August 23, 2013


I've been in a crafting rut, or rather a crafting sabbatical. I guess with it being so hot and all knitting hasn't really held my interest. I did finish a project and started a new one, but the new one is rather boring. Too, I've been pretty busy and occupied with other things and haven't had time to sit and knit or crochet.

Since I have four daughters and I like for them to look pretty and classic, I end up needing to sew for them a lot. I especially need to for things like Easter or special occasions because it's expensive and the dresses usually aren't what we want. Now that the girls are getting bigger and are starting to cross over into 'junior' sizes, clothing selection is limited. I am appalled at some of the things out there.

I started doing a lot of sewing at the beginning of the summer, but I kind of fizzled out, especially when some of things just weren't working out. Still, every once in awhile I do get on Pinterest and start searching for ideas, and wow, that is the place to go! I remembered seeing this idea awhile back and thought it was so creative. My girls are princesses at heart, yet they don't make much princess stuff in bigger girl sizes. This is an easy, cheap and a great idea.

 You just need one pattern, some elastic and a basic understanding of how to make ruffles and add trim/embellishments.

We've also been watching some German theme movies lately-The Sound of Music and Hookwinked 2 (yes the villains are Hansel and Gretel)- and I was thinking of how cute it would be to make them a German folk dress. I've been looking online for ideas and fabrics today-they would be so cute!!!

 You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find good pictures of traditional folkwear that is appropriate! My goodness, does everything have to be sexy nowadays? So annoying.

Anyways, this would be done very simply of course, with a peasant style top in white, a 'vest' or bodice in black or another color with ribbon sewn on to look like laces, the skirt done in red or blue, embroidered ribbon trim, a white apron...I might even be able to make it all in one piece. Anyways, it's an adorable idea.

So I have some inspiration for sewing now. I was also thinking about how the girls would LOVE to have an old fashioned white frilly and lacy nightgown. I have several white sheets that would be a good candidate for that and pulled some patterns out just a little while ago to figure out how to do it. Now I just need some time and energy to do it.

August 22, 2013

The Plan

Ok, so I am not an adhering-to-a-schedule person. I can do it, but I don't like how it makes me feel. I get to feeling like I am the servant of the schedule rather than the master of it. I get to feeling like I don't have freedom and control in my life. I know it sounds weird, but I am one of those wing it and it works type of people. At least, the majority of the time it works.

But, I know that that mentality last year is what made things feel difficult and overwhelming. And I always felt behind, don't like that. Sooooo, we have to have a schedule whether I like it or not. However I've been able to create one that allows a lot of free time so that it doesn't seem rigid.

The only thing is, it requires me to get up early in the morning, and I've been struggling with that this week. I know the main reason it has been is struggle is I can't seem to get in bed early enough. But I am trying. I just need to lean more on the help of the Holy Spirit and listen to Him when He tells me to go to bed.

So this is the plan for our days:

5:30am Wake up time for me, while I'm waking up I shall have a caffeinated beverage and some prayer time
              on M/W/F I will do my workout DVDs, the other days Bible reading
6:30am make lunches and breakfast, unload dishwasher
7:00 make sure everyone is up, help my oldest( Leiah) get dressed and ready
        breakfast time
7:30 other girls get dressed and ready, make beds and do their morning chores
        Me-take a shower if needed, dressed, tidy bedroom, start laundry, start crockpot if needed (on Mon and Wed usually
8:30 We start school with Bible reading
9:00 Prek with 4 year old, 7 and 9 year olds do language arts-phonics book, spelling book, copywork, handwriting, reading
9:30 Math time
10:30 or earlier- break and snack (I can switch laundry then)
10:45ish History or Geography (history 3 days, G 1 day)
11:15ish Mon-Literature Unit study; T-science, Th-art study, Fri-music/composer study
12:00 lunch-preparing and eating
          clean things up, do any chores necessary
1:30 Piano lessons-M,T,Th,Fri
2:00 Rest/free time, on Tuesday this will be craft time
      **Monday I pick up my daughter from school around 2:45 and head to dance classes until 5pm
3:30 have a tea time snack and read aloud time***except on Monday and Thursday because of dance at 4:15
The rest of the day is just maintaining the house, clearing the kitchen so it's easy to clean up after dinner, making dinner and pursuing interests.
8:00 Get girls ready for bed and in bed at 8:30, older two can read until 9pm then lights out
My goal is to be actually asleep by 10:30 each night, or before

So, that is the plan. On Wednesdays we use that as a 'free' day- library, shopping, extra cooking if possible and lots of time to play. And once I get going with my food cultures that will probably be the day I work with those. I chose to do all dance classes in the afternoons to keep the evenings free because we are the kind of people that prefer to not have to go anywhere after dinner. It's more work for me, but if I can prepare ahead of time with dinner cooked and things cleaned up, it's not a big deal.

After our cleaning up this week, I hope to take a few pictures of our stuff set up and post them. You can't see it right now because boxes are in the way!

August 20, 2013

Why We Homeschool

The past couple of weeks or so, I've been under a lot of pressure. I am the kind of person that does not like to make mistakes, wants to please others and doesn't like to fail at anything. Ever.

Well, I had been having doubts about our decision for our children's education, just for various reasons, and it seemed like the more I thought about it, the more confused I became. What it all boils down to is fear- fear of making the wrong decision. I have never been one to go with the flow in my life, but I don't really like to stand out and draw attention to myself either. I like to do what I am led to do, because that is the place where I am at peace and joy. When I look back over my life, I am so amazed and so thankful at how God directed me, and that I was able to hear Him and obey it. My heart is to be where He wants me to be, and He knows I'll do what He wants even if I don't like it all that much at first, and even if it is different from everyone else.

The town that we live in is small but growing. We live in what is known as the "Bible Belt". I am literally surrounded by worldwide missions ministries, ministries to teens and pregnant teens, churches by the dozen- you name it. I live in a town that when one person, who is an athiest, tried to prevent the school from doing a program about America and it's Biblical foundations, the ENTIRE town and surrounding towns took a stand and funded the program to happen outside of school hours. It was on the news, as in national news. People move here for the school. It is the most sought after school district, the teachers are allowed to pray and talk about the Lord in class, kids are allowed to meet and pray at school as well. Like I said, people move here for the school.

So when the Lord started moving on me to homeschool, I didn't really understand, and I resisted it. The school has been so awesome for my oldest daughter, who has some special needs. They literally love her and spoil her, and everybody knows her. When I made the choice to obey His leading, I still didn't fully understand why we were doing homeschool, but I did it. And when I did, it automatically took me out of that group. No one in my church homeschools, no one in my family, no friends. There are no homeschooling groups or co-ops that I know of, because again, people move here for the public school. I did ok last year, I had some rough days, but overall, considering I was pretty much alone in it, things went really well.

And so, here I am again, feeling rather estranged from the rest of my local world as I get stuff in the mail about school starting, go to walmart with all the local school supply lists staring at me, everyone asking the girls about school starting and who their teachers are. I've been going over it around and around in my mind, back and forth. I realize that my local 'arms' so the speak are quite short-I don't really know anyone in my community that I see very often at all. I don't even have any friends who have children, much less homeschool. Hey, I don't even have any friends that are married and stay at home. Things can feel a bit lonely at times.

So I had to figure out why it was so important to keep our children home, and teach them myself. I had to go deep, but I realize that the reason is because I want them to have a Christian education. As good as the local school is, it is still funded by the state, and there are still state tests that apparently mean everything. My children will not get a quality Christian education in a public school. They may not even get a quality one in general. The reason a Christian education is so important, is that it all boils down to being about Him, and things make more sense. I know that the reason the dark ages were so dark, is not because people couldn't read or were not educated, it was because the Word of God was taken from them and not written in their own language. I know that Squanto was a Christian, and his life had been directed by God, so that at the appointed time, he would be there for the Pilgrims, so that our nation could begin. I didn't learn any of those things when I was in public school.

Our children are bright, and because of homeschool their reading levels are well above average. If they were to go back to public school, they wouldn't be allowed to move up or be challenged. They would probably get somewhat bored and wonder why they were there when they could be at home doing something interesting. Our school is not bad, but it ultimately falls short of our purpose for our children. I have tasted real learning, real knowledge, and it was like I had been starved the whole time I was in public school, and now I was finally getting something with meat and nutrients to it! I had to digest it slowly in the beginning, but soon I was keeping up with the rest of the kids who had been in that environment all their lives. I want that for my own babies. It is my desire and my goal, to make our school this year to be as interesting as possible. I am making myself include the study of artists, composers, dance, music lessons, field trips, more crafts and really digging into our history material. I chose things that interest me, so that they could see Mom excited about learning this stuff, and encourage them that learning is enjoyable. I love to learn new things, and I want that for them too.

I am writing this for myself. I needed to get these thoughts out, and show myself why I am doing what I am doing. I put it here in the hope that it could be an encouragement to anyone else faltering on the homeschool decision. I am not one of those people that talks much about it to anyone, and keep my answers short when asked, simply because it is a personal decision and I am very aware that I am not perfect. Just the other day a lady found out I homeschool and she just kept going on and on about what a saint I was! Well, if we are saved then we're all saints! People assume incorrectly that I am perfect and patient all the time and that's why I homeschool.
No way, I do it because Jesus asked me to, and because I love my children so much. I want them to learn directly from the Holy Spirit, and I want them to have freedom. I want them to have the Truth and do what God has called them to do. And right now it's learning with their mom, while she learns from the Him.

Busy Days

The last week before school starts is....busy. I am busily purging the house right now, trying to get things more manageable. We have had difficulty getting our girls to get things cleaned up in a short amount of time, so in my mind, that equals too much stuff. Sunday evening I hit one bedroom, and yesterday the other. I am feeling a bit more in control of things and it looks like we could have a cleaner home all the time now.

I went back to Flylady's website and re-educated myself on her methods.I really enjoyed watching her videos because she is very encouraging and funny. I've been trying to make some simple changes, but honestly, the hardest for me is getting up on time! I have been out of my Advocare Spark drink for awhile and I am missing it. It not only gives me energy but really helps me to focus- no foggy brain feeling. I am putting in order for that as soon as possible.

The rest of the week's plans are:
Tuesday- clean the fridge out (my LEAST liked job ever)
                mop the kitchen floor
                maybe clean out the bathroom cabinets
                *also make bread and get crockpot going
Wednesday- library and groceries
                     rearrange the living room and my bedroom (with dh's help in the evening)
 Thursday- bake breakfast items for freezer
Friday- finish any decluttering if needed
             more baking if needed
 Weekend- get things ready for school- clothes ready, backpack and lunchbox stuff ready (for my oldest) and get homeschool things set

I've also been creating a daily and weekly schedule for homeschool and life in general, and I may post that later, as I now I have to get down to the nitty gritty on those kitchen tasks I listed. 

August 17, 2013

Dinner Menu

***I wrote this on Wednesday and forgot about posting it***

This week's menu. I am putting it up to help myself out, but it's always interesting to see what other people eat,huh? I usually shop on Wednesday's so I plan meals from Wed-Tues each week. I used to could buy our groceries for $100 a week, but that was about 6 years ago, minus a child and they were a lot smaller. Not to mention the price of food is more now. We were eating very frugally, er cheaply too, but these days I'm doing absolutely awesome to keep it under$150 a week. Normally it's much more than that.

Some extra things are happening this week, so I am trying to keep a low food budget.

Last Monday: Chicken provencal stew, rosemary bread, leftover chocolate birthday cake (meat and broth from a chicken I roasted and then simmered to make a gallon of chicken stock)

(Yesterday)Tuesday: Smothered mushroom porkchops and rice, peach clafouti (forgot to make a salad, porkchops were from the freezer when there was a sale weeks before, needed to use up a bunch of ripe peaches)

Wednesday: hot dogs with chili, cheese, onions, potato chips, pickles (kid's request)

Thursday: tomato basil soup with cream, grilled cheese (girls will be at grandparents, and I will be gone too, so hubby is on his own)

Friday: Ravioli with Italian sausage meat sauce, Caesar salad, caramel cake (Matt's birthday dinner)

Saturday: tuna pasta salad, corn on the cob (make tuna salad and add chopped onions and celery and cooked pasta)

Sunday: we eat leftovers or sandwiches

Monday: Crockpot bbq chicken sandwiches, oven fries

Tuesday: baked calico beans, homemade macaroni and cheese, cucumber tomato salad

August 14, 2013

Bedroom Ideas

So I haven't started decluttering yet. Monday I had some running around to do, as in a lot! Yesterday I spent the day trying to get things in order for school. Today is supposed to be rainy and stormy, which is nice because the weather is cooling off!!! But, going to the store is more difficult.

However, last night I did some looking around at bedroom ideas. In all our 12 years of marriage, I've never really 'done' our bedroom. Though we are planning to sell this house, the bedroom needs some paint anyways, and any new furniture I get will go with us in a move, so why not? My bedding I purchased four years ago no is coming apart at the seams, literally, even though it's been dry cleaned ONCE! My husband doesn't care at all what I choose, so I am thinking of going with my inner girl and choose a romantic look. The main thing is paint walls, new window coverings and new bedding. I'm not planning on getting other new furniture unless it's really cheap or free. In fact most furniture in there now is coming out and going into storage! Anyways, some ideas that I liked:

I am really liking pink, beige and cream/white. Very soft and vintage-y.

Really pretty!!! However the living room is blue, so I'm not sure I want to do a blue master bedroom too. But I like the decor a lot.

Rose theme!

I would prefer to have white or cream bedding, scary I know, but I really like how it looks. Then use other items to bring color in, this way, knowing how I like to change things up, the bedding works with whatever changes I want!
 I like this green too, green and pink roses.

I would actually consider a pink room, only more of a deeper rose color, I have a picture in a magazine with a bedroom in a darker pink that I really like. I don't is very, pink and to someone looking to buy our home pink might be the worst color! Neutral is probably best.

Fun things to think about!

August 12, 2013

The Great Purge

When we bought this house, four years ago now!!!, we bought it quickly. We needed to move to this town before I had the baby and before school started. So, we picked a double wide mobile home that was in great condition, like new, and it had about an acre of land in a nice quiet neighborhood. It was also well within our means financially. God worked miracles, we got in and got pretty settled before we had the baby and before my two girls started school. It was a lot of stress and work, but we did it!

The place we are in has been a blessing and it has been good, but we are outgrowing the house. Our living room is a big square and we haven rearranged it like 10 times over the past 4 years and it helps for awhile, then it's getting cramped again. The bedrooms aren't tiny, but they get tiny when there are two twin size beds in each room, even with bunkbeds. Our kitchen is large, but very dark and the tile is an odd color that annoys me, yet I don't want to replace tile myself. One of the biggest complaints is the fact that our soil is sand and the grasshoppers love it. They feast on our garden every year and we are done with that!

So we've been talking about selling and moving for over a year now. Ever so often I get online and look at the housing market and sometimes we go visit one we like. Well, my husband is getting serious about it, which thrills me. In the years that we've spent here, the house has gotten very lived in. We need new carpet, to repaint some areas, replace some damaged areas and clean/paint the outside of the house. We are planning to have a yard sale in a few weeks, and it just so happened that this past Saturday I happened on this plan at this site, called Life as Mom:

You start with your personal space (bedroom and bathroom etc.) and move to the kitchen and throughout the rest of the house. I got three weeks till our yard sale day, two of which are still summer and not school yet, so, I will be doing some heavy decluttering. I'll be praying a lot. Maybe, maybe, maybe if I feel motivated, I'll take some pictures of the process. We'll see....

Ideals and Reality

Probably like a lot of homeschooling moms, or moms in general, I have an ideal picture in my head of what our days will be like. The days will mostly be calm and slow paced, with plenty of time and patience to do all that we wish to. I found out last year that the days sometimes went that way and sometimes didn't.

Even before homeschooling, each summer I would work hard on getting organized and doing any painting etc. I would be well prepared way in advance by shopping early for school supplies, clothes, shoes, backpacks and all that.

This year hasn't been that way at all. For one, the summer has literally flown by. There has been a lot of fun and good things going on, and I really just wanted to enjoy summer and not be thinking about school too much. And two, we changed our school plans early in the summer, and went  from an extremely tight budget, to shifting funds for homeschool and other things. And three, I got sick for two weeks and it really really took a toll on me and the house!
    So now, here we are in August, only a few weeks before school has started. I have purchased the majority of our curriculum, done a little bit of cleaning out and organizing, but now we have two birthdays coming up. I am NOT going overboard like I did before, but there are several homemade gifts in the works, plus a homemade cake to make. Though it's simple, I can't tear the kitchen apart and clean it good :)

PLUS, it is HOT!!! No way can we clean out our shed and have the yard sale now! That will wait until at the very least September when it only gets in the 90s, ha ha. Last night I was feeling so overwhelmed. It was a struggle to get the girls in  bed at 9:30!!! The living room and kitchen were somewhat cluttered, bedrooms the same, the bathroom littered with wet towels and swimsuits like always, the trash overflowing, the laundry way backed up, the cupboards getting empty because I didn't make it to the grocery store yet, my knitting and sewing projects sitting out looking messy, my plants on the porch looking thirsty and me- very wore out.

But, instead of all those things, I had picked my mom up from the car place while her car was being worked on, gone to a doctor appointment for myself, ran some errands and picked up lunch for everyone, looked through the homeschool books that arrived, and then took her to my grandmother's and visited there for an hour. By the time I got home, I was hot, tired, feeling crampy and bloated (sorry TMI) and just done. I changed into comfier clothes, took some pain meds, got a glass of tea, and parked it in the recliner until 6pm!! Right when my husband gets home. But he is so easy going, he just jumped right in and helped me cook a great, simple and delicious dinner. By then I was feeling better and able to at least clean up the kitchen, while the girls went for a swim.

All that to say, I know that it's not how things are on the outside that is most important. I would prefer for things to be clean and neat and orderly, and I do my best to get there, but ultimately it's the unseen things that are eternal. Serving and spend quality time with grandmas and great-grandmas is much more priceless than getting all the laundry done. Indulging a craving for farm fresh peaches and stopping to buy 5lbs of them is important too, even if it adds to the errands and stops I needed to make.

I bought a homeschooling/life planner from Confessions of a Homeschooler the other day for $5. In it she has this page comparing a 'Super Mom' vs. a Mom Abiding in the Vine-Jesus. It really spoke to me and I put it as the first page of in my homeschooling notebook to remind me of what I'm doing and Who is my Help.

 I put this in the front of my homeschool notebook to keep me focused on the right thing-God! I struggle to remind myself of what the greater purpose is, it's so easy to get sidetracked on many things- the constant messes, meals, laundry, cleaning up, going to classes and church, and now we are undertaking lots of home improvements as we get ready to sell this house. Thanks so much Erica for this awesome reminder!