Saturday, February 20, 2016

No Brag, Just Fact

This is in no way a brag, but more of an encouragement.  It wasn't easy for me to go back to school while raising a family, but I did.  The first year I was still working at the school, but this year we returned to home schooling.  One might assume that gives me more time to work on my school work, but it doesn't.  It is said that when you really want to do something, you make the time to do it.  Perhaps, but even in great desire to get more writing done, more editing finished, more devotionals written, I have found that "life" can get in the way.  There are meals to make, laundry to wash, kids get sick, students need help with their school work, corrections need to be done, ministry tasks need to be tended to... the list goes on and on.

How do I "get it all done"?  Here are some tips that have helped me over the past couple of years:

1.  Realize that you will in no way "get it all done"!  That is an unrealistic assumption.

2.  Prioritize.  What REALLY has to get done?  That huge stinky pile of laundry may not be able to wait, but maybe cleaning the fridge can.  Yes, it would be wonderful to spend all day curled up reading that book, but you have to spend some time working on a Sunday School lesson instead.  And while you are prioritizing, realize that what is high priority one day may not be the next.  The priority list could very well change daily!

3."Plan the work and work the plan."  My dad used to say this to me.  This is a great strategy for when you feel unmotivated.  Having a plan helps you to know what the next thing is you have to do.

4.Don't overplan!  I think we all desire to do more than what we are able, or have time to do.  So many wonderful ideas and good intentions but limits of time and resources to accomplish them.  Let me be clear:  Put the cape, high-heeled boots and leotard away.  No one can do it all, and do it all well.  My husband uses this analogy: Jelly spread too thin looses its flavor.

5.Delegate.  Don't be ashamed to slough off some of your tasks on your spouse or kids.  They want to help, but may not know how.  My husband is wonderful at filling in for me when I'm not available. He can cook, take care of children, help with schoolwork, clean, whatever needs doing.  The kids each get assigned chores whether I'm home or not.

6.  Create a basic schedule to work with.  This goes along with number 3, I realize, but it is a strategy in its own right.  I told my children that I am all theirs pretty much until supper time.  However, any outstanding assignments, corrections, testing after that has to wait for MY convenience after that time frame.  After supper is when I write and do my school work.  That is a very simplistic view of the schedule, but it works.  Of course there is flexibility in that as well.  Days we have a field trip, Co-Op, art lessons, volleyball, dentist or eye appointments, for example, the schedule becomes more flexible.

7. Give yourself some grace!  Are you pregnant?  Just had a baby?  Is the family getting over the flu?  Are you getting over a surgery?  Are you packing to move?  Did you just move?  There are many unpredictable circumstances that arise in real life.  Give yourself some grace if you have to go into "survival mode" for a while.  It happens, and guess what?  It's okay!

It is good to raise a family.  It is good to have dreams and goals.  It is also good to keep it sane.  Make sure when you say "yes" to something you aren't adding the straw that will break the camel's back.  If you aren't consistently getting enough rest, eating properly, find yourself (or your family) short-tempered and irritable, then it is time to take a step back and look at your plan again.  Cut something out.  Lower your expectations (does the house really need to be "company ready" every day?).  Readjust your goals and priorities (Okay, the kids do need to eat, but they may not need to run out to every available activity they are invited to!).  Once you achieve a balance, you'll know it.  Make a mental note of how the balanced days play out for future reference.

I hope this has been an encouragement to you!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Yarn Along

I finished Isaac's vest and both books from last time I posted... yay!  Here is a UFO I'm working on with a couple of books I'm into right now.  What is pictured is a partial sleeve to a sweater for me.  I work on it off and on when I'm not pressured to finish something for someone else.  Those who are knitters know that means that I hardly ever work on it!  I'm reading Edgar Sawtelle for fun, and the Movie History for a college class I'm in this term.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

School Days!

I can't help it.  I am LOVING being back to homeschooling our children.  True, I don't like paperwork, which I am hitting a lot of right now because of having the twins graduate, but that is okay.  We'll get through that.  Then is the plans for the Graduation ceremony and party to hammer out, but it will get done.  It is an exciting time for the girls!  I cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for them.

In the meantime, I have been trying to allow myself to "stop and smell the roses" in our daily lives.  So many precious moments and memories!

Elizabeth is making this quilt for competition in April.  This is an "old" picture.  She has since added borders, and has it sandwiched and basted.  She is hand quilting it beautifully.

Here's a pic with the borders, sample backing fabric, and our newest quilt inspector. 

I think my favorite thing about schooling, or even non-schooling times, is the read alouds.  You can see here what we are currently working on. 

Snippets from a DITY: Bible, faith journal, Isaac's clock craft, some print-ups for Jerusha's research paper on China and some note cards for her report.   

Isaac finishing up his 1st grade language book from Abeka!  It will be time to start him in the 2nd grade level after his testing is finished.

Jerusha getting some math help from her big brother, Josiah. No, they aren't counting fingers and toes. Hehehehehehe!

Have a blessed day,

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Yarn Along

I hate to say it but my knitting and reading update is that I am really almost done with both the project and book from last week.  I had planned to get more reading done since last week but between finishing up some college assignments, homeschooling, editing, going to a SU game with Dale, and visiting family and a very dear friend... well, you get the picture.  I am off from college this week, so I hope to finish up both book and vest for Isaac, and have something more interesting to post for the Yarn Along next Wednesday.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016


I didn't organize today for this sort of thing.  I was just going about my business, and realized that today was a lot of "do it yourself" type tasks.  So, I thought it would make a good post.

First off, I made my own laundry detergent.  When I first started making detergent years ago, Dale (my numbers guy) figured out how much per batch.  Well, prices and times change, so I can't give you an exact amount per bottle, but I can tell you we are paying pennies per load of laundry.  And when you do 14-20 loads of laundry a week, that is a wonderful thing!

As always, bread making is part of our schedule 3 to 4 times a week!

This morning I cut and colored my own hair (I know the savings on this one... it is to the tune of almost $80!)

There is great satisfaction in "doing it yourself" when you can.  I've also started making my own reusable dryer sheets, but haven't perfected it yet.  Anyone have any tips on keeping the vinegar smell out?  I need to find a balance between enough vinegar to soften and help with static, and not too much to where I smell a little like a pickle.  Feel free to put your tips in the comments!


Yarn Along

It has been a LONG LONG LONG time since I participated in this!  Here we go:

I am making a vest for Isaac, and am almost done with "The Still of the Night" and am looking forward to getting into "A Paris Apartment".  I am reading the latter after reading a brief review on "The Modern Mrs. Darcy" blog.


Moments in Homeschooling

I have to wonder if anyone is getting tired of my "why I love homeschooling" type posts.  I've done a couple of them, and keep wanting to do more.  After my two-year hiatus from being home, I'm still rediscovering some of those little moments that I love, but were unavailable while working outside of the home.

For example:

A state park not too far from us has field trips on a regular basis for homeschoolers.  This one was before Christmas.  We learned about some of the plants and trees in the area, and the children used natural objects to make tree ornaments.  So much fun!  Unfortunately, our new kitten also liked the natural ornaments and ended up "killing" them by the end of the Christmas season.

Something else we did this year was a play at church.  I wrote an adaptation for "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and Josiah used his gift for art in making one of the props.  Dale uploaded the video of the play on his YouTube account. You can watch this short video (about 16 minutes) here. It was taken by a friend in the audience, so the recording is not professional grade.  :)

Can I say how much I love the Lego sculptures that are created?  Caleb and Isaac are especially fond of creating with them.  

I've had the opportunity to make some fun cakes since being "home" again.  This one was for Isaac's 7th birthday in December.  He designed it himself.

We love to read!  One thing we do faithfully is a library run every couple of weeks.  It usually coincides with our Art lessons day.  Most of the books Jerusha is leaning on are the ones she took out.   The smaller pile was mostly comprised of Isaac's choices.  That stack doesn't include what the other children took out.  I can say that none of them took out as many as Jerusha! 

My house is far from perfect, but one of the things I love about homeschooling is that while I am giving a spelling test, or have just a few minutes between "jumps", I can do the little things, like organizing our baking rack.  

Or organizing around my desk.  By the way, that picture is a watercolor that Caleb finished recently in art class. 

Close up of the watercolor.

Isaac helped me do an example craft for the class I'm teaching in Co-Op this term.  

Love the one-on-one time!

I am still basking in the privilege of teaching at home.  Not every moment is fun, to be sure, but the flexibility is wonderful, and the opportunity to broaden their horizons is boundless.