically we lived in another city for 7 years but that city is only 15 minutes away so...it's not like I really moved far.  I currently live on the same block I grew up on. I attended the same church for nearly 40 years of my life. That's the church where we are having my parent's 50th anniversary celebration.

And yet, inexplicably, I managed to put the wrong zip code on the invitations.

And then last night we had breakfast for supper. I put the ricotta cheese on the table instead of margarine.

Help me. Can I really chalk all this up to pregnancy brain? Please???

We went to the beach Sunday after church...
Our church is reading through the Bible this year. They have provided each of us with a chronological Bible. Very handy and already dated for you. On Wednesday evenings, our study will revolve around what we have read that week so there is extra motivation for keeping up. Last year I made it through April before I fell off the wagon. This year Sweetheart is also doing the reading. She's doing great right now but I dread when we get to say...Leviticus. We may have to do the reading together at some point. Genesis is all enjoyable right now. Our extra incentive is at the end of every month, if we are on target, we will all go out for frozen yogurt. Little Bit will be involved also but I am using the Egermeier's Bible Story book* for her. It's what she already uses for Bible in school. I told her if she listened to her story every day, she could have frozen yogurt at the end of the month. The point is to get us reading every day. I think I need to make a sticker chart for her. And maybe one for me too!

*I'll have more to say about this book in tomorrow's post!
 I'm thinking the water was kind of cold! 
Getting every subject done in school is very hard. I just read a friend's blog where she listed as one of her goals for the year was to only have school 3 hours a day. Her old pattern is to try to hit everything, have school last 6 hours or more, then burn out and take several weeks off. I quite agree that smaller doses, but regular doses, is healthier. I expected school to start taking longer the older Sweetheart got. I knew the glorious days of 1 elementary-aged student and 1 pre-schooler would not last forever. You know, where we were done by lunch no matter what? I just find it hard to get back at it after lunch. By then, we've been sitting and doing for quite a while and we all want a break. The dishes and laundry are calling to me. The backyard is calling to the girls. Then I find it hard to call us back to order. I guess I'm admitting a personal weakness. I know, wah wah, right? Public school kids go to school for 8 hours. It's just hard and next year I will be making some changes to help fix this issue.

Which was really funny!
Tomorrow I will be 5 months pregnant and will have exactly 4 months until my due date. FOUR MONTHS!!! Do you realize what all has to happen in those 4 months? (breathe in. breath out) OK. A lot, is the correct answer.

  • finish the school year
  • paint our bedroom
  • purchase some baby things
  • plan and have my parent's anniversary party
  • organize several areas of the house
  • hopefully go on some type of little vacation
  • get some meals in the freezer
  • make some menu plans that the girls' can make or help make the first few weeks
  • clean the carpet
  • finish the girls' quilts (my sewing machine is in the shop for a week right now!)
  • get the girls' pictures made
I'm sure the list will get more ludicrous and detailed and crazy (see point #1) in the next few weeks. I think I need to start a new spiral notebook so I can cross things off and keep track of all my crazy. 

That's all that's going on in my brain today. How about you? And do you have any freezer meal ideas for me? That don't involve death-inducing pasta for my diabetic husband? (I really miss pasta.)