Ordinary Moments


Today’s moment for the thirty day challenge…VBS bracelets reminding me to “watch for God”. Perfect for the first day!

Day 1 of 30 day challenge from Between Hallowed Breaths


Weekly Wrap-up: Abberrancies


math and music time

math and music time

This week was atypical in a most normal way. This was a good and productive week…but somewhat unsettling to me. Little things and odd moments breaking my heart.  A few days ago my Oldest’s voice was noticeably lower due to his cold. Still the moment was a reminder to me of changes to come and all too soon. Middle Boy slipped further into the realm of music this week. His fingers play an imaginary piano when his siblings practice and his face distorts in pain when one of them misses a proper key. He is moving away from me into a world I cannot hear. Sparkles is developing her own sense of fashion. I prefer dark colors of autumn and quiet winter and she is like the Spring…all bright and beautiful. Littlest is a bit insecure these days and it is my fault, my fault, my most grievous fault. I thought he would enjoy preschool away from home but he does not. He clings to me now and is difficult…I’m afraid he feels unwanted. I tell him it will be over soon…in April. I tell him to be strong and he is…very strong willed.

Oldest and Mrs. Melody's grandson

Oldest and Mrs. Melody’s grandson

Friday is piano lessons day with Mrs. Melody. Littlest loves going over to Mrs. Melody’s home. On mornings we go to preschool he always says he would rather go see Mrs. Melody.  This week her little grandson was visiting so we had a wonderful time playing with him. Even Littlest, who isn’t that fond of other babies, will cover him with kisses and hugs. Our music practice during the week has changed. Over the Christmas break I spent quite a bit of time thinking about music. I used to just have them practice whenever I could fit in the time but now it is part of our school day. We now have math and music time right after breakfast. While someone is practicing music the others are working on math. We keep this schedule even on the weekends when we are less likely to put in a full day of schooling (though sometimes we do). Since starting this routine, Littlest has shown more interest in the piano. He will sit with his siblings sometimes and pretend to play next to them. He can now find middle C and demands his own practice time. The older ones praise and applaud his efforts and he tries even harder to please them in those moments. He already loves the piano and I am sure it will not be long before he is a student of Mrs. Melody.

Sparkles wearing pants in the first time in forever...

Sparkles wearing pants in the first time in forever…

Saturday, Sparkles and I went clothes shopping. After clearing out her closet she had nearly nothing to wear. We spent a fun afternoon of shopping together. I discovered that she loves bright colors and comfortable clothing. She also begins to miss her brothers after a while. All she could talk about was her brothers and how much she missed them. I learned that she hates blue jeans, wonders how many children she will have, and wonders what the name of her future husband will be. We found her a few things to wear but not as much as I would have liked. My little Sparkles is only nine years but her sudden” woman hips” keeps her from wearing most items available to purchase. We did eventually find some knit pants that she could actually wear. She was so happy…ecstatic even.  We haven’t been able to find pants to fit her in nearly a year!!! After clothes shopping we went to a couple of thrift shops and bought a bunch of books. She loves shopping for books more than clothing…at least we have one thing in common.

Oldest working with Middle Boy at the piano

Oldest working with Middle Boy at the piano

Monday started off with emotional fireworks from Middle Boy. He burst into tears while trying to practice some piece from Bach. He could not stand some notes played together. I was at a complete loss. I told him that Bach was a master and could not be wrong about which notes went together. I really didn’t know what  to do. Oldest got up from his math work and sat at the piano with Middle Boy and went over every single note and together they worked out the problem. I could not comprehend the issue let alone work out the solution. Yet, my oldest son took it upon himself to help his little brother. I am grateful that he is such a willing helper to his younger siblings and a bit lost and sorrowful that I cannot help in these moments of musical crises. I wanted to cry because in this moment they moved away from me…I weep writing this…bitter, bitter tears…and thank Jesus for an older son who can help his brother…another helpless, inadequate moment for me…

a strange moment...all four of my children working and learning

a strange moment…all four of my children working and learning

Tuesday was just crazy. It was supposed to be Littlest’s first day back at preschool…except the high school had a bomb threat. We got caught up in the middle of that mess!!! Crazy…mad as a March hare!!! We just went home and I prayed for the desperate individual that caused such a mess. Littlest was happy to be home and we went on with a normal homeschooling day. I called Sonlight and ordered our next science curriculum.

Wednesday night was Awesome because midweek church services were back in session. The crew was so excited to be back to church classes. I was totally freaked out to learn that my crew were the topic of conversation during worship committee meetings!!! I was in a near state of panic!  What could they have done to be a

Littlest at the piano imitating Middle Boy

Littlest at the piano imitating Middle Boy

topic of the worship committee!!! Their ability to play the piano and love of music was the topic of conversation but I did not take the moment to appreciate that. I launched into a lecture that they were not talented but worked hard at practicing music. I really should not have gone into that and feel so bad. Yes, they have some talent but I never tell my crew they are talented. I praise their hard work. I also point out to my crew the Parable of the Talents from the Bible. God rewards those who invest in their talents and not in those who bury their talents (Mathew 25:14-30 and Luke 19:12-27) . I believe teaching them the value of their work is of far more value than praising their talent. However, at this moment I should have accepted the praise instead of giving a lecture on the value of work. I feel so very, very bad about that moment at church.

snow day

snow day

Today it snowed. Littlest was supposed to go to school today…but he was having so much fun with his siblings in the snow that I could not bring myself to take him to preschool.  They were all so happy and having fun that I just let the day and most of the responsibilities with it go. We did a nature study on snow. Created a deciduous tree in snow artwork, made a tortilla snowflake  snack, and played in the snow most of the day. Today was a good day. We enjoyed the gift of snow. I let Littlest skip preschool today…we were rebels today.

Rebels….today was awesome!



Linking up with: Weird Unsocailized Homeschoolers:

Wibbly Wobbly Weightloss: Goals, January Weigh-in and Fasting

January goals

January goals

A new year is already here and my goals for the year (healthwise anyway) are all set. Before the previous year ended I went in for my so-called annual visit (that never occurs annually!!!). A couple of days later I got a phone call from my doctor wanting to put me on cholesterol medication. I asked for more time and told him that I had already lost two dress sizes before the holiday season hit and that I could do better. He gave me six months. So, I now have an added goal of getting my cholesterol under 200 by June. I had originally planned to just work on my diet until Spring and then add exercise when the weather warmed up. So much for those plans because the best way to really improve cholesterol numbers is with exercise.

I was all set to start exercising last week and then caught my little one’s nasty chest cold so I mostly laid around and then passed it on to my poor husband. Yesterday was my first workout of the year. I even took the kids for a walk outside after lunch. We had to bundle up since it was only 28 degrees!

I’m starting the year at 175 pounds. I gained just two pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas (I’m calling that a win). I’ve set myself the goal of losing just five ponds a month. I wasn’t sure that I was ready to go for two pounds a week…yet. I also measured my waist, chest, thigh, and hips. I’ll post those measurements every month along with my weight. I am looking forward to placing five stickers in the jar on February first!!!

Fasting (I promised to share my findings on this back in November)

When I faithfully practiced Catholicism I fasted according to church law…and never asked why. Lately, I’ve began to wonder about fasting and how it relates to my Christian faith. I especially wondered how I am to enjoy feasts at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, birthday parties and other occasions if I never fast? Really, what is the point of a feast without a fast?

Here are the verses I turned to:

Matthew 6: 16-18, Matthew 9:14-15, (same teaching Mark 2: 18-20, Luke 5:33-35) Acts13:3, Acts 14:23 and Matthew 4:4.

Matthew six is from the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus teaches the Beatitudes. He is telling us what a Christian life should look like. He shows us a parallel. First the practice of the  hypocrite or worldly-minded person and then the practice of a true believer. In this verse it is our motivation for fasting that matters.  So am I fasting (and praying, tithing, and participating in church) because I want others to see me as a “good Christian” or am I seeking a more intimate relationship with God within these activities?

In Matthew four I learned why to fast…because “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” I understand this to mean that I need God. In the practice of fasting I am more aware of my dependence on God and realize the true strength of the spirit over physical limits and worldly cares.

From my time in the monastery I remember studying the sermons of St Augustine. He wrote that for our prayers to fly faster to God we should send them on two wings…fasting and charitable giving (I cannot remember the exact quote). Other early Christians also wrote about fasting including Clement of Rome, John Chrysostom, Peter Chrysologus, and Jerome. In the early church fasting was a part of prayer and almsgiving.

The practice of fasting helps us to be more aware of our need for God. It helps us have more compassion for those who suffer. Fasting teaches us greater awareness of selfishness in this “all about me” consumer mentality in which our culture is immersed.

Weekly Wrap-up: Blessings



I blinked and this week was over! Last week we were invited to lunch over at a dear friend’s home. My crew just loves her kids. She encourages me so much even when we talk over the hard things in life and faith. And we both had hurts and concerns on our hearts and still do. I am greatly comforted knowing my prayer concerns are in her heart and cherish the friendship we have that I can carry her concerns in prayer as well.

lens experiments

lens experiments

Over the weekend we went skating. Littlest decided just before closing he would like to start skating. He wasn’t happy but had to accept that we would let him skate on our next visit. The crew also worked on several optical science experiments after church on Sunday. My husband helped them build a simple telescope and a camera obscura. They also experimented with lenses and set a few leaves on fire. I love watching my husband with the kids. He started working with the kids for music practice too. I can make the crew put in the practice time but I cannot tell anymore about the quality of their practice time. My hearing is getting dull and I cannot tell by listening how

Sparkles and Littlest at skating rink

Sparkles and Littlest at skating rink

well they are practicing. He is now practicing on the piano with their primer books in the evenings so he can better help them learn. He always amazes me when he does things like this…someday the kids will know how blessed they are to call him “Daddy”.

Our school week was a bit slow. We just didn’t get into the rhythm this week and it really didn’t faze me this time. A year ago I would have been completely stressed. I think we all need a break. I had not planned to take off much for Thanksgiving but maybe we will take a few extra days to just relax…

This weekend I will be watching Kirk Cameron’s new movie Saving Christmas. I can hardly believe I was selected to participate in a conference call with him (I just listened) and that I get to watch his new movie before it is released on the 14th. I’ll also be posting a review very soon with some cool giveaway items.

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized homeschoolers

Weekly Wrap-up: Spring Dreams and Turkey Dinner

Littlest examining the daffodils

Littlest examining the daffodils

Warm spring-like weather arrived this week beckoning us to wander outside, ride bikes, and search for emerging blooms. Once again, due to nice weather and a few other interruptions our week did not go as planned. Not really a big deal…we’ve only got about four weeks left of school work to finish up for our academic year.

I pulled out my flip-flops on Sunday. It was fifty degrees and warm enough in my opinion. Several people at church questioned my choice of footwear. Snow was still on the ground but it was fifty degrees and that is warm enough for flip-flops. I simply refuse to acknowledge winter’s presence. I’m tired of wearing shoes and am looking forward to barefoot weather. I think a few of my Sunday School classmates question my sanity.

with my dear friend

with my dear friend

On Tuesday I got a call from my sweet friend (and homeschooling mentor). She and her youngest spend a good part of the day with us. Normally, we homeschooling moms try not to call or visit each other during “school” hours. So when she asked to come over I knew she needed a friend. We cancelled school for the day and spent our day with friends. Anytime someone needs to talk it usually isn’t good and this was no exception. She moved to the top of my prayer request list by the end of the afternoon. If you are the praying sort please pray for my friend…she needs prayers.

Wednesday the colder temperatures returned and I refused to abandon my flip-flops…confirming my tentative hold on reality. Thursday the weather was warm enough for the kids to ride their bikes and have their first crashes of the season. Sparkles skinned her arm up when she collided with Oldest. Middle Boy gave me visions of the ER room when he dumped his bike and completed a spectacular flip landing on his side. He quickly jumped up and declared the moment “Awesome!” I would not be surprised if he decided on some sort of life threatening career someday…

I’ve spent my little free time this week either planning for the upcoming school year or researching speakers for the homeschool convention in Cincinnati. I’ve never been to a convention before and most likely will not attend again for a few years. I’ve already got a good idea of the vendors to visit and have a price list made up. Now I am just working out which speakers to attend. I will definitely see Susan Wise Bauer but I am not sure who else to see yet. In order to help figure out who to listen to I decided to cross out all of the political speakers. My main purpose for going to the convention is to learn to be a better teacher and parent. I then marked out anyone talking about creation and evolution (I just can’t listen to these arguments anymore). Surprisingly, once I marked these two categories out there wasn’t an overwhelming number of session descriptions to read through.

enjoying the warm weather

enjoying the warm weather

Our education plans are coming together for the year. Working out a skeleton plan for the logic (5th-8th) and rhetoric (9th-12th) years helped to solidify the plans for the next academic year. (Tonia at The Sunny Patch here’s my plans for the logic stage…subject to change.) My current plans are:

Fifth grade: We will return to ancient history and use Beautiful Feet Books intermediate collection. When we return to ancient history in the rhetoric years I will use Susan Wise Bauer’s The History of the Ancient World as our spine book (that means main history textbook for my many non-homeschool readers). Oldest will also assemble his own timeline and keep a narrative notebook and draw out his own maps. My middle two will follow along with The Story of the World: Ancient Times (also by Susan Wise Bauer) and will keep a simple written narration. Our art projects will parallel our history studies and we will do a few projects from Art in History.

Our language arts, reading and Bible curriculum will continue with Christian Light Education. Math will continue with MathUSee and Math Mammoth. I really, really wish we had went with Christian Light Education for our math curriculum but the kids love MathUSee and since they are doing well I see no reason to change. We’ll also continue with our current writing curriculum also from Susan Wise Bauer (now you know why I plan to see her at the convention!). The middle two will continue with Writing with Ease and the oldest is moving up to Writing With Skill.

Our science will change for this year. I’ve never been able to find a science that I am happy with. We’ve used REAL Science Odyssey and found it too easy. Our past two books from Apologia have been really good. This year, for a change of pace, we are going to use Beautiful Feet Books: History of Science. I’ve added several scientists to the study and the Thames and Kosmos’ Milestones in Science experiment kit. I’ve started collecting the books for this study and several times have already caught the kids reading the books. We are all excited about this study.

I also plan to use Zeezok’s Music Appreciation set this year. I’ve read many good reviews and I think my crew will really enjoy the study and hopefully deepen their enjoyment of their current music studies.

Penmanship and spelling continue to be a struggle for some of my crew. I am considering several penmanship books and plan to make a final decision at the convention. Oldest is the only one struggling with spelling. We discovered through the IOWA tests he has gaps in his early phonics education (thanks to you government schools!) Oldest is begging for the new spelling curriculum from the MathUSee company. I really wanted to go with Sequential Spelling but since he is begging for this other program…how can I say no.

Since we will finish up our current studies in a few weeks we will study geography and weather science until our regular year starts up in July. I plan to switch to a four-day school week next year so we do not have this large three month gap between the academic years. My husband is going to help us build a weather station so we can study forecasting for the next year. I think that will be a fun and informative year long project.

Today, we are looking forward to a yummy turkey dinner at Mrs. Cuddle-me’s home. Her turkeys are rude and I am looking forward to feasting on one of them!

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap-up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Upcoming Bible Study

I am teaming up with my friend at Future Flying Saucers for a Bible study on marriage starting next month. The book is called Enhancing Your Marriage by Judy Rossi. We teamed up last year on the Made To Crave study and I am looking forward to another study with my friend. I’m not sure exactly when we are starting but I wanted to let you know in plenty of time to get the book (if you want to) and join us in the study. The tag line on the back of the book states “enhancing your relationship with your husband…begins by enhancing your relationship with the Author of Marriage-Jesus Christ.” Wow! What a line! I can’t wait to dive in and begin our study. Details about the study will be posted soon.

Weekly Wrap-up: 100 Days and Looking Ahead

Yesterday, I received an unexpected gift. A box containing two precious loaves of bread: one white and one whole wheat. These are not just any loaves of bread…these are from the Passionist Nuns in Erlanger. Every time I toast a piece of their bread I remember the monastery kitchen…the smell just takes me back to my days when I lived among them. I love the sisters and my bonds of love with them are stronger than with any of my blood-relatives (especially now that my grandparents have passed on). My strength to be a good wife and mother was born within their cloistered walls.

Over the weekend we enjoyed The Homeplace at Land Between the Lakes. We just happened to be there when the staff who works the living-history farm was preparing for their Harvest or Thanksgiving meal. The ladies were busy in the kitchen cooking delicious smelling food and setting the table. The staff had been preparing for this feast for three days. Sparkles asked lots of questions in the kitchen and learned how much easier her kitchen chores are today compared to what they’d be in the early 1800’s. We wandered around the farm looking at the animals and buildings. Oldest’s favorite place is the smithy but it was closed up for the day. He did find someone in the tool building to talk to and learned about the carpenter’s bench. My crew was invited to chop wood for the cooking stove and that was fun to watch! We went out to LBL because we wanted to enjoy the fall colors…winter will be here all too soon. We enjoyed a beautiful day together. Once we begin to study westward expansion we will likely take part in some of the workshops.

This week we reached one hundred days of school. We celebrated with our friends at the local donut shop on Monday afternoon. At this point we are halfway through our school year…yikes! I will need to start planning soon. Oldest will be in his last year of elementary school. He will spend next school year preparing for middle school…wow. Sparkles and Middle Boy will be third graders and Littlest will begin preschool next fall. I will need to begin preparing and planning soon. After Christmas 2013 is a memory I will begin to plan. My first step in planning is in prayer. I will also be going to the big convention this year in Cincinnati so I hope to have next school year’s plans done and spend time looking into middle school resources. I expect to be overwhelmed by the numbers of people and the vastness of the city. I do not mind big cities so much…as long as I can stay in the vehicle and just pass through…