Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Putting My Math Goggles On

I was never good at math when I was in school. I got by but I never truly understood many of the things that I supposedly learned according to my diploma.

Now I'm homeschooling Keeleigh and she's beginning to get into some of those math subjects that I struggled with. I have heard of more than one home school mom jumping ship because of this self-same problem. I, however, have been a little excited during math lessons. Why? Because I'm determined not to give up and guess what? I'm really learning some things. (And, yes, I think it's perfectly acceptable to learn right along with your child!)

This morning it hit me.

Remember those visual illusion books that were popular a few years back? You know the ones where if you stare at them long enough a 3D image will pop out at you? Math is just like that. Contrary to how I felt in high school, someone is not dumb when they don't "get" math. It was like I was staring at one of the visual illusion books and all of my friends were going, "Whoa, look at that!" and I was standing back going, "What? WHAT? I don't see it!" *Little* frustrating.

So this morning we were studying proportions and the first time we read through the example problem it just didn't make sense. But then I kept staring and crossed my eyes at just the right angle and bam! The concept popped out at me.

Hooray for small victories!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Are Stay-At-Home Moms Lazy?


Before you throw me under the bus, allow me to explain. 

So Hilary Rosen’s comment that Ann Romney “never worked a day in her life” has caused a stir lately. It even drew out a response from President Obama who said, “There’s no tougher job than being a mom. . . Anybody who would argue otherwise, I think, probably needs to rethink their statement.”  Of course, this is not a new subject of argument. There seems to always be some sort of dissension among women.  This group is better than this group for this reason and that group doesn't understand what its like to be that group. Blah, blah, blah. Personally, I agree with President Obama's statement that there's no tougher job than being a mom. However, Mr. President, having a tough job doesn't necessarily mean that job will be performed to the utmost of one's ability. You know that. ; )

President Obama wasn't the only one who rose up to defend Ann Romney and the status of the stay-at-home mother. Forbes recently featured an article written by a working mom which did the same. I saw status after status on Facebook from men and women alike stating what a misstatement Hilary Rosen had made. One of my favorites included a quote from Bill Cosby: "I am not the boss of my house. I don't know how I lost it. I don't know where I lost it. I don't think I ever had it. But I've seen the boss's job...and I don't want it." Everyone agrees (okay, maybe not Hilary Rosen) that the job description for the title of mom is a tough one. Having a baby is the easiest way to stretch the limits of what you believed possible. I know, I've had four of them and they continue to amaze me. But guess what? I'm lazy. 

I imagine that some of you find this hard to believe because many of you have told me what a good mom I am, have said, "I don't know how you do it." My mom told me that most people think I'm either crazy or superwoman. Ha. 

A while back I set up a booth at our campus's craft fair. Someone dropped by and marveled at all the things I'd knitted saying, "You must be one of those people who just always have to be doing something." 

"Actually," I told her, "I'm very lazy." She just looked at me funny. 

It's true. Sure, I have four kids and I home school. We almost always have clean clothes to wear and hot food on the table. We stay busy. But it seems to me that all these things I am praised for, however, are fun. I have built a life around me that I love. I've always wanted a house full of children. Home school is a little bit AWESOME to me. I'd rather eat a home-cooked meal than eat out. Heck, I don't even mind doing laundry as long as the kids aren't trying to jump on the bed at the same time. 

But my windows and mirrors are dirty. I had the same bottle of Windex for, like, 3 years. My microwave is dirty, too. Sometimes the dishes that can't be washed in the dishwasher just sit on the counter for a week. I try my best not to even buy things that can't be washed in the dishwasher or washed and dried. If an article or clothing says, "Hand wash only," it is NEVER going to be washed. Ever. I sigh and complain when Jackie needs me to proof-read his papers. Sometimes I let the kids play make a mess (drag out the contents of the cabinets...bowls, movies, etc.) so that I can just sit and goof off on the Internet or play a game on my Kindle Fire. I'm looking at a huge stack of Coke points on my desk that need to be put in. My children and I often sleep until 10 a.m. (By the way I was the same way when I was a "working" mom. I slacked on the things I could have/should have been doing every day!) I could go on and on. 

There are a million other offenses, some greater and some lesser, that I could cite. The point is that I always take the path of least resistance. I put on a decent show but many times I have a downright lazy attitude. And I'm betting you do, too. 

The Bible says, "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve." Colossians 3:23

And "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might..." Ecclesiastes 9:10.

Can you honestly say that everything you have done thus far today, you did with all your might keeping in mind that you were serving the Lord. You know that God you profess as Master, Almighty Creator of the Universe? What would you have done differently if God was visibly standing before you? I'm not saying that we need to work our fingers to the bone or obsess about the cleanliness of our home or making a lot of money. I'm just saying that when I heard all of this talk about stay-at-home moms vs. working moms and which is more accustomed to working, I knew that I had no right to dole out judgment. I'd have to get this log out of my eye before I could pick at anyone else's speck. (Matthew 7:3-5) God impressed on me the need to "be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed..." (2 Timothy 2: 15) and to "Do everything without grumbling or arguing." (Philippians 2:14). Yep. Everything. And I mustn't forget, "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit." (Philippians 2:3-4) Yep. Nothing. = )

I want to change my attitude first by honoring God for Who He is. I want to keep Him in mind during each and every moment. Then I want to respond accordingly...with thanks. Because in the end, when I stand before Him and give an account for the things I've done and those things I left undone, my fellow minion moms who would jump to defend my status saying, "But she'd been up all night with the baby!" or "She NEEDED to unwind!" won't matter a bit. "He also who is slack in his work is brother to him who destroys." Proverbs 18:9 and I have no relation to him who destroys so I don't need to be acting like it!

Photo Friday

April Week 3

Saturday Piper learned to open the cabinet door. We actually installed child locks on them when Ryland learned to open them as a baby but this one is opened so frequently that it has become loose. Babies love playing in the cabinets so much that I hate to stop her. Look at that grin!

Sunday We went to the Strawberry Festival where we enjoyed some chocolate covered strawberries (along with some other sickly delicious fair food) and the kids rode a couple of rides a piece. Keeleigh's hair was looking fabulous after a spin on the Remix 2.

Monday At the Strawberry Festival--random, I know--Keeleigh bought a pet iguana named Piccolo. We're learning what it takes to raise him and how to tame him. I actually broke down and petted him yesterday. Maybe someday I'll get the nerve to hold him. You know, before he's a 6 foot lizard crawling around our house. = )

Tuesday There was rain drops on the window pane and a storm brewing in the background. I love days like this. What does that say about me?

Wednesday I sat Piper in the baby swing and couldn't believe how big she looked. Her birthday is next month!

Thursday It was a busy day on our balcony. Early that morning the water crew pulled up outside and we watched a guy crawl down in the manhole. Then a firetruck stopped by and we watched the firefighters open the hydrant. Then...

We heard a very loud plane fly over head. "What was that?" Keeleigh asked from the table where she was doing her school work. 

"It was a plane," I told her. When the second plane flew over I remembered reading that the Blue Angels were going to be doing an air show. "Is it the Blue Angels?" I asked Keeleigh who, by this time, was peeking out the balcony door. "Go look, Jathan!" I said.  

Jathan ran to the balcony searching the skies. When he spotting the jets he looked deflated and said, "I thought it was angels." The poor boy didn't have much interest in watching them after that. Real angels would have been a lot more impressive!

Friday Ryland and I enjoyed the cool evening from the balcony.

He picked a couple of beans from Jathan's bean plant.

So, how was your week?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pizza Pockets

Last week we were in a cooking rut so I printed off a bunch of recipes I'd found on Pinterest and we made a big long grocery list. Then we got to cooking! We had some definite misses (steak and blue cheese roll ups and stuffed mushrooms--yuck.) but we also had some real hits. Pizza pockets were one of the hits. We had them for lunch one day and they were delicious so I thought I'd share the recipe with you.

First Keeleigh and Ryland made some pizza sauce using this fantastic recipe but you can use some from a jar if you prefer.

Then Keeleigh took some canned Pillsbury biscuits and rolled them flat using a rolling pin on a floured surface.

Next we spread a little pizza sauce on the flattened biscuits...

and added a couple of pepperoni slices and some shredded cheese.

Then we wrapped the biscuit around the filling pinching it closed at the top. After that you brush the tops with a beaten egg and sprinkle with Parmesan, Italian seasoning and garlic powder.

Bake the pizza pockets at 425 degrees for 18-20 minutes and serve them with some warm pizza sauce for dipping.

I didn't realize until after we baked them that they had the potential to be "pretty." Ha ha! They would make great party food.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Photo Friday

April 2012, Week 2

Jackie and Keeleigh went to pick up our new (to us) table on Saturday. I was so thrilled to have a nice big table with room for everyone and it came to us 100% free. Thank You, Lord, for Your provisions!

Sunday evening Ryland and Piper were hanging out on the bed with their daddy and the thought occurred to me that we're quite the technologically advance family. Ryland knows exactly how to turn my Kindle Fire on and get a game started! Wonder who he gets that from?

I had rearranged the furniture in our living room on Saturday for a fun switch and also to accommodate our new table. I ended up setting up the dining area near the balcony door and moving the couch. On Monday Ryland discovered how this set up might work to his advantage! Yes, siree, he was busting out of this place and lookin' cool while doing it!

Throughout the week, we've settled into using our big table--it's really quite a change from our old one. We've each tried out different chairs trying to find our place at the table and the kids and I have really enjoyed using it for school. What a joy to spread out!

Yesterday Jackie got a package in the mail. He called the boys to watch him open it because inside was a new Bear Grylls knife! They've been watching Man vs. Wild in preparation for their upcoming camping trip and the knife came just in time. Because you never know if they'll need to build a shelter from downed trees or start a fire with the enclosed flint or skin an alligator. = ) BTW: That's Jackie's serious, Bear Grylls face.

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And today camping day finally arrived! Just the boys went with Jackie (the brotherhood at the church sponsored the trip at a local state park) and he sent me this shot of them after their tent had been erected. 

We girls are going to have a girls night. Keeleigh has invited over a couple of friends and if I can get Piper to agree to it, she and I are going to finish up watching season 1 of Downton Abbey on Roku. Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Photo Friday

Hey look, I remember to do Photo Friday on Friday two weeks in a row! Go me!

Saturday, March 31, 2012  Piper discovered the fine art of climbing. She climbed up the steps to the slide then tried climbing up the slide itself!

Sunday, April 1, 2012 Jathan had his picture taken with Sir Saint at Saturday's Fun Fest. I tried to get Ryland to be in the picture, too, but he cried and said, "I scared." 

Monday, April 2, 2012 Playing with their new letters from the Dollar Tree.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 My attempt at a picture of Jathan's fantastic pouty face. Ever since he was a baby he's had the best pout. His lips turn down in a almost unnatural way.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 Roses for my birthday from Jackie.

Thursday, April 5, 2012 Ryland has suddenly become very flamboyant wearing large glasses day and night. Upside down.

Friday, April 6, 2012 Piper enjoyed the pastel-colored view today. I wish I could have captured the way her eyes lit up when she noticed the colorful Easter decorations. A smile spread across her face, her arms lifted in the air, and she just had to get a closer look.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Printable Resurrection Set

I was so excited to find a printable Resurrection set to make for the kids to explore the Easter story with. This set came from the blog, catholicicing.com. She has all of the figures drawn and gives easy instructions for how to put your set together.

Something to think about: I wish I hadn't glued our crucified Jesus to the cross because then we couldn't place him in the tomb.

This morning we used our set during our Bible reading time (Some dinosaurs showed up!). Jathan and Ryland loved it! I hope that since we laminated our set it will last for several years. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Package in the Mail!

Today a package came in the mail for the kids. It was Easter chocolate from Nana and Pappy!

I got a quick picture or two...

then they dug in. Some with more gusto than others.

Keeleigh melted hers down and ate it with a spoon.

Jathan and Ryland were a little less reserved.

Okay, Ryland was a lot less reserved.

And Piper? Well, she was just adorable.

So adorable that she needed a bath afterwards.

Ryland was jealous. "I wanta play with her," he said.

Thanks for the yummy treat, Nana and Pappy! I think the fact that all the bunnies were devoured in mere minutes means the kids loved them. = )

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dollar Tree Deal Alert!

Yesterday I went to Dollar Tree to load up on goodies for the kids' Easter baskets. While I was there, I found a *few* extra things. One of the items I was excited to discover was wooden magnetic letters (and numbers). I bought two packs of the letters and one of the numbers. When I got home I used Word to create one-row tables featuring some "W" words since "W" is our letter of the week. I also created tables with Jathan and Ryland's name and printed off a set of alphabet cards from Confessions of a Homeschooler (Go to confessionsofahomeschooler.com, click "My Printables", choose "Phonics", I printed A-Z spoon match up.)

Then I just stuck the pages up on the fridge and let them match up the letters with the magnetic letters. I think Ryland enjoyed it even more than Jathan did. Even Piper enjoyed exploring how the letters tasted. = )

The letters on my "W" page were a tad small but I figured out that a size 100 font was perfect when I made their name page. Of course, if you're not anal retentive like me then you could just write on a piece of paper and make prep for this activity even simpler. ; )

And here's the alphabet page from Confessions of a Homeschooler which is where I get a ton of preschool activity ideas and free printables. <3 it.

I also bought a few books there one of which was a book on wolves (again with the "W"). Jathan loves reading educational books with more realistic pictures in them especially when they are about animals. I wish I'd gotten the farm book they had there but I already had quite a basket full so I may go back and get it later.

Just thought I'd alert you guys to this easy and inexpensive idea for little ones!