Saturday, August 30, 2008

Helmet Liners for the Troops

If you would be interested in knitting helmet liners, scarves or neck gators for our troops please go HERE. I think that this is a worthwhile use of our knitting time, girls (and guys!), and I know that our troops will appreciate it!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Ya know how some days you should just stay in bed? This is one of those days!

During the 3:30 a.m. "I wanna be up and snuggle with mommy" Little Bear stuck his finger in my eye. I did manage to go back to sleep with him on the couch, but when I awoke it really, really hurt! It is all bloodshot and watery and hurts quite a bit. The watery eyes make my nose run and I have been through 2 boxes of kleenex all ready. I sure hope that it doesn't hurt tomorrow!

Lee has soccer practice tonight. I had the boys do their "independent" school work so that I didn't have to try to read too much. They are outside doing yard work with dad. We had pork steaks, sweet corn and zucchini for lunch. I have meatballs in the crock pot now for spaghetti and meatballs.

Yesterday, the boys and I walked/biked 4 miles to visit my Great-Aunt Marge. She lives straight across the section (miles as the crow flies), but with the fields still in we had to walk around.....2 miles each way. I was soooo tired last night. I know that if I keep it up eventually it won't be such a big deal, but it just isn't happening quick enough. Little Bear and I walk while the boys practice, so we get 1 hour on Tuesday (Greg's practice) and 1.5 hours on Thursday (Lee's practice). If we don't walk then Bear tries to play :)

Well, staring at the computer is hurting my eyes so I am getting off here. I will try to post something more interesting tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What Kind of Woman Are You?

I was journaling on Aug. 21st (I always date my journals so I know) but was interrupted. I still haven't got back to it, but my journal is open to my spot on my desk so I have seen it often since.

Proverbs 21:9
It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

If that doesn't make you stop and think, then nothing will! How does my family feel about living with me? Am I the brawlilng woman, yelling and starting fights at whim? What does my attitude and tongue say about me?

Today, I have to say that I failed miserably. Greg, Bear and I got home from Greg's soccer practice and everyone was hunger. The baby was screaming and the older 2 were nowhere to be found. I was so frustrated and yelled at them in anger to come help me. Then I made several snide comments to the effect of "having to do everything all by myself". How did that make my children feel? What kind of example was I setting for my children regarding appropriate behavior/attitudes/speech?

Thank you Lord for convicting me in this area! I am learning so much and being humbled by how much farther I have to go.
I am thankful that Jesus has so much mercy on me!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Great post

This is an invite to visit my friend Crystal's blog to see how she is implementing character growth in her homeschool this year. Crystal has been a tremendous influence in how I raise my children. Her children are precious and if you spend any time at all with her family you will see how well they all interact with each other.

Family time in Lexington, KY

I am writing to all of you this beautiful morning from the Radisson in Lexington, KY. We have been here all weekend for a taekwondo tournament. Competition went well, but we are disappointed to learn that dh won't be able to compete anymore due to some rule the American Taekwondo Association has regarding black belts being required to judge. My dh believes that his place is to be supporting his children, not being forced to "voluntarily" spend the day judging other children. I know that our region is short on judges, but you would think that they could hire some with the money that we hand over to them everytime we turn around. Anyway, I am off my soapbox now!

Norman placed 1st in weapons and 3rd in sparring. Leland did great and placed 4th in forms and sparrring. Gregory also did great, placing 3rd in sparring and 4th in forms. I am proud of all my boys.

After competition we went to Gatti Town, a place similar to Chuck E Cheese. I think that this place was better though, as the restaurant part was separate from the arcade. I sat in a booth listening to the UHSE 08 on my Ipod while the boys and dad went to the arcade for 3 hours. I would have had a nervous breakdown after 30 minutes! But they all seemed to enjoy it so it was worth it. I was greatly blessed by the seminars I was able to listen to while we were there, so it was a win-win situation!

We will be traveling home later today. It has been a wonderful, fun weekend for the most part. I am so thankful for my wonderful family!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Good, Better, Best

Goal progress: I haven't watched any TV here today, just a few minutes at mom's. I was on the internet for about 30 minutes earlier today and have logged back on tonight to update this blog. I seem to have accomplished more and the house seems more peaceful. I didn't even turn the radio on!

Verses for Today
I Corinthians 10:13, 21-23, 31
(v. 13) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
(v. 21-23) Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he? All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
(v. 31) Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

TV and internet may not be evil, but were they the best use of my time? God can be glorified on TV and the internet, but was I glorifying God with what I was watching on TV or reading on the internet?
Today, I was tempted to randomly surf the internet but a dryer buzz or a fussy baby reminded me that maybe I had a better use for my time. I asked God to help me better manage my time and He answered in a very tangible way. God is faithful when we ask to draw closer to Him.
Tonight, with the house quiet, I was able to enjoy a chapter from a study in a nice warm tub. God granted me time now to reflect on the word He gave me this morning. God is good!
I ask God to continue to direct my paths so that whatever I do, I will glorify God.

Laziness and Anger

My heart has recently been burdened by two very serious character flaws that I have. One is the anger that I hold in my heart and the other is laziness. As a goal for myself this school year, I have decided to fight the anger in my heart, actions, and life and to overcome my tendency towards laziness. These are BIG goals! To tackle both of them at one time would be impossible if I was doing it myself, but my God is BIGGER than my character flaws!

There are 6 steps that I have purposed to take to reach my goal. I will review these goals/steps on January 1st, 2009 and see what God would have me to do then.
1. read at least 1 verse a day regarding either anger or laziness
2. copy verse in my bible journal and post on blog (accountability)
3. write down every instance of anger, pray and ask forgiveness from God and the person I lashed out at
4. limit TV to Saturdays
5. limit internet to 15 minutes 2 times a day during the week and 1 hour on Sunday
6. make scripture memory a priority

For scripture memory I will be using verses from The Joy of Womanhood Study by Susan D. Zakula. This study is available at Keepers of the Faith. I will also be memorizing verses from James with the boys and anything else that the Lord lays on my heart.

I will try to post updates about my journey at least weekly. I wish that I could guarantee that I would post more frequently than that, but God may have other plans for my days! I look forward to letting Him direct my paths!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Busy-ness seems to come in spurts around here!

I am feeling like I am on my feet all day as soon as they hit the ground in the morning. School is going well, although we are all still getting used to the routine again. Bear has a cold, so he is miserable.

We have taekwondo pretesting tomorrow (only for me, nobody else is ready). I NEED to go to Aldi's tomorrow and get some stuff. I have been ordering from our local food co-op and that is such a blessing, but we have managed to run out of stuff like mayonnaise and salt (dh picked up the salt though). Hopefully we will be able to do that tomorrow. Our local town-wide garage sales start Friday and my husband has agreed to get up early and come with me. I am hoping to score some great deals!

Leland needs clothes, again. It is a blessing that he is finally growing (smile) but he seems to be doing it all at once. I bought him some jeans at Kohls in January and he has already outgrown them. Greg is happy though, because he is the next size down and he loved those camo cords that Lee picked out :) And both of the older boys need shoes. So we are going to be doing some shopping here in the near future.

I have another post planned on curriculum choices for kindergarten and 1st grade. I plan on doing the series through 3rd or 4th grade. I don't want to give recommendations on things that I haven't used and loved through the first 2 boys. I only want to recommend the very best to you!

I am hoping to get to do some knitting and sewing in the next few weeks. Lots of do and no time to do it.
Have a happy week!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine - Digital - Review


I have just spent some time exploring The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's Summer issue, not in print like usual, but in DIGITAL. Interesting, huh? I have a tendency to be stuck in a rut, so I am not normally impressed with new stuff until it has been around a while, but this is definately cool.

I do cherish my print version of TOS. I eagerly anticipate its arrival every month. This version, though, has so many more practical applications, such as clickable links for email and websites, that I think it is a treasure of its own accord.

Everything that is in the print version is here. The magazine is IN your computer. When you hover over page corners (or push the pgdn button) the page turns. All the cool author links are able to be followed without even getting out of your chair! Want to send an email to the author? Just click on the email address and you are ready to go. Want to view a curriculum publisher's website? You are right there, in the time it takes to think about it.

Granted, you can't really curl up with the digital version like I do my print version. It would be hard to stuff it into your purse, or drag it around in the car (at least I try not to abuse my laptop that way!) but when you are able to use your computer you are able to access your magazine and all of the advertisements and links that are available to you.

TOS is really staying ahead of the technology game with this new adventure. I can't imagine what these guys will come up with next! If you want to check it out, you can purchase a subscription or check out back issues at The Schoolhouse Store.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sweet Dill Pickles

Canning "season" started for me today. After gathering for several days, I finally had enough cucumbers for a batch of sweet dill pickles. They are yummy and real easy to make.....and now I have 7 pints ready to go into the pantry.

Other things are growing well in our garden also. I really think that this is the latest that we have ever began harvesting. We have zucchini, although several of our plants have been killed by a mysterious bug. We are eating cucumbers, fresh tomatoes, jalapenos, green peppers and some onions. My husband picked us 4 okra pods on Friday and I fried them up in fish batter.....boy were they good! I can't wait until we can have a real batch. Three cabbages have managed to find their way to our freezer. We also have loads of little green cataloupes. Yummy!

God is good to provide for us this year. It was tough at the beginning, but our garden is sight to behold now. We will definately be eating well this winter!

Leland David

My oldest son, Leland David, turned 11 yesterday. Once upon a time, I didn't think that was possible. My husband and I sit and wonder where 11 years must have went.

Lee was born around noon on the 9th of August 1997. I was induced, and in labor for over 24 hours. There was talk of a c-section, but God allowed a natural, drug free delivery. He was precious and such a joy to us. He still is.

Lee is an independent, perfectionist sort. He loves taekwondo. His goal is to be a lawyer. I think that he will make a very good lawyer.

He loves God and believes in Jesus. He made his confession 2 years ago. He almost always tries to think of the other guy first.

Lee is the perfect big brother. He puts their needs and cares before his own more often then not. He is their defender, and protector. Wrongs against himself he may let go, but he doesn't tolerate a wrong against his brothers.

Lee isn't perfect, but none of us are. I am so very thankful for the last 11 years with Lee. I am reminded again of the wonderful blessing that God has given me by allowing me to homeschool. I can't imagine everything that we would have missed if he was gone all day.

Thank you for allowing me to "brag" about Lee. Yesterday was his day. We love you Lee!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Schoolhouse Planner


I am pleased today to be reviewing The Schoolhouse Planner. As a confirmed planner "junkie", I have waited for the release of this planner with baited breathe. Honestly, I own almost every planner on the market for homeschool moms. In all of them, there are features that I like, but there does seem to be something missing. I am thrilled to say that this planner has everything that anyone could possibly need......and more.

Contained inside this e-book are informational sheets (such as states and capitals, weights and measure conversions), copies of great American documents (Declaration of Independence, American Constitution and others), household planning sheets as well as school planning sheets. The school planning sheets cover everything that you could ever need for school, all the way through high school. I especially like the 12 year curriculum tracker.

Monthly calendars are included along with holidays and listings of other important days for that month. Many educational opportunities are tied in with each month and resources for the study of those items are hyperlinked through the Old Schoolhouse Store. Shopping and planning couldn't be easier! It is my understanding that there are also monthly modules available (as e-books, the cost is around $8) that expand on the monthly educational topics. I am interested in seeing how these might fit into our homeschool.

The household forms look to be fairly standard. There are chore charts for mom and the kids (some with pictures rather than words for the non-readers) and things like packing lists and gardening layout forms (thank you!).

The best thing about this planner is that you have the ability to type your information onto the pages before you print them out. All of the forms can be personalized for YOUR family. I can't express how much this feature excites me! My planner will look professional from now on!

This planner is absolutely perfect. The creators took great pains to make sure that everything a homeschool mom could ever need is included. I feel that this planner is a great value for all the tools that it contains. I did have a problem with the downloading, as the file is rather large. However, The Old Schoolhouse Store's customer service department was fantastic in getting me an attatchment of the planner.

If you would like to see what the fuss is all about you can view the planner at The Old Schoolhouse Store . The cost of the planner is $39.00. This is an e-book so there is no shipping and you will be able to immediately have your planner to make this new school year the best ever.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Choosing Curriculum - Preschool

I was cuddling Little Bear this afternoon and thinking about how difficult it was for me to choose curriculum when we started homeschooling. I still have days when I just don't know what would work, but I am a lot more confident in my ability to choose what will work for my family.

I remember when we decided to homeschool. For our family, it wasn't an all or nothing decision. I wanted to homeschool; but my husband wasn't so sure. So we comprimised. We agreed that we would homeschool that year. It would be a preschool year since our oldest son was just 4. Then we would go from there.

I was ecstatic! I was terribly afraid that I wouldn't be able to homeschool and my husband had said yes! What a blessing from God! Now what?

After intense research I found several different "curriculums" that I wanted to use. All of them were several hundreds of dollars. My husband had a fit! I pieced together a hodge-podge of things and made it work. With two kids through "preschool" and looking ahead to another, here is my compilation of what is needed to preschool. Then I will share what looks interesting for those of you with larger budgets.

Nothing. I know that sounds terribly simplistic, but if you are hard pressed to come up with any extra money for preschool then don't. Dig out some scrap paper, a pair of scissors, crayons, some yarn and glue and let them be. Let them sort and count with M&Ms and an egg carton. Use crayons for coloring and learning colors. Practice the alphabet song. Read the Bible together.

*A Bible story book - Yes, you can read straight from the Bible and I think that is a great idea but little kids like the pictures in a Bible story book while you read. Boys especially like the David and Goliath picture!
*Work books from Walmart - Or the dollar store, or where ever you are. They are cheap and will teach everything that the more expensive ones will. If your little guy hates pencils then skip them. We loved doing our workbooks, one page a day when they were 3 or 4 years old. They would show their completed pages to grandparents and be so proud when they recieved praise!
*Explode the Code primers (books A, B, and C) - These are available from Rainbow Resource. I loved the primers. My boys loved the way they where able to learn the letter sounds with almost no effort at all. They are cheap so that is a plus (there are 3 and I think they are around $6 a piece).

If the budget allows, you might be interested in using the following:
MFW preschool options (there is one for 2-3 year olds and one for 4-5 year olds I think). These are mainly hands on activities. I look forward to giving these a try with my 3rd son.
Sonlight preschool core - We finally own most of these books, buying them a little here and a little there. These books are precious and I don't know any preschooler on the planet that wouldn't clamor for one more reading.

I thought that I would conclude this post with some ways to use these items with your preschooler. I always try to stick with the easiest ideas for mom, while adding the most fun for the child.
1. Try sidewalk chalk. The perks with this are obvious: the child is outside and you don't really have to clean anything up. If you live in an apartment, then take school to the park.
2. Have a letter of the week. We did this in various forms with both of my older boys, but I really see the wisdom in this now. They learn so much from this, not just in phonics/reading. Your child will learn relationship and how ideas can work together. I plan on starting this when Little Bear is 2 and going through the alphabet at least twice. You are not required to start with the letter A. I plan on starting with N for Norman and then moving on to L for Lee and G for Greg. Who wouldn't want to learn their letter? Or bubby's letters?
3. Count everything. I always hear people say that you should count the plates and silverware while setting the table. That's true but there is so much more out there to count! Count the cars that go by, the bugs in the yard, cats in the garage. How many people are in line? How many legs does that dog have? You could go on forever and it keeps your sanity. This is also a good activity when you are in the "never-ending-grocery-store-line".
4. Practice colors with candy. I know some people don't want their children eating a lot of candy and I am not advocating that your eat candy every day, but there is no better way to learn colors than by sorting skittles :)
5. Make a volcano with baking soda and vinegar. Google the instructions. Boys think that this is very, very cool and makes you the best teacher on the planet. Grow seeds into plants, or work in the garden. Get a pet, even if it is a goldfish. Living with and working on things teaches more than any book.
6. Dig in the sandbox. Write letters or numbers in the sand. Bury the toddler (we buried my 2nd son while he was sitting in the sandbox - that picture is precious - he was just 1).
7. Have fun. Don't forget to play. School shouldn't last any more than 30 minutes at this age. I didn't make my boys sit still for 30 minutes at a time anyway. We did a worksheet in the morning (5 minutes), then read a book in the afternoon (10 minutes), then counted something in the evening (5 minutes) and finished the day off with more reading at bedtime. No stress for you, no frustration for your child and the learning has begun!

Enjoy your children now. My little fellow (oldest son) turns 11 on Saturday. We don't know where the time has gone, but I am so very blessed to have been able to be with him every day. I can't imagine what I would have missed if he had been gone during the "school hours". All of the trials and frustrations of homeschooling have been worth every single minute that I am able to look at my oldest son and see his smiling face. I KNOW my son and who he is becoming. Relax and enjoy these years....they are truly over before you know it!

Back to School Blast

This is your last reminder to join us for Cindy Rushton's Back To School Blast this weekend. The speaker line-up looks fantastic. You definately won't want to miss this!

Monday, August 04, 2008

2008-2009 School Year - Day 1

What a title that is!!! LOL
Today was a good day. I made a lot of changes to this year's schedule. I wasn't sure if I would like it, or if the day would "flow" like it always did but it seemed to work out really well.

For the past......6 (has it been that long???) years, school mornings have contained english, foreign language, reading, math and drill work. Science, history, geography and literature have happened in the afternoon. I am sure that you can guess what happened to science, history, geography and literature as soon as something more delightful came along. Yeah. So I feel that we are behind in those subjects and feel that God wanted me to work our schedule to ensure that these subjects were covered with regularity.

Today, our subjects occured in the following order:
Read Aloud (literature)

Then we moved into english grammar, spelling, handwriting, typing (new this year) and math. This took us right up to lunch time. I allowed the boys to take a break, run around some and do their chores while I prepared lunch. I will need to plan out lunches better though......we can't live on hamburger helper (can we???). After lunch, the boys did their reading and book baskets (see My Father's World for information on book baskets). They finished up around 2 p.m. but I was done at 11 a.m. and able to get some of my chores done. What a relief! I had visions of school lasting all day long! I think it helped that I set time limits for each subject and told the boys that they only had to work (diligently) for that period of time on that subject and then could put it away. What a relief to them.....they knew that the lesson wouldn't drag on forever and ever without end. Math was the longest time limit of 20 minutes. Most subjects were slotted for 15 minutes. Charlotte Mason advocates short lessons and I agree!

I will have to work on ways to entertain Mr. Bear during school time. He spent most of the morning trying to eat dog food, hitting his brother with a walking stick and wailing in disbelief that he would be contained by the playpen (baby jail) for any period of time. I was very thankful when he went down for his morning nap at 10 a.m. What a blessing that routine is! Any suggestions on what to do with a 9 month old would be greatly appreciated.

All in all our first day of school was a success. I enjoyed the day and even caught myself laughing with my silly boys. I thank God for the opportunity that He has given us to be together!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Curriculum Choices for 2008-2009

We will spend at least the first 3-4 months finishing up Sonlight's Core 3 for history and science.

Lee: Simply Grammar and Intermediate Language Lessons
Greg: Primary Language Lessons
Both: English from the Roots Up, Italic Handwriting, A Reason for Spelling, Type It

Lee: MUS Delta
Greg: MUS Gamma
Both: Calculadders

Trail Guide to US Geography

Critical Thinking
Lee: Building Thinking Skills Book 2

Character Training/Bible
Lee: Boyhood and Beyond
Both: Plants Grown Up, Kay Arthur Study for Kids (James)

We will be adding:
Exploring Creation with Astronomy
Stargazing with a Telescope
Scrambled States of America
State History Chronicles Notebook
Library Unit Study
Shakespeare for Kids
Notetaking and Outlining
MFW 1850-Modern Times
Sonlight Core 4 Readers/History Selections

Lee: French
Greg: Spanish

I think that is about it. This year Leland will be in 6th grade and Gregory will be in 3rd grade. I am sure that we will add/subtract throughout the year and I will attempt to keep that updated. I classify us a charlotte mason homeschoolers with a classical bent :)

Today I am finishing up lesson plans for the 1st 6 weeks and getting everything set for the first day (MONDAY!!!).

Friday, August 01, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

Sorry I didn't post yesterday. My cleaning is complete. For today anyway LOL! Yesterday I cleaned all the surfaces in the kitchen. Today I cleaned the laundry room, swept/mopped the kitchen and laundry room and got most stuff put back the way I want it. And the kitchen table is almost completely cleaned off! That is a miracle around here! I am looking to buy a shelving unit for my kitchen and then everything will be perfect!

I love the feeling of a totally clean house. I know that our school year will begin a lot nicer with a clean house!

Tomorrow I look forward to posting about my curriculum choices for this year.