Friday, August 30, 2013

3 in 30: A Pretty Good Ending to the Month

Now that Rachel is once again able to wear shorts and short-sleeved shirts (after a year of long sleeves and pants), she looks so different.  Daniel keeps commenting on it, too.  When you are so used to seeing your child one way, even when it's as superficial as clothing, it's very noticeable when there is a change.  We're starting to get used to it, but I almost hate to do that because it's such a wonderful reminder of how good God is, and how He has cared for Rachel during her JDM.

Anyway, here's how I did with my goals:
  • Get back into a good routine with school.  I think we've done this, and I'm pleased with how well this month went, even with our Classical Conversations.
  • Get back into a good routine with household chores.  I'm not sure that I've got a good routine, and I wish I could blame my lack of getting some things done this week on school...but I just can't.  I'm behind on laundry among other things.  But overall, I'm pleased how this month went with chores.
  • Lose three pounds.  I did not lose the three pounds, but I did lose two.  And I'll take that accomplishment!
How did you do this week?  What were you able to accomplish?

This post is linked with Aurie at Welcome to Our Good Life 3in30.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Aggravation or Honor?

Yesterday afternoon, John called me from work.  Of course, right before the phone rang, Rachel fell and proceeded to start screaming because she had hurt herself, so I was already a little flustered.  When I answered the phone, John wanted to know when our visitor, who is coming next week, is flying in.  I was a little aggravated because I had written down the information; why couldn't he have done the same?  I was trying to deal with a screaming child, and he wanted me to look something up that he should already know!  But I looked it up and gave him what he needed so he could plan for next week.

Later that day, as I was thinking about this situation again, a thought popped into my mind, and I know without a doubt that it was from the Holy Spirit.  John may not write these things down because he knows that I do, and he trusts me to keep up with this information, freeing him to concentrate on other, more important things.  "Wow!"  I thought, "What an honor!"  John trusts me to keep up with this information so he doesn't have to.

I would like to say that this is the only time I've been aggravated when John asks me for information like this, but it's not...and unfortunately I'm sure it will happen again.  I hope the Holy Spirit reminds me again (and again and again, as needed) that it shows how much John trusts me when he does this.

Is there something that your husband does that bugs you, but if you flip it around, it actually might be a show of respect for you?

"Who can find a virtuous wife?  For her worth is far above rubies.  The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain."  Proverbs 31:10-11

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday's Quote: Are We Fortunate for Enduring Tragedies?

It's hard when it's your brother's birthday and not yours.

I finished The Mystery of Lawlessness by John K. Reed last night, and it's a fascinating novel about the time after the Flood, before the Tower of Babel.  But I'll review it later when I write about the books I've read this month.  To set the stage for this quote:  there are three women talking, and one of them, Mariel, recently left a terrible situation which culminated in her husband wanting to kill her.  The second woman, Madrazi, tells her that she was fortunate for what she endured.  The third woman, Jael, doesn't understand and throws the word "fortunate" back into Madrazi's face, and she responds:
Don't let sentiment cloud good sense, Jael.  "Fortunate" is what I said and meant.  We are made for God, not for ourselves.  Anything that turns us to Him is a blessing.  These few short years on Earth are nothing compared to the unending days of the true Eden.  Don't measure the worth of your soul by what fills your years here.
"Anything that turns us to Him is a blessing."  Don't we hear words like that from Christians who have gone through horrible tragedies?  It doesn't seem like that should be true, does it?  But it must be.  There are too many witnesses who say the same thing, and, of course, we find this truth in the Bible.  Whatever temporary, bad things happen here will be (are!) overshadowed by the wonder and awesomeness that we will discover when we get to spend eternity in heaven with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Friday, August 23, 2013

3 in 30: A Week Full of Wonderful Happenings...Plus How I Did With my Goals

Do you notice anything different about Rachel?  No long sleeves!

We had a couple of wonderful things happen this week.  First, at least three of our chickens started laying eggs this week.  I know that it's three because we got three eggs yesterday!  Finally, our chickens are starting to earn their keep, and it's just so much fun to find eggs!

The other thing that happened is so much bigger and more wonderful that the first one.  We received excellent news at Rachel's appointment Wednesday:  since she's doing so well, the doctor thinks she may never have a relapse...assuming we keep being diligent about sun exposure.  We're so excited that we can hardly stand it!

With those developments, my goals just didn't seem so important this week.  But here's how I did:
  • Get back into a good routine with school.  We started Classical Conversations this morning, so I needed to figure out how that would fit into our routine.  The fifty minute drive wasn't too bad...once I figured out where to go.  Google Maps and my GPS let me down.  We enjoyed our new teachers and classmates, but I miss having Sarah Beth and Daniel in the same class.
  • Get back into a good routine with household chores.  I'm not sure that I have a routine, per se, but what I'm doing seems to be working.  That's what counts, right?
  • Lose three pounds.  I've had a little tummy trouble this week, so I'm back down to where I was two weeks ago -- at a one pound weight loss.
What did you accomplish this week?  Did anything exciting happen to you?  Have you been let down with directions by two different sources?

This post is linked with Aurie at Welcome to Our Good Life 3in30.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Indescribably Good News...and More Eggs

Rachel had another doctor's appointment today, and I wrote about the indescribably good news we received at my other blog, the one about Rachel and her JDM.

My other news, which is completely overshadowed by Rachel's good news (and that's totally fine!), is that another chicken provided us with an egg yesterday afternoon.  And we found another one this afternoon, giving us a total of three.  Yea!  If this keeps up, we'll have enough for all of us soon!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Look What I Found Today!!!!!

 For some reason, this is the closest picture I could take of the egg.

This morning when we went out to take care of the chickens, I found this egg!  Whoohoo!  It's the first one!  Finally, I'm starting to reap the fruits of my labors!  Can you tell that I'm excited?  I think the whole neighborhood knows about our first egg!

A comparison with a store bought egg.

As you can see, my egg is a little smaller than the egg from the store, but I hope that's because it's the first one.  Buff Orpingtons are supposed to lay large eggs.  Poor Buttercup.  After we took the egg out of the coop, she started looking for it.  When we went back inside, she was sitting on top of where she had laid the egg.  I know that this breed tends to go broody (sitting on eggs to hatch them), but I didn't think it would happen with the first one.  

In case you're wondering, this is exactly how the egg looked when we found it.  I did not clean it at all. What are we going to do with it?  I'm not sure yet.  One egg won't go far among six people.

I hope there's another one (or two!) tomorrow!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday's Quotes: One Serious and One Not So Much

I started reading Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean to my children last week, and I came across this quote that made me laugh.  My children enjoyed it, too, and I thought that you might appreciate it, as well.  To set the stage:  this book is a sequel to Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie in which Wendy and her brothers have grown up.  Something appears to be wrong in Neverland, so they feel a need to go back to help Peter Pan.  But how do adults become children again because everyone knows that only children can go to Neverland?
Everyone knows that when you put on dressing-up clothes, you become someone else.  So it follows that if you put on the clothes of your own children, you become their age again.
Wouldn't it be nice if it were that easy?  Not that I want to be my children's ages again for good, but occasionally might be nice.

In keeping with the seriousness of most of my Monday's Quotes, here's another one from R.J. Rushdoony's A Word in Season Volume 3 in which Rushdoony addresses people's questions about how a good God can allow bad things to happen.
What they mean is that God must be bound by their idea of goodness, and if He fails to meet their standard, something must be wrong with God!  The truth is, that something is wrong with these people and their standard of goodness.
It seems to me that most people try to explain away the bad things that happen by talking about the Fall and how God can use even bad things to bring Himself glory.  And these are valid points.  But I think that Rushdoony hits the proverbial nail on the head.  Who are we to judge God?  And who are we to define goodness by the things that we like?

What do you think of the Rushdoony quote?  Would you like to be your child's age again, just for a little while?

Friday, August 16, 2013

3 in 30: Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

Daniel loves pushing Mary around in the doll stroller, and she obviously enjoys it, too!

It's been so nice to get back into our school routine.  My children seem to enjoy it, too, which is nice.  I've been starting school a little bit later than I might would like so that we can play outside for a little while beforehand.  It's just so hot later in the day, and Rachel doesn't need to be outside in the middle of the day anyway.  Sometimes, I have to make my kids go outside; they're so busy playing inside that they don't want to leave it.  Strange!

Anyway, here's how I did with my goals this week:
  • Get back into a good routine with school.  Our second week of school went just as well as the first.  We've had very few problems which is wonderful.
  • Get back into a good routine with household chores.  I'm figuring out (again!) how to get the daily chores done around our schooling.
  • Lose three pounds.  Worse than fail.  I gained back the pound I lost last week.  I guess I'm going to have to go back to measuring my portion of ice cream before eating it along with eating less at every meal.  *Sigh*
What were you able to accomplish this week?  Do you have to make your children play outside?

This post is linked with Aurie at Welcome to Our Good Life 3in30.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Chess Anyone?

Sarah Beth has mastered the games of mancala and checkers, so John taught her chess.  We have a computer program where she and Daniel play, and John and I enjoy watching her because she doesn't quite grasp the point of the game.  Sarah Beth tries so hard to protect her queen, and she wants to cry when she loses a bishop which she thinks are like princesses.  The other day, her king was in check and she had a choice to make:  giving up her king (which really isn't a choice) or sacrificing her queen to save her king.  After studying the board for a minute, I saw that she had one more possible move; she could sacrifice one of her bishops to save her king and queen.  She wasn't happy with the choice, but she made it.  I think she would have willingly given up her king in order to save her queen and bishop, but that wasn't a possible choice.

I wonder how often we get the "game" of life wrong.  Do we sacrifice things that are important in order to save things that we think are important?  Are our priorities skewed?  I wonder.  And I pray that God will help me to make the right decisions in this "game" of life.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Book Review: Harriet Beamer Strikes Gold by Joyce Magnin

In this delightful story, Harriet Beamer has just moved across the country to live with her son and daughter-in-law.  She is a sweet lady who seems never to have met a stranger, and these traits make her an easy mark for a man and his daughter who sell her a lease to a gold mine.  Meanwhile, Harriet's son has his own troubles, as he deals with his career as a writer and his wife's pregnancy.

I like that this book deals with common, everyday occurrences and deals with them well.  It is charmingly written, and it makes me want to go back and read the previous book.  And I did not have any trouble understanding this book, not having read the first one.  My only criticism (and maybe it's a big one) is that the characters' faith seems such a small thing.  Rarely do they pray or ask for guidance from God, but it is obvious (but not implicit) that they want to live in a manner pleasing to Him.

I would like to thank BookSneeze for my copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Friday, August 9, 2013

3 in 30: Getting Back into the Swing of Things

With starting school back this week, we've had a quieter at home.  It's been nice getting back into the school routine, although I do miss the lazy, care-free days of summer...not that we really had many of those.  Sarah Beth and Daniel have been happy to do school, and Rachel and Mary have played happily at the table, for the most part.

Anyway, here's how I did with my goals:
  • Get back into a good routine with school.  So far, so good.  
  • Get back into a good routine with household chores.  Doing pretty well with this one, as well.
  • I would like to lose three pounds this month.  I lost a pound this week!  Whoohoo!
What were you up to this week?  What were you able to accomplish?

This post is linked with Aurie at Welcome to Our Good Life 3in30.

Finished Object Friday: Christmas in July and August

I ordered these kits back in the spring and finally got around to crocheting them this summer.  I knew that if I wanted them to be done in time for Christmas, I needed to get started early.  I realized something else:  if I want Christmas decorations, the way to do it is to buy or make a few each year, not try to get a houseful all at once.  But you probably already knew that.

So I made this Christmas tree and wreath, and my children have been fascinated by them.  As a matter of fact, we had a great time one day with the wreath when I finished it.  I think they're ready for Christmas already, but aren't we all?  I started a Christmas afghan earlier in the week, so I think I'll be set for Christmas decorations this year.

Have you started preparing for Christmas yet?  What have you made?

This post is linked with Charity at Fresh from the Chari Tree:  Finished Object Friday.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Book Review: Dragonwitch by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Dragonwitch by Anne Elisabeth Stengl continues the story told in Starflower, about Starflower's land and people and how they were enslaved by the Dragonwitch after being freed from Amarok.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  The story actually starts in northern Gaheris with Alistair who is supposed to be king, but he knows that will not happen because of the dreams he has been having, dreams of his own death.  Leta, Alistair's betrothed, has always been told who she is and what to do, but from her friendship with the Chronicler, she learns that maybe, just maybe she can be more.  And their stories are all tied up with that of Mouse, an acolyte in the Dragonwitch's service.

This book continues Stengl's great writing in this series.  I cannot praise it enough.  There is a definite good versus evil with a Christ-figure, but it is not preachy at all.  It's just a wonderful story.

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

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Back to School!

We started back to school yesterday, and my kids were actually more excited about it than the picture shows.  I got those neat printouts here, if you were wondering.  I've been asked a couple of times why we are starting so early, and we start early and go late so that we can take time off during the school year without worrying about getting behind.  We love to take time off when people come to visit, when someone invites us over for a playdate, and sometimes just because.  Being able to take time off for these reasons is one of the many, many reasons I love to homeschool.  Also, I have to admit that I like the routine that schooling gives us.

Since I enjoy reading about what curricula other mothers use schooling their children, I thought I would share what we're using this year.
  • Math:  Saxon 1 for Daniel and Saxon 3 for Sarah Beth.  I love the Saxon method, as it introduces new concepts in small increments so students don't get frustrated.  And all of the review is nice for the student who didn't get it the first time.  
  • Bible:  Genesis - Joshua from Veritas Press.  The past couple of years, I've read Bible stories while the children colored, so I'm looking forward to studying the Bible more in depth.
  • Reading:  Hooked on Phonics, first grade for Daniel and the second half of second grade for Sarah Beth.  Sarah Beth is reading so well, I bet we breeze through her reading book.
  • Writing:  PreScripts Cursive Letters and Coloring for Daniel and PreScripts Cursive Sentences and Art Lessons:  Medieval to Modern World History for Sarah Beth.  These books don't just have students copy letters; they also have them do some drawing to make it more interesting and to improve fine motor control.  Sarah Beth will be copying passages about world history and coloring/drawing pictures that correspond with the passages.
  • Grammar:  Shurley English Level 1 for Sarah Beth.  I thought it was time to start learning what a noun is and things like that.  
  • Science:  God's Design for Heaven and Earth:  Our Weather and Water.  I love this curriculum.  If you're looking for a good science curriculum, you ought to check this series out.
  • Art:  Drawing with Children.  Sarah Beth loves to draw, and I thought we might try a some art lessons and see what happens.  Looking at the book, however, it might take more time than I thought.  I probably won't implement the lessons until we've got a good routine down with our other, more important subjects first.
  • History:  We'll get this through Classical Conversations, and I'll supplement that with books from the library.
When do you start school?  What curricula are you using?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday's Quote: Prayer

A thought about prayer from R.J. Rushdoony's book A Word in Season Volume 2.
The trouble with most prayer is that the person praying is not really talking with God but carrying on a recitation into the air.  True prayer involves communion and conversation, and it is a continuous thing.  We do not limit our conversations with our husband or wife to a set time, at meals or before going to sleep, and then keep silent all the rest of the day.  We talk when we have something to say.  The same is true with God.  If we limit our prayers to set, formal times, we soon have little to say then.
What kind of prayers do you have?  How often do you have them?

Friday, August 2, 2013

3 in 30: Old and New Months (and Goals)

All eight children that were here Monday.

This week feels like it's been one last "hurrah!" before we start school next week.  I didn't plan it that way; it just happened.  On Monday, we had some good friends from Florida come down from her parents' house in Houston for a visit, and we had a great time!  Tuesday was the end of summer reading party; maybe we shouldn't have gone, but the kids had fun.  Wednesday, we planned to go to Story Time at the library, but Rachel wasn't feeling well.  Yesterday, I had to do the thing I hate the most about being a parent with Rachel.  Afterwards, we went to a bounce-house place where all four children had too much fun.  Today we're heading back to the library to pick up the prize that Rachel won in the summer reading drawing.  Whew!  We'll be ready for a nice, quiet week at home doing school next week!

Since half of this week was still July, I thought I would continue those goals:
  • Walk on the treadmill three or four times a week.  Three times this week.
  • List things on ebay.  I cannot remember what our account name/email address is, and I keep forgetting to ask for John's help.  I don't think we've listed anything in a few years and a couple of moves (and different email addresses), so I may have to start a new account.  I'll try to work on that this weekend and keep you posted.
  • Work on clutter:  in my closet, the girls' room, living room bookshelves, and library shelves.  Friday and Saturday, I dug in and finished my closet and the girls' room.  Basically, in my closet, I just put some of John's miscellaneous things in a box so that it looks neater.  I brought down two big boxes full of baby things to donate, one from the girls' room and the other from the playroom.  It felt good to get all of that stuff out of the house; now I just need to figure out how to deliver it since the boxes are too big for the back of my minivan with all four carseats in it.
Now for my August goals:
  • After seven weeks of summer, we start school Monday, so I want to get back into a good routine with that.
  • I've enjoyed having the extra time to get daily chores done, so I also need to get back into a good routine with household chores.
  • I would like to lose three pounds this month.  When John left for Texas back in February, I got a little lazy with my eating and portion sizes, and I gained a few extra pounds.  I've been ignoring this small problem, hoping it would go away, but like all problems, ignoring it hasn't helped.  And I know that three pounds isn't much, but I figure that if I let these go, then I'll let more join them.  And I certainly don't want that!
What goals are you working toward this month?

This post is linked with Aurie at Welcome to Our Good Life 3in30.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

July Review of Yearly Goals

I feel like I made fairly good progress with my goals this month:
  • Read through my book list.  One of the books I read this month was from my book list.  
  • Exercise.  I was able to start back, and I walked on my treadmill three or four times a week every week this month.
  • Have one fun day in school a month.  While we weren't actually in school this month, we did have a fun day:  July 21st was National Ice Cream Day.  We celebrated by reading some books I had checked out of the library about the history of ice cream and how it's made, and we finished up by having homemade sundaes.
  • Take one field trip per month.  We visited a local planetarium and had a ball!
  • Date night.  Fail.
  • Home improvement project.  I've been working on Christmas decorations, and I'm going to count that.  But honestly, that's not the type of project I meant when I made that goal.  Cleaning up those boxes from my monthly goal was more like it.
  • Service project.  Again, taking outgrown clothes and toys to the pregnancy center is not what I meant by this goal.  I need to revisit it and try to do better.
  • Blog on more serious topics.  I think I've had one or two of those this month, but I'm trying to concentrate more on my story.
  • Hospitality.  Having read this book, I'm not so sure I'm practicing hospitality very well.  But we did have some friends from Florida come over earlier this week.  They were in the area and came over as a day trip.
  • Work.  I made a good bit of progress toward getting my pharmacist license.  I got fingerprinted, and I sent off a form to a former co-worker to fill out.  Can you believe that I have to have someone vouch for the fact that I'm moral?  Not because I'm a moral person but because this organization actually demands that I have someone vouch for it.
  • Having my children do more around the house.  I can't point to any specific chore that I'm having my children do; it's more lots of little things that I ask them to do, like getting socks for Mary or putting something (that's not theirs) away.
Here are my summer goals:
  • Get Sarah Beth and Daniel swimming.  Sarah Beth is swimming a little bit, but Daniel still needs some work.  However, I'm thrilled with how well they are both doing.  We just need more time in the water.
  • Learn to crochet a border.  Done.
  • Do something with somebody.  We went with some friends to the planetarium.
How are you doing with your yearly goals?