Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I'm no Super{mom}

If you've travelled with children, whether by boat, car, plane or train, you know how tough it can be. The Lord had mercy on us with this trip to Florida by way of an Angel.

I secretly watch people's expressions as we make our way down the isle, arms full of babies and bags, counting as we go by, hoping there are no seats open behind them. I make an effort to put a real smile on my face, to speak quietly and gently, to show kindness. I am proud of my little family!

I know there are Angels among us, but I was seated next to one on our first flight who was such an encouragement, her words will follow me for years, if not a lifetime.

"Oh you have your hands full!"


        | Yes with such good things.

We sat down and strapped in all the kids, tucked and stashed bags and were settling, when this kind lady leaned over and offered some of the kindest words given by a stranger. She marveled at how well behaved, and happy the kids were, how they obeyed and seemed content, and then reflected that on me. She showered me with encouraging words and observations about how I must really love my children, how they know they are loved and cared for.

She observed that I treated my role as a Mother as an important job, as my children gifts and not a burden, all of which I do, even when I do feel the burden. 


Somehow we got on education, I told her I homeschooled the kids, she told me I was a superwoman.

And though it's a wonderful compliment, it's totally untrue, I told her so. I don't have it all together, nor do I pretend. I fail all the time at those things I find the most important. I lose my temper and fail to show them Grace. Sometimes I want to escape it all and change my name.

But these kinds words were such an encouragement as well as a reminder, to keep striving for what really is important. And though I don't do any of it for what other see or think, it's nice to be encouraged by others at a time that is tough.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Links

I have to be honest, we are enjoying our selves and spending time with family way too much to have any motivation to blog, but I have been relaxing in blog land a little and found some fun links for you!

A fun little snack for cold wintery days, try this melting snowman

This fun craft uses things I guarantee you have around your house, for those kids on vacation with boredom creeping in!

Use this site for cute Christmas decorating if you have a party coming up, or just want to make your own Christmas dinner extra special.

A FREE Christmas Printable, if you've got an empty frame "hanging" around, decorate easily with this or, print out some wallet sized, hit up the $1 section for some little frames and make some ornaments as gifts or for yourself!

A cute, inexpensive gift idea for your kids to put together for their friends or family!

Food for thought, Christian parenting at Christmas.....Santa or no Santa?

Consider giving a gift that keeps giving.....request a catalog and let your kids pick out a gift from them.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Leaving' on a Jet Plane {Part 1}

Traveling with young ones can be quite the task, keeping them clean and entertained can be tiring and taxing to say they least. But having done it numerous times, Dave and I have figured out some ways to keep each other sane and the kids happy, and even have a {little} fun along the way. I've done a post about it in the past and you can read it here but I thought I would expand a little on some more, and teach you how to make the tray table cover! It's pretty simple and it really does make a world of difference!

Some tips for what to DO on the plane! This may seem like a lot of prep and planning, but it's easier than trying to entertain a little one in a 12 by 12 inch space with no supplies!

1. Everyone loves a present! This started when we were traveling for Christmas and we thought it would be a fun treat for the kids to open presents. Well honestly any time of year you fly, you can do this. We buy small presents for the kids and wrap them up. This year the loot includes things like Polly Pockets for the girls, a small Lego set for Jonah, coloring pages, Velvet Art coloring pages, Bendaroos, play dough and some little art projects. The key is finding them things to keep their hands busy. If their hands are busy so will their minds be! And yes taking the time to wrap them makes it all the better. We've never had any problems with wrapped presents before!

2. Munchies to Munch! Just for good measure, assume your kids aren't going to like what the airline is either selling or passing out. And there are tons of great single packs of snacks from applesauce to m&m's. Seriously don't bother with what you aren't sure your kids will like, bring only what you know they will eat, and enjoy. If you don't normally buy processed snacks like Goldfish, this might be a good time for a treat! We always pack a few juice boxes per child (and yes this is allowed for your children) but this year we've also packed some small drinking containers for the on-flight drinks (which are free and they do offer healthy options). It's always nerve wracking to try and hold on to all their drinks, so invest in a few of these and sit in peace.

3. Storytime! If your kids love story time at home, extend it on the airplane! A good Chapter book will do the trick and usually induce sleep as well! If you can, read slowly and clearly, and extend the time you would normally take to read a chapter. If you have independent readers, some new books (really, it's worth it) that THEY can read to the younger ones will be priceless for a few minutes if rest yourself. Readers are light and thin and can double as a present!

4. Movie night! If you are taking a long flight like we do to get from Hawaii to Florida a movie is a must. Preferably a NEW movie none of the kids have scene before, or a favorite for younger kids. Either way, almost 2 hours of your little one sitting peacefully is very valuable. And you can charge the DVD player between flights in the airport.

5.Get in the Action. You can pack that magazine, book or knitting. But don't start huffing when things don't go your way. Just go along with what the kids are doing, if they want you to color, grab a crayon. Play with play dough, start molding. BE WITH your children instead of trying to entertain them. Trust me, keeping busy yourself actually makes the trip go by quicker. I almost feel sorry for people traveling without children, their flights are much longer than mine ;) Bring along some travel  games as well. They have magnetic checkers (so you don't lose all those little pieces. Go fish, old maid. And plan on playing along with them!

6.Act like a new Mom. Meaning, when the kids sleep, YOU sleep. Do what ever it takes or at least put your head back in some mostly uncomfortable position and close your eyes. You may not get a chance to do it again. Even in the middle of the day, you'll need as much rest as you can get traveling, don't waste this time!

7. Layover Madness Most people hate layovers, but if you have lots of little ones, you need to see them as a sanity break for both you and your children. Find a place (and some airports actually have play areas) where your kids can run, jump, roll around on the floor and get all that energy out. Seriously ignore the looks you get from the strangers and the "I don't have kids but if I did I would never....." people. Trust me, you won't see them again and if you do. Oh well.

Hopefully this was helpful, it's really not rocket science, but doing a little planning ahead of time can make for a more enjoyable trip! Stay tuned for my Tray table cover tutorial!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Updates

First of all I cannot express my gratitude for those of you who prayed for us this week. It's been quite the roller coaster, but through it all we have clearly felt God's hand and peace on us.

There is really nothing like hearing there may be (or IS) something "wrong", "not normal", etc with your little babe. About 18 months ago we were in a similar situation with Jonah and his brain infection. At the feet and Mercy of God and he was gracious. He healed our Jonah faster than anyone expected. We believe those of you who prayed, who laid his name down at the throne of God had everything to do with that.

This week it was Liora there was concern about. I took her in to make sure the cold she had was not in her lungs, and for her 6 month check up. To my surprise the visit took a much more serious, drastic turn. All of a sudden I was in the parking lot, sobbing, trying to relay to Dave what the Doctor had said. I was in shock.

I came home and instantly plugged myself into google, which can be good and bad. Trying to find out about Hydrocephalus. Her Dr was pretty adamant something wasn't right.

When we had her Ultrasound and talked to the radiologist, our fears weren't completely dissipated. He said her ventricles were enlarged a little (more than average), she did have a little extra fluid, but not enough for a diagnosis or treatment. He also didn't see any reason for the enlargement from tumors or anything. He recommended we keep an eye on her head size and development. To me that was saying for us to wait until she was brain damaged and then come back in for more testing. NOT good enough for my fears to be relieved at all. But he said we didn't need the CT scan. I was not convinced.

I called our Pediatrician as soon as we left and many times this morning. We couldn't reach the Dr, we were given the run around and finally we left messages in 2 different places. Dave had stayed home from school thinking we might have to go in anyway. So we headed out to do a little shopping for some last minute things for the trip in 4 days. While Dave and the kids were eating lunch and I was shopping alone (Mommy needed a break!!!) I get a call from our Pediatrician. He basically said, "Her head shape is not normal, there IS something wrong and we need to find out what. How quickly can you get down to the hospital." This time the diagnosis being her scull was prematurely fusing. So we literally headed down there immediately, and you know. God worked it all out.

Had we done it earlier, she would have had to have been sedated. But she was exhausted and was wanting to be nursed when I left the store. She was SO mad and crying the whole way down there (which was heart wrenching) but, when we got to radiology, I checked in and nursed her right to sleep. Not only that, she was so out that I put her right on the table, they scanned her, I picked her back up and she was still asleep. Within minutes the radiologist and our DR. were looking at the scans, he called us and said she was fine! Hopefully her head just had a little growth spurt and the rest of her will catch up.

There is still concern with the extra fluid, but it could be very normal for her, and right now it poses no risk for her.

We praise GOD for her life and her health and for the blessing we have in everyone involoved in supporting us during this time.

You really find out who your prayer warriors are! And we are blessed to repay the favor any time any place.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pray for Us!

We are leaving in just a few minutes to make the drive to Kapiolani Women's and Children's Hospital.
During a Dr.'s appointment on Monday the measurements of Liora's head circumference were found to be almost 2 inches larger than the average baby of her age.

Though we are hopeful, there is a chance the large size is due to something called Hydrocephalus or extra fluid surrounding Liora's brain. If that is the case we'll have to discuss other options to relieve the pressure in her little head. 

Developmentally she is right on target, so we are praying her big Noggin is just some extra smarts God put in there for her. Of course if not, we'll coninue to lean on Him for Peace, Grace and guidance. 

We appreciate your prayers today and tomorrow for a possible CT scan!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Father's Eye

Funny how a Mother's eyes don't see the imperfections. Though everyday I saw, I question did I really look. I should have noticed, should have seen. Instead we ended an appointment making more appointments and asking more questions instead.

Of course it could be or maybe or what if is there lingering in the space between conscious and un. That same space filled with busy hands to keep my mind from wandering too deeply, into a place I cannot fathom. A place no parent, no spouse, no child wants to be. But it's in that space......

 "What you meant for evil, I mean for good." spoken from the One whose arms are filled with my tears and fears, my could be, would be, what ifs.

Funny how a Father's Eye doesn't see imperfections, but the plans He has for us. Plans we know will change, and teach, though we don't know how~ or even why.

Will she be the tool to teach me to walk closer? To find Grace? To live for Him? To kill my pride, reach out, reach within, lose control. What is it?  What is it that I must learn?

We know this life is but a vapor......what a precious little vapor she is. They all are. And yet the days slip through my fingers unnoticed, brushed aside as if there are no miracles. As if we are not miracles breathing and dancing through this gift of hours, minutes, seconds. How many times have I wasted this miraculous breath on the useless? How many days not spent as vapor but as labor?

I so easily forget they are on loan, they aren't even mine though I carried them and birthed them and nurture them still, for what and whom, from whom?

Once again brought to my knees out of desperation to reach into some kind of control over that which I have non of, the only thing I can hold on to is prayer. And that we will do......

Because He sees, and knows and Wills. And we will ask for normality and monotony, and boring. And if we get otherwise, we'll be down on our knees again.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Multitude Mondays



17

17. the prayers of friends and family

18. little boys with army knives

19. making houses out of cardboard boxes

20. making new friends

21. Christmas music being played non stop

22. travel plans

23. news of a new addition to the family making his way closer to meeting us

24.Homemade cookies

24. and this:




Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Weekend Finds

I love finding great ideas, even more than that I love sharing great ideas. So here a few finds I fell upon over the weekend worth sharing!

Kids 
I'll be getting this Nativity pack ready for the plan ride in 9 days!
And probably this Christmas pack as well! 



Just Because
Recycled Kitchen There are some pretty fancy Mini kitchens out on the market these days, but this one was too cute not to share!
 Traveling this season? You want to read this Mom's idea for keeping eveyone in fun spirits when traveling gets tough!
 
Christmas
These paint stick ornaments are adorable and practically FREE! If you must pay for the sticks, our were .32 at Walmart (that may be cheaper in the mainland) Each stick makes 4 ornaments. The printable is {FREE} follow the tutorial and make your self or others some ornaments for pennies, literally!

Fabulous Freebies
Free Digital Scrapbooking downloads! I have spent a lot of time over at Shabbyprincess this weekend!These are not only great for Scrapbooking, but why not create your very own Christmas or New Year's Photo Card this year! Get them printed up at your local Costco or Photo center, personalized them the way you want them!
 A little disclaimer, this isn't our Christmas Card. In fact the kids are STILL sick and we haven't even gotten to take family photos yet, so we are planning on sending new years cards!

A Challenge
Are you up for it? Head over to Courtney's Blog for a great challenge. Starting this week would be great since the challenge is to take a bubble bath!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Digital Scrapbooking Addiction

Oh Wow.......I was up with a sick little girl last night and started clicking around the web reading up on Digital Scrapbooking. I love Scrapbooking, though I don't have the time for it anymore. 
The above layout was made all for free {FREE}with downloads from
 The coolest thing is, you can get FREE tutorials on this site that walk you step by step through the entire process AND you can get these pages printed at your local Costco!! (as well as a million other places!) Or on a photo printer (which I have, but I am wondering if ink costs are more than printing....)

I think I have found a new addiction brewing.

I want to be a good keeper of Memories for my children, I enjoy photographing them but have little time to create something! This way I can create and stop with no mess and no cleaning up! Oh wow. I know I'm coming a little late to the game here but....sigh.......I'm in digilove......

Handmade Christmas

Every year I come upon this way too late, the desire to make things handmade for Christmas. I love creating for other people, whether it's sewing or crafting or knitting. I really do enjoy choosing things I think each person will like, thinking about these items in their homes, or of them wearing them. (I do realize this is cheesy but I really am thoughtful about it) Ahem.

There are many reasons for making Christmas handmade, including the desire to do something extra special, keeping costs down (thought that isn't always the case with handmade!), the chance and excuse to be creative. I love it for all of those reasons. We have a BIG family so doing handmade is serious business, it can be time consuming and expensive, and so wonderful! As an Artist (did I say that outloud? I was an Art major but hardly consider myself an "artist") there are times in life I feel the overwhelming need to make something, anything! Christmas always brings that about in me. And even though I penciled "start Christmas gifts" somewhere in August or Septmeber, I missed it, next year I'll have to write in in every week......

So I thought I had missed my chance, almost did. It was so on my heart I actually took it to God in prayer, I did. He knows how crazy my life is and how I don't have time to sit and make aprons for every woman like I did 1 year and Table runners and matching towels like I did another year, He knows all that. But He also knows my desire to create. And maybe it's silly, but this is what I'm doing this year......oh and by the way, if you are on my list, here is how to make your refill.....

This year the kids and I are making Sugar and Salt Body Scrubs (not mixed together)! It was extremely easy and plenty of supplies to choose from, I'll show you what we did! I had a lot of ladies on my list this year, we'll get to see both families for the holidays and all my girls here in the islands as well, so this was a way to make something special that could stretch costs.

Your supplies are: 
Oil base ~You can use baby (mineral) oils, cococut, almond, grapeseed, macadamia (without the garlic unless you are married to an italian). You could even use Olive, vegetable, corn, but those have a more distinct smell so I stayed away from those.
Sugar or Salt~ No need to get fancy! Regular sugar and salt will give a softer scrub, raw sugar or rock salt will give a rougher scrub, both work great.
Scent~Pure Essential oils is a necessity. Some drug stores, health stores, GNC even carries them!
Jars~I used canning jars and made my own labels on Publisher and printed them on label paper.

Because I knew I was making about 6~ 8oz jars per scrub, I mixed my ingredients in a bigger bowl first and then scooped into the jars. You could do it per jar though if you are only making a little at a time! My ratios were: 4 cups of salt or sugar to about 1 cup of oil. This doesn't have to be exact!
 The sugar or salt should appear wet, but not necessarily dripping with oil. When that is well mixed, add in your essential oils, at least 15 drops, but go by scent!

Don't forget about letting the little people help, they love to mix! Just no tasting the contents!


I made round labels, tied a bow around each bottle and there you go!

There are so many mixes you can try out, scrubs are awesome on that dry skin for those cold winter months, or those hot sunny ones! 

Our combos this year were:
Lavendar Vanilla Sugar Scrub
Shea Cocoa Sugar Scrub
Tea Tree Salt Scrub
Bergamot Salt Scrub

I hope you give these a try, if not for family for Church friends, employees, peers, teachers or yourself! Enjoy!



Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Ministry of Motherhood

I'll admit, some days it doesn't feel like a ministry. Some days I feel dumped on and used, invisible and forgotten. I secretly harbor thoughts of why....why can't I be called to be a missionary to some far off place? why can't I write a book or adopt a child or change the world with an idea.

why am I just a mother waring paths in the house as I go from filling stomachs to laundry to diapers? It doesn't feel special or important. It feels hard, and exhausting, and endless.

This is your mission, this is your ministry.

 He whispers when times get really tough. When my arms are tired of holding a baby while juggling another task. When my back and head ache. When I lose the motivation to even look in the direction of laundry getting out of control. When I wipe the bottom of a child or a pan.

That's how I need to see it. To see it any other way would be a waste. To desire a life other than the one He called me to, wrote out eons before I was dust, would be wrong.

I need to see this life through the spirit, through His eyes, and these....


Romans 8:5
"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires."

For every Mother it's a ministry. A ministry to love, train, teach.

"They need the authentic strength that comes from the true foundation of a biblical world view and a proper understanding of the real Christ who is worthy of their worship.They need an unwavering, internal moral and spiritual compass that will help them weather today's storms and tomorrow's and will guide them for the rest of their lives. They also need to see what real faith looks like when lived day in, day out, so they will have a pattern to follow. The process of providing such gifts to my children is what I've come to think of as the ministry of motherhood. I believe it's central to the calling of anyone God has privileged to bring children into this world." ~ Sally Clarkson, The Ministry of 
 Motherhood

So when my tired feet are beating the same patterns and rhythms I do daily, sometime unnoticed. When I'm completing tasks that should be featured on "Dirtiest Jobs", when I just don't want to go anymore. It's then, I need to walk with the Spirit, listen the that still voice reminding me of my ministry, and carry on in His strength.

Mom on a Mission.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wordless {wet} Wednesday

You know I could do a whole blog post about what happens while I've excused myself to the restroom. But today I captured hard evidence.

I could hear the water running.....and running .....and running.

And found a little mermaid in the bath tub.



I'm glad I got there when I did......we were a few short inches from disaster.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I see it as flexible

What I am most grateful for today, as I sit in this completely trashed house, is the power and permission to say NO.

No we will NOT start up schooling with 3 sick little kids, a tired Mom, and a disheveled house. To some that may seem irresponsible.

I see it as flexible.

Instead of trying to cram learning in through snotty noses and hacking coughs, getting desks and books in order, clearing counters, locating my pencil bag with all my color coded goodness {MIA at the moment}. Yes instead of all that, we'll switch up our schedule.

Read wrapped in blankets, nurturing fevers. Crowd by the computer watching videos on animals. Try our hand at making some homemade goodies to give as gifts for Christmas. Whip the house back into shape maybe.

And thank God for this amazing opportunity to be with my kids, this crazy thing called Homeschooling. As stressful as it can be and very well is at times, it's the neatest thing ever.

It's where we are, and where I pray God keeps us in the future.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's all about the {tree}

Oh it's that time again. It is. SO quickly it has come again for us to drag box after box out the attic, to scour through our clearance items we gathered post season last year, to set the whole house into full twinkle Christmas mode. But of all the things I went looking for this year......it was our Jesse Tree.

I had only heard about the Jesse Tree for the first time last year and it quickly became our favorite time of the day, and our favorite tradition of the season.

There are many ways to celebrate advent with calendars and socks and cute crafts hiding treats, but the most blessed way is to walk through the line of Jesus, truly unfolding the history and the mystery of His birth and His sacrifice.

We want Christmas to truly be about Christ for our children. Of course the smells and sounds, traditions and gift giving are a part of it all, but the one gift that  truly mattered, the only gift that will carry you on to eternity wrapped and cooing in that little manger. That is the gift that we want our children to think about and celebrate.

So that when the wrapping paper is ripped and crinkled, the toys broken or forgotten about, the food eaten, decorations re-boxed and tucked in dusky hot attics. What is remembered is more than what won't last, what is remembered is truly the greatest gift of all.

The gift of life, of light, of forgiveness and salvation.

The gift of Jesus.

We start tonight, around the dinner table, the Tree in the center waiting for our hearts to tune in.

For more ideas about the Jesse Tree you kind find wonderful resources in  the links below.
http://www.eriercd.org/jessetree.htm
http://www.aholyexperience.com/2010/11/free-jesse-tree-advent-devotional-book/

http://images.rca.org/docs/disciples
The ideas and possibilities are endless!


















Friday, November 26, 2010

Did you Survive?

We did and we had a blast! We had a house full of friends and family, way too much amazing food and desserts and lot of little kids running around entertaining each other. Of course being the head chef, I didn't get photos of the people, but I was able to snap a few of the decorations and such.

 The stretch of tables that ran all the way through the house, after over 20 people ate we hardly left a dent in the food!
 I tried my hand at a few fun and edible decorations....okay so my fruit gobbler looks more like a duck.....
 This pizza dough cornucopia took only 20 minutes to make, so fun! I"ll be doing this again!
 Very tasty little pilgrim hats! The kids and I had fun making them Thanksgiving morning, found the idea on my new favorite site Familyfun.comhttp://familyfun.go.com/
 Probably the most fun I had planning and prepping was in the decorating. I was so blessed this year to have been in my parents house which was incredible for entertaining, it's huge! But also my Mom left all sorts of fun thing for me to gather from around the house from candles to faux fall leaves. I think I may have spent a total of maybe $6 to decorate everything!
 I found some great {and totally FREE} printables from Craftily Ever After
 I tried to make the kids table a little special this year, the kids had some candy to snack on and some coloring sheets.

The food was amazing. My husband tried out his new smoker and made a Kiawe Turkey, Gina brought homemade Green Bean casserole that I'm still nibbling on, the "red stuff" (a jello dessert tradition for us) as well as all the usual yumminess.

Most of all was the incredible spirit of the whole day. I love watching kids go flitting by, people munching in Santa Fe Hot dip, men shouting over football and new friends being made through memories.

I can't wait to do it all again next year.....now on to Christmas!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pre Thanksgiving Moment

Where are we today.....are we running around trying to get everything done? Are we stressed, tired, worried? I can answer yes to those! I want everything to be great, all my ideas to come together beautifully.

But not at the expense of my children. Often time when I am stressed or anxious it shows, and they know. They now the wide eyes, scared spacey look. The frazzled hair, sweaty brow.

But Holidays (however you celebrate) are about families, about spending time with each other and enjoying each other, regardless of how the table is decorated or the Turkey is brined.

Today I'm reminding myself to be mindful or the tastes, the sounds, the little witnesses. Who undoubtedly will remember what it was like to celebrate in your house, was it fun to prepare or was it a sham for your guests?
You don't need to be lectured on how much there is to be thankful for, and neither do I.

Sometimes though, we need to live it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

{FOTO} Friday

 Psalm 19:1
The Heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Taken at Haleiwa Beach Park

Chalkin' it UP!

Last year for Valentine's Day giveaways I made crayons out of well....crayons. I know creative right? Okay so if you missed that post you can catch up on the idea here {and no, I didn't come up with the idea, I just bought a cookie pan with the fun shapes to melt them in. Anyway, they turned out great and were a big hit.

So this year for Christmas, I sprouted another idea. Something fun without the sugar and allergy warnings! Plus spreading a little creativity along the way!

So this year we are making.......

Homemade sidewalk chalk! And let me tell you it's way easier than pealing all those crayons! Especially the ones you hadn't even used yet! You need a few simple ingredients and you are on your way to some sidewalk art fun!

Gather your indredients: Plaster of Paris, Powder tempera paint (liquid would work, but you'll end up with very light colors), cookie tins (I bought girl shapes and boy shapes at Target), a tuperware bowl, measuring cups and spoons. 

Chalk recipe: 2 cups of plaster to 1 cup water , 1-2 T of powder tempera paint. A few notes about the recipe: You ratio of plaster to water may be different than mine. The thicker it is the faster it will set BUT the harder it is to pour, you have to find a middle ground. You can use tempera paint but your colors will be very muted, if you do that add the paint to the plaster first and then add water. Since you are adding a liquid you'll add less water than the 1st recipe called for. There is a lot of wiggle room, you can always add water or plaster if it doesn't seem right. If you have disposable bowls and mixing spoons I'd use those....
 Measure your water first, add the plaster and paint and mix......
 and mix.......
and mix some more!

Pour your concotion into the molds and wait! It takes about an hour (sometimes longer) for the plaster to harden and dry enough on the outside. They are pretty hard to get out of the mold so don't be afraid to wack the tin against the counter or tap the back of the mold itself. We didn't have any chalk break and I was pretty rough!
Cute huh? And of course we tried them out and they work great and wash right off! You have to wait about 24 hours for the inside of the plaster to fully dry, but have fun. Oh and if you are coming over for Thanksgiving....your kids might be going home with a few of these......


Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Beauty in the Midst of the Mess

Today is one of those days I wake up, not wanting what I know is looming.
The clutter making it's own home around the house.
The laundry so behind I could donate it all and dress a family of 6 for a month.
The schooling, left unplanned because of lack of time over the weekend to do it.
The empty fridge lacking the essentials to get us through even breakfast.
The errands and tasks needing to be accomplished.
The growing list of things "to-do" that always seem to get added to instead of crossed off.

Today is the day to feel like a failure. To look around and know I'm not measuring up (but to what and who?).
To question myself as a Mother, a wife, a friend, a teacher. Maybe I should send all the kids to public school. My house would be so much cleaner, my laundry would at least have a chance at a Mole hill instead of a mountain, errands would be easier with fewer kids in tow.

But you know.........I didn't sign up for an easy clean life when God blessed me with children.

My house is a mess because the kids are busy learning and enjoying life.

My laundry is piled high because I spend my days with my little ones, measuring my time by them and their needs.

The planning was unfinished because of fellowship with family and friends that happily gobbled up my free time.

The shopping, cleaning, lists upon list of things needing my attention, all of these things I cannot accomplish, cannot get done, feel like a complete failure at. Remain, because when it comes down to it, it's because I spend that time with my children. Pouring the best of my energies into them. It's not because I'm lazy, incompetent, in need of re prioritizing or in need better planning.

So my house will remain cluttered, laundry piled, tasks left undone with the evidence of a life given to my children. It may not look beautiful to you, you may question my abilities at holding down the fort, keeping it all together, making it work-or not.  But our days are beautiful to my children, when you ask them what we've done during our time together.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Countdown to Turkey Day!

If you are inviting tons of people over for a Thanksgiving dinner, having just your family or travelling somewhere else, there is always prep involved. If you are like me, I hate rushing and scrambling at the last minute, so this year I'm trying to plan ahead instead of find myself behind. The day of Thanksgiving, I really want to be able to enjoy my guests and not be running around trying to keep everything together. SO here is a list I've come up with to help me keep my head on my shoulders! Let the countdown begin!

10 days and counting{Nov. 15}

  • Finalize your menu (at least what you are cooking if your guests a bringing sides and deserts). Use this dandy worksheet:: {Home Ec 101} By the way Heather is amazing, she's also got great ideas so head on over there and read up!
  • Gather ALL your recipes and put them in one place. A File folder, binder (or use your binding machine to make your own Thanksgiving planner ;) Use this Recipe maker Free! And this worksheet!
  • Start your Amish Friendship starter, didn't know you were making this for your guests did you? This year I am giving guests a starter and sending each family home with a mini sample loaf!
  • Homeschoolers:: decide NOW next week will be an easy one, give yourself permission to take it easy and enjoy cooking with the kids (as I walk away from the mirror after talking to myself!)

Day 9{Nov. 16}
  • Making shopping list (with all your nicely gathered recipes), make sure you shop your cabinets first!
  • Final shopping for non perishable items
  • Start cleaning out the fridge and freezer and making room! Cook with what's in there and don't restock things you don't really need! Clean out any food that is growing, items that are expired or that your aren't using.

Day 8{Nov 17}
  • Start thinking about the little ones visiting. We are having lots of kids of different ages join us (as well as our own clan). I think it's best to plan ahead! Will they be seated with parents or at a "kiddie table", how many are coming, how many boosters and highchairs do you need (consider asking parents to bring those if necessary) will babies need a place to sleep/nap? Do nursing Mom's need a quiet nursing area? Maybe considering have chicken nuggets and other kid friendly foods on hand that you can easily prepare.
  • Kids craft ideas! It may seem crazy to try and stick craft activities in such a busy day, but having things ready for them to do will knock out the boredom and maybe stop them from tearing apart the entire house.....(or maybe not!) You can print off some simple Thanksgiving coloring sheets or go with something a little more crafty. I would keep it relatively mess free ie: no paints and glue! 
  • Gather some things for the adults to do as well. The game of Pit is always a hit, but maybe a puzzle or a board game would be nice to have on hand!

Day 7{Nov 18}
  • Start thinking and gathering decorations. Pull out all your holiday candles, table clothes, etc. Launder anything that needs it or buy those fancy paper plates and napkins! What ever you decide think about it now so you aren't scrambling trying to decorate the night before! Use Paperglitters Free printable fall kit! (in the kit there is a sheet of black and white fall cartoons that I am planning on printing off on label paper for the kids to color and but out and stick on construction paper as a placemat~mess free fun!)
  • Assemble any decorations you need to.

Day 6 {Nov 19}
  • Start any major cleaning projects you've been meaning to tackle. The toy pile in the living room, the cluttered bookshelf you want cleared, the shoe mountain by the door! Make a list and start cracking on those things  that you'll want looking good by the big day. 
  • Make your Sweet Potato Casserole and freeze (you can freeze this for up to 3 weeks~ see you could have started weeks ago!)
  • Assemble your Holiday Punch and Freeze in a round bowl that will fit in your punch bowl (double check!!)
  • Whip up some great dips for those coming early to watch Football! You can Freeze these and pop them in the crock pot Thanksgiving morning! Oh and Borrow this book from your library!
Day 5 {Nov 20}
  • Shop for last of perishable items needed (consult your master list from day 10!)
  • Start working on cooking timeline, use this one from Life as a Mom
Day 4 {Nov 21}
  • Print and assemble your thank you boxes and recipe cards for Amish Friendship bread (If you aren't doing this you could take the day off!)
Day 3 {Nov 22}
  • Start your Deep Cleaning. Fly lady has some very complete lists of how to clean each area of your home!
  • Thaw your Turkey (or Turkeys!!) in the fridge.
Day 2 {Nov 23}
  • Brine your Turkey!
  • Make your Cornbread and hard boil your eggs (if you are making homemade stuffing)
  • Start setting up your tables and chairs (if you need to borrow some, this is the day to pick everything up!)
  • Make a final headcount.
  • Start that Jello desert! Around here it's called "The Red Stuff" Oh so Yummy!
Day 1 {Nov 24}
  • Make your pies 
  • Finish your "red stuff"
  • Put together the stuffing (except for raw eggs and Turkey broth)
  • Make your Mini Amish Friendship Bread Loaves (now you are wishing you would have done this, really)
  • Pull your Sweet Potato Casserol and Dips from the Freezer and put them in the Fridge
  • Peel and Chop Apples for this Pie
  • Do a final straighten of the house before you go to bed so the littles don't undo it so quickly
  • Decorate the table!
Thanksgiving {Nov 25}
  • Follow your Timeline you filled out on Day 5
  • Put your punch in a bowl, pour Club soda over the frozen mixture!
  • Give your house a quick Swifer Vac and check the guest bathroom again to make sure it's stocked and clean!
  • Light your candles and enjoy your guests!
  • Get your Jesse Tree out and have your first Family devotion in preparation for the Christmas Season! (That post is coming up soon!)
Okay so now is your chance to let me know what I have forgotten! I am praying this plan will help lead up to a stress-less holiday this year! I love Thanksgiving, so we are looking forward to having guests in our home this year.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Simple Fall Crafts

Living in Hawaii doesn't exactly make for the best hands on teaching when it comes to learning about all four seasons. Here you can learn about summer, rain, summer and summer! Believe me~ all you who post creative and beautiful ideas on what to do with all those beautiful fall leaves I am jealous! You should send me a box, help a Momma out!

Well, that just means we need to be a little creative when learning about fall and leaves! Being an art teacher I find myself adding arts and crafts to everything we learn. Here are a few ideas I have tried out with the kids that we loved.

We did an overlapping fall leaf painting. This one is great for any age, with a little help even Gracie got involved (and in the process also painted the sidewalk).

Overlapping Leaf Design

First gather your supplies: watercolor paper or card stock, watercolor paints or watered down tempera paints, paint brushes, fall leaves or a print out of fall leaves.


Step One: Have the artists trace or draw fall leaves. We traced them from a sheet of fall leaves, you can use a free printable like THIS or THIS.

Step Two: Over your initial drawings, trace or draw another set of leaves making sure to overlap whenever possible. You are striving for a whole lot of leaves resembling a nice fall pile.

We talked about the Element of Line in art and how important it is, how overlapping creates interest and depth in a work of art, and warm colors (red, orange and yellow).



Step Three: Painting! Have the artists work with one color at a time. Painting entire leaf shapes in one color only. I tried to have them color leaves that weren't touching. When it looks like about a third of the leaves are painted, move on to the next color. This time though you want to choose some of the leaves that are already painted with the first color to add some depth and change the color of the first wash. Repeat with the 3rd color until all leaves are filled in!
Ellie's Art
 
Jonah's Art

This is a great project for kids who are older than 6, they can focus and really do a great job adding layer after layer of leaves and colors. This project can be worked on over a period of time, allowing colors to dry in between washes or all at once allowing colors to run together. My kids are more the spontaneous action art type. So here is a project that suited them a little better:

Wet on Wet Accidental Design



 Using the same supplies, only this time we filled the paper with a humongous leaf. Starting with the lightest color (yellow) we painted the entire leaf generously, making sure there was a lot of puddles!
Next we sprinkled, splattered, action art-ed our way into making fall leaves by dropping the orange and red paint on the wet yellow and letting the leaf "paint" itself! The accidental designs were beautiful! My kids had a really fun time watching the paint "paint itself".



 In Art terms this is called "wet on wet" meaning a wet surface with wet paint.
Another fun idea is to cover the entire paper and then cut fall leaf shapes out of the paper and use those for various crafts!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Spandex

I was asked recently what it was I thought God was trying to teach me lately. I'll tell ya, to be spandex. To stretch and bend around and over things that {sometimes} don't seem they should be stretched and bent around. That's what my time has been this school year.

Stretched, changed, tweaked, stripped down.

You name it, anything but consistent for more than a short period of time. A few short months ago that would have me completely unraveled. But now, in the midst of God's power and Grace, it's truly changing me. He is changing me. He is stripping away my comfort zone, my perfectionism, my time, and transforming it into something so much more beautiful than it's ever been. Into His time and His terms.

I've always been a perfectionist. But there is a problem with perfectionism, it doesn't jive with realism, with living especially with 4 small {very real} children. Perfectionism and the pursuit of it is prideful and ugly. It's selfishness and haughty and envious of others, or at least their appearance of perfection.

What comes with breaking the routine, the schedule, the plans laid up in my own space is stress, anxiety, fear...of life not being perfect. But when we submit moment by moment to Him, the creator of all time and circumstance, transformation takes place. When fear creeps in~prayers must be whispered out. Voices of imperfection stomped out into silence.

Because I am imperfect and God loves me....even though His blood has washed me clean, He loved me before that....in all my imperfectness. He wants to lavishly pour out His rich Grace on my life, this very day, this very moment!

Ephesians 1:7 "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of all sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding."

He doesn't hold back....He knows what He is doing in your life, and He's doing it for you.

You were made, created, fashioned to do good! You are God's Masterpiece a work of fine art! Really you are, just the way you are. Not as a perfectionist....the way you are.  He has created you to do good through Him, in advance! He knows what good you will do. He knows your struggles and your ugly imperfection, but He also knows how to help you over come that.

Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

So be stretched with me, learn to be spandex. It's painful some times looking in the mirror to see what the truth is, but over time when we conform to His plan for our lives, we'll see the beauty in it all.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The spirit of Thank{ful} Giving

I've fallen, quite literally, over these verses the last few weeks. Through them and in them I hear God calling me to more than what I have been in the past. More than what I am capable of giving. He is calling for me to rely wholly on His Grace. That is a difficult place to be at times.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas, the season of giving, around the corner. It's no wonder God has laid these verses on my heart and soul in a time to reflect life and our time here spent well or ill.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

God leads each family to live in individual ways. He has given us individual passions and interests and wants us to use those for his Glory. We have made commitments and should fully commit to them. Some, like our family, has made the commitment to homeschool, but am I giving what I have decided in my heart to give each and every day? Or am I reluctant to throw myself in and focus on the teaching, do I do it out of guilt? (somedays, yes) But it is oh.so.difficult. some days.....yes.

2 Corinthians 9:8
"And God is able to make all grace about to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."

Because even though some days I feel like I can wear the super woman cape, I am not able. I am not. But He is! He is! In everything I do from homeschooling to discipline to serving in the church, when I submit to God and His gift of Grace in my life, that gift is multiplied in me! Trusting him fully will allow me to give freely and generously to those commitments He has put before me. If I cannot or will not trust, I will not sow generously into the lives of my precious children or others.

2 Corinthians 9:10-11
"Now he who supplies the seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store o seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will me made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God."

God gives us generously, those resources to use and invest for Him! When we in return use those for Him, he blesses us. Maybe it's singing, writing, hospitality, teaching....when we are sowing with what He has given, cultivating and watering those commitments using His Grace, He provides more crops! What we sow using His Grace we will reap gracefully. And in that blessing we can serve Him even more!


2 Corinthians 9:12
"This service that your perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God." 

What I desire more than anything else, is for my children too see Christ living and working in me. Not for them to have lived a perfectly kept home, with every thing made from scratch. I want them to see someone who relies on God's strength to keep giving in all times, one who goes in prayer to the Creator of the Universe in all things big and small.

Whisper His name into the tornado, chaos, screaming times and He will answer loudly, reverberating off of the walls of your soul, your needs and Grace. Fall upon Him, those times where you can not lift yourself out of the mire or out of bed. He will provide more Grace than you ever imagined. He will bless you heart to help you serve those who you have been blessed with and have committed to.

Moby Review

I admit, this was my first wrap experience......and I loved it.

After making and selling all sorts of baby carriers, the wrap was one that I was still intrigued about. To be honest it looked complicated, it looked hot, it looked claustrophobic! In reality it's non of those things.

When I first received the Almond Blossoms Moby with UV protection to review, I was excited to try it out, though a little nervous! Even an experienced babywearer, looking at the book (I literally mean book!) that came with the carrier I had my fears! As I flipped through the booklet I really really liked what I saw!

Moby shows step by step details about every position you can wear your baby and toddler in {8 holds in all}! Including breastfeeding and twin holds! There are so many carriers that advertise those two specific holds but few explain them in detail, and showing a precious mom breastfeeding!! I was very impressed and pleased to find this info in the first few pages of the booklet! I'll go on to say that Moby also has a wrap called Best for Babes promoting and supporting breastfeeding!The booklet also included tips on baby massage while wearing the Moby as well as safe exercise positions!

So what about the complicated, hot and claustrophobic? I tried the Moby for a good 6 weeks, my goal is to give an honest review of the product.Within that time I like to use the product in different occasions, weather, situations. I was able to use the Moby on both Liora (3-5 months) and Gracia (2 years/30 pounds) My real opinion?

The Pros:
  • It feels wonderful! The material is amazing and soft, it molds to your body and the baby! My back doesn't get sore from extended wearing!
  • Every position was comfortable and easy to put Liora into and out of, with basically no practice!
  • It's not hard to put the carrier on. It takes between 30 seconds to 1 minute to put the wrap on after only a few tries. It's not at all complicated! There is one basic way to wear the wrap, and an additional sling hold (which is SO cool!! and awesome for toddlers who want to hip carry!)
  • Because of it's stretch, there is very little adjusting to the carrier once the baby is in. I didn't find I wanted things tightened or loosened.
  • It is very secure and safe. Once baby is in the sling, even Cartwheels and trampolines couldn't shake her out of there (although not recommended~please don't try that at home!)
  • The wrap offers a comfortable breastfeeding hold and doubles as a cover up for modesty while you nurse!
  • It can double as a blanket, nursing cover, baby shade, changing pad.......
  • Both Mom and Dad can wear the same wrap! Not all carriers can boast this! It also fits all sizes of men and women!
The Cons:
  • It is bulky to pack into a diaperbag.
  • Putting it on places other than your home (namely outdoors) can be tricky without it hitting the ground, though it is possible.
  • It can get a little warm if you are outside in direct sunlight, otherwise I was extremely comfortable in it!
Over all I was pleased to review the wrap, and still grab it when I'm on the go and at home. And if I've got numerous errands to run, you might even see me pulling through starbucks making a fashion statement sans baby!

    Friday, October 29, 2010

    Menu planning in a {pinch}

    We've all been there haven't we? "Honey DON'T spend anything for the next ........!!!" YIKES! You think as you remember you just cooked your last "planned" meal and you've got a whole bunch of hungry mouths to feed! Well before you freak out.....here are a few things you can do!

    1. Shop your Cabinets.
    Since you can't shop at the store, start with what you have. Take a good look at ALL your ingredients and canned items. Pay close attention to produce that might be going bad and try and use that up first. From there you can start building meals and recipes using the most of what you've got. Don't be afraid to substitute items that are similar. Can't make a Beef Stew using cuts of Beef? Use ground beef instead, it will still taste great! Go through your freezer as well, sometimes there are little ingredients hidden in there!

    2.Gather your resources.
    Use websites like Kraft Foods ! On the right hands side of the website there is a "Use what's on hand" tool. This is amazing! I love this website because it uses a lot of things you've already got in the house! I've built many a great dinner around this website, and honestly they have all been delicious! (no I am not being paid by Kraft Foods!) This recipe for Creamy Italian Chicken Fettuccine is awesome! And really only 1-2 chicken breasts can feed a whole family of 6 when you chop the chicken into little pieces! Sift through your recipe box or binder and check out what is in there. Chances are you'll find things you can cook!

    3.Go with Soup!
    Soup is a great thing to make when you are low on food! Water makes the meal a lot larger! Often times it can feed you more than once! It's also easy to add or omit ingredients you don't have! Some of my favorites are Chicken noodle (again 1-2 breasts shredded go a long way!) Chicken Tortilla, Lentil Soup, Vegetable Stew (with or without beef). If you only have a little ground beef or a little chicken breast or ham, shredding it will make it go a lot farther and help everyone get a little fuller!

    4.Try Homemade.
    Homemade bread only takes a few ingredients, so do tortillas! You may find that you have the ingredients to make these items instead of buy them! The French Bread recipe is the best! It's easy if you have a mixer and only requires yeast, sugar, salt, crisco and flour! This makes 2 loaves!! Even Pasta can be made with a few ingredients! If you've never tried it why not! Make it an event! And homemade pasta sauce is very simple! Noni Bianci's Recipe : Either Tomato sauce or paste (thin with water), onion, diced peeled tomato, meat, Garlic, Basil, Rosemary and Oregano. Mix it all up, the secret is letting it simmer for a few hours! You can add just about anything to spaghetti sauce and it will taste delicious!

    5.Mix it up!
    Who says you can't have breakfast for dinner or hotdogs for breakfast?? Call it backwards day and then eat Ice Cream for lunch! Get creative with what you do have! My husband's family had a tradition on Sundays to have a big lunch, then at night have popcorn and snacks for dinner and watch a movie! You can add snacks, veggies or fruit, gogurt Popsicles, granola bars.....you get the idea. 

    6.Plan for the next time!
    If this has never happened to you, consider yourself very blessed. It's happened to us quite a few times. There are a few things I like to do on a just in case basis. When canned or frozen items are on a great sale, I'll get an extra 1 or 2 of them. Tomato soup, cream of mushrooms soup, frozen mixed veggies, dried beans, ya just never know. Take the time to shred that whole chicken breast you cooked for dinner one night. Pick out all the meat, bag it and freeze it. A quart sized bag will make a nice hearty soup for later! Don't throw away that one extra french toast or the extra batter for pancakes. Make them, they freeze wonderfully! And make for a great quick breakfast when you've run low! If you can buy in bulk, having yeast and flour on hand can be a life saver for a lot of things!

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    This is how {we} homeschool

    I suppose I could start with the "why" we homeschool. There are so many reasons and benefits that are obvious to every other homeschooling family, that the why seems redundant. SO......I won't start there.

    When we made the decision to homeschool I instantly started researching curriculum and quickly figured out that homeschooling is not cheap! Yes there are free routes, cheap-er routes, inexpensive with the right coupon code routes. Either way shelling out a load of dough was not unheard of. And that is just for curriculum. To provide a full education with manipulatives and art supplies.....well that could mean you are taking out a small loan! So we started out using free printables I would gather from different sites and blogs. And it worked great, it really did. But then I found a better way, for us, for the time being.

    We homeschool Jonah (6) and Ellie (4) through an online academy which is considered a Public Charter school. Interesting isn't it? Have you heard of homeschooling this way before? If not, let me introduce you to a great way to have a little of both worlds, especially if you are nervous about starting out in the homeschooling world at all! So here is how it works:

    You enroll your child in the school following all the proper steps, this could mean providing surveys from previous teachers, informing past schools if your child has attended any....or just signing the waver like we did! You go through an online slide show which gives you the rules and expectations of you the parent/teacher. Then comes the fun part!

    The school provides you with $1500 per student as well as a list of providers from where to buy your curriculum. The awesome part is you can even choose Christian curriculum providers such as Sonlight, Abeka, AO Publishers and tons more.  What I really love about this is that you can try curriculum risk free! At the end of the school year you are given a list of the non-consumable items that need to be returned. These are things like readers, teachers manuals etc. You keep any workbooks or items that you've used up during the year. At first I was a little disappointed about having to return the curriculum but after realizing I'd run out of storage in about 2 years, I wasn't that upset! Of that $1500, you need to use at least half the money on curriculum of your choice but the other half can be used to pay for non-competitive activities or lessons (such as ballet, gymnastics, karate, piano, ukulele, voice, etc) or field trips, year passes to museums, galleries or other educational locations.

    The school also provides you with some places to purchase you consumable (and not to be returned) school supplies as well as Art supplies. This year we purchased items from Lakeshore Learning as well as DickBlick. And get this.....you have an unlimited amount of money to spend! That's right Unlimited! Okay I say that but within reason. I'm sure if you tried to foot them with a $5000 bill it wouldn't be approved. But anything you need in the way of markers, crayons, glue paint, stamp pads, dot-dot markers! You don't have to pay for! This has really made homeschooling incredible for us! I'm a hands on teacher and LOVE including art and crafts projects with any subject! These are yours to keep and yours to use!

    So by now you are thinking the school has us by their little finger right? They supply all of  this, but it can't really be a real homeschool experience.....what's the catch????

    The only thing you are required to do is have your child attend 2 classes a month. The teacher provides you with a schedule of class topics for the whole semester, from those you choose 2 per month. You can choose from a list of times and days OR your child can attend the web class! Through the year the teacher provides classroom opportunities for your child on a variety of subjects from Math to Science to Reading.

    There are many reasons why I have really enjoyed this aspect of the online school:
    • It gives my child classroom experience, a teacher who isn't "Mom", to listen to, follow directions from, obey. I think  this accurately models life and gives my kids a chance to practice those character traits they've learned at home!
    • It also gives my child a different learning location. Classrooms are fun places, they are decorated and have different learning stations and Bulletin Boards! (man do I miss Bulletin Boards!)
    • I get to choose the subject, and with that I try to choose something we are currently working on, or something I know Jonah and Ellie would benefit from. Maybe hearing it in a different way, explained in a different way will make something click for them! This means I can also avoid subjects I would prefer to teach my kids myself!
    • The classes are only 2 hours long (the webcam class is 30 minutes), I treat it as a field trip! They do a variety of things in 2 hours including crafts!
    • I love that my two social bugs have a chance to interact and make friends with other students their age. Of course we have friends at Church and at Awana, again, I think giving them bits of time to practice those character traits is important!
    • It gives me a chance to interact with a trained teacher about my child. The teachers are there to offer up support, resources and advice when needed. That is a huge help! I can ask and receive help with certain aspects of their education, I can have them evaluated for progress if I want. And they are on your side, they are there to support you in homeschooling! 
    At the end of the year, you return the list of items they ask for, and that's it! You don't have to turn in any work or portfolio, or have your child tested (although you can if you feel it's necessary).

    Now I know this doesn't appeal to every homescooling family. For us it's been amazing! It's been a blessing for us in many ways! About 48 of the 50 states now have an online option though it will be very different for each state.

    DO you homeschool online? Do you have any questions that I didn't' cover here? Don't hesitate to ask!

    Some links for those who are looking

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    No do evers

    It hit me last night....really hard, like a brick to the chest.

    I can't do it over, can't take it back, can't start from the beginning again. Each day is NEW. Each day is fleeting and fast and full, and once it's over it's over. And your babies are turning into toddlers, milestones are piling up into walls, independence and maturity and life lessons....all at once.

    I sobbed and sobbed as I folded the little clothes that the four of them are constantly growing out of. Never to wear again. I can't take back the rough days, though they were meant for me. I can't hold onto the good days, except through photographs or words, which only go so far to really convey the emotion and senses of that moment. I can't do anything to stop time and yet......it is a gift.

    Even though it seems like the same things happen each day, the same mess to clean, the same discipline issues....the next day really isn't the same. Its a new day the Lord has made, your children have gotten a little older, a little taller, a little wiser. And soon you'll add all those littles up to one big chunk of time. When we aren't paying attention that time escapes.....and we find ourselves staring into this kids almost as tall (or taller) than we are.

    And we can't take it back. We can't redo the wrongs we have done, we can only move on. So cherish CHERISH each day. (talking to myself here) hug and kiss that little toddler running around in her little pink panties and pink camo hat, tickles that little preschooler who is scared of the poisonous dart frogs (but only at night) who dreams of crazy ways  they "just might" make it to hawaii, have special talks late at night with that 1st grader about love and life and God, and snuggle that little babe, so quickly piling up her own milestones.

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