Sunday, March 01, 2009

Getting scrappy!

I love to scrapbook. As many scrapbookers I know, I am waaaaay behind on my kids' albums. My goal is to change that. Last week the Cricut was on sale, and my mom bought me one as an *early* birthday gift. She is so awesome! She knows how much this hobby means to me, and also my family.

After converting the office in our home into our classroom, I lost my designated scrapbooking space. That's okay, I can find another flat surface! I have decided not to scrapbook at home until I get everything organized and cleaned out. And I have to get my taxes prepared for the CPA. Do you think I can do it? I need to work hard so I can get these tasks completed before the mailperson delivers my new toy!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

House Rules

We have always had rules in our home, sometimes we're lacking in enforcement. And there seem to be so many that we have a hard time remembering exactly what they are. So after discussion with some friends, I have decided that all of our house rules can be covered with this one simple statement.

Show respect.

The behaviors I expect of my children all fall under this small umbrella.

Q: Can I hit my sister?
A: Be kind and respect her. Do you want her to hurt you?

Q: If I don't want to clean my room now, can I wait until later?
A: If I told you to clean your bedroom then you respect me by doing it!

Q: What happens if I don't get my way and I start throwing a tantrum?
A: I told you that you cannot have/do ____ right now. Period. Respect me and accept that.

When my kids show me respect, I'm more willing to respect them and give them a little more freedom.

Yeah, I know its all easier said than done. But I'm committed to it. Its part of taking back control and feeling like I know what is going on around here! Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Genesis 3:19

Remember, man, you are dust/and to dust you will return.

Last night, over dinner, we were talking about Lent and what it symbolizes. The girls had a good time discussing all of the things they would gladly give up for lent. Most involved tasks or foods that are less than desirable.

Thing1 decided that she is giving up candy. It started as ice cream, then developed into all sweet treats, and now has gone back to *just* candy. She is expecting to receive quite a load from the EB to make up for her 40 days of 'fasting'. :)

Thing2 said she'll gladly give up asparagus or potatoes (except fries and chips). I encouraged her to practice being nicer to her sister rather than giving something up. After all, she is only five and doesn't quite get the concept of 40 days. And if she can follow through on this promise to practice, her sister will appreciate her efforts, too!

As for me, well, I'm following what my parents always told me: It isn't about what you give up, it is about what you can do to make your life better. Check back with me in 40 days and I'll let you know how I did!

14 days of Love

Valentine's Day used to be my dreaded holiday. And then I met DH. What a gift...a true blessing in my life.

Beginning February 1, I sent my husband the lyrics to a love song (via email) each day. Music speaks to me. I feel it. I love it. I live (some of) it.

I decided to share the list of songs that I emailed him. It was a lot of fun, and on Valentine's Day, part of his gift was a CD with the songs. I love to listen to the playlist when he's gone to work and I'm longing for him.

1. I Knew I Loved You
2. Thank You for Loving Me
3. Glory of Love
4. Faithfully
5. Almost Paradise
6. Just the Way You Are
7. To Make You Feel My Love
8. Love Remains the Same
9. Lost in Your Eyes
10. I Love You for Sentimental Reasons
11. Kissing
12. When I See You Smile
13. When You Say You Love Me
14. Because You Love Me (from our wedding!!)

kitchen math

Our math curriculum was written originally for the classroom, then modified for home schools. I love it! I used it as a public school teacher and now I'm using it at home. Monday, our lesson was about using dry/liquid measuring cups and measuring water/dry rice. It was fun, and a precursor to tomorrow's lesson: baking brownies!

These hands-on activities are mixed into her curriculum to keep things fun and interesting. I have been impressed with Saxon's use of "around the house" manipulatives, which ties our math into real life. After all, that's what its all about! (and then you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around...)

soul mate

When he is gone at work, I know his mind is never far from us. He checks in all the time and really wants to know what he has missed. It hurts him when he can't be here, even for the simple things. He comes home to 2 girls who love and adore him. If they are expecting him, they run to the door when they hear the key turn, jump on him, and squeal with delight. And he comes home to a wife who thinks he truly is the most awesome husband. My love for him has grown so much, and I feel blessed to have him in my life. I know he respects me and cares for my well-being. He truly wants what is best for all of us and would do whatever necessary to help us. My soul mate.

soul mate: n. One of two persons compatible with each other in disposition, point of view, or sensitivity.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Smacking Gum

Laughter LivesThis post is part of "Laughter Lives! Tuesday" on the Riggs Family Blog. Check our their blog to read everyone else's "Laughter Lives!" posts.

Laughter Lives Tuesday!!

Thing2 (5 yo) has been chomping on gum all day long. I finally told her "NO MORE GUM!" (Can't stand the lip smacking!!!)

She said, "Do you know why I like that gum? Because it is bursting with flavor!"


I think I might contact Orbit and see if they need a spokeschild! :D

Friday, February 20, 2009

Which is better? Boys or girls?

I think I have the best of both worlds. I have two absolutely wonderful, beautiful daughters.

And they are GIRLIE! They love to play dress-up, Barbies, baby dolls/house, pet shops, Polly Pocket, anything girlie. They love make up. They love playing hair salon. They love changing clothes and shopping for new ones. They love tea parties. They love artsy/crafty things. They love "girl stuff" in any form.

And they are both blessed with a tom-boy streak. They both love to climb trees. Play outside in the dirt/mud/sand. They hunt for bugs together. They collect snails. They are begging to make an earthworm farm. We have caught lizards and kept them as pets. We have rock collections. Leaf collections. Twig collections. They ride horses and go hiking. They are not afraid to get dirty and have fun. They fish. They love it. They play soccer. They get stinky.

I asked dh if he wants to "try for" a boy. He said, "Girls can do anything boys can do." Then my girls say, "And we do it better!" :wink:

Monday, February 02, 2009

cut, fray, frazzle, make ragged, reduce, shave, sliver, strip, tatter, tear

These are all synonyms for how I spent my afternoon. Shredding. All kinds of papers. It was so therapeutic!!! (Hmmm, maybe I should shred pictures of old boyfriends...)

I had a basket in the file cabinet of things that I needed to file. That was my starting point. But my husband told me that all of our old statements and things like that are available online. I decided that instead of filing all of these papers, I would just shred them. I then made another pile of papers, receipts and forms that I need for tax prep. And my last pile was stuff that I'm really going to file. So that's three piles: shred, file, tax prep.

Tomorrow the goal is to call all of the utility companies and see if we can go completely paperless. We pay all of our bills online, anyway. If we can go paperless then we're saving trees, all while streamlining and becoming organized!!

Behind the "Utilities" tab in my notebook is where I keep my contact info for these companies. I keep their billing number, emergency contact (gas and electric company), URL, and any passwords.

After all of this, I condensed my files down to one standard file drawer. Now I can use the extra one to put school papers in!

Coming up tomorrow...our new book/toy shelf! I know, the excitement...well, it never ends around here!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Moving like a turtle...

Everything seems to be moving at a turtle's pace around here. Or it was. We are trying to get back into gear. I had surgery 9 days ago and I'm very paranoid about the recovery. I just don't want to mess anything up. But now that I'm starting to feel good, I am working on getting my life, my house, my brain and my mental state organized. Let me tell you, it is a CHORE!

I have decided to implement some new ideas and organizational tools. My plan is to post some things here on my blog for 2 purposes:

With homeschooling, a traveling non-stop husband, and two kids with a schedule, I really need to get my ducks in a row.

I am working on getting a cleaning schedule, laundry schedule, master grocery lists, phone contacts, etc. I will post about this process as often as it warrants. Hopefully I can organize, streamline, and eliminate stress during this process. Let me know if you have tips, suggestions, ideas, etc. I have done this before...time to do it again...and, uh, stick with it this time!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

School at Home!!??!!

In November we decided to homeschool our oldest child, who is almost nine and in third grade. It has been quite a process, but well worth it! We are really having a great time educating our child together. Our youngest is in her last year of preschool. She still attends private preschool three days each week. On the days she is home, she has the option of independent play or attending class with us. She also does science experiments when it's Daddy's turn to teach!

The first step was deciding what curriculum to use. We had (have) so many options!
In order to be a legitimate home school, you must have a curriculum which teaches reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics and a study of good citizenship, and you must pursue that curriculum in a bona fide (not a sham) manner.
In the end, we decided to purchase a math curriculum that I was familiar with from my public school days. The other content areas would be covered using various sources and activities. We are also touching on Spanish, handwriting (cursive!), science and social studies, and fine arts. I am following the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) as a guideline for what my kiddo should know/learn by the end of third grade. It requires a lot of brain work and creativity on my part, but I have having a great time! I feel like I am using my brain more than I have for a long time! And, I'm getting to use the degree that I worked so hard for!

The next step was setting up a classroom or teaching space. A lot of people use their kitchen table. That is not an option for us, particularly since I like to have things organized and set up...and not in my kitchen! Our "formal" living area is our blank slate, and originally that was our classroom area. But it is at the front of the house, open to the rest of the world, and we needed more seclusion. It is hard to focus when your five year old sister is running around playing. And I kept having to pack things up if we had company over so that little kids weren't messing around with our stuff. We decided to transform our office into an official classroom. Everybody has their own space, and we can hang things on the wall and really feel like we're in a classroom environment. If we have company coming over, we shut the doors and nobody goes in.

So far, my favorite part of homeschooling is the flexibility. When my husband is home, we can take a day off. Sometimes we have school on Saturday to make up for those days. It is just really nice. We are serious about homeschooling. I know she is learning and growing. But we are also together, we are focusing on her needs and interests, and enjoying each other.