Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Schooling All Over the House

So, we don't have a homeschool room anymore. I can hardly believe that it was just last school year we started in this room:

It was going to be our 2nd year in that nice, large room. But then, 2 months into the school year, I started feeling completely trapped. I blogged about it here.

By the way, that was the exact same week I found out I was expecting Baby Bee. Perhaps the hormones were helping in my decision?

Whatever the reason, this is what is now in that old homeschool room:

Little Bit sleeps here.
So that left us homeschooling around the house last year. Sweetheart worked at her desk a lot in her room. Little Bit and I worked on the couch a lot as Mama was pregnant and very tired. Our school year was not what I had planned.

As I get ready for this new year, with even LESS space as we have added a new blessing to our home, I am really having to wrap my head around this "no homeschool space" thing. I would love to have a room again. I would love to have a room big enough for homeschooling and playing. It sure sounds nice.

I've never planned a year without a designated space!

We got some new living room furniture recently and I'm thankful for the new coffee table in the living room. Little Bit and I can work there as well as the dining room table. That will be nice. I am fitting all our homeschool stuff in the old sewing room so at least our storage is in one place and not all over the house.

I've got the cabinet in there, but the floor is now full of piles and stacks of stuff. Must finish organizing! Still, I'm thankful to have a small space to PUT everything at the end of the day. I'll give that tour when I'm finished. It's not pretty right now.

Sweetheart will be working at her desk again this year. For her birthday (next month), we are fixing up her desk area. I hope it will be really nice and "grown up." I'll share that when I'm done as well.

So basically:

1. I don't really like not having a school room. Humph. But I'm trying to be content.
2. I'm going to do some things.
3. I'll show you pictures when I get those things done.

Now you may return to your (infinitely, for sure) more exciting school planning!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

So I Have a Secret

I've been making smoothies for breakfast for 2 weeks now. The girls and I have been drinking one every morning. I'm doing this for our health. So what's the big secret?

Well, they think they are drinking fruit smoothies, but they are really drinking green smoothies. Yeah, yeah..."knowledge is power". How about "what you don't know won't hurt you"? Or "ignorance is bliss"?

The first 2 mornings after I bought my Ninja...(**Warning: My sister and a good friend have both sliced themselves on the blades to this bad boy. Not my Ninja--theirs. These things are SHARP. Use caution.)
Anyway...the first 2 smoothies I made were straight up fruit smoothies. And I made them pretty sweet. After that, the novelty of the new blender wore off and the girls wandered off and I started stuffing spinach in there too. I started with one good fistful and now I'm using 1/2 a small bag every morning.

I LOVE that Sweetheart is getting all those greens in her diet. She wouldn't eat that much spinach in a YEAR left to her own devices. I love that breakfast is easy. I'm excited they still like them. Little Bit asks for them every morning. Sweetheart sometimes needs encouragement to finish hers, but she does. She's even said she likes them!

One day soon they'll discover my little secret. And that's OK. Because at that point I can just say, "You've been drinking green smoothies for X amount of weeks and you liked them." Anyway I thought I'd share what I've been doing.

I basically used this video to get started. The big difference is, I use blueberries to turn our smoothie a wonderful shade of pink. My smoothies aren't that green even before the blueberries. I'm working up the amount of greens I add though little by little.

Our basic daily recipe is some no sugar added mixed frozen fruit, water, spinach, and frozen blueberries. Oh...and flax seed and sometimes I throw Little Bit's magnesium supplement in there too. Oh and a little Truvia. I understand you are supposed to change things up a bit and use different greens, etc. But this is really working for us and is way more health food getting inside of us than usual. So for now I'm sticking with it.

I can't say that I've noticed huge benefits yet. Some people report symptoms of other diseases gone, great hair and skin, etc. My nails are really strong just like when I was pregnant. I guess that's something. But we're going to keep going and see what happens.

Oh one more thing! I'm kind of starting Sweetheart on this diet. Yes, my 90 pound almost 13 year old on a diet. :) It's not for weight loss. That girl loves nothing but carbs and sweets and avoids any vegetable she can. She's on the fast track to diabetes with her Dad's family history, so I decided something needed to change. The smoothies are my own idea--they aren't part of this diet. The first step in the diet is to eat protein every morning with breakfast. So I make her a piece of peanut butter toast, or a slice of sausage to go with her smoothie. I'm also going to try throwing oatmeal in the blender. Whatever I can do to improve her diet.

That's my little secret. And my little plan to get our family healthier. There is so much to improve on it can be overwhelming, but at least I've started, right?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Our Curriculum Choices 2012-2013

This week is Curriculum Week! The whole Not Back to School Bloghop is a blast and satisfies my inner nosiness curiosity and allows me to poke around in other people's homeschools! Pure bliss, I tell you.

Not Back to School Blog Hop

I'm kind of sad everything is decided! I LOVE researching curriculum and planning, etc. Totally one of my favorite times of the year....the school supplies, fresh notebooks, a new start...I just love it!

And I am excited about this new school year. I snoozed through a lot of last year with my pregnancy and we certainly didn't get as much done as I had planned. I know this year will be very different with a baby, but I am excited anyway!

Our girls are 12 (entering 7th grade) and 8 (entering 3rd grade). Here are our choices for the year:


This will be our last year to do science together. We will be using this

I will not be using the notebooking journals this year. They stress me out and make me feel like we have to fill in every blank. We will be doing science with a friend from our old church who will be experiencing her first year of homeschooling her daughter, niece, and nephew. We have been blessed to do science with a different family every year. It's always nice to do the fun stuff with some friends!


No changes here. I am a firm, 100% sold believer in All About Spelling. I'm an affiliate too, so if you need to order, please click here!) We will just pick up where we left off last year and then move on to the next level.


Well, Sweetheart has completed all the Handwriting Without Tears books, so its time to move on. I am going to expect all written work to be done in cursive this year. That should give her enough practice. So instead, she will spend her time with Ms. Mavis.

She's very excited!

Little Bit is not ready for cursive, so I'm going to use our Handwriting Without Tears paper for copywork. She will need to practice every day, but it won't be much.


Sweetheart will be continuing with Teaching Textbooks. We stepped all the way back to 5th grade level to pick up the lessons on fractions and decimals since she had never done those topics. (We bought the 5th grade stuff used) Well, it turned out the entire 5th grade package was a GREAT review for her and her math skills have really increased since she's been going through it. So I plan to have her finish that (she's been working on it this summer) and then start the 6th grade level. I know that still puts her behind, but I think we can get caught up by next school year. We should need to purchase the 6th grade stuff in October.

This summer, Little Bit and I began using Horizons Math and we LOVE it. It is such a good fit for her. She is also off level (and Horizons is about a grade level above anyway), but learning is more important than the number on the book, right? I am excited that we are finally making progress and moving forward! And so far I REALLY like the lesson in the teacher's book for Horizons. So glad I bought the teacher's books! (used) A lot of reviewers I read said they didn't feel they needed the teacher's books for such a low level but Little Bit is REALLY responding to all the hands-on acitities and repetition. It is just working! Hoping we fly through these books and move on to the next level this school year as well.

The theme of this year, in case you hadn't noticed, is "catching up!" That pregnancy really threw my plans for a loop!

But just look at the sweet result:

So we have to work harder this year to get caught up? It was worth it. :)

Everything Else
Bible, Reading, History, Geography, Language Arts....

...will all be covered with Sonlight. This year Sweetheart will be doing Core F, which focuses on the Eastern Hemisphere.

And Little Bit will be doing Core B, which covers World History from Creation to the fall of the Roman Empire.

This is the first year Sonlight's cores have included Bible and Language Arts and I am interested to try them both and see how I like them.

So that's our choices for the school year. Now I just have to get everything organized and planned. Hmm. I'm finding that hard with a 2 month old. It'll get done--just in tiny, tiny chunks of time.

Now hop on over and check out other folks' choices. You really can learn so much!

Not Back to School Blog Hop

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Revisions, Revisions Everywhere

Today is our anniversary. *smile* We've been married 19 years! I cannot believe that...but when Sweetheart asked me this morning what I was doing at that time 19 years ago I had no idea. Cannot remember at all what I did the morning of our wedding.

So maybe it's not so hard to believe that its been that long ago after all.

Well, nineteen years and I'm going to be the wife of a preacher. Our preacher and his family (our good, good friends) are moving to another state. That's a post for another time. We are going to miss them because not only are the husbands friends, the wives are friends. You know, as opposed to politely visiting with your husband's friend's wife? You have friends like that, right? No, we are all friends. AND ALL of our girls are friends. We hate to see them go, but all along I have been trusting God. Because I know He is able to work all things for good for those who love Him. He can work it for their good, our good, the church's good....all at the same time. He is that amazing.

But with them moving, that leaves our church without a preacher and S has been asked to preach. Mind you, he'll still be working his regular job. So, that is one reason why I was rearranging--to make a place for S to study and prepare sermons. We did that now but have I taken pictures? I have not. Later, OK?

Me. A preachers' wife. Huh. Still kind of wrapping my head around that one. I mean, S has always wanted to preach...but here we are. I always thought "one day he'll be a preacher" but I did NOT think, "one day I'll be a preacher's wife." I guess that one should have been obvious, but it didn't occur to me so much.

Baby Bee is 2 months old tomorrow. I know! She is so sweet and cute and we are all still totally in love with her. We HAVE been able to get some school done even though she is a great distraction.

Come on...math...or me?
Is it just me, or are there a lot of revisions going on at our house lately? I was looking back at posts from this time last year...wow. I was busy re-doing the school room...NO idea a baby was in our near future. Now we have 3 girls, no homeschool room, and I'm going to be a preacher's wife.

Stick around. There's just no telling what's going to happen around here next!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Let's Just Call It Progress Anyway, OK?

Little Bit does NOT like the mess I've made. She told me so. "I don't like it when things are everywhere."

Neither do I dear, but it has to get worse before it gets better.

The contents of our homeschool cabinet, ladies and gentlemen. In the first room you see when you walk in our house. The room with no door, mind you.

But I cleaned out that sewing room!
In progress...
And fit that homeschool cabinet in there!

All my sewing stuff and scrapbook stuff fit into that curtained closet on the right. 

Otherwise known as: Things I Will Get to in Another 6 or 10 Years

I'm pretty proud of that big move, but now I have to re-organize the inside of the cabinet and it's making me twitch a bit. Now that we use Sonlight, our organizational needs have changed. And I also need to get rid of a lot of stuff!

I'll be listing things for sale this week. HOPING to make some cash and clear some space. Some things I'll want to hang onto for Baby Bee but honestly...it will be at least 5 years before she uses any of it. You can't just keep everything for that long. 

Which brings me to thinking about curriculum. Pretty sure I've nailed down all my choices for the year so I'll be blogging about those soon. 

But first I need to whimper a bit. Wander around some. And then finally get this finished. 

In that order. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Wisdom of Little Bit

She's been using my camera again. She was experimenting with turning the light off and on in her room to make the dollhouse windows appear like night and day. And this is what I found...in this order:

Still sleeping...

Good morning!

Making Daddy's lunch...

Getting ready for work...

Here's your lunch dear...


And then....


What does she know? She's asleep at that time of day anyway!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

One Month (Not About the Baby)

Nope...baby is already 6 weeks old!

But it's been a whole month since I took a little ride in the ambulance. Did I ever tell you what I figured out about all that? A doctor fixed me up in the hospital. He did an EGD and cauterized the blood vessel that  had the hole in it as well as the ulcer in my stomach. I had a follow-up appointment at his office with his assistant.

She talked the whole time about acid reflux and heartburn. I was confused because I don't ever have those things except heartburn when I'm pregnant. She went on and on about my esophagus and gave me a sheet telling what to do and change in my life to keep my esophagus healthy and keep the acid reflux at bay. I listened. She also wanted to change me to stronger medicine when I'm all done breastfeeding. I was confused again because another doctor at the hospital told me I would be on the pills for 6 weeks...not indefinitely?

So I researched when I got home. Learned all the things I needed to do to change my lifestyle and diet. Then the next week I had an appointment with my new (wonderful) family doctor.

Guess what? Turns out I don't have acid reflux and heartburn.

My family doctor said that there wasn't anything in my files (I had them faxed over) about acid reflux and heartburn, but there WAS notation about gastritis.

This made so much more sense! And guess what? It will go away.

So the causes of gastritis are: alcohol (not me), smoking (nope), something else I can't remember that didn't apply to me, physical stress (Hello? Bee's birth!) and Ibuprofen (I took it 3 times prior to the ER trip).

Since I had been bleeding ever since her birth, I figure the gastritis started that day. When I took the ibuprofen a week and a half later....disaster. So as long as I stay away from Ibuprofen...I should be fine once all this heals. And since my symptoms are mostly gone...I believe I'm almost there.

SUCH good news!!!

I'm thankful for every single day that I've been home from the hospital. Thankful to do our dishes, sweep our floor, visit with S in the evenings, take care of Bee, fix Little Bit's hair, read history read-alouds to Sweetheart...everything!! I am so thankful to feel better and to be here at home.

Being sick and hospitalization and doctor's appointments and feeling bad are all stressful. Hospital bills and insurance are stressful too. I know S has had a VERY stressful month. He bore a lot of the burden while I was sick and still bears the burden of caring for his family and providing for our (now more expensive!) needs.

But really, the LORD is our Provider. He who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine...holds us in His hands. Praise God!!

There is no better place to be.

I'm off to enjoy cleaning out that sewing room now!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


**I told you I'd share our 4th of July journal pages today, but I didn't get any pictures made. Here is what we did. 

I've said it before: floor plan matters more than square footage. I still believe that. This house we live in is small compared to today's new houses, but much bigger than many houses in this world. Still, we know that a family of 5 once lived here and fit all their belongings.

Of course, they eventually moved.

So, adding Baby Bee did squish us up a bit more. I know she's just a tiny baby, but even tiny babies have to have a place to live. I know that large families fit WAY more kids into their square footage than I am dealing with. Our girls have been allowed to keep more personal belongings than large family kids are allowed to keep--simply because they could.

Bee sleeps in our room right now and I'm pretty proud of figuring out a way to fit all that.

Bee's bed beside ours. The dresser is used as a changing table.

We'll keep her in there with us until that doesn't work anymore. Then she'll move in with Little Bit. (That would be in our old homeschool room. It's the bigger room.)
This is now Little Bit's bedroom. 

When that happens, Little Bit will need to get rid of some things. And some furniture will have to go out of her room.

But the bedrooms are not the problem.

Our front room (the first homeschool room we ever had...and former playroom)

now houses books. I like to call it the "library" like we are so rich we have a library. Also the pet birds are in there, a chair, and the armoire that holds our homeschool stuff.

There isn't room for a table in there anymore so it really isn't a "homeschool room". In fact, it's not good for much of anything except storing things. Besides the chair, there isn't any way to "use" that room.

And then there is the sewing room.

Wow. Things sure were neat then. See the curtained closet to the right?

I also made a bill paying nook in that room. There's the curtained closet again.

Well. I'm thinking. Still thinking. 

See, S needs a place to sit and study. 
The old study area I made for S. Baby Bee sleeps here now. :)

We need our homeschool stuff closer to the dining room. So I'm thinking (and this is just still in the thinking stage...) of moving that armoire to the sewing room. Which would mean all the sewing stuff has to go in the curtained closet. And a LOT of junk has to go. Then...there would be room in the library for a desk or table for S. 

Hmm. This is not about my rearranging problem (Hello. My name is Brenda and I'm a chronic re-arranger.) This is about making our house work for us. This is what we have. There HAS to be a way to make it work! 

And if it doesn't work, well...at least I will have cleaned out a lot of junk in the process, right? 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Summer Art Journals: Circles

For this journal you will need: old magazines, a circle to trace, crayons and/or color pencils, a Sharpie, glue sticks, and scissors. Wow! No paint? This must be one neat and tidy journal page!

Yeah....not so much.

Look through magazines.

Trace something that has lots of colors, but no words. Like Kelly Ripa's dress. We used a lid from an empty bottle of dried onion flakes.

Trace 9-12 circles on your journal page. Then decide where to put your magazine cut-outs.

Glue 'em down.

Little sisters might want to watch.

Now color the remaining circles using only colors from the magazine circles. Coloring hard looked best.
You can't mess this project up. It's up to the artist to do what they think looks best. 

 Wow. Stellar photography, Mom. Encourage the artists to put words on their page. Journals have words.
That's all there is to it! Blurry pictures and all. 

Next time: July 4th Journals

This project found here