Tuesday, August 26, 2014

For me

Last week was crazy.  I spent the entire weekend recuperating.  JP had to work on Saturday, so Sunday we did nothing.  I was on the verge of sickness and actually took a nap Sunday afternoon.  I've been staying up way too late and the stress of the changes with JP's shift have been taking their toll.  I am fighting hoarseness today after raking some grass yesterday that hopefully won't turn into anything else.

Sometimes, I can get so overwhelmed with so many things that I forget to do things for me.  I make sure the kids get the schoolwork done, that they show up for lessons and activities, that they are clean and fed and their spiritual lives are encouraged.  So much so that I'm too tired to think for doing things that are just for me. 

I have a tendency to make excuses like:

Oh, the kids will suffer.
I'll be keeping them out too late.
We just can't add anything else to the schedule.
Maybe in the future, when they are bit older.

You know...copping out type excuses.

Here's what I'm learning:

I'm a part of one cool family!
I've got the most supportive husband in the world!
My cheering section is pretty darn awesome!

Doing something for me IS doing something for them!

I've put off doing swim lessons for years.  Everything just fell into place this year.  It's been so awesome!  My kids never complain that I have to go to swim lessons.  They are cheering me from the sidelines with the biggest smiles you've ever seen!  My husband pushes me out the door and is so proud.  

Now, I have the opportunity to sing in a community choir at the local college.  I almost talked myself out of doing it this semester.  It's so late, JP's shift is still crazy, it will take too much out of the kids... What I really am doing is copping out, because it's been a while.  I'm nervous and wondering if I can still do it.  What if I mess up?  

Then, I saw on the facebook page..."Bring your Messiah score if you have one!"  That settled it for me, I'm doing it!!!  You know what my family said (Even the one who's going to have to sit through the rehearsals with me after her choir)?  "Go for it, Mom! You'll be awesome!  You should do it!  I'll take personal time at work..."  How about that for a cheering section?  I get tears in my eyes just thinking about how blessed I am to have these people.  

Moms, don't use your kids as an excuse for not doing the things you enjoy.  Those things that make you a better person for them.  Don't neglect your devotion time, your hobbies, taking care of yourself.  Taking care of yourself is showing them how to take care of themselves.  Don't wait until they are all grown up to start!  

Doing something for you IS doing something for them!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up: One of those Crazy Weeks

Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday feels like it was two weeks ago!  Have you ever had one of those weeks where every meeting, sign up, lesson, tournament, etc. just seemed to fall on that week?   It's been one of those weeks for us!

On Monday, Tera and Daniel did some canning entries for the fair.  JP took Tera's peach jam to a co-worker and she let a friend try it.  Tera actually made a sale!  

Flute lesson and CCI meeting had us on the go Tuesday during the day.  Both Michael and I had a swim lesson on Tuesday evening!  I have to say, I'm not an expert by any means, but I'm doing things in the water I thought I would NEVER do.  It feels awesome to finally be doing this!  

Wednesday, we had a wonderful time with our writing workshop friends.  

Then, CRAZY Thursday!

Tera and Daniel at chess...

Then, we went to sign Tera up for a community middle school choir.  

Michael was so happy to play in the fountains.  I knew I had a change of clothes in the car, so I just let the boy go for it!  

After I got Michael in clean, dry clothes at the car, we went out to dinner with our friends to Chic-fil-a before attending a Celtic band concert at the library.  It was a packed house!

Today, I left the kids working on schoolwork while I went grocery shopping. (The only perk of JP's work schedule right now.)   This afternoon, Tera and I got haircuts.  

It's been a long week!   We had so much fun with great friends, but we are tired! 

I have absolutely no plans for this weekend.  I do not even want to think about leaving my house until next Tuesday.  Some weeks are just crazy busy!  You get through them and they make you so much more thankful for the relaxed weeks.  I'm looking forward to one of those kind of weeks...next week.  

Linked up to Weekly Wrap-up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Friday, August 15, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: Expectations

 Weekly Wrap-Up

What a week!

I have felt on-the-go this week--2 swim lessons, flute lesson, chess for the afternoon, shopping mixed in between, mowing this morning.  I need an early bedtime for sure!  

I feel like I'm coming out of my "funk" just a bit.  

Today, the kids (Tera and Daniel) and I sat down for a meeting.  I outlined some of my expectations for them and we talked about priorities/upcoming deadlines.  They are obsessed with chess right now.  I just want to make sure that we deal with time management and I guide them through balancing their interests with responsibilities.  

Expectations:  Taking ownership of your schoolwork; daily instrument practice; come to Mom or Dad for help with your schoolwork (do not skip things you don't understand); show your work; weekly work with Michael; rooms clean before videos.  

Priorities:  3 part daily devotions--Bible reading together in the morning; family devotions and prayer; personal devotions; music/instrument; family responsibilities:  (School work, chores, clean rooms and any extra work that Mom and Dad need help with)

Deadlines:  Meals on Wheels crafts, fair projects (art, canning, photography, etc.) and Sept. Chess tournament.  

Doing this with them, felt like we were all on the same page.  It helped me feel more organized and like all my ducks were in a row.
We are changing up spelling next week and I've ordered a new writing program, Jump In:  Writing with Sharon Watson.  We are 31 days into school and I'm changing things already.  But, I'm okay with that!  (The kids were really excited when I mentioned the new changes, so that has to be a good sign!)

My weekly planning is getting back on track.  Flying by the seat of your pants is not a good feeling for anyone.  

Revolutionary War studies are going really well for Tera!

She's been cooking so much this week and it all has been so yummy!  (Dilly Rolls-pictured below)

 A cool photo Daniel took this week using my camera.

Kindergarten has been relaxed as of late, but this boy is constantly learning.  It's almost scary!  He's been reading to himself chapter books at night and building like crazy.  Yet, I still worry!  I'm glad I have friends who snap me out of it!

We got our yearbooks this week!  (Yes, our homeschool group does yearbooks!)  They are so awesome!

So, even though the last couple of weeks haven't went exactly the way I would have hoped, I just keep looking forward instead of looking back.  Letting go of my own unrealistic expectations....

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

Monday, August 11, 2014

That's Me... Swimming


I have been scared of swimming for as long as I can remember,
but here I am doing it!!!

Is there some skill you've always felt you could never master? 
Don't give up! 
Just get out there and try!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Weekend Fun

Chess tournament at the library...

Mr. America

Some of our long time friends were in town this weekend!  It was so wonderful to see them!

Just like old times....

 A group shot!  My, how all these kids have grown...

Me and my friend!!!

Friday, August 8, 2014


Book Review and Giveaway: Wherever the River Runs by Kelly Minter

"That first day on the river, I didn't understand what I was getting into, how God was about to rearrange my priorities, break my heart, push against the thin lining of my faith,  whet my tongue for a joy I'd never tasted, and open my eyes to the poor.  I knew I was on the brink of an adventure of a lifetime, but I had no idea just how far the river would take me." 


 Book:  Wherever the River Runs
Author:  Kelly Minter
Pages: 256 pages
Publisher:  David C. Cook

About the book:   

"In Wherever the River Runs, Kelly Minter invites us on a journey down a river teeming with piranhas and caimans, as well as machete-wielding mothers, heroic jungle pastors, faith-filled children, and miracles too seldom experienced in our part of the world.  Kelly's honest and engaging narrative pulls back the curtain on one of the most captivating places on earth as well as on parts of the gospel we may be able to recite but have never fully believed.

On this beautiful adventure through the jungles of Brazil and the tangles of the soul, Kelly rediscovers Jesus among a forgotten people living well beyond the corners of her previously defined faith---a people who draw her back to their country, their pain and their hope in Him, again and again. 

What I loved:

  • Minter uses humor to get across important key points.  I found myself laughing out loud at her descriptions and observations on life.

  • The author's lessons in the Amazon flowed over into her everyday life.  She takes us through the journey of recognizing the needy that surround us and how we can open ourselves to be "inconveniently needed." 

  • Minter's approach to the poor. She reminds us of it's importance in our world, not just on a mission trip!

"If we distance ourselves from the poor, we may be able to maintain a more comfortable and certainly tidier existence and theology, but we will miss having a deeper, more abiding, and more fulfilling relationship with Jesus."  
-Kelly Minter

  • Kelly talks a lot about her "faults" and never pretends she has it all figured out.  She is just one of us trying to find her way and draw closer to Jesus in the process.

  • Easy to read style that draws the reader into a two-fold story that begins in the Amazon and continues to unfold throughout every other area of her life.

"These moments were coming for all of us, the ones you can't orchestrate or plan for.  When you're obedient to look after the least of these-the vulnerable, the orphan, the widow- the Holy Spirit comes with the territory."

To find out more about Kelly, visit her website. 

Leave a comment below and enter for a chance to win your own copy of 
Kelly Minter's book, Wherever the River Runs.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising"): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. 
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

I've Got That Old Feeling....

I feel it coming...that old feeling.  It's that time of year again.  It hits me between the eyes.  I feel down, out of sorts for no reason whatsoever.  There's a temporary change in our family's routine.  I'm thrown for a loop.  The season threatens to overtake me.  

But do I respond in all the right ways?  

Staying up too late watching real estate and cooking reality shows
Not exercising enough
Eating too much of the wrong things

I know all these things just make the situation WORSE, but I do it anyway....

At least I can take a step back and recognize it.  For now, I'm moving my bedtime back to a decent hour.  Trying to eat better and exercise more.  Trying to make more time for reading my Bible and prayer.  Watching less TV on hulu.  

It's not as bad as it sometimes feels, I remind myself.  I'm getting out of bed every morning, interacting with my children, doing school, making sure everyone is fed and clean.  We're pushing through and by some standards, we are thriving.  

It's just that old feeling....

One of my favorite scriptures and songs:  

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

Isaiah 43:2


Thursday, July 31, 2014

3 Things Thursday

Three Things Thursday

1. Our garden is yielding a bumper crop this year.  My counter is overflowing basically ALL the TIME!  So, what have I been doing?  Cooking, cooking, cooking and writing blog posts about all the recipes I'm finding.

My counter looks like this today, not counting all the cucumbers and a few eggplants in the fridge.  

Garden Recipes
Cucumber Recipes
20 Eggplant Recipes
10 Pattypan Recipes

Since my butternut squash are starting to come in, I need to get on the ball and find some new recipes! 

2.  Seeds Family Worship---we love them!  I bought one to start and then went back to buy 3 more!  Each CD came as a two-pack-one to keep and one to share.  We've been able to pass these scripture songs along to others.

3.  One of our new favorite songs:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: Enough: 10 Things You Should Be Telling Teenage Girls by Kate Conner

Written by:  Kate Conner
Published by:  B&H Publishing Group
Paperback:  211 pages

Neon Purple Leggings

Vegan Lions

Six Circles

These are just a few chapter titles from the book Enough: 10 Things You Should be Telling Teenage Girls by Kate Conner.  You know it's going to be a great book, when you are hooked at the Table of Contents!  

Kate Conner takes you through the gamut of issues that are relevant to our teenage daughters.  She discusses social media, tanning, the dreaded word--modesty, and so much more.  Kate encourages us to take off the masks (Those I'm-an-adult, so-I-have-it-all-together masks) and engage our daughters.  

What I thought:

  • This book not only spoke to my relationship with my daughter and things I should be communicating to her, but it spoke to my heart as well!  It speaks to any woman!  Words of encouragement that tell us, we are enough, and valuable because God says so! 

"We are enough because God declares it so.  This is the great scandal of the gospel."

  • Enough is hilarious!  Humor is scattered throughout this book filled with heavy truths.   The chapter titles themselves captured your attention and frankly, I couldn't just stop there!  

  • The emphasis on Scripture!

The Word of God centers us, focuses us, and tells us the truth-it will tell your teenage girl the truth.  -Kate Conner
  • The structure of the chapters made this a very easy read! 

I absolutely loved every part of this book!  I plan on buying copies for my friends and getting the companion book for our daughters. (10 Things for Teen Girls)  Enough is definitely a book to re-read again and again.  It was that awesome!  

More about this book:

"We all have teenage girls in our lives who we love, whether it's a sister, friend or daughter. Conner offers herself as a translator helping you to speak that teenager girl's language and equipping you with a fresh perspective from which to engage her.  Kate has identified 10 things these girls need to hear daily from someone who loves them." 

About Kate Conner:   

 A writer, mother, blogger and inspirational speaker, Kate expands her blog post:  Ten Things I Want to Tell Teenage Girls into the book, Enough.  

You can win your own copy of this great book!  
Leave a comment and enter below for a chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising"): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. 

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Monday, July 28, 2014

2014-2015 Curriculum Picks: 8th, 7th and Kindergarten

2014-2015 Curriculum Picks

Tera-  8th grade


Language Arts:
125 Ways to Be a Better Writer and Teaching Genres- These are two older books I randomly picked up from book sales that teach writing and the various genres of literature. 
Creative writing group with friends using

SmallWorld's WordSmithery

Tera asked to spend an entire year studying about the American Revolution.  At first, I said, "No", but then start thinking, "Why not? Isn't that why we homeschool?"  Since I couldn't find a whole year's curriculum, I decided to do what I've always done.  Piece things together.  

We are using the following two books as a springboard in addition to other historical fiction and non-fiction books from the library.  I'm finding lots of resources on pinterest as well!  

I'm adding to my pinterest board on a weekly basis.  She looks through the pins and picks out what activities she wants to include for that week's study.  


Tera needed some variety in science this year.  We decided to again piece together things she was interested in studying.  

Each week, she spends one day a week on a different area:  Kitchen Science; Life Science, Chemistry and Animals.

Science Experiments You can Eat and Kitchen Science
CK-12 Life Science
Elements of Faith with supplemental work on the Periodic Table of Elements
God's Design for Science: World of Animals

Latina Christiana with Book of Roots

Fine Arts:
Art lessons
We use a variety of resources for music and art!  We listen a lot and we create a lot!


If you read one chapter of the New Testament every weekday, you can read through the New Testament in a year.  So, we started that in January and we are continuing that throughout this school year.  We are also finishing our catechism curriculum from last year, My Faith.  

Daniel- 7th grade

Saxon 76 and Saxon 87

Language Arts:
Spelling Power
125 Ways to Be a Better Writer and Teaching Genres-These are two older books I randomly picked up from book sales that teach writing and the various genres of literature. 
Easy Grammar Plus
Word Roots
Creative writing group with friends using 

SmallWorld's WordSmithery

Science and History:

Daniel's love of science caused me to combine his science and history using Joy Hakim's book, Aristotle Leads the Way with Teacher's Quest Guide and Student Quest Guide developed by John Hopkins University.

I've been very pleased with this curriculum.  It provides cross-curriculum activities that we incorporate as well. 

Latina Christiana with Book of Roots

Fine Arts:
Private Flute lessons
Art lessons
We use a wide variety of other resources for music and art!  We listen a lot and we create a lot!


If you read one chapter of the New Testament every weekday, you can read through the New Testament in a year.  So, we started that in January and we are continuing that throughout this school year.  We are also finishing our catechism curriculum from last year, My Faith.   

Michael- Kindergarten

Please read my post 10 Essentials for Homeschooling Kindergarten for more of what we do overall.   


Language Arts: 

We use a lot of reading resources: old school textbooks, readers, library books, Abeka readers, First Reader reading supplement.  Anything that is on his level, and we own it...we use it!


A wide variety of workbooks and manipulative items.  

Kindergarten Math:  5 Activities Using Teddy Bear Counters

Lesson Pathways has some great resources I'm picking and choosing from for math.

Pinterest is a great place to find hands-on math ideas.   


God's Design for Science: World of Animals- Tera is doing this with Michael once a week.
I'll add more science as we go, but nothing  too formal for kindergarten.  

Fine Arts:

Art projects
Singing, dancing, playing!
Year of Little Lesson Plans- Tera and Daniel are picking through these thematic lessons and doing various activities with Michael.  


Listening along on our journey through the New Testament and we use lots of Bible story books!  

 That's what our homeschool is up to this year, how about yours?


Also linked up to Hip Homeschool Hop, and List It Tuesday

Friday, July 25, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up: A week of creating

 Weekly Wrap-Up
I went into the week without any specific plans.  Some days I planned as we went along. (We did math, science and history every day)  Guess what?  The sky didn't fall in, my children learned lots of things and maybe created a whole more than what I would have planned for them. 

Daniel's been working on fair projects, Michael worked on a Lego maze almost one entire morning and Tera experimented with quilling fondant for a fair entry.  

We got together with friends one afternoon just to hang out and some other friends for writing...

Oh, I got the cutest clock for our bedroom!  I absolutely love it!!!

They played lots of chess.  I met a new homeschooler at the library and had a wonderful chat.  Today, we did an art project for the first time in forever and we listened to our new Seeds Family Worship CDs.  We did math and that other stuff, too, but some weeks that other stuff doesn't matter quite as much!  


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