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Thursday, July 31, 2008


I'm posting this in a moment of overwhelmed weakness. Overwhelmed. Did you know whelm is a word? Whoever uses it? It means to submerge under water or to overwhelm. Responsibility is whelming me. Lol. I know I'm allowing it to, and I make it worse with procrastination. Tasks seems piled up around me and they are never-ending.

The thing is, I know I'm not the only person in this world that has more than their fair share of responsibilities to handle each day. I have a blessed life, a very blessed life. I don't have to struggle in the work force to please others or to meet quotas of any kind. Most of my goals are self-imposed, most of my workload is what everyone has to do to maintain a home.

Honestly, I think having dh out of commission due to back surgery/pain is taking its toll. I often feel utterly alone in the household/family responsibilities and thus overwhelmed. Right now I know the kitchen floor needs to be swept and mopped, as do the bathroom floors. I have a load of laundry to do today, my desk is cluttered (bad habit of mine), the garage has items to go to Goodwill and trash to be hauled away with which I don't have a truck to do it with but don't want to bother anyone else. The house needs dusting, lessons need to be done, Jack needs to go to the vet, Danny needs to go to the doctor for immunizations and a check-up, I haven't changed my name on my social security card yet and it's been 6 years since we got married. Yup.

The yard needs to be mowed, and I find myself coming up short each and every day because..taa daaaa I'm overwhelmed and then I procrastinate. I've also been going 100 miles an hour for the last 3 months with this move and although I've taken time off and I've gotten a lot of things done, I still feel like I'm climbing uphill everyday.

I'm waking up at 6 am and going to bed between 10-11 pm. I have exactly 1-2 hours to myself a day and that's it and most of that is spent watching tv at night or reading a book. What kills my spirit is that it is now 8:30 am and although the kids and I have given Jack a bath, I've ran the dishwasher, taken a shower and fed the kids- my dh is still in bed. He'll wake up and tell me how much pain he's in and I will say I'm sorry. He'll go to his office for a few hours and then come home, again telling me that he's in pain or relay the events of his day. I want so much not to resent him for his pain! This is where I feel I'm failing the most, my heart is aching so much for myself and my current circumstances that I feel my heart has hardened towards him.

He went to a new doctor this week who told him that his previous surgery was performed incorrectly without seeing his records or anything, just based on dh's condition. The Dr. said that dh shouldn't be in pain anymore and there are other physical attributes that are suspect of a surgery performed wrongly. I don't know if this means another surgery or what. I'm sure it does. The health care costs of all of this is weighing heavily upon us, which is another thing I stress about as the one who takes care of the finances.

I feel very much like David in Psalm 38

Psalm 38
1 A psalm of David. A petition.O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. 2 For your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down upon me. 3 Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; my bones have no soundness because of my sin. 4 My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.5 My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. 6 I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. 7 My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. 8 I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart.

All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. 10 My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes. 11 My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbours stay far away. 12 Those who seek my life set their traps, those who would harm me talk of my ruin; all day long they plot deception. 13 I am like a deaf man, who cannot hear, like a mute, who cannot open his mouth; 14 I have become like a man who does not hear, whose mouth can offer no reply.

15 I wait for you, O LORD; you will answer, O Lord my God. 16 For I said, Do not let them gloat or exalt themselves over me when my foot slips. 17 For I am about to fall, and my pain is ever with me. 18 I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin. 19 Many are those who are my vigorous enemies; those who hate me without reason are numerous. 20 Those who repay my good with evil slander me when I pursue what is good. 21 O LORD, do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God. 22 Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Saviour

I know there are other families who have worse circumstances, their bread-winner has just been laid off or their house is being foreclosed. There are families who are struggling to put food on the table and both parents are working 2 jobs to make ends meet. I have no right to complain, fuss or otherwise feel downtrodden. We have a roof over our heads, clothes on our bodies, food to eat and many blessings in our lives. In writing this post I've gone from feeling down to feeling positive, I know the Lord will not forsake me, I know He's not far from me. So today I will lean on Him.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My Life of Lists

I have lists coming out my ears. Most of them are in my head because it seems once I write it down, I forget it or I'm over it. Lol. This very encompassing habit has lessened since I've put some systems for myself in place but right now I'm taking a break from creating a Recipe Shopping spreadsheet.

I've made a list of recipes I want to make from the Country Italian cookbook I mentioned a few posts ago with columns for
Recipe Name \ Meats \ Produce \ Pantry Items \ Special Ingredients \ Times Per Month. This way I can see what recipes I want to cook and what ingredients I'll need, which I think will be very helpful at the grocery store. I made the mistake of visiting the Well-Trained Mind forums for a little break and saw a conversation on-going about Simply Charlotte Mason's Laying Down the Rail book that I've wondered if I should buy. It's organized in lists. I immediately started thinking, "I should get that book, so I can be organized and purposeful!!"

But instead, here I am typing instead of thinking more about it or going to the Simply Charlotte Mason website to contemplate it more. I have what I need already, goals included for habit training this year. *Smacking my wrist* No!

Lists in my head or otherwise:
- chore lists for Danny, Camille and myself
- menu planning/grocery lists
- personal growth list for myself (reading, habits)
- family lifestyle improvement goals (recycling, composting, veg. gardening, daily exercise)
- errands to run
- people to call, appts. to make (Drs., services, return calls to make, etc.)
- bills to pay with pay-off schedules
- book lists
- lesson plans

I'm sure there are more, I'm overwhelmed just with what I've already typed. Fizzle, there goes my air of enthusiasm...
I'm grateful that I finally have a clear vision of what we need and how to use what we have to the fullest, so I can focus on that instead of trying to find the 'magic' answer. Okay, back to my recipe shopping spreadsheet and lessons. :)


Monday, July 28, 2008

Our Studies This Week

We're back in business. Smile. Here's what we're doing this week, starting today.

Bible- reviewing our Doxology song, Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow on our My First Hymnal CD

Praise God from whom all bless-ings flow;
Praise Him all crea-tures here be-low;
Praise Him a-bove ye heav’n-ly host;
Praise Fa-ther, Son and Ho-ly Ghost.

Math- Horizons 2 with math fact copywork, multiplication facts. Card games this week too.
Primary Language Lessons- 3 to 4 lessons this week.
Poetry- a thorough review of all poems memorized and possibly a new one
French- Unit 1 of Écoutez, Parlez review
TOG- Unit 3 of Year 2 read alouds
Science this week: lesson 1 of our invertebrates study, yes I'm very behind my original plan but still forging forward.
Week 1 Introduction to Invertebrates

Teaching Focus
A. Explain differences between vertebrates/invertebrates
Group of animals that have no backbone, jaws, or bony skeleton
1. Hydrostatic skeleton, hard plates, spicule skeleton, shells
Hydrostatic: water-filled balloon
B. Overview of invertebrate classification
C. Define bilateral and radial symmetry
D. Metamorphosis
E. Herbivores and Carnivores
  1. In water invertebrates filter feed
  2. On land, invertebrates forage for food

DK Animal, pg. 524-527
Simple Animals by Stidworthy, pg. 6-9
Benny's Animals and How He Sorted Them by Selsam (Independent)
Bugs by Nancy Winslow Parker, pg. 38

Giant Science: Ocean Invertebrates, Sorting Cards, Land Invertebrates
The 100+ Series Life Science (Grades 5-8) by Daryl Vriesenga
- pg. 43, Backbone or No Backbone
- pg. 76 Metamorphosis
- pg. 36 Symmetrical Critters

United Streaming
Animals Around Us: Invertebrates, What Are They?
Animals Without Backbones: The Invertebrate Story

Piano practice daily for 15 minutes
Independent reading for 30 minutes: Camille is reading The Twits by Roald Dahl, I'm reading a book about John James Audubon, Danny will read whatever he wants
Craft time: We'll start our needlepoint projects this week and possibly a bread baking session later this week
TaeBo and Yoga alternated with Afternoon Tea with Fairy Tales

I will provide a review at the end of the week to report on what we have accomplish to give me added accountability. I also hope to take to the kids on a field trip this coming weekend to Oatland Island Wildlife Center. I will also be posting new pictures of our learning room, I need that accountability too. :)


Changing Our Family Menu

I've been up since 5:30 am. In the last week or so, I've decided to revamp our family menu and add in Italian dishes which I feel comfortable doing with a cookbook I found at my parents' house.

Country Italian (Famous Brand Name) Cookbook, from which I have written down about 20 new recipes I want to try. My copy should arrive today and I'll be making the visit to the grocery store to get supplies. I'm excited and not intimidated at all, the recipes seem very doable and tasty.

In fact, when my mom took Danny and I to Olive Garden, I saw a few menu items that are in the book! What reassurance! I took the time at my parents to write down the recipes that I felt I would want to do right away this month and the ingredients that I will have to buy. I practically read the cookbook from beginning to end, lol.

I also had my mother take me to the grocery store to educate me further about meats, it has been confusing to me when I go to buy a piece of meat that I've never used before only to find out it has different names at the stores. I also tend to buy cheap but not really looking at price per unit, just the end price and realized this is not always the cheaper way in the end. A larger piece of meat may be lower in unit price and higher in the price tag but if cut it can last longer. She showed me a huge piece of pork that could be cut into 2 roasts and 2 servings of chops that was $30. The $30 tag would have had me ignoring the meat but realizing that I could get that many dinners out of it, I understand now.

Can you believe I'm actually excited to go grocery shopping? My dh is too, especially after finding out that I plan to incorporate sausage and country ribs into our dinner menu. I also plan to start making soups which will stretch our food budget a little further. I feel like I'm finally in a comfortable place with cooking, at least mentally I am, lol. I still have to make these meals and see how the family likes them. I think it will be a welcome change and I'm not going to shy away from using spices just because I think it'll make something too spicy. I will try it and see before deciding that. Which is a HUGE leap for me.

I also want to try making some specialty breads, which I'm sure I will talk more about as I learn more. I can't wait for the mail to get here today!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

All Aboard!

Tomorrow Danny and I are taking the train to visit my parents for a week. Camille is going to Disney World with her Dad and Grandpa. We were supposed to be going to the beach for this week but when Camille was offered a trip to Disney World, a week at the beach with Mom doesn't seem so much fun anymore. That's okay, Danny and I are taking an Amtrak train from Savannah to Charleston tomorrow and he's very excited!

Why the train? With gas prices as high as they are now, just to drive round-trip with no other driving would be 2 tanks of gas, which would be $90. Our train tickets are $60 with no other travel expense. I checked Greyhound ($97 round-trip) and there aren't any flights from Savannah to Charleston on the dates I want.

I haven't seen my parents since early January due to the fact they have been under construction with a new kitchen and then we were in the 'moving' stage. They just finished construction earlier this month and I cannot wait to see how it all turned out. It will be strange walking into a new improved "home". It will be a nice break from the current settling in/get organized stage I'm in now. I'm not taking anything with me to plan, organize or think about, just Danny and a duffel bag filled with necessities.

I'm ready. I need this break. I want to see my parents. I want to be spoiled just a little bit. :) I'm very close to both of my parents and usually at this point in the year this would be my 3rd trip to visit them. It's been hard this year, my mom has been stressed over the construction and it's been evident in our phone conversations. When you have two people who are very close, stressed out and exhausted, it does not make for good, uplifting conversations. Lol. I'm only sorry that Camille will not be coming this trip but I'm sure we'll be going back soon, I have to go now. I have a strong need to refresh myself and it seems that can only happen at my parents' where I am loved unconditionally and I have very little responsibility. I wish I could leave Danny at home with dh but it's not possible this trip.

I feel silly but I'm excited to ride the train too, it'll be my first time as well as Danny's. I wonder how scenic it'll be?


Saturday, July 19, 2008

SAHM Ramblings

I took for granted all that I had in our last home, the small and large routines that were set, the ability to just move through the day without thinking so much. Lately, I've done more thinking than I feel I've done in a while!

Where should this go?
Will I find it when I need it?
Do we really need this?
Do I need to buy/make anything to make this task easier to accomplish?

Everything has changed and become more simplified, as we squeeze into our new home. I've been struggling with this and guilt-laden over all the items I've had to purge. The squeaky clean feeling that comes after removing the extra baggage hasn't been present as much as I'd like it to. I just keep finding room for improvement.

A stay-at-home mom's job is hard work. I say job because it is a job, a never-ending one. Up at 6:00 am and to bed at 10:00 pm, it is on-going through all the hours. There are times I'm able to be a bit more slack in my duties and watch a movie in the middle of the afternoon. These are the times I feel guilty for being at home, like I'm getting away with something. I was reminded lately that just because I take time to myself during the day, it does not negate the fact that I work at home. I have no real sick days where all responsibility disappears while I get better. I have no real vacation time where the responsibility of my job disappears for awhile. I cannot escape this job.

My job is always there, always ready to be done but is never finished. My pay is hugs and kisses, exclamations from my children about being the best mom in the world, appreciative looks and comments from my husband. No day is exactly the same yet they are all similar, sometimes running into each other and I'm unable to determine what day of the week it really is. When someone asks if I remember what happened on Tuesday, I have to think especially hard...was that the day when the bathroom flooded or was it the day it rained all day and I had to give Jack (our dog) a bath 3x?

I think the worst thing about this job is that others' do not have an immediate understanding of all that it entails. If I were to say, "I'm a trial lawyer," there would be a clear understanding that I work long hours, argue for a living and probably have money. "I'm a stay-at-home mom" or my favorite is "I'm a professional mom," just does not convey all that I do in the way other professions do. There is not a clear understanding of what that job is. People think that my time is my time. Ha! Others think that I play all day with my kids. Another Ha! Worst yet, some think my house is immaculate and I have continuous order and harmony in our home. Ha! Ha! Ha!

The kids are at home! Which means there is a mess happening all the time. All the time! Let me repeat that once more...ALL the TIME.

I'm my harshest critic. Really, I am. I know when I have a bad attitude. I know all that needs to be done. I know the consequences of not doing what I should be. I have a constant work performance evaluation going on inside my head, every day. I don't have to wait for quarterly or yearly evaluations, it is in my face every day. So are the rewards.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Her 8th Birthday.

The cake took me 3 hours to make. It's Hershey's Perfect Chocolate Cake and that part turned out great. It was the frosting that took me so long. I made three batches of frosting.

I tried to make a 3 layer cake but I accidently flipped one of the layers the wrong way and it eventually crumbled after I frosted it. It literally cracked and slid off. Lol. I removed that layer and put the last layer on. I sort of saved the cake, it still didn't look quite as neat as it could but it has two types of frostings. Plain chocolate on the outside and a mocha frosting inside, very yummy. I wish I had strawberry or raspberry sauce to put on it. Lol.

For the first time Camille had her Dad and all of us (dh, Danny and me) together for her birthday in the same place.
Danny is pictured stuffing his face with both hands full of cake while his fork lays on the plate.
Ah, the joy of having a boy.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Umm. I can't find...

Our Explode the Code Book 7. I know it's evading me, but where?

We went to the beach yesterday, a 30 mile drive away. I'm a little sunburned because I should have had dh spray sunblock on me but I didn't. It rained twice while we were there, after the second time we left.

I have no energy today, no zip, no motivation, nada.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Answering TOG questions

Tapestry of Grace is a definitely a major curiosity for those that do not use it, out of all the curriculum we've used, it is the one I get asked the most about. I think there's a great reason for it though. It's a packaged curriculum that provides SO much and in comparison to one year programs, it costs a lot more.

We use many of TOG's components but at our pace, from it I use history, church history, worldview, crafts, biographies, some science, literature selections for read alouds and eventually we'll use it for even more as we progress through the levels. If you'd like to see all that it entails, click here to visit the Exploring Tapestry website that has step by step directions on how to learn all about Tapestry. Click the Start Here button and take your time. Remember each Tapestry year plan contains K-12 instruction so it may seem very overwhelming at first, but each year plan can be used again and again at varying levels.

How we use TOG in our home will be different than how someone else may use it in their home. How I organize our lessons may be different than others. That's okay, in fact that is wonderful because it means we're each using TOG with our strengths and weaknesses. The thing is, I can't tell anyone how to use TOG in their home, all I can do is share what we do.

We received our Unit 1 of Year 3 yesterday and I can say that I wasn't overwhelmed at all. After using Year 2's Units 2-4, I simply opened Unit 1 of Year 3 and read the introduction to the unit and flipped through quickly to see the components we are already using in our other units. I closed it and put it on the shelf with the knowledge that in a few weeks, I'll plan it out for our lessons in September in more detail.

I'm grateful to have Tapestry in our homeschool, I'm much more calm about our studies that derive from Tapestry. I love the books, the plan and all the components.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Primary Language Lessons plan

We started PLL mid-year in 2nd grade, I think it was in January and we're at lesson 49 now. In order to have PLL 2 times a week in 3rd grade (which starts Sept. 15th), I need to get the amount of lessons to accomplish below 80.

Let me explain this a little more. There are 164 total lessons in PLL. We have already done 49, so there are 115 lessons left. If I were to leave PLL alone until Sept. then we'd have to do PLL 3x a week for 38 weeks to accomplish 115 lessons in the year. I want to do PLL 2x a week so we have to keep doing some lessons.

I have 30 lessons in math to accomplish so I'll use that as our time perimeter. That is 6 weeks of 5 lessons a week or 7.5 weeks of 4 lessons a week. If we do 30 lessons of PLL, that will bring the total number of lessons to complete (in 3rd) to 85.

Next, I looked at PLL to see where we could combine or skip lessons that weren't that important to get the maximum number of lessons in. This is for my own notes b/c I have this scribbled on a piece of paper I know I will lose!

49, 50, 51, 52 & 53, skip 54-55, 56, 57 & 58, 59 & 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66 &67, 68 & 69, 70, 71 & 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, skip 78 & 79, 80, 81, 82, 83 & 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90

That is 30 lessons. If we accomplish up to lesson 90, then we'll have (164-90) = 74 lessons to accomplish in 3rd grade, at 2x a week, we will be done with PLL in 37 weeks. Of course I have not gone through the whole book to see where we could skip or combine, I only did that to figure out how much we could get done during the next 6-7 weeks.

That is the goal to be able to do PLL 2x a week, because the other two days will be devoted to finishing Explode the Code. Which I still need to figure out b/c when we finish Explode the Code, I want to move onto Simply Spelling which is a 5 day a week program. I'll cross that bridge later.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Final Stretch

We need to finish our 2nd grade studies, even if things aren't 100% orderly in our new home. The weight of guilt is killing me. Lol.'s what we have to do. I'm putting it all in 1 binder (divided by subject), which I can pull from to put in Camille's daily folders.

Math: Horizons 2, lessons 132-160
Explode the Code Book 6 and 7: Book 6 lessons 10-15, Book 7 lessons 1-15
PLL: Lessons 49-90, skipping and combining a few

History: TOG Year 2, Unit 3 and 4, fast-tracked reading these books only:
-Iroquois Indians
- The New Americans √
- Life in New France √
- Paddle-to-the-Sea √
- Life on a Southern Plantation √
- The Farewell Symphony
- Ben and Me
- Benjamin Franklin by d'Aulaire
- Sea Clocks
- Gulliver's Travels (independent read) √
- Hasty Pudding, Johnnycakes and other Good Stuff
- George Washington by d'Aulaire
- Liberty! How the Revolutionary War Began
- The Matchlock Gun
- The Boston Tea Party
-The 4th of July Story
- Paul Revere's Ride
- Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
- Aaron and the Green Mountain Boys
- A More Perfect Union
- Daniel Boone
- Hot Air, Balloon Ride
- The Flower Hunter
- Our Country's Presidents
- Paris 1789
- Dear Benjamin Banneker

I will follow TOG's scheduling of the books and I have projects waiting if we are able/want to do them. We had just finished The Courage of Sarah Noble before we took a break due to illness and the move. I am very grateful that this is just the first cycle and hope that as I gain more experience I'll be able learn how to keep our studies going even amidst life's situations. I've really felt very overwhelmed with this move, with dh not being able to help, moving into a smaller house, in the middle of our studies. I thought I understood al that I would have to do but when it actually came time to accomplish things, I had less energy and time than I thought I would.

We are moving forward with our invertebrate studies, although I haven't purchased the pocket microscope and slides I intended to or the rotting log kit and starfish for dissection. Right now I don't know WHERE I'd put the rotting log, lol.

For Camille's daily folders, I fill and empty them once a week with work to be done and work completed. The binder has tabs for each subject so if she gets behind in one subject it won't throw off everything else like it would if I mixed the subjects together in an attempt to create daily work in the binder.

Our learning room is pretty much put together, but I still have boxes to unpack and daunting questions about where everything should go or whether I really need the items to begin with. Sigh. It's smaller but the kids already love being in here playing at the table. It is my hope that the kids enjoy having this room and it's worth the trouble of them sharing a room. That sits on my heart a lot, especially since I have to purge the kids' clothes so that they all fit in their one closet. I also have to go through their toys and make some hard decisions. The truth of the matter is, the kids don't really play with toys.

Sure, Danny plays with his cars but other than that, I cannot think of one thing that is constantly played with. I've given both of the kids 3 wing-lid bins to fill with things they want to keep under their beds. Camille filled hers last week and hasn't touched the contents since.

It makes me wonder how indulgent I've been with the kids, what is appropriate and what is wasted money. For her upcoming birthday we got Camille her own watch, a poster of the world that contains animals, famous landmarks and various other information and an oscillating fan. She doesn't need clothes, shoes, and she doesn't want books, games, or any toys. She has asked for a fan and she NEEDS a watch. The kids are getting a new backyard playset courtesy of their grandpa but they don't know about that yet.

Anyways, I'm just rambling now. As soon as I get the rest of the boxes unpacked, there WILL be pictures. I have new bookcases that have been a real surprise, I can get more books on them than the ones we had before! Although our TOG books are in rubbermaid totes for storage, we have a lot of shelf space in our learning room that I have to figure the best way to utilize. I can't believe I'm saying that! All of our science books fit on 1 bookcase. One bookcase. Unbelievable! I told Camille that it will be my indication to purge science books, when they don't all fit on one bookcase. She says she gets her silliness from me. I believe her sometimes. ;)


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Our July 4th

We spent July 4th at Fort McAllister State Park, exploring Civil War times and the remnants of Fort McAllister. Here is Camille eating watermelon, goofy girl.

This historical embattlement was visited by Robert E. Lee and was the site of numerous unsucessful attempts by the Union Navy to pass it's guns in an attempt to access the Ogeechee river in order to lay destruction to the railway upstream, the plantations that were feeding the Confederate armies, and the CSS Nashville which was trapped by the Union blockade around Savannah. It fell to the hands of Sherman's ground troops during his infamous march to the sea on his way to Savannah from Atlanta.
To see a virtual tour of the park, click here.

We arrived just in time to hear the cannon firing and see the musket firing demonstration. We learned about the components of the uniform and why the men wore wool instead of cotton. Wool in 90°+ heat, I was sweating in cotton! Poor men.

We explored Fort McAllister and went into a few bunkers, one contained a row of bunk beds for the soldiers with a small eating area, another contained artillery. Actually the one pictured contained the artillery.

This is a picture of the wheelbarrow race that was a part of the fun that day.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Ready to Jump In

God has been very good to me in the last few days, every prayer said for us has been much appreciated because we are feeling the blessings of them! I was spiraling down into self-pity and probably depression over all the changes that have occurred in the last few weeks but the encouragement and graciousness of my online community helped raise me above it and get moving again.

For the last couple of days I've been making sure to intermingle fun and work, Wednesday we scrubbed the house in the morning hours and played in the afternoon. Yesterday, I was not feeling so great in the morning so I rested then (watched P.S. I Love You) and got busy in the afternoon. Today, we've gone to Fort McAllister State Park and joined in a few 4th of July activities and came home to rest before joining a few family members for a BBQ tonight.

Tomorrow we have another community 4th of July celebration to attend and we'll see fireworks tomorrow night. All in all, this is going to be a great weekend for us.

Instead of watching tv the last few days, I've been reading Terri Blackstock's Restoration series (Last Light, Night Light, True Light) and I can't wait to read Dawn's Light, the 4th book in the series. In 3 days, I've read 3 books. Each book taking less than 24 hours.

Why can't I read classics in the same manner?? Anyways, reading these Christian fiction books have really lifted my spirits. I've been reading about a family that undergoes many trials as they fight to survive during an electronic blackout period on Earth. Absolutely no electronics work, they don't even have water running through their pipes because the water plants are run on electricity. A humbling reminder that life could be a LOT harder than it is, no matter what troubles are present now. I know a few friends who have gone through some very heart-wrenching troubles themselves recently and my heart has ached for them in many ways, which didn't lift my spirits like reading these books have.

Before we started homeschooling I had out-read Karen Kingsbury, I had read everything she had written and was waiting for her to publish more. Christian fiction allows you to ride along on someone else's spiritual journey, to witness their struggles, their decisions and the outcomes of those decisions. It is refreshing to me to do that, to read about another's journey, even if it's fictional - it takes the formality away and just leaves me feeling good.

Sometime next week, I should have our bookcases delivered and I can finish setting up our learning room. I'm ready. Really ready! I want to get our room set-up, get lessons going again and create our 1st quarter of 3rd grade notebook. I want to put into action the ideas that I've had for the last few months and even though we may have a tight schedule for 3rd/PreK, I want to start working towards a full day.

I am concerned I have not left enough free time for myself in our days. I'll have from 6:00-6:30 to myself, just enough to have a cup of coffee and read my Bible. Then at 6:30 am, I'll be waking the kids and getting my shower while they have time to get dressed and do a few morning chores before breakfast at 7:00 am.

Our lessons will start at 8:00 am and will continue until lunch, the only breaks will be short 5 minute ones so we don't lose momentum. At 11:15 am, the afternoon chores will be done while I fix lunch. I have 11:15-12:00 noted for chores and piano practice. After lunch there will be a 30 minute independent reading time, which is probably where I'll take a chance to read myself. From 2:00-4:00 is the kids' free play time, at 4:00 I want to walk Jack, our dog and get out of the house with the kids. I hope to be back by 5:00 pm to fix dinner unless the crockpot is working its magic already.

Dinner will be at 6:00, clean-up right afterwards and then baths. Hopefully I can give the kids 15-30 min. each of reading time before their 8:00 bedtime. It is jam-packed days I have planned. I put it on a time schedule to see how the day would actually flow. There are a lot of things I can take out or schedule differently if I need to but really if we follow the schedule, it will become routine and just a part of life.

The kids do not realize this but I've squeezed out their tv time and added a BUNCH of reading time throughout the day. There will be reading in Bible, History, a fun read aloud (children's literature), a composer biography, poetry, independent reading, science reading and then historical fiction bedtime reading every day.

Our day is infused with so much fun stuff, I hope it won't seem like "school" to them, just stuff to do with Mama. With Camille I hope to have craft time with her everyday and the first thing we'll probably do is get a needlepoint kit for each of us and work on our individual projects together. On Mondays, I hope to bake goodies for afternoon tea for the week with Camille. I have so much GOOD stuff that I want to do with the kids and I think that may be our saving grace. I'm not trying to fill our time with formal studies or rote memorization but with things we all want to do.

I'm excited again. The Lord has been so good to me these past few days, to lift my spirit and refocus it on Him instead of myself. To focus it back on my kids instead of setting up house. To breath instead of stress. Although the stress is still there and there is way more to do to get settled in, I'm not in a rush. It's all coming together nicely and somethings do take time.

So, in the next week I hope to:
-finish unpacking the learning room and get it all organized
-start Math, PLL, reading, history and science back up again to finish our 2nd grade year by September 1st.
-start putting the final details on our 1st quarter of 3rd/PreK that starts Sept. 15th

I also need to:
-figure out a new dinner menu for our family since we have more accessible (and better) produce
-chore schedule for morning and afternoon chores for the kids and a general cleaning schedule for myself in this new house
- take Jack to the vet to be neutered, shots
- get a copy of Dawn's Light by Terri Blackstock
- find a Bible reading plan that I can do in the morning

Pray thankfully for His grace and the blessings in my life.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Phew. Is it bedtime yet?

I've been up since 5:00 am, thanks to Jack (our still to be neutered 10 month old puppy/dog). 3 loads of laundry washed (2 of which are folded and put away), main floors swept/vacuumed, house dusted (don'cha just love dark furniture ), dishwasher emptied and reloaded, kids fed and dressed, car loaded with books to donate to library and purged house goods to donate to Goodwill, not to mention the much needed paycheck to deposit in the bank.

Feeling pretty productive today! Now to deposit the paycheck to go purchase the much needed bookcases so I can organize our learning room properly.

Is there a trick to keeping dark wood furniture from looking so dusty so quickly? Please tell me there is, I can't dust everyday. I thought it would be nice to have a vaulted ceiling with a long hanging ceiling looks nice but it sure does deposit dust everywhere. I guess I'll have to price ladders so I can dust it...or some type of very long extension cleaning thingy. It's over 12 feet above our heads, I think- I'll have to measure.

Now to see if there is something I can put in the crockpot before I leave the house so I don't have to cook tonight.