Friday, April 29, 2011

Weekly Wrapup- Schooling, Packing, and House showings Oh My!

This week I am very grateful for a lighter schedule.
Between trying to keep the house clean for showings, staying with my "2 box a day" packing schedule, and managing the intake of Easter candy (by all members of this family) I was very glad when I reviewed my lesson plans for the week and saw that we were working on telling time.
This was one of the areas Jakob had already learned during his traditional school days so there wasn't much to learn. We focused on honing his knowledge of different terms related to telling time such as "Quarter till and after" and "Half past".
This was a bit tricky for him but once we got the clock manipulative out then he saw more clearly how it all works.
Because this was a relatively simple idea for him I also started on next week's project which was making Times Table Clocks.

This was great fun for the both of us, and he was excited I let him use the laminating machine to preserve them. We revisited the patterns we found in the different tables and I passed on my Mom's little treasure of "12x12 is 144 EWW GROSS!"(a gross being 12 dozen of something) We had fun saying that over and over again.
Good Times.
Our Morning Walks this week have proven lovely as each day we were supposed to have rain but we were able to avoid it.

The kids received bug catchers in their Easter Baskets, so the fun this week was Bug Hunting. Hazel is now obsessed with ants. Jakob is still digging for worms where ever he can and LOVES to gross his Mommy out with HUGE wigglers. Hey I might have them in the house but they are in a container and have a job to do. And I don't have to look at them.

Jakob is doing much better with his cursive and no longer needs the prompt sheet for lowercase letters. I have been having him write words from previous spelling lists and he has been doing a fabulous job. We have been doing all of our writing on chalkboards but I think soon we will begin to move our writing to paper to see how he does. Sometimes lined paper is rougher on his handwriting than just blank so we will start with blank and then occasionally work with lined. To me it sounds totally weird but looking at his writing you can definitely tell a difference so we will go with it.

Friday of last week a very special package came in the mail. My mom sent rain boots for Hazel (which she has rarely taken off since) and they both received a very special gift of harmonicas from their Uncle CaLeb. My brother is a FAB musician and loves that his nephew and niece hang on his every word (and note). I wasn't exactly thrilled at 6am on Saturday morning when the harmonicas started what was to be their 3 hour song, but now that Jakob has had a bit of time with them, he's turning out to be pretty good. I found some online music and lessons and we have been playing around with them each evening before bed.

Jakob is really into reading mystery books right now. He's loving the Boxcar Children Mysteries, A-Z Mysteries, and the Calendar Mysteries. We are still reading the Guardians of GaHoole series aloud (only nine more to go!), and he reads everyday to Hazel while I brush her hair. She has discovered that she LOVES the Fancy Nancy books and has us read them so much she can all but repeat them. She likes to tell you that one word is a fancy word for another... a LOT.

We are all counting down until our official last day of "school". Two more weeks and we will be done with lessons for a while. While we will be learning life lessons during the move, I'm not going to stress myself out over school while we settle in. I have a few plans for the Summer, but I will share those later next week.

this moment- at least the clinic has a great view

this moment- a picture from the week I want to remember. Inspired by Soule Mama

Thursday, April 28, 2011

On Being a Coastie Wife... What we Have Here is a Failure to Communicate.

Last week Mike ended up with two days off giving him a long weekend for Easter. We were very excited at the prospect of having Daddy home since before we didn't think we would have any time.
Although the time off was filled with appointments for me, birthday parties, and Easter celebrations, we were able to get some time at home just breathing.

Sounds lovely but I noticed I was really on edge. Things were not going nearly like we normally operated and the kids were exceptionally hyper and confrontational at all this new time with Daddy.
I felt like I was constantly playing mediator between people in our house and I was not happy about it.
Upon a bit of reflection I realized that the main reason we were all not meshing well was that we weren't all on the same page.
I know that Mike had been working long hours but I never really stopped to think about how that affected our communication. We talk about our day, the events, what we will plan for , but since there's so little time from the moment he walks in the door to the time he collapses on the pillow we never really get a chance to get to the "meat" of things.
I have the opportunity by being home everyday to change things as I see they are needed to best work for our family. Because I am the homeschooling "teacher" for the most part, the day to day decisions of scheduling, mediating, sensory work and stuff has been left to me. This is not because he's a "hands-off Dad" but because I'm the one here all the time. And unfortunately lately he's not.
Problem comes when I have been tweeking our schedule, eating and sleeping habits, discipline approach and such and not relaying these to Mike.
He trusts my decisions but none of us like to come home to an old game with new rules that we haven't been privy to.
So after a bit more reflection and carefully choosing my words so the explanation in changes didn't seem like a personal attack on his parenting, we were all able to get on the same page and actually talk "meat". As always he was able to offer views I did't see and together we have been able to be supportive in our parenting.
So my lesson to learn is to remember to make time to talk and stay on the same page even when our schedules get too hairy. I'm thinking a running notebook of letters to one another might help.
Makes me wonder if this is part of those hard parts when the guys get back from deployment. It can't be easy for those families whose spouses are gone for months and months.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Total Health Tuesday-Back from the Doc

So last week I made the trip down to the Health Clinic to see the Doctor and the Nutritionist.
Halfway there they called and said the nutritionist couldn't see me and they would have to reschedule.
Good thing I had the other appointment already scheduled or that would have been most inconvenient with gas at almost $4 a gallon.
But I digress...
The Dr mainly had a good report, was pleased with my weight loss so far even though I was worried it wasn't "enough". She also was pleased that I had taken it upon myself to start using a regime of progesterone cream. Because of my flare up of acne again she said that was proof that I had not hit my correct dosage of meds, so she upped them. She also shed some light onto my recent onslaught of headaches and told me it was due to the metformin affecting my blood sugar and insulin levels so I should pay very close attention to not going too long without food as this is more than likely the cause of the headaches.

My thoughts?
One, I'm a little disappointed I couldn't see the Nutritionist and two, I'm worried a little about this increase in meds mainly because it comes with the promise of another increase. The side effects can be well..... inconvenient to leaving the house and I really dislike living in fear of what my body is going to do each day. I'm also having to take double the amount of vitamin supplements to combat the drain that the meds seem to have on me. Good news is B12 is AWESOME!

I know I haven't been as strict with my foods as I should be and I'm feeling the need to just have a week (or weekend) to get my thoughts together on the foods I need to eat and those I don't and find suitable alternatives and stress free substitutions. But having the time to just think on ONE thing seems to elude me right now. I blame the Easter candy ;)
I also know that metformin, progesterone, birth control (if I decide to go on them) its only treating the symptoms. And I really feel as though if this is a chronic disease (as the doctor told me it was) then I have GOT to find a lifestyle fit that stabilizes all of this. Because I do NOT want to be at the mercy of a pharmacy for the rest of my life.
I'm not really sure what that will entail. Everyone has a different opinion on what works which means nothing works for EVERYONE.
It's a little maddening at times, but I'm very grateful to have the medical community to help while I try and find a NON-medical solution to this problem.

Monday, April 25, 2011

When the grass dies

This year I thought it would be the coolest thing ever to grow our own grass for our Easter baskets.
"The Bunny LOVES real grass." I kept telling my kids as a reminder to water their trays of grass seed.
What looked like was going to be a total success quickly turned sour.
Just call me Betty Black Thumb.
Jakob watered diligently but Saturday evening he looked at me and said, "Mom, I just don't think the grass is going to make it."
Of course I had no "back up grass" and I REFUSED to brave the retail world the day before Easter.
So we painted....
Using old copy paper we just painted the evening away, then when the papers were dry we cut them into strips, scrunched them up, and Wa-laah! Easter Grass!
So now you know, "When the grass dies, Paint!"
Painting the Roses red just popped in my mind. I think I shall visit Wonderland now.

Weekly Wrapup- The Week Before Easter

Also Known as the "Week of the Egg"

This week would normally be Spring Break for us, but as we are cutting off two full weeks of school for moving, we needed to keep working.
Great thing is, this was a very light week where we discussed the passing of days in the form of a grain of a day.
We looked at the different grains each day before they were ground (or not in the case of the wheat) and experienced the difference in their tastes and textures in our dishes.
It was really neat as I had not tried some of these grains and those we had eaten before we looked for a new spin on how to make them ie: we had rice pudding for the first time.

We also read the story of Passover and talked about its meaning. I'm not very versed in the whole tradition, so we basically read the story of Moses and left it at that. Next year though, there will be a Seder. I'm excited!
In keeping with our discussions of time and specifically the lunar cycle, we briefly discussed how certain cultures utilize the lunar cycle to determine their months and therefore determine their ceremonies which of course is why certain holidays we celebrate fall slightly different each year.
The rest of the week we spent decorating eggs in various forms from our natural dyes leftover from a previous lesson (they were a bit old so only onion worked), painting with watercolor, dotting them with melted crayon, and finally the tried and true hard boiled food coloring and vinegar method.
Fun times for all.

I love how this egg looks like a sunset

Daddy was home for a couple of days for me to head to the Dr and for a day off to recoup, Friday's lunchtime came around and I realized I did not have anything planned. Opps! So we got out the flour and made little cutout dough shapes and Daddy whipped up a yummy surprise of Gravy! MMMM. We haven't had much Southern Comfort food since moving up here, so its nice every once in a while to just "sink into your roots" with a fork and knife.
The final "egg" we made were in the form of beeswax. Jakob and I made egg candles! They were soo beautiful! And there are few things in this earth that smell better than beeswax. Oh its Heavenly!
That was our "school week" how was yours?

Curriculum Cleanout #2- US Only

Lookie Lookie What I'm giving away!
This is such a wonderful resource for preschool age children. I have used it for years with both of my kids as both a curriculum and as playdate activities. Our cover is worn but all the info inside is still good.
To Enter:
Follow Confessions of a Coastie Wife
Spread the Word via Facebook, Blog, or Twitter
Give yourself one entery per Day until May 1 winner will be announced Monday morning.

Note: email address must be available for me to contact you or another winner will be chosen.

As from the previous post. I have a bit of Calvert Kindergarten Materials if someone is willing to pay the postage. Please email me at if you are interested in paying the postage. Thanks! This has already been spoken for.

Be sure to check back for other giveaways at Homeschool Creations.

Curriculum Cleanout is HERE!!- US Only


This year I am participating in the Curriculum Cleanout Hosted By Homeschool Creations
This is an awesome way to bless and be blessed by curriculum that is no longer useful in yours or someone else's home.
For this entry (I will have one more... I think only one.) I am offering the Home Education Curriculum Grade 1 by McGRaw-Hill Publishing.

This is a great all in one curriculum and really guided me our first year with homeschool. Most of the books referenced in this curriculum are available at the library so that means minimal cost for other supplies. Super Great for the new Homeschooling home.
Now for the details:
For Chances to win :
*Follow* Confessions of a Coastie Wife and leave a comment saying you did so.
Share on Facebook, Your blog, or twitter and receive another chance by commenting below for each entry you make.
And just because its fun you can enter once a day from now through May 1
Winner will be announced Monday May 2

Please note: Please make sure I have access to your email address. If I cannot contact you another winner will be chosen. Thanks!

Also, This is not part of the giveaway, but I do have a large amount of Calvert Kindergarten Material that was given to me that I will not be using. If you are interested and are willing to pay shipping please contact me at
I don't want anything for it other than postage which is why it is not being included in the giveaways.
Thanks! This has already been spoken for
Be sure to check out other Curriculum Giveaways at Homeschool Creations!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day- One step at a time

Today is Earth Day.
A day to rejoice in this gift, this home, this sanctuary we call Earth.
There are so many ways to celebrate this holiday and for our family it usually comes with the embarking of a new step into simplicity.
I have always raised an eyebrow to the newest big money market of "green products" but I am willing to contend that if nothing else these products are a happy compromise to those "less crunchy".
Over the past few years our family has truly made strides in bettering our health and our impact on the planet. While we are not perfect by any means and do not employ a 100% all the time approach, I feel proud to say that we have made a little headway in these areas...

Inspired by a Momma in Florida who just asked us to do this one thing.
The very little plastic we still have in the kitchen takes its form in yogurt containers and other reusable storage. We've also been known to turn a milk carton into a flower bed, and toilet paper tubes into seed starters.

Using cloth instead of Paper Towels-
A truly radical idea when I first saw this in action, and really only started out as an experiment. We have been paper towel free now for over a two years.

This has taken a couple of forms for us, the latest being the worms!

Making laundry soap-
Not only is it cheaper (which is usually my initial reason for choosing a path), but all the containers are recyclable as well. I am also looking into soap nuts as another option

Home-made Food
Not only does it taste better, but sooo much less packaging to deal with. With online forums today like All and the free resource in the Library, there's no excuse not to have the know how to make at least one decent meal a week.

We buy local and handmade whenever we can-
Cutting down on the carbon foot print of goods and services while supporting our local economy just seems like the right thing to do. This even includes consignment shopping.

All of these steps came of their own time and need. Many were simply the result of a budget stressed Momma just trying to stretch a dollar.

This year we are looking to take another step. Into nature. I want us to get out and experience this world a little more, be it camping and hiking, or pulling a blanket outside and examining what's in the grass, I want us to take it all in.
I figure, "What's the point of hammering all this conservation stuff into our heads if we don't get out and enjoy what we are saving?"
It is very easy with the accommodations of today to sit inside and be amused, learn, and even play, but we are missing so much by just not stepping outside our four walls.
I have no grand "plan" to accomplish this other than to take as many morning walks as I can with my kids. We are already loving the thrill of new growth sightings all around us and I can't wait to see how our passion for our planet grows by just getting outside.

this moment- Let's Go Fly a Kite

A weekly photo of a moment I want to treasure. Inspired by Soule Mama

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Yarn Along

Joining up again with Ginny over at small things to share what's on the needles and filling our minds.
Last week I was eagerly anticipating the outcome of Jakob's sweater vest. I am happy to say that all has come out well! I am now a true believer in blocking and more reviewed patterns!
This week I am starting a simple project for a friend. Its just some baby legs for her little girl who is showing her momma all signs of potty training readiness, but life is proving a little difficult as its not quite warm enough yet to let kiddos run around half naked. I hope this will help.
Reading wise I have laid aside Mindful Parenting for the moment. It's a really deep read and my levels of exhaustion do not allow me to devote the mental power needed to take in all of this books goodness. So I moved on to equally though provoking but much lighter reads. The Tao of Poop and Mitten Strings For God. Both of these books give a real world view on mothering while at the same time encouraging the mother to create the world that they want to see in simplicity and love.
Both of these books are fabulous and I find myself reaching for a pen and paper often to write down the bits of wisdom.
I think I may have to purchase one or both of these books otherwise I may end up transcribing them in their entirety!
I'm off for another chapter! Don't forget to pop in over at small things to admire other works of art!

Being a Coastie Wife.... Stranger Danger!

Home is where the heart is. It's where you are safe and secure and strive to create a relaxing haven away from the stressors of the world.
When you're renting that "haven", the illusion must come to an end sooner than your exit.
I'm talking about that time during your last 4-6 weeks in the home where your landlord is trying to fill the house with a tenant to move in 5 minutes after you vacate.
This means masses of people parading through your domain (preferably without you there) at varying times of the day.
Dealing with a family's schedule can be tough, throwing in 5 Realtor's schedules is a nightmare.
I always cringe when this time comes because the house is never clean enough, organized enough, nor is dinner able to be prepared without making a mess on the oven.
My husband doesn't understand why I get so upset. Why I do the "dance of the Bumble Bee" every time the phone rings.
Technically it's not my problem I mean we are fulfilling our lease and everything will be ready once we leave, but there's that part of me who can't stand to have strangers judge me.
A friend? I won't clean for, ask anyone I know. A stranger will have me shampooing my carpets at a moment's notice.
I admit I am strange.
This week I decided to take matters into my own hands and emailed the property manager letting him know when we would already be out of the house.
We only really have a few reoccurring activities per week where we are all out of the house, but by giving him these times I was able to let him know when he could show the house... on our terms.
Taking control of the situation in this manner allowed me to be honest with him and explain that since we are still schooling and living here, these would be the times where I could feasibly have the house ready.
He was grateful. He knows this house is going to be a hard sell in this neighborhood. And any extra "spit shine" one can put on it is very helpful.
I must say so far this week has been much less stressful. While I still cringe at the idea that someone I don't know is walking around my house sending my poor puppy into a frenzy and possibly noticing I have YET to clean my oven, it is much nicer to leave our sanctuary on our terms and not at a moment's notice just because the phone rings.
This is also a reminder as I go through our yard sale stuff that we can get rid of much, do with less, and ensure more peace without all the excess to clean.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Total Health Tuesday- Numbers Update

Well its been about a month since I have weighed in, and I have my follow-up with the nutritionist and the DR this week so I'm sure they will have more info for me to share next week.
Since the last time I weighed in I have lost 5 lbs!
I also taped myself off a month ago and based off my new measurements I have lost a total of 3 inches overall!
Double Yippee!!
So here's how the past month has been...

What's working:
Working out. I run/walk 4-5 times a week traveling about 12-15 miles per week.
Menu Planning. By making sure I have the meals planned I have avoided calling my favorite pizza place for delivery for a month! Yay!
Rising early. Getting up before the kids means I wake up on my terms and no one else's. I'm thinking about implementing this on the weekends as well to set a better tone.
Being conscious. During my shower or clothes folding time I take the moment to focus on areas of our day that I would like to work on (ie: getting dressed time in the morning with Hazel, everyone speaking kindly and softly, and mealtimes where I know there will be a little resistance from some on trying new dishes). By recognizing these parts of my day before they happen I am able to mentally prepare myself for these times and possibly think of ways to better deal with them.

What's not working:
Food Tracking. For some reason I'm having a hard time being consistent with my tracking. I think its because I'm worn out by the menu planning, working out, and other stuff.
Feeling overwhelmed: I recognize that I'm in a tough spot with moving, schooling, and a hubby that has a non-existent schedule. While I try to take a moment to collect myself and breathe, I am constantly bombarded with thoughts of what I still need to get done and the basic fact that I plain ole' miss my partner in crime.
My face: Ugh the acne's back. It was gone for about a week or two and then it's back. This is definitely on my list of things to talk about with the Dr.

What I'm hoping to work on:
Honestly I don't think that I can add anything new to my plate right now without signing my own commitment to the looney bin. My goal for the next month will be to continue with positive progress and try to work a little more on food tracking.

What are your successes this month? Any areas you recognize you would like to focus on? Battle plan for those areas?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Menu Monday

Monday Monday Monday!!
This week I am slightly more enthused about planning. Only slightly though. I'm seriously contemplating working out a month of meals and that be the staple to go by.
Who am I kidding?
I could never stick with that!

This week's Breakfasts are a little all over the place as we are trying to incorporate a different grain each day. I'm still working on it, but right now rice pudding is for breakfast for Monday, and porridge on Friday.... the rest will come.

Lunch will be leftovers as I have yet to commit to making a loaf of bread since deciding I needed to try a gluten free option.

Dinner is where all the planning has taken place...
Quinoa and Balsamic Mushrooms
Butternut Squash Risotto
Black Bean Enchiladas
Turkey and Veggies (Our Passover Celebration meal)
Turkey Fajitas (because there will be leftovers and I got my Wildtree Fajita Spice this week)
Black Beans and Corn bread.
I will be making the tortillas with Sorghum Flour or Spelt so they will be gluten free as well.
I'm still on the fence as to going totally gluten free but am working on at least a variety of flours at the moment.
As I mentioned before I did get a variety of spices from a Wildtree party I attended, so I'm working on experimenting with those as well. Hopefully their website will prove helpful in finding new and yummy ideas for dinner!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Weekly Wrapup- April 11-15

Whoa! Another week gone just like that!
We had more plain ole' ordinary homeschool fun this week, but this time I did manage to take a few shots.
Our theme this week was Mud.
Although a Mud theme is quite common in New England, I for one have never really "celebrated" it.
Up here though, you just have to well because.... its everywhere!
Once all that snow and ice melts, that is all that survives. And you are so happy to be in fresh air that doesn't slice you throat as you breathe in you just gotta go play in the mud.
No, there's no way to keep it out of the house either.
I'm starting to see the reason Crocs and Rubber galoshes were invented.

So, mud.
We painted our papermache' birds nest with mud colored paint, dug for worms, made Mud Pie, and gave each other Mud Facials.
We had a mud themed poem, read books about mud and mopped up more mud than you can ever imagine.
Of course the house was a wreck by the end of the week, which is precisely when the property manager called to say he wanted to show our house... in five hours. Opps! Thank goodness for a sunny day in which I could throw my kids outside in is all I have to say.

The day we made mud pie was soo much fun. Jakob has really been putting an effort in to try new and different foods as he is learning that he has been missing out on some tastes because of his pickiness. Well when he saw Mud Pie on the Board for our baking activity he was truly torn.
Mom! Are we really eating mud?
What does it say son?
Mud Pie
Well what kind of pie do you think it is?
*sigh* Mud.
He almost lost it when I gave him a bowl and two spoons and told him to dig up a bowl of dirt for the pie.
Of course we didn't eat dirt.
Its a really unhealthy snack of chocolate cookies, chocolate pudding, and gummy worms for fun. YUMMY!

This week we were able to go out almost every morning for a walk and explore. We had fun identifying the flowers and plants in bloom and mentally noting the ones we didn't know to look up later. I really need to get us a good nature guide for this.
The kids also took time each morning to listen and watch the birds as they are all a flutter. We saw a fight between a couple of males for a female which was really awesome!

Math this week was mostly a review about time and the various ways in which we measure time. We talked about sun dials, the lunar cycle, the Months, and how and why the stars rotate by seasons. Jakob is working on memorizing the poem about the days in the months and he had a little question or two in his math book each day to answer about which month had how many days.

Writing this week was good. Jakob is familiar with the lowercase cursive now and can write almost any word I give him without looking at his prompt page.
We started working on some Upper case letters but quickly realized that the uppercase was in a style not normally taught today. It was the style I learned in school, but now cursive has evolved. So I am looking at the letters and seeing which ones correlate and we worked on those.

Music lessons continue to improve and he is finding great confidence in playing without me. Hazel is also showing interest and I believe I will get her a flute for next year.

Other than that we spent as much time as possible playing outside, organizing for the yard sale, and cleaning up our mud.
Again here are a few books that were enjoyed this week..

Friday, April 15, 2011

this moment-

this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemomma

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Yarn Along

Joining in over at small things as we share what's on the needles and in our books.
This week everything's off the needles but in the process of being blocked. And being prayed over. Seems I found my first pattern that wasn't entirely clear on size. It's a little small. I'm hoping that blocking it out will make it just the right size.
I'm worried but Jakob's not. He seems to have every confidence in his Momma's work.

This week's reading is a random treasure from the Parenting shelves at the library.
Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn
And a Soule Mama recommendation of Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac: Projects for each Month of the Year.
Everyday Blessings is a very thoughtful and calming book. I'm not very far into it, but it seems lovely. Something I can really get into and apply to our lives.
The Knitter's Almanac is an older book but priceless really. The jewel inside is her seemingly foolproof formulas for sizing. It's math but its doable math and if you have read any of Soule Mama lately you know she is a believer!
I hope to utilize this for my next project!
Well that's me. What's on your needles and in your lap?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Total Health Tuesday- Willpower

Willpower is something everyone struggles with, especially when taking on a new challenge.
The struggle to not eat too much, or too little.
The stamina it takes to WANT to get up early to workout.
The drive one must muster to push themselves physically to the next challenge.
Where does this energy come from?
Can you always depend on a partner to lean on?
What can get you through when you are all that there is?

I do not believe that we as individuals have an unending amount of strength, while it may be true that we don't always realize our greatest potential, that potential is like a muscle who needs to be gradually worked to its optimal performance.
So.. how do you train your will power? How do you make it stronger without exhausting yourself and crumpling?
Yes as in checks and balances budget.
When you want to give more to one area, you HAVE to give less to another.
Most people look at their lives and say I HAVE to do x,y,and z (work, cook, clean for example).
They look at the essentials only and claim there is no wiggle room. What about the non-essentials?
Like the massive amount of activities you and your family attend.
Or your need to help others when you have not taken 5 minutes yourself to wash your hair.
Or the *one* show you have to watch that keeps you up late at night.
Can you eliminate these from your budget?
Can you look at your calendar and say, "NO MORE!" and trim the excess of the agenda and actually stay at home?
Can you restrain yourself from volunteering to take on everyone else's needs?
Can you turn the TV off knowing that in this day and age of Hulu, TIVO, and Netflix, that the show will still be there when you actually have time to watch it?
Is it really worth that time to watch it?
These are all questions I have had to wrestle with over the past few months, areas I have found myself stealing from my will power.
You see I'm working on becoming a better me. One that actually lives and not survives.
For me that means stepping back, saying no to the extra home school activity of the week, or going to bed when I really want to see the next episode of Dexter, or just being the ear that a friend wants when she's venting instead of pushing myself on her to take care of something for her.
She knows I'm here, maybe an ear is better than a superhero right now.

I'm certain that by maintaining my budget of energy and focusing on the things that are important and maybe just a little hard, that eventually they won't take up so much energy, and I can add in an outing or two.
Maybe I will decide that we are just ok hanging out here too.
Either way I will keep myself sane and on track and be able to do my job so that everyone else can do theirs.
That's what I want for my willpower.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Menu Monday

image: shutterstock

This week, my heart's just not in the planning of it all. With all the craziness and other things I need to plan for, nourishment for my family should really be top priority. It is, I just wish I could pass the baton this week.

To be honest I only have dinners planned, which is probably going to be a real issue this week since my family likes to eat more than once a day. But we will make do.

This is what we will be eating.
Mexican Cornmeal Pie (did not make it to the table last week)
Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce
Chicken Strips and asparagus
Chickpea Pot pie (not the freezer one, gona make another one)
Friday we have a cookout to attend so THEY get to cook. Yippee!!
Spinach Calzone
Sunday I think is going to be a leftovers kind of day.

What are you eating? How do you avoid menu planning fatigue?

Weekly Wrapup April 4-8

So this post gets later and later huh? Time flies when you're having fun I guess.
This past week was truly fun. Not in the exciting adventurous, mom documented everything with the camera type of fun.
But the simple flow of life and embracing the moments type of fun.
I'm really seeing the fruits of my labor as far as planning goes, its exhausting at times but it really makes everything run much smoother.

Math: Jakob finished learning about the 4 processes last week including Divide. We spent a couple of days relating our division to multiplication and working on those. The jewels are helping a lot and seem to be much less distracting than the plastic math cubes I was using before as jewels cannot become airplanes, guns, or magic wands. They really just work well for math. :)

Handwriting: We finished learning the lowercase letters and worked a bit with sentences and such. Jakob asked if he could write his spelling words in cursive and did a wonderful job. I am seeing how working with form drawing has helped the most with perspective and relation here.

Theme work: I have been choosing a seasonal related theme each week and basing our readings and circle time upon that. Its the best way I have come up with to include Hazel and "fill her cup" and still not lose Jakob. This past week's topic was spring animals. We read books about sheep, butterflies, and birds.

Music: Jakob is starting to show interest in privately practicing his penny whistle and is trying to teach himself ahead of our lessons. His fingers are getting stronger as is his breath control. Overall he is very pleased as am I.

In preparation for Easter and decorating we have started to blow eggs for special decorations. I always am torn with the boiling of eggs and dyeing them since they sit out, get warm, and then its a game of roulette if you decide to eat them. So the skill has been firm yet gentle as we have busted PLENTY of eggs this week. Fun times.

Other: This week and the next few weeks will be lighter and a little bit of review as we master the skills we have learned and touch back on others that we haven't in a while. Plus with the impending move and all its preparations I think LIFE will be teaching us more than we can imagine.

And just because I always love to get ideas on books to read to the kids, here's a few that were hits this week with my crew....

Friday, April 8, 2011

Project Simplify #5- The one where I got to choose

I have really enjoyed working through these spots inspired by Simple Mom.
Space after space has opened up for my family and we have really flourished through the "less is soo much more" of it all.
To be honest I don't think I could have done this on my own.
For the past weeks I have eagerly awaited the next *mission* and prayed fervently that the task would not lead me to this...

My craft area. Well It was meant to be a craft area. It's down in the basement and away from the kids rooms so I can sew and create and even make a little noise if I wanted to late at night.
Problem is it got REALLY cold down there during the winter, and as I was cold enough during the day I didn't feel the need to subject myself further.
So that meant no real crafting, unless you would consider growing a mess craftiness.
No I didn't think so.
Well like I said I really hoped that she would not tell me to face this. It was too traumatic.
Funny thing about going through these past few weeks is... I've run out of places to organize.
I mean I can still go through the attic or the garage, but that's not really a one week job. So when Tsh said we had to choose our own spot to clean this week?
I decided I couldn't put it off any longer.
I worked for three days 30 minutes a day and you know what? It really wasn't that bad. I was able to go through and yard sale box some stuff I knew I would never use (and looked like they were passed down from 3 Grandmas ago ie: 4 tubes of fabric cement), packed and organized fabric I didn't think I could get to before we move, and set out what I wanted to work on this week.
The results?
(I'm blocking the dress which is why its still on the ironing board, it doesn't take me THAT long to iron)
Now I haven't sewn yet down here, but Monday is suppose to be rainy so I think some skirts will be in order.
This is the last week of Project Simplify and to be honest I'm sad to see it go. I'm gona try to stay strong and finish this task and actually get to the garage and attic. I am so happy with how this has helped get things in order for our move.
Go check out other spots at Simple Mom!

This moment- asleep on the job

this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemomma

Permission to Parent?

In this day and age of freedom we pride ourselves on the choices that we have. To dress, to eat, speak, practice religion (or the choice not to). We revel in the fact that "Nobody can tell me what to do."
Or do we?
With all sorts of magazines, self help books, and "inspirational" speakers it seems that what we are searching for most is Permission. We want the validation that we are doing things "right". One of the most sought after topics is that of parenting. There are scores of literature, people and well meaning family members who are there to tell you how it should be done.
While drawing on resources is VERY helpful there is a very important place one should always look.
In your heart.
The heart and soul never lie.

Our first year in Florida was difficult as far as school went. I had spent the past 3 years being "schooled" in how inept I was. To clarify, Jakob was declared to have sensory processing difficulties which is considered part of the Autism Spectrum Disorder. I was surrounded by a fabulous staff of people who guided my child in ways I could have never imagined. He began to speak, the tantrums were less frequent, and toilet training finally ensued. I never imagined in a million years that in 2 1/2 years of therapists, getting married, changing homes and therapists and new schools that we just were "lucky" to have the constant support and well meaning people in our lives.
Until we left the state.
I learned quickly that the norm was not focusing on the individual but that kids with an IEP need to "take a number and get in line".
After years of surrendering to those who knew best I now found myself in the position where I truly did not think that those that held that role were able to provide the best for my child.
But what was the alternative?
I was clearly unwanted in the classroom, my opinion, concerns, and requests were ignored, and worst of all I saw my son retreat daily back into "that place" we had spent so much effort pulling him from.
I couldn't afford private school, tutoring, or pay for extra therapy. Plus Jakob was exhausted by the time he left school, there was no way he could last through therapy.
And there was NO WAY I was going to homeschool.
That was for *those* people. The ones who kept their kids in the closet all pasty white and memorizing the entire Bible by age 3.

Everyday I cried at the situations, my choices, my distrust of myself and what I was allowing to happen.
Truly out of desperation, we decided to put Jakob into a Jujitsu class after school to satisfy sensory needs that were not being met otherwise.
He immediately took up with one of the kids there and I began a conversation with his mom.
This woman was happy, sure of herself and her children, a true joy to be around. We could talk about things and although she was on a level of "green" I never imagined being, we enjoyed talking with one another about the goings on of life, the kids progress in the class, and how stinkin cute her daughter was.
Finally I had to ask.
"Where do your kids go to school?"
"Where ever."
"We sort of home school."
"How do you *sort-of* home school?"
"Umm well they don't go to school so we sort-of homeschool."

Long story short she completely dispelled all my previous notions and fears of homeschooling, invited me into her home to just see "we aren't THAT strange." I felt like a student at the feet of a master and all this new found knowledge and empowerment ultimately led to our decision to pull Jakob from school.
It has been the biggest blessing I could have given him.
Before we left Florida I tried unsuccessfully to tell this woman what she has meant to me and my family, how happy I was to have met her and how she changed our life.
To that she responded,

"I did nothing but give you permission to be the Momma you needed to be for your kids."

Permission. It is truly what we search for. The validation that in your heart you know whats best. Sometimes that goes with the flow. Sometimes against. Sometimes it leads you across a desert.
But with that permission you can change the world.

So, Permission to Follow your heart?
Permission Granted.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On Being a Coastie Wife... Waiting to Exhale

We all like to breathe right? Well of course we do, we like to live so we like to breathe. I have been trying to really be conscious of the "breath" of our days with school and as a family. By breath I mean the "in breath" of activities, learning, things we need to *do* and the "out breath" of relaxation, simplicity, and general recharging of our body and mind.
Just like anything else it's a work in progress. Right now school has a pretty good breath, "in" for work and "out" for play, activities, and down time.
Our family as a whole though?
Well, the adults have been holding their breath for a while now.
With the promise of a new and busier summer for my husband's unit, he and all his *guys* have been working hard to get ready, inspections, certifications, and fixing the laundry list of things that break on these overworked engines.
You know life as normal.
That's why it is *so* important for each person in this family to make sure and have their down time. Mommy and Daddy especially as we prepare for usual long days of manual labor, separation from family, and single parenting.
Down time usually comes in the form of leave. (time off)
Which my husband gladly put in for. And we were all excited and planned for. Time as a family, to reboot, recharge, and really get ready for all the excitement coming our way... moving to a new house, Scouts activities, dance recitals, Coast Guard functions, and the training of new guys coming in to replace the large number of experienced guys leaving the unit.
We know we need a break so we can face all of this at our best.

Unfortunately due some miscalculations, misunderstandings, and general just not knowing Mike was unable to get this precious week that we had based all our exhaling on.
To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. Both of us looked at each other last night worried for the other. "How are you going to handle no break?" "Are you going to be alright with kids, the move, AND no down time before Summer?" "Are YOU?"
When do we exhale?
When do we recharge?
When do we get back this special time?
To be honest I don't know.
It's hard living with so many uncertainties. But it's life. It will make us stronger. We can make more of a conscious effort to savor every little moment we have with one another, every evening where we can sit and play a game, read a story, sing, laugh, love.
These are the little breaths we need.
The ones that will give us just enough "new air" until we can finally exhale.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Curriculum Clean Out!


I am participating this year in the Curriculum Cleanout hosted by Homeschool Creations
I think this is a FABULOUS way to bless each other with items you no longer use, or found you just didn't use. Be sure to check back to see what we are cleaning out. And if YOU want to join head on over to Homeschool Creations to find out what its all about!
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