Welcome to My Life

Hello friends, family, and followers,

It has been a busy season for me and I have let a few things go in the process of gaining order and routine in other areas of my life.   Blogging was set to the side as well as some other projects that I personally enjoy.

What have we been up to?

HOMESCHOOLING

Schooling has been going pretty consistently over all.  Still following the Robinson Curriculum approach.  The boys (12 & 8) have really transitioned to self-led learning for the most part.  The 3rd grader still needs some prompting at times, but his attitude (I hate school) has had a turn around.  So after a year and a half of balking school, now he gets it done and shrugs about it, “eh, it’s easy”.  Go figure.

CHILDCARE

The fun part of parenting and homeschooling for so long, is that everything comes easier from tried and true experience.  In enters Preschool fun, Tot School, and some Baby Love.  We have a few preschoolers, 2 Tots, and 2 babies.  All but one is part time, so getting a doable “schooling” routine down for them all has taught me some more flexibility.  Some of the kids are three days a week, one is half days only, another is here for only two days a week but for 14 hour days.  Most have been with me for a couple of years now and are getting ready for “Kindergarten lessons” as they will have another year with me while turning 5 this fall/winter.    Now that I don’t have any littles of my own, and the grandkid potential is still out, I am thrilled to love on these Little Friends of mine!!

SELF CARE

So last fall I became determined to strive for health and fitness.  It has been a learning curve to try to set aside time for myself.  Fitness takes time.  It has been filled with ups, downs, and plenty of plateaus.  I am down 22 lbs as of Oct 31.  I have a long ways to go to get to a healthier me, but I’m embracing the journey.  Frankly, I am surprised at how much emotional health has to be addressed in the process of all this.

PERSONAL GOALS

I have a few writing projects on hold.  One I’ve been intentionally avoiding as God keeps persisting on it, and two others are in the works.  I am also opening myself up (mentally preparing) that speaking to an audience may also be on God’s agenda.  I’ll be letting you know how that unfolds.

THE HUBBY

Bless this man who has provided much for his family in ways beyond monetary means.  Faith, respect, integrity, fellowship, guidance… He’s such a rock in our family.  Not perfect.  None of us are; yet faithful to serve his family in hard work and dedication to provide for us always.  He’s worked hard labor for decades, runs a home-based business (The Good Life), always finds time (and energy) for his kids, and continues to love me through all my flaws.

THE KIDS

I have 6 kids (of my own).
More if I want to include teens that have lived with us in the past.

Bryson (3rd grade, the youngest) has transitioned a lot this year.  Finally out of “being the baby” mode, and is stepping up to be more helpful.  Loves documentaries; specifically anything space related.  Tends to be a sports fan like his older brothers, although he has not really expressed an interest in actually playing any sports.  He does like to work out in the garage with me, so that’s been fun!

Andrew (5th grade) has really matured this year.  He steps up to help out when needed, gets his school work done without asking (most times), has been incredibly patient with his younger brother, loves reading to the preschoolers, enjoys drawing his own comic stories.

Katie-girl (Freshman) is back at dance after a 2 year hiatus while working on some severe food sensitivity issues.  It’s good to see her back in her element.
She still has a ridiculous amount of hobbies and interests (crocheting, knitting, sewing, drawing, foreign language, make up and hair specialties, fashion, photography, etc)  As long as she gets her core school work done, she’s free to explore self-led interests as she wishes.

TJ (20 next week) works full time, helps teach at Sunday School, helps coach a local soccer team with his two older brothers, and seems to be the go-to brother when someone needs help with something.  We also call him “the baby whisperer” as he scoops up a baby when gets home from work.  They love him!

Nick (23) is getting married in June.  Woo hoo, it’s about time.  They’ve been dating 5 years now, and his fiance, Kailynn, has been a part of our family all this time.  She finished college, got her degree last year, and finally they set a date!  He’s a fire inspector, and currently coaches soccer with his brothers.

Joe (28) is happily married to such a lovely young lady.  They have bought a house.  He currently got his dream truck, and they like to do some traveling.  No grandbabies…. yet.   Fun fact:  Joe is ordained and will be doing Nick’s wedding, while TJ will be the best man.  Love that my kids can bless each other into adulthood!

As a mama of with half my kids grown, I am incredibly blessed to continue to see my kids friendships with each other flourish.  It is a treasure that on most Sundays they all come home to hang out with each other.  God is good!!!

How is your life?

Same routines?
or
new adventures?

 

 

 

Martin Luther King Jr ain’t no holiday.

martinluther

Martin Luther King Jr Day-

A day we don’t take off from school,
but rather reflect on it’s meaning (and divine purpose).

Katie-girl created the meme above as her assignment.
We came to the conclusion that God’s Golden rule …
“Do to others what you would have them do to you”
is the quickest path to peace.

I find Martin Luther King Jr’s quote,
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that”,
to be quite profound. 

Why do we still struggle, cept by sin alone.
Evil exists, but so does hope.

DSC_0441[1]

Our family discussed that each one of is a part of the peace process.

To understand that concept better,
we wrote down all the words that could mean peace
(on a dove as a symbol of peace).

DSC_0440[1]

…on the other side of our dove we did fingerprints of ethnic diversity,
as a symbol that Jesus Loves All the Children (people) of the World.
(yes, that is a Sunday School song *smile*)

We also watch a Reading Rainbow episode on Martin Luther King Jr,
as well as listen to his (famous) speech.

What God inspired in Dr King ain’t no holiday…
it should be a life style. 

“To recognize that all men are created equal,
that we may all be judged not by the color of our skin,
… but by the content of our character,
that we should all be able to sit down at the table of brotherhood
… together.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

What do you choose?

New Beginnings, A Welcome to 2016

I began blogging in 2008 with this opening statement:

To New Beginnings…

Ah yes, the changing tides of life are upon us…life is so fast, and as one child begins his new journey in our loving home, our oldest son ventures out to face the world…thus the desire to share ‘the little things’ with those we love…Life is a journey, not a destination!

DSC_0505
It was a fresh new beginning in many ways that year.  The biggest one being that I had closed a chapter on my years of providing daycare for many lovely families.  Baby #6 was born that year, and we were in a new season… I was in a new season… to learn to just “be”.
Just be a mom, just be at home, just be still even…

In the last 8 years I’ve learned to embrace intentional parenting, to guide a self-led learner in their homeschool journey, face special needs with a gentle approach, and endure an highly sensitive (albeit gifted) child…

we have moved 6 times; have had a mother (-in-law) with severe dementia get diagnosed, live with us, then live in a care facility near us; have had 3 young adults take turns in 3 consecutive years living with us for their own reason and season; we’ve graduated two homeschool students, and have seen our oldest son marry the girl of his dreams…

It’s been a blessed journey.

And the voyage continues…

This year is different.  

Instead of adventures outside of the home,
such as field trips, co ops, and homeschooling alongside other families, sports, random park days, etc…

we are now creating them inside the home,
such as providing childcare, offering a preschool co op in my house, and still encompassing learning from home.

It’s been a huge transition for us.

We went from following a rhythm to our days, where we had guidelines
but could embrace the moments in life as they came.
It was a low key and very effective way to learn and live in our family environment.

Now…

we follow a schedule,
not just a schedule for my own days activities with my kids and care kids,
but also the care kids parent’s work schedules, sports schedules, public school schedules, etc…

The hours are long, unpredictable, and busy…

my stay-at-home responsibilities are still in high demand as well…
and some days I question my sanity (as in why am I doing all this?)…

yet I already know the answer.

~To share Christ’s love.

I admit I have to do a lot of things to make this all work, family life and all…

but more importantly…

I get to…
*play with little people all day
*do what I love to do
*follow God’s lead for my life
*show God’s grace in our daily lives
*cultivate friendships with other moms
*show my kids that endurance with the right attitude means everything.

So I welcome 2016 and all it has to offer!

 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
 

Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation, by prayer and petition, and with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.

And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4: 4-7

L.I.F.E. Academy~ September wrap up

DSC_0848[1]

In all honesty, we played around with our daily rhythm a bit for September.

With adding a preschool co op to our Monday and Wednesday mornings,
along with having after-school care kids show up mid afternoons,
we’ve had to reestablish our routine.

You may take a look at Our School Day Schedule to get a gist of how are days flow.

DSC_0744[1]

So my kids happen to have free time on Monday and Wednesday mornings,
in which they often find things to do together.
Katie (13) has taken to helping one of her younger brothers write a book, one chapter at a time. 
Andrew (10), who is overcoming dysgraphia (lack of hand coordination) often has endless stories to tell, but rarely could get it all out on paper, thus sister began to encourage his thoughts and creativity by being his hands for him.  I’m pretty proud of them both.

Other activities during this free time is outdoor play, board games, playing battle, and exploring self-led interests.

Fridays have been fun for adding field trips and fine art projects.

DSC_0804[1]

After reading about Baby Moses one week,
we did a color resist project with water colors.

IMG_4819[1]

Another week we explored the 10 plagues.
As I had the kids color and cut out the number (of plagues) for a craft project,
we all got sidetracked playing with the numbers.
My younger boys seem to have a slower time connecting place value in mathematical equations, but after learning how to read really big numbers (to the billions), they enjoy it much more.  I love “ah ha” moments.

History-
We began Exodus late in the month and expect to probably take the whole month of October to finish it.  Moses had quite the journey!

Science-
The changes of Autumn with a bonus early field trip to a local pumpkin patch.

Literature-
Frankly?  to finish up some books that should be done by now.
Getting ready to issue the next book for the month of October.

Language Arts-
We are working on phonetic word families;
Long A sounds such as with the ~ay, ~ey, ~eigh sounds; as in hay, whey, neigh.
The kids quickly recognize that the most common use is the ~ay.
bonus points; learning the i before e rule while learning the long a/”eigh” sound.

We wrapped up our penmanship review and will begin our writing structure for October.

I am excited for October as I see our days falling into a more peaceful (less chaotic) place…

Gotta love homeschooling!

 

 

A Fresh Start to Nature Walks

Fun Friday is our Nature Study
which includes a nature walk…

SEPTEMBER’S JOURNEY

It is always fun to explore a new area,
and since we recently moved,
our neighborhood, as well as our very own backyard,
is an excellent place to begin again.

Our Neighborhood

Week 1

DSC_0693[1]

Andrew and Bryson lead the way while Adelaide and her mommy joined us.

DSC_0694[1]

We found bees, grasshoppers, snakes, butterflies,
as well as some lovely flowers, lots of plum trees,
and some pretty cool succulents.

Week 2

DSC_0712[1]

Daddy and the puppy are joining us this time!

DSC_0714[1]

we observed some random plants…

DSC_0715[1]

and the weather has been delightful thus far…

DSC_0716[1]

which makes for a good outing.

Week 3

Some weeks are just plain busy, and you forget pics, right?

Last week was a bit of a crazy nature walk.
I have a friend who has begun to bring her homeschooled son (and infant daughter) over on Friday afternoons for some fun science activities, a speech presentation, and our nature walks.  On this day I tried to mulit-task by going for our nature walk at the same time as heading down to pick up one child for afterschool care (I do not have the 3 sibling on Fridays, so this was a random drop in care).  As this one child got off the bus, another child joined us as we ventured through the neighborhood.  This round of adventure was about our local deciduous trees, so we took samplings of leaves, seeds, and bark as the opportunities allowed.

Week 4

IMG_4574[1]

This round of a nature walk was in our very own backyard.

DSC_0773[1]

We, again, took samplings of the trees;
a piece of bark, a seed, and a leaf.

DSC_0801[1]

…then explored our findings!

Next month we will start our nature journals to our fun list as well.

Does your family stop to take a look at nature within the busyness of life?
Do you see the ever so small changes that take place around you?
Autumn is an excellent time to see God’s beautiful artwork!

 

 

 

It Begins… L.I.F.E. Academy 2015-16

DSC_0417[1]

Here is where the fun begins!

Our first day of school for the new school year in our new home!

Admittedly, I had zero “first day” plans up until last night.
We had family and friends over, and I winged some ideas on a whim.
It actually turned out to be a really fun day!

I opted for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle theme.

ARTS:

We began with a paper mache project, in hopes of making a pinata later this week.
Nothing like making a ooey, gooey mess first thing in the morning.  ha ha!!

DSC_0447[1]

LANGUAGE ARTS:

We used a Venn Diagram to explore the similarities and differences of the 4 Ninjas.

DSC_0454[1]

Next I had the kids read through the Sunday Paper comics (gleaning through to the decent ones only) to understand the dynamics of how comic strip writing is created.  The kids then began to make their own TMNT version.

DSC_0453[1]

FINE ARTS:

I thought it would be interesting for us to learn about the actual artist that the turtles are named after.  The kids were pretty excited to already recognize much of the work.  This is a fun video that we enjoyed:
Renaissance Art

MATH:

DSC_0476[1]

M&M’s are always a fun option, right?
We sorted colors (ok, so they have no purple m&m’s to represent Donatello, so we substituted the brown ones), and tallied it up.  Then we worked on the fractions, decimals, and percentages to warm up our math brains once again.

DSC_0482[1]

SCIENCE:

We whipped up some Mutagen.
Slime is always a big hit around here!

DSC_0484[1]

We added a little glow to ours!

CRAFTS:

DSC_0489[1]

Ok, so we really did this for little Adelaide (2),
but we sent her home with hers before taking a photo.

LUNCH: 

pizza;  need you ask?

PE:

Ninja Training!
We made nunchunks out of pipe insulation.
They turned out well.

DSC_0487[1]

Tonight we will watch a TMNT movie, and call it a great start to a new school year!!

I did spend the morning talking to the kids about our expectations for the school year.
We have 2 general rules in our home:  1.  Be kind.  2.  Have fun.

I then went into detail about Attitude & Effort.    The whole concept that we don’t have to be perfect but that we do need to give our best.  Some things in life will come easy, and other things will be difficult.  Both deserve our effort, and life is more enjoyable for ourselves (and those around us) if we can maintain a pleasant attitude.  My kids are aware that if they are having a rough day, or a particularly moody moment, that they are free to take time to themselves quietly to regroup (aka a self-assigned time out).  If I see it is a real struggle, then I will come alongside them to talk it through and pray with them.  To slow down the moment seems to mostly help. 

Tomorrow we will begin our core studies of reading, writing, and math, sprinkled with history, science, fine arts, & foreign language. 

Here’s to a new school year…. COWABUNGA!!!

Summer life…

This is Our July, while in the Middle of Moving…

My family spent 2 entire weeks prior to the 4th of July to decorate our church for VBS, along with many other amazing volunteers.

Our theme was Journey Off the Map,
so we went with a woodsy wilderness style.

My classroom ideas:

IMG_4487[1]IMG_4488[1]

Our sanctuary;
building a waterfall was a lot of work…

IMG_4502[1]

My four yr old class was a busy but fun group!
Thank God (literally) that I had such fabulous helpers!
(I’d be the red-headed lady in the back).

IMG_4510[1]

PACKING BEGINS

Yep, after VBS week, we began packing… books!

IMG_4514[1]

and then I’d take breaks to enjoy the small moments of summer~

like playing outside…

IMG_4540[1]

enjoying lunch dates…

IMG_4537[1]

join a mom’s Bible study where kids are welcome…

IMG_4526[1]

prep gifts for Nick’s 22 birthday…

IMG_4508[1]

watched U.S.A. lose against Jamaica for the Gold Cup…

IMG_4546[1]

and had friends over for a tea party…

IMG_4547[1]

where the girl’s made fresh peach pie!  Mmmm….

Did I mention that I have been packing books?
Lots and lots and lots of books.  oh my!

We are fortunate enough to be able to move all said boxes of books to our new house earlier than the planned move in date.  So grateful!  It took 2 full truck loads of just the books (followed by all the bookcases) to move them all.  I quickly (9 hours last Saturday) unpacked half of them.  So now we have extra boxes to begin packing the rest of the house!  Ha!

Bonus event:
First night we moved boxes, we had neighbors introduce themselves.
A mom with her 13 yr old daughter and 15 yr old son.
The daughter had picked blueberries from our new house to make us these…

IMG_4542[1]

Blueberry Muffins!  How lovely is that?!

In my spare time, I am planning out our preschool lessons for the year, deciding on our homeschool routine, creating a chore schedule, organizing our (new) school room, making a monthly meal plan, an organizing a preschool co op to join me on Tues and Thurs.    I am very excited to get settled in our new house to let the fun begin…  hopefully in about 2 weeks!  ~feeling blessed~ woo hoo!