Thursday, September 20, 2012

Oh, Hello Fall

It's no secret tat I like to decorate.  I didn't want to spend any money right now, so I went with what I had. It was fun to work with!

We've done a bit more to the entry so let's start there shall we?

 I really love the colors in here, and all the texture. Since you last saw the entry, we have added numbers to the front of the chest. I put the boys' things that I find around the house in there. An easy way to keep things picked up.

 I added fall flowers and a candle. I found that huge vase in the back at a garage sale for $1 this summer.

Since you last saw the kitchen I have added a print in a gorgeous frame that I found for $2 (this summer), some pears in fall colors on the counter, and pumpkin, and a fall wreath on the door.

 On the coffee table I have a simple center piece I got 50% off at Hobby Lobby a few years ago.

 The mantle has a grapevine basket ($1 at a garage sale), pumpkins (Target a few years ago), an owl from TJ Maxx a few years ago,  candle sticks (Hobby Lobby last year), pot from my grandma, scarecrow
(Walmart last year), and a simple Fall banner made from burlap and ribbon. I simply took a sharpie and wrote Fall.

That's it. I love this season, it's so cozy. I just got done making a grocery list for next week that is fall inspired. Once I get all of the links together, I'll post it. It's full of comfort food haha!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


If you read my post yesterday, you know that I have been in a bit of a rut. You can imagine the parenting that gets done in seasons like this, but I've been actively trying to stay on top of attitudes (mine included) and build relationships.

I have a hard time with this, and some days are even harder. *grin*

Every single day, I have to get up and get going to create an atmosphere that the boys are used to. I think all of the time. Think about ways to love them more, ways to spend more time with them, then ways to teach them that this life isn't all about them.

I was reading one of my favorite blogs this morning and she spoke exactly what I need to tell myself over and over, every day, fifty times a day.

"But, taking time to make pleasant children for their own benefit and the benefit of others means encouraging at a young age that the world doesn't revolve around them.
Which means I must stay calm, cool, and collected in my heart and attitude so that she knows in her spirit I don't think life is just about me either."

I've become intentional about my reactions or lack there of. Not always good at not reacting, but I do realize that if there is a problem, my attitude in that moment is the most important thing. After all, I wouldn't want to teach my boys that the world doesn't revolve around them, but it does in fact revolve around their mother.

I've also had to step back and look at the whole picture. At the world through their little eyes. Most all of the behaviors we are currently dealing with stem from something I could have done better. Did they get enough to eat, enough sleep, have I been consistent with routines so that when I ask them to do something it isn't like the end of the world? Have I paid attention to the way they treat each other, so I can gently correct them before they get too upset at one another?

This parenting thing is such a huge responsibility. One that most of us chose to take on. It takes consistency, time, and prayer.

Our children need us. They need to know we are not only here for them, but we are here with them. That we are are willing to put the effort it takes every single day. Whether it be a check in with them on their attitude according to scripture, or even letting them know how I'm here with them when life gets frustrating.

I need to set them up for success by checking my attitude, taking care of all their needs including spending time with them, and keep them plenty busy with necessary tasks so they don't have too much free time alone that they get selfish when asked to do something, but enough time to play and be a child.

I have to remember that being the authority does not make me the boss, it makes me a servant. It's important to understand that myself, so my children understand that as well.

A servant is one who attends to the needs of others. It's a selfless job being a mother. It's hard, it's rewarding, and it's a blessing. It's a gift to be in the company of  The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Mathew 18
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

This is how I chose to live my every day. These children are how God has blessed us so. He trusts us with them.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Living Life

I have had a hard few weeks with not feeling well, or doing well in general. I sometimes get stuck in a rut. Times when I don't want to get out of the house or make time to see others. I get a lot done here at home, but it seems to take a whole different level of energy to get out and about.

Usually when I feel this way, I become like a hermit. Staying in my own comfortable home, tending to what all needs to be done here. I definitely think that is all important, but I believe having a proper balance is best, at least for me.

I could feel this creeping up on me as I was dealing with some incredibly hard issues that occurred at the beginning of August,  but instead of giving in to it as much as I used to, we kept going.

In the last six weeks, we have met friends at the park, gone to friend's houses, gone to church activities, volunteered to repaint a guest room for families with loved ones in prison, gone to a neighborhood block party, a few birthday parties, a fish fry, family dinner with my side of the family, I've gone to lunch with friends, had company in our home etc.

At times when I feel like am am not possibly doing enough, I think it's important to actually look at what we have done before I start getting to hard on myself. My absolute priorities in life are knowing and honoring God, my husband, and my children. So if I can do these things while still maintaining fellowship with others I think we're are doing okay.

I've been focusing lately on reading  and knowing the Bible and loving my family more. I get up daily and read the Word, I listen to sermons or Bibles studies online like GoodMorningGirls.

I've thought of ways to love my husband more by keeping the house clean, cooking more... spending less on eating out, and having others over to our house. I'm definitely much better at keeping our house clean than ever, but there is always room for improvement. I have cooked 3 meals almost every day for weeks. We have saved so much money! And, last week, I invited a family for dinner, and then had our church over for dinner and study. I can tell he is loving all of this so much!

Ways to love my boys more that I've been working on are coloring with them, reading to them, and today we went out and played football as a family at the park. They are loving this as well, and it seems to work like magic at building a strong relationship with them.

Some personal goals I have for the rest of the year are:
   *cleaning out closets and clutter that I don't want to look at anymore!
   *lose 20lbs I have to lose weight. I keep gaining and losing and I'm sick of it. Plus I just don't feel healthy right now.
   *finish reading the Bible
   *getting to bed early so I can wake up early (bed 10:00 up at 5:30-6:00) I get up now between 6-6:30, but I go to bed around 11:30 and by 2:00 I'm exhausted.
   *I also, want to slow down on all the "inspirational reading" I do. Blogs, pinterest, etc. It's an overload to me right now, so I'm choosing a few of my favorites and keeping it at that for now. I need a break from all of that.

This week I'm working on the next bit of our homeschooling, so I will post that plan soon, also I'll post my progress with the goals above. I need some way to feel accountable about this!

I hope you are all having the loveliest of days. Our days are cool and absolutely beautiful. It feels amazing outside!

Picture taken at Hook, Line, and Sinker in Dallas this summer :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Meaningless Life

Yesterday, I started reading the book of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes "Qoheleth"  means Preacher in Hebrew. I'm not sure why I feel I've never heard anything about this book, but as I read, I kept wondering.

The author (most likely King Solomon) uses the word "meaningless" and "chasing after the wind" more than I can count. He talks about living life with our own efforts is nothing but meaningless.  How we accumulate things, work harder to get more, all to find happiness.  We have all been told that money can't buy you happiness, but to actually read the observations in Ecclesiastes was like a breath of fresh air. Complete truth.

See, I struggle much with balancing what I should do with my time, our money, how much I should invest in outside relationships an our own little family relationships. I watch others carefully. The way they live, how they love, how they spend their money. I admire those who give their lives to serve others daily. I admire those who have much in savings etc. I honestly just admire the confidence of those who live either way. They are happy and confident what they do or don't do with their time and money is where God has led them, and that's good enough.

I struggle, because if I'm honest we have have been given a wonderful job and home and I have a hard time feeling good about that, and when I do, I feel guilty.

As in King Solomon's experience, life can feel meaningless. I have so many thoughts of how all of this adds up.  In the end does it all even matter?

Then I read this:

3:12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

This is a gift from God.

Sure, enjoy your hard work, your life. Be happy, for this is a gift from God. But, this is the duty of all mankind:

13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil

What I've taken from this book is that as I look to others, read books, or try to do this all on my own, it will always feel meaningless. When I fear God and His word, and obey Him and honor Him, I am set free to enjoy that of which would have been meaningless as a gift from Him. We do not have to feel guilty or worried, because this is His gift to us. My question shouldn't even be about how to make this life more meaningful, but how I'm honoring God daily.

For we know that according to Romans, all scripture is for our learning so we will have hope.

Romans 15:4

4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

I encourage you to sit down this week and read the book of Ecclesiastes. It's not meaningless! :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

School Days

My goal this year is to try to do school 5 weeks and use the 6th week for planning. I can look over our 5 weeks in advance, order books, visit the library, print anything I need to print ahead of time.

That works best for me, because if I don't have what I need when I need it, I kind of get stuck..and don't proceed well after that.

I look through my list of Read Alouds, History literature, Ambleside readings, Fine Arts prints and resources, and projects that we will cover over the next 5 weeks and either print them, get them from the library, or order them.

We are already starting our 4th week of the 2012-2013 year! Wow. Here's what we've been up to and will continue this week and next before we break of my week of planning.

Bible: Family Reading Bible (Genesis)

Brighton (pre K): My Father's World days of Creation, letter S and sun study. We will begin letter M and moon study tomorrow, and next week will be letter L and leaf study.

I do not do every activity in the curriculum with him because he is in preK and we only spend 30 min. a day on his lessons.

Tristin (year 2):  Singapore Math 2A (3 pages a day)

Spelling: All About Spelling Level 1, we are on lesson 6, we started slowly to make sure he is mastering his lessons. Ending next week on lesson 10 or 12 ish.

Foreign language: We have started Greek. I didn't mention this in our curriculum for the year because I wasn't sure. Well we have started Code Cracker, and are on Unit 3 of the book. Tristin LOVES this book.

History: We have read more than halfway through King Arthur, and hopefully will finish it next week. We will also read The Kitchen Knight.

Science: Apologia Swimming Creatures. We have read Lesson 1. That covers aquatic animals, currents, tides, fresh water,  and the Abyss. This week and next week we start Lesson 2 Whales.

Grammar: English for the Thoughtful Child. We are on lesson 13. Goal is to be finish lesson 16 next week.

We have also started Shakespeare, Pilgrim's Progress, Our Island Story, and The Burgess Animal Book. We are using these prints of the animals we learn about for our nature journal.

Starting (again) Paddle to the Sea.
I love these ideas to use with the book.
Along with this visual pinterest board.
We will be watching this on youtube as well.

Source: via Sara on Pinterest

So, there you have it. A breakdown of what we do each week. I'll update our plan for the next 5 weeks when I plan it.

I don't have an exact schedule we have to follow, just an outline to act as a guide. So far that's working for us.

I've been intrigued by these videos. looking into this grammar to use after we finish our English for the Thoughtful Child.


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