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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Register NOW for the Schoolhouse Expo

It's back to homeschool time and registration is open for the online Schoolhouse Expo, October 4-8. It's five days of top homeschool speakers, fellowship, and fun door prizes.

Save $5 per ticket! Register between August 16 and midnight August 22 (that's TODAY!!!), and you'll pay only $19.99. Plus you'll receive over $200 in free E-Books.

You'll be inspired by speakers including: Zan Tyler, Dr. Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright,Carol Barnier, Diana Waring, Todd Wilson, Davis Carman, Kim Kautzer, Lee Binz, and many more!

A special teen track is planned--the entire family will definitely want to listen to these special sessions. We've also planned a special focus on a topic that touches every homeschool--writing. Plus, an array of other topics that will inform and inspire you throughout your homeschooling years.

Don't forget, MP3 copies of each session comes with your LIVE event ticket.

Two special preconference shows on August 24 and September 21 with Dr.
Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright, and Kim Kautzer!

Register starting 12:01 a.m. on Monday, August 16.

The theme this fall is "Celebrate Homeschooling!" We're going to celebrate the unique blessings of homeschooling, the beginning of another school year, our families, and the freedom to tailor our children's education to best meet their needs.

If you cannot make the Live event, then the October Expo To Go is just your ticket! You'll reserve MP3s from all of the workshops. And if you register before midnight tonight, pay just $14.95!

You can visit either of these links to get more information.

Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I was given the opportunity to share this Expo information in return for a free Expo-to-Go ticket (which works out better for me than the Live event anyway). I chose to share it because, based on the cost of going to my state homeschool conference and buying CDs of even 2 speaker's presentations, it's an amazing deal and well worth the money.
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The 2010 Schoolhouse Planner

What's 614 pages long, comes from one of the most reputable homeschool businesses around, and does everything but scrub your shower and fix your dinner? The 2010 Schoolhouse Planner, that's what!

No matter what your homeschool style, from recreating school at home to being a radical unschooler, this is a planner that will meet your needs. Better still, it's a planner that serves YOU, and not the other way around.

So what does this planner include? If you can even remotely conceive of it, the planner 2010 Schoolhouse Planner has a form for it. And you can fill in these forms right on your computer, so if your kitten spills a whole glass of water on your weekly schedule (not that I have any experience with that) you can just print out another one! Below are just a few of the hundreds of pages you can use.

But beyond just planning your homeschool, the planner also includes different checklists, themed resources, tips, and recipes each month. But wait, there's more. Want to know cloud types and how to identify them? It's in there. Branches of government? It's in there. Thirteen colonies by date? It's in there. The parables of Jesus? They're in there. Greek and Latin roots? They are in there.

But all that is just the tip of the iceberg. There's also chore charts, grocery lists, birthday and anniversary lists, babysitter information, budget sheets, prayer journals, Christmas card lists, craft planning sheets, and car maintenance journals, just to name a few.

If you bought a book- even an e-book- for any one of these things, it would surely be at least $5. And yet the 2010 Schoolhouse Planner, which covers all this and so much more, is available for download from HERE for just $39.00. Or, if you'd prefer a CD, you can get that HERE for $44. Check it out. Disorganization might be free, but sometimes you get what you pay for. Getting your house and homeschool in order and minimizing the amount of time it takes to do all that is priceless, and the 2010 Schoolhouse Planner is the tool you need to do just that.

Disclaimer: I am an independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse, which publishes the Schoolhouse Planner. I received a free copy of the planner so that I could write this post. This post was written as a "sell sheet" and I am competing against my fellow Crew Mates for the best post. However, participation was voluntary, and I would NOT have participated if I didn't believe in and use the Planner myself.
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

It's been busy!

Here's a random run-down of the past week...

Sari had Pre-K last week. It was a "refresher" for all the kids (and FREE for us). Since our state has a free pre-k program, they test all the incoming kindergartners to see what their skill level is so that they can evaluate each VPK facility. Sari will be homeschooled, so she won't take the test, but the school offers the refresher week to hedge their bets that their students will do well with the testing. It was an amazing school, and I am confident they will do well, as they always do, but really we let Sari go this past week just so she could see her friends and teachers one more time. She LOVES them. On a side note, she spends all her time at home talking INCESSANTLY, so it's nice to have a break, LOL.

I did math with Scott every day last week for several hours each day. He's finally making good progress, and should be close to grade level in about 2 months if we stick LESSON PLANS!!! Yep, I finished the hardest part of his math planning, and it feels really good. The bad part? That was one subject for one child- not even the tip of the iceberg. I am hoping the rest will go much faster though.

One of our chickens is officially laying. We've had an egg a day for 4 days. Yesterday, the hubs said, "Should we be putting them in the fridge or something?" I told him that as long as they weren't washed, they would be good for a while on the counter. He said, "Oops, I washed the one I got today, so I should probably go put it in the fridge." So off he went...

he grabbed the egg...

spun around toward the fridge...

and dropped it on the floor...

CRASH!!! Splat!!!

And it was a double yolk-er too.

Oh well, no use crying over spilt milk OR cracked eggs.

Don't you love it when high profile Christians turn out to be every bit as nice as you expect them to be??? There is a movie filming in a local town, and Erin Bethea, who plays Kirk Cameron's wife in Fireproof, is playing the mother of one of the characters. She is SUPER nice. I was soooo pleased that she was exactly the way in person that I hoped she would be. I got to meet her at a photo shoot I did for LFM. There was a book signing of the book that the movie is based on by the author and the stars of the movie, so of course I had to buy the book and get mien signed too- otherwise my kids might never forgive me.

United in Praise also started its fall season the same night. It's a "best of" collection and concert dates are already being booked. It was good to be back among people who have become like family over the last almost decade of my life. We have such great times together, and it's truly amazing to praise God with so many others who represent almost every denomination you can think of. United in Praise started with the idea that in heaven, we'll all be praise God together, so why not start here on earth?

Scott spent the night with a friend Thursday night. This boy lives very close to us, and he is very sweet. He goes to public school, which starts a week from today, so this was his last chance to have a sleep over for a while. It meant giving up a day of schooling with Scott, but it was worth it to cultivate a friendship.

The rest of us went swimming with some friends on Friday, and then Mimi spent the night with a friend of hers.

Saturday was the Lake Family Magazine Family Fun Fest-say that 5 times fast. It was great-1000's of people. I think the flow this year worked better, and I've heard nothing but good reports. It's amazing how exhausting it is to work an event. Trying to be everywhere...capture everything. And socialize and represent the magazine well. All while moving between the indoors, where the AC struggled to keep up with the heat from so many bodies, to the outdoors, where it was just ridiculously hot and humid. But kids don't seem to notice, do they? They were all having a blast. FREE everything-pizza, drinks, slushies from Sonic, snow cones, cotton candy, and tons of other candy and goodies from vendors. Plus free horse rides, tractor rides, Home Depot kid kits...really a wonderful event. At the end, there was a mom there with her two young kids waiting for her husband to pick her up and hour from then. He worked a short distance away, but too far to walk easily with two small boys, one of whom was autistic, in the heat and across a very busy road. So I gave her a ride, and at Walmart, where her husband works, the Big Red Bus was there for a blood drive, so I figured, "hey, if I'm already toast, I might as well finish it off by donating blood." It took me over an hour-but only took me 6 minutes to fill the bag. The rest was spent waiting. But it's a small price to pay. I wish EVERYONE who could would donate blood. It's such an easy way to really, truly save a life. Isn't a tiny bit of pain worth it if you can save someone? I think so.

I spent all of Saturday night and Sunday (besides church) processing the images from the event. It is crazy how long that takes!

Last night, I was concerned that one of my crowns was loose. So I had a huge dilemma. I like our current dentist, and we've been there for YEARS. They know me, they know the kids, the kids LOVE going there and love to get their teeth cleaned. That's worth a ton to me.


They aren't on our insurance and we pay out of network to go to them. With 4 kids and my mouth full of problems, that adds up to money we don't have. So a few weeks ago when our dentist was out of town, they referred us to another dentist in town. And that office is also very nice. And it turns out the wife of one of the other tenors in United in Praise is a hygienist there. And lots of people we know go there.

And they take our insurance.

So this morning, I went there instead of our regular dentist.

It feels almost traitor-ish. And having to request my records will be one of the most awkward things I've done in a while. But it makes NO sense to pay for Dental insurance, and then not use it. Today's visit cost me $4. $4. And the filling I need will be $29. That's a HUGE difference. Being a good steward of our resources isn't always easy, but it is what I am called to be.

I have a meeting tomorrow morning with the new managing editor of the magazine, and I should have a cover to shoot very soon. Oh, and an ad to write for TOS by Wednesday. And planning to do for the rest of our schooling so we can actually start sometime soon. And our Disney passes are coming out of black out on Saturday, so we'll be heading there one day next week. Oh, and my filling, or maybe fillings, on Wednesday.

I heard one time that If Satan can't make you bad, he'll make you busy. And that busy is Being Under Satan's Yolk. Of course, that's not really sound theology, but it is helpful for me. I have to remember that 99% of my busyness is not at all important from an eternal perspective, and if being busy keeps me from pursuing Godliness, then it is wrong. So in all this busyness, I am really trying to focus on God and seek His face. It's not easy, as I tend to get caught up in "me", but I'm trying!

I am not a public "pray-er". Some people are clearly gifted in praying. They are truly "prayer warriors". You know them. The people whose every prayerful utterance seems to be inspired. My public prayers often leave me second guessing myself for an hour afterward...did I say that right...did that make sense...I should have prayed for that too... you get the idea. Or they leave everyone crying. Go ahead. Ask my friends. They'll confirm that. But here's the deal. I am convicted that my blog title lately is very much a misnomer. It's more like "one Eeyore-ish Mamma". I don't mean for it to read that way. I'm really not that way in person at all. I'm not a worrier, and I don't tend to dwell on the negative, so I HATE that my blog looks like I do. I want my blog to reflect my walk with God and the work He is doing in my life, so I am committing, right here and now, to end each post with a prayer. So here it goes...

Lord, thank You for a rich and full life. You've blessed us with provision and with a life full of friends and family and meaning. Help me to focus on You, not me. There are plenty of hours in each day to accomplish Your "to-do" list for my life. Let me spend those hours on business for you, not just busyness that has no eternal meaning. I ask this in Jesus' name.
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Friday, August 13, 2010

Just because...

Just because I am chicken sitting for my friend Presley and I made a snarky comment about how her chickens were slackers and weren't producing enough eggs (only 6 eggs total out of 4 chickens over the course of 6 days)...

And just because I caved in and bought 2 dozen eggs from Kiwi's son since Presley's chickens weren't meeting the need...

And just because I made another snarky comment to Kiwi's son about how my slacker chickens hadn't started laying yet...

Just because of all that, I came home to this:

Yeppers, one of my slacker chickens laid an egg!!! WHOO HOO!!! My kids were giddy with excitement. It's fun too, kind of purple-y and with random brown markings. And not even too small, maybe medium size. The hubs already wants to know who gets to eat it :-).

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I'm just not...

an organized person. I wish I was. I long to be. But I'm not.

So here I am at the beginning of another homeschool year, trying desperately to do the very thing that eludes me most. With all four kids to work with, being organized is more critical than ever. And so I am trying. I've gotten about 8 lessons of Scott's math planned out. It's going to be a LONG process. For him, the challenge is that I am trying to accelerate his pace since he is so very far behind. That means I have to go through the book, assess what he NEEDS to do, and plan accordingly. And that applies to all his subjects.

And the others? Well, I have to figure out how to spread one of me out to the three of them for each of the subjects they need ME for, and allocate some of Mimi's time, and probably TJ and Scott as well, to work with Sari when I can't.

One thing is for sure- our school day is going to have to be longer this year than it has been in the past. And it HAS to get more organized. Last year, the work boxes helped a ton, and this year they will get even more of a work out. I just have to figure out what to put in them more than 30 minutes in advance :-).

So I'm blogging about this for accountability. If I put it in writing...and in public...I'm more likely to really try to get it done. Even if it takes a week of exceedingly boring tedious planning ;-).

Tomorrow's plan? More math with Evan, and more math planning for him. I have to get him through 2 books this year.

Off to bed, so I can start fresh in the morning...
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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Can you believe?

Our chicks are 16 weeks old today. Apparently the red stars can start laying any day. I figured that you MUST be dying for updated pictures, LOL, so here they are.

From this...
To this!
I have no idea if the first two are the same two in the top picture, but the one on the right is. Their downy butts were cute, but their puffy ones are even better. They are also the only way I can tell the three red stars apart. See how the one in the middle is redder than the one on the left? That's the best way to tell which one is which.

Look at all that poofiness :-)

This is Mimi's Easter Egger. She's gorgeous. She also has a wonderful personality.

The chickens still have their ever present protector. He is VERY interested in them, but they keep all the cats in their place and I don't worry about them.

Two of the girls

Sari actually took the chicken on the swing with her. I think the chicken was less enamored with the experience than Sari was.
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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Change is in the air...

I've been listening to Dianne Craft's CD's called "The Biology of Behavior". I'm ready to start the regimen to see if it helps Scott. I need to do something. We HAVE to start making much more progress with WAY fewer meltdowns.

I taught him subtraction this week.


He's 13.

It is going to be a hard next few years...but then it's been a hard past 13 too, so we are prepared. I feel like I'm constantly fighting. Either FOR him or WITH him, but fighting nonetheless. I can totally relate to Mother Teresa sometimes. The whole idea that I know God doesn't give me more than I can handle, but I wish He didn't trust me so much. It's a battle for his future-both on Earth and eternally, and sometimes it feels like the weight of the world. I find solace in the bad boys of the Bible. I know that's warped, but somehow knowing that David was a "man after God's own heart" and his own son Absolom tried to kill him makes me feel a bit better. Surely he was raised to know the Lord, and yet he did not follow Him. Each person's salvation is between that person and God. I can only do the best I can, but the decision is my son's, and right now only God knows his fate. I will continue to try my hardest, don't get me wrong, but I know that it's his choice. I want him to give his life up to the Lord SO badly. I want him to let go and let God, and let God's strength help him overcome what he can't do in his own strength, but for now, I am content to wait, and follow the advice of the resources God has led us to to help him cope better with the world.
Dianne Craft has worked with countless children who sound just like my son, and has had much success with a modification of their biology based on supplements, and that biological change lead to great changes in behavior. I need to try.
It's not an easy protocol because some things have to be taken 3 times a day, and that is not easy with our crazy life, but it MUST be done. Luckily you introduce one thing at a time, one week at a time, so it will be a long process, but we'll have a chance to see what works and what doesn't and adjust accordingly. Please join me in prayer that we see some positive results starting this week!
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Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Summer Project

Why is it so hard to a) post everyday and b) be remotely interesting in those posts?

I've been spending my summer purging clothes. It is a never-ending project. Who knew 4 kids could wear so much? Or outgrow it so quickly? Just going through their clothes could be a full time job. I have boxes all around the living room. Clothes TJ has outgrown for me to give away. Clothes Scott has outgrown for TJ to wear someday. Clothes for TJ to wear now from boxes from the basement that Scott outgrew a year or so ago.

Then there are the boxes of Sari's stuff. Stuff she's outgrown for me to give away. Stuff Mimi has outgrown for Sari to grow into. Stuff Sari for Sari now from boxes from the basement that Mimi outgrew years ago (although truthfully some clothes can go directly from Mimi to Sari).

Then there are the clothes Scott outgrows every day. He's grown several inches since Christmas, and he just keeps growing. But with his sensory issues, he's tough on clothes anyway so lately not much has been surviving to box up for TJ.

And Mimi? Well, she's becoming lady. How does that happen? Subtle curves appearing here and there. Clothes that fit one day are suddenly not quite right the next.

Ah, my children are growing up. And I'm getting older. Or maybe just old. I had to color my hair tonight after Mimi informed me that the top of my head was silver and there weren't enough brown hairs to cover up the gray ones. Coloring my hair is my one vanity, but I have been going gray since I was 22, and that's just not cool. I hope that gene does NOT get passed on to my kids.
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Congrats to my little brother!!!

My brother and his fiancee were married on July 24th. In Hawaii. And they didn't take me along as photographer. But I forgive them ;-). Mostly. Although I can't wait to see the wedding pictures. There was a reception for them here in town on Sunday evening, and here are some pictures from it.

The happy couple. Can you believe they are an e-harmony success story? I love my new Sister-in-law!

The kids ALL love their aunt and uncle. (Three of us were taking pictures at the same time, so I didn't get a single one with all the kids looking at me.)

Mimi helped my mom with the decorations. Mom bought this poster and Mimi added the stickers of the couple and some flowers, etc. The couples' hair were the wrong colors, so she even made them new "wigs" of paper.

My mom bought these bears, and Mimi made the clothes for them based on the description from my brother of what they were goign to be wearing. And we had an idea of what SJ's dress looked like, as she got it off etsy.

Cutting the cake with the ever-present Sari. I think she'd move in with them if she could.

Crazy kids! They got these hawaiian necklaces from their aunt and uncle, and all silliness ensued.

No celebration is complete without Plum, my brother's friend. He's from Thialand, and that's where his family still lives, so he spends his holidays with our family. He loves kids, and they love him back.

More goofing around.

Congratuations to the happy couple! We are so excited for them and our only wish was that they lived closer.

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