Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's the MOST Wonderful Time of the Year.....

Christmas...Ahh...that time of year is fastly approaching. For some of you out it's here already, as you already celebrated with family and friends. For us...we haven't had our Christmas celebration yet. We are anticipating it and can't wait! This blog post is going to be another one of my mumble jumble ramblings by the way.

I was SO ready for Christmas this year. We decorated our house and put our tree up the weekend BEFORE Thanksgiving. As that is usually our tradition. (or at least that is what we WANT our tradition to be...there's been a few years we did not do that due to new babies or pregnacies or moving). But around here we like to start the Christmas season ASAP! This was my first year homeschooling during the Christmas season (we didn't start Homeschooling until Feb. 2010). A few months back I had all these ideas about things we could do for Christmas and incorporate it into our curriculum. But now Christmas is here...and we haven't done a THING in school that was Christmas related. I'm disappointed in myself...but I am taking it as a learning situation. I've learned that we probably need to plan on the month of December being more of a "fun" month rather than a strict "learning" month. I need to remember that even though my kids aren't "hitting" the books they are STILL learning. Learning A LOT actually. It's so hard to get that in my head sometimes. That it's not about the amount of workbook pages my kids get done. It's about how much they are taking in and learning thru every day life. So my plan for December 2011 is to focus on Christmas and do activities only related to Christmas. So that is my homeschool tidbit.

Let's see. My house is now filled with Christmas candy (which is a tradition that i started doing with my kids last year and it's something I did my whole life growing up)...well, chocolate covered pretzels and peanut butter balls. In a few years, as the kids get more helpful I'd like to add more types of candy. Mya, Mason & I spent all afternoon making them. They had a blast. I was impressed at how well Mya did. She is such a perfectionist...and made sure each one was made PERFECTLY! I love that about her! We still have our gingerbread houses to make. We are waiting on big brother Jordan to return home. He is out in Eastern TN with his Daddy until tomorrow afternoon.

My Christmas shopping is just about completed. I just have 2 more gifts to get and know what I'm getting so tomorrow afternoon I'll run and get those.
This time of year always makes me miss my family up in Wisconsin. I miss being with them and have always enjoyed my Christmas' in the past celebrating with them. As I grew up and got married and moved away from home though, I have not been able to celebrate with them due to different circumstances each year. I'm celebrating with them in my heart. I couldn't imagine not spending Christmas morning with my own family in our own home (that grew from 3 of us to now 6 of us!) This is the season of life I am in right now. This year I had all my family's presents ready to be mailed...with plans of mailing them out on Tuesday morning. WELL, due to vehicle issues and Ryan needing to be out of town (with our only running vehicle) I am stuck at home with no means to go and mail out the packages. I'm sad about that. I wanted them to get their presents on Christmas. I also have half of my Christmas cards sitting here waiting on stamps. :( Those too will be late. (so any of you reading this that thought you would get one from me...hang will get to you eventually!)

Now onto the REAL meaning of Christmas. The birth of Jesus. What an awesome thing we celebrate. Because of HIM we have this wonderful holiday to celebrate. We can not lose our focus of the TRUE MEANING of Christmas. I love singing Christmas songs to my children when they are going to sleep. It's such a peaceful, quiet moment. When I sing to them at bedtime, I only sing songs that tell the TRUE meaning of Christmas. Here is one of my all time favorite Christmas Hymns.

Oh Holy Night

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Merry Christmas from My family to Yours. (here's a picture of our Christmas cards)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My view from the kitchen sink

The kids were watching a Christmas Special on TV with Daddy.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thankful for these....

....four of the most precious, special little people in my life.

Gingerbread Houses

I took the two big kids (Jordan & Mya) to our homeschooling groups Christmas party. We decorated gingerbread houses and ate pizza and had a book exchange. The kids had a blast making their gingerbread houses (and eating candy off of them!). I had a good time just spending time with the "big kids". Too often they get pushed off to the side so I can attend the needs of the "little kids" so it's always nice when I get to spend time with just them.

Happy Birthday Mase Man!

(This should have been written on Dec. 11, 2010--I'm a little behind)
Three years ago today (well, not I said this should have been written on Dec. 11th) a very special Lil' man entered my life. Mason James was born on Dec. 11, 2007. I can't believe he is 3 yrs old already. Where has the time gone? He was my sweet little baby that LOVED to cuddle. And now he's a toddler--or a preschooler? not sure what age that actually starts. He seems older than a toddler in my opinion. But back to what I was saying. He is growing up so fast and he is the FUNNIEST little boy. He loves to make us smile and laugh. He is also the sweetest boy. He still loves to cuddle and loves to be held. He STILL rubs my arm when going to sleep. (he has done that since he was about 7-8 months old). I love how he just randomly goes up to his daddy and says "I love you Daddy!". He says it to me...but there is just something about hearing him say it to his daddy that just melts my heart. Mason also keeps us on our toes...that's for sure! He is full of life and energy and is constantly finding ways to get that energy out of him! (sometimes he doens't choose very wise ways to get that out--example: throwing things across the room...coloring on everything and anything in sight, etc) but those are those things we will look back on and smile (right???). So HAPPY BIRTHDAY buddy! I love you with ALL my heart.

Here's a picture when he was a few hours old:

Here is a picture of him a few days old in the stocking they gave him at the hospital:

Here he is in his stocking when he was 1 year old (wish i had a pic WITHOUT a dirty face lol):

Here he is when he was TWO:

Here is the BIG 3 yr old in his stocking!

Mommy & Mase the day he was born:



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Children are a blessing....

Yesterday I went to Walgreens. As I was checking out I was holding Gracie (she was done wanting to be in the cart and since she can climb out of pretty much any buckle, I was holding her to keep her from falling out of the cart while I was checking out.) Mason was in the back of the cart so I could keep a close eye on him while I was checking out. While I was paying, the cashier was talking to Mason. I made the comment about how he was in his "running around" mood so I placed him in the back of the cart so he wouldn't run off. She then said to him "next time you should stay home with Daddy so Mommy can shop". Then I made the comment "oh, I have one at home already with Daddy". Then she said, "you have four kids?" I said, "yes, I do!" I said it with a smile on my face. I was proud of my 4 kids, I feel completely blessed by my four kids, so I'm sure the way I answered showed that. At least I hoped it did. But then the cashier said the most jaw dropping comment to me. She said, "oh, you poor thing!". I didn't say jaw hit the ground I'm sure. Did I hear her right? Yes, I DID hear her right. And the way she said it, she said it with such sympathy. Like someone who just said they were beat up or hurting really bad, not like someone who was blessed with children. I didn't even have a comment to make to her statement. At that moment that is. Now if she were say that to me again, I would have PLENTY to say to her about how much of a blessing my kids are to me. but at that moment she left me speechless. As I was walking away she then shouted out "you are done right? no more kids right?" I just nodded. It wasn't a nod to yes or a nod to no. Just a nod to acknowledge she spoke to me. Then she said, "I hope not, for your sake!" She said all this with a smile and kinda almost laughing. If she was saying this to be funny, I wasn't AT ALL amused. I'm sure she MENT what she said. This is OBVIOUSLY how she felt because why would she say it if you didn't think so?

After I left I felt SO angry towards that woman. How dare she make it out that my kids are a nuisense to me? How dare she act like I would be better off with less kids than what I ALREADY have? I was then so hurt feeling. Do people really view children this way? I have FOUR and each and every one of them are the most precious blessing I could EVER have received. Does that mean they are perfect? NO. Does that mean we don't ever have difficult times? NO. Does that mean I don't ever want to pull my hair out? NO. But those difficult times aren't a reason for me to ever wish I didn't have one of my children. God gave me them. They are a GIFT from HIM. A blessing. I don't understand how ANYONE can view them as anything but that.

I've been told comments by strangers before such as "wow, you have your hands full". That comment isn't QUITE as bad. I have to hands are full most of the time. But so is my heart. It's full of love for my children. God doensn't give us more than we can handle. Sure, with my own ablity I probably can't "handle" all four kids BUT that is why I rely on God--to help me and to enable me to do what I need to do. I've also been told by others "I hope you don't have any more kids". Seriously? How does that affect them? It hurts more than anything. Especially because we have been told that before we have had the four we already have. So it's like saying they hoped we didn't have our last two children. That BREAKS my heart. They are SUCH a blessing to me and couldn't imagine not having them a part of our lives. As far as the future and more children. Only God truly knows that answer. I'm completely content with our four but if God chooses to bless us again I will be thrilled and if he doesn't I already consider us fully blessed!

I don't want you to think that I think I'm a perfect parent. By no means am I saying that. I am DAILY on my knees asking God to help me with parenting issues. Either asking for forgiveness because I didn't have the patience I should have had or raised my voice when I shouldn't have or I'm asking for his guidence to guide us through raising our kids. I can't do this without God's help.

So maybe those people who make comments like that don't REALLY know what it's like to do this parenting thing with God on their side? Maybe they are doing this truly "on their own". I suppose then kids would be viewed more as a burden rather than a blessing. Maybe when I hear comments like that I need to let them know that with God all things are possible and without HIS help I couldn't do this either. Without God's help (or my husband's help) I would truly be "a poor thing" as that woman at Walgreens said. Maybe that is what this has taught me.

Children are a gift from the Lord;they are a reward from him. Psalm 127:3

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook - Tuesday Nov 16, 2010


Outside my's dark & dreary and a cold rain is pouring down. Our backyard looks like a mudpit.

I am thinking...that I'm excited for next weekend--we will be decorating our house for christmas!!

I am thankful for...giggling kids.

From the learning rooms...Mya is learning the letter "Ee" and the short "e" sound and she's also learning about healthcare workers. yesterday we learned about dentists and made a FUN snack. (sliced apples with peanut butter on them with mini marshmellows for teeth!)

From the kitchen...honey bran muffins are baking.

I am wearing...cozy pink slippers

I am creating...still creating my crocheted blanket. that has been my craft project for the month. I am getting it done..but still have a LONG way to go. I love crocheting though.

I am the bank and hopefully kohl's later on today.

I am reading...small amounts in numerous books (check out THIS blog post for my current reading selection). Although any day now I should be receiving "Pocketful of Pinecones" in the mail any day now. It's a fictional book about homeschooling a long time ago. I'm excited for a good "fun" book to read!

I am hoping... to make homemade bread soon.

I am hearing...Chloe--our 13 week old yellow lab whinning at the back door--she doesn't like being out in the rain. But I know she would rather run out in the rain then being in her kennel in the house while we do school. She will be getting a bath later on since she has a vet appointment at 3pm.

Around the house...are things here & there that are tossed about. I need to do some picking up before we start school.

One of my favorite things...snuggling with kids at 2am (last night I had 3 of them cuddled on my lap on the rocking chair (one woke up and caused 2 others to wake up)..but it was really peaceful and wouldn't have traded that moment for sleep at all.)

A few plans for the rest of the week: just to continue to get things ready to decorate for christmas this coming weekend.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

To visit the Simple Woman's Daybook Blog click HERE

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What books are on YOUR nightstand?

A good friend of mine just posted a blog post (click here to read) about the books she is reading. I went and looked at my own nightstand and found quite a stack so I decided to post a picture.

The favorite of my stack besides the Bible is "One hundrend and One more devotions for homeschool moms". That book is SO easy to read. It's just a page or two a day but has such wisdom and totally speaks to me every day. It has really helped me get thru homeschooling and brought me closer to God. Definetly a must read for any homeschooling mom.

I'm into Essential Oils so I use this book as a reference book to differnet oils. I actually just added it to my nightstand yesterday as I got my orange essential oil in the mail and wanted to look up some uses for it.

The backyard homestead book has EVERYTHING in it for living more self sufficiently and more off the land. My dream is to someday have a small homestead out in the country. I don't read it from front to back...i just look thru it and read stuff I am interested in trying someday.

The puppy book is obvious as to why I read it. We have a new puppy.

I don't have anything real "deep" that I'm reading right now. With winter coming I'll be reading a LOT more and I look forward to it.

There you have nightstand book selection. :)

Quote of the Day

The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children. — Charlotte Mason

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook - Tuesday Nov 9, 2010

FOR Tuesday November 9, 2010
Outside my window...there is a bright blue sky. It looks so pretty against the yellow leaves on the trees.

I am thinking...about how I miss living in the country.

I am thankful husband who works so hard.

From the learning rooms...nothing extra special planned for today. Just the basic subjects today.

From the kitchen...chilli for dinner tonight. and cornbread.

I am pj's still (hey, it's only 9:12am)

I am creating...a blanket. I've been crocheting a blanket for myself. At this rate though...I'll have a nice warm blanket by summer time. lol.

I am the bank and post office today.

I am reading...nothing at the moment but hoping to be reading "Pocketful of Pinecones" early next week. I ordered it on Amazon.

I am get my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving.

I am hearing...cartoons that the kids are watching. "Franklin on Noggin".

Around the's a tad bit messy. I need to straighten up before we start school.

One of my favorite things...Gracie's facial expressions

A few plans for the rest of the week: get caught up on laundry, organize the girls room, buy some more yarn and start crocheting some dish cloths.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Check out The Simple Woman's Daybook site!

Monday, November 8, 2010

October in Pictures....

I have been behind with blogging and posting pictures so I thought I'd just make a post with some pictures from the month of October. We had my sister and her family come to visit the first weekend in October. Then we had my mom and nana come October 14th for 5 days. It was a busy month but a good one. There are just a few of my favorite pictures from the month of October.

Homeschool updates....

I have been wanting to write this blog for about a week now. We hit a MAJOR school milestone last week. Mya learned to read! Yes, really reading. Sounding out the words! This was the one thing I was SO nervous about when I decided to homeschool my kids. Jordan already knew how to read since he went to public school for 1 1/2 yrs. Mya though, did not so I would be her teacher when it came to reading. We have been doing the Bob Jones K5 curriculum. We have been truckin away at writing the letters and learning some letter sounds. Then before I knew it we were putting those letters together and making words! granted she only knows a few words. (it, is & in--but she is also learning letters she can use in front of those words to make new words such as sit, hit, tin, sin, etc). Then she has some sight words she is learning which are: here, Mother, the. Believe it or not with those few words she can read a WHOLE book! Of course the book was written for this curriculum. But still, it's a book and she was reading it. Sounding out each word and she got thru each page! Now she can read thru that book like nothing (i'm sure she has it memorized). I know it doesn't seem like THAT big of a deal. But to me it is. I was SO nervous about this and to already have her reading makes me feel so confident that we can REALLY do this.

Jordan has been doing good. The work is STILL pretty easy for him. He is really enjoying his heritage studies. Right now he is finishing up learning about farming in the early days and about to start learning about the "Early Colonies".

Mason is ALL about doing his own school work. He has some workbooks I bought at dollar tree that he uses for his work. Most are WAY too advanced for him (he's not even 3 yet) but he likes to act like he's doing his work. He will ask me what he is suppose to do so i tell him and he writes all over the page. SO CUTE! We have been working really hard on his colors and I found a cute workbook for that.

Gracie...oh Gracie, Gracie, Gracie. She is our...umm...what's the word?? Challenge maybe??? She wants to be right up in the middle of the table while the kids are working. She will grab their pencil boxes and crayons and throw them as hard and far as she can (which surprisingly is really far!)She likes to grab at books and work books and tear pages. She is a MESS!!!! To solve this problem I try to hold her for a little bit while I don't really need my hands. Then the rest of the time I put her in her high chair and give her markers--not crayons..cuz she just eats those. I give her a yellow, washable marker and a piece of paper. It doesn't show up on her skin or clothes as much and she doens't eat it. That keeps her occupied and when that doesn't a small snack usually does. Sometimes she gets SO loud that we just have to take a break so she can get her energy out. Usually a break is needed by all 4 kids so it works out well. Naptime is also a good time to get lots of school work done.

I've thought lots and lots about homeschooling lately (not just because it's what I'm doing). I'm not going to lie. Some days I would ask myself if it's even worth it. My kids are grumbling about what I'm having them do or when I see Jordan having issues with sitting still and staying focused on his work I get SO frustrated with him at times. Sometimes I just want to quit! But then reality sets in and I realize that those times when it's hard do not compare to the amount of JOYFUL times we have homeschooling. Not to mention the one on one attention my kids get. I see the exact area they are struggling in and can change our schedule and curriculum to accomidate what they need, when they need it. I get to expirence HUGE milestones, like watching my child read for the FIRST time. All of that makes it SO worth it. I don't just think of it as a "thing" we decided to do. It's SO much more than that. I feel it's a calling. Yes, I feel God called us to homeschool our kids. What a ministry! I feel SO unequipted to do this but I know God will give me what I need to fullfill his calling on my life. So, when we hit a rough spot and I just want to throw in the towl, I need to remember that God has called me to this and to not give up. I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So that is a little update on our homeschooling adventure. Gosh, I don't even have a picture to go along with this. that bugs me. lol. I need to get better at taking pics for blogging purposes. Next time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What do I do with $100....

I was given $100 to spend on ONLY ME. (I actually pinky swore that I would only spend it on me) When it was handed to me I was thinking "wow, how only spend the money on me. I'm sure I'll think of 100 things I want to buy". Then last night I REALLY started thinking. My mind was flooded with hundreds of ideas. The first thing that popped in my head was "oh, now I can go mail those small packages I want to mail to some friends. Now I have the extra money for the shipping"....Oh wait..that wouldn't be spending it on me. hmmm...oh I know, I'll get some Christmas presents...shoot that isn't on ME either. I KNOW....I'll go to dollar tree and get TONS of fun halloween and fall stuff for the kids to have our little homeschool halloween party. Oh SHOOT..that would be using the money on the kids and not only me. This is harder than I thought. Okay, what do I REALLY need? CLOTHES. I'm in DESPERATE need of clothes. But that doesn't sound like fun to me. Trying to find something cheap and something that fits right. (even with $100 to spend I don't want to spend full price)Don't get me wrong, I love clothes but I would rather buy my kids some more clothes. Jordan & Mya really need jeans. I would hate to spend the money on jeans for me when they don't have any that fit them right now. So scratch clothes off my list. I KNOW...I could buy a whole bunch of ribbon so I could make some more ribbons..oh but those technically would be for my girls' hair. Does that count as a "for me only" item...since I actually enjoy making hair bows? Or what about a bunch of yarn and crochet hooks? That is my new hobby. So that would be for me also I suppose, even though the items I make will be for someone else.

I decided to look at my amazon wish list. It includes many books, some essential oils, an oil diffuser, and a nikon lens for my camera. I want ALL that stuff but why now that I have the money do I not want to buy those things? I don't get it. I also thought about using the money to get my hair cut. I haven't had it cut since last April. But again, that seems like a waste of money. I can just pull my hair in a pony tail now. Why mess with actually having to make it a certain way every day. Then there is the sensible thing to spend it on. I need some more contacts. I could also use a pair of glasses. Maybe THAT is what I'll end up spending it on. If I am going to spend it on myself it might as well be something I really do NEED and not just "want".

This is going to be WAY harder than I thought it would. So for now, I'm going to save this $100 bill until I come across something I just HAVE to have(for myself of course). What would YOU spend $100 on?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

mumble jumble

I don't even know what to title this blog. It's just a bunch of mumble jumble because I feel like I've been a "bad" blogger. I seriously LOVE blogging and think about different things to write about through out my day BUT to actually have time to do it is a different story. It just doesn't happen. Maybe if I had a laptop where I could blog while laying on the couch at night...maybe I would get more done. BUT to actually sit at my computer after the kids go to bed just doens't sound comfortable. I would rather veg out in front of the tv and watch my DVR recorded stuff. (I have a love/hate relationship withe DVR by the way. Sometimes I wish we didn't have tv. I read SO much more without. I feel so much better when I read. My husband feels the same way. but somehow we still can't let go of finding out who got kicked off the island)
Life has been BUSY again. This month has been crazy. I had my sister coming for a visit last weekend. This weekend Jordan and Daddy have the boy scout camping trip and next weekend I have my mom and Nana coming to visit. ALL good things...just makes for a busy month. On top of that we got a new puppy almost 2 weeks ago (I have a blog written about that but I'm waiting to post it until I get the pictures off of my camera so I add pictures with it...another thing on my "to do" list. And on a side note..I have A LOT of pictures on my camera that have not been uploaded to my computer yet. Which is unlike me. Usually I do that every few days.

Let's see. I don't even know where I was going with this blog. I had taken about a 40 minute break from blogging. I took a shower and got all the kids dressed. Now I'm at my computer but kneeling on my knees at it. (too lazy or busy..which ever way you want to look at get a chair and sit down).

School---okay, most schools are having their "fall break" right now. We are still on "summer break". Not entirely. We do some school here and there. We just haven't started full force yet. BUT that is about to change. The rest of our books are scheduled to arrive via UPS tomorrow. So I have decided to start school full force on Sunday. The only reason it's Sunday is because I already know we won't make it to church (I don't go by myself and Ryan has no choice but to go see a claim for work early Sunday morning)so why not start school. Since my mom and Nana come on Thursday by starting Sunday that gives us a good week of school. Sunday thru Wed. Then we can take off Thursday and just do a little on Friday. then have the weekend off. I'm SO ready to get going. I'm ready for the schedule. I'm ready to watch their brains turning with knowledge. I'm ready for the chaos (did i just say I was READY for that?? lol. okay maybe not THAT). It's going to be good. I can feel it. I'm ready to be "Miss Mommy" again. (that is what Mya calls me. She has insisted I have a "teacher" name).

Totally off the subject (well, this whole blog is "off topic" as there is NO topic to this blog post.) but my contacts are driving me INSANE. back in April I went for an eye dr appt. I desperatly needed new contacts. Finally by June I got a pair of contacts that I thought would be good for me. Acuvue Oaisys. After trying out many other pairs and types of contacts, even different prescriptions I found a pair that worked good. I was having dry eye issues. My contacts get dried out and I am looking thru a fog. When my eyes would water, i could see clear. Drove me NUTS. Well, I thought the acuvue oasys was the answer. They are WONDERFUL for about 2 weeks (probably more like 1 1/2 weeks). Then the fog comes back. They are dried out and it's time to change them. Which I guess that is how they are suppose to work. They are only 2 week contacts. I am one that normally wears 2 week contacts for more like 2 months. (i'm a bad eye patient I suppose). But when they don't bother me I forgot to change them. They are SO expensive to buy that often. I can't afford to change them that often. But now I feel forced to since I can't see. I am down to my last pair. I can't buy more until at LEAST October 15th. Ugh. It's driving me NUTS wearing these contacts. I am putting in eye drops but it's still driving me insane. So that last paragraph was of me complaining about my eyes. sorry.

I told you this would be mumble jumble. I promise my blogs from here on out will be more enjoyable to read and more exciting. I just didn't like the 4 week gap in my blogs. So I just HAD to post whatever was on my brain at the given moment. Okay, back to your scheduled programming. lol.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Our Firetruck

On Tuesday we are going to the Fire Station for a field trip. Mason is SO excited to get to go on a field trip with the "big kids". Since we have so many boxes around here from moving I decided to use one of them to make a firetruck for the kids. It was a good project for them to work on. Mason & Mya are the ones that mostly worked on it. We finished it up yesterday afternoon and read a story about a "Fire Fighter". The kids had a great time making their fire truck. Here are some pictures of it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First Day of School...

We aren't quite ready to start school full force but we have started with just a few subjects to slowly get ourselves into a routine. After all summer of not being in any type of routine we've decided to ease our way into this school year. Trying to make the adjustment as smooth as possible for all of us. (Mommy included).

This year we have Jordan who is in 2nd grade, Mya is in Kindergarten, Mason is in preschool and Gracie is just along for the ride!

The kids did really well working on their work. I'm so excited to get this year rolling. (a slow roll..but still excited). Sometimes it seems SO strange to me that I'm homeschooling. I'm SO happy I did though. I have a feeling it's going to be a GREAT year. I'm also excited to be a part of a local homeschooling group. We've already went on one field trip with them and on Tuesday we'll be going to the fire station!
Here are some pics of the kids doing their school work on their first day of school.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Weaning = tears

I was SO excited and thrilled that I made it to a major milestone of breastfeeding Gracie thru her 1st birthday. Her 1st birthday has come and gone. She is now 14 months old! Now that she's started on whole milk she doesn't really nurse much except before bed, every time she wakes up at night which means she is nursing basically all night long (that is another whole subject), and then early in the morning before we get out of bed. She doesn't take a pacifier so I think part of her still nursing is because it's what calms her down or "pacifys" her. I don't mind. I am not in any rush to stop EXCEPT the fact that she still feels she needs to nurse at night every time she wakes up. She refuses to go back to sleep without nursing. It only take a few minutes then she drifts off to sleep BUT if I try to move her to her bed or move her at all she starts vigourously sucking or starts screaming. So either I let her scream and wake up the whole house or I lay there and nurse her where we all can just sleep. I vote for the latter. Sleep is not something I get lots of so the sleep I do get is precious. I also don't mind the bonding I have with my baby daughter. I do have to admit that when she does not wake up that much at night or sleeps in her own bed longer than normal I do miss her when I wake up. For information on our sleeping arrangment you can read this previous blog post. Click here I'm not really sure how or when to start the weaning process. It's not a real big issue EXCEPT I'd like to start having her sleep thru the night. I'm SO happy to have made it this far. I never imagined I've have issues on how to stop breastfeeding. It wasn't a big deal to stop the feedings during the day and replace those with bottles and sippy cups of whole milk. But it's just the night time nursing sessions that bring her to tears if I don't give in. Those tears are tears of her not understanding why I won't nurse her. It breaks my heart to hear her cries SO we are continuing our nighttime and early morning nursing sessions. I'm not saying I have to stop instantly, cold turkey...i'm just wondering when and how we will stop. I just can't see this taking place without tears. I'm guessing the tears will come from both of us! I don't think I will be able to handle seeing her cry because I won't nurse her.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer is coming to an end....

Bear with me. This blog may jump around a lot of subjects! I haven't blogged in awhile and got lots of thoughts on my brain.

It's August. Most schools have already started or are very close to starting. My kids are still in summer break mode. As you may have read in a previous post by me (click here for the post) I was spending my summer break planning for the next school year. Working hard on gathering curriculum. Then it was time for house hunting. We wanted to find a new house to move into (the one we were in was just temporary until we could find the exact location in TN that we wanted to live). After much searching we found it. We moved in on August 1st. So we've only been in it for a few weeks but can I say it feels SO MUCH like home already? It's GREAT! I was so missing that homey feeling in our other house. This is A LOT smaller than the 3000 sq ft house we were living in. This house is only 1500 sq foot 3 bedroom 2 bath home. BUT it's strange. I feel like we have MORE space in here. I think it's because this has the closet space we need so I'm able to organize things better. I have now learned that bigger isn't always better. The layout of our other house was kinda odd so we had lots of spaces that we didn't really use, they just ended up collecting the kids toys and ended up a cluttering mess. We do have too much stuff. So a garage sale in definetly something we need to have. But seriously, we have boxes of stuff that hasn't been unpacked in a few years so do we REALLY need that stuff? NO. We did have to spend a little money on shelves for the kids' rooms. We found some great shelving units at Target (blue for the boys room and pink for the girls room). Our 8th wedding anniversary was August 3rd (told you this blog would jump around) so we spent our anniversary with all 4 kids at Target picking out things to organize the kids' rooms. It was GREAT! Our gift to each other was organized kids' rooms!
So where was I?? Back to what I really was going to blog about. School. We will be starting school in a few weeks. (2-3 weeks or so). I have half of the curriculum needed. I just may have to purchase the rest of it new. I have been having trouble finding the rest used. We are going with Bob Jones curriculum this year. It's a christian based curriculum that is more like what is used in a classroom. The books I have purchased already seem to be just what my kids need. I'm excited to kick off this school year with fresh, new curriculum and have more of a "normal" school year. (last year was different because we started homeschooling in the middle of the year, click here to read my blog post about when we first started homeschooling)
Now the only problem I'm seeing with this upcoming school year is where we will homeschool. This house doesn't have an actual "homeschooling room". Our last house did (the temporary house had a basement with a room we used BUT we had to outside to go down there and really ended finding it easier to work upstairs). Some homeschooling blogs I follow have been showing pictures of their homeschooling rooms. Can I just say that I'm SO jealous? Their rooms look like REAL classrooms. I'm going to have to get REALLY creative as far as our homeschooling space. It's going to take place in our kitchen. Right now I have 4 big boxes filled with our school stuff. I have NO where to put them. We need to find some sort of cabinet, armoire, shelves, etc that look decent in our kitchen that are also big enough to have it basically be a "classroom". I want to be able to organize everything in there and have everything we need at our finger tips. I know it's going to take some money and some work to make it happen. I just wish I had lots of extra money right now to just go and buy exactly what we need rather than having to shop around for a good deal or being patient waiting to find something that is used. I'm sure there are LOTS of homeschooling families that do not have an actual "homeschool room". Luckily our living room and kitchen are completely open. I love this because when I'm in the kitchen I can see EVERYTHING going on in the living room. So it will feel like we have more "space".
Oh and can I just say that I LOVE shopping for new school supplies. I have ALWAYS loved doing this. But it's even more fun when I'm shopping for them knowing my kids will be using them right in our own home! I get such a thrill buying glue for 20cents and crayons for a quarter!
Yesterday we went to a carnival at a local park that our Homeschooling group put on. It was SO great seeing all the homeschooling families from this area here. It was an encouragement to me knowing there were that many families in this area that homeschooled. I'm not sure the exact number of homeschooling families that were there but they gave out 100 membership cards to those that became members of the homeschooling group but there were more than that there. At the carnival we were able to sign up for field trips so that will be exciting to get to go on field trips with other homeschoolers. I know my kids are excited about that.
Guess my blogging time is over for now. I am excited to get this school year started. I'll have a 2nd grader, a kindergartner (mya already started K in the middle of last year BUT the curriculum we were using ended up being more of Pre-k work so since she was only 4 anyway and now she is 5 we are going to start "real" kindergarten this year--she's excited to learn to read). Then Mason will be doing preschool work (colors, numbers, alphabet, etc) and Gracie will be along for the ride! What an exciting school year we will have! :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Homemade Cleaners--An Update

As I posted awhile back in some blog posts (click here and here for the posts)I decided to start making homemade laundry detergent and other homemade cleaners. I have been using them for some time now so I thought I'd give you an update.
First of all, I must say the laundry soap has been SUPER easy to make and is working no differnet than expensive store bought brands. I kinda played around with different recipes and came up with one of my own. I've read lots of information about making laundry detergent and many say that you just have to "play" around with it. That it's not an exact science. The first few batches of mine were made according to a recipe I had. It did come out rather watery. (the liquid homemade detergent should thicken up and be kind goopy--that is what I've read online). I used Irish Spring bar soap and I think they may have been the problem. Then I started using Yardley all natural soap. And I added more borax and washing soda to my recipe. That 3rd batch I made seemed to turn out better. (at least it was thicker and had the consistancy of store boughten laundry soap). I don't know if it was my imagination but my clothes seemed "cleaner". Maybe just "fresher"??? Not sure but I liked the result so I'm sticking to the recipe I came up with.

Here is MY recipe:
1 bar of Yardley soap (you can find this at Dollar tree for $1 but if you watch the Walgreens ad they have it occassionally for 69cents). You can also buy this in a variety of scents. I've used the Oatmeal & Almond (this was my fav) & lavender. I don't use the whole bar of soap. I grate 2/3 of the bar. Once grated mix it with 4 cups of water and put it on the stove until the soap is all disolved.

In my 5 gallon bucket I put 3 gallons of water and mix in my soap mixture (from above).

Next stir in 1 cup of Borax and 1 cup of Washing Soda.

I keep stiring until it thickens up a bit. Then put the lid on and let it sit over night. The next day it will seem real thick. I just stir it and there you have it. Laundry detergent.

Here's a few things worth mentioning about the detergent:
--the soap will need to be stirred before each use. I have been actually pouring some from the 5 gallon bucket into an old laundry detergent bottle. I just shake before I pour.
--I use one cup of detergent for a large load of laundry. If they are more soiled clothes I add a little more.
--the soap will NOT suds up when added to the water in the wash machine. THAT IS OKAY! it's not suppose to have lots of suds. It's still working, it's just low sudsing soap.
--I've made 5 batches of laundry soap already (each batch fills my old laundry soap bottle about 3 times). I haven't kept track of how many loads i've done. but I have went thru roughly 15 judges of laundry soap for a total cost of about $10!!!! even buying the cheapest brands out there would have cost more than that!

I've also started making homemade detergent for my dish washer. WOW, I'm shocked at how wonderful it works. You do need a rinse agent or else your dishes are kinda dull looking BUT the dishes are at least clean. Seriously, when I use the powdered detergent (I use the store brand) my dishes never seemed to get completely clean and my dishwasher itself seemed dirty. WELL, after using this recipe even my dishwasher looks clean! Here is what I used:

1 cup borax
1 cup baking soda (use BAKING SODA not washing soda)
2 cups Casacade (this is optional but it helps give the dishes a shine)

For a rinse agent you can buy it or use vinegar. I used vinegar and that seems to work well. So for a fraction of the cost I can make it homemade with better results!

I used a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice. So far so good. Works great!

I used vinegar and water. Decided to not use this. The smell was just not that pleasent. I missed the "clean" smell. Especially when cleaning the bathroom. Yes, this worked but decided to buy my own bathroom cleaner.

I use this recipe:
1 cup rubbing alcohol
1 cup water
2 tblspoons vinegar

This works great! I even use my old newspapers when cleaning the windows! No streaks and the windows are clean!

So there you have it. A "homemade cleaner" update! Let me know if you have any questions! :)