Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Your Man Will Appreciate This

Dad Life from Church on the Move on Vimeo.

Oh my lands, this is too funny! I hope it makes you giggle.

Table Chores

Every morning after breakfast, we
  • wash our breakfast dishes
  • clear the table
  • take the placemats outside and shake crumbs off
  • sweep off the table w/ a hand broom
  • wipe down the table
Then we do seatwork at the table. After lunch, we
  • throw away our paper plates (it's a lunch thing) & wash forks if used
  • sweep the kitchen and dining room (each child has their own day)
  • take the placemats outside and shake crumbs off
  • return placemats to the table
The remainder of schooling happens on couches, beds, floors, and outside. No tables needed.

After dinner, we
  • wash our dishes
  • take the placemats outside and shake crumbs off
  • 1 child puts away leftovers; 1 child washes pots & pans (typically only my beloved crock-pot); the rest of the kids put away clean dishes and tidy up the rest of the kitchen

Monday, August 30, 2010

Going Places

It took me way too long to realize this, but I have finally come to the conclusion that we can't get all (and by all, I mean "any") our school work done on the days we go places. For instance, when we plan to go to the aquarium at 10am, I shouldn't attempt to get math done beforehand.
This summer, we completely missed out on going to our beloved church library because we were too busy schooling. It never occurred to me to reschedule our day around the library's schedule (only open 9-noon two days a week).

Well, it finally did! We now do Bible over breakfast and that's it before our outing. The only thing the kids have to do is clean up their dishes, get dressed, and brush their teeth. Chores will happen later. School will happen later, if we get to it.

With low expectations come plenty of opportunities to praise and much less stress!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Girls Rule!

This never fails to crack me up, and you have no idea how many times I've seen it! If I had a nickel. . .
My favorite part is "Girls rule! Pumpernickel!" Pumpernickel, because, well, duh, it's a super fun word to say!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


The health benefits of bayberry are mainly for the treatment of colds, coughs, fever, and similar flu-like ailments and symptoms. It is also a powerful herb to help women relieve the symptoms of a heavy menstrual period.

Bayberry extract has also proven helpful with digestion and helping to cleanse the liver of harmful toxins, as well as promoting increased circulation. It is also an astringent herb and helps to strengthen the immune system. It helps to fight bacterial infection and parts of the plant can be applied to the skin to treat symptoms of itching, sores, and even hair loss. Usually this is done as a poultice made from bayberry and other useful herbs.

Bayberry can be taken as a tea, powdered in a capsule, or in tincture form.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What If They Want to Go to Public School?

If one or more of your children, when they get older, want to go to public school will you allow it?

I recently got this question in an email and I'd love to know how you all would answer it. When I get a question like this, I generally like to know more about why the person is asking what they're asking. So, I replied:

Why do you think they will want to go to public school when they are older (hypothetically speaking)?

The reply was a fast one: That's easy. Because they'll be teenagers!

So, what do you say? Would you or wouldn't you allow your child to go to public school? Do you think your child will want to be out-schooled when they are older? Why or why not?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Super Fun Book

Just picked up this book at the church library and the kids have not stopped poring over it. From the back cover:

Look-Alike Land is a magical spot
Where everyday things look like what they're not
So challenge your eyes and challenge your mind
The harder you look, the more you will find.

A chair that's actually a hair comb, a piece of toast, and 4 chess pieces. Logs by the fireplace are actually cinnamon sticks tied with a rubber band. Cobble stones are really kidney beans.

This book is so fun! You've gotta check this out. Adding this to my repertoire of dentist visits books.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Modest Exercise: Is It Possible?

I have been working out with Bob Harper (Biggest Loser DVDs) for the past three months. Much earlier than that, I realized that working out a gym was no longer feasible, and it was time for workout videos. I knew several people who were using Jillian Michael's workouts, but her typical attire is a sports bra and shorts and her typical language is not family-friendly. I needed something that was appropriate for my kids to see and hear since I was going to be only a few yards away from them.
Enter Bob. He wears a t-shirt and shorts and doesn't cuss (on the videos). I've been very happy with the Boot Camp and Weight Loss YogaDVDs, and the kids get a kick out of hearing me talk back to Bob. (Yes, it's burning, Bob!!) But. . .

What am I going to do when I get bored with these? As far as I know, the other Biggest Loser DVDs include trainers and/or contestants who want to show off their midriffs. I tried a dance aerobics DVD and that was entertaining (for my kids watching and laughing at me), but was a tad out of my league.
Do you know any family-friendly workout videos I could try?

Help a girl, will ya?

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Meme

1. What do you normally smell like? Bath & Body Works "Bright Blossoms"

2. How far away do you live from your parents? 10 minutes from my mom & stepdad, 15 minutes from my dad & stepmom

3. Are you happy with your job? Yes, I am.

4. What did you get in the mail today? Cabinet knobs and pulls ordered from eBay, bills, and junk

5. How do you like your steak cooked? I really prefer seafood

6. What do you usually order at Taco Bell? 1 Baja Chalupa, 1 Crispy taco, side of guacamole

7. Have you ever sat all the way through Gone With the Wind? Once, yes

8. Have you ever been to Mt Rushmore? Nope.

9. Where is your favorite place (that you have actually been to)? Colorado in the summer time.

10. What is your favorite candle scent? Anything but vanilla or pine.

11. Have you ever smoked cigarettes? By God's Grace, I never have.

12. Have you ever been to NYC or LA? Went on a "mission trip" to Los Angeles with my youth group and youth pastor who had no idea what a mission trip meant. Fun trip to Disney Land.
Have no desire to visit New York City.

13. Do you prefer to pack your own groceries? If it means I pay a lot less, yes. :D

14. What is your favorite snack? Chex Mix

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Book Review: The Soul of C.S. Lewis

Being a fan of the works of C.S. Lewis, I was drawn towards this book. "A meditative journey through twenty-six of his best-loved writings" (so says the subtitle), it is part biography, part Cliff's notes, and part devotional. It is a great book to have alongside one of Lewis's great works, to learn more about the man, his theology, the apologetics he conveys through his writing, and the scripture behind his ideas. C.S. Lewis was a genius and this book celebrates not only his life, but his biblical theology. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading it many times over. All of my children will be introduced to The Soul of C. S. Lewis when they are ready for his works. If you want to know more about C.S. Lewis, understand his writings more fully, or are seeking spiritual growth, I recommend this book.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Homeschool Scope & Sequence

This blog post was forwarded to me in response to my article, Are They On Track? I love it and wanted to share. (It starts at 1 year of age and ends at 20; I just wanted to give you a glimpse.)

Christian Homeschool Scope & Sequence

Age 5-6

  • Fully aware of example to younger siblings
  • Able to watch little ones responsibly and play well with them for a short period of time in a specific area
  • Demonstrates respect and honor to adults
  • Demonstrates gratefulness
  • Starts learning and desiring to learn who God is
  • Keeps drawers, shelves, bins, desk, etc. organized at all times

Age 7-8

  • Grows in understanding of God
  • Grows in understanding of God’s commandments and how obedience benefits God’s people
  • Can differentiate between wise vs. foolish behavior
  • Is self-directed on chores
  • Demonstrates meekness, and joyfulness
  • Has learned to love correction
  • Shows a heart to honor and obey parents and to please God
  • Boys: able to help work out doors, help fix cars, cut firewood, hunt, fish, etc.
  • Girls: Able to help bake, can cook a meal independently, can sew, crochet, etc.
  • Can notice and fulfill needs of family
  • Understand stewardship and wise handling of money

Age 9-11

  • Completes most school work and all chores independently and well, with good attitude
  • Demonstrates good manners, thoughtfulness of others, and respect to all
  • Able to serve others outside of home
  • Can be a wise friend to other children
  • Able to listen and understand a sermon/teach/lecture and take notes
  • Can be an example to others outside the home
  • Able to plan, organize, and manage projects
  • Familiar with Bible and able to read and study independently
  • Continues to grow in knowledge of the Holy, able to see Him through His creation, His work, and His Word.
  • Beginning to have fear of the Lord (beginning of wisdom)
  • Has a heart to love God and follow His ways
  • Selflessly serves others at length
  • Works diligently and quietly for several hours
  • Assumes some adult responsibilities (cooking a meal, caring for the whole yard, etc.)
  • Able to be fully responsible for younger siblings for up to a few hours
  • Able to grow in wisdom through personal study
  • Has formed a personal habit of prayer and can see how God has answered
  • Able to examine self
  • Ready to discuss and understand mature things
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Book Reviews: A Disappointment & A Pleasant Surprise

I don't know what possessed me to pick up this book, given the wild claim on the cover. Eat all the calories and carbs you want? Well, it turns out the author believes all breads, pastas, and rice to be just like eating cake. Apparently, his claim on the cover was just to make you buy the book. Roger Wilson also states that non-processed foods make you lose weight, while processed foods make you gain weight. But then he goes on to recommend chemical sweeteners over real sugar, and highly processed low-fat milk and cheeses, instead of the real deal. I don't get it.
The book does have a couple of good tips for improving our diet and accomplishing weight loss. For instance, he recommends eating fruit in place of the sugar you crave, and eating gobs of it until you begin to crave fruit instead of sweets. The title is based on the author's belief that lunch should be the biggest meal of the day, rather than dinner. Thus, lunch should be jam-packed with protein to get you through the rest of the day. These are good ideas. Overall, this book should be taken with a grain of salt and generally speaking, I don't recommend it.
from Thomas Nelson to review.

Don't Make Me Count to Three, however, was a very pleasant surprise. I will say up front that I don't like the title and it turned me off the book for a long while. But this book was ill-named. I think a better title would be: How to Shepherd a Child's Heart (I'm referencing the most excellent parenting book Shepherding a Child's Heart). Don't Make Me Count to Three is chock-full of practical examples for addressing our children's' hearts, instead of just correcting the outward behavior.
Disobedience is just a symptom of a sinful heart. If we only correct their behavior and don't address their heart, we miss it completely. I love this book!
Disclaimer: I paid for this book and I'm reviewing it simply because I loved it so much.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I've Been Replaced

Everyday we have rug time. All the kids sit on the rug (or couch as the case may be) while I read our history, literature, and/or science books. I recently realized that Elena and Chloe could take over some of the readings. Ironically, Chloe, the youngest reader, is the most fluent. So she got the job. I still prefer to read our history and literature books, but Chloe now reads the nature reader to everyone (including Pooh Bear, when he's not busy playing Solitaire).

Friday, August 13, 2010

We FINALLY Got It Done!!!

It wasn't near as stressful as I thought it would be (thanks to waking up at dawn), although. . .
we did arrive to find we didn't have any diapers in the diaper bag. Oopsie daisy!

Just one swim diaper. It would have to do.

Maya, who always wants to hold Julia, will likely never ask to hold a baby wearing only a swim diaper. She was drenched. That's all I'm sayin'.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Are They on Track?

One of the questions I get from non-homeschoolers is: How do you know if your kids are on track?
This question shows a reliance on the government to tell us what the "track" is. As Christians, we don't depend on the government to tell us what skills are and are not important. Not to mention the obvious fact that the government schools are failing miserably to stay anywhere near their own track!

I have two goals of our homeschooling:

1. to produce in my children a love of learning (out-schooling produces just the opposite as you well know)
2. to produce godly character in my children (out-schooling again aims at just the opposite)

Academics, while definitely a big part of our homeschooling, is really just gravy. If my kids hate learning and have no character, it doesn't matter one whit that they can use the Pythagorean theorem and quote Shakespeare. Academics alone do not produce success.

When someone asks if your homeschooled children are "on track", ask them what track they mean.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Why Older is Better

As I mother my baby, I find that I am much more relaxed now than when I was just starting out in my mothering career. My attitude is so different now:

1. It doesn't bother me to miss out on social time because I'm taking care of my baby.

When my first two children were babies, I hated having to miss out on time with friends because I was nursing the baby, changing the baby, putting the baby to bed. Now, I understand that I'll always have time with friends, but my baby won't always be a baby. When I sit on the couch nursing while the rest of my family eats dinner together and has a lively conversation without me, I don't mind. I cherish the time alone with my baby.

2. It gets fun so much sooner.

With my first two babies, I said: "It gets fun between five and six months, when they start smiling and laughing." With Lydia and Julia, it was fun right away. I didn't care that they weren't interacting with me. I just enjoyed their babyhood.

3. I don't push myself and wear myself out.

I used to push on with whatever I wanted to do (stay up late with friends, run a bunch of errands, etc.) and then wear myself out. Now, I prioritize naptime. I still like to stay up late with friends, but I can rebound easier now than I could back in the day. (A well-treated thyroid has a lot to do with that.) I don't stress out about being tired like I used to. I know I can always take a nap later and recover.

4. Having older children makes having a baby so much more fun.

It has been so very fun having Julia with all of my "big kids". I'm not the only one excited about her new teeth, her first laugh, her first foods. They are all enthusiastic about these things too, maybe even more so. And frankly, errand-running doesn't wear me out as much because I'm not buckling kids in car seats. I buckle myself in. The end. That really does make a big difference.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hurry Up & Get Serious

Two years ago, I posted this. And just yesterday, I got this comment on it:

I'd enjoy hearing an update as to what this looked like for you this month.

Admittedly, there are things I've blogged about that worked for us once upon a time but no longer do. Quality time is one that we have kept up, thankfully. Generally, when we go shopping, we only take one child. This is when we have private talks with that child.
A good friend who heard the Duggars speak at the recent Baby Conference, shared this wisdom with me: Go deep fast. Don't waste time on chit-chat with your kids.

I have taken this advice to heart and have begun asking pointed questions as soon as we are both buckled up. Questions like:

What are you struggling with lately?
What temptations are you having a hard time with?
Are you getting along with your siblings?
Who are you having a hard time getting along with?
Is there anything you'd like to tell me about?

If you have any other good probing questions, I'd love to hear them!

Friday, August 6, 2010


Catnip is good for all childhood diseases: colic, stomach pains, chicken pox, gas, teething, and flu and fevers. It's a relaxant herb.

A tincture made of catnip and fennel is excellent because it is so concentrated, only a few drops are needed.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Homeschool Success

Just to encourage you:

New Study Shows Homeschoolers Succeeding in College

The most recent major study is the Progress Report 2009, which surveyed over 11,000 homeschooled students, and showed homeschoolers K–12 scoring an average 37 percentile points above the national average on standardized achievement tests.

For the past decade colleges have actively recruited homeschool students. A new study—Exploring Academic Outcomes of Homeschooled Students, by Michael F. Cogan—shows homeschoolers succeeding in college.

Some of the major findings include:

  • Homeschoolers scored higher on the ACT (26.5) compared with the overall student body (25).
  • Homeschoolers earned more college credit (14.7) prior to their freshman year compared to the student body (6).
  • Homeschooled students earned a higher fall semester GPA (3.37) when compared to other freshman students (3.08).
  • Homeschooled students earned a higher first-year GPA (3.41) when compared to other freshman students (3.12).
  • Homeschooled students earned a higher fourth-year GPA (3.46) when compared to other freshman students who completed their fourth year

"Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9)