Friday, February 27, 2009

HOTM Weekly Meme: Real Life Subjects

Real Life Subjects: What Your Family Does Ordinarily That Teaches Your Child an Abundance of Lessons

This is the theme of the week over at Heart of the Matter - a great topic.

From what I'm reading on other posts on this subject, the general consensis seems to be teaching servitude. We are no different. I believe that this is true among homeschoolers especially because, for the most part, I don't see this being taught by public schools. Servitude is something that is learned at home.

We began serving others when my girls were involved in Girl Scouts. We started at our local food bank helping them to package meals for families during the holidays. It became something that I strongly believe in and my children are learning that the universe does not revolve around them and that they actually have it pretty good at home.

In addition to teaching them to serve others, I also try to incorporate tolerance of others. I focus a lot on our own family. The two girls, being so close in age (under a year apart) sometimes find it difficult to get past their differences. They are like night and day. One is the diva princess and the other is a barn-junkie, a lover of all things horses. The diva has the hardest time accepting the dirt and smell of horses on the other! (I did see some real progress when last summer the diva actually volunteered alongside her sister at a local rescue barn - her own idea - AND decided to sponsor one of the horses there!)

The other thing I try to incorporate is etiquette. I see so many kids nowadays that don't know how to speak to adults, shake hands when being introduced, or just eating with manners at a local restaurant. I bought the latest Emily Post book and try to incorporate these lessons in small doses each day. Many people, even adults, don't know how or when to send thank you notes, take a message over the phone, or just politely say no. It's amazing to see the kids try these things out on their own. The 4-year old needs a little work - but she's getting it! ;)

So, how do you teach your child abundance? I'd love to know!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Review: Escape by Carolyn Jessop

I saw this book at Books-A-Million one day and grabbed it off the shelf. I'd heard about this woman who escaped from a polygamist life with her eight children. I went home, curled up, and proceeded to read her harrowing accounts of the abuse and degradation she endured for thirty-five years. Normally, I'm not a reviewer of materials or books but when I come across something I feel is worth passing along I like to let others know about it.

Here is a woman who endured extreme physical and mental abuse all of her life but remained strong enough to get herself and her children out. Her inside story of life in a polygamist cult is unbelievable, frightening, and eye-opening. There were many times as I read that I would shake my head and say to myself, "Why didn't you just leave?" But, I would catch myself and realize that I was thinking like "an outsider", not one born to that life.

I feel eternally blessed that I was not born into that life, for even though I have a strong spirit, I don't know if I could have endured what Carolyn Jessop did. She is a truly remarkable woman.

This photo is of her husband, Merril Jessop, and several of her sister wives (as they call them). Carolyn is in the blue dress.

I hope that she can find the real peace and strength that God wants for her.

Carolyn Jessop - you are the strongest woman I know. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. I'm sure it took courage, but from what I read, you have an abundance of it. God bless.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Homeschool Memoirs #26: Fan the Flame

This week over at The Homeschool Post the theme is fanning the flame of waning motivation. Boy, does this topic ever come at a great time! Only yesterday I was feeling overwhelmed, behind, frustrated, and tired. Then, as I read the others entries on this topic, I realized I wasn't the only one who goes through this during this time of year.

I've gotten some great ideas from the others who posted on this topic. Thanks! Here are some things we are doing to get through it.

1. Re-organize! One thing I can't stand is to see papers lying around in piles where they don't belong. I tend to get distracted at times and so I don't always watch and make sure they put their school work in their binders. The shelves become a mess and it drives me up the wall!

2. Take some time and step away. I usually like to take up to a week if I need it. The girls get a winter break and I get some time to re-evaluate what we're doing, where we're going, and if I think they need further help on anything.

3. Give them something fun to do. We do a lot of textbook work so having something different and fun to do breaks up the monotony for them. I may drag out our art books and they can create anything they want, or buy some canvases and they can paint with, we're growing crystals!

4. Have a moms day. This is something I adamantly do every month with the moms in my homeschool group. We are with our children day in and day out, 24/7 and we must take some time for ourselves, even without our spouses. It really helps me to get other views from other moms who homeschool and see how they do it. There's always something I can learn or do differently.

So - basically, there's nothing spectacular least until the Calgon lady comes. ;)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Homeschool Memoirs #25: How Many Loads?

Oooh, oooh, oooh....this is one of my favorite subjects....or rather, one of my favorites to hate! Laundry!
I found this photo on the Internet. It's called Death by Laundry. How fitting!
Well - over at The Homeschool Post, this week's theme is all about laundry.
We have five in the household now. With two being grown and gone it makes the laundry a little easier - or I should say, it SHOULD make the laundry a little easier.
Of course, those of you who follow my blog know that I HATE laundry. Sometimes, though, I'll get on a roll and actually get it caught up - folding, putting away, and all! But - sadly, that's a rare occassion, much to my husband's chagrin.
When things are going well, though, this is how we do it:
Monday: L's day for laundry
Tuesday: My day for laundry
Wednesday: E's day for laundry
Thursday: A's day for laundry (but since she's only 4 it falls on me!)
Friday: Towels and whatever is left.
Weekend: Absolutely NOOOO laundry will be done by my hand. I refuse!!
I have to say that my husband does his share. He is so sweet... ;)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

New Me Challenge - Week 7

Well, I haven't kept up as well as I had hoped I would. Life really seems to get in the way sometimes. But, hopefully this will get me caught up on my weekly postings on my New Me Challenge 2009.
The last few weeks have been so-so, I would say. The good news is that I haven't added any pounds! The bad news is that I have slipped in some areas.
I haven't walked in about a week and a half. I could list any number of reasons why this hasn't happened, but if I'm honest with myself, I know I have nothing and no one but me to blame.
I am still trying to eat somewhat healthy but have slipped at times there too. An occassional cheeseburger or handful of chips - naughty naughty!!! I always feel guilty afterwards.
So far, I have lost a total of six pounds. Not bad, but certainly not where I want to be. So - I will concentrate the next two weeks in losing those next four pounds to make an even ten. Then, we'll see what March can hold.
Hope those who are taking the Challenge with me have been able to maintain. Let's keep our goals in sight, Ladies!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I don't want no stinkin' flowers!

Ok, so I've been laid up, sick, for the past week. I've done just enough to get by - a shower now and then, a bowl of cereal for dinner on occasion, and keeping up with only one of my online commitments (Heart of the Matter newsletter - shameless plug...).

Side Note: You I sit here writing this I have this overwhelming sense of deja vu. I KNOW I've complained about this another lifetime maybe.... (see previous posts)
I have finally started to come out of my fog and see clearly for the first time in five days. What do I see? A LOT OF STUFF!!!!!!! - where there should be none. Dishes, laundry, GRASS in the front hallway. Do these other people in this house seriously not know how to do chores when Mom is laid out?

Side Note Again: please, excuse me....I must go pray for right back....

And then - surprise of all surprises - the Dad and the littlest one (I'm sure he picked that one because of the Cuteness Factor) come home with a dozen red roses and calla lilies. Of course, I fawn over them, stick them in a vase, and try to plug the steam coming out of my ears. I don't want to seem ungrateful, after all!

But, this Valentine's Day???.....I don't want no stinkin' flowers! I want a clean house and a meal in bed - a hot one that does not consist of oatmeal from a packet. As a matter of fact, I want lasagna made from scratch, fresh baked bread with homemade butter, a beautifully crisp salad with lots of bleu cheese dressing......

........................"HEY!!!!! Wake up and smell the roses!" They yell.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Beating Those Winter Blues

Each Friday Heart of the Matter online hosts a meme. This week the theme is: Beating those winter blues. What a great topic! I love Angela's description over there because it sounds like she lives where I live. I, too, am used to the warmer weather and relief from the mosquitos! Have you seen the ones where I live? They are NOT mosquitos. They are dino-squitos. And they HURT! We also have dino-ants. Big, fat, hairy red ones. Ouch! And let me tell you, they can outrun you, so beware!
Anyway - getting back to the topic at hand... how do we beat the winter blues? Here are some of the things we do.
1. We get moving. Being shut up inside the house all day, all week long can make people go stir crazy. We've taken to walking in the mornings around the subdivision. Mainly it's so my hubby and I can stick to our New Me Challenge, but it has the added benefit of waking up those sleepy kids who drag in the mornings with their schoolwork. Nothing like a blast of cold air in the face to wake you up, right?
2. Play board games. We've discovered that we actually like playing games together. It passes the time and gets us all together for quality family time that our regular routine wants to sabatage! The only one we don't like to play is Clue. Well, I mean...we LIKE to but we refuse to play with Dad because, well, he does that sort of work for a living and we cleans our clocks every single time. We're going to try Risk next - but I have a feeling he will own the entire world. I think he cheats.
3. Let in the light. I agree with Christin when she says to open the blinds. I'm a fan of light and it cheers me up and wakes everyone up when it sunny outside. I love natural light and if I could I have walls of windows.
Hey, Jennifer - trying to send some sunshine your way - way over there in Alaska!
How do YOU beat the winter blues?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Heart of The Matter Newsletter

I mentioned in a previous post that I was looking for something else to do and I have found it. I love doing newsletters and when Heart of the Matter Online announced they were looking for a volunteer to help out with theirs, I jumped at the chance.

If you are, like me, a homeschooling mother and you haven't yet discovered this great website then click here! This site is filled with information, articles, giveaways, monthly chats, and yes, a weekly newsletter! If you are not a homeschool mom come on over anyway. There are lots of features for moms in general (home management, family life, even a book club!).

I'm excited about being part of this great team. A huge thank you to the Amies and to all the staff for making this such a great site for homeschooling moms and parents in general!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Gulabi Gang

Every now and then I post about something I feel strongly about. Most of the time it has something to do with women or children. I'm a strong advocate for women's rights - but don't get me wrong - I do believe there are some jobs just not meant for a least "most" women. But that's for another post.

Today, I'm introducing you to the Gulabi Gang. This is a group of women in India who finally had enough. Enough abuse, rape, and unfair treatment from husbands and government officials. One lady, Sampat Devi Pal, decided that after her friend had been beaten by her alcoholic husband that she would not stand for it any longer. She donned a pink sari, gathered a group of friends and neighbors, and fought back.

For those who have followed my blog for a while, know me personally, or have read through some past posts, you may know that I was once caught up in an abusive relationship. But my story is nothing compared to what these women endure everyday - it's a way of life for them. But, thanks to this woman, they are taking it no more.

These poor and illiterate women are taking a stand against the injustices that have been forced upon them. In the beginning they fought back with sticks they trained themselves to use.

Today, the gang is made up of over 10,000 women, all of whom where the mark of the pink sari. These days they will fight if necessary, but they try to use words more than sticks.
Their story is amazing. If you are interested here are a few links for you: