Thursday, October 27, 2011

Because we homeschool

Daddy homeschooln' the babies!
 It didn't take long for me to jump on board when I was being directed to homeschool. I love flexibility. Because we homeschool we can go on vacation anytime we want to!
Because we homeschool, I can start each school day with scriptures and a prayer!
Because we homeschool, we can drop everything and do service when we need to!
Because we homeschool, I can teach history through my ancestors eyes!
Because we homeschool, my kids can learn at their own pace!
Because we homeschool, we can go on fieldtrips whenever the mood strikes us!
Because we homeschool, I can begin each day with a prayer, and ask God to have me teach what they need to learn. That way it isn't my curriculum, it is God's. The schools can try to institute "no child left behind" and all sorts of reading programs or resource. Yet I can really do it! I can make sure that each of my children is getting what they need, when they need it.  That is why when people ask if I am going to continue to teach my children after this year, I say -"probably because we are having so much fun!"

I spy 7 little boys (8 and under) in this 80 sq. foot room! Can you spy them all?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Can't I just throw away this rough draft?

     I have attempted to write a little fiction this week. If I see myself as a writer at all, it would be for sure in the non-fiction genre. I actually started my novel before I began taking my writing class but had got about a paragraph down before I gave up. As of today I have 4 pages (double spaced.) It isn't much but it is enough to take to my critique class tonight. I am sure I have been putting them all asleep with my non-fiction articles.
     I also attempted a whole-wheat pie crust. As I was experimenting with it, I thought of all of the horrible things I have baked over the years and how my skills have improved. Unfortunately my whole-wheat pie crust wasn't a great example of those skills.
It sure looks good though before it baked hu?
     I can throw away a bad novel and start again. I can throw away a burnt pie crust and start again. Have you ever had a day were you just wanted to crumple yourself up, make that three-point shot into the nearby garbage can and move on? Some days I desperately want to do just that.
     I know, I know Anne Shirley says, "Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?" but there are just those days that keep reminding you that those mistakes are real. I try to change--honestly I do but sometimes those changes aren't as easy and making that three-point shot.
     There are those mistakes that I have repented of and moved on, that seem to crop up in my mind and work to convince me that I am really a bad person. What do you do to get those mistakes out of your head? Then there are the mistakes or habits that seem like a life long quest to change. I won't go into detail but mine are many, and daunting. Some days I just want to start over with a custom built me. I want to walk around the showroom and pick out the features that would deliver me from myself. I would load up on more patience, self-mastery, and a whole heap of rational decision making. If I could pick up an improved body and some extra hours for the day I would be set.
     Some days I feel like this rough draft is just not cutting it. I am reminded though that a rough draft is just that. It is meant to be refined and edits can be painful. That is what this life is about right? Keep on going and trying to get it right?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A couple of my favorite art projects!

      I decided that this year when we studied our letters, I wanted to add an art vocabulary word with each letter. It was fun to start off the year with A is for abstract art. It turned out to be very good for my oldest son. He tends to be a little like his mother, and he gets frustrated and gives up if he doesn't think he is good at something. Art has never been his favorite thing and he has always had about a 10 second attention span when it came to drawing, painting, play dough, et cetera . . . When studied abstract art a whole new world opened up to him.
     I know not everyone has the same philosophies when it comes to art but this is mine--it is the process not the product that matters. Children should be able to play at art. Sometimes we throw in crafts where there is a step by step nature to the project but that is not what we do everyday. Even then, I tend to choose projects where there is an opportunity for individuality and art play. So why Buddy has a need to get everything perfect when it comes to art? I am not sure, but he does.
    So when we studied A is for abstract art, we studied Jackson Pollock and Buddy's art world just seemed to open up. When then tried splatter painting (an activity that should only be done outside--my walls and ceiling can attest!) Buddy was in love! He even mentioned at one point, "I could do this all day!" The great thing is, he now draws more and his drawings have become a lot more apparent! It was one of those moments where something really turned out much better than  you could have even hoped!

My next favorite project was our fall leaf painting! This is nothing new or special but I just loved how it turned out. I had the kids paint coffee filters in all the fall colors. After they dried I cut them out in leaf shapes and taped them (with blue painters tape) all over the tree painted on our wall. It as easy, fun, festive, and cheap! I know not everyone has a tree painted on their wall but other uses could be--make a wreath, a garland, tape them in your windows, or just tape them on the wall for a little autumn color inside! I know painting with kids is messy. It is easier for me since I have my school room where I am not concerned with paint getting on the floor. It is so important though so find a spot, be the kitchen table or even the kitchen or bathroom floor! Most important though, make sure it is washable :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

"I don't know how you do it!"

     I use to blend in with the crowd. Having a couple of kids,even close together, was nothing that separated me from the rest of the young moms around here. I could go into a store, grab whatever I needed, and leave without muttering so much as a "yes" when the cashier asked if I found everything I needed. That all changed when I had twins--I like it. Even though it makes going to the store a much longer trip, I enjoy that people talk to me. I enjoy human interaction and some days I don't feel like I get enough, at least of the adult kind. Of course it isn't always at the most convenient time and people usually say the same things. Number one comment I hear on a daily basis is "you sure have your hands full." Second is "I don't know how you do it!"
     When the twins were first born I hated that second comment. In my sleep deprived, shower destitute state I wanted to shout "I am not doing it! Don't you see? I am failing at this!" The thoughts of my fridge that hadn't been wiped out for months and dirty laundry scattered through my house rang in my mind. Couldn't they see that I wasn't cut out for this life? In my opinion there were scads of women who were tougher than me, more organized, more on the ball. Was there something amiss in God's algorithm? Yet, I truly know that it isn't some algorithm that God puts in a bunch of numbers and life just happens. He knows me.
     The women who have harder things to deal with are copious. There are trials of strength for all of us--and we must all figure out how to succeed. Sometimes I wonder, if I succeed at my trials, will it help someone else have the courage to succeed at theirs?
     So now I answer people honestly when they ask me how I do it all. Maybe they aren't truly asking. I am sure most don't want to know, but if you are willing to comment on my life then you better be willing to have me comment back! The two answers I usually give now are 1) Prayer or 2) The grace of God. The bible dictionary, contained in the LDS printing of the King James version of the bible, defines grace as: "... through the grace of the Lord...individuals,..., receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means." The first time I read that, I instantly knew how I have been able to get through my life to this point!
     I have gained a new favorite scripture through this last year and a half, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13) The thing is, God doesn't give us our different trials because he wants to see us fail. He doesn't want us to have a miserable life! Is life hard? YES! Are there days that seem impossible to bear? I would venture to say that there are days completely, relying our own mortal abilities, impossible to bear. That is when we turn to God, plead for his Grace, and rely on His strength.
     I guess this was on my mind this morning because I was praying this morning and asking God to direct my path at this time. He gently reminded me that he has already told me what I need to be doing right now. I again reminded Him that I don't know how it will work.I then got off my knees, flipped through my triple combination (a set of books containing The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price, or "The Mormon Books!") and it opened to a well loved verse: "Wherefore, lift up your hears and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all, that ye may be able to stand." (D&C 27:15) I love that the FIRST  thing He asks us to do is to rejoice! No matter how hard the task, we have reasons to rejoice! My little reasons just woke up so I think I will go be a Mommy now. I hope we all can find reasons to rejoice, no matter how hard the lessons of learning are today!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Home-cooking restaurant

     A little background info: Our family loves to go out to eat. My husband in particular loves to go out to eat. As in he would love to go out e-v-e-r-y d-a-y. It is never hard to convince him to go out. I don't know why because his mother and his wife are amazing cooks (yeah I know that is a little vain--but mostly true.) Unfortunately it costs money to go out and eat. That is something we are always in short supply of. Now that I am trying to be careful of what I eat I also wouldn't make a very good dinner companion. Does that mean I will never go out to eat again? No, but if I am going to do this challenge then the next 30 days I probably won't be much fun because I will have to ask "what is this made out of, and what is in that et cetera  . . ."
   So last night I had planned a meal (planning menus in advance is the KEY for our family to not fall to the temptation of eating out.) When I opened my recipe I realized that it was going to take a lot longer to make and cook then I had planned and dinner probably wouldn't be ready till bedtime. I racked my brains to see what else I could make in an instant. I looked in the fridge and saw something amazing. A fridge full of leftovers! We are not very good at eating leftovers at our house. Josh takes them for work the next day sometimes and that is about it. Yet with all my cooking adventures there were some yummy treats in there! I decided though that if we were going to eat leftovers then we needed to spice things up!
     So first thing I went to Josh and asked him for a HUGE favor. I asked him if he would just go along with it and have fun. Make believe isn't something he engages in enough, if you ask me, so I knew this would be a little stretch. Not knowing what "it" was, he quickly agreed to the favor. Next I told him for dinner we were going to play restaurant. A BIG smile came to his face as he thought that meant that we were going to go out to eat. Then I explained  that we were going to eat leftovers but restaurant style. The smile faded but he still agreed.
     To set up the restaurant, I pulled out all the leftovers to see what could be made quickly with them. Then I typed up a cute menu with a picture of the above house on in. Can't a girl dream that it was in her dream house and not in her actual house? Then I quickly whipped up some whole wheat pumpkin bread (recipe can be found on my new favorite website for dessert. I then lit a candle in the middle of the dining room table, wrapped up four sets of silverware in a napkins and asked Josh to take the boys to the front door. Lastly, I threw on a waiters apron--my husband works in the restaurant industry so we have all sorts of fun things like that. (You know the dishcloth looking thing with ties?) I was ready for action.
    I welcomed them into the house, gave them menus and asked what they wanted to drink. I brought out their choice of milk or water and then took their orders. I then brought out paper and crayons for the kids and some homemade bread and grapes and carrots for the "munch" food. I quickly heated everything up and served them their entree choice. While we were eating my 5 year old exclaimed "I love this restaurant!" It was a fun healthy night had by all. And even though we still had to do some dishes, there weren't that many so it almost felt like we had really gone out out eat.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Am I brave enough?

     My writing class has been taking up all of my free computer time lately. Well, really between homeschooling, teaching preschool, taking a writing class, raising four kids, being a wife, teaching at church, trying to keep up with laundry, meals and breathing--I am just a little bit overextended! Halloween is around the corner and am I ready? No! I haven't even started their costumes or decorated yet. But, I always say--"A busy life is a good life!"
     So in the middle of this craziness I have been having some health issues. Have I gone to the doctor . . . um . . . I need to. So I don't feel comfortable discussing them until I really know what is going on. (Then why did you bring it up?) I know right? It is because in doing a little research I have really felt the need to get back to the basics with my (and my family's) eating habits. Once upon a time I cut out white flour, white rice, and white sugar and I was much healthier. I have been wondering if I could do that again with my family, but cut out overly processed foods all together. Natural, real, food. My friend directed me towards a blog and I have been LOVING it!
     I love to make food from scratch anyway--bread and treats are almost always homemade. So when I stumbled upon whole wheat flour tortillas I thought I would give it a try. I love tortillas and I love whole wheat but I have never loved whole wheat tortillas . . . until NOW! Oh so good. I have also made refried beans, yogurt, and cheese crackers. I am spending more time in the kitchen, but I am so happy with the results!
     On this blog she asks people to commit to eating whole food for 10 days. I really want to try it for 30. Am I brave enough to do this right at the holidays? That is what I am thinking about right now--give me a week to totally wrap my mind around it. Am I tough enough (nod to the 90's)?

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I am under construction! With the first year of twins under my belt, with four under four a thing of the past, and with my husband finally done with school, I have decided to focus a little bit on me. Focusing on myself doesn't come easy with so many other things vying for my attention but I need to make sure that I am the mom I want my kids to have. I want to model to my children that this life is to learn and that doesn't stop with a diploma in your hands. I have decided to take some writing classes through the community education program for my county. I love writing, but I usually just write what is going through my head without any structure, depth or proper punctuation. I have learned in my class so far that commas and I don't get along very well. I love having a night off once a week and being able to associate with other adults. My biggest problem is that my mind has turned to mush! I rarely can think of the right words! It is frustrating, but I have hope that exercising my brain will start it working right again.Watch out world, this blog might get a little bit more depth to it! (And a lot more commas.)

First day of Preschool in pictures!

Our school room 2011-2012

My Little Moochie


Miss Milzy

Toop Toop