Family 2013

Family 2013

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Keep the Faith, Baby!

It's that time of year again!

Usually at about this point in my homeschool year, I would be overwhelmed and overdone.

The good news about homeschooling is that you GET to stay home with your kids.  The bad news about homeschooling is that you HAVE to stay home with your kids.

The good news about homeschooling is that you GET to choose what to teach and how to teach it.  The bad news about homeschooling is that you HAVE to choose what to teach and how to teach it.

There were days when I was sure that hell would be like staying home with my kids and trying to teach algebra, all while cleaning the house and proofreading a research paper AND having a cold (cuz you know you're not seriously ill when you have a cold, so you should keep going). During December, when the kids are "Christmas Crazy".  Over and Groundhog Day.

Are you having that feeling?  Here's a few tips to get you through the holidays!

  1. STOP!  You also get to choose WHEN to teach!  Might I suggest after the first of the year?  Take a break.  Enjoy this season of your life!
  2. BREATHE!  This time of the year is fraught with mega-expectations.  You don't want your children to remember how crazed you got in December.  Blaze a trail of family'll be the envy of your neighborhood.  Every year we have an open house...and we really enjoy seeing everyone.  But it takes a lot of planning and energy...and this year we simply don't have it.  We're trying to be in a "guilt-free zone" and so should you!
  3. HAVE FUN!  What sounds like the holidays to you?  My daughter likes to mall crawl and have lunch out. My husband likes to have time off with no expectations. I like making cookies with my daughter and spending time on my "scrap heap".  Our son is newly married, so any time with his bride works for him!
  4. As a New Year's resolution present to yourself; take yourself out for a coffee date.  Invite a few friends if you work better in a group.  When you're rested up a little bit.  Not today, when you wonder WHY God thought giving you THESE children was a good idea.  Think about what worked and what didn't.  Check out Pinterest for some innovative teaching ideas.   While you're looking at them remember that you are still gonna be you and your kids are still gonna be themselves.  If you have a kiddo who likes worksheets, they're not magically gonna love embroidering their algebra homework on a sampler.  If you're craft impaired don't plan on making a set of math manipulatives out of oatmeal containers and baby food jars.  Go with your strengths.  Accept the challenge!

Because there will be challenges!  But God has given you what you need to deal with maybe a rake?

So, Merry Christmas to you and your family!  Feeling blessed, how about you?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Embracing a new time in life!

Many of my Facebook friends are quite a bit younger than I am.  Yup, I'm in the "Mentoring Mom" stage of life--somewhere between raising my own little ones and playing with the grandbabies!

I love reading about them having their own little long as I don't have to do it again.  I would take another teenager over a baby any day!  Of course, my labor experiences are the ones that you never tell a first time mom.  Who wants to hear about being in labor for 6 days?  Or 3 surgeries by the 3rd birthday?  Or a baby that still isn't sleeping through the night on their 6th birthday?  But as a Titus 2 mom; well, I'm "value-added".  No matter where you are in life will survive.  Because I did.  And if there is a pitfall, I was probably there about 20 years before you.  And my kids survived...yours will too!

And if you're interested, I'm blazing another trail this year!  Our son is getting married AND our daughter is going away to college...10 days apart!  Honey, when I empty a nest; I do it with STYLE!  And here's the kicker--I'm excited!  My kids are ready for these adventures, and hopefully I soon will be.  What's next for me?  Only God knows; but I'll fill you in as soon as He tells me!
Feeling blessed, how about you?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hiring Family!

It seemed so simple really.  For our son we did things the same way they were done to for us--you go to college, you get a job.

As I always say when I speak--our son could have been raised by wolves and would have done well on the SATs.  He's a born student.

Our daughter, on the other hand, was born for life after school.  If you give her a problem, she can come up with 3 solutions--all good.  If you give her a test, or even say the words test, midterm or final; her brain falls out and she'll pick it up on her way out of the room.  I have Facebook friends who have taught her in college who can verify this.  She couldn't handle the hours that would be required of a job AND maintain her 4.0.  She spends a good amount of time on her classes and never misses an extra credit assignment.  She's good like that!

So, I thought it would be brilliant to expect her to help around the house more.  I had a LIST of chores that I wanted help with.  I hate to paint and repair things, she excels at it.

Over time though, I noticed she had time for her downtime, but kept forgetting my list.  It just wasn't important to her.  Since our deal was now defunct, I told her it was time for her to get a job.

Remember what I told you about her problem solving skills?  She put them to good use that day!  We negotiated a deal where she now pays for all of her school materials, and I pay her minimum wage for doing my chore list (remember that we were paying for her books anyway).  She figured out how many hours she needed to work each week to pay for her fall books (8).  If she works over that, she's ahead for next semester.

So far the bathroom walls have been repaired and are half painted.  The shower head has been replaced.  The kitchen cabinets have been checked for expired foods.  The lawn is mowed, edged and halfway weeded (rain affected that chore).  And the list continues....

Now the only trick will be to figure out how to make her wedding vows be to "love, honor and cherish...sickness and health...yada, yada...and always live next door to her parents".

Feeling blessed, how about you?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Brother can you save a life?

She was cowering in the corner of her cage.  We didn’t know it at the time, but she had just been put out on the adoption floor.  She had been in the intake area for 2 days because they weren’t sure she was “adoptable”.  In animal shelter lingo, that would mean the end of the road.  That morning she had been to an obedience class.  It was a test.  She passed, which was a miracle, because she is dog-aggressive.

It’s really not her fault.  For a herd dog to be sent to a shelter is the ultimate failure.  You not only lost the herd, you lost the farm.  In addition, she had been abused in a previous home and was very hand shy.  She still can’t handle loud voices.

We are either her 3rd or 4th home.  We are her forever home.  She needs to be an only dog. We accept that.  She needs to be needed (herd dogs do).  We let her lead us, even though she has no idea where we’re going till we get there.  She needs to have things happen in the same order every day.  She checks the front yard first, has breakfast and then checks the back yard.  That’s her job.  We accept that.

She has been with us for 12 years now.  She was supposedly 3 when we got her.  She doesn’t see as well  any more.  If you hand feed her, make your hand a plate. No big deal. She is very hard of hearing.  You have to be in front of her, so that you can get her attention.  No big deal.  As she ages, she becomes more expensive medically.  Nothing works as well as it did when she was younger.  We’re dealing with senility, gastric issues and joint pain.  It requires a lot of medication, but she is happy; so it’s no big deal. We accepted this expense when we brought her home.

Everyday I see posts for sweet little dogs who need a forever home…or a foster family.  I can’t be that person right now.  It wouldn’t be fair to the beautiful girl that we made a part of our family in 2001.  We were in the right place at the right time for her (and the 2 before her).  Imagine  if she’d had to go through one more obedience class and hadn’t done as well.  Or if she had been adopted by a man who wasn’t willing to spend 3 years building her trust.  And what we would have missed without her in our lives—she is sweet and empathetic and always there to boost your spirits after a tough day.  We are her herd and we need her!

So pay attention to those sweet little dogs and cats and even horses.  Do not miss out on the opportunity to save a life.  Foster if you can.  Being in a home is much better than a cage. Adoption is even better.  Do not miss out on the opportunity to save a life.  You will be paid back many times over.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Having Fun Teaching STEM subjects

I can hardly wait for the FPEA STEM conference on August 22nd & 23rd at the Tradewinds on St. Pete Beach!  I know when we were homeschooling, science and math were two subjects that really scared me.  How do you teach a subject that is a weak link for you?

In fairness to me, I was put in the classes with the weak teachers when I was in school.  I didn't understand it then, and I don't understand it now.  How is a student who is weak in a subject supposed to rise above a weak teacher?  But that was then, and this is now.  No whining people!  I finally decided that I needed to buy a really good curriculum that made sense to me; and then study like my kids' lives depended on it.  Not far from the truth, really!

But we want to do more than survive homeschooling.  And while still I don't LOVE math, I did manage to get both kids into college. That may be more of a tribute to God's grace and good genes; but as long as it happened, right?

So, how did I end up speaking at a conference on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math?  As homeschoolers, we still have to "Teach What Scares Us"!  I won't tell you what I'm going to be'll just have to come join us.  BUT, it is a family conference, so bring the kids.  If you join me as we discuss "Teaching What Scares Us" we're going to have fun doing a little science and maybe (gasp) a little math and laugh a whole lot!

Oh, you hadn't heard about the conference?  It's at the Tradewinds on St. Pete Beach and we are going to have a blast learning how to share STEM subjects with our kids.  Follow this link for more information.  And be sure to stop by and say hi...I'd love to meet you!

Feeling blessed, how about you?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fill it Up!

Tonight I filled the salt shaker! Momentous occasion, right? 

Actually it was.  Because...I had salt.  I was also able to refill the dish detergent.  I had to get out the "back up" salt to fill the salt shaker though.  That means I had to put salt on the shopping list on the fridge.  Right then.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200.  Because if I didn't...the next time I needed to fill the salt shaker, we'd be sad out of luck.

So the next time I go to the grocery store I'll buy one more canister of salt.  Just one.  It will be my new back up canister, until it's needed.

Do you have any idea how much this simple concept can reduce the stress in your life?  Seriously!

I can cook, bake bread, clean things...all because I'm not out of salt.  I'm not tense, because I have what I need.  My children are seeing me model "planning ahead".  Perhaps you've never had to say to your kids "How could you NOT see that that would happen?  You should have thought ahead!"  Head bonk!  I should think ahead too!

If you don't already have one, start creating a system of backups.  Start with the things you use most.  Toilet paper is a REALLY good place to start, cuz you definitely don't want to run out.  Buy one extra pack (maybe a couple if it's on sale).  The minute you touch that pack, you need another...remember that!  Keep adding backups as your budget allows.  Start with the things that would bother you most to run out of. 

Important safety tip...put your backup in a logical place.  Keep a list if you have to.  Extra TP doesn't work as well if you can't find it!

I just heard today that reducing the stress in my life now (and increasing my contentment) can reduce my chance of getting Alzheimers.  Not sure if it will work...but it's worth a shot!  I think I'll plan ahead for that too!

Feeling blessed, how about you?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Your Family Should Sock Mop!

This system was actually born out of desperation!  I would take my Girl Scout troop camping.  We had to clean the cabin floor.  Have you ever seen a 6 year old try to wring out a string mop? 

The worst problem was after the other jobs had been done.  Twenty two little girls, twentyone of whom have nothing to way that can go wrong!

And then inspiration hit.  Twenty two little pairs of feet encased in tube socks (turned inside out) bottles of spray cleaner like windex.  Put on some upbeat music and lets the girls scrub the floor with their feet.  We had prizes for most dirt collected, best attitude, best boogie.  I didn't usually do most area covered, because that was usually a girl who going for quantity, not quality.

You can also use socks to clean counters or dust (remember if you dust to only sock cover 1 hand because you don't want to drop Aunt Martha's precious whatchamacallit!)

When you're done, collect the socks, throw em in the washer and you're ready to go again.
Feeling blessed, how about you?