Homeschool Conference!!!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Just wonderin'...

This is a bit of a silly post...
I was just wondering to myself the other day ~
"hmmmm....do ya think anyone ever reads any of this stuff???"
I also wondered, "well if anyone is reading it,
do they think I'm a total wacko, maybe a touch peculiar,
a little out there, do they agree with my thoughts or totally disagree?" 
Not that any of that really matters, but I was just wonderin'...
sooooooo I decided to put a little counter on it...
well, much to my amazement ~
it seems that many people do read my blog,
they just do it privately. 
So one of my "wonders" is now answered, yes others are reading the crazy thoughts I have racing through my mind all the time and the who???  Well, again it doesn't really matter...
I am okay with whomever & whatever since I simply write when and what I feel I should
and I guess that the whomevers of this world read what they are led to at different times in their lives...
so I am done wonderin' and now just hopin'...
I'm hopin' that something written on these pages will brighten your day!!! 
(Big Smiley Face comin' right at ya!)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Missing Him

My dear husband has been gone for the past few days up in McCall for the Winter Carnival helping out with the snowbike races for 2 MOTO...he has had a fabulous time and I'm really happy for him.  He's been able to ride and work on bikes, meet some great people and hang out with all the racers ~ my boys are all sorts of jealous that they weren't there in the midst of it all.
Like I said, I am so happy that he had such a terrific time,
but now I'm really happy for me cause he is on his way home!!! 
Yippee ~ not too much longer and he should be walking in the front door!
If the fog would lift, he could be here sooner, but I will be patient...
~ How I love him ~ I cannot wait to see that man of mine (I sound pretty patient at this point, huh?)
it's just not the same when he isn't around!

I think I will sleep like a baby tonight, safe & sound in his arms....and I won't hear every little sound and worry about every little thing, it's all okay when he's home.

Amazing Kids!

I have started a trend in my family...all my girls want a blog, the two oldest have started theirs and I love it!!!   I  love reading what they have to say, I love laughing at what they have to say, and I just love them!  My little ones will just have to wait ~ I think they are a bit young, although the entertainment value could be priceless, nevertheless, for now the answer is "not now girls". 

As I was looking over their fun blogs today, I just had to smile as I looked at the adorable photos of my grand babies and the fun things they are doing.  Then I read the "About Me" section of our other daughter and I thought, "Wow, what an amazing person this is, and she is My daughter!"  So I just wanted to share her optimism and spunk for life...it is absolutely inspiring to me!

Hey everyone :) my name is danielle and my greatest goal is to fall madly in love with the life I am living, so far so good. I love my family and friends and can't imagine my life with out them. I believe that we were put on earth to learn how to live and more importantly how to love; I want to know that if I ever meet anyone in Heaven whose life I have brushed against that we can look back at our brief second together and have sweet feelings from it. I want to live without regrets and let every memory be one I can smile at or laugh about; this isn't meant to say that I want to be silly and quaint in things, but more that I can be optimistic and smile at my past and laugh at my mistakes knowing that I grew from them. As you read my blog you'll probably find out that I thrive on laughter and find normal things funny, I'm anything but ordinary and am happy being me, living the life I was given...it's a gift and I intend to enjoy it!

All I can say is that if I turn out half as good our kids are, I will be elated!!!



"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new." ~Rajneesh

Oh, how I love School Days...

It has been quite a month.  We've done some great learning around here and the best part is the FUN we had while doing it!!!

January was a full month ~ Here are some of the things we did in school:


I love to read books to my kiddos, I especially love it now that I know what it is like to not have the ability to read out loud after being so sick.  So this month we read Mr. Popper's Penguins ~ ADORABLE!  And it was a great addition to our unit study on Penguins and Polar Bears!  We also read The Trumpet of the Swan ~ LOVED it! 
Not sure what we'll be reading for February, but we gotta choose some good ones, cause those were a blast!


Our unit study, like I mentioned above, was on Penguins and Polar Bears...can I just tell you again, how very much I LOVE doing Unit Studies!? 
What a fun way to learn! 
Some of the fun things we did for this unit study include: 
Reading Mr. Popper's Penguins,
Watching the movie March of the Penguins,
Awesome drawings of penguins and their habitats,
how they live their lives as "Husband and Wife" raising little ones and the wonderful care that they give to their chicks,
map work (the kids really learned a lot...it was fun to see them point out the locations as they would shout out,  "All South of the Equator")
we learned of their predators (which are now "the enemies" to my little ones),
we also talked about what they love to eat,
what penguins do for fun (and then we tested out some of the fun they have!!! ~ tobogganing being at the top of the list, we would have loved to try out the surfing or cliff diving and swimming, but it's a touch cold this time of year for that kind of business!) 
We went a field trip to the Boise Zoo to observe the penguins...they were quite entertaining, but not quite as entertaining as the drawings produced by my kids while watching them!  
An enlightening fact for us to learn was that  the Polar Bear and the Penguin will never actually meet up!  That is unless you are Mr. Popper and you are traveling to the North Pole to introduce the penguin to the polar bear...but in the "real world", they live on opposite sides of the earth. 
We ended our month of study with a Stand & Deliver moment for each of the kids...they each prepared a "report" to go along with their unit study book containing all of their artwork and facts they had learned.  This Unit Study was a huge success...I'd totally rate it a 5!!!

Our Devotional Theme for the month was "Tell Me the Stories of Jesus" ~ I loved this!  In fact, I think it merits another month...so we'll be continuing this one for February.  How can one possibly highlight His life and teachings in one measly month???  We also thoroughly and completely covered the values Integrity and Charity.   

For my older boys, I assigned a research paper to them.  Since we were already deep in the study of Ancient Egypt, that seemed like the perfect topic.  I was so impressed with the papers they produced.  Dare I say the best work I've seen from the both of 'em!!!  Hooray!

I would have to say that the one thing my younger kids feel we didn't do enough of was SCIENCE!  They just eat it up...so February will be a month full of science experiments...that is what they are loving right now! 
I'm also really looking forward to spending some of our time working on Early American History...this is a true passion for me...and I am lucky enough to share that passion with my kiddos as well as a small group of other families once a week during our little Tuesday (used to be Wednesday) afternoon co-op. 

During January, I hit my goal of at least two field trips!!!  We visited the Planetarium for a morning and then the Zoo for our Penguin Observations. 

Sooo Looking forward to Tuesday...Why? 
Well, because it is the beginning of a new month!!! 
And with the beginning of a NEW month, come a whole host of NEW things to learn about!
And we must have a PARTY to bring in the NEW month properly!  So Tuesday will be a fun-filled day around this house as we introduce:
A NEW unit study.
A NEW Theme for the month.
NEW Values to work on.
NEW Science Experiments.
NEW art projects to tackle (sure to be full of mushy-gushy love stuff, since it is the LOVE month!)
NEW field trips to look forward to.
NEW books to devour.
A NEW, fresh outlook for a fabulous month!

I'll be sure to post what fun things we'll be working on during February after I make the formal announcement to my kiddos!!!  SO if you are looking for ideas, check back mid-week!  AND if you have any fabulous ideas, please throw them my way...I'm always looking for NEW things and I'd LOVE to hear from YOU!  ;0)


Baby Shower Surprises

So last weekend, I enjoyed my afternoon at a baby shower for our niece, Ashley. 
We did the usual, eat and visit, take our best guess at when the baby will truly arrive, eat and visit a little more and play a few silly games.  Well, I don't usually win any of the baby shower games, you'd think I could since I have plenty of my own little ones...???
Anyway, on this particular day, I was one of the WINNERS!!!
YIPPEE...
I found it a tad bit interesting that as Ashley and Christy (my sis in-law) were handing the "prize or gift" over to me they were laughing hysterically...why would a person be laughing that I won the game? 
This should have been my first clue that maybe I wouldn't want to open this little pink paper sack to unveil the hidden gift...
But I'm not super bright at times, so away I went opening this cute little package.
Inside was a little box that I'm pretty sure this body should never have to use again...I've definitely used my fair share of these little do-dads!  The laughter was something at that point!!!

I made sure to point out to all of them that I had no intention of ever needing this handy little box again (not that I don't love those precious little bundles, but this body's days of making babies is past...if you want to just hand one on over to me, I'd take it in a heartbeat, but not if that little bundle needs to come out of my body again)  I think my hubby would be signing me up at my first appointment for a c-section...he never wants to see me go through another labor & delivery...

So, maybe winning the prize after a game isn't all it's cracked up to be....
Next time, I'll just be content to watch others win and I'll do what I do best...eat a little and visit a lot!  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Really...A Palace?

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of--throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage,
but He is building a palace.    C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

This sinks deep inside me...I can really understand this one, it makes sense and I can believe that this is His plan and I know that His plan is best...even though it's a touch scary from time to time.  As a parent, I can also relate because I see the "palace" within each of my precious children!
Our life may not be the one we thought of...
sometimes it feels a bit overwhelming, maybe even sad on some days...
we may have had to go through a few walls being knocked down,
a new wing or two added,
and those towers ~ well they are a little painful in the making,
but oh the beauty they've added! 
And then I find myself speaking out loud:
"Okay, that should do, I've gone through enough...I'm happy with all of this, I've reached my level of comfort...You've done some great additions and the deletions were precisely what needed to go...
So, I'm good now, right? 
Don't need anything else to change, right? 
Right???? Or not so much?  Oh dear...
More changes?  More growth?  More pain? "

I find that just about the time I start feeling a little comfortable, HE decides that maybe I need another remodel, maybe I'm ready to add another floor, maybe He needs to yank that old roof off and start fresh ~  I want to protest, "it's okay, I'm a little leaky from time to time, but it'll do...REALLY, I don't need another remodel, I am really quite content being a decent little cottage!  Please stop, I don't need that new floor or roof, I'm okay this way..."  
No matter my protests ~ He will do what is best for me...just as I do for my children...because He sees something within me that I could never fully see...again, just as I see in my children all the potential in the world!
So I will accept that being a simple little cottage is apparantly not in His plans for me
and I will trust in Him that I will one day become the PALACE He knows ME to be.






What a Find!!!

Today I came across a gem! 
One that just has to be shared...I am so hopeful that many of you already know of it's existence...if not, check it out!

www.Latter-dayHomeschooling.com

I've spent just a bit of time here, but I'm tellin' ya, YOU ARE GONNA LOVE IT!!!

I just read one article on The Cycle of Homeschooling and loved that they pointed out a very valid and true point....BURNOUT is part of the cycle...it is okay, it is normal, it is well -- expected I guess.  There are so many ways to lessen the severity of homeschool Mom Burnout but when you are in the thick of it, what a great lesson to point out to homeschoolin' momma's ~ You are not alone in the Burnout World!

Hope you'll find a little time to check it out...I know I'll be spending a few extra minutes here and there  :0)

Happy Monday to you!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Little Classroom Fun!

Friday afternoon was a crafting day that one of my friends put together...
Well, I had finished everything I was working on just before Christmas
(because they were all Christmas Gifts!)
So what to do??? 
Hmmm, I could sew something,
or I could do some stitching,
or I could come up with a fun creative project to do with my kiddos...
decisions, decisions!!!
Nothing was really hitting what I wanted to do...
I wanted something Fun and New, something different.
BUT WHAT???

Well, I came up with the answer while doing school with my three younger kids last week.  They each needed a pencil, and let me tell 'ya there have to be close to a million and a half pencils floating around this house.  We have a great little bucket but the problem with it is that it is filled with pencils and colored pencils and markers and crayons and scissors and a lego here and there, maybe a hair tie or two along with an assortment of whatever may have been tossed in. 
You would think that it would be an easy task to locate a simple pencil to write with...
Well, think again!!!...
this has proven to be far from easy and has also proven to be quite frustrating, mostly for me as I impatiently (oops did I say that out loud?) 
I really meant to say as I patiently wait for them!

So I decided to alleviate this frustrating problem once and for all
and to make it happy and cute at the same time...so check it out!!! 
Buckets for my schoolroom
to keep everything in it's very own little place...what a novel idea!




So this is the simplest project EVER!

All you need is an empty #10 Can or an oatmeal container...
really just depends on the size you wish to have. 
I wanted larger ones, so I chose to use our empty cans.

Next, find yourself some twine or jute.
A hot glue gun along with a bundle of hot glue sticks.
Make yourself a fun tag to label each bucket (I made mine and then used clear contact paper to seal them...this is a little less expensive than laminating, but does the trick just great!)
Use a hole punch to put a couple holes in your label ~ string some jute through and wrap it around your bucket to attach the label.
I also did a little handle out of red ribbon, just hot glued it on (you can either do it on the outside before wrapping the jute/twine around or if you forget like a did a couple of times, just plop a little hot glue to the inside and attach it there....works great either way!)

I LOVE projects like these...use up some of my stuff I have around and make it look cute!
It is simple and fun.
BUT
I do have one warning for you...Watch out ~
My guess is that most of you are already aware that hot glue guns get a little hot, and I was pretty sure that I was aware of that simple little fact, but WOW can it get ya if you're too busy flapping your jaws and not paying close enough attention to that little blob of glue.
Thought the end of my little finger might never recover...had no idea a blister could stick off the end of your finger the way that one did.
But to stand back and look at those cute little buckets with the great thought that I will never again have to wait around while they search for a pencil is a quite satisfying feeling!

Horsin' Around :0)

Finished off yesterday afternoon at the Canyon County Horsebowl Competition...

Already covered how the little girls did, but not the big girl ~ Well, she was outstanding!!!

Are they adorable or what???
Wow, do I love those girls!!!


Her team ended up taking second place and will be heading to the District Competition in March. 
They are also judged personally and she took third overall...
Way to go...All that studying pays off!
And the two little girls in the photo were in their first year of horse bowl competition and did fantastic...
I love that part of 4-H is all about Mentoring younger kids ~ what a perfect program to build character in our youth and to instill goodness and service and giving!  I could not be happier with this day...

Look at all those great awards ~
But I truly believe
the best award is just how fantastic they each felt
at the end of a marvelous day!
I love to listen to our kids when they feel successful in themselves ~
Not because of their placements, but because of the knowledge and growth they've made!

What a day!!!
Now we have until March to re-coup before we head back for the next round!

4-H is a marvelous program! 
If you are looking for something fabulous to have your kiddos involved in, I highly recommend it!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

So what do you know? Enough to get a pretty ribbon!!!

What an exciting morning...and there is more to come this afternoon...
We were out this morning for HORSE Competitions...
usually the little girls just go along to see how their big sister is doing,
but today was a different story!!!

Today is the Horse Bowl Competition ~ Are you in need of a description???
Well, it is basically Horse Jeopardy...
Anything and Everything a judge could ask you about horses, well, you best know it if you'd like to win this competition!  Holy Smokes ~ There is a lot to know!
(Kinda glad it's them and not me)

Well, Today was a little different than normal for our sweet little girls --
THEY GOT TO COMPETE TOO!!!!
(I think I could've handled this little competition, but not the big one)

OH Happy Day...Oh Scary Day...Oh Nervous Butterflies in the Tummy Day!!!

Just waiting for the competition...
Our littlest one is happy as can be with her special little dolly...oh how she loves her! 
Have I ever mentioned that I have the best friends on the planet??? 
Well, if I haven't, I DO!  My sweet friend, Corrie slaved away making this special doll for my little one.
Christmas Morning was a happy day around here when she opened this! 
She goes EVERYWHERE with us...Even to the Horsebowl Competition!

Oh My Goodness...It is almost time!
"Mom, I'm a little scared!"
Me:  "You are beautiful and you will be amazing!!! 
Just remember to talk loudly enough that the judges will be able to hear your remarkable answers!"

A little practice time just before the big event!!!
The older kids have been studying away...they are gonna do awesome!

It's real, We're Here!!!
And we even get to use the BUZZERS!
OH MY WORD...We are real Horse Girls Now!!!

Oh Yeah!!!  That's a ribbon! 
Check Me Out!!!    HAPPY DAY...


Just gotta share some of the hilarious answers ~

One of the questions asked to all of the little girls was:
How much does it cost to take care of a horse for a year?
Our littlest one repied, "Oh, about 8 dollars!"

So where does the Shetland Pony come from?  Hint:  It's on an island that is named after the pony.
"Ummm....India?"
No...try again...
"Ummm....Ponies Island"
Good try...talk between yourselves again and see if you can get it....
After little whispers back and forth, came a meek little "Shetland???"
YES, YOU GOT IT...Shetland Island!

And my favorite...The last question of the "competition".
What is your favorite color of horse?

Our little "C" responded with ~ "Bay" (I was pretty impressed!), the little girl next to her responded "Sorrel" and then our little one said "ummm, probably Pink!"

That judge was rollin' in her seat at all of the hysterical answers!

What a fun morning...Right after the little girls are done eating their lunch, we'll climb back in the car and head back to see how Big Sister is doing in her competition!

LOVE SEEIN" THESE HAPPY FACES...THEY WERE SO EXCITED!!!
Rainbow colored Ribbons and a little chocolate bar ~ what could be better on a Saturday Morning???

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Humans Are NOTHIN' Like Penguins"

 So during school a couple of days ago, we were doing a little unit study on penguins...after learning that they mate and then stay together for life, I added,  "just like people do", to which my 9 year old son replied, "They're nothing like humans, people split up all the time and penguins stay together."
Thought I'd cry...
but I made sure to let him know that his Daddy and I are stuck together FOREVER!
No splitting up happening around here! Kids are quick is all I have to say...never saw that one comin'!

Well, I have to tell ya this comment has just not left me...It has caused me to actually lose sleep...

Why is it that marriage and family and relationships are so disposable?
Why do people just give up everything they've built and worked on for years?  What drives them to that point? 
What about their children?  Do they think about what the implications will be for all involved? 
What makes a person believe that it is okay to tear apart a family, to separate children and make them live a life that is most undesirable?
Why do we think there is something better out there? 
Or someone better just waiting around the corner? 
Something or someone who is more exciting, more compassionate, more loving, more attentive, more of whatever we feel we are lacking...
(Now, do not get me wrong, I was divorced many years ago, and for very good reasons.  So I do believe that there are times that divorce is the better choice, but I only believe that to be the case where abuse is present or life is truly full of misery!)  Children do not belong in homes that are unstable and unsafe, mothers or wives don't deserve a life full of fear...With all of my heart, I so firmly believe that we were meant to have joy in our lives and Joy cannot be present if Fear resides!

But I cannot say that I believe divorce is appropriate just because things aren't fabulous in your marriage...that's just not a good enough reason!
Marriage goes through highs and lows...one of the low times can certainly be during raising a bunch of little people.  It's demanding work (especially for the mom) and that Momma's cup can get empty real quick...It's hard to go from being wined and dined (so to speak) to living the day in and day out life that becomes ours as we take on marriage and parenthood.  BUT, we chose this life...we may not have known that this choice would be so much work, and at times, so little fun, but again, we did choose this and it is worth sticking out and holding on and giving it all we've got day after blessed day! 

 If you feel like giving up and feel that "Love" really isn't there anymore...well...
I am a firm believer that if you once loved, that you can love again, if you will but only try...
Marriage is work...it takes everything you've got!  Why aren't people willing to give it all they've got?  Why do they give up?  Why are they so easily fooled that something or someone will be better or will make them happier? 

Can someone make us happy?  Is it the responsibility of our spouse to make us happy?  My thoughts on this...NO it is not their responsibility...BUT, I do believe it is their responsibility to do their best to never make us unhappy...
Ultimately our happiness lies within ourselves...No one can take away from that if we do not allow them to and in the same breath, we cannot expect them to replace what is missing...that is up to us!
We, as individuals, are responsible and accountable for our own happiness, for our own attitude, for our own outlook and perspective.  We can choose to look at our significant other and pick them apart or take a look at them and look past little irritants that are trivial and in the grand scheme of things unimportant. 

My husband is not perfect...neither is yours...or the next gal's, but I have a news flash for ya!!!  
We are not perfect either!!!  I am so far from perfect and I would hate to think that my husband spent his time tearing me apart as he focused on what he wished I did better or looked at all the things I have EVER done wrong and kept a running tally...some of us just might be guilty of this... 

Why don't we spend a little time thinking about what made us fall in love that person that we live with...what was it about him or her that just did it for you?  Did he just rock your world?  Did he make you melt as he walked past?  Did he sweep you off your feet?  Did your heart skip a beat and feel all sorts of twitterpated at the thought of him?  Well, guess what?  IF he ever made you feel weak in the knees, then he can again!  IF he is willing and you are willing to allow him to give you that incredible, unforgettable feeling once again!  That's really what is takes -- two willing participants and you can have the world!
Maybe we have a lot to learn from those silly little birds...in many of the photos I've seen of them, they walk around holding hands (okay they hold wings, but you get the idea) 
How often do you hold your man's hand? 
How often do you give him a hug? 
How often do you give him your greatest smile? 
How often do you give him a kiss that will make him want to turn around and come back for more?  How often do you tell him that he really does rock your world? 
When was the last time you told him you loved him and Really said it with a deep, intense feeling? 
How often does he get your best YOU?  Or do we save that for everyone else?  He is the one who needs and deserves it and when we give him our best self, He is gonna want to give it back a hundred fold!

It has to start with someone...so if your marriage has lost it's spark, it's dazzle, if that sweet twitterpated feeling has faded a smidge, if you wish for more, then make it happen....
BUT don't make it happen with someone else!
Put your time and energy into your hubby...Into your family...

It really can come back...If there was ever a flicker within, it can be lit again!!!

Okay, now maybe I can get some sleep...have no idea why I needed to write this, but I knew that it would be another very long night if I didn't get this out of me...

And if I have offended anyone in reading this, please accept my apologies and know that I am the least judgemental person on divorce...I had others telling me that divorce was wrong when I made that choice 24 years ago.  I do not live in your home, and they did not live in mine. 
My ranting and raving is really directed for those men/women who do not value what they have and cannot look past trivial things and remember who they fell in love with...THAT PERSON IS STILL THERE...and you can still fall in love with them time after time!

It just breaks my heart to see all these single parent families and all the sadness that comes with them.  My wish and hope is that my kiddos (and all other kiddos for that matter) would never again say that Humans are nothin' like penguins...I want them to feel secure that famililes are the #1 Priority and that momma's and dad's do stay together forever just like those adorable little penguins!

Monday, January 10, 2011

How about a little structure???

This should wrap it all up (thoughts from my cabin seclusion that is)
REALLY, really meant to get back to this sooner, but life happens and time, well you know...

So...onto a little structure...


If you've read my previous 2 or 3 posts, you probably wonder what kind of structure I could possibly be talking about since I pretty much bashed it all!
But that really isn't my true feeling...

I do love SOME Structure ~
I just have to be in control of it AND have the ability to CHANGE it if necessary...
Probably doesn't make any sense, but it works for me!


I love a very structured Daily Devotional and Circle Time ~ within this time, we will cover the same important principles day after day, week after week, month after month and yes, even year after year.

This time of our day has evolved, but continues to contain the most important aspects of our homeschooling day, such as Songs, Pledge, Prayer, A Thought, Scripture Memorization, Lessons based on our Devotional Theme of the month, Values that we will focus on for the month, Calendar, Weather, Facts (everything from Math Facts to tidbits of Geography, Health, Earth Sciences, etc....)  This is also the time that I do a little read aloud and we spend some time working around in our scriptures.  We take care of Grammar lessons on the whiteboard, Spelling tips, and timed Drill Sheets for Math.
If nothing else happens in our day, I can feel confident that our kiddos have been immersed in the most important things of life...all else will fall into place!

In addition to this start for our days, I love to have a structured schedule of which subject(s) we will be covering each day.  The reason that I think this is my "style" of homeschooling is that I want/need the freedom to go in as deep as I wish or off on another tangent if the occasion arises.
I cannot be locked into a daily time schedule of going from one subject, to the next, to the next -- this does not allow for any exploration, for any freedom, for any inspiration, for any of Me, for any time to Really get into anything....

SO...

Our week looks a little like this ~  Remember every day starts with our Devotional/Circle Time and then goes on when we are good and ready...no particular time  :0

Mondays:  Home Ec, Health, Math Mania (Math Games all afternoon!!!)  This is one of my favorite days...we bake together and put our house "back together" after the weekend, we do a little health, plan meals for the week, plan for our Family Home Evening and then we just play games the rest of the day!

Tuesdays:  History and Geography, Unit Study Time (This month our Unit Study is Penguins and Polar Bears -- what fun we've been having!  Oh my, the things you can go off with when studying this way...it is the Best...the sky is the limit!!!)

Wednesdays:  Creative Writing and Creative Art (A day for imaginations)  For those kiddos who really despise being creative, I will happily give them an assigned writing topic, some kids just really don't/can't/won't find it within themselves to come up with it all on their own.  I encourage this, but know that we all have differing degrees of creativity and that is really okay with me.  Our Wednesday afternoons are filled with a rotating Co-Op...it is so perfect...4 rotations -- Math Games, Science, History, and Stand & Deliver Moments -- we alternate each week giving a great balance with little to no burn-out for moms!  Just an hour of class and then an hour of fun, free time (for the kids and the Moms!)

Thursdays:  Science (either lessons or experiments or just whatever we might think up)  I have a certain plan for the day, but I am so happy to go with whatever direction the kids seem to be most engaged and inspired by!  After Science, we spend some more fun time working on our Unit Study projects.

Fridays:  Well, Friday is a day that I am open to doing any number of different things. If there is a fabulous field trip to go on...we're there!  Maybe we'll spend some time finishing up any fun projects we've been working on or finishing up math that wasn't completed during the week.  I also love to spend time reading to or being read to by the kids.

So...there you have it...
My random thoughts on how Homeschooling works for our little family!

And remember, if during one of our days I feel inspired to just spend the whole day doing one subject, well that is my prerogative and you can bet I'll be goin' with it!!!  There is always next week to catch up what we may have decided to leave out...
Flexibility and Spontaneity are the key to keeping it alive for Me!
My advice to all other moms...be who you are, be comfortable with who you are, believe in yourself and go for it...Have the time of your life, give it all you've got and love the time you have with your kiddos!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Little More Randomness...

SO, I know my last few posts have been a touch scattered and all about me, but this is my blog, so I guess that is what one might expect!

So with that expectation -- Onto a little more about me...
Still have half a notebook of writing from my time in the cabin and I must get it all out so that I make it real for myself.  I really do write this blog just for me...it helps me, it heals me, it makes me whole...and I love and appreciate your comments, because with them I see that at times there are things that I am working through in my head and in my heart that I share, that in turn help others or possibly just jumpstart a "pondering" process in their own lives/situations, or the times that your thoughts are just exactly what I need to hear, the last piece to my puzzle...so please always let me know what you think...and Yes, it is okay to let me know I am completely CRAZY...

Without further delay ~ Onto my notes:

My Priorities for our children (In No Particular Order) -- These are written every which way on my page as thoughts would come...that's the great thing about writing...you can just keep addin' to it as you see fit, there is always room somewhere and if not, make it!  :o)

Again these Priorites or Wishes I have for our kids are really in no order...
Ability to Read Well & with any luck at all that they will find enjoyment in the process.
An ever-growing Testimony
Comfortable working their way around their Scriptures
Self-Motivation
Desire
Not afraid to try anything ~ nothing holding them back from their dreams/ideas
Confident in their abilities
Speak Well
Happiness and when necessary Endurance with Dignity
Self-Sufficient
Ability to converse with anyone, any age, on any number of topics - comfortably, not forced
I want them to be engaged in things they LOVE!
Able to explore their interests
Exceptional Character
Ability to communicate effectively in word -- both spoken and written -- as well as in their actions
Flexibility
Spontanaeity
Integrity
Compassion
To Know Who They Are and their infinite worth and value
Hearts filled with Charity
I wish for them to have the knowledge that NOTHING can hold them back except FEAR and they are BIGGER THAN FEAR -- so they are capable of ALL they dream!

Before I move on, I must say that the above list could be added to until I filled all the remaining space of my blog...this is simply because I wish ALL of the BEST for our kids! 

But these are the things that came to me that dark, quiet evening when I was pleading for answers to what my focus in life should be for our kids...
I found it interesting that my prayers came from desperate pleas of homeschool help and what came to me may not appear to be homeschool type answers.
For some looking at that lengthy list, it may seem that I didn't receive squat for answers in regard to homeschooling...but for me...it was exactly what I needed...the answers were perfect!
WHY?  HOW??? 
Well, because all that I do should be enriching these areas of their lives...
Too often, as mothers we are worried about all the little details and it seems to me that these may be immaterial to the Lord ~
I think what He is trying to teach me is to keep my focus on the Basic, Most Important things...
all else will come as it should and our kiddos will be filled with all that they will ever need to be happy and successful in this life!!!
I didn't need a detail list of what to teach and when to teach it and how to teach it, No one needed to tell me to teach Math and Reading and Spelling and Science and History and Geography, etc.,  I just needed a reminder that I am doing okay, that our kids are doing GREAT, and that I already have all of the answers to the what, when and how inside me, it 's just the focus that I lose sight of at times, usually being the times that I worry too much about the what, when and how...

Let's take a little break here and I'll get back in a bit...need to have a few moments of being Mom...
So shall we say it again?
Oh yes, let's!
To Be Continued...
(I promise that will be the last time I write that, I just had to do it one more time) 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Part Tres...Random Thoughts...

Okay, back to my story...
Dinner is done, kids are happy and playing and I have a few free minutes to write or to actually type down words I wrote while "stranded" in the cabin...
Once again, remember I am alone, it is dark and soooo quiet and as I finally find it within myself to calm down enough to enjoy my time, I do what I love ~ I write ~

Here are some of my random thoughts that came to me that night...I've learned that when these thoughts come to me, that it is imperative to find a notepad and pencil and jot down as quickly as my fingers will go, because I don't want to lose what I am being given.  I had been desperately searching for answers for myself and for my family and this just happened to be the time that answers could come...must be something to do with the stillness and silence....

"Completion is not as important to me as keeping things alive, interesting and thriving. 
I don't really care if every workbook page is completed in a book, or for that matter, if we finish an entire book, UNLESS it is enriching, engaging and worth our time.
This is one that I have felt guilt over for many years...every one around me is always able to check things off the list that are complete...I guess I thought I should be following suit ~ but it was making me miserable, and in turn, making our children miserable!  Now mind you, this is not to say, that we never complete workbooks or assignments, I am a stickler for completing things that are of worth...I just cannot say that if I buy a workbook or a curriculum that I will love it for long enough to actually go through the whole thing...For some, this is unbelievable and a waste...for me, I am discovering that is a waste of me to force myself to do something I do not LOVE...I choose to waste the curriculum and to save me!

I love the idea of starting each month fresh with new ideas, new goals, I love the Newness of it all!!!

I am not good at long term goals because I get BORED!  Short term goals are perfect, they are fabulous, they are fun and exciting and completely attainable and I believe that is what is important to teach to our kids!

Boredom with School is the same...I need to be engaged and excited to engage and excite my kids How can I possibly ignite a fire within them, when I barely have a spark flickering within myself???

So, what about doing Unit Studies???? 
Hmmm.....That's a thought...So let's think about that one...
They can be long or short,
as fun and engaging as wanted,
and completely informing.
I can go off in a completely different direction if that is what I FEEL,
We can spend time studying Everything about something or just a touch if that is what holds our interest.
AND Unit Studies are easily COMPLETED because they don't have to drag on forever boring me to tears! 
See, I really do like Completion, just on my own terms and what I feel is best for my kiddos! 
Gonna have to consider going back to Unit Studies,
I've just about talked myself into it...
Feels good, lets me be me, lets me explore and create with our kids...hmmm,
I'm kinda liking (maybe even lovin') this thought. 
Put it on the back burner and let it stew for a bit --

Another thought...
I've tried so hard to fit myself neatly into the
"perfect homeschool mom mold"
This is silly, I've been homeschooling for really as long as I can remember, it's hard to remember a time that my days weren't filled with kids and books and papers and such, yet after all this time, I still compare myself to everyone else!  I've even given talks and lectures on not doing this to yourself...
What is the Perfect Homeschool Mom Mold???  Is this a Real Thing?  Is it just an imaginary "person" that we all beat ourselves up with?  Well, I for one, am done with all this silliness ~ time to move on to better days!!!!!!!!!!!

Some of what I think I've maybe done wrong...(for those of you who wish to never speak to me again after this post, I will completely understand...I am going against the grain, I am abolishing what we all Think we need to do to be successful, but remember I am just sharing my Random Thoughts and they pertain to me and not necessarily to you)
I've done the extensive planning and calendaring
(which I actually do enjoy, I just don't want to have to follow it, IF I think there is something BETTER that we could/should be doing),
I've done my very best to stick right to my "planned schedule"
and guess what happens?

I HATE IT!
I Get Burned Out!
I Stop LOVING what I am doing ~
Because --
Somewhere in the mix,
I've lost ME...
Lost Who I AM...
And in doing that, I am no longer alive and thriving and giving positive energy to my kids...
I am dull and dreadful
and devastated at the lack of zeal I feel for homeschooling...

So...
I AM WHO I AM -
I will embrace who I am -
I will not fit into anyone else's mold -
no matter how fantastic and appealing it may appear!

Knowing ME and Knowing what is best for our family is a gift I am given...
A gift WE are all given...If we will but seek for it!"


My Goodness, I need to make this one another --  TO BE CONTINUED...

As usual, I was quite long-winded,
not sure how you'd word that in the writing world,
gotta think on that one! 

In my next post, I will be sharing what My Top Priorities are, What kind of structure I enjoy, and How I've decided to make it all work...

Hoping YOU are having a fabulous Day!  :o)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Snowed In...Part II

Well, I really should be sleeping,
but all the kids are asleep
and my hubby is at work
(and I am a lousy sleeper if he's away)
so...
On with my story!!!
Some of you may be wondering why on earth my husband would have left me alone in a cabin to brave the cold and dark alone...
Well, I think it was really my idea...I kinda forced it on myself...And there was NO WAY, I was driving out in all of this snow, I was way more afraid of driving than of being in a cozy cabin...

He had wanted to leave our boys with me, but I insisted that I wanted all of our kids home safe and sound.  Our plan was that he would take them home, get them settled in, bring back water and supplies and we'd take care of things until the next morning and then head back home to our kiddos.  My one and only job was to keep the fire going.  Chad and the boys made sure to chop plenty of wood for me, so it seemed like an easy job...but I didn't really think about how dark it gets in the mountains, actually I don't think I really had any idea, because we always have lights to turn on when the dark arrives...but this night was a different story!!!

I think deep inside I really, really wanted them ALL to leave for a little while, I needed or wanted (who knows) a little quiet time...our days had been so full ~ one party, and then the next, and then the next, and then Christmas Eve, and then Christmas Day and then our son's 12th birthday, I was plum tuckered out and just wanted to sit and relax...
My thoughts went something along this line --
I will have several hours of complete relaxation and quiet,
No one will need me to do a thing for them,
I can sleep if I want,
I can read if I want,
I can write if I want,
I can do anything I want...
And then, late tonight, I will have my hubby all to myself in this wonderful little cabin in front of the fire, next to the candle light....ooohhhh, how special! 
Now tell me, what woman would not wish for something like this???

Well, I'm going to share with you what I "wrote" while I sat alone in that special cabin:

"Here I am, all alone,
it's awfully quiet,
I paced for the past several hours until I heard from Chad that he and the kids had made it home safely. 
I am grateful they are safe, now I can relax, maybe. 
The cabin is beautiful, the snow amazing, everywhere-- and still falling...
I am writing by candlelight and firelight,
so grateful to have wood to burn. 
Not sure what to think of the quiet --
it's just too quiet,
too silent,
too still,
doesn't feel alive enough --
I'm not too great at being quiet or still -
maybe that is why this is such a foreign feeling to me. 
I find my mind cannot rest on one single topic, it races from one thought to the next. 
I really don't enjoy being alone,
it's far too lonely,
yet,
I find that it's something that I frequently wish for -
why is that?
Why do I wish for something that I don't really love?
Why do I wish for peaceful, quiet moments and then have no idea what to do with myself when those moments come along?
Why do we wish for what we don't have?
Why are we so dissatisfied and always wishing for more or perhaps just for "different" ?
Yet, when the "different" shows its face, it is too unfamiliar, too uncomfortable and often unwanted...
How interesting people are, how strange and peculiar and interesting I am...

As everyone left the cabin today, I thought to myself,
Whew a little peace and quiet, then found myself wishing for any kind of noise after they were gone, I even talked out loud just to break the silence!

I just keep learning the most interesting things about myself...

As I sit here tonight, I've had almost four hours of complete silence, with the exception of the crackling fire and the occasional snow slide off the rooftop...
Nothing here to distract me --
No music, no tv, no computer,
not a single person needing me,
not a mitten to help put on,
not a snow boot or a snowsuit needing a little adjusting,
no one to make hot cocoa for,
or a single snack to prepare...
Although I desperately wish to just be able to sit and write or read or just think ~ allowing my mind to just wander wherever it may, I find that I much more desperately wish to live the life I have been blessed with!!!

For the first couple of hours of being alone, I simply wandered about not really knowing what to do with myself. 
I gathered the 4 candles that I could find, lit them so I'd be prepared when dark came. 
I picked things up,
fluffed the cushions on the couch,
made sure I had enough firewood,
gathered a few yummy snacks ~
My scrumptious treats included:
Red Peppers ~ LOVE 'em!
Pretzels ~ Great crunch value!
Dark Chocolate ~ Fabulous!

Oh how I wanted some of my mint herbal tea, but settled for hot cocoa ~ actually Luke Warm Cocoa, there was nothing HOT about it!!!  I was too impatient...just couldn't wait long enough!  I was pretty sure I'd never be able to let that little tea bag do it's thing...

As it started getting dark, I became a touch worried, I'm really not a fan of the dark - or of being alone - the combination could have made for a nail-biting experience, instead, I will ENJOY my 4 little candles next to the toasty fire.  I pulled the recliner just in front of the fire for warmth and light.

I know they are all safe and sound, and Chad will be coming soon...

Didn't I ask for this?  Didn't I want this?  I must have, so it's time to make the best of it...This is lovely...I am ready to relax and what better way to relax than to continue on with a little writing???

Ahhh, firelight, candlelight, a notebook and pencil, dark chocolate and a comfy recliner!!!

AND, I think I am finally getting used to the quiet and the dark...it really is okay."



From here, I spent several more hours pondering some of the most important things in my little world...

To be continued....
For anyone who cares what strange things my mind comes up with  :o)

Snowed In...

Being "SNOWED IN"...
Heard of it...
Never really thought about experiencing it first hand...
BUT...
Thanks to the prayers of sweet little girls,
I can now add this one to my list of "DONE IT". 

Our family was lucky enough to spend a few days after Christmas in one of our favorite places on Earth...a special little cabin in Garden Valley.  How I love this place, what incredible memories it holds for us.  And now, we have another special memory to add...one I will never forget!

It was Tuesday night, and we announced to our kiddos that we'd be leaving the following day to head home...they were not looking forward to leaving our little Winter Wonderland in Garden Valley.  The time had gone by much too quickly for them -- I overheard them commiserating praying to be snowed in -- and I have to admit as I was heading to bed that night I may have been secretly wishing for the same thing.  I really wasn't done enjoying my little break, I don't think it had felt like much of a break yet.  The days had been so busy filled with all of the regular things I usually do...Yes, I had done a little extra reading, a little pondering, a little enjoying, a little playtime, but I certainly hadn't had my fill...so maybe, just maybe I also went to bed that night with a special little prayer in my heart.

As we woke Wednesday morning, we found ourselves without power or water but with about another foot of freshly fallen snow.  This on top of the foot or more we'd received the day before. 
Over 2 feet of snow in 3 days - unbelievable - the flakes fell continuously only changing in size, but never ceasing to fall.

As I listened to the giggles of sweet little girls, I again overheard them whispering, "looks like our wishes came true!" 

At first it was all fun and games, building the fire up to make sure we could stay toasty warm, snuggling up and giggling, reading stories together (YES, I can finally read out loud again!!!  Oh happy days!!!). 
But after a little time had passed
tummies became hungry,
everyone had to use the potties,
it got a little colder unless you were right smack dab in front of that wonderful little fire...

Hungry tummies were just a small problem ~ I had plenty of fruit, but they, of course, wanted something that needed to be cooked...hmmm, problem, no power...we did manage to BBQ some hamburgers, but by the time we got around to that, they were all ravenous!!!

Potties were a problem...no water means no flushing away the business...but, never fear, we were creative...we started melting ice in bowls in front of the fireplace to add to the back of the toilet so we could flush...You never know how much water it takes to flush a toilet until you do something like this!!!
Another cute comment I heard the kids say, "Wow, we're just like pioneers!" 
All I could think at that moment, is Heavenly Father sure knows me well, I would never have survived as a pioneer...this was enough for me...I think I'm a bit of a pansy!

Cold is a problem, unless you are willing to cuddle up in your sleeping bag and lay around.  Kids aren't super great at laying around...but they did pretty good.  And when they were laying around, they were running around and it has pretty much the same outcome...they were okay!

About 3 in the afternoon, we got word that Idaho Power had over 3,000 homes without power and had NO IDEA when power would be restored.  At this point, my hubby felt the most important thing to do was to find a way to get our kiddos out of the cold cabin, our problem was that we were officially snowed in...no way out because of all the snow leading to the main roads...Within a very short time, he was able to find someone to plow the snow from the roads to get out to the main road...he loaded up all the kids and I stayed behind to keep the fire going so the pipes would not freeze in the cabin... 
It is now a little after 4:00 in the afternoon,
in the mountains,
and how many of you know what that means? 
DARK is quickly approaching!

to be continued.....