Tuesday, July 31, 2012

It Went Well

We accomplished a lot yesterday for it to be a "first day of school."

In fact, by mid-afternoon, my head was feeling a bit like it might explode. Not a headache - just one of those information overload moments.

I also started reading two new books yesterday, so that was a contributor as well. {I started reading another book by Francis Chan yesterday morning, and yesterday afternoon I discovered that Ann Voskamp's 1000 Gifts book was on sale at Amazon for $4.99 for the Kindle, so without hesitation I downloaded that and immediately began reading.}

And using several new pieces of curriculum this year, there was a lot of instructing going on to help with new {or not so much used in the past} concepts.

I also had been flipping through a No Greater Joy magazine and read an encouraging article by Debi Pearl that I don't think was an accident that I came across it as we begin our school year. {Definitely experienced brain overload yesterday but lots of good stuff to overload it with!}

"Knowledge - real, firsthand knowledge that says "I know because I experienced that" - imparts power and confidence and a greater desire to learn and share......Every child needs to have his mind full of possibilities. Every day, on every occasion, open the door and share real life with your children.......Learning facts fills the brain, but hands on learning builds confidence that you can know and do anything." ---Debi Pearl

Today, we have a lot on our to-do list as, among other things, it's time to get Madison ready to go back to school tomorrow. We'll probably take it a little easy on the home school work today and get back at it tomorrow ~ the beauty of homeschooling.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Time to Get Started

Here I sit at my computer, trying to drink my banana, blueberry, and spinach smoothie. But I don't think I can. This is more like a "thicky" than a "smoothy." Definitely not enough liquid. I think I need a spoon.

I'm also thinking about the day ahead, as we're going to get started with some school work today. Our books and other materials I purchased from Timberdoodle came in last week, and I'm anxious to begin.

Last year was easy. This year will be different.

It's funny that this time last year, homeschooling was over for our family. But if you were reading a year ago, you will remember that Amelia's two-day stint at the local elementary school didn't go over so well. :D And then I was back to homeschooling one. Well, officially that is. Two-year-old Matthew (at the time) was getting in on the action when he could.

This year, Cari will be returning to homeschooling. Her two-year stint at the local middle school didn't go over so well. Sixth grade was okay. Seventh grade was not - at all.

One of the reasons I put her in school was because she struggled so much with math. My thought at the time was that maybe a "professional" would be able to give her more help in this area. Not sure what I was thinking as I look back. I should have realized that a teacher with a classroom full of kids was not going to be able to give her the extra help she needed. As the school year was coming to a close just a few months ago, I realized that we had to do something different. I thought about homeschooling her again and mentioned it to Brad. I hesitated to mention it to her since I knew there were other aspects of public school that she enjoyed and didn't know how that would go over. After praying about it, I did mention it to her. She didn't even have to think about it. It was a definite yes. I was shocked! To my knowledge, she hasn't second guessed that decision at all.

So, I'll be teaching an 8th grader, 2nd grader, and getting Matthew started with pre-school. He won't be 4 until November, but I believe he's ready.

Cari will also be attending a local co-op with lots of other homeschooled children. She'll be taking three classes there - history, science, and home ec. She may be participating in a drama club as well. And, she has signed up to be a cheerleader at a sort of nearby Christian school. She's very excited about all of this, and I pray that all these things work together for her good.

Madison will start school on Wednesday. She'll be in the 11th grade and actually (unless her schedule changes) will only have two classes this semester. The other half of the day she will be working in the school office or doing weight training. Softball season will officially start next week as well.

I'm just hoping that between her schedule and Cari's and everything else that has to be done that I can get everything accomplished. This will require lots of prayer and keeping my calendar in close contact at all times!

I've been trying to make preparations for all of this. I still need to get some schedules put together as I see how things fall into place. I sort of did away with schedules over the past few years as I felt they were no longer needed, but I have come to realize that things are much more efficient around here if I function on a schedule.

I've also made the decision to start doing my transcription work in the evening as opposed to getting up extra early in the mornings. As a result of this decision, I moved my desk and computer down to the basement area so I might have the possibility of a quieter situation while I'm working. This has an added benefit as well. When the desk was upstairs, it was way too easy to think of something I needed to look up on the internet and just go do it. This would lead to other things and before I knew it, I had wasted a good amount of time. Now something comes to mind, and it's not as easy to run downstairs. And that's a good thing. Saving time is always a good thing!

Speaking of time, I guess I've used up enough this morning. Let's get this day started - with lots of prayer that God would bless this school year and that His Holy Spirit would guide me in all things! Because I cannot do this on my own. Don't even want to try.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Amelia's Birthday

Amelia turned 7 on Monday, and she enjoyed a weekend of celebrations. {Actually, her birthday began about two weeks ago when paw paw took her shopping when he was visiting with us.}

On Saturday evening, my family came over, and I made the spaghetti as mentioned below, which was followed by cake and ice cream. In between the main course and dessert, she opened her gifts.

She was super duper excited to discover that she had indeed received an iPod, which she had been requesting for months. My mom, dad, and sister were the ones responsible for that ~ absolutely made her birthday.

Or on a comparable note, her BFF Millie got to spend the night Sunday, and then we spent the afternoon at Yogi Bear Park swimming and playing and taking a train ride around the park {and petting a snake, an iguana, and other lizard creatures}. She had quite a fun day!

She is becoming such a little lady. A very headstrong little lady at times, but I guess that comes with the territory.

Like my two oldest, she is slowly coming "out of her shell." Each of them {as well as Matthew} were extremely shy and non-talkative to strangers and basically anyone outside of the family or close friends.

Slowly but surely {and I try to not make a big deal out of this and just let it happen in its own time), they are able to make eye contact and at least smile, eventually becoming friendly and talkative. It's a process, and I'm seeing it develop in her. It's fun to watch.

She'll be starting 2nd grade {very soon} and still loves anything to do with dogs, as evidenced below by two of her gifts, as well as the super cute birthday cake in the middle photo.

She's looking forward to playing basketball this winter, and I'm looking forward to watching her!

She's also learning her books of the Bible and loves to go to church. I'm praying for God to open her heart to give her understanding of Him and His ways. From time to time, I can see curiosity in this area.

So thankful for this very sweet girl that God has blessed us with.

The sisters and the brother {with my dad in the background}

Monday, July 23, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 7/23

With school starting soon, along with all the extra-curriculuar activities, I decided it was time to start trying some new crock pot recipes. So, my crock pot is getting a workout this week!

Saturday - Spaghetti (Why? It's Amelia's family birthday party, and she loves spaghetti - not to mention it feeds a crowd!) (I also added in 1 lb. of ground beef to the recipe), garden salad with "Olive Garden dressing," minus the corn syrup, and garlic bread.

Sunday - Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff I, garlic bread

Monday - Crock pot hamburgers (curiosity got me on this one, and I just have to try it!), potato salad, chips (note that Kettle brand chips are non-GMO!)

Tuesday - Pinto beans, slaw, mashed potatoes, and Mexican cornbread.

Wednesday - Santa Fe Chicken served over rice.

Thursday - Crock pot Rotisserie Chicken (Ingles had organic whole chickens on sale this week!), sweet potato casserole, macaroni & cheese, squash casserole.

Friday - Out for dinner

Click HERE to go to Organizing Junkie for more menu plans.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Summer Update

Summer is going by so swiftly ~ as usual. Once again, we've found ourselves rather busy and moving in all directions. Matthew and I have spent a lot of time this week on the road getting everyone else where they need to be. Cari has spent a couple of days at Six Flags with different friends, and Amelia has been going to music camp all week. Except for today. She woke this morning, got dressed, and then said she was just too tired to go.

We had a really fun day yesterday, and that may have something to do with it. When we met up with Cari and then picked up Amelia from camp, we headed straight to Tanner's Beach - a state park nearby with a huge lake and beach area. We enjoyed a picnic while waiting for our friends to arrive. We chatted and ate some more with them before heading down to the beach and playing in the water for the rest of the afternoon.

We were there for about five hours, and Matthew absolutely amazed me. Usually if we're at a pool, he wants to stay on the steps until I get in and hold him. He won't even think about wearing floaties or anything like that. I don't know what it was about this lake, but he was moving all over that thing. He even volunteered to put the floaties on so he could go to where the bigger kids were. I was so proud of him! So proud, I forgot about reapplying sunscreen, and the poor little guy was walking around last night with a wet washcloth on his back. :\

Madison wasn't with us, as she has spent the last week in Florida at a real beach with one of her best friends. I am really happy with the close friendships that she has developed since starting school. She has chosen girls that have shown some evidence of God working in their lives, and I feel like these are friendships that can help her in her relationship with God. I'm hoping and praying this will continue. Anyway, I know she's had a lot of fun, but I'm really looking forward to her coming home tomorrow.

Tomorrow evening we'll begin the celebration of Amelia's 7th birthday, which will actually be on Monday, so she'll be home just in time. :)

*Just received an update that they're coming home a day early because of thunderstorms. Yay!

Cari and her buddy Brady in the background with Matthew up close trying out the goggles.

Amelia, Brilee, and Cari


Cari and Amelia

The Whole Group

Saturday, July 7, 2012

What You Do When.....

The power goes out and it's 105 degrees outside....

You do pedicures on the back deck {because it's too dark inside} while the cat annoyingly looks on because you've invaded her space.

Then, because you're pouring sweat from doing the above, you go "wash" the van.....and the dog.....and each other.

When it's the 4th of July.....

You wait patiently for the parade to come your way {and take a quick picture}.

Then you get a picture of the two older sisters {and friends} passing out water to hot and thirsty onlookers.

Lastly, if you're Amelia, you jump on the trailer because you were late and didn't get on at the beginning.

Then you come home and enjoy a lazy stormy afternoon while you grill out on the front porch.....and then you come in and eat hamburgers and hotdogs in the dark because the power has gone off for the second time in less than a week. :D

But thankfully it doesn't stay off for too long.

And obviously, you finish the 4th of July watching fireworks!


Here's the "more about that" I mentioned in the previous post... I was around 6 years old the first time I realized I nee...