Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tuesday Coffee Chat

I'm Tuesday-ing and Coffee Chatting a little earlier than normal these days.

At the end of last year I decided to get serious about doing those four things each morning that always make my day go better: getting up early for coffee and quiet time, studying my Bible, exercising, and getting ready (from mascara to shoes), hopefully all before the kids get up to start their day. My start time was 7:00 a.m., but I found that I was feeling rushed. So last week I started setting my alarm for 6:30 a.m. Funny thing is, I actually wake up before then anyway. Now I am just being intentional about actually getting out of bed, or at least getting my cup of coffee and climbing back in bed for my quiet time.

So let's Chat on this Tuesday:

Who do you trust most?

I don't like this topic. The short answer is: No one. There are lots of long answers, a long answer for every human I know, but I choose not to share.

So I'll leave it at this ... I think we are too infallible as humans to be trustworthy.

Think about it. Is there really, truly any one person who would not under any circumstances betray you or your trust in some way? I don't think we are capable of it! We can try, but we fail. How many times a day, week, month, year do we look back on our own reaction to something and say, "Why did I do that? Why did I say that? Why did I react that way?" Our human frailties cause us to react in ways we never, ever thought we would. And in the process of that we betray someone.

Each person in my life has betrayed my trust in some way, and not necessarily because they meant to do it.

The Bible continually instructs us to trust in God and God alone. Nowhere does it tell us to trust people, but only Him.

Only in God can we trust. Only in God can we take our greatest fears, weaknesses, confessions and KNOW that they will not be handled in a hurtful way.

It may seem cynical of me to say that I do not trust people. But, really, I think it's unfair to put that much pressure on any one person, to hold him or her up to a standard that he or she cannot meet. Instead, I choose to trust God, love people, and forgive them when they fail me as I hope they forgive me when I fail them.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Have you ever been fishing? Did you catch a fish? If so did you keep it or throw it back? If you haven't been fishing is that something you'd like to try? Fish out of water, big fish in a small pond, living in a fishbowl, packed in like sardines, this is a fine kettle of fish, plenty of fish in the sea, fish or cut bait ... which fishy phrase most recently applies to some area of your life?

When I was a little girl I loved to go fishing with my dad. My dad would do work for the Amish in exchange for us being able to fish their ponds. Some of my best memories with my dad are when he would take me fishing. I don't remember if we would keep the fish or thrown them back. There is a lot of fishing being done at my parents' lake house, and we definitely keep those fish for meals. Brynne always has Collin catch her fresh fish to fry for her birthday dinner. On our 17 acres we have a pond that is crammed with fish. I am looking forward to all of the fishing that will be done there. Speaking of those 17 acres, I am getting more and more excited for the time when we are able to start building our new farmhouse. For the past several months we have definitely been packed in [this house] like sardines, especially in regard to sharing only one bathroom. Space is going to be a great thing!

What's something you're always fishing for in your purse, wallet, desk, or kitchen junk drawer?

In my purse, my keys. In my wallet, my debit card (that I never put back in the same place). In my desk, tape. And in my kitchen junk drawer, bag clips. I do lots of fishing.

Your favorite fish tale or movie? 

I guess I would have to say Finding Nemo. It's a movie our family quotes often.

Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight or night? Explain why you chose your answer.

Definitely sunrise. I love the promise of a new day and love to be sitting alone in the quiet enjoying it.

What's the oldest piece of clothing you own and still wear?

My bathrobe! I bought it to wear to a Polar Express Christmas party at our church when Kyndal was in the 6th grade. She would have been 12 years old. She is now 22.

We've got one more month of (officially) winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. Are you feeling the need for a getaway? What's been the best and worst part of your winter so far?

I just got back from a weeklong trip to Hawaii to visit my friend Cheryl. It was a great trip and just what I was needing. So, I am not really needing another getaway. The worst part of winter? No snow! The best part of winter? Cold days in front of my faux fireplace covered up in a blanket.

The Wednesday Hodgepodge lands on National Margarita Day ... will you be celebrating? Frozen or on the rocks? Are you a Jimmy Buffet fan? If so, what's your favorite JB tune?

Today I just so happened to play cards with some friends, and we did have margaritas! I love my margaritas on the rocks without salt. Yum! I am not really a Jimmy Buffet fan, so "Margaritaville" is the only song I can even really recall.

Insert your own random thought here.

I recently wrote a post about my 11 year old daughter and her quest to eat healthier and, hopefully, lose some weight by using the food plan set out in the book Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right: The Food Solution that Lets Kids be Kids by Joanna Dolgoff. Brynne has been on this plan for 4 months and has taken total personal responsibility for it with supervision by her dad and I. It has been obvious that she has lost weight. But more importantly, it has been obvious that she has changed her approaches to food. She has learned so much, and taught us so much. I have been so incredibly proud of her! She has been so excited to realize how much better she feels when eating a healthy diet. And it has drastically improved her effectiveness in sports as she is able to run faster without getting winded and is so much stronger! Recently we weighed her and she has lost just under 15 pounds! It has taken her from the obese range to right at the edge of the healthy range. In fact, she is right at the place where we are going to be adjusting her eating plan to increase her daily calories to make sure she maintains her weight instead of continuing to lose it. We took a couple of photos today with her wearing the same shorts and shirt she was wearing on the day that she first told me she wanted to try to lose some weight. I will let one of the photos do the talking. When she saw the side-by-side photos, she got a little teary, and so did I. I am so proud of her for taking control of her body and taking care of it to the best of her ability. And more importantly, she is proud of herself.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Weekly Wrap-up ~ The Flu Week

Our week was a bit derailed this week with the stomach flu. Kyndal and Bennett had it over the weekend, Brynne had it on Sunday, Eli on Monday, and then it circled back around to Brynne again on Wednesday. On Wednesday the young man who lives with us ended up with it, and then Dawson called me from Oklahoma and said he had taken it there with him. With a sore throat or stuffy nose or a cough, you can typically muddle through a school day even if it's just doing some extra reading or watching educational videos. But the stomach flu? Nope. That constitutes a real day off.

On the days the kids weren't sick, however, we were able to buckle down and get some real work done.

We started reading our new read alouds: The Titan's Curse from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and No Talking by Andrew Clements. Brynne continues to read from the Warriors series by Erin Hunter and is on her 24th book in the series. Eli is still reading Watership Down. It's a slow read for him, but he says he is enjoying it. We finished Hana's Suitcase, and were supposed to go see the play on Sunday, but we had to cancel because of that nasty flu.

We started our new volume from Fix It Grammar from IEW, "Frog Prince, or Just Deserts". We started a new volume of Souring with Spelling, which is our slow and easy way of starting the day. We read aloud out of McGuffey's and did daily copy work in cursive handwriting of quotes to celebrate Black History Month. We got back into our Missouri history textbook and studied about Missouri after the Civil War.

Astronomy had us studying Auriga, Lepus, Monoceros, Cetus, Pisces, and Aries, and we read about Zeus and his family and Danaus, Perseus and The Gorgon and The Golden Fleece in Greek Mythology. We also did research on Jesse James and the Lone Ranger to prepare for the viewing of our weekly Timeless episode.

We didn't get back into Math this week, and made a decision to make a change to get us through the rest of the year. I'll be sharing about that next week.

We are certainly hoping for a calmer upcoming homeschool week!

Additionally, Eli has had a great couple of weeks of bowling and is on track for state tournament, and Brynne has had some excellent basketball games.

Brynne started her new year of Girls on the Run, training for a 5k in May. And Eli still attends speech therapy once a week for his stuttering. He is gaining confidence everyday and getting so much better using his techniques. I am really proud of the kids for all of their hard work.

2016-2017 School Hours Logged: 631.5 hours, including 135.25 hours outside home. Plus Summer 2016 Hours Logged: 70.75 hours, including 27 hours outside home.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

What do/did you call your grandparents? If it's something unusual tell us the story behind the name. If you're a grandparent what do your grands call you? Who chose your moniker?

My maternal grandmother was "Old Grandma" and my paternal grandmother was "Other Grandma". That's what I called them when I was little to distinguish them because one was older than the other. I don't recall ever saying that to either of them. But as I got older I called them Grandma Alice and Grandma Joan. My paternal grandfather was Grandpa and my maternal grandfather died when I was two. I am Nana to Bennett. My daughter, Kyndal, gave me that name for her dog many years ago so it just transferred to Bennett.

Ever taken a road trip along the California Coast? If so what was the highlight of your trek? If not, any desire to do so? If you were to take a trip along the California Coast what's one attraction you'd have on your must-see list?

On my birthday a couple of years ago we were driving up the Pacific Coast Highway while on a family vacation driving from San Diego to San Francisco. It was absolutely beautiful! The highlight, however, was when it was over, unfortunately. I took one for the team and rode in the backseat so that Brynne could sit in the front seat because she gets carsick. But I also get carsick, so I was queasy the whole time. The views made it more than bearable.

What are three things you don't know how to do?

Sew, bake a good cookie, master the electronics in our house.

Tom Peters is quoted as saying "Celebrate what you want to see more of." If that's true what will you celebrate and more importantly, how will you celebrate?

I would like to see more happy, intact families ... you know, mom and dad and kids all together with smiles on their faces enjoying each other and supporting each other and being that safe place to land. When I am out and about I see a lot of disjointed families, unhappiness, anger, impatience, undisciplined kids and even more undisciplined parents. I feel like we celebrate our family almost every day. Being together and a team is very important to us. We make our time together a priority, support each other in whatever activities of which we are involved, allow each other to have the freedom to be the people God created us to be, but hold each other accountable when we are not holding ourselves up to His standards. To celebrate that I make sure to have family traditions, especially on holidays, and provide lots of family dinners at home. We do a lot of watching movies together and playing board games. We are pretty cocooned within the walls of our home in order to protect our family. It's important to us.

Thursday (February 16) is National Almond Day. Do you like almonds? Which would you prefer -- an Almond Joy or a macaroon? What's something you make that calls for almonds?

I do love almonds, and I would pick an Almond Joy over a macaroon, but I doubt I will indulge in one on Thursday, unless it's in one of my little homemade dark chocolate bites that has a sprinkle of dried cranberries and almonds.

What does Saturday morning look like at your house?

If it's in the winter it involves getting up for bowling league for Eli and basketball games for Brynne. Other than that, it's sleeping in and being as lazy as can be.

Share with us a favorite book you've read this winter.

The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book by Wendy Welch. This is a memoir of a man and woman who, on a whim, purchase an old house in the small town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia, and turn it into a used book store. If you are a bibliophile, and especially if you are an introvert, you will love this book. It's cozy. Wendy even has a blog that I follow. I would love to be able to visit her and her husband there someday.

Insert your own random thought here.

Our family has been nailed with the stomach flu this past week! First it started with Kyndal and then Bennett and then Eli and then Brynne and then Chad (who lives with us) and then cycled back to Brynne. It's nasty and so stinking contagious that you might want to wash your hands right after reading this so you don't catch it. So far I have only felt a few middle-of-the-night hours of dizziness and slight nausea. Hoping we can go into this next weekend puke free.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Tuesday Coffee Chat

LOVE. Who or what are you lovin' lately.

My family is the most important thing in the world to me. I love my husband and my children with all my heart. And this little Valentine has certainly made my heart swell just a little more this year.

Our sweet Bennett Matthew will be six months old next week. His mama and daddy had some cute Valentine photos taken to celebrate this milestone. Yes, he is as precious as he looks.

And we are in love.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Using Television for School

Last week we resumed our school year after our long Christmas break. We really enjoyed our break this year, but it went by so fast! Because our break was so long (calendared that way) we really had a hard time jumping back in on Monday. In fact, we didn't. I had a blockage issue with my ears and spent the morning at Urgent Care. By the time I got home all I wanted to do was rest. So we started on Tuesday instead.

We took it pretty easy on ourselves all week doing lots of reading.

We also watched t.v.

What? Yes, we use some television shows as jumping off places for learning.

I have blogged before about how we use the show Timeless to help us research American historical events. We see what event the show will be about, fully research that event, and then watch the show. We have been so pleased at how historically correct the show is, although taking some liberties in some of the characters to make it a little more fun. We can pick out what is true and what is not true based on our research. We have studied some events that I know would not have come up in our regular studies. This is the kids' most favorite thing we do all week. It's a highlight of our Mondays.

Another show we are now watching to help us study is The Wheel on Discovery. The Wheel features six people who are each dropped into a drastic EcoZone in South America for an undisclosed period of time. They are each given an identical backpack at the beginning of the total 60 days that holds supplies (though scant) they might need and only 3 days of food rations. At the full and half moon they are moved to their next EcoZone and their previous location is wiped clean for the next person. So far none of the people have figured out that their move date is linked to the moon, so they have no idea when they will be leaving. They have to find shelter, food, water, build a fire, and just survive the physical and emotional challenges, as well as keep from being eaten by the lurking animal predators. Any person can tap out at any time. We have started watching one episode of The Wheel and then the kids research one of the EcoZones (Biomes): Tundra, Wetlands, Island, Rainforest, Bush Plains, Mountains. They are required to provide me with: the location of the biome, climate, seasons, environment, plants and animals and their adaptations to the environment, and then analyze whether or not they would want to live there or even try to survive there for 8-16 days. (We use this worksheet.) And now this is a highlight to our Fridays.

We will soon also start watching the show The Zoo on Animal Planet. It is a docuseries that follows the inner workings of the Bronx Zoo. I am not sure how we will use this show in our researching, yet, but imagine it will involve choosing one of the animals featured and researching that animal. Or, heck, this might just be one of our "Freedom Friday" activities and we won't do anything but just watch the episode. I will figure that out soon. It premieres February 18th.

We are really working on our researching skills this year, and these shows give us a little direction and just make it a little more fun.

We plan to resume our full schedule of lessons this week, although the stomach flu hit this weekend so I am not sure how many of us will be ready for it. Let's hope for the best.