Saturday, January 26, 2008

Yay! Grandma's here!

Vision Forum Giveaway

Hello, all! I have not had a chance to say how much I have enjoyed many of the products at Vision Forum, but suffice it to say that I have. I will hopefully write more about the specific products at later dates. But for now, Crystal is having a giveaway for a $100 gift certificate to Vision Forum. I can think of a myriad of ways to use this, but let me suggest some to you.

Return of the Daughters -- A very thought-provoking alternative to college for daughters.

So Much More -- A cd recorded for daughters to encourage them to be ambassadors and helper for their dads. This was a great encouragement for me in my attempts to rear a godly young lady who is full of energy and lacking in any desire for femininity.

Marriage to a Difficult Man
-- I have enjoyed this books immensely. I am currently reading the Appendices. It's always interesting to hear how people in different centuries lived, and especially interesting to get an intimate glance inside the life of one of America's greatest preachers.

S.M.Davis Family Rebuilders Library -- A definite preacher, complete with illustrations that keep you hanging in every message, he has great insight into raising our children. I don't agree with everything he says and my husband doesn't like his style of preaching, but I'm always interested to hear other's opinions on the subject of child rearing.

Pilgrim's Progress Dramatized Audiobook -- An unabridged reading of Pilgrim's Progress with music and over 100 voices reading it. This is a treasure for our family. Our 5-year would listen to it more, but he's afraid of Appollyon. Shouldn't we all be?

Faith-Driven Family -- An excellent read by Voddie Baucham. Often, people get frustrated with Vision Forum products because they feel that they strongly condemn others who may interpret Scripture differently. Voddie Baucham does an excellent job of giving his opinion, backed with Scripture, without making one feel spiritually inferior.

Those are a few products that we have that we've enjoyed listening to and learning from.

If you'd like an opportunity to enter for a $100 gift certificate, visit Crystal's site and enter. Good luck!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Remember when I told you that James is quite interested in spiritual things?

Recently, we've been working with Evelyn (3yo) about closing her eyes during prayer. Not because it's commanded in Scripture. Rather because it can be quite distracting to have one's eyes opened when one should be concentrating on his own or other's communion with God. Evelyn struggles much with distraction, so we've been trying to focus her a little.

After prayer for breakfast this morning, Evelyn exclaims, "Mommy, I kept my eyes closed the WHOLE time!" I replied, "That's excellent, Dear. Good job!"

James responded with, "I wonder if it isn't the devil who tries to distract us during prayer. It seems to me that he doesn't want us to concentrate on God." (His words, I promise!)

Wow! The vast responsibility of training children for the Lord's glory!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cat's in the Cradle

A friend of ours made a music cd for James when he was a baby. We call it his "James cd". He pulled it out to listen to the other day, and, for the first time, I listened closely to these words. My husband thinks they're depressing, I think they're thought-provoking.

Cat's in the Cradle

A child arrived just the other day,
He came to the world in the usual way.
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay.
He learned to walk while I was away.
And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew,
He'd say, "I'm gonna be like you, dad.
You know I'm gonna be like you."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

My son turned ten just the other day.
He said, "Thanks for the ball, dad, come on let's play.
Can you teach me to throw?" I said, "Not today,
I got a lot to do." He said, "That's ok."
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed,
Said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah.
You know I'm gonna be like him."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

Well, he came from college just the other day,
So much like a man I just had to say,
"Son, I'm proud of you. Can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head, and he said with a smile,
"What I'd really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys.
See you later. Can I have them please?"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then, dad.
You know we'll have a good time then."

I've long since retired and my son's moved away.
I called him up just the other day.
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind."
He said, "I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time.
You see, my new job's a hassle, and the kid's got the flu,
But it's sure nice talking to you, dad.
It's been sure nice talking to you."
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me,
He'd grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then, dad.
You know we'll have a good time then."

"Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" -- I Cor. 11:1

Homeschooling: Kindergarten Edition - Handwriting

Well, I'm back again for another review of what we do in our homsechool. Have I mentioned that I love it? Well, I do!

I started ordering homeschool materials for James when he was 3. I ordered from Sonlight and A Beka. I purchased the entire Pre-K curriculum (now Level B) from Sonlight and the phonics/handwriting from A Beka. A former A Beka representative attends our church and I had an ongoing discussion with him regarding handwriting.

As you may or may not know, A Beka begins with cursive. It never teaches manuscript, although this rep told me that it was recommended to "teach" printing the summer between 1st and 2nds grades. He said that it probably wouldn't be necessary because the student would most likely be able to do it already, just from observation.

I ordered the cursive handwriting curriculum. Then the rep, also our friend, felt guilty for pressuring me to order cursive and he included a complimentary manuscript version. He had many convincing arguments for beginning with cursive, and, after much "deliberation" I began cursive with James at age 4.

It was awful!!!!!!! He started out doing fairly well, but he hated it, I hated it, and it was becoming a discipline issue. Finally, I decided to quit handwriting since I do at least verbally espouse a somewhat Charlotte Mason philosophy. To be quite honest, I had major feelings of guilt and failure because James' best friend, who is 1 year his junior, had already started handwriting (manuscript of course)and was quite good at it.

I pulled out the handwriting curriculum for this year and decided on manuscript. James is doing great! In fact, he loves handwriting. Since Christmas, our handwriting program has consisted of writing thank-you letters to family members and friends for Christmas gifts. He writes between 2-4 sentences a day and has often asked if he can do more.

Guess what, though? I think if I would have started cursive with him this year, he would be doing just the same. I think I jumped the gun! Any of you out there like that? I am regretting it to be honest with you. Next year, when we could be working on some more advanced copywork, I will be teaching cursive. Was this year a waste? I think not. Manuscript is necessary, and he is only in kindergarten. I do believe though that we would have been a step ahead if we would have done cursive this year.

Remember, through my failings, our children progress in all areas at different rates from other children. James is years ahead in reading and comprehension but is probably average in most other areas. Don't guilt yourself if/when your child is not reaching the milestones you've set for him/her. Reevaluate, give it to the Lord, and be patient. Unless you think there is truly a learning disability, allow the child to develop at his/her own pace. Sometimes it's a little scary, but use it as an opportunity to thank the Lord for making your child unique!

Join me next week as we discuss math!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Can we say -- Space Cadet?

Maybe some of you have days like this from time to time. Maybe not. Lately, I've been feeling as if I have 2 or 3 a week! But since this one is fresh on my mind, I thought I would share.

On Wednesday, I woke a little late, not much, and realized that I had not set out dinner ingredients the night before. Not to worry, I thought, I'll just set out the meat this morning, and it will be thawed by dinnertime. As you can see from my menu plan, we were supposed to have one-pot spaghetti for dinner. Unfortunately, my husband was home from work for the 2nd day with highly-contagious pink eye! Since he was still quite ill, I did not want to feed his sickness by feeding him grains (in the noodles as well as the bread), so I thought I'd do a slight-of-hand and have spaghetti squash with meat sauce. Similar taste without the grain. Score one for Dovey!

So, I set out the meat, but have this nagging suspicion that I had not purchased spaghetti sauce for that meal. Check the pantry. Suspicions confirmed -- no spaghetti sauce. Not to be discouraged, I checked over my menu plan again. Aha! We hadn't had rice and beans the night before, so I decided to fix it for tonight. Simple, right? (I realize that the grain issue applied, but I wasn't able to think very clearly, so rice and beans it was!).

Since I didn't soak the beans overnight, which is the easiest thing to do, I put a large pot on to boil. It would come to a boil, I would remove it from the heat and let it sit for an hour. Then I could add the ingredients. Still, a very simple dinner.

I was on the phone with my mom and when I got off, I went upstairs to discuss some things with my husband (who was home from work). I had a lot on my mind to discuss with him. As we were intensely discussing several issues, I began to cry. So, I went into the bathroom to have a pity party. The next things I hear is pounding up the steps, banging on the door, and yelling, "The beans! The beans!"

I ran downstairs to discover that all the water had boiled out and about half of the beans were firmly attached to the bottom of my Dutch oven!

This did not help my frame of mind!

Back to my menu plan. I have never made lentil curry, but have wanted to for quite some time. That's what I'll do, and I'll serve it over rice.

Fast forward to dinner prep.... Everything's going well. Ryan's keeping the kids entertained, so that I can get this done quickly so that we can get out the door to prayer meeting. I added all the seasonings and went to write down that we would need more curry from the store. As I put the lids back on the spices, I smelled them to see which jar they belonged to. Hmmmm, neither one smells like curry. I look at the jars. Horror of horrors! I put 1 tablespoon of cumin, not curry, into the lentils. Agh!!!!!!!!!!!! The curry was behind the cumin, and, since I was in a hurry, I grabbed the cumin.

Thankfully, my husband liked it (amazing, huh?), James picked out the apples and ate it, Evelyn refused to eat anything, and I survived it. Jefferson still gets custom-meals. Lucky Jefferson!

Do you all have days/weeks like this? Please tell me I'm not the only one!

P.S. For my family, unfortunately, NO, I'm not pregnant. Yes, I'm positive. Wish it were so, but, no.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Homeschooling: Kindergarten Edition -- Bible

(Edit: My apologies to you who viewed this earlier. I was aware that the hyperlinks were not working last night, but there was nothing I could do about it. Blogger wouldn't cooperate! They're all working now, so feel free to click away!)

Welcome to another edition of Homeschooling: Kindergarten Edition! I briefly covered the methods that we're loosely following in my last post. If you want to get caught up, please read that first.

Today, I wanted to tell you about what we do first in the morning. After our Morning Routine, we all sit down to breakfast. Ideally, I have already eaten breakfast with my husband and cleaned up. So it's usually just the kids who are eating.

I begin by quoting the week's memory verse 3-5 times. I've struggled with whether or not we do this memory work. Both James and Evelyn have Sunday School verses and we have a family verse that we memorize as well. This week, however, we are doing the "school" memory verse.

After reviewing the "school" memory verse, I follow with our Scripture reading that corresponds to the Bible lesson for the day. We are using Covenant Home's Bible curriculum for Kindergarten. I don't believe that I'll ever agree with any book 100%, but I do like the fact that this Bible module is from a reformed perspective.

Oftentimes the Scripture reading is very long -- sometimes more than 3 chapters! I would like to cut this down and make it shorter, and I know of several moms who do/did. The problem is my 5 year old! When I say, "Wow! This is a long reading today. Maybe I should shorten it", he BEGS me to read the entire thing including genealogies! He loves the Scripture, and there is nothing that thrills me more. So, I've just come to the conclusion that I will read the entire passage of Scripture no matter how long it takes.

Another specific quirk of my son is that he LOVES to discuss ideas and philosophies. This is a potential problem for me as I struggle to keep on schedule for the day. But, one of the main reasons that we homeschool is to pass on our worldview to our children. If they wish to discuss issues, we desire to teach and instruct in the ways of the Lord. James will discuss anything all day long! He loves to ask questions, find out the whys of our beliefs and tell us what he thinks. So, often our Bible lesson generates many questions.

After the Scripture reading, I read from the Bible storybook. As I mentioned before, it's from a reformed perspective, so I appreciate the emphasis on the covenants of God and God's sovereignty. James enjoys this reading and Evelyn is beginning to pay attention more closely.

Next, I review both children's Sunday School verses with them. I usually quote them 3-5 times and by the third day, they're both usually saying them with me.

Then we do catechisms. I am doing the child's catechism with Evelyn which has shorter questions and answers. It's divided into 2 sections -- history and doctrine. I'm hoping to get through all of it by the time she's 5 years old, but I never accomplished that with James. My philosophy is that something's better than nothing! We've started working on the Westminster Shorter Catechism with James. He's currently on question 10.

Q. 10. How did God create man?
A. God created man male and female, after his own image,[26] in knowledge,[27] righteousness, and holiness,[28] with dominion over the creatures.[29]

The reason that we've started with the Shorter Catechism already is two-fold. 1) He's ready. He loves to memorize and is quite good at it. He also seems to comprehend most of it. For me, comprehension is not a prerequisite to memorization though. Following the classical model, I like to encourage memorization and then go back when he's able to understand (in the logic stage) to explain. We will most likely review the Shorter Catechism until Junior High, at least. 2) It was intended for children. The Larger Catechism was written for adults, but the Shorter Catechism was written for young children. In today's "dumbed-down" society, I want to encourage my children to think the thoughts of God and to stretch their vocabulary and reasoning ability beyond what is "expected" at their age level.

When I first introduce a question, I'll read the question and answer 5 times. Then we're done. The next day, I'll do the same. He's welcome to join in at any time. Once he starts saying, "I know it, Mom", I'll let him try it on his own until he gets it right, gently correcting his mistakes. He usually learns a question in 1 week, but some questions have taken 2 weeks. James seems to enjoy this as well as I do.

After catechisms, we usually sing a song to work on memorizing the books of the Bible, then we sing a few verses of the hymn we're learning for the month. Closing out our session is prayer.

I've made a prayer book for each of the children with each page naming a different person, and I've included a picture if there is one available. (I need to get some more printed from Snapfish!) We pray for a different person/couple/situation each day, and they each pray for one aspect regarding that person/couple/situation.

I've probably bored you to death, but that is what we do for Bible each day!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Menu-plan Monday

Here's my plan for the week. Since I've never posted a recipe before, I thought I'd post one of our family's favorites. Hope you enjoy as well!

Monday -- Turkey w/gravy over rice, Kale (our favorite!), Squash, Salad

Tuesday -- Beans & Rice, Swiss Chard, Cornbread, Salad

-- One-pot Spaghetti (see recipe below), Broccoli & Cauliflower, Homemade herbed garlic bread (yummy!), Salad

Thursday -- Lentil curry over rice (thanks, Catherine, this is our first time trying it!), Broccoli & Cauliflower, Salad

Friday -- Turkey Burgers, Sweet Potatoes, Frozen Veggie, Salad

Saturday -- Spaghetti Squash w/Meat Sauce (sounds weird, but it's great! Thanks to my mother-in-law!), Frozen Veggie, Salad

Sunday -- Roast, Potatoes, Carrots, Frozen Green Veggie, Salad

One-pot Spaghetti

8 oz. ground beef or bulk pork sausage
1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms or one 6-oz. jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced, or 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 14.5-oz. can chicken broth or beef broth
1 3/4 c. water
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 ts. dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp. dried basil or marjoram, crushed
1/4 tsp. pepper
6 oz. dried spaghetti, broken
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a large saucepan cook the ground beef or pork sausage, fresh mushrooms (if using), onion, and garlic till meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain fat.

2. Stir in the canned mushrooms (if using), chicken or beef broth, water, tomato paste, oregano, basil or marjoram, and pepper. Bring to boiling. Add the broken spaghetti, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, for 17 to 20 minutes or till spaghetti is tender and sauce is of the desired consistency, stirring frequently. Serve with Parmesan cheese. Makes 4 main-dish servings.

I almost always double the recipe as leftovers are always welcome at our house! I use ground beef (not pork), leave out the mushrooms (I don't like them), and use homemade chicken or beef broth. Either works just fine. I also add about 1/4-1/2 tsp. salt.

I've always disliked spaghetti, but my husband and oldest son love it. I hated to go through all the trouble for something that I didn't like, so I found this. My husband says it's even better than regular spaghetti! Hope you all enjoy!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ron Paul #3

My husband recently sent this letter to many friends and family. I thought it was excellent and wanted to post it (with his permission).


This article below pretty much sums up (from a historical perspective) why I believe Ron Paul's vision for America is the right one in 2008 and beyond.

I realize that Congressman Paul's chances are minimal at best to even have a chance at winning his party's nomination this year, and that the current political hype is all about form and no substance (i.e. how candidates look, act, stand, cry, fundraise, play guitar, and cozy up to celebrities). Watching the political process as I have over the past few months, I must come to the conclusion that if Thomas Jefferson were to run for President in 2008, he would be treated the same way Ron Paul has been treated throughout this entire process - shunned from debates (thanks to Fox News), made fun of by pundits, slandered by the neoconservatives, laughed at by the other candidates and pushed to the fringes by the elites that think they know better than "we the people.". Jefferson wouldn't even be recognized by many in our age. His ideas would fall on deaf ears and most would think him strange at best.

With that said, I must confess that I'm not in the least bit depressed. In almost 20 years of political "activism," this is the first time I have felt totally confident in where I stand and who I stand for in the political process. Sure, I've realized along the way that someone of Ron Paul's strong character, consistent record and "radical" ideas probably won't win and that the media and the two-party system will force out those who speak the truth. But, I guess I'm optimistic because I've realized that this movement has finally gotten its voice and this message is being sent out all over the Internet and the airwaves through debates, radio, TV and print commercials, and articles such as this. Movements take a long time to gain traction, and I believe this is starting to happen with the message of personal liberty and freedom in our country.

Make no mistake, the Clintons are not the only or even the biggest threat to our freedoms. George W. Bush has caused this movement to really awaken and neoconservatives and big government proponents such as Huckabee, McCain, Romney and Guiliani are the "me toos" of George W. Bush and the Clintons. They may all talk about morals, freedom, equality and limited government, but they are ultimately addicted to government and its alluring benefits. Don't be fooled - this is a game of influence, money, fame and ultimately power. Thomas Jefferson had no such objective. His was to free the states from the tyrannical power of a centralized government and bring it back to the people. Through history, we can see that when we followed that plan, it has worked.

At this election season, I am allowing for a little historical perspective in the race for the White House. So, I hope you enjoy this article as much as I have.

Ryan Elliott

Here is the article to which he referred.

BTW, did you know our youngest son's name is Jefferson?!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Homeschooling: Kindergarten Edition

This year, I would like to start a series on homeschooling that I will publish every Wednesday. I am in my first official year of homeschooling and I am loving every minute of it! When my husband and I were first married, we decided that we would leave all options on the table for educating our children. Since I have a passion for research and love reading about issues that affect Christians and their families in modern culture, naturally, I began to research homeschooling.

I think that we are beyond the point of no return! We are so convinced that homeschooling is the absolute best (not perfect, mind you) way to educate our children, that we will [u]most likely[/u] homeschool all of them all the way through.

The Lord is always able to change our minds though, and we desire to be open to His will.

With all that said, I would like to tell you a little about the philosophies that I have chosen to incorporate as we homeschool.

Charlotte Mason was a 19th-20th century British educator who spe her life seeking to improve the quality of children's education. Her methods and philosophies are known as the Charlotte Mason Method of homeschooling. She believed in letting a child experience learning as they explored nature, observed art and culture and read "living books." She was a staunch opponent of what she called "twaddle" -- children's books (or adult, for that matter) with no purpose other than to entertain.

There are many more aspects to her philosophy, including, but not limited to, habit training, dictation, narration, poetry, copywork, etc. While many who know me may be surprised that I would be drawn to this type of philosophy, I see the value in what she is espousing, and I desire the result for my children -- a love for learning and a realization that learning takes place every day for the rest of their lives.

Classical education
is a method of education that is growing and not just in homeschool circles. I'm sure that most of you have heard of Classical schools being started. In fact, we have one here in central Indiana! Classical education is based on the trivium -- grammar, logic and rhetoric.

The three aspects of the trivium describe how a student learns in each stage. For example, the grammar stage, which corresponds to elementary school (approximately 1st-4th grades), focuses on memorization. This is based on the assumption that children don't understand the "whys" at this stage, but they love to memorize. So, you simply take advantage of the stage they're naturally in.

The grammar stage corresponds roughly to 5th-8th grades. In this stage, the student learns why things happen and how things work. So they are constantly building on the facts that they have memorized and now understand why the facts are ... facts.

Lastly, the rhetoric stage teaches the student how to express what they now know and understand. There is a large emphasis on writing and speaking for the purpose of informing or persuadeing.

The trivium also describes how most of us learn any given subject. For instance, I had to learn html a few days ago in order to post our homeschool schedule. I was mainly concerned with the grammar stage, and I found an excellent webpage with all html code on it. That was all I needed to know in order to publish my post. I still do not understand why it works, nor can I write fluently in it or explain it to others. That would be progressing to the logic and rhetoric stages. Maybe some day...

These two methods seem to stand in sharp contrast to each other. There are those who say that. There are others that show their similarities and that's what I focus on. They both emphasize livings books. They both want a student to discover how to learn on their own and to enjoy learning. They both emphasize narration, dictation, copywork and habit training. There are many other similarities, but we'll keep it simple for now.

I'll leave you with a few resources should you desire to learn more. Ambleside Online is a free website devoted to the application of Charlotte Mason's methods. Warning: if you join one of their message groups, they are Charlotte Mason die-hards! They will only recommend and follow her exact methodologies and they study her written books as thoroughly as one should study his/her Bible. The information contained on the website is invaluable though and should definitely be perused.

Trivium Pursuit is a website started by the Bluedorn family who are strong advocates of Classical education. They approach it from a Christian perspective. For me, that's very important, as Classical education can endorse very blasphemous and vulgar writings. They have written Teaching the Trivium which is a large and very comprehensive book on implementing and teaching the classical method to your children. I highly recommend this book!

The Well-Trained Mind is another website devoted to classical education. Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer run this site and are also published authors. The Well-Trained Mind is an excellent book introducing the classical method and its' implementation. Most libraries carry this book. Reading Jessie Wise's experience as a homeschooling mom in the 70's was eye-opening and inspiring for me.

There will always be disagreements among strong opponents or advocates of each homeschooling method. I think you need to pick and choose what will work best for your situation.

Two other books that most libraries carry that will help you get started on researching are Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling and Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks for Homeschooling Curriculum.

See you back here next week!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Making Your Home a Haven

(This was partially written and supposed to be published yesterday. However, I wanted to insert a table, as you can see. To make a long story short, I've learned, learned to use, and used html all in the last 24 hours! In fact, I hand-typed all of the html code to format the table below. Maybe for some of you, that's second-nature, but it's not for me, and I'm rather proud of myself right now! So....even if you don't read the schedule I've posted, could you please admire the work that I've done, however imperfect it may be? Thank you!)

(Edit:I'm not sure why Jefferson's schedule is only partially showing. I guess that's more for me to learn, but not this go-round (is that even a word?). He's not even 1 1/2 yet, so I'm sure nobody's too disappointed to not be able to see what he's scheduled to do!)

I am excited about this weekly addition to Crystal's blog! I have so much that I would like to do in our home, but I need a little structure and smaller goals to prod me on to accomplish great things. With that said, my first priority this weekend was to tweak our homeschool schedule. Of course, since today was my first day on our schedule, I didn't stick to it much at all. I also had a sick child, needed to take time to teach all of the new aspects of our schedule and had to get my children out of doors. It's 65 degrees on January 7 in Indiana! Who'd have thunk it?

I'm posting our schedule more for my own accountability than for your information. (That's really what this blog was about in the first place.) So, here's our new Winter/Spring 2008 Family Schedule!

Prepare Breakfast/
Quiet Time/
7:007:15 -- open James' door and turn off fan
7:30Help James and Evelyn/
Bible time with Evelyn/
Jefferson up
Rise/Morning RoutineRise/Morning Routine7:50-up
8:00Do Bible time w/kids while feeding JeffersonBreakfast/Bible timeBreakfast/Bible timeBreakfast/Bible time
8:30Morning ChoresMorning ChoresMorning Choresfree play
9:00Handwriting & Math w/JamesHandwriting & MathLetter Factory videoLetter Factory video
9:30Calendar, Journal, Phonics & ReadingCalendar, Journal, Phonics & Readingplay alonepack 'n' play
10:00History, Science, Read-AloudsHistory, Science, Read-AloudsFree Play/Join us if desiredfree play
10:30Play w/JeffersonPlay w/EvelynPlay w/JamesPlay w/Mommy
11:00School w/EvelynPlay w/JeffersonSchool w/MommyPlay w/James
11:30Daily dusting or vacuumingDaily dusting or vacuumingDaily dusting or vacuumingFree Play
12:00Lunch prep w/helperStraighten House/Help Mommy w/lunchStraighten House/Help Mommy w/lunchFree Play
12:30Lunch & Clean-upLunch & Clean-upLunch & Clean-upLunch & Clean-up
1:00Read-aloud bookRead-aloud bookRead-aloud bookNap
1:30Piano lessons/practice w/kidsPiano practicePiano practiceNap
Scheduled day’s activities/TeachRest TimeNap/Rest TimeNap
4:00FreeGerman on computer (15 min.)Free PlayFree Play
Arts & Crafts/Take a walk/Game/Play time togetherArts & Crafts/Take a walk/Game/Play time togetherArts & Crafts/Take a walk/Game/Play time togetherArts & Crafts/Take a walk/Game/Play time together
Dinner Prep w/helperHelp Mommy w/dinner/
play w/Jefferson
Help Mommy w/dinner/
play w/Jefferson
Play w/sibling
7:30Morning PrepPlaytime w/Daddy/
bath time
Playtime w/Daddy/
bath time
Playtime w/Daddy/
bath time
8:00Family DevotionsFamily DevotionsFamily DevotionsFamily Devotions
8:30Kids in bed/
15 min. w/Ryan
Personal Time
10:00Upstairs to bed/Read
10:30Lights out

As an aside, I would not normally spend only 15 minutes with my husband per night, but he's working on his MBA right now. He likes to do as much on the weeknight evenings as he can, so that he can, theoretically, have more time with the kids on the weekends. In 1 1/2 years, we'll start spending some more time together!

Menu-plan Monday

Hello! Back to a newly-scheduled week! (more on that later) Anyways, here is my plan for our meals for this week.

Monday -- hot dogs (the healthy kind), baked potatoes, fresh green beans, corn on the cob (a new product at Whole Foods), and salad
Tuesday -- Lentil soup w/sausage, homemade croutons, salad
Wednesday -- Chicken rice bake, cornbread, salad
Thursday -- Spaghetti, homemade garlic bread, broccoli, salad
Friday -- Rice and beans, spinach, salad
Saturday -- turkey w/gravy over rice, Swiss chard, salad
Sunday -- roast, potatoes, carrots, frozen green veggie, salad (notice a pattern here!)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Christmas Vacation Update

Well, I'm finally getting back into a schedule. Homeschool starts again on Monday. I have so enjoyed the Christmas vacation! The week before Christmas was rather crazy at our house. My husband is working on his MBA and was pretty much unavailable for Christmas preparations, so it all fell to me. I was rather behind on the week before Christmas, so that's why you didn't hear much from me. is his tradition, he was able to take a full TWO WEEKS off! That's also why you didn't hear much from me! But, alas, all good things must come to an end, and he's working on his MBA classes now, the kids are down for naps/rest time, and I'm catching up on online work, cleaning up lunch, preparing a Sunday School lesson and starting dinner!

We were able to spend 1 week in Michigan over the holidays and we had a rather wonderful surprise. My brother, who is a member of a specialized unit in the Army, surprised us all for Christmas! My dad was the only one in on it, and it was quite the surprise for the rest of us.

I'll give you a short synopsis. I had asked my dad over coffee if he thought it would be possible for my brother to surprise us. He said he doubted it. (Apparently lying, when keeping a secret, is not a problem for him!) He then received a cell phone call (we later learned it was from my brother) and told us that his work was having some computer problems! My sister and I went shopping later, and everyone else was doing their own thing -- my dad was playing with my children, my brother-in-law and husband were on their computers and my mom was cooking. My brother just walked in the house, past my husband and brother-in-law (who never noticed him) and joined my dad in playing with the kids! Finally, when nobody noticed that he was there, they sent my daughter, Energizer Bunny (EB), into the kitchen to tell Grandma that Uncle Blake was here. Grandma and EB argued until EB stomped her foot and said, "Will you just come see?" Grandma replied with a huff, "Alright, I will!" Needless to say, she was a bit surprised!

Then they sent Reader Rabbit (RR) in to tell the men that he was here. The same thing happened until Grandma said, "Come see for yourself." Then they called me and my sister to tell us to get back for dinner. So we rushed home.

When we arrived, my mom said that we needed to go down to the basement to discuss a gift. (This was actually true. We did need to discuss this gift.) It was a set up though to surprise us. Here's the video of the result, courtesy of my brother-in-law. For those of you who don't know what I look like, I'm the vocal one. In my sister's defense, she saw my brother first, but he hushed her with his finger, so she wasn't able to be vocal. She probably would have been too.

It was a wonderful surprise and made Christmas so much happier as we knew that he was home, safe and sound, from his 4th tour of duty. We are so thankful to the Lord for His protection.