Homeschool Conference!!!

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

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

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Journey Through Our Solar System...

SO...Just how BIG is our Solar System???

We found out today ( on a small scale )

If you read my last post about the Solar System, I mentioned that I'd be adding in our little journey as we VISITED each and every planet today...Yep, All in ONE day!  Amazing!!!

Here's how we did it ~~

Each pace, or large step
(hopefully equal to about 3 feet)
represented 3,600,000 miles!  
That's BIG, let it sink in for a moment...okay, now we'll move on.

We started our Space Journey at the Sun and made our way to each and every planet in our Solar System.
(here's another way to look at how we figured this...each inch represents One Hundred Thousand Miles)
100,000 miles every inch we went....mighty impressive!

We did some serious walking today!!!
I've never traveled so many miles in a days time!  :0)
I found these measurements on a website that unfortunately I did not write down and I cannot for the life of me remember what it if you were wondering how I became so smart and was able to figure all this out...don't be impressed...I just copied someone's else's brilliant mind!
Wish I could claim it, but I just can't!!!  Actually what I really wish is that my brain was half as brilliant as those that come up with some of this stuff!

 Let's get back on track...
You simply have to do this if you want a glimpse of just how vast our solar system is...mind boggling!!!  We started in our front yard and had a great big hula-hoop leaned against our white picket fence to represent the Sun.
I gave "planets" to several of the kids to carry along as we made our way on this amazing journey.

We had to be quite a sight...25 crazy people walking down my lane and then down to the end of the road and half way down the next street, walking in giant steps, counting ever so loudly until reaching our next destination!

Here's how it went ~
First, let's go back over the order of the planets...this is so super cute if you don't already know it...the kids remember it easily and it's a fun way to recall all the planets in order from the sun...
My Very Excellent Momma Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas!!!
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto

Now that we've reminded ourselves of the planets we'll be looking for's time to get busy!

Again, our "Hula-Hoop Sun"
was placed against the fence.  Let's start finding our planets...How many steps away would the first one be????

First planet just 10 steps away from the Sun ~ MERCURY.
The child carrying Mercury set it in place
and we called out for the next planet ~ VENUS...
take another 9 paces and place Venus.
Then onto EARTH...
mighty close, only another 7 paces.
WOW, the Earth is very close to the Sun (or so it appeared)  
At this point it was time for a little review...
just how far away is the Earth from the Sun ~
a whopping 93 MILLION MILES!!!!
Holy Smokes...we've done some serious traveling!
And all in just a few meager steps.

Time to visit MARS!
Just a few easy steps - 14 to be exact!

At this point it started becoming FUN!

I pointed out that we had now made it through all of the Inner Planets...
What came next?
They all knew ~ Hooray!!!

And then what?

JUPITER, of course...We were approaching the outer planets!!!

So we'd been used to just taking a few steps...this time they started gasping a little as I had them guess how many steps we should take to find the location of Jupiter.

95 Paces to Jupiter!
The child holding Jupiter placed it in position ~ Our Giant Planet was now set and it was time to move on...much more traveling to do!

Next Stop would be Saturn ~ another 112 paces.

Then on to Uranus ~ they were starting to wonder if we'd ever reach all the way to Pluto ~ we had to take another 249 paces to reach Uranus!!!

I loved the guesses they'd give!  I think they were starting to get a little worried...our paces kept increasing with each planet we visited!

Neptune would be our next planet to visit!  In just 281 paces we'd arrive!!!

After FINALLY arriving at Neptune,
I had several kids say,
"maybe we should just skip Pluto, remember they don't even consider it a planet anymore!"
I would have nothing to do with that!!!
We'd made it this far and we would make it all the way to Pluto!

We had an easy 242 Paces to go.  When we arrived at Pluto, we all wanted to celebrate!!!  We placed a tiny little mustard seed on the ground to represent our little dwarf planet.

Oh dear...and now for the march back to the Sun.  You would have thought that these kiddos would be tuckered out at this point.  Think again!  Most of them took off running.  This lovely body of mine doesn't really enjoy running, but I couldn't let them all leave me in the dust, so I did my best to keep up.  I didn't say that I actually kept up with all of them, I just did my best.  :0)

The only thing that I feel could have made this day any more spectacular would have been if I had the ability and the location for us to go in a single straight line for them to actually "see" just how far we had traveled.  I think they still got it, but if we could have had a pair of binoculars to spot the sun...would that not have been simply amazing??!!

ANYWAY, I sooooo suggest this to anyone that wishes to make an impression to a group of kiddos!  This one will have them gasping!  What a magnificent day!!!

One more wish...
How I would love to be the driver of that lovely little MAGIC SCHOOL BUS!
We'd be making some spectacular field trips...
oh well, for now we'll just have to use a little imagination and a whole bunch of creativity!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Outta This World!

I've been teaching all our kiddos along with a group that comes to my home 2 days a week all about the Solar System.  I have absolutely LOVED this!  Quite possibly one the reasons I love teaching so much is because I love learning so much!
I don't believe for a second that we know it all,
nor do I believe we should make children think that we do.
I love having the opportunity to say, "I really don't know the answer to that, BUT I will find out and let you know next time we come together."  
I don't know about other people, but my kiddos think I know EVERYTHING, well the older ones used to think this and the little ones still do!
I feel it's really important to let them know that we just keep on learning new things every day, EVEN MOM!  

The month of October has been devoted to learning about the Solar System for our Science Class ~ I'm tellin' ya what!  I think I need an entire year to do it justice...not gonna happen, so I just picked out the gems that I felt were most important.  And if I've done my job right...all these kids will have the desire to keep on learning  on their own, so it matters little the amount of time I put in for them!

I'll highlight a few for you ~ hope you're ready to learn something new (and if you already know it all, well ~ you are way ahead of me!)

The first of the month my kids and I made a model that spans our classroom of our Solar System.  I could not be happier with it (well, if Jupiter would stay where it was supposed to that might make me happier, but besides that minor problem, I have loved it and it has served its purpose well)  We did our best to depict the size and color of the planets as well as their relation to the sun.  If any of you homeschooling mommas are looking for ideas, I have them for you!!!  To make your very own Solar System...look below!  :0)  After the directions, I'm also going to take you on a little journey through our Solar System ~ We walked and visited EVERY single planet today...can I just tell you it was amazing and rather enlightening!!!!

Directions for a ton of fun!!!!
For the Sun ~ Find a giant round yellow plastic tablecloth and hang it in the corner. (I found one at the Dollar Store and it is perfect!)
Next you just need a little tiny bouncy ball for Mercury - drill a small hole in the center and hang it from fishing line.  (All of your planets will hang from the ceiling being suspended by fishing line and 3 hooks (but not fishing hooks...hooks that you screw into the ceiling, just thought I should clarify that one) -- one in the center and one on either end)
Then comes Venus - we found a small Yellow Tennis ball, again just drill a little hole through it and hang it up.
Earth is next in the lineup - Earth and Venus are very similar in size, so we used another tennis ball only in blue.  (wishing I could have found something with blue and green...but it worked)
Now we come to Mars - The RED planet, so yes find yourself a small red ball, smaller than Earth and Venus.

That does it for the inner planets...
at this point if you were super creative you could add in the ASTEROID BELT!  So wishing I would have done this...I still may ~ in fact, before next Tuesday when we all meet again, I'm thinking I should really have that there for the kids to all see (a picture in your mind will stay forever!  or at least close to forever!!!)

Alrighty, let's start on the outer planets - 
our GAS GIANTS!!!!

1st in line is our largest planet ~ JUPITER...Jupiter was just a smidge more work, but not too much!  Find yourself the biggest ball you can and then cover it with butcher paper, if you want add a little brown coloring (my kids did the honor here!) then don't forget to add your big red spot!  Tape it on and then figure out a way better than I did to make that hummer stay suspended in air!  Basically just wrap fishing line like crazy all over it and then cross your fingers and maybe go ahead and do your toes, too and then hang it up.
(A little helpful side note!)  The biggest reason for the middle hook in your ceiling is to hang Jupiter on one side of it and Saturn on the opposite, pretty much as close as you can to the hook.  They are some big heavy planets and they want to do some serious sagging!
Okay, let's move on...the next one was definitely the most work, BUT SO WORTH IT!  SATURN looks amazing hanging in my classroom, I love it!  So why was it so much work, well because I chose to do the ring around it...all of the outer planets really should have had them (especially Uranus, but we'll get to that in a moment or two) but I was a tad bit too lazy after doing the rings of Saturn.  So here's what we did...Find yourself a big old yellow ball, then grab a piece of RED poster board (this will be for your ring)  Cut a big hole out of the center of the poster board and then round your edges a little.  OH...Forgot to mention this one....USE the leftover hole from the red ring for JUPITER'S SPOT!!!  Works perfect  :0)
Okay back to Saturn...we suspended the ring and the planet separately, took a little work, but it looks great.  To hang the ring, we just poked a few holes and hung it from the fishing line.  I didn't even try to keep it perfectly level and it looks "perfect"!

Moving on to Uranus...
(still not exactly sure how I should pronounce this one, he he he)
Sorry, that's just the way I am!
Guess none of you really needed me to add that in, oh well, too late!
Uranus is a pretty cool place...
what makes it pretty spectacular to me is that the rings and the planet are on a tilt, soooo if you are smart enough to figure out how to hang those rings, go for it...and when you are done, shoot me a little note so I can add that, too!  I just grabbed a small green ball  (not tiny...much larger than Earth and Venus, but smaller than Jupiter and Saturn)   Remember the last four planets are called gas GIANTS for a reason  :0)  They are biggies!!!

We're getting close to the end, next in line is Neptune.  Use the same size ball as you did for Uranus, only make sure this one is Blue.  I was lucky enough to find these two balls in kind of a "pearly" look, they just make me happy!.

Okay at this point, the Scientific Smart People would say we are done...
But I wasn't quite satisfied...and since this is my classroom and I get to be the teacher...I've decided to overrule the smartie pants and do it my own way!!!
 I grew up believing that we still have one more little planet hanging out there
and by darn-it my kiddos are gonna know about it...
so, yes, I added PLUTO in.
I used a tiny brown bead.
For anyone who cares...I did make sure to let them all know that Pluto is officially now referred to as a dwarf planet...but hey, planet is still in the title and I for one find nothing wrong with being small...therefore I found it mighty deserving of hanging out in my classroom!

Now for a moment of honesty...REMEMBER at the beginning when I said I don't know everything...well the honest to goodness truth is that I don't know A LOT of things.  There was a big one that I learned doing this little exercise.
While at the store purchasing our supplies for our solar system, I picked up a bundle of stars that I thought I'd just hang around as well, I was so very happy at the thought of stars hanging from my ceiling...much to my dismay, I found that we have only ONE STAR in our Solar System....For those of you who were not aware of this (I'm really hoping I'm not the only one!)...Yes, The SUN is our ONLY Star in the Solar System...all the ones we see out our windows or while gazing up in the sky are in our galaxy, but not in our solar system.
I stumped most of the kids with this question, and a few of the moms.
BUT NOW, every single one of those kiddos know just how many stars are present in our solar system.

The saddest part of knowing this is that there is a quote that I adore...
"Shoot for the moon.  
Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."
Dang it all...NOT TRUE!
We'll just be floating around "out there" if we miss the moon (just don't miss it is all I can suggest!)...
so that is the one bummer that I've felt during my month of studying.

Okay...this post (as well as most of them that I ever do) is getting pretty, I think I'll just end it here and do another one with our Solar System Journey...

IF I CAN EVER figure out how to get pictures off my phone, I'll add some so you can see these wonderful little creations of ours.  Until then, just use your imagination (I happen to think that is a better choice anyway)

Ta ta

Saturday, October 15, 2011

All googly-eyed and holding hands...

Early this morning while in the shower a thought came to me,
well many thoughts came to me...
that seems to be one of the few places that are quiet in my world....
anyway, one of the thoughts that came (very strongly I might add!) was to share a message that I had written quite a few years ago, and in addition to share the message my husband had also written.  

A little background...
these messages were shared by us to an audience of married couples,
the topic of the evening? ~ (drum roll, please)...

This was a beautiful evening, one I'm sure I will never forget.  It does something amazing within you to sit and prepare your thoughts and feelings on such a sacred subject and then I was blessed with a double-whammy...I was able to hear exactly what my husbands thoughts on this same subject were.  Oh, happy day! Okay, sorry I just had to reminisce for a moment...I'll now return to what I was trying to say before my mind went off on one of its tangents.

This topic, Marriage,  is on my mind a lot, not only because I am married, but because I treasure my marriage and the very ideal of marriage.  I am saddened when I see other marriages and relationships crumbling.  My husband shared something with me recently that was said to him.  We'd been with some other couples at the temple a few weeks of his friends commented later to him, "You and Stacey look like hold hands and you are all googly-eyed at one another."

Okay, at first that was a tad bit embarrassing, UNTIL I thought about it...
WE REALLY are like Newlyweds...
the magic and the spark and the desire to be with one another as often as possible has never gone away...I adore him and I know that he feels the same for me.  I don't have to guess how he feels, I don't have to wonder, I don't have to assume that he still loves me after all of these years.

Maybe that's the key!!!

I have someone very close to me that once said her husband never tells her he loves her...
she made a comment to him about it and his reply was simply, 
"I told you I loved you once, if that ever changes I'll let you know."  
Well, honestly I laughed at first and then inside I cried.  

 is imperative to ALL PEOPLE...
we all NEED and CRAVE and SURVIVE because of LOVE!

So, here is the message that I shared many years ago.  For any of you who follow my crazy rambling thoughts on this blog, you will know that I am striving with all of my might to FOLLOW PROMPTINGS when they come and I do believe one came to me early this morning for a here goes!

Strengthening Marriage -- November 2002

            What is Love?  President Hinckley describes love in a wondrous way.  He said, “Love is of the very essence of life.  It is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  Yet it is more than the end of the rainbow.  Love is at the beginning also, and from it springs the beauty that arches across the sky on a stormy day.  Love is the security for which children weep, the yearning of youth, the adhesive that binds marriage, and the lubricant that prevents devastating friction in the home; it is the peace of old age, the sunlight of hope shining through death.  How rich are those who enjoy it in their associations with family, friends, church, and neighbors.    He goes on to say, “I am one who believes that love, like faith, is a gift of God.”

            Do we look at our spouses as a gift from God?  The love that they bring and share with us is truly a gift.  I do know with an assurity that my husband is a gift to me.  I waited a great deal of my life for something or someone as wonderful as he is.  When I met my husband, I had no confidence in myself, was afraid of saying what I may have thought or felt about anything, whether it was of importance or not.  I did not believe I had any self worth and actually questioned many times why he would even want to spend any amount of time with me.  What I have come to find after many wonderful years with him is that I am a worthwhile person, the things I have to say are important and he wants to hear what I think and feel.  He has brought me to a point in life where I can believe in myself, and I look at life in a new way.  The joy that he brings to me each and every day is immeasurable, and this is only because he tries, he encourages, he uplifts, he builds me, he cares for me and he truly loves me. 

            Do you do things for your husbands to let them know how special they are to you?  These can be, and usually are the simplest of things, but can be the most meaningful to your spouse, mostly because they will know these “little things” are meant just for them.  For instance, I know certain things that my husband likes and I try, although not often enough, to make these for him-he loves my chocolate chip cookies and each time I make them he just raves that they are the very best cookies ever.  Such a simple thing, but he loves them!  Another thing I occasionally do is stop by Lee’s Candies in Boise and pick up some of their dipping chocolate, this is also a nice little treat that lets him know I am thinking of him.  Chad and I attended a couples overnight retreat with our ward a couple of years ago and had the opportunity of listening to a speaker whose subject was also on Marriage.  She read a paper to the group that was written in the 1950’s and was published in a popular magazine.  (Regretfully, I could not find a copy of it.)  It addressed how a wife should prepare for her husband to return home from work.  As we listened, most of us were snickering and I’m sure all of us thought to ourselves that these were definitely things from the past, people just don’t do that now.  There were things on the list such as preparing your children by cleaning them up and having them sit quietly until their father arrived home, this way he could walk into a peaceful home.  (Unfortunately at my home, this is a very rare happening, when Dad walks in the door he is immediately attacked and there is no quiet…but I know he would much rather have it that way)  Other items on the list were as simple as cleaning up the house, making sure dinner was ready to be served or at least cooking, help him to relax when he arrives and be sure to wear a bow in your hair to assure that you will be looking your best.  Well, Chad and I talked about these little things and giggled over many of them, and even now when he calls me to let me know he’s on his way home, he’ll say, “Make sure you have a bow in your hair,” and we both laugh!  Some of these things may seem outrageous and a lot of pressure on a wife, but as I really put some thought into them, the entire message was to simply prepare a nice place for your husband to come home to, that he feels welcomed, loved and appreciated.  When Chad calls me to say he’s on his way home, our children and I all scatter through the different rooms in our home, each person taking a room and we try to tidy up those things that aren’t in order.  Lighting a candle or two is also a really nice touch – but far more important than all of these things – I can’t wait to see my husband, when I know he’ll be home shortly I’m excited to see him and he can sense this.  I’m sure that one of the highlights of his day is returning to a home full of children attacking him before he can even shut the door behind him and to a wife who is smiling and very happy to see him.  Please don’t think that everything is always tidy and perfect, because that is not the case, the point is just that I do try and he knows that.  The beauty of this is that he knows that I will have these things done if at all possible and I know he does appreciate it when this is the appearance of our home.  But when things are a disaster and things lay about in total disarray, he will just come in and help out with those things that remain unfinished.  (Team Work.)   

            Is your husband your best friend?  Your husband should be the person you desire to tell everything to, that you would want to spend all of your time with.  I think my husband and I could spend days on end together and never run out of things to talk about and to laugh about.  We can take a trip somewhere and regardless of the distance we never need to turn on a radio because we just enjoy talking and sharing things with one another.  I admire my husband and respect him.  I look to him for advice and guidance.  I count on him to be there at all times and he always has been and undoubtedly will always be.  It is truly a blessing to be married to your best friend, to share the same hopes and dreams.  It is so wonderful to look at the little people that together you bring into this world and work together to help them to become whatever their hearts desire.  If you do not have this kind of a relationship with your spouse, take the time to get to know them, take the time to do special things for them, spend time doing anything and everything together, not separately – this does not mean you have to be without your children, but there are definitely times when that is a necessity...Sometimes you need to just be husband and wife instead of mom and dad, this allows you to be silly, crazy, to laugh and enjoy just that special someone.  Be creative and have fun planning things for just you and your spouse, or for the whole family.  These are the times you make the most wonderful memories.  One of the very most important blessings of a happy marriage is what it does for your children.  They can see what life should really be like, they will desire to have the same kind of marriage.  Our oldest daughter Shealyn will say things to us like, “You guys are so weird, always kissing and hugging and laughing!”  She has also said that she is afraid to grow up because she knows she will never be able to find anyone who will be like Dad.  Isn’t that wonderful!!!  She will not settle for less than she deserves, she will also marry her best friend, because that is what she sees in us and wants to have the same happiness we enjoy.   When your husband is your best friend, life is so beautiful!

            Try to overlook little faults that you may find with one another.  A quote that I really treasure is, 
“Love is not blind – it sees more, not less.  
But because it sees more, it is willing to see less.”
If you will think about these lines, I think you will see their importance.  When we see our spouses in the whole, instead of breaking out little bits here and there, we can potentially see the wonderful person they truly are.  Too many couples feel discontent with their marriages, they find fault after fault in the person they are married to.  Try to look past these things and treasure all of the good that is in your spouse and you will find it difficult to name anything that really bothers you about your loved one.

            President Hinckley said in a regional conference in 1995, “Any man who will make his wife’s comfort his first concern will stay in love with her throughout their lives and through the eternity yet to come.”  He said this after discussing selfishness, anger, arguments, losing tempers, etc.  To have a successful marriage there cannot be selfishness, marriage works when both people would do anything to assure the happiness of the other. 

            Please cherish and value your spouse, always find the good in them, do all in your power to please and uplift them.  Spend as much time just being with and enjoying everything they bring into your life. 

And remember that special person is a gift…your gift from God.


Little side note -- I just told him (that sweet man in my world!) that I was writing this blog and WHY I was writing it (the newlywed comment from our friend)  
Here is one more reason to love him...
He said, "Well in the grand scheme of things we are newlyweds...I've got eternity with you...we've only begun!  And I'm gonna do my best to keep us feeling like newlyweds!"

What Makes A Marriage Work By Chad Lytle  -  November 2002

            My wife is an amazing person.  She can do anything she sets her mind to and accomplish tasks quicker than most.  For instance, just yesterday, she informed me the speakers for this meeting could not make it and asked if I would be willing to fill in.  I said, “No way, I mean, I’m working late and have an event I am attending after that.  Then there is work tomorrow, when would I find time to write a talk unless I don’t sleep.”  She just looked at me and …well here I am, and I know what makes a marriage work, two little words.  When she asked again with that sad little look and said, “pleeeaase,” what could I do, but say, “Yes Dear”. 

            I have a copy of the Ten Virtues That Will Heal our Hearts and our Homes by Gordon B. Hinckley that I am going to go over and then expand a little on each point.
Love, Honesty, Morality, Civility, Learning, Forgiveness and Mercy,
Thrift and Industry, Gratitude, Optimism, and Faith.

Do you love your wife or are you in love with your wife?
I have fourteen ways to show her that you are in love with her. 
  1. First thing in the morning start out with “Good morning and I love you.”
  2. When you leave for work, give her a real kiss goodbye.
  3. Think of her throughout the day, and call her to tell her that you love her.
  4. Make plans for a date.
  5. Buy her flowers for no reason what so ever.
  6. Come home with a loving embrace and tell her that you love her.
  7. Tell her how nice she looks.
  8. Acknowledge what she has accomplished in the house.
  9. Ask her how her day went, and then listen.
  10. Compliment dinner, be grateful you’re not eating at McDonalds again.
  11. Help out with household chores she may not have had time for.
  12. No T.V.  Participate in a conversation about anything.  (We load up our kids and go on drives anywhere or nowhere in particular and talk about everything or make plans to do other things.)
  13. At bedtime, tell her again how beautiful she is and that you love her.
  14. Make love to her like it was the first time again.

When the bishop interviews you, one of the biggest questions that he asks is if you are honest in all of your dealings.  There is a saying that is hard to cheat an honest man.  If you are not honest with others, then you cannot be trusted at home or worse yet away from home.  Mistrust in a marriage usually leads to divorce. 

How many immoral people do you know who are happy?  Immorality leads directly to hell without pass and go.  It comes in many forms such as pornography, movies, music, and corrupts our minds with evil thoughts of discontent with whom we are and whom we are married to.  No one can be happy and immoral at the same time.

Never belittle one another.  Don’t argue in front of your children.  Your idea is not the only way.  Speak kindly of one another, especially in front of others.  Build each other up. 

Get to know each other by conversation.  People change so keep talking to one another.  Do you know her favorite food, color, activity?  Can you order for her at a restaurant? What are her views on things such as politics or discipline?  Do you really know or do you just think you know?

Forgiveness and Mercy:
Two words, You’re Wrong, no matter how right you think you are, you’re wrong!  Any man can be a stubborn jerk and say “my way or no way”.  A real man learns to swallow his pride and beg for forgiveness from the Angel in his life for being a stubborn jerk.  As well as being big enough to say, “It’s ok, I still love you anyway.”

Thrift and Industry:
Work, work, work.  Work as if your family depended on it (Because they do!) and then try to save some, so if there is no hay to make, at least you can still eat. 

Are you thankful?  Thankful that you are loved by a beautiful woman? Thankful that she cooks for you, cleans for you, listens to you and cares for you as well as your children.  If you are grateful for all of these things, then let her know by thanking her everyday for all of her hard work and for her love. 

Always look for the good things in your life.  You are respected as the leader of your family.  You have a wife who will be there for you to help in anyway she can.  You and your wife have the gospel and are teaching your children to walk uprightly before God and with that what else matters?!

Have faith in your life.  Faith in yourself, because confidence is appealing.  Have faith in your wife that she can do anything and she will.  Have faith in your children that they can choose the right and they will.  Have faith in your God and all things are possible. 

In closing, I would like to say that I am IN LOVE with my wife.  She is the light of my life, and the joy in my soul.  Remember to listen to her and tell her how beautiful she is.  Mean what you say when you say you love her so that she can respond, “I know.”  I truly believe that if you will put your wife on a pedestal and compliment her for all that she does for you then she will make room for you to stand beside her.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Little "Home Improvement"...

“Imagine that you are opening your front door and walking inside your home.
What do you see,
and how do you feel?
Is it a place of love, peace, and refuge from the world, as is the temple?
Is it clean and orderly?
As you walk through the rooms of your home,
do you see uplifting images which include appropriate pictures of the temple and the Savior?
Is your bedroom or sleeping area a place for personal prayer?
Is your gathering area or kitchen a place where food is prepared and enjoyed together, allowing uplifting conversation and family time?
Are scriptures found in a room where the family can study, pray, and learn together?
Can you find your personal gospel study space?
Does the music you hear or the entertainment you see, online or otherwise, offend the Spirit?
Is the conversation uplifting and without contention?
That concludes our tour.
Perhaps you, as I, found a few spots that need some ‘home improvement’—
hopefully not an ‘extreme home makeover.’ ”

“Whether our living space is large or small, humble or extravagant, there is a place for each of these gospel priorities in each of our homes.”

"Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples"  by Gary E. Stevenson
Ensign, May 2009

Just something for us to all consider...

The Lytle Home has a few home improvements to be begin working on...
the one I find myself desperately wishing for is what I most wish for our children to always feel ~
"Is it a place of love, peace, and refuge from the world"

Wishing you all a lovely week!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Many Hats...

First I will start out with a statement...
I love my life and ALL the many things I do...
but there are times when I wonder IF i can really do it all...

Maybe more importantly, can I do it all well? 
Can I give 100% to all the different areas of my world? 
This, I am finding is not the case and I DO NOT LIKE IT! 
I don't like to give a little here and a little there. 
It feels as though I am "cheating" if I'm not giving it my all.

So...with the many hats we wear on a weekly if not a daily basis...what are we to do?

Since this is my blog, I'm gonna just throw out all the hats I switch about wearing each day...
If you've ever seen the book
Caps for Sale,
this is how I picture myself ~

The one exception, I can't recall the last time I was able to sit down beneath a tree and catch a little snooze...BUT check out the hats...I'm pretty sure I could take him on...I'm thinking I'm sportin' around a great many more hats than this little guy!

Anyway ~ the point being (give me a moment....aaauuugggghhhhh!)  okay, the point is HOW on earth am I to do all the things required at my hand AND do them well?

Wishing I had a visual for all of these hats...but the list will just have to suffice ~
*Business Owner & Scheduler & Collections & Accounts Payable & Accounts Receiveable & Marketing Specialist & Networking Person...
Oh my, this business stuff is a BIG ONE!
*Young Women's Leader & Mentor,
*Cook (maybe I should go with CHEF, that sounds a little more official!),
*President of Homeschool Group,
*Maid or Master Delegator (preferably the delegator!),

I'm just gonna stop there cause we all know this list might never end if I put ALL the things that entail running a household... dilemna right now is that I feel that I am falling short in so many areas...and not a single one of these things can I take away (nor do I wish to take them away)...REMEMBER I said in the beginning of this post that I love my life, I really do like all the things I do AND I feel that they are important and very worthwhile. 

The word that comes to me is SIMPLIFY...

How does one simplify when there isn't anything to simplify to make the equation any smaller...I have actually taken away all that I can, there is simply nothing left to take away.  I can't take away being a mom or a wife, we must run our business, homeschooling is our life and I'm not willing to ever let that one go, my callings are important and I love the girls I work with, running our household is a must, I love my friends and actually wish to see them more (this is one area that suffers greatly!)  Another area that suffers greatly is being a Grammy (I can't even go here because it tears me apart, let's just say that I am not the Grammy I dreamed I'd be)  Cooking and laundry and all that goes with running this household have looked better in the past, I'm still thinking it would be nice if we could come up with disposable clothing and who needs to eat?  Let's just do away with that one (and I love to cook, so this is a big one to throw away) 


There are a few areas that I feel very happy about at this time...
Homeschooling is going kids are happy, they are learning well, the areas that weren't coming together as I wanted them to are now looking just peachy!  I feel like I'm on top of all the schooling part of my world ~ Whew!

My Business World stuff is going well...I've taken on some serious new roles in this part of life.  Early this summer, Chad and I decided it was time to make some changes to our business ~ we need to get to a point that we can say we run our business rather than our business runs us.  This is far in the future for us at this point, BUT we are working toward our goals.  I spend a far greater deal of time working to improve our business than I ever have in the past ~ marketing and networking and such...It's good...takes me out of my comfort zone at times, but a little stretching is good!  And if in the end our business thrives, it will have been worth all of the effort and time.  I do enjoy this time (as long as I don't think about my kiddos that I am leaving for those few hours a week...I enjoy talking with others about how they market & successfully run their businesses and it's easy for me to talk my hubby up!  I truly believe he is the most amazing, hard-working man alive and that he can make a floor sparkle and a carpet shine like none other, so he is easy to sell.

I love my calling in Young Women's...I love working with the girls...I love the Personal Progress program, I don't necessarily love how busy it is, but it is what it is and I do the best I can.

I truly love serving homeschooling mothers and families and feel that I am supposed to be serving in the Homeschool Organization.  I take this one very seriously and LOVE my time here.  It inspires me and makes me feel alive, so I know that it is right.

Running our household is a challenge...I honestly feel that no matter how much time and effort I put into organizing and delegating and planning and cooking and cleaning and washing and, and, just never ends.  I'm pretty sure I should be thankful that it doesn't end, so I'm gonna just go with that thought.  What else is a Momma to do???

Now we'll get into the Wife, Grammy, Sister, Daughter, Friend side of things...
Oh this is a tough one! 
I'm feeling my eyes wellin' up...

Start with my wife job ~ all I can say is that I am very blessed to have such an understanding husband...he "gets" me, he knows what makes me tick and he sits by and watches me do all of the things I do and only when necessary does he come in to save me from myself.  I know that he deserves a wife that is more attentive and less busy, but I also know that he is aware that he means the world to thankfully we are good.

Grammy/Mommy job...This may be one of my hardest areas...I wanted to be the kind of Grammy who would just go over and pick up her grandbabies and spend all the time in the world with them.  What I didn't think through was the fact that I was just finishing up having my babies when one of my babies decided she wanted to have her own babies...So, all I can hope for is that these little people and their Momma will know how much I adore and treasure them even though I am not "The Grammy" I had dreamed I'd be.

Sister/Daughter...Another toughie!  Just a couple of days ago, I was driving with my 4 youngest kiddos picking up stuff to make our Solar System.  My son, Bryce asked me an interesting question, "Mom, if you could see ANYONE in the world that is alive right now, who would you pick?"  My instant reaction and reply was astonishing to him, "I would see my Mom."  He just looked at me and said, "Mom, you can see ANYONE in THE WHOLE WORLD"  I replied, "Yep, I'd see my mom."  At that moment, I wanted nothing more than to talk to my mom, so I grabbed my phone and dialed her work number and told her of our conversation...I made her day.  The reason this one is such a toughie for me is that I rarely see or talk to my mom or my sister and they both live only 30-45 minutes away from me...WHY does life have to be so full that we can't see the people we love more???

Okay, one, I need some tissue!
Friend...I really do try to be a wonderful friend.  BUT it seems that I am forever letting someone down.  I hear the comment often that I'm just too busy...that's a hard one to swallow.  How do I reply?  How do I say something that comforts them and lets them know how deeply important they are in my world?  YES, I am really busy, my life is way too full most of the time, but it is never to full to be a friend.  And yet, as I say that, it seems that many feel that I cannot be a true friend. 

Well...I'm going to go back to something I've had to remind myself of over the past few months when I feel like I do at this moment...

I am enough...

I have to be enough
because I can only do what I can do and I simply cannot do anymore.

I just pray it is enough for those that I love and that they will know my heart is 100% with them even during the moments that I'm wearing another of my many hats.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Talking with My Father...

This evening as I have spent a little time in preparation for my day tomorrow with my kiddos, I have experienced some very powerful feelings.

Each month for our homeschooling, I change our thoughts, scriptures, values, and devotional themes.  As I looked up what this month's Primary theme was, I was moved because it truly spoke to me.  Usually I love what we are covering, okay I always love what we are covering, but not always do I FEEL moved as I did this evening. 

This is possibly a result of having spent so many hours this weekend listening to General Conference.  I was touched by the talks and was pricked a couple of times as I listened to the counsel to PRAY.  There are so many references that I will not even begin to go into them.  This will be a matter of study for me over the next several months.  The point being, I am very poor at prayer.  I know that I have written of this in the past. 
It is not that I do not pray, it is simply that I do not pray and ASK for anything that I stand in need of. 
I pray for others,
I pray to express gratitude,
but rarely do I pray earnestly for the things that I should be praying for. 
I do ask for guidance and I ask for inspiration, in addition to that I ask for His Spirit to be with me...but I fail to ask for help during my trials and struggles.

Well...after the talks and after my preparation tonight for my kiddos...I can see that I have some serious work ahead of me.

Not so sure why I don't ask for what I really need...
I know He wishes to help me,
I guess I just thought that if He felt I should be blessed with what I need or want He'd just go on ahead and do it...
BUT it's looking like I'm gonna have to start saying it out loud and asking Him for the help that I need. 
He will allow me to exercise my own agency,
He will allow me to hang on forever,
He will allow me to continue being stubborn while I try to figure it all out on my own. 
But I have no doubt that He'd much rather answer my prayers if only there were a prayer there to answer.

Below are some of the amazing things I came across tonight in my preparation.  So grateful that I have all these kiddos to prepare for, cause heaven knows I'd probably never get around to doing this if it were just for me. 

The Theme, Scripture, Focus and additional scriptures are all hanging in my classroom ready to "present" to my family tomorrow...

October Theme:
Prayer Is Reverent Communication Between God and Me

October Scripture:
"If any of you lack wisom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him." James 1:5

October FOCUS:
Personal Prayers

“No divine commandment has been more frequently repeated than the commandment to pray in the name of
the Lord Jesus Christ”
(Marion G. Romney, in Conference Report, Oct. 1979, 20; or Ensign, Nov. 1979, 16).

1 John 5:14 "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.”

Jeremiah 33:3 "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."

Matthew 7:7 "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."

The scriptures tell us what we should pray for.

1. We should pray for the companionship of the Holy Ghost (see 3 Nephi 19:9 ; Moroni 4:3 ).

2. We should pray for forgiveness of our sins (see Joseph Smith—History 1:28–29 ).

3. We should ask for strength to resist temptation and overcome opposition (see Alma 34:23 ; D&C 10:5 ; Matthew 26:41 ).

4. Husbands should pray for their wives and children (see 3 Nephi 18:21 ; Alma 34:21, 27 ).

5. We should pray for all people—both righteous and wicked, friend and enemy (see Numbers 21:7 ; Matthew 5:44 ; Enos 1:11–14 ).

6. We should petition the Lord concerning our crops, herds, fields, and flocks (see Alma 34:20, 24–25 ). "

There are so many more wonderful scriptures on many words spoken just this weekend during General Conference...but I will start here, I will do my best to teach my children these principles and more importantly I hope to teach them by my example ~ (this has been lacking in the past!)

I am grateful that I have a Father in Heaven that is patient and understanding...that knows who I am and why I am the way I am. 

I am looking forward to having some amazing conversations with Him!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Oh, It is SO time for a deep breath!

Most people think of their year starting in January...NOT ME...

My year starts in September and usually ends somewhere toward the end of June.

July and August find me busily preparing for a new year...
September hits
and I am deeply immersed, entirely consumed, fully-driven...
the end of September arrives and I find myself just emerging for a much-needed breath. 
As I inhale that wonderfully refreshing deep breath,
it is then that I take a moment to analyze this "beginning" of my new year.
Is it what I dreamed it would be? 
Does it even resemble my thoughts, plans, desires? 
Or does it feel all sorts of jumbled about, upside down and inside out? 
This is the time that I re-evaluate;
Is there need to simplify?
what must go...
what must be added in...
what is working perfectly...
what might be a little less than perfect?

I love that right at the end of this wonderful month, I am blessed with several "new things"...

A New Season...
I am loving the shorter days,
the cooler evenings,
I look forward to the leaves changing from luscious greens to beautiful hues of reds, oranges and yellows,
I love harvest time...
this year has brought us many opportunities for canning and preserving...
although I have felt rushed and unprepared for such work, I am grateful to have had it and to have exposed our children and shared in this experience with them. 
This new season brings with it
the feeling of family time,
slowing down, re-grouping...
it can bring just the opposite feelings if we allow those to sneak in...
I choose not to! 
The darker evenings feel like moments to snuggle up and enjoy one another,
to be together as a family instead of scattered to and fro,
although I don't really welcome cold weather ~
I find that I also look forward to what this weather brings with it ~
comfy warm blankets,
soft sweaters and fuzzy slippers...
and we cannot forget warm cups of cocoa and bonfires
Yeah, those are all such awesome moments that fit perfectly with the cooler me reason to enjoy the cold.

Another blessing that brings itself each year at the close of September is General Conference...
I feel ever so grateful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I feel blessed to be raising my family in such a loving, encouraging environment.  I feel privileged to hear the words of a Living Prophet and to feel strengthened by the inspiring messages that are shared by he and his counselors.  I cannot recall the number of times that I have been desperately searching for answers or for peace and have found them in the words of our prophets.  One of my favorite places to visit is I can always find "something" to lift me when I am down, to strengthen me when I feel weak.   

I also feel that when this "new" month of October comes, I have a chance to begin anew. 
Each month holds a "new-ness" for our family. 
On Monday, we will have our monthly party
to introduce what our topics of study will be,
what our devotional theme is for the month,
what our focus and value of the month cover. 
We'll have a short review and "report card" type of moment from our whole family...
this part is really important to me...
I want to know how they feel about what we've done. 
I feel so strongly that if we will listen to our kids (REALLY listen) we will learn so much. 
I've failed to give them the credit they deserve in the past and now do my best to allow them to show and tell me what they feel they need. 
Interestingly enough, they are harder on themselves than I would tend to be.

My evaluation of our month:

Hmmm...I would have to give it a thumbs-up! 
Not in every aspect, but we are working out the kinks.  I thought I had EVERYTHING figured out for the whole gang, only to find that we needed to make a couple of major changes and a few minor ones. 

I think one of the biggest lessons I've learned by being a homeschooling mother is that
you must be flexible...allow change...
don't be so regimented that you drive yourself and your kiddos crazy! 
That may be the single biggest reason I love changing things up every month, I think I crave mixing things up, I need flexibility in my life because things NEVER go as I have planned (okay, once in while they do, but not on any sorta regular basis!!!)
Just to clarify ~ EVERYTHING doesn't change...
we still have to do the basics all the time...
BUT I get to have fun with all the extras and I LOVE THAT!

Every month I change up what we study for pretty much every subject,
we throw in a few new fun math games, some new stories,
we study a new country
and then have a big old whoppin' fun party toward the end of the month focusing on the customs, cultures and foods of that country!
(Pictures will be coming soon of our party in Japan! 
The kids were all dressed up, the classroom decorated, the foods prepared, the music playing and stories being read.  This was a party done with our co-op...what a blast!!!  We all Loved it so much!)

I'm thinking I have a serious case of ADD --
don't have real clear evidence, but it's looking like it's a high probability! --
without all the juggling things about, I become bored and complacent...
I need some excitement and some creativity goin' on all the time! 
If that is an ADD "sign", I've got it bad!

One thing I have come to realize possibly more this year than ever before is just how much I love to teach
I love preparing, I love learning, I LOVE TEACHING! 
I love to see that little sparkle in a child's eyes when you touch something deep within them. 
I love the moments we share things together. 
I love the laughter that we experience together each day as we come across funny little facts about people we are studying or the thoughts and comments my kids will make when something comes to their mind. 
I love that I can intertwine gospel truths in moments of teaching in every subject and in any situation that I might feel inspired to do so. 

I've come to the conclusion that homeschooling is just as much for me as it is for my children.  I grow and learn new things about myself each year.  I become more confident and more knowledgeable through my time in study and preparation. 
I don't find that I have much time for myself,
I don't read novels or books that are "just for me"
(at times I find myself having a little pity-party over such things)
 until I look at what GOOD things I am spending my time reading and doing. 

I really have no valid reason for having a pity-party...I've got it made! 
I am doing exactly what I wish to be doing with my life! 
I'm a little selfish...
I ADORE my kids and cannot think of anyone I'd rather spend my days with...
I know that I only have them for a very short time and then they will be off making lives for themselves. 
I pray that I am giving them the very best...
will   just   have   to   do
(fingers and toes crossed)...

As you read what I write, do you find me odd? 
If you do, you are not the only one...but I really am okay with that.
I came to the conclusion a rather long time ago, that I am unlike most other people, I guess that would qualify me as "odd". 
In hubby and I switch off nights for saying our prayers together...
we'd always "forget" whose turn it was,
so we decided to do the whole even/odd thing...
He said I'm the "odd" one, so I say the prayers on all the odd days...
(he is actually the odd one around here, but I like to make him happy, so I just smiled and went with it)
Why did I share that with you??? 
I haven't the foggiest idea...
well, actually just because it came to my mind and my fingers do as my mind commands them...

I am a bit of a rambler...
I go on and on...  (are you surprised by this statement?)
Doubtful if you've spent much time here in my little blog...

I write to clear my mind,
to find myself,
to find my answers,
to find peace and joy. 
As I write my thoughts down, I am actually doing myself quite a favor...HOW? 
Well on those really "hard days" I can look back and recall moments of realization...
these are the times that strengthen me and give me the resolve to keep on keepin' on.

During those moments, I can recall the WHY's of all the things I do and I can just love my time with my kiddos and save myself the hassle of having some silly old pity-party.

If I'm going to have a party, it might as well be one worth having!
Every day can be a party if you make it one!

Happy October to you!!!