August 26, 2010

school days again!

Our homeschool year is underway, starting with 1/2 days in August, slowly adding subjects and we’re about to head full scale next week.  Exciting days, the first days of schooling.  New supplies, fresh curriculum choices, a Mama full of ideas for the year, children thrilled with the plans ~ we’re experiencing it all and soaking it in (because there will be days we will not all be so happy, but let’s not focus on that right now okay? :)

Each year we prayerfully consider the focus and direction for each child, including also what God is speaking to us as a whole family.  Homeschooling (and in general all parenting regardless of school choice) takes this kind of discernment ~ to step back and evaluate where you’re headed and how to get there.

Last spring several things happened that caused us as parents to pause and take notice:: our kiddos as a group were becoming captivated by one main subject ~ the world we live in.  Books on the topic were read, maps were being drawn, a talking globe received as a present was played with quite often (so often it got a bit annoying at times!), and questions were asked by a certain almost 12-yr old which led to some great conversations about people groups, resources available to those people, missionaries, etc.

So we had a ‘aha’ moment when thinking through the plans for this year ~ let’s travel the world!  Alright, not literally, but through our year :: let’s learn more about the people of the world, the customs & culture of various countries, the music, language, weather and similarities or differences compared to our own.  To say that I was pumped about the idea is an understatement.  And so, I decided to write our own curriculum :: hurray!



After only about a few days of research last May, it became apparent that this was not the season to take on such a task.  We were and still are in transition as a family and I had just written some of last year’s curriculum ~ a break was definitely in order.  Sooo….the hunt for what we would use became the focus and we landed on a wonderful, wonderful choice :: Winter Promise’s Children Around the World.  Let me tell you, this could not be a better fit!

Having never used a boxed curriculum before, I was concerned if this would flow with my style of teaching, a very odd mix of Charlotte Mason likeness, unschooling (yes, I’m admitting to this!) and some classical ed thrown in for good measure, so weird I know.  While we have firm & even ‘high’ academic goals, our approach is much different & more relaxed than that of conventional schooling since we’re focusing on other aspects of our children as well :: so far, it’s working beautifully. 

However, my qualms are settled about an all-in-one curriculum and I am very appreciative of the fact that everything is set up for me including lessons plans for both girls and age-appropriate assignments :: yes!  We’ve added math and a little extra language/grammar focus, that’s it.   All else will be through this geography curriculum.


We are having SO much fun already!  Being from a Christian perspective, Children Around the World also focuses on missionary work past and present, how to specifically pray for areas of our world and much more.  All of the books (lots of great books!) and materials (journals, maps, worksheets, etc.) were included :: I am grateful indeed. 

It’s going to be a fabulous year!  I’ll be sure to write more….


August 18, 2010

on hospitality

I am so spoiled here at my Mom and Dad's home! I just may extend our stay....

Being in a place where I'm currently experiencing the hospitality of others has me pondering this subject :: actually, I've been thinking on it for a few weeks now and reminding myself of those whose open heart & open home have blessed and marked me for life. 

While many have inspired me through the years, I've been privileged to know two women who lived and breathed the essence of hospitality.  They've never met and never will, and yet their lives were so familiar.  Each had a husband with a primary call to ministry in their local church, four children and were homeschoolers.  Our dear friend Annette lived outside of Chicago and we visited as time allowed and our friend Colleen lived around the corner when we made our home in Connecticut.  Two women, different lives :: one strong commitment to open their homes.

They taught me ~

:: to not be intimidated by the space I have or don't.  Both Annette and Colleen had very small homes...very.  With just enough room (or in one case not quite enough) for their own families, there wasn't much extra space.  And yet, others who visited didn't seem to mind this, people literally flocked to their homes.  One cookie exchange at Colleen's was standing room only if you didn't count the women sitting up her staircase!; no one wanted the gathering in a different location though she offered.  While they both desired more space, this did not become a focus of discontent. A valuable lesson.

:: to allow others into my life as well as into my home.  This for me is the marker that distinguishes these two examples of gracious hospitality.  Planned events or impromptu visits, time with these ladies didn't just mean learning more about how she decorated or where her furniture was purchased (though that is fun info at times!).  They generously shared life and wanted to know about yours.  The focus was on people, not things or simply the event at hand.  At Annette's funeral in 2009, hundreds of people came to honor a woman who made them feel important, unique and made a space in her life for others.  Hundreds.  Colleen's hospitality to an older woman, consistently yet gently inviting the lady to share & be in her home, caused the woman (who had boarded up her back door) to join in a neighboorhood gathering and finally speak to people she had lived next to for 18 years!

::  to be hospitable to those in my home.  Annette's kids were served breakfast in bed on occassion, just because.  Colleen would bring tea in special cups to even her youngest child.  Both served their husbands with flair and yet simplicity.  Their families did not feel as though guests alone received attention, it was a part of the norm.  I appreciate my parents who also stressed this lesson; to create an atmosphere where my children and husband are not jealous of those who visit our home!

The goal of course is not to become these women, though I deeply appreciate their examples.  The focus is to be open to how God is asking me to share both my life and my home :: first to those who live with me, then to the body of Christ and beyond.  And though we've been hospitable in various ways in the past or even in this past year (from large neighborhood gatherings to Bible studies or groups), I am asking Christ afresh how he would have us serve right now

And trusting for the answer...

August 16, 2010

right now

8:00 p.m. Monday eve

I’m supposed to be packing for a trip away for several days :: off to another big city to explore the sites, including days at my parent’s home where I plan to fully enjoy the fact that I don’t have to cook!

But, packing isn’t happening…willing my clothes (and the rest of the family’s) to simply just jump into bags.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

Instead, I’m thinking about ~

:: purchasing an ice cream maker soon since there are so many issues with dairy in our home and the substitutes are a bit expensive.  my girls have promised to be in charge; hmmm…we’ll see.

:: making a felt playhouse for the boys’ Christmas present~ this idea has me very excited at the moment, but really, that excitement needs to last several more weeks before I actually say ‘yes’!


:: I was thinking of making these orange cup cinnamon rolls for the first day of school, but we’ve already had that.   So, maybe when we return, we’ll have them for the 11th day?

:: I’m reminding myself again of a healthy perspective on lamenting (versus complaining)

:: also reading again through the daily seven for household management ~ simple & good!


Okay, right now…I DO have to pack up a few items!!  Especially the hat I’m knitting (as seen in the header) and the camera.  All else?  Well, I hope they find their way into our bags…..


August 10, 2010

domestic life



domestic life is never boring!!

back to the produce….


August 3, 2010

happy birthday baby boy

with a bit of reluctance, this Mama pauses today to declare that her baby is ONE.  oh, my.

a year ago today….

Jeremiah2.0 073 Jeremiah2.0 160 Jeremiah2.0 115

Jeremiah2.0 120

….and yes, he has grown up!


happy birthday Jeremiah!


August 2, 2010

fiber bliss


DSC_0122   DSC_0123


The end of last week found me with a bit of unexpected free time on my hands (I know, it’s a rare thing!) :: three of the children were busy with their grandfather doing various activities and were gone for the day.  As they all left, I thought through my options ~ catch up on laundry or go out and about?

Hmm…well, do you see pictures of clothing on the line!?  My eldest and I packed up the babes and headed out to explore a new-to-us yarn shop.  So fun!  The owner was pleasant and answered various crocheting and knitting questions :: then she assisted me in casting on for a sweet baby hat using double pointed needles (a bit scary to use I think!).  We left with free patterns, lots of ideas and new ‘friends’ in the fiber arts world.  I’ll be back again to visit this little place. 

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