Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday's Thankful Things

Today I am thankful:

For the justice system we have in America. Despite its flaws, it works amazingly well most of the time.

That I don't have to work outside the home.

For my education. If I had to work outside the home, there are a myriad of things I could do and do pretty well. So, so thankful for a marketable skill set.

For kind, helpful individuals in government offices and schools.

For nice drivers who let me in on crowded roadways.

For children who are old enough and obedient enough to be left alone for a while without tearing the house down. :-)

That God is always. in. control.

Jury Duty Today

Looking forward to fulfilling another one of my civic responsibilities!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Schoolroom Update

This is what our school couch looks like currently. Yes, there really is a couch buried under all that stuff:

And here is my desk:

Our school table:

Largely covered with tools!

This is looking at what will be the front of the classroom:

And I didn't bother taking pictures of the individual boxes sitting here and there filled with school materials that are awaiting a new home in the to-be purchased bookcase. Do you see why it feels like a herculean task for me to get this ready to use by next Monday?

However, I am determined! (pray for me!)

There has actually been a lot of progress this weekend. My husband got the area under the stairs dry walled!

This is where the couch will go, eventually.

And what has given my husband measuring and cutting fits was the installation of this built in shelving unit. There was a bit of dead space between the pipe from our upstairs half bath and the wall in the far right of this picture. My hubby decided to build me more shelves, because a teacher can't have too many shelves. These will be directly behind me when I'm sitting at my desk.

He left access at the floor, but covered the rest of the pipe with drywall, and fitted the wooden frame of the built in bookcase between the pipe and the wall. It took him much longer than he had hoped, but it fits perfectly! I am hoping the shelves and drywall will also help to muffle the loud whoosh sound we hear down there whenever someone flushes the toilet upstairs!

Dolphin Tale

We went as a family to see Dolphin Tale on Friday night. GREAT movie!! Family friendly, conservative values, inspirational message. It was appropriate for the whole family, and everyone loved it! It was inspired by a true story, and as soon as we got home we went online to "see" the dolphin via webcam. The dolphin in the movie is the actual dolphin the story is based on. She played herself. :-)

We wanted to support this movie with our dollars on opening weekend, to help send a message to Hollywood to make more movies like this one! Opening weekend is now over, but if you have a chance to see this in the theater with your family, I think you will really enjoy it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Busy, busy week.

Thankful for each task that made up this week, and thankful each task is done. :0)

This past Wednesday was the first night of "REAL moms", which is the women's group I am involved in that used to be MOPS. We have 36 women signed up, and got off to a great start (I think, hard for me to judge from the front of the room). It is always very hectic for me before the first night of REAL moms, but once we get the year started things tend to gel into a manageable rhythm. I love the women who come. They bless me!

Special Announcement: This is the last week we are schooling in the kitchen. I am hereby stating my commitment to BE USING THE NEW SCHOOLROOM A WEEK FROM MONDAY! I had hoped to do all the painting at once, so I'd only have one cleanup. But I have abandoned that plan in favor of getting the bookcase half of the room completely organized so we can begin using it, while my hubby finishes the part under the stairs where the couch is going to go (that part still needs to be drywalled). He is working as I type, and is doing an excellent job. It's just that each part is taking way longer than we'd hoped. We are buying a huge bookcase this coming Friday, just like the one that we already have down there, and I have marked out all of next weekend to clean and organize so our schoolroom is ready to be used on Monday. Very excited that this is the last week we need to have notebooks spilling off the kitchen counters and table!

Soccer season is in full swing. Love watching my boys play soccer!

It has been quite an adjustment these last few weeks to our daughter's high school routine. Her online Spanish class requires daily correcting (done by the parents - fortunately my husband has taken this on! LOVE him). Two or three times a week we have to upload quizzes, tests, or audio files (where our daughter speaks Spanish for her teacher to hear if she's using correct pronunciation). Spanish homework takes her at least an hour a day, which is a new subject added to all the "regular" work she is used to from last year...math, grammar, writing, science, etc.

She is also in an online Literature class that requires daily reading and answering literary analysis questions. We ended up making a folder for her on each of our computers, that contains all the links to her online classrooms, as well as links to the part of each website that contains her homework assignments for each week. The first couple weeks of school my husband or I looked those things up for her, and printed out whatever she needed. But now she has taken charge of all that herself. She has begun setting her alarm to awaken before I get her brothers up, so she can get a head start on her work in the morning when her brain is fresh. I am really proud of her!

I started formal writing with son C this year, and he has taken to IEW like a fish to water. He absolutely loves to do his writing homework! Yay!! Still haven't re-introduced reading lessons to Little Man. Just couldn't manage the storing of all his reading materials in the kitchen. Next week, in the new schoolroom!!

There have been many challenges to the start of our school year, but I'm thankful for each subject/curriculum that is working well, and just so thankful we can continue learning together at home for another year. God is good!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Craig's List

I successfully sold my first item on Craig's List today! The buyer was not an ax murderer, and everything went very smoothly.

Hmmm, what else can I sell??????

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thursday's Thankful Things

I know this isn't Thursday, but I'm going to keep the title because it's such nice alliteration. :-)

I'm so thankful for a working furnace! Had to use it last night for the first time this fall, and I was just so glad we *could* (new readers, we were without a furnace for 3 months during fall/winter a couple years ago).

I'm thankful that after 3 years without a teeth cleaning, only one of our five children had a cavity, and it was very small.

I'm so thankful for my husband. And for his job.

Not really thankful for the $600 repair we had to our van this week, but very thankful it runs well now, and the shop allowed us to defer payment until after payday (and for my dad, who will want to know, it needed a new water pump and a new hose, both very hard to get to so labor was high).

Thankful fall colors are coming. I love fall colors!

Thankful for two really good days of school this week (we had all five, but the others were just average). I got to see some hard math concepts being understood, and that is just so cool to be there for the "a-ha" moment.

Thankful for a Saturday at home to work on the schoolroom. It's closer to being done now than it's ever been!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our Week In Review

What did we do in school this week? Well, some of us got to ride the bright yellow school bus!

Inside the bus, son C read a history book to Little Man. We learned about the Vikings this week. Very exciting reading!

Little Man took his first "official" math TEST!

As part of the test he had to build the number "390" and show that he understood place value.

As a class, science happened naturally for us this week. During recess one day a praying mantis was discovered.

It was fairly large.

We found a small grasshopper and fed it to the mantis. In this picture, we're looking at the mantis's belly (he's upside down) and he's holding the yellow grasshopper in his grip, eating it.

We watched him eat the whole thing, talked about life cycles and the food chain, and called it good!

Son G, however, began Apologia General Science this week, and did his first experiment. I remembered from when daughter G did this course that the first experiment was a dramatic one, and I was excited for son G to get to do it.

It involved pouring oil, water, and maple syrup into a glass and then adding 4 different objects. The objects either sank to the bottom or floated on the top of one of the liquids. This demonstrated the existence of atoms, because some liquids and objects have atoms that are less dense than others, allowing other objects/liquids to squeeze through. He had a lot of fun with this, and enjoyed drawing a diagram of it in his lab book.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


This was a conversation I had last week with son L as he and I were driving alone in the van. My apologies in advance to anyone whose children watch the "Sponge Bob" cartoon - no offense is intended. Personal family decision! But I thought this conversation was so insightful, I wanted to share it.

L: "Mommy, why do you let us sometimes watch violent war movies, but you don't let us watch Sponge Bob?"

Me: "That is an excellent question. Can you think of a reason?"

L: "Well, the war movies have a specific lesson you want us to learn."

Me: "That's one reason, certainly."

L: "But I can't figure out what's wrong with Sponge Bob."

Me: "Well, I'm sure that some episodes are better than others. But when I watched a couple of episodes back when you were little, to see if it was appropriate for our family, I was disappointed with the way the characters treated each other. There was quite a bit of disrespect. They sometimes put each other down in the name of "fun". I just didn't want you kids to be watching that and come to think that type of behavior was okay or acceptable in our family. It's kindof like junk food for the mind. A little of it is okay, but a steady diet would make you sick."

L: "Is that why some kids who have a lot of freedom are kindof rude or wild? Cuz they get to watch whatever they want and then they start acting like the characters they see?"

Me: "It could be one reason. Daddy and I really don't want to control you all your life. But we want to teach you how to handle the increasing freedom that you receive as you grow older. Some day you will make your own choices about what books you read, what movies you watch, and what tv shows you see. We want you to know the difference between good and best, and know what pleases the Lord, so you can make the best choices possible."

~~~~~~~~~~ Long Pause~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

L: "I love being a kid! Even though I'll get more freedom when I'm a grown up, I love my life as a kid. I love my family the way it is, and my friends the way they are. I wish things could just stay this way forever."

How I wish I could have known exactly what was going on in his head when he said that!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Before and After

I'm still (as I have time) organizing and nesting in our new red family room. Here are a couple of small painting projects I finished last week. The shelf before:

And the same shelf after, painted black.

Our old preschool cupboard, before (walls were "before" too!):

And after, painted black and repurposed as a media storage unit.

Amazingly it fits all the stuff that was in our old entertainment center (which went to the thrift store) plus some! And organizing it all gave me the opportunity to take out movies/cd's that we really don't use. It feels good to make our space work better for this stage of our family life.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Little Man overheard a news snippet this evening, in which a mom was defending a questionable parenting decision and said, "I'm one of the best moms I know."

Little Man turned to me and said, "Well, I guess she doesn't know you then!"

Awwww. I love that guy!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Last Blast of Summer!

Labor Day weekend we went to visit some friends of ours who moved away last year. We had such a fun time with them!

Of course it's always exciting to play with new and different toys.

We made s'mores on the grill!

And watched a movie together (Astroboy)

We drove to a lake with a large sandy beach, and had a lake day. Super fun!

Son C decided to dig a pit large enough to bury a person.

We buried Little Man and his friend together up to their necks.

And then we had to dig them out! ;-)

Saturday, September 3, 2011


The paint fairies came to our house last weekend. Everyone should have paint fairies. They are AWESOME!! They helped empty the bookcase, and I have to tell you, I did not know how many books we had in there until we took them all out! I should have taken a picture of all the stacks of books lining the walls in our dining room.

The paint fairies taped off the trim.

They primed.

And then they painted!

At the end of the day.....

we had ourselves.....

a rich, deep, warm RED family room!

I took advantage of this opportunity to rearrange the room. Of course, it was painful to put all our mismatched old things back in such a lovely room, but it's a pain I can live with for a while!

This is the picture of our four little children I surprised my husband with on his 40th birthday. Son C was just one month old. (Little did I know there would be one more baby coming!) I have always loved this picture, and it really pops now, in a dark frame against the red.

So, pretend that the blue furniture is beige, that there is a lovely color coordinated area rug in front of the couch, that there is some beautiful decorative thing on the mantle beside the tv, and the encyclopedias are gone from the bookcase with pretties in their place. Can't you just see it??! The tv is a little higher than we'd care for, but my husband already has a plan for building a frame that can lower it for viewing, and put it back on the mantle when not in use.

Finishing the wiring that allows us to have our tv on the mantle and our dvd player in the cabinet was what I wanted to finish before posting "after" pics. It took my husband several hours to do this. Had I known how hard it would be, I may not have asked (glad I didn't know!). The mantle and the built in bookcases on the sides are solid oak. Very hard to drill through. Thank you honey!

And these are the piles behind the couch that I "hid" for the above picture! Still putting all our stuff away......

Thank you paint fairies!!! We love our new room!