Great work day!

Here’s a toast to a great day of work!  My husband took last week off from work because of some knee problems so we’ve been fighting (well, not really fighting, but “sharing”) time on the computer.  Unfortunately most of my work is done on the computer during nap time, so when I have to share it gets really difficult to get all my work done!

Yesterday, after the third time the kids came down to tell me to hurry up I gave up.  Every time I’m interrupted while I’m working I have to “get back in the zone” before any real work gets accomplished.  I just couldn’t take it anymore, gave the computer up to my husband, and went to town to grab some dinner.  I came back, knitted, caught up on a couple of my shows, and then grabbed the hubby to watch a movie with me.  Apparently the break worked well.   We stopped trying to scratch at each other’s eyes over the stupid computer.  I was able to talk to him about how important it is that he allows me time to work uninterrupted, and we had a good evening.

Today I woke up refreshed and ready to go.  I have no officially caught up with all the work that had gone undone during the week and I am looking forward to chilling out and relaxing for a nice Sabbath tomorrow.  I know some people consider cooking to be work, I consider it to be one of the most rewarding and relaxing past times (given that I have the time to do it properly), so I might even run by the store this evening and pick up all the things I need for a nice big dinner tomorrow night.  Pork roast, roasted vegetables, skillet corn, garlic bread, and some homemade mac and cheese, YUM!

I need to carry my camera everywhere!

Why is it that you never have your camera available when the right moment strikes?  As my family and I sat around relaxing yesterday evening, just waiting for bedtime to roll around, I took the time to really look at my kids.  It is so easy to get caught up in routine and miss the small things!

E was sitting around readint “The Young Scientist,” it is a book all about scientists, the work that they do, the tools that they use, and how young kids can learn to be a scientist themselves.  That is what she was reading for fun!  J was busy coloring a page and writing numbers along the side, along wiht his name in big bold letters at the top.  S was “reading” “Litle Black Goes tot he Circus.”  I know that she can’t actually read yet but you would never know it by looking at her!  She carefully turns each page, stares intently at the pictures and words, and runs her fingers from word to word, just like she is reading.  R was very busy using his building blocks to make “food” for all of us.  He made cupcakes, popcorn, pancakes, and bacon, complete with a lunch tray that he pulled out of the cabinet:)

I wish I would have had my camera!  I know that everyone would have especially gotten a kick out of S sitting there “reading” her book.  But, that is life, and you can’t plan for it.  Of course I will have my camera handy next time we are all lounging around, I only hope I can capture one of those moments!

Cutting, Pasting, and Coloring

Good news here!  R is finally really getting into his preschool routine.  He has been so reluctant to have anything to do with school time but now suddenly he has to have each and every worksheet that J does.  I love it!

Before now I would ask him if he wanted to do whatever J was doing and 90% of the time it was a resounding NO!  I didn’t want to push him, and make him hate everything related to school, so I let him have the choice.  For over a week now I have had to print out at least 2 of every worksheet that I print for J because R wants to do it as well.

I think I know what the difference is.  Before I would ask him if he wanted to do one too and he always said no.  Now I give J his worksheet, help him get started, and pretend like I don’t care one way or another whether R is involved or not.  Suddenly he loves it!  Lol, it’s funny the way that kids work.  If I want him to do something, he stays as far away from it as possible.  If I don’t care, he suddenly loves it and wants to be just like his big brother.  Whatever works, right?

S is, as always, highly involved in preschool.  Of course she is only (almost) 2 so she doesn’t really do much more than scribble on a piece of paper, but that’s fine with me.  As long as I can keep her excitement up it will serve us well once she is old enough to start understanding the concepts.  She does enjoy singing her ABC’s while we are driving around.  It goes something like this… a b c d e f o o o o o, haha, but at least she has the first few letters down!  She can count to about 7 but she has a thing for twos.  She finds things in pairs and counts 1 – 2, then finds another pair of something and does it again.  Hands, feet, shoes, you name it and she counts it!

J is doing really well with reading. It has finally clicked for him.  He still has a lot of work to do before I can hand him a book and tell him to read but he is making great strides.  You would think that I would notice it right away, but I finally heard what he was doing wrong.  He was adding and “u” sound to the end of every consonant.  It’s no wonder he was struggling!  Where you and I see b-a-t, he saw b-u-a-t-u, no wonder he could never get it to say bat!

Things are going well around here, and we are already into the full swing of things.  I hope your homeschooling is going just as well!

Homeschool outside today!

I just wanted to let everyone know what a gorgeous day it is here!  It’s in the low 80’s, which is heavenly for around here!  There is a nice light breeze, the birds are singing, and our front yard trees are doing an awesome job of shading our porch and allowing just enough filtered sunlight down to make things perfect🙂  After a nice hot cup of coffee and some quiet time with my Kindle I got the kids up and decided that today was outside day.  As I write everyone is pretty much done with school for the day.  E is still working on a few things, but I have to say that it is probably largely in part to the fact that it is so gorgeous and she doesn’t want to finish and have to go inside and do her chores🙂  I hope everyone else is having a gorgeous day!

Homesteading on the homefront

I’ve been reading up a lot about homesteading here lately.  It has always interested me greatly but it always seemed a far off dream considering the fact that I live on a 1 acre plot inside of a suburb.  Lately though the homesteading bug has hit me hard and I’ve been doing more research.

Thankfully the county that I live in has no restrictions on vegetable gardens.  I’ve actually had a garden several years here, but I’ve always had a problem with keeping things watered.  A few years ago the rising cost of water, coupled with a long standing drought in my area, forced me to give up my dream of a garden and scour farmer’s markets for the cheapest produce available.  Even though the garden was not necessarily meant to be a hobby I have really missed it over the last few years (the drought finally lifted this year, but we receive almost all of our rain in one or two days over a month long period, which makes it difficult to keep the plants properly watered.)  I have found that I take great joy in getting my hands dirty and seeing the products of my labor growing in my soil.  In all honesty I just miss a good excuse to be outside doing something!

I don’t know why I never looked into it before but there are actually a lot of ways that you can minimize the amount of water that you have to use for a garden.  There are different planting techniques, various soil additives, and even specialized containers (that a diy-er can make) that help to solve this problem.  I am actively researching these methods and will let you know what the results are🙂

In the past I’ve always viewed a garden as a money saving opportunity.  A penny saved is a penny earned!  What I never thought about though was that our land has the potential to make us money, not just save.  Of course there is the obvious method of selling off our excess produce.  My first problem with this is that we rarely have much extra, given the usable space that I have for a garden, and what extra I do have I tend to hand out to members of my subdivision who are having a hard time keeping food on the table.  I live in a lower income area, and whether by choice or by chance, many of the families here have a large number of children that they are trying to feed on a single minimum wage income.  I just can’t stand to see kids go hungry, or for them to be full but have an imbalanced diet, so I just donate our extras to whichever neighbor happens to be walking by as I am tending the garden, or to anyone who comes and knocks on our door.

Right now I am formulating some different ways, outside on the normal selling of excess produce, that we can use to supplement my husband’s income.  I am planning on starting seedlings in the early spring (which I have always had very good luck with) and selling plants for people to put in their gardens, along with branching out away from the food aspect of things and propagating various flowers, trees, and bushes that we already have available for me on our property.

I don’t know exactly what the future holds for us, or for my small scale farming ideas, but time will tell.  For now I must go and continue on with my research before I jump head long into this thing!

How old are you?

How old are you?  It seems like such a simple question really.  Everybody knows how old they are.  Even small children can be taught to respond correctly when asked how old they are.  I’m not asking how old your body is though.  How old are you spiritually?

My husband and I have a funny way of finding spiritual truths by just talking.  We talk for hours and we both truly believe that the Lord speaks through both of us, to each other, and gives us the clues that we need to find the answers that we seek.  As we were talking last night we began discussing how difficult it can be at times to hear God.

We have been asking God to just tell us what direction he would have us go in.  We don’t like walking blind just to find out that we made a wrong turn.  We truly feel that God is telling us to do something, although we are not quite sure what.  We feel that he is telling us to “dig trenches” in expectation of “flowing waters.”  That sounds so simple, just prepare to receive, right?  But the application of that statement leaves us wondering what exactly it means.  We also feel that we have been told to “dig deep.”  That sounds like a lot of work and preparation, but it will more than pay off in the rewards.  Dig your trenches deep enough to hold as much water as you want, right?  The problem still persists though that we don’t know what to do to prepare.  I’m not going to get into a long list of what’s going on in our lives.  Much of it is very personal and would take hours of conversation to get through.

We asked God what we should do to dig our trenches and a realization hit me.  He is teaching us!  When our children are small they don’t speak English, however, we speak to them in English anyway.  They may not understand what we are telling them to do but at some point in time we expect them to figure it out.  We continually repeat the instructions that we want them to follow and don’t let them give up until they hit the nail on the head.  At that point in time we congratulate them (well in excess of the rewards expected for the actual task accomplished) and them continue to quiz them on their new acquired knowledge.

I think that maybe that is where we are spiritually.  It’s not the God isn’t speaking to us, it’s just that we don’t understand.  He is no longer content to just give us everything (like we would give a bottle to a crying infant).  He is expecting us to learn “God talk!”  We will probably make mistakes along the way, just like our children do, but I know that God will always be there for us, just as we are there for our children, and he will never give up on our ability to learn his language, in the same way that we never give up that our children will learn to recognize and understand our commands.

It is humbling to realize that at 31 and 32 years of age my husband and I have a level of spiritual maturity that would equal a physical maturity of a 2 year old, but you have to start somewhere!  I am looking forward to this new stage of our spiritual lives and hope to gain further insight and knowledge of the Kingdom of God.

How old are you?

Breakthrough for R!

Today we had an awesome breakthrough with my 3 year old, R.  He generally does his own thing while I teach and the two older ones work.  I try to always have something available for him to do if he gets in the mood to do some “work,” but that very rarely happens.  Today, though, was a different story.  I sat J down and had him doing some coloring/writing work.  R ran up to me and said that he wanted to do one too.  I handed him his copy and he got straight to work.  Instead of just scribbling all over the page and being done, he actually tried to color in the lines and he took the time to trace the words and numbers that were on his page!

I was so proud of him, he did a great job!  As soon as he was done he asked me for another page, which he also promptly colored.  Then he asked me for scissors and picked out a piece of paper that he wanted to cut.  It was just a scrap piece of paper, no lines to cut on or anything, so he proceeded to cut the bottom edge of the paper until every little bit of it was cut into tiny little strips!  This is such a big breakthrough for us, I hope it lasts!

S has been getting involved in all the fun too.  She loves to have a piece of paper all to herself, and she scribbles her little heart out until she feels that the page is sufficiently covered.  I am working with her to get her to understand that she can only have one crayon out at a time and she is doing quite well.  I still have to remind her most of the time, but there are no complaints.  She just smiles and says “Oops!”, puts the old crayon up, and grabs a new one.  Sometimes she seems to get a lot more enjoyment out of replacing crayons and getting new ones as opposed to actually coloring, but that’s fine!

All in all today is going great, the kids are having a blast learning, and I pre-planned and already have dinner started.  Looks like today is going to be great!