Weekly Wrap-up: Snow and Anxiety

Middle Boy playing in snow

Middle Boy playing in snow

Today has been the longest day. I was awake hours before my alarm officially woke me at five. I awoke several times from terrible dreams. I never sleep well when my husband is away. Early this morning I laid in bed wondering if he was going to make it home today. I wasn’t out of bed yet and already felt the anxiety eating away at me. My husband left for Pella (Iowa) on Tuesday on a business trip. Yesterday it rained nearly all day. Then sleet fell for a few hours. I’m not really fond of sleet but it does make this sweet tinkling sound as it falls. Just before we turned in for the night the snow started falling. By morning there was just over fifteen inches of snow.

Sparkles clearing vehicles

Sparkles clearing vehicles

I decided to cancel school for the day before getting out of bed…before looking out the window. I was anxious. If I tried to homeschool today the kids would notice my anxiety and they would be anxious too.  Then we would all start snipping at each other and that would be followed by punishments that would really be all my fault. I told the kids we were taking a snow day but it was really a mental health day. I shoveled lots of snow. The kids played outside some (except for Littlest…Oldest and I took turns staying inside with him). They also helped to make paths and clear the vehicles. Shoveling snow helped disperse my anxiety. My husband called to let us know he was in St. Louis. He decided to continue driving home today instead of staying the night there. I went out and shoveled more snow. He made it home before dark. We are all delighted to have him back home!

Oldest and Visual Latin

Oldest and Visual Latin

Everyone is chugging along nicely in the homeschool. Oldest completed his paper on ancient Greece this week. I was very happy with his progress and to see how much he has improved since his ancient Egypt paper. All of his paragraphs have more than one or two sentences! He has one more paper to write on ancient Rome and I’ll let him combine that with his final paper for writing. I let him dump the critical thinking curriculum. He’s never missed a single question and is bored to tears with it. He’s also been begging me to start Visual Latin since it came in last week. I really wanted to wait until we started our next academic year…but was that really a good reason? I couldn’t justify not letting him learn and handed the DVD’s over. He has only completed the first week of lessons but loves the course so far. Littlest completed another week of Kindergarten material. He is getting better with the scissors. I was able to give him a small task to complete and then help someone else with an assignment without a major breakdown out of Littlest. I need to research some busy bags for him to do. Maybe I’ll find some fun things for him at the convention next month.

Littlest getting a much needed haircut

Littlest getting a much-needed haircut

Over the weekend the older three enjoyed a movie, crafts, and snacks with their friends at church. While they had fun my husband and I took Littlest for a much-needed haircut. I also made a masala chai concentrate. I noticed many of the ingredients in the tea is good for fighting inflammation. I researched a few recipes to try and now know lots of history on the origins of the spiced tea blend. I combined a few recipes and am rather happy with my first attempt. Once I make a few tweaks and master the technique I’ll share.

Articles I enjoyed this week:

Floordeboor’s Three Degrees of Contagion  Getting fit and choosing a healthy lifestyle is good for the people around us too!!!

Rebecca at Beautiful Feet Books Blog shared several great links about education.

Hoping Pistachio finds a forever home this weekend!

The Beautiful Ordinary’s letter to her daughter…tears…I had to go hug my Sparkles.

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Wibbly-Wobbly: Bye-bye February!

Snow!

Snow!

February. Not a good month for me. I did not lose any weight but I didn’t gain any either. I lost all motivation to exercise or eat properly when arctic temperatures and snow hit our area. Sadly, another system is moving in later today and turning into sleet and snow by morning. Anyway, I may have lost nearly all of my motivation but since I didn’t gain any weight I did not lose my will power. For the most part I controlled what I ate. On the really cold and depressing days I just strived to control how much I ate of comforting foods.

Over the past three weeks it has been warmer on occasion in Alaska than Kentucky! In my book that is reason enough to devour all the chocolate in the house. I didn’t…of course I may have stood in the kitchen and stared at the chocolate.

I didn’t blog one word on these Wibbly-Wobbly posts for two weeks. The first week I missed I just didn’t realize it was Tuesday until I went to bed that night. All the bad weather shut everything around here down as well as my daily routines. Last week…well…I was having a bad day and would not have been able to post anything positive.

However, I wasn’t idle over the past two weeks. I solved a major hurdle in getting exercise time. I get up early to exercise and get showered before the rest of the family gets moving. Yesterday, I even had muffins baking in the over for the kids before getting them up for the day. I’m only exercising every other day at the moment but plan to start doing do more often next week. On the days I do not exercise I still get up and enjoy some quiet reading. I’ve learned that I am more consistent with getting up to exercise if I also get up at the same time on my non-exercise days. The other issue I was having in getting to exercise was washing-up without waking the rest of the household. Once the littlest one is up a lovely shower is not a possibility. We have a full bathroom downstairs in the basement and it had never occurred to me to use it! So I moved all of my things into the basement bath. Everyone sleeps while I exercise and get my day started.

I mentioned last time that I was thinking about trying out a detox. No. No. That is not going to happen. I’m not sure that I could handle the side effects and headaches and homeschool. We will shut down school for two weeks in July when two of the boys are attending Lego camp. Maybe I will consider one then but…maybe not. But why not a gentler approach to detox? I already have a smoothie most mornings. So why not some detox soups for lunch! Several of them looked tasty to me. I’ve pinned a few on Pinterest and this weekend made a large pot of the Anti-inflammatory vegetarian soup. The only thing I did differently from the recipe was add a tablespoon of turmeric. So far this week I’ve loved having a bowl of soup with some crackers for lunch. If I make this soup again I will just cut the squash in half and bake it…those are not easy to peel! I also have the ingredients on hand to make the creamy spiced cauliflower soup. Now that I have smoothies and soup everyday I think I am getting the required amount of vegetables and fruit for the first time in my life.

Chapter ten in Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese is on willpower. I liked this chapter. Ellie gives several examples of how to handle some diet killing food related scenarios without hurting someone’s feelings. She also gives advise on getting the body’s metabolism running and dealing with weight-loss plateaus. I’m going to add a cup or two of ice water each day to help get my body revved up each day.

I’m glad February is over. I’m a bit down that I did not lose at least one pound. However, I am glad that I’ve solved the problem of getting in my exercise for the day and having a sensible lunch already made for busy school days.

Please consider sharing any good soup recipes!

 

Weekly Wrap-up: Never-Ending February

dueling Cardinals

dueling Cardinals

More snow. On my way to record our week I noticed that it was snowing. I am ready for winter to flutter away and welcome spring. These last two weeks of February seem to be lasting forever (okay…maybe a little exaggeration but only slight). Yesterday was the first time I went anywhere in over a week and that was for church services. I tried to take Littlest to pre-school yesterday morning but the battery in the van died…the bitter cold and my lack of understanding for most things mechanical completely depleted the battery.

Littlest

Littlest

Thanks to all of this wintery weather, Littlest has completed nearly two weeks of Kindergarten material. Yesterday, he had to do some cutting and pasting, listen to a Bible story and answer question, do some matching and find differences in pictures. He debated with me on how to properly hold a pencil and scissors. I had to ask him seventeen times (yes, I counted) if he actually knew what a rainbow looked like. He finally admitted that he did not really know since he had only seen cartoon rainbows. So we looked up pictures of rainbows on the internet. Every book I read to him had to be read twice or he would not cooperate. So, I read them all twice. (We will not read any Dr. Seuss books until he is out of this phase…they are like verbal land mines for me!) He also thought that Noah should have built two boats so he would not have to “float around with all those spiders in the same boat.” To finish up he did a few tangram puzzles and decided they were too easy (and they are) for him. He informed me that he “gradumated tangrams” and he was done with them forever. He then cleaned up all of his school things and put them properly into his basket and went off to play.

Middle Boy and Sparkles

Middle Boy and Sparkles

I didn’t spend quite an hour with Littlest but I was mentally done for. The older three were just staring at me looking rather horrified. Middle Boy asked “will everyday be like that?” I let them know this was actually a good and productive day. I’m not sure they believed me. Maybe it was because I told them they needed to work in complete silence for a few minutes while I just laid on the floor.

The crew enjoyed a wonderful weekend playing outside and sledding in the snow. They found a pigeon frozen to the back porch. He (or she) couldn’t move because their little foot was frozen to the railing. The bird was still alive so my husband managed to free it. He then put the bird in a bucket with some seed and brought it into my kitchen to warm up a bit. I told him that whatever mess that bird made he

My husband tending to the pigeon

My husband tending to the pigeon

was responsible for cleaning. After the bird had warmed up a little my husband held it a gave it water from a medicine dropper. Then with some gentle coaxing the pigeon drank from the dropper. My husband amazes me in moments like this. The bird lived and later we saw it sitting with its mate near the feeder. My husband saved a little life that day. Every night, before going to sleep I thank Jesus for the privilege of being married to such a wonderful man. I’m so incredibly blessed.

This week the crew and I discussed their curriculum for the following academic year. We talked about what they enjoyed and wanted to learn as well as what they really disliked. I was completely surprised they wanted to change their

Oldest

Oldest

Bible curriculum. We all like the curriculum from Christian Light but none of us want to continue with it. They also do not want to finish out the Apologia series we are reading now. They were fine with finishing the book since we are about half-way through but wanted something else. When I asked for clarification Oldest said, “a curriculum that actually lets us read the Bible”. I could hardly believe the words he said and that the middle two actually agreed with him. The past month or so I’ve been having the same thoughts. I told them I’d have to think a few thoughts on how to go about it together.

Batman at the keys

Batman at the keys

They are delighted (well…as delighted as one can get with grammar and mathematics) with the rest of their curriculum. Middle Boy would like a few more crafts and hands on projects. Oldest wanted creative writing and Latin. Sparkles just wants to learn to sew. Otherwise they are completely satisfied with their books. We are all very happy with this past school year’s progress. I already have our Latin curriculum (Visual Latin) picked out for next year as well as Oldest’s creative writing curriculum (Cover Story). This is the first time since beginning homeschooling that choosing our curriculum for the following year hasn’t been so difficult.

The academic week went by quickly. We studied Marie Curie in science. Oldest made Lego creations of his Ancient Roman studies on the death of Julius Caesar and the take over of the Triumvirate of the Roman Republic. He even added the detail of the soldier bringing the head and hand of Cicero to Antony. Sparkles and Middle Boy have finally managed to deliver pretty good oral narrations for history. It may be time for them to move onto written narrations and possibly some outlining exercises. Middle Boy finally found a book he likes to read! He loves the Nature Readers from Christian Liberty. He also made a painting today after school because “some girl at church” asked him to make one for her. I may need to meet this girl.

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

 

Weekly Wrap-up: Snow Week

Sparkles and power tool!

Sparkles and power tool!

Last Friday the boys busied themselves with building a rather poor model of The Spirit of St. Louis. Despite the poor quality of the kit we did finally manage to get the little plane to fly. However, every landing turned out to be a cataclysmic crash and the poor plane had to be reassembled. Oldest remarked that he was glad the Wright brothers didn’t have as many terrible landings with their planes. After working on our science labs Sparkles begged to make a cake. She enjoyed getting to use a hand mixer for the first time. She called it a “girly power tool” and asked if she could have her own in pink. As she carefully followed the directions for making her cake I told her a few ways she could make it extra special by adding cinnamon, vanilla extract,  using milk instead of water, adding colored sprinkles or chocolate chips. While I took Littlest to the potty she added all of the extra special ingredients! Her cake was indeed quite flavorful!

potato chips!!!

potato chips!!!

We did not do anything for Valentine’s Day. My husband did bring me a lovely Azalea bush that I’ll plant in the spring (actually…he’ll be the one to plant it). He then made us lunch and his first batch of homemade potato chips. The chips were very tasty! It took him about a month to perfect fried chicken so I’m sure he will soon master the potato chip. His spaghetti, smoked ribs and fried chicken are so good I won’t eat or order anyone else’s. I doubt I’ll be purchasing chips much longer…which is really a good thing. In the mean time the kids and I will enjoy his many potato chip experiments.

Auntie Two and her husband stopped by to deliver Valentine’s to the kids. They were so thrilled with their cards and visit. The older three instructed me to put their valentine’s in their “baby boxes” or keepsake boxes. They happened to stop by during the potato chip experiment and enjoyed a few chips.

Wow!!!

Wow!!!

We awoke to snow on Monday morning. It snowed all morning and into the early afternoon…nearly nine inches!!! We got a couple more inches of snow later in the week and then bitterly cold temperatures. We are expecting freezing rain tomorrow. Yuck! This is not the sort of weather we are accustomed to in Kentucky especially this late in the season! The current weather is such an anomaly that the Harlan Police Department issued an APB for Queen Elsa! No, I’m not kidding.

The kids enjoyed sledding in the snow this week. They stayed motivated and got their school work done quickly each day so they could go sledding after lunch. All of our outside activities were cancelled for the week. We managed to get our school work and some extra projects done since we didn’t have to go anywhere. Littlest

Kindergarten is better than preschool!

Kindergarten is better than preschool!

worked in his Kindergarten workbooks all week since he didn’t have to go to preschool. It was a nice little preview of what teaching three grade levels of school is going to be like. A few challenges need to be worked out. I also plotted the rest of my lessons for this academic year and noticed we are going to finish up earlier than I had planned. I’m not too worried about it. We just need to decide if we want to add some interim coursework or just move on to the next level?

I’ve also spent a few hours this week considering our next year’s courses. We are all very happy with most of the current curriculum and will simply carry on with the next level. We will move on with Christian Light Education (math, language arts, reading and Bible), Beautiful Feet Books (history and includes great

boys with The Spirit of St. Louis

boys with The Spirit of St. Louis

literature and writing assignments as well as geography), The Story of the World (history, geography and writing) and Writing with Skill. I no longer need Writing With Ease as I’ve learned how to fold it into The Story of the World. We will continue with piano and guitar lessons because we love, love, love our teachers and my kids would wither without their music. Music is so important to my crew we have our practice sessions early in the morning. Even Littlest has to have his “compiano time”. I have no idea why he calls it “compiano”.

We are going to start Latin next school term and we will be using Visual Latin. The main reason (other than Mr. Dwane is hilarious!) is that I will not have to be the primary teacher. My Eastern Kentucky accent is awful when trying to teach a foreign language! My horrid little accent seems

our unhappy cat in the snow

our unhappy cat in the snow

to triple when I try to pronounce something foreign. I worked so hard in my younger years to get rid of my accent but it all comes back with foreign language. My husband was highly amused by my accent when we reviewed a Spanish curriculum a couple of years ago when I worked for Mosaic Reviews. My accent was so bad he took over the teaching for the review period! We might even add Mr. Dwane’s vocabulary curriculum since my crew loves studying Latin and Greek root words.

Oldest is begging for Cover Story. He really wants to start this writing curriculum once he finishes Writing with Skill volume One. I already have volume two of Writing with Skill so I am not sure. If I decide to get it for him we will not start it until I’m sure he is ready for such a big project. But maybe I should let his enthusiasm lead the way? I have flip-flopped over this all week.

Some favorite articles this week:

Beautiful Feet Books Blog: Rebecca is referring to another article about the 10 best things we are not doing for our homeschools’. Because of Beautiful Feet Books I read to my kids. My Oldest is crushed when I tell him he has to read a book by himself. I will not give up read aloud time for our entire homeschool years…not ever. I would like to add poetry tea time…think my boys would like it?

Hope By Design: I loved this tongue-in-cheek description of homeschooling methods! I started out classical but embrace more Charlotte Mason methodology every year. I believe my method is…Method? What Method?!

Simple Homeschool: Curriculum is life! I’m on my way to arriving. I wanted to jump up and say “Amen!” but was afraid my kids might think I had gone daft.

Creekside Learning: I have a “reluctant reader”. This article totally shifted my viewpoint! I no longer have a reluctant reader…I just need to honor who he is..where he is…right now.

Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers: What can I say? When I grow up to be the best homeschool mom I can be I want to be just like Kris of Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

Steam Powered Classroom: I have to quote her here because she says it best, “If we wish to promote innovation and new discoveries, as educators we must devote ourselves to cultivating quiet spaces and unhurried stretches of time for our learners. We must squelch our impatience and instead applaud childhood tendencies to dawdle.” This has been on my heart the past few months. I am the guardian of my crew’s time and I really believe they need time to play and explore and not have every moment of their time taken up by activities, tv, and video games.

One Man and His Mustang: I’m obsessed with the progress of his car!

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

Weekly Wrap-up: Dancing Queen, Rome and Abandoning the Schedule

 

Sparkles and Daddy

Sparkles and Daddy

My husband took our darling Sparkles out to a Father-Daughter dance and dinner over the weekend. They both had a lovely evening out together while I hung out with the boys. Well, not really…they all played together building lego towers and mostly ignored me. I read about German Shepherds and wondered just what we will be getting ourselves into when we welcome a little pup into the family later this year. I did enjoy getting Sparkles all dressed up for her date with Daddy. I curled her hair and fixed it with glitter (her favorite hair treatment!) and applied a little bit of make-up. She is growing up too fast!!! Last week I actually had to purchase acne cream and special face soap for her!!! I had a private mini-breakdown at the shop while searching for the right cream for her. Feeling a tiny bit overwhelmed looking at all the different products I realized her breakouts are timed with my cycle. I complained to Jesus that she was only nine…out loud…at Wal-mart. I’ve gone over to the crazy side now, talking to myself in public like that.

Remember, when you lock me up in the padded room that I would like a pink hug-me jacket.

Oldest at Tech club

Oldest at Tech club

We made it to church this Sunday. We are currently studying (in my Sunday School class) Chip Ingram’s “Why I Believe” series. I really like it and believe it might be a good study to do with the kids in the future. Right now we are going through Apologia’s Who Is God? for faith studies. We like it well enough but the kids need something with a little more meat. The notebooking journal was making our studies too much of a chore so we abandoned those for now. My crew prefers discussion and I think they get more out of our talks together. I must admit that I wish I had a theologian on speed-dial sometimes. Oldest asked me this week if Galen, Eratosthenes, Socrates, and Archimedes were in Heaven.

Monday night Sparkles and I went out to a friend’s house for fellowship and a craft project. We had a very nice time and enjoyed meeting some other homeschooling families. Sparkles was a little shy at first but loved the sewing project. Sadly, her sewing class is not meeting this coming Monday. I haven’t told her yet because I know she will cry. She loves the sewing group and looks forward to it all week. I really should get her a sewing nook set up.

Littlest playing outside on a rare warm day in February

Littlest playing outside on a rare warm day in February

Oldest started the last section of his ancient history studies this week…Rome. He has been looking forward to this since we started the Ancient guide form Beautiful Feet Books. This week we made a salt dough map of the Roman Empire. Today he painted his map and will label it this weekend. I started reading and studying ancient Rome a few weeks ago. I loved Roman history when I was a young girl…never grew out of it really. I could study Rome the rest of my life. Jesus chose to be born during the early years of the Roman Empire. All of Western History is influenced by Rome and her glory. I look at my beloved country today and see her following in the footsteps of Rome. It seems that America and all of Western Civilization is following Rome into apathy. History makes me want to cry sometimes…especially when I see it repeated. I was surprised when Oldest picked up on my thoughts. He asked me if late Roman era music was like our current popular music. I told him I wasn’t sure but when we looked up early Roman art and compared it to later Roman art we noticed a decline in ability. It seems to us that later Roman art isn’t as beautiful and detailed as some of the earlier statues. I didn’t find a lot of information about the different phases of Roman art other than descriptions and definitions.

painting the Roman Empire

painting the Roman Empire

Normally we should be just over half way through with our academic schedule. We are actually three-quarters of the way through. By early April we will be finished with history, science, and language arts. Until now I have always stuck to a rigid academic schedule. Our next academic year does not begin until July! I see no reason to take such a long break between April and July. So we won’t. I’m abandoning the safety of the almighty schedule. I actually tossed my schedule into the garbage….this was a huge moment for me (my lesson planner is in the garbage!!!).  I love calendars and schedules! I love everything having its right place and moment! I’m a little freaked out because I’ve just abandoned grade levels and schedules. This is freedom…we are finally free of the system. Wow!!!

Pardon me while I freak out!!!

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

Wibbly-Wobbly: Detoxify?

My thoughts while exercising

My thoughts while exercising

This week’s chapter in Ellie’s book (Life’s Too Short to Eat bad Cheese) is about detoxifying the body and mind. I learned a few truths about the aging of the gut that I’d rather not know…yuck. Food, especially processed and unhealthy food build up in our digestive system and prevent our bodies from absorbing necessary and essential nutrients. In order to keep our bodies in optimal condition and to prevent gut rot (eeewww!) we need to eat the right foods and drink plenty of water. I learned in this chapter I need to take care of my digestive system and liver and also listen to my thyroid.

I’ve had my thyroid levels checked in the past and the doctor always says things are fine…or “operating within normal parameters” may have been his actual words. But every time I read about thyroid problems I can relate to some of the symptoms. So now I am thinking I should try one of these detox regimens but…research first. I’ll look into it and let you know what I decide to do. I will not put myself (or my family) through some crazy juice fast or whatever the fad is these days for detoxification. I’m fairly certain that I already know the answer…eat healthy, exercise and drink plenty of water.

I wish I enjoyed exercising…but I really do not. I haven’t exercised this week. Maybe tomorrow I will find the motivation…but it is February…the most depressing month of the year. Motivation is hard to find…but spring is right around the corner!