Monday, November 9, 2009

Night Off of Parenting

H and I have a meeting in Dallas Saturday morning. Because of this meeting, we get a free hotel stay and nearly a free trip. In order to thoroughly enjoy this trip, we are farming the kids out. My parents are taking one of the kids, the in-laws are taking 2 and my sister is taking 2. By noon on Friday, we will be kid free! We, of course, will be collecting all the kids by Saturday evening so our freedom will be short lived. We had decided to go out to eat (somewhere nice) and go see a movie. Our hotel happens to be near the Majestic theater and I just happened to check out the even schedule there. Guess what's showing Friday night??? Tap Dogs! I have seen only clips from their performances, but they are an awesome tap group. H and I started looking and found a couple of affordable seats. So...instead of going to eat out and to a movie, we are going to Tap Dogs. Being budget conscious, we will not be eating out at a nice restaurant, but will instead be eating fast food. The trade off is worth it though. I am looking forward to the night out and seeing a real performance in person for a change.

With 5 young kids, finding a good, affordable babysitter is very difficult. As a result, our last night out was in May for our anniversary. That's 6 months without a date! As I said, we're farming the kids out to 3 different family members so that we can enjoy a night off. Having a night off is very important for any parent. Even if it is only occasionally. Ideally, (and we used to do this) a parent should have one night out every month, but I'm very grateful for my night off. So take a night off every now and then and go do something that is a real treat for you.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Children are notorious for interrupting things. They interrupt conversations, movies, phone calls, games, even bathroom breaks. My children are obviously no exception to this rule. They interrupt everything I try to do. Last night, about 8:00, H and I started watching a movie. The movie was only 1 1/2 hours. It took us until 10:30 to finish watching it. We didn't even start watching until after the kids should have been in bed. They ran into each others' rooms, they dumped water on each other, they fought, they were hungry, they were thirsty, they wanted..... We don't allow those things and yet, they still tried constantly. This evening, the kids were playing outside. I decided to listen to a Bible lesson online. It is 55 minutes long. After 1 hour, I'm still waiting to hear the second half. My kids kept coming in with scratches and questions and complaints and...... The last time they came in required me to go outside so I paused the lesson. I returned a few minutes later and resumed play. It reset to the beginning! Now I can't even fast forward the lesson so I am replaying it. Waiting for the 36 min. mark when I can begin listening again. I'm hoping (though probably in vain) that the kids will leave me alone to complete it. As I type, I am trying to interrupt their playtime. They are sitting, kind of, on a mat waiting for me. I told them to sit and wait for me. They don't know this is all part of my great plan to interrupt them. It's 7:00 now and time for some of them to go to bed. I have 15 min. until I can listen again so I'm going to try to get them in bed before that time. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vacuum cleaners

My vacuum cleaner was given to me last Christmas. It was a fairly cheap and lightweight vacuum. It worked for about 7 months. Unfortunately, I've had it for 10. It wore out belts all the time. For the last two weeks, I have not been able to fully vacuum. It has overheated within a couple of minutes and not picked up the dirt and stuff well. My floor was getting disgusting. Imagine not being able to vacuum for 2 weeks with 5 kids! Eww! Yesterday, after much searching, I located a cheap, but good used vacuum. It was at a vacuum repair shop. someone had dropped their vacuum off for repair a long time ago. They never picked it up. The repair shop was selling it for only the cost of the repair work, $35. I rushed to the shop to get it. When I brought it home, H and I vacuumed every room in the house. We went over each floor twice and when we were done, the floors looked nice again. I was told that bagless vacuums are not as good as bagged ones. They are made of mostly plastic parts and will overheat and begin to wear out in a short time. The best vacuums are those with metal parts and bags. H and I have decided that we'll keep our bagless for now. If we can buy a used one every year for what we just paid, we can afford to replace it every year when we destroy it. And we will destroy it. But, for now, I can enjoy nice clean floors that I can walk across without cringing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cost of Medicine

G2 is changing medicines. She has some severe emotional problems and has to be on bipolar medicine. Her old one isn't working well so we're changing medicine this week. Last night, I found out how much her new medicine will cost me. Keep in mind she is on the lowest dose. Only 2 mg, once a day. A 30 day supply is going to cost me $419! Wow, that's more than all my other prescriptions combined. That just took my monthly prescription cost to more than $800. Only time will tell if this new drug is worth it. At that price, it sure better be.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Toilet Paper

Okay, I admit this is a strange topic, but it's what's on my mind right now. I recently opened a new pack of toilet paper. I have been using this brand, Quilted Northern, for a while. For some reason, the roll of toilet paper looked odd to me. I just happened to have a roll of the old package so I compared the two. The new roll was different. It was a quarter of an inch shorter. The new package was pink for breast cancer awareness. I'm sure this was done as a way to cut down on costs. I assume the manufacturer didn't think anyone would notice. I don't know if the rolls are only shorter for the pink packages or if they will remain this new size. It's true that this shorter roll will allow the profits per package to be higher. The company may be donating this extra profit or they may simply be using it to cover the cost of what they are donating for breast cancer awareness.

Either way, this is just the latest in a long line of diminishing products. When you open a box of crackers, you may notice that there are fewer in the box. There is less of many products then there used to be although they are often still offered at the same price as before. Even Girl Scout cookies are not immune to this. There are fewer cookies in a box of Girl Scout cookies then there used to be. We, as consumers, are paying more money for the products we use. In many cases, we are not even aware of this. A company will boldly broadcast when they have 20% more of their product then the competitor has, but will somehow ignore the fact that they have 20% less than they use to have. There is little we can do to combat this. The companies need to improve their bottom line as much as we need to save money. By being aware of this, we can at least compare the products being offered dollar for dollar and ounce for ounce. Be a smart shopper and check out your toilet paper roll the next time you have to go.


We went camping this weekend. We left Friday shortly after lunch and set off. We were camping about 15 miles from home at a small private lake. The weather was expected to be in the 60s both days and in the 40s both nights. A little cool, but not bad camping weather. When we arrived, we started our fire. Then we set up the tent. This was the first time we had used this tent so we had some work to do. It came with those cheap plastic tent stakes that don't work well in most ground types. So H ran into town for better stakes and more firewood. When he returned, we moved into the tent. By now, the coals were ready, and we put our food on the fire. Foil packets work well for camping. We even made a peach cobbler in the dutch oven. Everything was going well. By nightfall, about 40 tents were set up. We were camping with the boy scouts. It was a cold night, reaching about 45. Just what we expected. We got up and built our fire back up. The morning went well with hiking and other activities.

By lunch, we knew there might be a problem. The clouds had not broken off and it was not near as warm as it should have been. We continued through the afternoon, but it was growing colder. Reports kept coming in that it was going to be much colder than expected that night. By 5:00, we had made our decision. We weren't going to stay the night. That was a hard decision to make because we like camping. Nevertheless it had to be made. The girls were shivering already and the forecast was down to below 40 and drizzle was beginning to come down. We didn't leave immediately, but we did start tearing down our campsite. Others began to do the same. There were some who thought we were wimping out and perhaps we were, but we didn't care. By the time we left, at 7:30, it had gotten even colder. Reports were now that it would be in the lower 30s and freezing rain throughout the night and morning.

We woke up Sunday morning nice and warm in our own beds. We looked outside at a ground that was covered in water from the rain. It was 33 degrees. We knew that we had made the right decision.

I like camping and we plan to go again, but tearing down camp in the freezing rain is never fun. Rolling up the tent, and reloading the car, in the freezing rain, is never fun. I'm not sure how many boy scouts and their dads (and some moms) stayed that night, but I do know that they were cold. Overall, we did enjoy the time we spent at the campsite and we still consider this to have been a good trip.

Friday, October 2, 2009

I'm Sick AGAIN!

I haven't updated my blog in a while because we've all been sick. Last week, all the kids had the sniffles. We took two days off of school and got behind. This week, I tried to play catch up and succeeded. But I got sick! I woke up Monday starting to feel bad. By Tuesday, I had no voice and felt miserable. I went to the Dr. and was diagnosed with Bronchitis, Sinusitis, Laryngitis, and a few other itises. I got a shot of antibiotic and some very large pills to take. That helped a lot and by Thursday I was feeling much better. So I taught three classes at our co-op! Then I started feeling bad again. This morning, I woke up with a lot of junk in my nose. I made it through our second co-op and park time then crashed. I slept for an hour and woke up feeling worse. I ache, have a fever, have all kinds of other pains. Looks like the flu to me. I'm drugged up again and planning to sleep as much as possible tomorrow. Maybe that will take care of it. In the meantime, being sick is lousy! As a mom, I can't take off and my kids don't realize I can't do everything they want and even some things they need. I am blessed to have B1. He is a big help when I am feeling less than at my best. He is able to fix simple meals and supervise his siblings. It's not a substitute for me though. So, I'm going to get some sleep soon and hope to be back up and running as soon as possible. So don't call me in the morning!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Everyone seems to have a fundraiser these days. My sons are in boy scouts so of course we're selling popcorn right now. Want some? I have also recently been sold magazines and cookie dough by my relatives. I know there will be at least one more sell by relatives this year. A few weeks before Christmas, I will be asked to buy (and of course I will) a poinsettia from a lady who works with H. In the Spring, girl scout cookies take over. I'll be selling those too. Everyone has a fundraiser from schools to organizations to sport teams to gyms. A few years ago, the local gymnastics school my girls attended sold candles!!! Who wants to have a fundraiser for a gym that you already pay high membership rates too? I refused to sell that one.

I have to say, some fundraisers are better than others. Our local FFA club will place a flag in your yard 6 times a year on certain holidays as a fundraiser. That's pretty cool. You wake up on the 4th of July and there's a large flag in your yard. In fact, all up and down the street, the yards are displaying flags. That's a good one. Others, not so much. I won't name names, but I'm sure you've had some that were just useless items.

The biggest problem is that everyone is over sold now so it is harder for the kids to sell. The United Way is fund raising right now along with the boy scouts and in a couple of weeks, the girl scouts will sell nuts. That's three major sells at the same time. Add in all the school fundraisers and the organizations and you're talking a lot of money on products worth less than half of their cost. I'm not saying don't buy. I support the causes for many of these fundraisers and am happy to contribute to some kids experiences with some worthwhile organizations.

What about the prizes though? For many of these fundraisers, the kids win cheap plastic junk. They are so excited to sell $500 worth of product so they can win a $2 whistle. Wat's the deal with that? We turn the kids into little "gimme" monsters who cry if you don't buy something because they really want that whistle. I have to say, the prizes my kids are shooting for are better. Our kids actually make 10% of what they sell in gift cards! Now that's a prize I'd sell for. The kids don't have to get excited over a whistle. Instead they get to be greedy over cash! My kids really love selling this stuff and are excited about the money they know they're making, but I have to wonder what lessons we're teaching them.

So, this year, have fun with the fundraisers and buy something from the cute little kids at your door, especially if they're mine!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


A few nights ago, I had the privilege of seeing a beautiful rainbow. We could see almost the entire thing. It stretched from one side of the sky to the other. In fact, as we watched, a second rainbow appeared. It became a double rainbow. Both rainbows were fully visible. We watched for a few minutes with all the kids. Rainbows truly are reminders of God's love for us. On the way home, I was able to use this experience as a teaching moment. We discussed what makes a rainbow appear. We discussed who made the rainbow and why. It was a great opportunity. The next time you have the opportunity to watch a rainbow, get your kids outside to see it too.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Special Needs Children

Special Needs is a category used to label children with any number of medical, physical, emotional or other problems. The child's special needs are more than just therapy or medicine though. They are a lifetime of every situation, location, vacation, daily life. Everything can be a special need for this child. I have three children who technically fit this category. G1 and G2 are the most severe. G1 is a constant job. She is adorable and sweet and loving. She is also living in her own world for much of the time. This afternoon, we went to the grocery store. She didn't want to go. She was hungry. As we walked up and down the aisles, she became more and more difficult. She would hide around the next aisle. She would drop down in the middle of the aisle and scream. She would pull away from us when we tried to hold her hand. Things got worse as we neared the checkout. She ran from us several times and B2 had to drag her back. When we finally made it to the checkout, she wouldn't stop touching the candy and items on the aisle. I told her to stop and that was the last straw for her. She took off running, squeezing past two people in front of us and ran to the front door. Now this was at Walmart, not exactly the best place to have a runaway child. I sent the boys after her because I couldn't fit as easily. I turned around and told H she was heading out the door and took off too. I caught up with the children at the door. B2 was dragging her back towards me. H decided he would check out without me so I took 3 of the kids out to the car. I didn't let go of her hand the whole way. She screamed and pulled. I practically drug her to the car. After buckling her in, we had a talk and some hugs.

It's scary raising a special needs child. In this case, her medicine had worn off and she had no control of herself. It would be nice to say this is a one time event, but it's not. We experience this kind of thing often. The other people around us were staring at us as if we had no control over our kids. Others don't understand what it's like to have these problems day in and day out. No one bothered to stop this little 5 year old girl who nearly ran into a busy parking lot. All they did was stare and accuse us with their looks. This is the kind of thing many parents of special needs kids go through on a daily basis. So the next time you see an out of control child at the store. Or see one running towards a busy parking lot. Offer to help out. Or at least understand that the parent might just be doing everything they can. Raising a special needs child is a lifetime event. The parent may never be finished raising the child. The child may never grow out of these behaviors. Special needs encompasses every aspect of the child's life and the lives of those around them. So show your support the next time you see one. The parents will appreciate it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Okay. My third daughter and 5th child is, well, she's her own person. This evening, while I was preparing supper, I glanced out the window. Guess what I saw? My little 4 year old girl was on the roof of our shed! I didn't panic. I calmly walked outside and helped her off the roof. She had climbed up a metal trellis on a smaller shed and climbed onto the big shed from the roof of the first one. I brought her inside and continued fixing supper. A few minutes later, supper was ready. H went to find G3 because she wasn't coming to the table. I heard him exclaim, "Oh No!". So I went to check things out. B1, who definitely knows better, had left a pair of scissors within her reach. She had proceeded to cut her hair, AGAIN! There is a huge chunk missing from the side of her head. Luckily she left enough to mostly cover her head there. She also removed a portion of her bangs forcing me to cut the rest. This is not the first time she has cut her hair. It isn't the second or even the third. That is why I lock up all scissors in my house. I installed a lock on a drawer just for her. This drawer contains the markers, glue and scissors. The pair at fault this time is kept safely put away in my room. This is the pair that B1 borrowed earlier and failed to put up. So once again, I have the pleasure of a lovely haircut on my beautiful little girl. Who knows what we will discover next.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bad Mood

I am in a bad mood today. I have no real reason for this, just a few minor problems. They have caused me to take everything hard today. OK, caused is probably too strong a word. Nothing can cause me to be in a bad mood, but some things help. So what am I reacting too? My kids. They have also not been having a good day. I don't know if their bad day is because of me or completely separate. They are not doing as they should though. My girls dumped out a large bag of crayons. These are now scattered all over my house. Not only that, but several walls are a new color. There are wavy lines and squiggles drawn on several walls. I know, I should have my kids clean this off. Unfortunately, they lack the skills to remove the crayon. They can't rub hard enough, or just don't understand how hard they need to, to remove it.

There are also dirty pull-ups all over my house. Three of my kids still sleep in them. They don't want to throw them away so they don't. Sometimes I find them inside their pajamas. Sometimes I find them hidden behind other objects. The current favorite hiding is behind the toilet or in the bathtub. They have also been known to put them in other people's clothing drawers and under beds. It would take less time to just throw them away, but then I might think they should do that every day. So, they sit in their hiding places until I find them.

Then there are the dirty clothes. These seem to be everywhere. My kids are young, but they know that when you take off your clothes, they belong in the laundry room. There are clothes mixed in with the toys, under the beds, in the bathroom and even in my room. G3 thinks it's appropriate to change out of her pajamas in my room and then leave the pajamas wherever they landed.

All of this has gone on for some time. I can't seem to convince my children that picking up their stuff is in their best interests. I guess I'll have to keep trying until I succeed. In the meantime, my bad mood persists. I'm going to work on that. Maybe I can pull myself out of it and then maybe I can pull the kids out of theirs.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Commercialism of Holidays

We often hear about the commercialism of holidays. We associate it primarily with Christmas. In fact, it's probably true. This is September. School has barely started (and hasn't for some) and already the stores are starting to put out Christmas items! Christmas is a major gift buying and decorating holiday so the stores want to get a head start. Do I think it's right? Absolutely not, but I do know why they do it. But what about the other holidays? Halloween decorations and costumes appear about this time. Thanksgiving and Fall items are in the stores. Valentine's items appear right after Christmas with Easter items typically out before Valentine's Day. Those are all holidays that people associate with shopping. I still don't like it, but I know why they do it.

So what's the deal with today. Today is Labor Day. Not really a shopping holiday. Not a gift giving holiday. So why are the stores commercializing it? Almost every store that is open today is having a sale in honor of the holiday. They all want some of the money that all the people not working will be spending today. As the weekend got closer, the stores suddenly had full aisles of hot dog buns, chips and soft drinks. Not to mention paper plates, cups and napkins. All items designed for one purpose: to commercialize a holiday like Labor Day. These stores hope that everyone will host a backyard picnic and buy their stuff.

It's really ridiculous what happens in stores when holidays happen. These holidays weren't created for the stores, although some of them were moved for them. Yet today, who remembers what Labor Day is for? Who understands the importance of Thanksgiving? I would imagine that more people are familiar with the sales and picnics than the holiday itself.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Free Curriculum

A lot of people think curriculum has to be store bought to work. That's just not true. There are many things that you have in your home and at your disposal that work great for lessons.

This week my kids looked for shapes around the house. They sorted, counted and made pictures with coins. They helped me bake and cook. All of these things taught them valuable lessons in math, science, and thinking skills. They learned a lot for FREE. Every week, we do things like this. We can look in the backyard to study wildlife: plants, trees and bugs. We can play with LEGOs to work on math, thinking skills and lessons in just about everything. In fact, LEGOs make excellent manipulatives. No, they are not free, but if you have them laying around the house, you may as well use them. B1 has used them to make board games and to improve architecture skills. He has learned how to balance objects and all about gravity. LEGO even has lesson plans available online for teachers.

The internet is a great place to find FREE materials. Type just about anything into Google and you will find a lesson on it. has an entire section on lesson plans for science. Not just space, but on electricity and plant life. Many websites you might not expect to have lessons, do. And there are many more specifically designed for teaching. and have 100s of FREE printable worksheets.

Then there are places in your community. Libraries have books on almost every subject. There are math books and science books, grammar and history, and of course reading. Many libraries have classes available to the community. Libraries often have educational videos and other recordings as well. Some stores have community teaching events. Home Depot offers Saturday teaching workshops for kids. Krispy Kreme allows you to view the donut making process. Many farms, factories and businesses are available for field trips where you can learn how to do just about anything.

Teaching moments are everywhere in life. There are lessons to be learned everywhere. Cooking and cleaning are excellent for teaching. And of course, PLAYING. Kids learn countless lessons just by playing. So before you decide to go out and buy all your curriculum and before you decide you can't afford to teach your kids at home, look into some of these resources and see just how affordable it can really be. Of course, the stuff that costs can be good too.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sick Days

When our kids get sick, we take care of them. We keep them at home, bring them things, let them rest and watch TV all day. When our husbands get sick, we let them rest, we bring them things and take care of them. What happens when we get sick. We don't rest, no one brings us things and we don't take care of ourselves. We trudge on knowing that the work won't get done without us. If we take a break, the house will fall apart. The kids won't get fed and the laundry will pile up. We don't have time to lay around and rest. So we don't. We keep going even when our bodies are screaming at us. That's where I am today. I'm sick. I have a cold. My head is stuffy, nose is running, too much sinus pressure and I need a nap. I need to rest. I need a break. But, I know that things need to be done. I have laundry to do and children to guide. I need to figure out supper and write lesson plans. Some of this I've done today. I have directed my children in some of the chores. I have cleaned the bird cage (my pets) and cleaned a small portion of my room. I still need to plan supper and clean my kitchen. I still need to plan my lessons for this week. I still need to do a lot of things. Meanwhile my body still screams at me to rest. I know it won't get better as quickly if I keep pushing it, but I know I can't stop doing my job either. Moms don't get sick days, no matter how badly we need them. Most of the time, we don't even admit to our families that we are sick. They would have to rearrange their schedules to help us and we don't want them to have to do that. H left to run an errand and do some work at his office. B1 and B2 are entertaining themselves and doing some work. The three girls are trying really hard not to take naps and I'm typing on my blog. I think, just maybe, if the girls go to sleep and the boys continue to entertain themselves, I may even take a nap. It will be a short one, but for once I want my sick day too.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lack of Family Support - Homeschooling

One of the hardest things we face with our homeschooling is a lack of support from our families. My family is big on education. My mother has a doctorate in Education. School is very important for them. It is very important for me too. I want my kids to have a great education. My mother says she isn't worried about my ability to teach, it's the socialization. Of course, she does check on how they're doing in school regularly. I have tried to inform her that my children receive adequate socialization. We are involved in scouts and attend Church and Church related activities regularly. We are involved with a co-op and "socialize" with more than 100 kids there. Not sure what more she thinks we need.

Then there's my sisters. One has been against homeschooling from the start with no real reason. My other sister decided just recently that she is now against homeschooling. Her arguments are not as well constructed. Her most recent being that my children will not know how to sit in a classroom. Even my children laughed at that one. They sit in classrooms, just not for 8 hours a day.

My in-laws have always been against homeschooling as well. They do not argue with us. They merely ignore the subject. They have said, "We made our mistakes, you are entitled to make yours." Understanding my mother-in-law, that comment actually doesn't bother me.

So, what do you do if you have no support from family members? When my family calls and offers up the latest argument, I just inform them the kids are doing well and move on. I try not to let them bother me. Of course it does some, just not as much as it used to. We have found our support elsewhere. As I said, we belong to a co-op with about 50 families. We have made many friends through it and use them for our primary support. There are several who home school at our Church as well. My other support is online. There are a lot of support groups online for us. My favorite is THL, otherwise known as The Homeschool Lounge. It is an excellent place to find support and information on all homeschooling matters.

My advice to those who, like me, lack family support is to find that support elsewhere. If you look around, you will likely find others who share your desire to educate your children at home. You can look for groups or individuals locally or you can look online at the many groups available. Just don't let your family make the decision for you. Your children are your responsibility. As a word of caution though, your spouse's opinion is important and don't lump it into the same category with the rest of your family.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Kids and Chores

It seems, at least to me, to always be a fight to get my kids to do their chores. They complain and whine every day. When everyone is doing their part, the chores only take about 30 min. Unfortunately, my kids can make the chores last all day. They use phrases like, "That's not fair!" and "It'll take too long!". Why do kids complain about their chores. I think there are two main reasons. The first is simply that they don't want to do work. It's more fun to play. The second is that they want to test us as parents. If they complain enough, maybe I won't make them do the work. This doesn't work at my house. Everyone is responsible for doing their own chores. They have to do the work no matter how much they complain. This has always been the case at my house so why do they keep whining? Because I argue with them. I am guilty of letting them complain and actually answering them. I will explain why, tell them it has to be done, and otherwise keep the conversation going. I am working on stopping this. I am giving myself more work by allowing this conversation to continue. My answer when they complain should be, "Go clean ____." I need to repeat that phrase ad nauseum. Until my kids get so tired of hearing the phrase they stop. Or I need to say that phrase once and then say nothing to them. I'm not sure which of these techniques will work best so I will start with one and if after a time, it isn't working, I'll switch techniques. One thing I know for sure is that the kids will learn to stop the complaining and start working.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Park Day

I like park days most of the time. Especially when you go with a friend. Today, we had a park day. We met a friend at a good park and let the kids play for a few hours while we enjoyed some adult conversation. It was morning and not too hot, in the upper 80s or lower 90s. We even packed a lunch and enjoyed a lunch while there. It was nice and enjoyable. It also wears the kids out. We had to run an errand before returning home and the kids were barely controllable. All the way home, a couple of them whined and fought. When we got home, I sent them to read and rest. I don't know if it's being outside in the sun, wind and other elements or if it's just keeping up with the kids in a strange environment, but park days wear me out too. The kids are resting and hopefully recovering from their fun. I should probably rest too. In other words, while park days can be a lot of fun for both kids and their moms, they are also very exhausting. So enjoy them in moderation.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Every home school seems to use a different curriculum. There are so many types to choose from. You can choose a textbook type curriculum or a child directed curriculum. There are countless types that fit between these two categories. I use a few different types. I have some workbooks for math, grammar and spelling. I have an all-inclusive curriculum for everything else. This one curriculum, My Father's World, allows me to school all of my kids at the same time. All 5 kids listen to the books and lessons we read aloud. All 5 are therefore studying the same thing in history, science, art, music, and Bible. This is one of the most helpful things about our home school curriculum. I am schooling 4 different ages of children and I would have a very difficult time schooling them if I didn't have just such a curriculum. This works well for me, but would it work for everyone? Of course not! Each child is unique in their learning style and each parent is unique in their teaching style. Some need more structure, others need little structure. Some need lectures, some need independent work. Not only are the styles unique for each person involved, but they can change from year to year. I use what I am because it suits us this year. Will I continue doing everything the same next year? Not likely. I will more likely tweak some details of our schooling. I may hear about some awesome curriculum between now and then that I want to try. That's not important. What matters most is that what we use works for our family right now.

When I first began home schooling I was told, "Pick something for this year and commit to it." If it works, that's great. If not, change it the next year. I am into my third year of this and I have not had two years the same yet. I have taught using different curriculum and I have taught different ages of children. If you are new to home schooling, pick something and start in. Don't feel like you'll be stuck with your decision forever. Just start.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Money or a lack thereof

This was a hard month financially. We had to buy all new tires at the beginning of the month and just replaced the alternator today. That was two major vehicle expenses not in the budget. I had to nearly wipe out my savings. A year ago, I would have had to charge the tires and the alternator. I didn't have a savings then. A year ago, I would have been upset knowing I didn't have the money for it. Thanks to Dave Ramsey and the financial peace university, I had a savings and no credit cards. There was only one way for me to pay for it so I did. My savings is nearly gone, but I have no debt from the repairs. What a better way to teach my kids than by example. They saw us not be worried. They saw us pull the money from savings and then pay for the repair up front. I'm not saying I'm not at all bothered by it. I am. It's a lot of money. I am just glad the money was there. Of course now I have to build my savings back up. It will take a few months so I pray nothing happens in the mean time. If you struggle at all with debt or financial problems, or if you simply want to obtain financial independence, I strongly recommend the Financial Peace University from Dave Ramsey. It is simple, but it works. Find it at Now that I have made my commercial pitch for a product I have used, but don't sell, I'll get back to the issue at hand. Regardless of the method you use, please, please, please teach your children about money. Don't make them learn the hard way. It really makes a difference in their lives and in yours.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Spring Cleaning in August?

Yes, I know it's a little late for spring cleaning, but my house really needs it. That's what I'm doing today. My kitchen still shows the remains of cooking for the last two days on the countertops. My bathroom is getting dusty and I'm afraid the caulking in my shower is started to grow mold. EWW! I'll have to deal with that quickly. I have so many school books and toys in my room, I can barely see the floor, not to mention my desk. My laundry is in process, but there are still a few loads left to do. All my bookshelves need dusted and my floors need vacuumed. My ceiling fans are dripping with dust so they must be cleaned also. Then there's the kids' rooms. They have toys and clothes everywhere and their bathroom is just gross (always). So today, we clean. The kids will have to help. I didn't make all this mess, and I have no intention of cleaning it all. B1 can clean their bathroom and the others can clean their rooms. Everyone can pick up toys and things that don't belong in other rooms. Other chores can also be done by the kids. Unfortunately, that still leaves me with quite a lot. H had to work some today so his contribution to this will be minimal. To his credit, he did load the dishwasher before he left. With all this work to do, I should probably get started. With any luck and a lot of elbow grease, tomorrow morning, I can wake up to a nice clean house!

Friday, August 14, 2009


Some people love dogs, some are cat people. Others love fish or birds. Another group likes the more exotic pets. We are a little bit of all. We have had rats, hedgehogs, lizards, a parrot, hamsters, dogs, cats and fish, but not all at the same time. Currently, we have a little Schnorkie, that's a mix between a miniature schnauzer and a yorkie. She is cute, only about 5 pounds. This is the first indoor dog I have allowed H to have. H also has a saltwater aquarium. He used to have both a salt and freshwater aquarium, but the saltwater takes too much time. He really enjoys his pets. We have an outdoor cat that adopted our family and as of last night, we have two parakeets. These newest additions are officially my pets. That means that I am responsible for the care and cleaning of these little birds.

So, why all the pets? What is it about having pets that is so appealing. I like them for many reasons. I like having something to play with and something interesting to watch. Animals teach us about other living things, what they need to survive and how they interact with others. Some teach us even more. When a former dog had puppies, all the kids sat around her and watched this event. They learned how animals (and even babies) are born. Yes, some of it was disgusting, but when we study it further in school, they will remember this experience and understand the birth process better. We get to enjoy the unique behaviors of our pets and just enjoy their company.

I don't know what kinds of pets I will have in the future. I have a friend with a tarantula, I don't think I'll get one of those. In her eyes, it's better than a snake. I think I would prefer a snake to a giant hairy spider. In fact, at some point, I will probably have a snake, the kids want one. H currently thinks he needs some button quail, an adorable little round quail. He hasn't figured out what he'd do with them yet, but I'm sure once he knows, we'll be getting some of them too. At times, I think I live in a zoo, but I have come to realize that that's okay. We get to enjoy God's creations from the comfort of our own home. So whatever pets you have, have fun with them.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nap Time

As a kid, I hated those words. I didn't want to take a nap because I might miss out on something. I had things to do and didn't want to take a nap. I didn't need a nap. Now as an adult, I love those words. I love saying to my kids, "Nap Time". Of course, they aren't as thrilled as I am. They are not tired. They have things to do. They don't want to miss out on anything. They don't need a nap.

They are right to some extent. They are not always tired and they may miss something, but that's not what's important. What's important is that their little bodies need a time to recoup. They need a time to catch up with their thoughts. They may not need to go to sleep, but they need to rest. G3 usually needs a nap. She will eventually collapse somewhere if she doesn't have that time. She runs hard all day and eventually, her body forces her to stop for a while. I usually know exactly when that time is. She starts to get grumpy. Nothing is right for her. She starts getting hurt in games. Her body is trying to recoup, but can't. Now, if I tell her it's nap time, she'll fight it, but if I can get her to sit in a quiet place for just a few moments, she's out like a light.

Of course, the kids aren't the only ones who need this time. I need it. I need a few moments for my body to recoup. I need my house to be quiet and calm so I can relax. So often, when nap time comes, I don't let my body rest. There's always things to do, things that can't wait. This morning, I woke up exhausted. I didn't get enough sleep last night and I didn't sleep well. I was up for 2 1/2 hours before I gave up. I decided that things could wait, school could wait, cleaning could wait. I put B1 in charge of the others, told him what I expected and I took a NAP. An hour later, I woke up. I feel so much better now. My body feels better now. I feel like I can handle the rest of the day. Yes, my schedule is off now. Yes, I will have to catch up later on a few things. But, that nap was necessary. I can't and won't do that often. It is important though that every day, we take a quiet time and give our bodies a chance to recoup. So, yes the kids need a nap time, but so do we. Don't forget that.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Prescription Drugs

My family uses a lot of prescription drugs. We have the usual things like high blood pressure and anxiety. Then we have some unusual problems. This amounts to about 10 prescriptions for our family. These all have to be filled every month which amounts to about $800 a month in prescriptions! The worst part (okay, the cost may be the worst part) is that almost NONE of these prescriptions run out at the same time! I filled 2 of them yesterday. I will fill one more later this week, I filled 3 last week, and so on, and so on. You know it's bad when the pharmacist has already pulled your medicine out before you even get to the counter. Last week, the lady rang up the purchase before verifying the name on it. I think I spend more time at the pharmacy then I do buying groceries, and that's saying something. I guess I could use mail order for some of them, but they don't have all our medicines and some of them require a new prescription every month. Besides, wouldn't that just mean more paperwork. I guess for now this is just something we have to deal with, but hey, those anxiety pills are mine so I'm okay with that.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I love to bake. I bake bread a couple of times a week and cookies once a week if possible. H and I also bake cinnamon rolls, and all types of dough items. Last night H made bread with our favorite recipe. Ummm! The house smelled delicious. The recipe is simple and not mine. If you like to bake, you might want to try it out. Start with 2 cups of warm water, add in 2/3 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 Tablespoons of yeast. Mix it in a mixer and let stand for 10 min. After this time, the yeast should be bubbly. Add in 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 cup of oil and 6 cups of flour. I like to use 3 cups of whole wheat and 3 cups of all-purpose for this. Knead it and let rise for one hour, or until doubled in size. Punch it down, knead again and divide in half. Place each half in a loaf pan and let rise until doubled again. Bake at 350 for about 30 min. Enjoy! It's a really good bread. It costs approximately 50 cents a loaf depending on where you get your ingredients.

Monday, August 10, 2009


One of my common phrases to use is that I wake up tired and go to bed exhausted. It's a common problem of motherhood. There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done that we need to do. I did manage to get 8 hours of sleep last night. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the norm so I am still tired today. I am going to try to get 8 hours every night (or at least as many nights as I can). Over time, I should be able to wake up a little less tired. So how do we as mothers get enough sleep? We don't do everything! It's not possible to stay home, clean the house, school the children, cook all the meals, do all the laundry, play with the kids, exercise, and do everything else I need to do in my day. So don't do everything. Last night, I went to bed without wiping down all my countertops. Amazingly, they were still there this morning. We all made it through the morning just fine. I still haven't done that job, but I will as soon as I'm through with this post. I promise I will not have everything done when I go to bed tonight. I probably won't get the floors vacuumed and there will probably still be some dirty laundry, and that's okay. I will do the important things each day such as feeding my family, schooling my kids and taking care of their needs (not all their wants), and any other necessary things. As long as the same job doesn't get left undone every day, things should work out over time. It's okay if our houses aren't perfect all the time. We live in them and it's just not going to happen. Accept that and do what you can each day. Then take care of yourself by getting enough exercise and sleep each day. Maybe we can cut back on the amount of fatigue we all experience as mothers.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

School Starts Now

I homeschool my 5 children so we can start school any time we choose. We have had a short break and are now ready to start in earnest. I have organized my material and planned my lessons for the coming week. So, bright and early (okay probably 8:30 or maybe even 9:00) Monday morning, we will begin school. This is my first year to school everyone. B1 is in 4th, B2 is in 1st, G1 and G2 are in K and G3 is pre-k. Wow, does that sound like fun to anyone else? Actually, it isn't that bad. My girls have a fairly light load as much of K is just organized play time. There work can be completed in 1 to 1 1/2 hours a day. B2 requires a little more time. His work will likely not be completed until lunch. B1 however, has a long day. He will work on both group and independent work all morning. After lunch, he will continue with any independent work not completed. The afternoon is also when we have fun school time. That is when we conduct experiments, have math in the kitchen, watch an educational show or play an educational game. Of course, when all of that is finished, even B1 gets to enjoy free time. It is time consuming and a bit of an organizational challenge to school 5 children at home, but it can be done with just a little prep work.

Friday, August 7, 2009

New Haircut

Isn't it amazing how a new haircut can make you feel. I've been wanting my hair shorter for a couple of months. Today, I got it cut. I have naturally curly hair so I got it cut chin length with layers. It curls up nicely and looks a little wild. The best thing is that it takes no time to style. I wash it, towel dry for a minute and it's ready to go. No blow dryers, no curling irons, no hairspray, mousse or gel. It's a great hairstyle for someone like me who doesn't have time to mess with hair and who really just doesn't want to. Now to see what H thinks about it when he gets home!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


This has got to be one of the worst words in the human language. It seems it's all anyone talks about. I talk about it frequently myself. I need to lose 60 pounds so I talk about it. The problem is that talking about it won't help me lose that weight. I eat okay. I make almost all our foods from scratch and we seldom eat out. Yet, I gain instead of losing weight! My problem is that I don't exercise enough. I hardly exercise at all. I have all the usual excuses: back problems, knee problems, no time, no money for equipment or gym fees. The list really goes on and on. Unfortunately, it's only me that affects. So why do I make the excuses? I need to make time to exercise every day. Even 30 minutes a day can make a difference. I am challenging myself and anyone who reads this to make time every day to exercise. Talking won't help anyone, only doing can help. Next time I talk about weight loss, I want it to be in the past tense. I know myself better than that and I will talk about it again, but I will not mention it again unless I am actively working on it and that means EXERCISE!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Play With Your Kids

I am not good at playing with my kids regularly, but they definitely need it. I am always trying to get things done, or just relax, while they play. The problem is, kids need us to play with them. My kids will pester me constantly to play with them. If I will sit down with them for just 30 min. and play what they want, it makes things go much smoother. I waste a lot of time telling my kids, "not now" when I could just say yes and play for half an hour. That's not really much time. How much work am I honestly going to get done in 30 min.? How much joy can I bring to my kids in 30 min.? There's no comparison. So, I'm off to go play with my kids right now. You should too.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Who I Am

I'm new to blogging so this will be a new challenge. I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling, adoptive mother of 5 kids. I've been married to a wonderful husband for 15 years. We'll call him H. I have 2 boys and 3 girls. Affectionately known here as B1, B2, G1, G2 and G3. I have been homeschooling for 2 years and really love it. My kids are all pretty young. B1 is 9, B2 is 6, G1 is 5, G2 is also 5 and G3 is 4. Most of them are adopted. There are no twins in the bunch, but it seems like it sometimes. We chose to adopt through foster care. I'm a very private person online so I don't know if pictures will find their way here or not. I also like to babble so starting a blog sounded like a logical thing to do. I am also a Christian and will not allow profanity or evil talk on my blog. I hope you enjoy reading this blog as much as I think I will enjoy writing it. Maybe some accidental words of wisdom will even surface within its pages. So long.