Friday, October 20, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: Time with my Children

This week has been crazy!  At least, it has felt that way to me although I have a feeling that when I type it all out, it won't sound so bad.  :)  It actually started on Saturday when John left.  He's been gone all week, and that always throws a wrench into things.  Then I was gone almost all day, first to Sarah Beth's soccer game and then taking Rachel to see The Secret Garden.  We really enjoyed spending time together, but, well, the musical wasn't as good as I had hoped.  

Monday, I was again gone for a long time, most of the afternoon and evening.  One of my children had an appointment north of Houston, so I enjoyed spending that time with her, but it was a long drive!

I was able to schedule my week around these things, but we had plans Thursday and Friday that would keep us from doing school.  Thursday is my new Bible study.  Just as I had things figured out, friends gave us five tickets to the Houston Children's Museum.  How nice!  The only problem was that they expired on Friday, today!  So I had to rework my schedule -- again.  But this kind of opportunity doesn't come up very often, so I wanted to take advantage of it.

But then I was able to move things around on Friday so we could do school in the morning.  And Bible study was cancelled because no one else could go.  So my week ended up not as crazy as I had thought.  :)

Oh, and I made dermatologist appointments for two of my children that I had to cancel, and I had to schedule a meeting with some of the CC parents.  Two more things to deal with.  :)

Here are a few things I enjoyed this week:
  • the time with Rachel at The Secret Garden.
  • Sunday rest.  I needed it!
  • being home most of Tuesday.
  • Kroger's QuickPick because I certainly did not have time to grocery shop this week.
  • the wonderful time we had at the Children's Museum.  My children were old enough to enjoy it and to stay with me.  Except Hannah, of course, but chasing down one child is easy.  :)
  • being home Thursday to do school even though I missed Bible study.
  • the Homeschool Summit.  An online homeschool conference with wonderful speakers?  Yes, please!!  I listened to an excellent talk by Andrew Pudewa yesterday.
  • spending time with the CC mothers even though it was watching videos about CC.
  • the cooler weather.  We actually had to wear jeans a couple of days this week!  It is fall!
Sarah Beth has another soccer game tomorrow morning, and I look forward to cheering her on.  Other than that, I think it's going to be a quiet week.

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Friday, October 13, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: A New Bible Study and Running Errands with Hannah

It occurred to me last week that most of my friends don't stay with their children at their music lessons.  I thought, "I can do that, too."  So I checked with my children's piano teacher, and she said it was fine for me not to stay.  Hooray!  Now I've got an hour every week when I can run a few errands with Hannah alone.  Dealing with one toddler is easy compared with four children and a toddler.  :)

I also started a new Bible study this week and really enjoyed it.  Most of the other ladies homeschool their children and bring them to the study, too.  I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to work school around the study since we meet in the morning.  I will probably have to experiment with several different options before I figure out the best way to get both done.

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • fall.  It feels like fall, although the weather hasn't cooled down much.  I think I feel it more in the wind blowing and the way the sunlight shines on our yard.  It's hard to explain; do you know what I mean?  But I like it!  Even though we're still wearing shorts.  :)
  • The American Miracle:  Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic by Michael Medved.  I appreciate the way the author goes through the history of the United States starting with the Pilgrims, showing how God worked throughout it.
Tomorrow I'm taking Rachel to see The Secret Garden, a musical up in Houston.  She has been looking forward to this ever since I bought the tickets.  I look forward to spending time with her, too! But first, we'll watch Sarah Beth in her soccer game.  It's going to be a busy day, so I'll really appreciate resting on Sunday!

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Book Review: How to Listen so People Will Talk by Becky Harling

Who doesn't want to connect with others by going deeper in conversation?  Who doesn't want others to confide more in them, growing the relationship?  But most of us don't know the best ways to accomplish these things.  The key, according to Becky Harling, is listening in such a way that others are encouraged to talk.  What a revolutionary idea that makes perfect sense!

Harling includes many helpful tips and loads of advice on how best to listen to others so that they feel heard.  By keeping our mouths shut, our advice to ourselves, and concentrating on what our family and friends are saying, our relationships can really grow.  There are even a couple of pages at the end of each chapter that give practical ways to implement her strategies.

I can't recommend this book enough!  As a matter of fact, I think this book would be an excellent one to read every year!

I want to thank Bethany House Publishing for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.  

Friday, October 6, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: Being Home!

At the World War II Memorial.

It has been a crazy six weeks for us!  First, we spent two weeks with my parents after evacuating our home because of Harvey.  Exactly two weeks after we returned, we drove to D.C. for a wonderful history tour and were gone more than a week.  Now I'm so glad to be home!  And I'm so glad that we don't have any trips planned for quite a while.  I'm ready to stay home!

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • the wisdom to take Monday off from school.  I was busy all day unpacking, putting things away, and getting ready for the rest of the week.  
  • having done laundry at the hotel in D.C. so I didn't have to get it all done on Monday.
  • that my jogging is going well since I have a race at the end of the month.
Mostly, this week I enjoyed being home and getting back into our routine.  Since that was my goal, it was a great week!  :)

We look forward to cheering Sarah Beth on in her soccer game tomorrow.  Other than that, it should be a quiet weekend at home, thank goodness!

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Our Truly Terrific Trip to Washington, DC

Mr. Potter with Mary and Rachel.  Not only is he extremely knowledgeable, but he is also very personable.

Do you remember that Civil War history tour we took in Atlanta back in May?  We spent all last week in Washington, DC, on another history tour with Landmark Events.  We had such a wonderful time that I can't even begin to tell you how amazing it was.  I'm already looking forward to our next one -- although it's not going to be any time soon.  It's good to be home!

At Sharpsburg, we had a relay race with flags used in the battle.

On Tuesday, we visited Mount Vernon and learned a lot about George Washington.  Then we made a quick stop at the Washington Monument and then the Jefferson Monument.  These men were extraordinary, and it was great to learn more about them.

Yes, there were Irish who fought in the America War for Independence!  
(That's an interesting story, too.)

On Wednesday, we took the Metro into Washington, DC, which was quite an experience for our children.  We toured the Capitol, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives.  Each state is allowed to send two statues to the Capitol, and it was interesting to see what or whom the states chose.  Of course, the National Archives house the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution along with the Bill of Rights.  It was amazing to see those important documents in real life.

Sarah Beth listened intently to Mr. Potter and enjoyed every minute.

On Thursday, we drove out to the Antietam Battlefield.  Our historian/lecturer Bill Potter has a seemingly inexhaustible amount of knowledge about the Civil War.  He brought to life the battle as it progressed.  Standing on the battlefield, we could almost see the different companies as they charged each other -- and retreated.

Mary at the National Air and Space Museum; she's learning how propellers work to make planes fly.

On Friday, we again rode the Metro into the city, and this time we visited the Spy Museum.  That place is intriguing as you learn about what spies have done in the past and things that are being developed for future use.  After lunch, we met at the World War II Memorial which was impressive!  Then we went on to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial which can really touch your heart as you walk past all of the names of men who died in that war.  After that, we walked to the Korean War Veterans Memorial which was also sobering.  As we walked, Mr. Potter related much information about the wars that isn't common knowledge.  

The girls made friends!

These tours are truly amazing!  Mr. Potter relates how God worked in and through American history to accomplish His purposes.  You won't get that from most history books!  And the information is geared toward children because he wants them to get a feel for history and its importance.  But we adults sure learned a lot, too!  John and I brought home four books, and we plan to get a few more to increase our knowledge.  Sarah Beth and Daniel have already decided about whom they want to write their Essentials papers in the spring:  John B. Gordon and George Mason.  Yes!  We learned about important, but not well-known, men in history.  My children's imaginations were piqued, and I am thrilled about that!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

August and September Reading

I didn't get to post my reading for August since we weren't home, having evacuated due to Harvey.  So here is what I read the last two months:
  • Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt.  Jethro is nine years old when the Civil War starts, so he is too young to fight.  But his older brothers and cousin decide to join the armies:  some for the North and one for the South.  This book does a wonderful job summarizing the War, why each battle was important, and how both sides felt about slavery and states' rights.  Every child should read this book while studying this period of American history because it doesn't give any easy answers and deals with the issues well.  We'll be reading it this year.
  • To Love, Honor, and Vacuum by Sheila Wray Gregoire.  This book contains wonderfully useful information for women "when you feel like your life is out of balance; everyone takes you for granted, and things aren't quite right."  It's a great book, and I highly recommend it!
  • The Assault by various authors.  You can read my review of this strange, Christian science fiction book here.
  • The Wright Brothers by David McCullough.  I really enjoyed learning more about Orville and Wilbur Wright and how their creative ingenuity along with their drive helped them build the first, successful airplane.  While many others had financial backers, the Wright brothers used their own money and built most of parts of their planes themselves.  What they didn't know, they learned.  
  • Tightropes and Teeter-Totters by Lisa Pennington.  Finding balance as a woman, mother, and wife can be difficult.  First you stray to one extreme, and then overcorrect to the other one.  Pennington does an excellent job giving a method for finding the elusive balance.
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming.  Did you know that this is the only children's book that Fleming wrote?  Did you know that he wrote the James Bond books?  I started to read this story about a versatile, adventure-loving car to my children, but they just couldn't get into it.  But I loved it as a child, so I finished it myself!
  • Triss by Brian Jaques.  On our way home from Georgia, we listened to this book about mice, badgers, and other assorted rodents defending their home of Redwall from invading rats and ferrets.  It was interesting and kept our attention, but there were times when it was hard to follow because of the change in settings and too many characters.  
  • The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter.  You can read my review of this sequel to The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells here.
  • God's Promise of Happiness by Randy Alcorn.  Those of you who have read my blog for a while know that I love almost everything by this author.  Since joy is my word for the year, I thought it would be appropriate to read this book.  All about happiness!  What more can I say?  In case you're wondering, this is the short version, not the long one.  :)
What have you read lately?

Friday, September 22, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: A Quiet Week at Home

Playing nicely in her playpen during school!

This week was another relatively quiet week for us which we really appreciated after being gone for so long recently.  We didn't have any plans over the weekend, and while we've been out of the house every day this week, most of it was for short errands.  Home!  What a wonderful place!

Here are a few things I enjoyed this week:
  • How much Daniel enjoys piano lessons
  • White Bean & Chicken Enchilada Soup Recipe which Tracey recommended.  All of my children and John liked it which makes it a favorite recipe at our house.  Oh, and it's pretty easy to make which I appreciate.  :)  But I didn't think the tortilla chips added much to it, although my children enjoyed them.  
  • How to Listen so People Will Talk by Becky Harling.  This book is wonderfully convicting about how little I really listen when people talk even though that's exactly what I want from them when I speak.  
  • Whenever Hannah plays nicely and quietly while I do school with my other children.  Toddlers can really make school hard!  But they're worth it!!
Sarah Beth has her first soccer game tomorrow, and we look forward to cheering her on!  I don't think her team is as competitive as the one she was on last year which is not a bad thing.  Maybe she'll get to start, and maybe she'll get more playing time.  :)

What did you enjoy this weekend?  What do you have planned for the weekend?