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kids outside

kinsley outside with crossbow

 

 

 

Life has been crazy.  Good, but crazy!  We got so much accomplished in school this week and we hosted a tea party for 6-year-old girls this afternoon! I didn’t get any good pictures, but we used the real china, and had fairy bread and fruit cups for snack.  They day before the party, I started receiving messages from the moms because we were supposed to have freezing rain/sleet by this morning.  Last night, during her bedtime prayers, Kinsley said, “Jesus, can you please make the weather nice, because I really want to meet my new friends. Please.”  We woke up this morning to sunshine.  No rain, snow, or sleet.  Our party ended at 3 p.m. and it is just now starting to cloud up.  Seriously, the sun has been shining ALL DAY!  Thank you, Jesus, for hearing my little girl and saying yes to her heartfelt request.

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Today is the 4th week since we started our 1/2 day of cleaning on Friday.  It is working SO WELL!  I have tried so many different systems and methods of cleaning over the years.  You know what FINALLY worked for us?  When I quit using other people’s systems and made my own!  It is the perfect fit for OUR family and OUR schedule and OUR lifestyle right now.  If my kids were much older or younger, it probably wouldn’t work as well.  If we didn’t homeschool, it probably would work as well.  I’ll share in detail soon!  🙂

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And now I am waiting for my wonderful husband to get home so we an snuggle up and wait for the winter storm to arrive.  Tomorrow is his birthday!  We were planning to spend the day “in the city”, but with expected ice and snow, I had to prepare a back up plan.  Yesterday I picked up a nice steak for him, ice cream and frosting to decorate his chocolate chip cookie cake!  Bring on the snow!!  I could use a weekend of family games and getting all snuggled up on the sofas watching movies!

A Minecraft Party

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We moved into our house in November.  It started to snow and turned very cold shortly after that.  We have only met one neighbor and that was because he stopped to chat while driving by.  The kids have not made any new friends, even though there are signs of children in our neighborhood.  We just have not seen anyone outside.  Since we chose not to join a co-op this year, we don’t even know any homeschooled children in our town.  So we decided to host a minecraft party!  I posted it on our local homeschool forum and the planning began!  Three families responded within the hour!

The boys worked with their dad to make sure that we could tie all computers together to play on the same server off line.  We made a snack menu, made a few decorations, and had a blast putting everything together!  When the day finally arrived, we had one last minute cancellation.  A second family had a medical emergency with Dad in the hospital (everything is ok now).  The third family with 2 children did come and they are the exact ages as my two oldest minecraft fanatics!

We started out with a very short video introducing us to castles.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_w4FGgOVsM

Then we learned about a medieval castle just a couple of hours from us!  Then the kids got busy creating their castles!  It was soooo quiet in here as their creative juices were flowing!  After 45 minutes of building, we had a snack and then they shared their creations!  Each one was very different, but very impressive.  It amazes me what these kids can do on this game.

Our goal in hosting this party was to meet like-minded friends the same age as my boys.  Mission accomplished!  The kids got along so well and the mom and I enjoyed some grown up conversation!  Next week we host a tea party for girls my daughters age!

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Classical Conversations………anyone??

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We are considering Classical Conversations. I am attending an informational meeting next month.  Anyone have any good or bad experience with it?  Any thoughts at all?

When we first started home education, I was all about the classical method.  Then I learned about the Charlotte Mason method and tried it for a while.  I suppose now you could describe us as eclectic!  I am just finding that the older my son gets (13 now), the more I want him challenged in every area.  Please share your thoughts!

Chill out mama bear!

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Before I had children, I would seldom speak up against those who wronged me.  I would tolerate the offense and go on with my day.  Then I became an advocate for these little people who call me mom.  If they were wronged by an adult, or a child old enough to know better, I would not hesitate to politely call them out on it.  Unfair teachers, coaches, parents………….if you didn’t treat my children kindly and fairly, you would hear from me.  Now don’t get me wrong, it was not a daily or even a monthly occurence.  But when my sons teacher kicks a trash can and calls his class a bunch of idiots, you can bet he is going to hear from me.  Or when the school principal insists that the kids play basketball on the gym floor in sock feet, he’s going to hear from me.

Now I am faced with a different situation and it is one where I know that I need to just CHILL OUT!  My son recently received an invitation to try out for a top notch travel soccer team.  It is a team of 16, 17 and 18 year old boys.  My son is 13.  He was quite flattered by the invitation and gave it his all.  He went to every practice (on time or early), spoke with the coach before leaving, to get his tips and feedback.  There were 26 kids trying out and only 18 will make the team.  He found out this week that he did not make the cut.  Disappointment!  😦

 

Hunter soccer action Hunter soccer action2

Playing for the orange team

The “unfairness” of it all is that the coach told the kids,” if you want to make this team, show me that you care and show up for practice”.  The last 2 practices, only 14 boys were present out of 26.  My son felt certain that he would make the team and said that he thought he could tell who wouldn’t make it. (confidence and arrogance can be a fine line :))  And then I was ticked that the coach would talk to only my son and not include his parents in this disappointing news.  I mean after all, he REALLY wanted this and shouldn’t WE be there to help him through this.  I should call him.  I should call the coach and tell him all of these things.

On the drive home we talked about his options.  The coach invited him to continue practicing with the team and told him that he will hold try-outs again for the Fall season.  This means that he will not be playing games for an entire season.  OR, he could play with a rec league, OR he could try out for another travel team that practices 40 minutes from here.

That night it occurred to me that I needed to not run interference between my son and this dream.  This is a HUGE teaching moment.  Is it fair?  Maybe it is.  Maybe his skill level just isn’t where it needs to be.  And maybe LIFE just isn’t always fair.  Suck it up and move on.  He has some hard decisions to make.  Last I heard, he planned to continue practicing with this team because he respects the coach and the players.  I am very proud of this kid.  While he felt disappointment, he didn’t mope around and talk about how unfair it is like I did! (self talk, not aloud).  I see now that if I had called the coach, I would hinder my son’s growth, maturity, and maybe even his spot on the team in the Fall.

There is a difference between being an advocate for young children and teaching them to have the “poor me” syndrome.  I want to raise leaders.  I want my children to reach their goals by never taking “no” for an answer.  And that is why this mama bear is chosing to just chill out!

 

 

I don’t “do” used………

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Those words were on my mind today as I flipped a U-turn and redirected my truck to our local Goodwill store. My husband was home today, so he became teacher for the day while I headed out to buy groceries. I was sitting at a stoplight when I had an AHA moment………..I was alone. No one whining that they are hungry, or too hot or too cold, or tired, or bored. No one was fighting, or trying to negotiate our electronics rules. The silence was golden and I was going shopping!

As I parked, and walked into Goodwill, I kept thinking about my friend that I met last summer. She is in her 60’s and lives alone. Her only living relatives are a sister-in-law that lives 2 hours away and a nephew that lives 16 hours away. She is very kind and our family just adopted her. One summer evening, I invited her go to area yard sales early the next morning with the kids and I. “No thank you.”, she said firmly. “I don’t do used”. WHAT?? REALLY?? She explained that she would rather do without if she can’t buy clothing or furniture brand new and she has NEVER worn used clothing. Ever.

I’m pretty sure that my jaw was on the ground. It was too hard to wrap my head around. I mean, who doesn’t love a bargain. I teased her and told her that I would convert her, but she was adamant. Her mother used to love shopping yard sales and my friend kindly drove her, but she said that she never got out of the car. Wow!

So today I walked away from Good will with 2 pair of black yoga pants and a make up bag for just $5. Everything I purchased is like new. It is not visibly worn. Sure, I would love to go and get the $60 pair of Under Armour, and maybe someday I will. But for now, I am happy with what I have! I LOVE saving money! 🙂

What about you? Do you “do” used?? Why or why not?

Gearing up for a new week!

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Everything about this week challenges my “normal” schedule! We have been working hard to get things on a good rhythm for a few weeks now. Simple things……..like the kids staggered bed times. Wake up times. Meal times. And making healthier choices for those meals. My husband has been a HUGE help. Infact, he was the one that started the process by giving the kids a set bedtime and then reinforcing it. (isn’t that the hardest part? Reinforcing)

have extra soccer practices (5 days a week), 2 orthodontic and 1 dentist appointment, guests coming on Wednesday through Friday, and of course Valentines Day on Friday. Oh……..and I have to get the basement finished before Wednesday. By finished, I mean drywall putty, sanding and painting. I started it last night. It is always more work and takes longer than I think when I plan a project! Oh yeah, since we homeschool and that MUST be a priority (too much time off when we moved), I have a full work load planned for the kids and I pray that they will be able to complete a good deal of it independently! Did I mention that I am flying solo this week?? Yes, my husband has some work to do out-of-town.

My daughter and I ran to the store last night for some quick meals. I am trying to purchase quick, yet still healthy! Those icky frozen fish sticks that the kids love, did find their way into the cart. But otherwise, I think we are good to go on meals. They are planned out, so that I don’t have to think about them during our busy days and so that we refrain from ordering pizza because I was not prepared!

And now…………I’m off! Time to start the week. Before and after basement pics later this week for anyone who want to see a remodel on a tight budget! 🙂

Rediscovering Toys………….

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My 8-year-old and 13-year-old son are pretty ticked off at their dad and I. We have been very mean to them, but not in the way that they think. If you ask them, we have been “mean” by greatly limiting their time playing games on the computer/xbox/ipod. If you ask me, it was mean of us to ever let them become addicted in the first place. My boys are having to relearn how to play with toys. I know that for a 13-year-old that is especially hard because at this age they are giving up their “play” time. So let me re-phrase and say that we are having them relearn creativity. If you recall, CREATE was MY word for 2014. It was about being intentional in my life. I have taken this very seriously and in the process, come to the realization that electronics have taken over our lives. Quickly tired of fighting the resistance of limited technology, I turned to my local library for help! I found this book:

creative thinkeringWhat a gem!!!  From this book, I have learned that we are all born creative, but it is stolen from us when we entered school.  Consider the quote from the book referring to the day we entered school.  “We were not taught how to think; we were taught to reproduce what past thinkers thought.”

Yeah………….my kids think I am off my rocker.  My husband is fully supportive and really contributing to this change of life style.  And that’s what it must be………..a lifestyle change.  It is hard and right now, it hurts!  It is especially hard because it is winter.  It is easy to allow extra time on technology because it is winter, but in reality, there is SO MUCH TO DO indoors before the weather warms and we spend our days outside.  We have numerous puzzles to be put together.  We recently discovered the game of scrabble as a family.  We love playing Uno and Old maid.  My children are usually OK with playing family games.  The hard part is when they have to entertain THEMSELVES without technology.

I recently did a search for toys on Amazon.  With Valentines Day approaching, perhaps I will do a bit more than we normally do and buy an actual activity to help the kids with their transition.   Here are a few things I am considering:

DIY Rubber band bracelets loom kit lego friends Lego Minecraft The Village spirograph

DIY Rubber Band Bracelet loom kit, Lego friends, Lego minecraft and spirograph.  Remember spirograph??  I am also considering latch hook kids and lightbright.

We do have an entire library of children’s books and we make a weekly trip to our local library (which is beyond amazing).

Please, do share what your children enjoy playing with.  This process is tough on mom right now!  We do not have a peaceful home when everyone is in withdrawal  and bickering.  I have to teach my kids to be kids again!  I need help!  And coffee.  Lots and lots of coffee.  🙂