Thursday, July 31, 2008
I thought this was a pretty cute scene. The cul-de-sac behind out house is being repaved. Of course, Macho Man and Speed Racer who love all types of cars, trucks, big machinery - you get the picture - were out there to see the action. Creative Genius and Girly Girl were wanting to see the show too. Macho Man invited everyone up in his tree house.
I have to admit that this was the first time I had actually climbed up there!
Let the show begin!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
For us, the process is:Before the young lady is aware:
1 Timothy 5:8 (But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.) He gave this to his Dad saying, "This represents 'TO PROVIDE.' When you think I am ready to provide for a wife, then please give this back to me symbolizing that you think I am ready to take the step of marriage."
Ephesians 5:23 (For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. ) Chris said, "I think TO LEAD means spiritual leadership. This belongs to God, and when I feel that He is telling me that I am ready to be a spiritual leader, the ownership of it will pass to me."
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I'm talking the battle of the bulge.
My bulge got seriously out of control somewhere along the line. In the last five years I've been pregnant six times.... I've got four babies out of the deal and a..... um..... little bit (ok, ok, a LOT) more.
I had my little sweetie pie this last March. The first twenty or so pounds came off pretty easily but after that nothing else was budging. So I decided that I needed to get serious about weight loss.
I am one of those that has been on every diet in the world and for those past five years, Weight Watchers had been where I'd run to for a while after each baby (little good it did, I know). This time around I just didn't want to spend the $10 a week to go. I know the deal. I can do it if I really wanted to.
Then I found Calorie Counter Plus. It's like Weight Watchers online but FREE. Go over and make yourself an account. It'll tell you how many calories to eat a day to get to the weight you want to be by the date you want to get to it by. You can log in your foods and it will automatically give you a calorie count. I even loaded the tool bar so I can just point and know how much I've got left for the day. In the exercise log, it will tell you how many Big Macs you worked off for the exercising you did. My very favorite feature though, is the weight log. It gives me a nice graph of my weight loss.
I've lost 54 pounds since March (and that's like, what, 216 sticks of butter?!) And if I can, you can too!
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Sunday, July 27, 2008
I just finished this book... it was interesting, you should consider checking it out at the library. But if you want me to sum it up for you and save you hours of reading time, here's the gist of his message:
1. Dairy and meat are bad (he says cancer, ADD, ear infection, asthma and eczema causing even, from cited studies).
2. We (Americans) are killing ourselves with fast food.
3. Plant based diets are good, especially fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans.
4. Breastfeed! It's good for you and your baby.
Although I am ready to take my family totally off of all things animal derived, there were some things to think about here. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Ever try to mix some fun together for your little ones and end up with a pile of gloppy wet mess? Not all playdough recipes are created equal - and that stuff they sell at the store is less than desirable. Try my tnt (tried and true) recipe and see if you like it as much as I do.
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/4 cup salt
- 1 pkg. Kool Aide, any flavor
- 1 cup boiling
- 1 1/2 tsp. oil
Store in a ziplock bag. Pull out your cookie cutters, potato masher, butter knives, rolling pins and the like. Hours of fun for any preschooler.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Life with teenagers is hectic. The school year is especially busy with studies, sports, and extra-curricular activities. During the school year it is hard for your teen to find time to work on personal growth or to pursue special interests. With the summer coming and the school year coming to a close, now is the time for your teenager to work on personal development -- and you can help them!
While both you and your teenager will want some free time in the summer to just "be", if you don't plan for developing special interests or personal growth, you will spend most of the summer idle. Remember the old sayings "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" (A Mother's Summer Survival Manual, p. 8) and "If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time!" Don't fall into that trap. Here are some ideas to help both you and your teen "plan your work and work your plan." 1)
1. The Parent's Goals
In order to plan for developmental and personal growth in your teens over the summer break, you will need to think about what areas of their lives need to be concentrated on. Think of where your teen is intellectually, physically, spiritually, socially, emotionally, and in terms of practical living skills. Ask yourself where would you like your teen to be in each of these areas by the summer's end.
2) Ask Your Teens for Input
Since they are no longer little children, but young adults, it is very important to discuss these plans with your teenager. What goals do they have for the summer? What would they like to learn? What athletic abilities would they like to hone? What special interests would they like to pursue? What practically living skills do they wish to attain?
3) Determine How Goals Will be Measured How will you measure progress?
Remember, each teen is an individual and will grow at his or her own pace. It is wise to be flexible as you work together toward these goals.
4) Write Down Goals
Writing down goals will provide the structure needed to keep you and your teen moving toward the goal and provide a framework for activities you will plan. When deciding on the interests to pursue and what you both would like have accomplished over the summer, you need to keep two things in mind: your objective and your plan to reach those goals. To help you get started, I've included a sample "Summertime Personal Growth Goals Worksheet."
SAMPLE SUMMER GOALS WORKSHEET
Objective: Increase Vocabulary
Plan: Read 4 books this summer, one being a classic.
Physical Goals Objective: Improve Soccer Skills
Plan: Play in a summer soccer league.
Spiritual GoalsObjective: Learn more about the life of Jesus.
Plan: Read all four Gospel accounts.
Objective: Give back to the community.
Plan: Volunteer two times per week at the YMCA.
Practical Living Skill Goals
Objective: Get Driver's License
Plan: Drive with parents 2-3 times per week and learn how to do a 3-point turn, and parallel park.
*This is just a sample. Use this worksheet as a guide, but be sure to add to it or delete from it. Whatever works best for your family. Now, armed with these examples, find the time to get alone with your teenager and make plans on how, as a team, you can make the most of summer vacation. While you are at it, why not make plans to work on your own personal growth this summer!
About the Author: Patricia Chadwick is a freelance writer and columnist in several online publications. For her free weekly newsletter, go to http://www.historyswomen.com
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Some of my friends have been in a getting-rid-of-more-is-better mind set lately. Me, I tend to drift toward the use-what-you have camp. Making due with what you already own saves resources and time.
One important first step to schooling your children is organizing all of the stuff. Toys, books, games, puzzles, endless pencils, erasers and loads of loose lined paper. What do you do with it all?
My younger children especially look forward activity times. It's easy for me to pull out a box. Each child can sit at the table with a box and play with the items in it. When they are done they load it all back in the box, snap on the lid and it's ready to be put back where it belongs.
My older ones know their assignments for school a week ahead of time. They can go to the shelf and find their school books easily. They pull out a pencil from the pencil box and can get to work quickly. When they are finished with their school work they are able to pull out a game with the pieces and play it together.
Does this sound impossible to you? It's not. It just takes some planning and organization. If you spend a few days or even weeks now, this next year's schooling can be much, much easier, possibly even (should I even say it?) a breeze.
The first step is to get all of the toys and activities organized!
No adult, let alone child, wants to face an overflowing toy box with parts and pieces of every game you ever owned in it. It's overwhelming. Decide what you want to keep. Ask yourself what toys your children love, what toys do you love (or hate!). Donate the things you just don't want or need anymore. The rest of it can be put in to containers that you will label. As you see in the picture above, I use clear, plastic containers. For years I used shoe boxes and cardboard boxes. They both work. I've printed off labels from the computer and used clear contact paper to attach them to the boxes. The contact paper comes off easily if you need to rearrange. Simple. You can even add pictures to your labels. Order a Lakeshore catalog, it's free and has beautiful color photos of many items that you many have. One key here - you don't let your children play with all of this stuff alone. It's for school time. These are used one at a time and then put back one at a time. You're there so you know it's all getting put back cleaned up.
Once those toys are more orderly, take a look at the game closet. Need a little clean sweep action there too? For me, games and headaches used to synonymous. Until I found this little system, that is. One day, tootling around Fred Meyer in the automotive department I laid my eyes on the most beautiful answer. I'm pretty sure it was designed to hold nuts and bolts but it spoke to me and that's not what it was saying. All those little drawers would be perfect to hold game pieces. I took it home, dumped out all the games and one by one, using a Sharpie marker, labeled each one of those drawers with the name of each game. In went the multitude of little markers, spinners and dice. I took each game board, labeled it with the name of the game and stood them up long ways in a basket. Ta-da! No more mess.
Now on to all of those school supplies. I've used drawer organizers for some of the small things, like paper clips, sticky notes, erasers, pens, etc. For things that I needed more room for, I bought some containers at Goodwill. You know the little ice containers (not trays) that are in the fridge to catch the ice made by the automatic ice maker? I guess a lot of people get rid of them because I find them all the time. I have one for markers, pencils, tape, staplers, on and on. Again, I just printed off labels using regular printer paper, cut them out and using clear contact paper, stuck them on. Beautiful.
Down to the nitty gritty, the actual school work. I used to try to use a teacher's planning book. That did not work for me. I got a great tip from a long time homeschooling mom. She would type out each weeks work for her children. So Monday through Friday, each subject would be listed with what they were to complete. They could work at their own pace, checking off items as they were completed. At the end of the week mom filed the sheet so she had a record of what they did. No more keeping all of those papers. Yahoo! I just made a form in Word and print it off each week. I hand write the assignments in. They know what is expected.
Each child keeps their school books on the shelf in a magazine organizer. I've also labeled each one with their name. A friend of mine uses old laundry detergent boxes that she covers with patterned contact paper. She cuts the box with an exacto knife so that the front and top are open. She says that are sturdy and last for years. Each child has a specific place to put their books and papers and can find them again easily when needed.
Ah, don't you feel better already? Having systems in place for save so much time and energy. Consider putting forth a little effort now and you will be so glad you did!
Me? I went. I remember cookies and juice and playing Farmer in the Dell. Can't say how much farther I was along academically by my attendance.
When I think of the preschool years for my own children. I would like it to be a time to lay a broad, strong foundation in which to build upon in the schooling years that are to come. I want them to have a basic knowledge of the Bible: including Bible stories and an understanding of how to love their neighbor (literally the ones that they will go through life with, their siblings), servant hood and age-appropriate self control. In addition to that all important topic, I try to provide different pre-math, pre-writing and creative activities for each of them.
I spend about an hour a day with three of my children doing what we call preschool time. I read them picture books to teach Bible stories, memorize scripture with them, sing songs, do some calender and weather charting activities and provide some hands on preschool-type activities each day. Although I looked at many preschool curricula, I decided that I could do it myself better and cheaper.
I just love the preschool years. I especially love being home to teach my preschoolers. I do cherish that hour that I've set aside to be with them at their level. I'm shocked and so very surprised at what they can memorize and retain. My little Girly Girl just had her second birthday this last weekend and can spout off all sorts of memory verses. Who would have known?
In upcoming posts I plan to go further in detail about what I've done for preschool, recipes for all of the fun concoctions, and hints and tips for the preschool teacher. Stay tuned!
Monday, July 14, 2008
Here we are in all our glory. My wonderful husband and I with our children: Sissy is standing next to me and hubby is holding Girly Girl. In front of us (left to right) are Speed Racer and Creative Genius. Down in front are Macho Man and my newest little one, Sweetie Pie. Nice to meet you.