Wednesday, August 31, 2005

We prayed this morning for patience and motivation for me...

and it worked! Praise God! I've been much better with the kids today and even read to them this morning, which I never do even though I know how important it is. And I'm out of my don't-wanna-do-anything slump and have a list of things I'd like to do before we start homeschooling on Tuesday. It's overwhelmingly long, but at least everything's written down.

Hurricane Katrina was devastating. Things like that affect me much more since 9-11. I think since then I've been more aware of how things like that impact me, even when they seem so far away. Jlyne, a fellow 2peas member, lost just about everything. She and her family are safe, but her house and most of her things have been destroyed. I don't know her, and have never spoken with her, but her design work is incredible and my heart goes out to her and everyone else who has lost so much, and especially those who have lost loved ones or are fighting for their own lives.

I'm looking forward to hearing how the Calvary Chapel is faring, and hopeful that the Lord is using them to draw many people to Himself and provide for their physical and material needs.

Anyway, back to that list. Truly I am blessed abundantly and ought to show my gratitude by loving my family and taking care of my things, for starters...

Monday, August 29, 2005

Call me a dork, but...

I *heart* Napoleon Dynamite! Here's a ND-inspired layout I did this afternoon.

Ever have a day when the mom thing just isn't working???

This would be one of those days.

The 4-year-old is having some sort of naptime issue. I make her have some quiet time every afternoon, whether she sleeps or not. She can read books or play quietly. Lately every time I send her in to our room she destroys something. Today she found a green marker and wrote all over herself, her sister's brand-new pillow and there's a spot on the carpet. Lately she' s squirted all the Vaseline out of the tube, written in a book of mine, etc.

The 3-year-old pees or poops in his underwear and then takes it off. He won't go in the toilet of his own accord. And he knows exactly how to push all my buttons, but has the courtesy to wait until I'm on the phone to do it.

The 2-year-old was her normal self today. Totally crazy and needing all kinds of attention.

The baby has some sort of issue and is currently inconsolable. I can't function when she's screaming. Even if she's in the other room.

Never mind the usual. A pile of laundry that needs to be folded. Another that needs to be washed. Can't find my camera, would like to use it tonight. A million other things I'd like to do and need to do to gear up for homeschooling (we start next week). I'm going to a party, mostly people I don't know (I hate that) to say good-bye to my good friend who just got married and is leaving first thing tomorrow for Alaska.

I have a scrapbook layout that I'm 2/3 of the way finished with and totally excited about, but I can't scrap in this frame of mind!! Oh, wait. The baby stopped screaming. Carry on, I'm going to go scrap!

10 places I'd like to travel to

I saw this challenge posted on 2peas by goes. I think I'll add the whys too.
  1. the Grand Canyon -- just because I think it would be awesome.
  2. London, England -- because Dan really wants to go. Though if we went I think we'd have to see Scotland and Ireland as well.
  3. Glacier Nat'l Park (Montana) -- fairly nearby and awesome for camping, from what I remember
  4. Hawaii -- do I need to say why?
  5. Israel -- everyone I've talked to that has gone says that it totally changed their understanding of the Bible and made it come to life in a new way
  6. back to the California Redwoods -- it was so beautiful when we were there before and we left so quickly after getting rained out. Also the Samoa Cookhouse is totally cool.
  7. Philadelphia, PA -- to see my sis
  8. Spain -- I've just always wanted to go there, to the countryside more than the cities, though
  9. Maine when the leaves are falling -- another self-explanatory one
  10. the rest of the East Coast -- we'd love to do an American History tour with the kids when they get older. Also, to see the Smithsonian

Friday, August 26, 2005


Jenny L. asked which curriculum I'm using. After much thought, some research 3 years ago (long story), more thought, and talks with Dan, I narrowed down the list of what I wanted in a curriculum. Bible-based, and a one-room schoolhouse approach were at the top of my list. I wanted something where all 4 of my kids would be learning the same concepts but at their level. I also preferred a holistic approach to education, something that integrated all the subjects and showed their interconnectedness.

So, knowing what I wanted, I googled "Bible-based homeschool curriculum" or something to that effect. A few different names of publishers came up. I already knew A Beka wasn't for me. I went to the websites of the others and first determined whether they were doing what I wanted to do spiritually and educationally. Alpha Omega turned out to have exactly what I was looking for with their Weaver program. We're using The Interlock, their preschool/kindergarten curriculum. Oh, and it turned out that another family at church has used the Weaver, and the mom was willing to talk to me about it and let me borrow her copy. That was awesome! So I checked eBay a couple times and ended up finding it for $15 with S&H (Brand new it's $89 without S&H).

My advice: stay far, far away from those catalogs, at least until you know what you're looking for. It was important to me to have a full curriculum for the first year, I'll add what I feel is necessary later but for this year I wanted something easy to follow that would cover all the bases. I prefer at this point to go with publishers I trust and get what I need from them, rather than picking stuff out of a catalog that might not be any good, or might not be what my family needs.

The cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches

It takes so little for me to get caught up in temporal things. All I have to do is look a little to the right and look at our escrow statement, then I'm wondering "can't we drop our PMI yet?" "has our house appreciated as much as we think?" "why haven't they called us back about the refinance?". Or I can look to the left and think "that is one nasty dining room floor". The cares of this world want to take over my heart and mind. I could easily be consumed by everything that goes into managing my home. And the deceitfulness of riches--I can almost always find an answer to my problems that just requires a little money.

The Bible tells me "Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." This is encouraging. It reminds me that my mind isn't naturally, normally set on things above. However, it is a challenge. I must actively set it on heavenly things. I can't allow the things of this world to control me or dictate how I spend my time. God isn't worried about how I'm going to pay my bills, how I'm going to get caught up on housework, where I'll find the time to homeschool, how I'm going to lose my extra weight. He even knows what it will take to get Elijah to potty train! And it's not important to Him that I have a picture perfect life with everything in it's place, financial independence, etc. So I guess I should chill out. After I get the floor mopped, of course.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

what's stewing today...

  1. The wedding is OVER!!! Jana and Ben are married, and I get my life back. Sounds like a win-win situation if you ask me. Jana was the happiest, most beautiful bride I've ever seen and the kids were adorable as the flower girl and "ring bear". God was glorified that day, and I was honored to be a part of it.
  2. I think I'm ready to start homeschooling. I have my curriculum, I bought everything on the supplies list that I think we'll need, I've got a sense of my goals for this year and how to achieve them, Shiloh's totally excited, I have monthly and weekly calendars printed out and filled in. We're waiting until the day after Labor Day, though, to give me a little time to get things in relative order around here.
  3. I've decided it's ok if I start buying frozen dinners. Not like TV dinners or those itty-bitty Lean Cuisines or anything. I mean stuff like frozen ravioli, potstickers, lasagna, etc. Life is just too short for me to be idealistic. Today these frozen chicken-veggie-pasta thingies were 2 for 1 at Costco. 4 meals for about $8 (I think, I didn't actually look at the price), and it frees me up to spend my time doing more important things.
  4. My friend Cat called this morning to tell me she's the newest member of the Scraptalk {dt}, and it's definitely pushed me to get my work out there. I think I've wanted to have some sort of strategy for how to get to where I want to be in the world of semi-professional scrappers...but I think I just need to do what works and take the opportunities as they come, and not stress over what the "best" way to do this is.
  5. My house is a mess. There's stuff everywhere. When we're busy we tend to just drop everything and run off to the next event when we're home. Gotta do something about that.
  6. Mariah's 2nd birthday is in 2 days! I think we're going to celebrate by going out on Grandma and Grandpa's boat. Her cheapskate parents are buying paint for her birthday. Pink paint. So she and her sisters can have a cute, pink, girly room. This is my favorite picture of Mariah. I can't tell if I'm making it fit here the way I want it to, but whatever. Isn't she the cutest?
That's all for today. If you've read this far, leave me a message telling me what you did on your 2nd birthday, or the first birthday you remember. I'm pretty sure I spent my 2nd birthday at home with my new baby sister and my mom, who had just come home from the hospital from having my new baby sister.

Friday, August 19, 2005

We are ridiculously busy.

Unbelievably so.

My dear friend Jana is getting married tomorrow, and Shiloh and Elijah and I are all in the wedding. I go back and forth between being excited beyond belief for her, and wanting it all to be O-ver. After this, we have baby shower, dinners w/friends, dentist appts, BBQs, etc. All in addition to our normal weekly stuff. Cleaninglaundryshoppingcookingerrandshomeschoolprep. Breathe. Try to scrap in there somewhere. I have a project I'm hoping to submit.

I'm starting to think this is just life with a big family. 6 people with needs. 24 hours to meet them all. And I'm the manager. I wouldn't trade it for the world. But I'd be really really really happy if I could get caught up and on top of everything, just once.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Setting Homeschooling goals pt. 3

Yeah, I'm all about goals. Something I read recently really affirmed their importance to me--the author of The Organized Homeschooler talked about how God has a purpose for everything He does. He does nothing carelessly, aimlessly, or in vain. It's important to me to begin with the end in mind, so that I can make sure I get to the end I'm working toward.

These are my goals for this school year:

for Shiloh:
  • grow in confidence socially and make friends
  • learn letter sounds and blends
  • count to 100
  • tranisition into full-time homeschooling
for Elijah:
  • begin to recognize letters, shapes, numbers
  • participate in story time, memory verses, field trips
for Mariah:
  • learn to sit quietly during story time
for myself:
  • read to kids daily
  • frequent library trips
  • make school time a priority
  • be involved with Agape HSF
  • achieve and maintain an ordered, disciplined life
  • pursue opportunities to scrapbook for compensation
Looks like it's going to be a busy year!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Setting Homeschooling goals pt. 2

In my last post I mentioned that my spiritual goals are the #1 reason I'm homeschooling. My desire is that they would know God as He is revealed in the Bible, and that they would love and fear Him. As far as actual goals, mine are that they will...
  • develop habits of consistent daily "quiet times"--starting their days by praying and reading their Bibles
  • know how to study the Bible
  • memorization of large and small portions of Scripture
  • know how to explain a Biblical concept to believers and unbelievers
  • obtain a Biblical worldview
  • know how to pray for their own needs and the needs of others
  • know how to repent and express gratitude to God
  • find strengths and weaknesses for the purpose of discovering their calling
  • understand the importance of reaching the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Related are my character goals for them--that they would be...
  • obedient (to God and their parents)
  • humble
  • honest
  • respectful
  • responsible
  • good stewards
  • creative
  • willing and able to serve others
Many of these came up in a conversation Dan and I had year ago where we made lists of our goals for our kids and narrowed them down to our top 5. I found it to be really helpful in determining what our core values are, where mine differ from his and how to make these the priority of our parenting. I believe that the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control) will be evident as they mature in their relationships with Christ, as they are the by-product of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Setting Homeschooling goals pt. 1

In an attempt to be purposeful with our homschooling, I've been considering short-term and long-term goals. I found this definition of an educated person in The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child by Linda Dobson:

*can obtain information he requires (through knowing how to read well and knowing where and how to find needed information)
*can communicate effectively with others both orally and in writing
*has a broad general knowledge base from which he can draw as needed
*possesses the math knowledge required for daily life, as well as an awareness, if not a working knowledge, of the intricate bonds between higher math and the workings of the universe
*has a love of learning that will facilitate education throughout the lifetime. (p. 52-53)

This fits with many conversations Dan and I have had about our desires for our kids. However, seeing them written down has given direction to my thinking. It's important to me that they learn history and science and all that, but I've come to believe that teaching them how to learn, how to read and love reading, and how to think critically is the foundation.

I believe that homeschooling affords me a unique opportunity to accomplish my goals for my kids. Not that these things can't happen in a school setting, just that my opportunity to make them happen is limited.

To be perfectly honest, my educational objectives for them are not at the top of my priority list. Far from it. My primary reason for keeping them at home is to teach them who God is, what His Word says, and how to live in a way that pleases Him. I have goals to that end as well, but we'll talk about that another day.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Welcome to my crockpot!

Why a crockpot? Because that's what my brain feels like a lot of the time. A bunch of stuff all thrown together, simmering, mixing together. Usually what comes out is something I'm pleased with. I love using my (real) crockpot. My meat never tastes as good as when it's been sitting in the crockpot all day with some onions, garlic, veggies...and there's always enough liquid when it's done to make a little gravy. It reminds me that in life, everything we do or say affects each other. Everything we learn is added to a lifetime of thoughts and information. Everything we feel is layered on top of other feelings. It all mixes together. I hope for my life to be an integrated whole like that, with Jesus Christ infusing every aspect of it.

So with that, I jump on the blog-wagon. My purposes for blogging are as follows:
  1. to record our homeschooling activities and reflect on what's working and what we're learning.
  2. to network with the scrapbooking community and share my work and photography
  3. political rantings and ravings
  4. for loved ones to see what we're up to
  5. to communicate about the Lordship of Jesus Christ, how that affects my life, and thoughts about walking with Him