Monday, March 23, 2015

The Little Princess

We embraced more change today. An adorable little lady joined us for a day of school and fun.

Before she arrived, we had a family chat about how much fun we could have with another little girl in the house and the kids kind of like the thought of having a sort of.....little sister, since they've never experienced that! Especially the boys.

We had a great day. Levi took Vickie under his wing and treated her like a little princess all day. He joined in on playing the game with her letters flash cards and had her just cracking up with his little antics. He showed her all of his favorite places in the woods, holding her hand to help her over fallen branches and trees. He played ball with her, shared his favorite math and reading DVD's, colored with her, and the two of them did a lot of laughing together. Natalie and Christine got out their childhood collection of dolls and all of the accessories, and Natalie spent time playing dolls with her for a while. Vickie was Natalie's side kick while she practiced her piano, and after lunch, while Vickie napped, I got a great workout done, and helped Noah and Levi with multiplication flash cards and the newest concept they are learning which are the basic steps of long division.

It has been a productive and fun day.

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The fort!

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When Vickie was ready for her nap, I told her she could sleep in the same chair my grandson sleeps in. It's a big, cozy, soft chair with a matching ottoman. As she snuggled down with her blanket and pillow, she said: "you're my best friend!" Melt. My. Heart. What a cutie!

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All cozied up for a math DVD together. It was rather chilly and wet outside today. I think they were ready to warm up and enjoy some easy, fun, education after playing hard out in the woods.

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DSC03389 (1024x768) Snack time!

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Snack time!

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Change is good. Life can get dull if we don't add in some changes now and then. The recent changes we have made to our daily routine are good. There is more peace in the house and the productivity level has increased nicely. Adding a cute little lady to the mix just spices things up a little and I think we all enjoyed that today.

How about you?  Are you ready to make a few spring time changes?


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Embracing Change

It's been a crazy week of change for our household and we all seem to be adjusting pretty well.

We changed up how we are doing our academic schedule. We got out dishwasher repaired and if you listen carefully, you may actually be able to hear an audible sigh of relief coming from yours truly. I got my hair cut and I gave my hair dresser free reign to change up the style a bit according to what she thought would be a good switch for me. She did a great job. It's easy, and it works well for my lifestyle. I really like my hair dresser. Not only does she do a fantastic job with my hair, but she is a long time friend as well.

I gave all three of my boys fresh hair cuts today, went to the library and brought home a bag of new books, and bottled up seven new gallons of kombucha (41 bottles to be exact). Natalie had piano adjudications on Wednesday and now she has brand new music. It's a nice change to hear her playing some new pieces again.

I started a new workout routine and on Monday we get to welcome a little three (almost four) year old sweetheart into our home for a couple of days a week. We are all looking forward to having Vickie Sue here with us.

Since I always have some kind of picture in my posts, I guess I'll slip in a picture of the new "do."



Thursday, March 19, 2015

Five Ways To Avoid Spring Fever Symptoms

Hey Fellow Moms!

How are you doing during this season of busyness?  Are you managing to maintain the balance between too much busyness and not enough outside activities?  Now that we are moving quickly into the spring season, are you still motivated, or are you experiencing some burnout? I don't know about you, but I find that pretty much every year between January and March, we experience burnout to some degree. This year is no exception.  We have actually struggled with burnout to a greater degree than ever before and honestly, I think it started with me, and trickled down. I've been home schooling off and on for twenty-five years. The past eleven years home school has been a constant part of our lives.  We've been doing things pretty much the same way for the past four years and I think that's why I hit a wall. I'm feeling ready for a change. My kids are expressing a desire for a change in the way we do things, as well. That is the beauty of home schooling. When you hit a wall, you don't have to keep bashing your head against it. You can re-assess and figure out what changes are needed for your unique family and the individual learning styles and personalities that make up the family unit. We are praying about and checking into some different options for next fall, but in the meantime we came up with some simple changes to make the rest of this school year more enjoyable, fresh, and new.

1. We switched up locations in the house for each child to do their studies. They needed a fresh environment.

2. We removed all electronic devices and allow use of them only in the evening for a couple of hours once each of the kids has produced evidence of their progress they accomplished throughout the day, along with the completion of chores. These little devices worm their way in and take over if we aren't careful to monitor the amount of time they are used. It's really easy for the kids to get distracted, but this includes mom too.:) I have given myself blocks of time to spend on my own electronic devices and that happens only when I am not needed to oversee chores and school, and after certain things have been accomplished  at various points throughout the day ie. workout, mealtime prep, eating, and cleanup, laundry etc. The other perk to this change is that it gives each child something to look forward to after hard work. It's a carrot to reward them for keeping their priorities straight.

3.We decided to incorporate at least one family activity each week that is different and fun. After interviewing the kids, we discovered that they have some great creative ideas for ways we can implement some fun activities that are not costly. Some of their ideas are game nights, swimming, bowling, reading a book together, hiking with our Goldens, skating, movie night, cooking a fun and different meal together, just to name a few.

4. We decided to plan more field trips into our weeks throughout the spring season and to invite friends to join us.

5. Mom, what do you enjoy doing?  What are ways you can fuel your own tank so you can continue to fuel your family?  For me, my passions are singing, writing, photography, research, reading, hiking, Cook-free meals (AKA date night with my hubby), working out, culinary arts, and spending time with other moms.  Be sure you incorporate activities into your lives that will give you something to look forward to. A carrot for mom is important too. We all need things to look forward to!

This morning I realized that the week has been running along at a nice pace. The overall results of the changes we made have proven that the changes were needed! Productivity is much higher, attitudes are more positive, and the kids seem much more at peace and able to enjoy learning to a greater degree.

I snapped a few pictures this morning while they were all busy with their lessons.

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Energy prayer
Once a week our daughter and her five kiddos join us for some morning classes and assignments, followed by some refreshing outdoor fun. Last week our oldest daughter and three of her kids were able to join us as well. I can't express enough how important it is to plan some fun activities into the week. Our kids have their usual routine each day that includes their academics and they have piano lessons, choir practice, community and church activities, all of which they enjoy, but it's really important to add in something different and fun periodically as well.

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Encouragement for tired mommies

Last week I took the kids on a field trip to the Compassion Project and afterwards we had lunch at a beautiful park with a couple of other families. This trip included explorations in geography,anthropology, missions, and the opportunity to see, first hand, the suffering that goes on in other countries along with ways we can reach out to them from right where we are.

When we allow our kids to see the differences between our country and other countries, it can develop compassion in them and help to see how blessed we really are. This helps to bring a new perspective on life. It's really eye opening.
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One more thing that has really helped refresh me, is getting back into my regular exercise routine. I feel much more energetic, I'm sleeping better at night, I have fewer joint aches, and this translates into a much healthier mom over all.

Hang in there....the end of the year is just around the corner.