Monthly Archives: August 2012

Still Getting Into A Routine-Help?

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From the recent shot of our little family above, you can see this school year is already a bit of a challenge. I have the unique joy of teaching Toddler stuff (colors, animals, animal sounds, speaking etc.) which happens all day long in all sorts of organic ways. I also have a Preschooler, and my 1st grader! As we hash out this school year, and find a rhythm, we are encountering a few bumps. Week 2 is yet another chance to smooth things out.  In an effort to ask advice of those of you who know, I’m writing this post, feel free to make a suggestion once you’ve seen what a typical day consists of. Times don’t always jibe, and are very loose, as they shift around our speed for that day. For example, if we wake up at 8:00, everything shifts back an hour.

7:00-8:00 – Waking up. Everyone awakens at a leisurely pace.  I usually Facebook or blog on the laptop in bed during this time, while one by one the girls crawl in to snuggle with me. 🙂 If the girls request it, sometimes they can watch a short movie. Breakfast occurs in here when they want it. Usually cereal or something light.

8:00-9:00 – School work begins! Catechism is first, coupled with a form of family devotions that is more scriptural exegesis on their level than anything else, then we start our Slate exercises (From McGuffy’s) in notebooks.  Emma has a few light ones (I write names of people she knows, she copies them.) Sarah does Slate exercises in earnest right from McGuffy’s. Her handwriting is improving a bit day by day. We usually do subjects in this order:

  • Math
  • McGuffy’s Primer
  • Social studies/history (Right now, that is the Olympics, and related Geography.)

10:00-11:00 – Break time! We eat a snack, Ava gets put down for a nap, and while she goes to sleep, I play Pandora on the computer, and do a bit of Facebooking. (I can’t leave the room, or she won’t sleep! I generally get bored sitting there staring at the wall, on really tough days, I might fall asleep with her, while the girls read books together. Facebook will wait! Naps rule! Haha!)  Once she’s down and out, we get back down to business. Some days this happens earlier than others, and we get back to work well before 11:00. Other days, it is prolonged, because Ava needs to be rocked and held. We work around that.

11:00-12:00 – Back to work!

  • Supplementary reading material (Like Little Bear, or other phonics rich readers from the Library.
  • Science/Health, we’re doing a really cool series from Answers in Genesis on How God forms babies in the womb.  This is an interesting and relevant topic to all of the girls, since they’re very interested in what God is doing with their new sibling!

Ava wakes up at different times each day, and this affects how much housework we do. I like to do certain stuff while she is sleeping, but when she is awake, I can work around her, and let her be my ‘helper’

12:00-1:00 – Lunch break! Everyone eats together, and then we all find something we like to do. The girls might play a bit, usually they play with barbies, or their play kitchen, or maybe they play outside. If Ava is awake we play, if she isn’t, I wait for her to wake up (I might do 10 min of facebook in here, if time allows, but if not, it generally gets ditched.)  and I feed her her lunch.

1:00-3:00 -Clean up School work time. If there is anything left to do, we do it here. This is catch all time, especially if it was a tough day. Most days we’re done by this time, and then we do family chores during this time. Maybe fit in some hard core outside play, and work in some PE exercises. (trying to find a way to do yoga more often, it is so relaxing. Unfortunately I haven’t found the magic formula for completing a whole Yoga class with kids.) Generally, when they are done, they find a place to play, (their room more often than not.) and unwind. Ava is my buddy, but the other two find their own fun.

3:00-5:00 Supper prep. My DH usually calls during this time to let us know he’s on his way home. I start supper when he calls, so it is ready when he walks in the door, or close to it. Then we have family dinner together, and get on with the evening!

Exceptions to the Rule:

  • On days I work (clean houses.) We usually have to flip the schedule and be more flexible. This is generally Tuesdays every other week, and Fridays every week. On those days we have to be more creative.  We’re planning on working school into Saturday to make up for any lost time, if needed.
  • When kids are sick! I’m not sure how to handle this? How do you guys? 2 of mine have minor colds right now, and I don’t want to push them, but nobody has a fever either…
  • Daily errands. How do you work in the “whoa we ran out of milk!” or the “Gotta run to the bank…” or when the insurance company calls you to drop off that paper again that they shredded by accident after you disrupted your daily schedule to drop it off yesterday… (true story) I count these as  Social Studies activities, and take time to use them as a teaching moment. We also bring Books on CD in the car, since our History program right now is “Reading” through the Little House books, and discussing the history therein. We listen to it every time we’re in the car. Whatever the day.

In my Young homeschooling Mama fun, I’ve found a ton of other blogs I really enjoy that encourage me and have some excellent practical advice on homeschooling.

On the Subject of Struggles- The Proverbs 31 Woman

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Last night was the culmination of a few months of stress. In order to make it financially, and still be able to homeschool, we’ve had to get creative in earning money.  Taking a cue from the Proverbs 31 woman, I’ve tried to structure that around Spiritual needs (Family devotions, discipleship, nurturing, and raising children to put God as a priority in their life. Teaching them the meaning of Biblical Character.) Marital needs, Family needs (keeping our home, maintaining ministries to others, making academic requirements, and learning necessary skills.) and Church/Community needs (being active in our body of believers, encouraging other Moms in the same boat etc.)  I trust God to provide, and so far he has, but lately we’ve been stretched quite thin in trying to be flexible. Call it growing pains, call it the natural side effect of flexing those muscles, but the past two months have been a literal stretch. And last night, something snapped a bit.  Exhausted, in pain, and trying to cope with all the issues, I had me a pretty long prayer session. I think that this past week, I have stepped over the line, and placed our financial needs first, and stretched a little too far. In seeking God’s face, I had to go back to square one, his Word. As I grow, mature, I realize that the Proverbs 31 woman wasn’t superhuman. She was experienced, and as it says “She fears the Lord.” She looked to him first to inform her choices. My question to you readers is, how do you read this scripture? What strikes you? What do you take from it? How do you handle your burdens, and keep all of those balls in the air? What do you do when you struggle with any, or all of these?

Proverbs 31:10-31 (ESV)

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25  Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30  Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

Getting a bit testy, are we?

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This has been a week of tests. Testing our new school year out (we’re starting early to accommodate a one month break for the new baby.) Today I tested out a new recipe. (One of those: Hmmmm if I throw that in…)

Here is the update on the school days.

I’ve been logging our school, so it keeps me honest, and I’m required to meet specific standards. Every day we do Math, Bible, Social Studies(Geography,) Reading, and a bit of Science. Art, Music, etc get rolled into the rest.  I’ve read all sorts of advice. Keep a rigid schedule. Be flexible. Don’t stray from your routine. Don’t expect too much from the little ones by being all structured at the get go. It is all so confusing. I’m trying to find what works for our family.  I’ve tried structure before, and it was too rigid. So we bagged that. Now we’ve got a really loose routine, which is this: squeeze the school in when Ava is napping, and then incorporate what is left into the rest of the day as it suits. Now it is too loose.  I’m struggling to find a happy medium, but I also know it takes time to settle. The moral of the story is: We won’t get it right the first week of school. This blog post is a great way to plead to more experienced mothers for help talk it out while I sort things.

Now, for the recipe!!! 🙂 I adapted this recipe to what I had to use in my kitchen, (you know how bananas are…) and what I felt was healthy, it was fantastic, although, it definitely needed a longer cook time than what the original called for. Here is the result:

                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                Tropical Zucchini Bread  

Let me add that it looks nothing like this stock photo, but unfortunately I cannot bring you a picture of the finished product, as it has been demolished… And I’m too lazy to make more just to photograph it…

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 2 mashed bananas

Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans. (I use vegetable oil)
  2. Mix flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder in a bowl. Beat sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract together in a large mixing bowl, and stir in zucchini, banana and pineapple. Gradually pour in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Mix to evenly combine. Divide batter evenly between the two prepared loaf pans.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1- 1 1/2 hour. Working with one loaf at a time, hold the pan on its side and gently tap the sides of the pan against the counter to loosen it. Cover the pan with a cooling rack, and invert it to tip the cake out of the pan and onto the rack.  Allow bread to cool completely.

No More Beating About The Bush…

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If you can’t guess what this photo means, feel free to call me and I’ll explain it to you! Otherwise, I’ll say how fantastically excited we are to be welcoming yet another blessing into our family! Morning sickness is constant and the Due date is March-ish! Awaiting a call back from the doctor to set up the firs appointment to hear a heartbeat, and get a blood test, but so far, all signs point to a happy, healthy pregnancy! The guess is that we are 8-10 weeks along at this point.

So, join the fun! What do you think we’ll be blessed with?

Now that we’ve shared the fun news, I’m going to address some questions I hear quite frequently…

  1. Are you trying for a boy?
    Nope. Not even close. We just thought we’d leave that one in God’s hands. All we’re praying for is healthy and happy! 🙂
  2. This means you’re done now, right?
    I can’t say, again, we’re leaving that in God’s hands. We feel convicted to glorify God in our reproductive choices, and we feel that we should submit to his will in how many children he gives us, rather than try to control things ourselves. We know that every child he gives us is a blessing. We’re trusting him to provide for all our needs, and we are VERY excited about the blessings to come!
  3. Why do you keep on having kids, do you even use birth control?
    No, we don’t, as we feel to do so is to go against our convictions. The Bible calls children “blessings” and speaks often of the prosperity that comes to families who submit to God’s plan for them. We trust his plan, and we welcome his provision and bounty!
    God has given us a command, in the very beginning of the Bible, to fill the earth, and to subdue it, and have dominion over the earth, he has also told us that each child is a blessing, and a reward. He has a specific plan for each child he blesses us with, and lastly, Jesus himself values them, and speaks frequently of their worth, and the lessons they can teach us about approaching God.
    Genesis 1:28
    “And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
    Psalm 127:3-5
    “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”
    Psalm 139:13-16
    “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
    Matthew 18:1-3
    “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
    Matthew 18:10
    “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”

    For an in depth look at this topic, Check out this post on Large Families On Purpose. LOVE LOVE LOVE this blog, and she addresses it quite beautifully!

  4. Can you afford more kids?
    We are blessed. We are not in want, we have enough to eat, a home that we love, and the ability to earn money to pay our bills. God has provided, and continues to provide for our growing family.