Friday, August 26, 2016

What I've Enjoyed This Week: Our New CC Campus

We started CC this week, and I think it's going to be another good year.  It's a new campus for us since we didn't have enough children to continue in our hometown.  We're making new friends, and that's always a good thing!

A few more things that I enjoyed this week:
  • How much Sarah Beth remembers in her Essentials class from last year.  It was a hard year because there was so much to learn, and I am thrilled at how much she remembers and how excited she is about it all this year.
  • Seeing SB act as a leader in her class.  This is the first year of Essentials for the other children in her class, and she's stepping up nicely.
  • Watching Mary participate in CC.  This year is her first, and she's been so excited about starting.  She kept asking when we were going to start, how many days.  :)
  • The Olympics being over.  We enjoyed watching them, but we watched way too much tv!
What did you enjoy this week?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

But Do They Know How to Do it?

Last week, Daniel got a puzzle out, worked on it for a while, and then started to put it away.  I wondered what had happened since he had separated out all of the outside pieces and already started to put them together.  My daughters are puzzle fiends, and I couldn't understand why he was giving up so quickly -- until I asked.

It turns out that Daniel did not know what to do next with the puzzle.  He had heard me telling his sisters many times to separate out the edge pieces, so he did that.  But I had never sat down with him and explained what to do after that.

This time I did.  I stopped him from putting away the puzzle, and I worked with him, teaching him how to put together a puzzle by working on small sections at a time until he got the whole thing done.

This experience made me wonder:  how many times have I expected my children to do something without teaching them how to do it?  That's not fair, is it?  And it sets them up for failure which is discouraging and makes them not want to try new things.

I determined after this experience to make sure that I've shown my children how to do something before asking them to do it, to make sure they know what they're doing.

Do you ever make this mistake?  How did/do you deal with it?

Friday, August 19, 2016

What I've Enjoyed This Week: CC Orientation and an Afternoon with Daniel

All tuckered out at CC orientation.

This week has been rainy.  We've needed the rain, so I've enjoyed it, although I have to admit that the kids haven't enjoyed being cooped up in the house.  Unfortunately, soccer practice was cancelled all week which we expected, but Sarah Beth and Daniel were both disappointed.

On Wednesday, we had our CC orientation, so we were able to meet the rest of the families that will be on our campus.  We had already met most of them, but there were a couple of new ones to meet.  It's exciting to start back next week!

Here are a few things I enjoyed this week:
  • No soccer practice.  Selfishly, I was happy not having to load everybody up in the car to drop Sarah Beth or Daniel off at practice four days this week.
  • Spending time with like-minded families at our CC orientation.
  • Watching the Olympics, especially the equestrian sport of show jumping.  It made me want to start riding again!  
  • Spending yesterday afternoon with Daniel, just the two of us.  I had a follow-up ophthalmologist appointment, and I took advantage of having a babysitter in order take him with me so we could buy each of us a pair of glasses.  Unfortunately, the store was packed, I guess with people getting new glasses for their children before school starts back, so we'll try again next week.  Yes, the glasses are new for him; no, I've worn contacts for YEARS, but I haven't had a new pair of glasses since college.  *Gasp*  :)
What have you enjoyed this week?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

How I Plan My Week: 3 Ideas That Might Help You, Too

 Before my week started.

After the week was over.

John says that with each pregnancy, I've lost more brain cells.  Honestly, I can't remember what I used to know.  :)  Since I just can't keep track of everything that I need to do in a week, I write it all down. It's become somewhat of a joke in our home:  when the kids want me to do something, they remind me to write it down.

I thought you might find something helpful in the way I plan my week.  Maybe you'll find something that will help you plan your week a little better.  Here's how I plan my week:
  1. Write down everything that I want or need to do for the week.  I figure out everything that I need (and sometimes want) to do for the week.  I write it all down because, if I don't write it down, I WILL forget it.  :)  
  2. Figure out what day(s) I will be gone from home.  I look at my calendar to see if/when I will be out of the house.  I try to keep my chores to a minimum on days we're out because I'm tired when we get home, and realistically, I know I won't do them anyway.  For example, last week I had an appointment Wednesday morning, and I knew that we could not accomplish a full day of school before I left.  I hoped we could get a little done, though, so I planned accordingly.
  3. Give everything a day to be done.  Once I know what needs to be done and what day I may not want to do it, I give everything else a day when I will do it.  It's okay if I don't get to it, but I've found that if I don't give each chore a specific day, I put it off -- indefinitely.
  4. Check them off as they are accomplished.  Do you enjoy checking items off your to-do list as much as I do?  :)  Here's another reason to write everything down:  the feeling of accomplishment you get when you check your chores off.  
  5. Re-evaluate during the week.  There will be days when I just can't (or don't want to) get to something, and that's fine.  I circle these items so that I know they still need to be done.  In my "after" picture above, you can see that I circled a few things, and that most of them ended up with a check by them which indicates that I did them on a different day, later in the week.
In my planner, I also keep track of upcoming items that need to be done but that don't have a specific date.  I just put it on the right hand page so that when that week arrives, I know it needs to be done.  

How do you plan your weeks?  I'd love to get some more ideas!

Friday, August 12, 2016

What I've Enjoyed This Week: Knitted Dishcloths

As we tackled our second week of school, I was happy to be able to stay home most days.  (I'm such a homebody.)  Sarah Beth started her soccer practices this week, and I really enjoyed being able to drop off Daniel or Sarah Beth at practice and then let John pick them up on his way home from work.

Here are a few more things I enjoyed this week:
  • Knitted dishcloths.  I much prefer to use knitted dishcloths instead of store bought ones, but I don't usually take the time to make my own.  This week, though, I've made a few, and I plan to make a few more.  They're not quite "instant gratification" because they take a couple of days to make, but they are much quicker than a blanket.  
  • Watching the Olympics.  I've had more time for knitting since we've been watching the games every evening.  
  • Having Sarah Beth and Daniel vacuum and mop.  While they don't necessarily enjoy helping, I'm glad they're learning these skills and how to do things they don't like.  :)
  • Eye doctor appointment.  While I don't actually enjoy these appointments, I do appreciate the time to myself.  I can't believe how long these appointments take -- two hours!, but I just figured I was going to be there a long time and planned accordingly.  I brought a book to read and another one on my kindle for when my eyes were dilated and I couldn't read anything else.
  • New contacts.  My old ones were bothering my eyes.
  • Putting together another puzzle with Rachel.  She loves this time with me, so I've already ordered a few more.  :)
  • Hannah's smiles.  Have I mentioned those recently?  :)
What did you enjoy this week?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Book Review: Prince Noah and the School Pirates by Silke Schnee

Once upon a time, a long time ago, children didn't go to schools like they do now; they boarded school ships.  And the ships were segregated:  there was a ship for boys, one for girls, one for children who had only one leg, one for children who couldn't see well, and one more for children who learned more slowly than the rest.  One day, there was a terrible storm which blew the ships off course into pirate waters.  The pirates captured the children and imprisoned them in a tower.  The different children from the different ships had to learn to work together to escape -- and they did.  They discovered that each group of children had their own strengths and things to teach the others.  After this time, all children were taught together on one ship.

I was excited to review this book since I had reviewed the first one about Prince Noah.  I enjoyed this book just as much, as the author showed that, while children are different, each child has his own strengths and worth.

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

Friday, August 5, 2016

A Few Things I've Enjoyed this Week: A Six Month Old, Starting Back to School, and Puzzles

It's hard to believe this little cutie is six months old.  Hannah is such a delight and brings so much joy to our family.  Currently, she's learning to blow "raspberries" which is the cutest thing.

This casual shot came out much better than any of the posed ones did.  :)

We also started back to school on Monday.  While my children weren't thrilled, they were good sports about it.  We've had a nice, long summer, filled with fun things, and it's time to get back to work.  Besides, if we start school now, we can take more breaks during the year.  :)

Here are a few other things I've enjoyed this week:
  • John's home!  He was out of town all week, and we missed him terribly.  But he arrived home late last night, and we are so happy!
  • Doing puzzles with Rachel.  We had so much fun putting puzzles together at the beach that I ordered a few more.  They came in this week, and we put three of them together in three days.  Two had 300 pieces, and the other had 500 pieces.  Rachel and I did most of the work, but the other children helped some, too.  We had a great time together!
  • Sleeping later.  With John gone, I wasn't disciplined to get up and exercise.   But I did enjoy the extra sleep!
  • Kicking the soccer ball with Sarah Beth and Daniel.  I played as a child and again in high school, although I wasn't very good.  :)  But I do know enough to teach them a little bit.
  • Having friends over last Friday afternoon.
  • Going out with friends Saturday evening.  John and I (and Hannah, too), met some friends for supper, and we had a great time.  Hannah couldn't have been better!
What did you enjoy this week?  Do you like doing puzzles?  Do you find them a little additive?  I do. :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

How I Decide What Books to Read When

I love this picture!

I have found that if I don't have a plan for my reading, I tend to get lost in reading fiction books.  While there is nothing inherently wrong with reading fiction, there is still much I can -- and need to -- learn by reading nonfiction.  For example, I can learn how to be a better mother and wife, how to teach my children better, and how to love God more.  So I came up with this plan, and maybe you can find something useful in it for your reading.

I usually have three or four books going at a time.  Here is why:
  1. How-to book.  My goal is to read one chapter from this category of books every day, and it's the first thing I read.  If the chapters are especially long, I try to read half a chapter.  Right now, I am reading The Five Love Languages for Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell.  
  2. History/fiction.  After I finish the required chapter, I permit myself to read from this category.  Most of the time, it's a history book or fiction.  It's more fun to read usually, and I can read as much of this category as the day allows.  I'm in the middle of Patrick Henry:  First Among Patriots by Thomas S. Kidd.
  3. Fun book.  I read from this category while using my treadmill, so the book has to be engaging in order to keep me moving.  Currently, I'm reading To Darkness Fled by Jill Williamson.  These books also have to be available on kindle because I need to enlarge the print so I can read it.  
Using this plan allows me to read books from several different genres, learning new things and enjoying myself.  I'm sure that my plan will change again, but this one works for me right now.  Do you have any plan for your reading?

Monday, August 1, 2016

July Goals: Success!

John and Sarah Beth went deep sea fishing with my several of my family while at the beach.

Since I knew that we would be gone for a week and a half for the family reunion and trip to the beach, I planned my goals accordingly.  I tried to keep them simple and fairly easy to attain.  And I did!  :)
  • Start teaching Sarah Beth to cook.  I taught her how to bake cookies, and then I let her bake a dessert for church with my supervision.  She's having a great time, learning to bake, and I hope I can turn her loose in the kitchen soon!  (I'm thinking homemade cookies that I don't have to make!)
  • Continue walking/jogging on the treadmill four times a week.  I was consistent with this goal except for the week and a half we were gone for the family reunion and the beach.  But we had stairs there to make up for the lack of the treadmill.  Two flights.  :)
  • Plan for CC to start back up in August.  Unfortunately, not enough families decided to return to our campus this year, so I had to make the hard decision not to have one here.  But we are joining a campus about 45 minutes away (which we've done before), so we'll still be doing CC.
  • Go to the pool at least once a week.  I did not take my children to the pool a single time this month.  But I think they got enough time in the water while we were at the beach; they went down to the beach once or twice a day and played in the pool at the house we rented.  
August looks to be fairly busy, too, as Daniel and Sarah Beth start soccer for the first time.  And we also are starting back to school today.  As we get used to having school in the mornings and soccer in the evenings, I want everything else (as much as possible) to be fairly simple.  Here are my goals for August:
  • Start back to school well.
  • Take my children to the pool once a week.  Honestly, I don't know if it's going to happen, but I hope it will.  
  • Continue using the treadmill four times a week.
How did you do in July?  Have you made any goals for August?