Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Legacy

This is a fantastic article, written by the husband of one of my favorite bloggers, Stacy McDonald, author of Passionate Housewives. Her father-in-law died recently and left quite a legacy for his family, but it's not what you would expect.

Please tell me what you think.

Ever Feel Like You're Being Watched?

Maya sure felt that way!
Misha seems to really resent being left out of homeschooling, so she butts in whenever she gets a chance. She'll stand right on the Bible while I'm reading it, making all the kids laugh, while I shove her off lovingly. Today, Maya was trying to complete her phonics exercises while Misha sat right in front of her, just staring at her while she read. Maya made the mistake of petting her, at which point Misha laid down right on top of her workbook.
Crazy cat!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sweet When They Sleep

Kyle and I love to go peek in on our sleeping babes before we hit the sack ourselves. Last night, after looking at them, I quickly darted out of the room downstairs to get my camera. I was desperately hoping they wouldn't move. Check out my cute pretzels:

Maya was completely hidden under her comforter, so I went to check on Lydia. She's such a floozy when she snores:
We rarely ever go in the boys' room because they'd wake up. They have bunk beds, but we're not sure why. They never sleep in separate beds. Pedro completely burritoes himself in his comforter at night, with mouth wide open, but I can't take a picture of that. He'd be too embarrassed. {{snicker}}

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

No Spare Seats

We visited a new church this past Sunday, a small church with a small building. (We like small churches.) Before service started, we went in to grab a seat. I didn't see any free seats on that side of the sanctuary, so we walked out and around to the other side. We walk in and head towards a free row of seats. They all have a purse or bulletin in them, as the lady at the end of the row is saving them for someone. So we stand against the wall, patiently waiting to see if some seats will free up. One man noticed that we weren't sitting down and offered to find us some seats. (I should mention here that Kyle was at home with Chloe and Lydia, who were still a little sick and Pedro was out of town. So it was just me and four kids.) The kind man couldn't find any seats, gave me an "I don't know" look and sat back down with his family. At that point, I took the kids out. An usher saw me in the hallway, and said: "We have a few seats (not five) on the front row, is that ok?" I smiled sweetly and said, "No."
We left and went to another church down the road.

I'm curious: What would you have done?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Beating the Sickies

This week, we had two puny kids. Chloe had a stomach ache and Lydia had a hacking cough. So off to the herb cabinet I went. Peppermint to soothe Chloe's tummy and Wild Cherry Bark for Lydia's cough.
I made an infusion with both, but I did them differently because one is a leaf and the other is bark. With leaves, I use my tea press. I put a heaping teaspoon of the herb in the press, then add boiling water and let it steep for 10-15 minutes. I put about a teaspoon of raw honey in the cup and pour the tea over it. Chloe said, "It tastes like a peppermint candy!" For Lydia's cough, I take about 1/4 cup of Wild Cherry Bark in a 2 qt. saucepan and simmer it on low for 20 minutes.
Then I strain out the bark and toss that in my flowerbed (free mulch!) I put a bit of honey in the cup before pouring in the hot tea. I then refrigerate it for Lydia since she prefers cold tea.
By the next day, both were feeling much better.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Swan Lake

Have your kids ever seen "Swan Lake"? This is an amazing (6 minute) version of it:

Swan Lake

My kids are watching it for the third time now. Enjoy!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Best Sex Ed Book for Kids

My good friend, Gretchen, loaned me this book to read to the kids and we all LOVED it!
(No, the title is not a typo. {wink})

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Blessed Are. . .

This morning, we were reading Matthew 5 (The Beattitudes). When I got to this verse:
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

Chloe said, "That's what we talked about at church on Sunday! Peacemakers. But I thought they were saying "Pizza Makers". I love pizza!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Saving Grace

. . . is my Yahoo calendar. I am highly distractable and I kept noticing the same problem over and over again: I would start the laundry first thing in the morning, then forget about it until sometime after dinner. Oops! Or I was a complete ADD mess because I didn't want to forget all the things in my mental list.
No more!
Now I put everything, and I mean everything on my calendar, with email reminders for all of it. I get an email at 10 am telling me to move the laundry to the dryer. Another email at 1 pm telling me to fold the laundry. That's a gazillion brain cells now freed up to think on more interesting things.

Once I saw the fruit of this method, I started adding in all kinds of things, like: change the A/C filter (once a month), clean out the fridge (once a month), find 25 things to toss (once a week- yes, I can definitely find 25 things every week), etc. You get the idea. I LOVE it!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Crock-Pot Yogurt

Did you know you can make delicious, healthy yogurt in your crock-pot? I'll never go back to store-bought now that I know how easy and cheap it is. Check it out!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Latest Special

I love Vision Forum and I LOVE that they're always having great specials! I'm especially excited about this one:
Raising Noble Sons and Victorious Daughters Collection, is a library of six books offers practical advice for equipping boys and girls for the high calling of biblical manhood and womanhood. Topics covered include: how to choose friends: how to guard the tongue: how to act during public worship: how to behave at the table: how to be graceful and feminine: how to keeps one’s mind pure before marriage: how to govern the tongue: how to encourage brothers and sisters to be best friends: and much more.
Look at what all you get:

I've had so many people tell me about the "Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends", I can't wait to read it for myself! Just had to share this deal with you.

Confessions of a City Girl

I LOVE living in the city. I like my neighbors, enjoy talking over the fence with them in the evenings, sharing cookies and lemonade when they're working outside, or "borrowing" an egg when I need one for a recipe. I love that our bank is 5 minutes away, the library is 7 minutes away, and I have my choice of Whole Foods, Sprout's, or WalMart Market all within a 10 minute drive from our front door.
We don't have a problem with bobcats, or coyotes, or racoons. (We do, however, see spiders, hear crickets, and really loud locusts in the summer time.) I would enjoy having more animals and more space for a big garden, but when it comes right down to it, I'd rather have the conveniences of the city life.

I'm Curious: Are you a city person or a country person? Why?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I've Been Busy!

So, since you all gave me recommendations for family games, I've been shopping! We found this:
at Target. It's a lot of fun and the kids picked up on it quickly. Then, I hopped on eBayand bought this:I haven't gotten it yet, so I'll let you know. But I've heard a lot of good things about it already, so I'm confident I won't be disappointed.
And then, I got a little eBay happy. I bought a completer set of blocks for Math U See, and a couple more Explode the Code books, since I'm now a big believer. And THEN, I gave in to kid pressure and bought three Webkinz. They're a surprise, so don't say anything to my kids!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

All About Hair

This past weekend, I chopped my hair. I mean, literally *I* chopped my hair. And you probably never guessed, but this too boils down to my love of frugality. So, here's the new 'do: (It should last a good long while!)
When Maya joined our family, our hair budget had to be revamped. About 6 months ago, I took Maya to a Loctician to have her hair locked. (These used to be called "dreadlocks", but "dread" gave people a bad impression. Now they're just called locs.) I absolutely love the look and the flexibility this style provides, but I don't want to screw it up by attempting to do it myself.
Bottom line: I cut my own hair and the rest of the kids' hair, so that I can spend the big bucks on Maya. :)

I'm Curious: What do you do yourself so that you have more money for other things?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Adopting Teens

Someone recently asked me about adopting a teenager. We adopted Pedro when he was 17; he moved in with us just one month after his cousin, Stacey and her baby moved out of our home and broke our hearts.
So, what is it like adopting a teenager? Well, all the rules are different. Parenting rules, that is. We have very different goals for Pedro than our young children. We are not trying to redeem 17 years of bad parenting (or rather, no parenting). Our goal for Pedro is that he have a safe, Christian home to learn how to be a responsible adult. We are fully confident that he will far surpass that goal, but to have higher expectations would be to set ourselves and him up for failure.

When Stacey lived with us (she was 16 and had just given birth to a baby girl when she moved in), we had the same goals. We wanted to provide her daughter, Mariah, with a safe home to grow up in. Stacey was allowed to watch soap operas, for instance, so long as our kids weren't in the room. We babysat while she went to homecoming and prom. We planted seeds of faith in her and prayed for and with her, but we gave her the freedom to choose the life she wanted. Unfortunately, according to her, "normal" was just too foreign for her and she ultimately chose to move back to the inner city when Mariah was 9 months old. However, as a result of her stay with us, Mariah was breastfeed for the first year and a half of her life. That alone was a huge accomplishment. If the only purpose of her stay with us was for our prayers for her from then on, it wasn't at all wasted.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I'm Torn

I'm entering a strange phase of life. I'm almost in my mid-30s and it is very possible that I won't be giving birth again. I have very mixed feelings about that. Kyle and I are very content with our family the way it is and I love having a cluster of kids!

On the other hand, it's very hard for me to imagine being "done". I really can't handle the thought of never being blessed again with another child. It makes me so sad! When I see pregnant women, I immediately feel a sting of jealousy. Lately, I've been looking back at newborn pictures and birth videos, feeling very nostalgic.

Eventually, you have to quit though, right? Eventually someone will have to be the baby of the family. I don't know if I'm ready for that yet.

Fortunately, God is in control of our family size. He is trustworthy.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Book Meme

Karen tagged me for this meme, about my all-time favorite hobby:

1. Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?

I don't remember enjoying reading until I got to college. I only read the Cliff's Notes for the good literature I was assigned in high school. {gasp!}

2. What are some books you read as a child?

Honestly, I only remember Frog and Toad, Amelia Bedelia, and one of my favorites: The Small Pig.

3. What is your favorite genre?

Historical fiction, and non-fiction (all types)

4. Do you have a favorite novel?

"Not My Will" by Francena Arnold.

5. Where do you usually read?

Wherever I happen to be.

6. When do you usually read?

Whenever I can catch a little time to do so. I LOVE to read while I eat. I have a very hard time eating w/o a book in front of me, although I refrain at family mealtimes.

7. Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?

I never have only one book that I'm reading.

8. Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?

Non-fiction- I almost always read out of order, starting with the topic that interests me most. Sometimes that means reading the book backwards. That doesn't work very well with fiction.

9. Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library?

Library if at all possible, although I do buy reference type books (poetry books, field guides, health books, etc.) And I do own plenty of fiction: mostly children's classics.

10. Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them?

I am very frugal, even with books, so I rarely purchase a book I don't intend to keep. (And I have lots of books.)

11. If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them?

I've enjoyed most all of the Ambleside books we've read, especially "Understood Betsy" and "Five Little Peppers and How They Grew".

12. What are you reading now?

See right sidebar.

13. Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list?

Mentally and my online library list.

14. What’s next?

Good question! I'm confident I'll figure that out before I get halfway through the books I'm reading now.

Tag, you're it: Jamie, Carletta, Jenna, and LoriKY.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

One More Reason

Here's one more reason to homeschool:

Two boys were punished this week for refusing to kneel on prayer mats and worship Allah during a class demonstration on Islam, the Daily Mail reported.

Irate parents said a religious education teacher at the Alsager High School in England told students to wear Muslim headgear during a lesson on Tuesday. "But if Muslims were asked to go to church on Sunday and take Holy Communion, there would be war," the grandfather of one of the students said.

Read more.

If you're like us, you homeschool for hundreds of reasons, but what's your #1 reason for homeschooling? Please share.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Game Playing

The other night, we had a Family Game Night and they all chose:
Kyle would whisper ideas in their ears before they started, then the acting began.
Maya was a bear, but she kept hopping and she wasn't very scary. We had a hard time with this one:
Liddy was playing a harmonica. Obviously. But long after we guessed it correctly, she kept right on playing her harmonica. So we had to pause the game and explain a few things.
Here's the new Clark signal for "You got it!":
Can you guess what Daniel was holding?
After a few seconds of us not guessing what Lydia was doing, she would just up and decide to act out something else. Daniel was trying to keep her on track, by whispering in her ear what she's really supposed to be doing. This happened repeatedly. I'm Curious: What family games do you like to play? Played any new ones lately?