Through Every Season

Year: 2010 (Page 1 of 7)

Growing Up

My second little duckling got his first job.  Yay!  He’ll be working full time in a technical department, helping people with their computers and programing.  We are thankful for the opportunity and experience he’ll be gaining and for the friend from church who helped him get the job and who will be mentoring him.

Only thing is that now I have to go through the separation anxiety that most moms go through when their kids go to their first day of kindergarden.  Homeschooling is great about postponing things like that.  His first day of work I’ll be dropping him off at 7 am, I will probably cry, and I’ll praying that he’ll do well, be a light for Jesus, and be protected in the big bad world.

I think James is feeling it, too.  He’s been giving me lots of hugs.  I’d never tell any of my kids that I cried when I dropped them off.. or blogged about their new job at 3 am.  They would probably laugh at me (and mostly I wouldn’t want them to worry).

I am so thankful for all the years of homeschooling that God has walked me through, for all the time I’ve had with my children, for the spiritual and personal growth homeschooling caused in me, and especially that I all four love the Lord (and me) despite all my faults and shortcomings.

Soon, I’ll be in new, uncharted territory (for me).. I won’t have any left in homeschool and they will all be living their own lives, but my job won’t be finished.. I will still be praying that they will continue to choose to live them for the Lord, that they will find Him their constant helper and guide, that they will choose and be blessed with full and happy lives, and that they will continue to grow and mature and be a well pleasing fragrance for the Lord.

And and for much more..

Christmas Cards 2010

I was hoping to take our annual family photo this weekend,
then chickened out when the weather turned even colder.
Our normal highs for this time of year are in the 50s.
Feels like we’ve been in the 20s and 30s for weeks.
It snowed ALL day yesterday, and it’s snowing still.
Tonight we are expecting a low of 12.  
Not the best weather for picture taking or 
housebreaking a puppy.  Burr!
So, our Christmas cards are a little different this year.
If you’re thinking one or two of the pictures have been photoshopped..
you are right, but I’ll never tell which ones.
Hope you’re keeping warm.

Nativities Around the House

Last December, we moved into the new house and spent the month unpacking,
so this is our first year to have our nativities up.
The nativity above sits here year round.. found it at Good Will for just a few dollars.  
The tree and Journey to Bethlehem ornament are just for the season.
The manger with the piece of folded fabric lying under the tree are from 
our very first Fontanini nativity which Mike’s mom gave us along with
 the tree and gifts to take to Thailand.
Josh, then 10 months old, loved to throw things in the trash.
We didn’t notice that Baby Jesus was missing until it was too late.
We used this cloth Jesus for many years.. a happy young parenthood memory for me.

My mom got this soft nativity for my grandchildren to play with one day
 when we went to visit Courtney’s family in Lubbock last.
It’s not puppy proof, so for now it sits on our hearth room mantle.
Our original Fontanini nativity with a new Baby Jesus sits on our living room mantle.
A new set sits on the piano.
And the rest on our entryway dresser..
I got two new pieces this year when we went to Pigeon Forge with Mike’s
Parents a couple of weeks ago.  Nancy bought me a shoe maker..
and Mike got me the girl playing a harp like mine, “Chloe.”

Only problem with this location is that Georgia loves to jump on the dresser 
and knock down things from there to play with..  
When it was my shell, rock and acorn collection, I didn’t mind so much… 
But now I am not so amused.. 
The swan sitting on the water disappeared the first day it was up..
We looked everywhere for it.. 
She thinks all the decorations and Christmas tree are one giant Christmas present to her..
and she loves to share with the puppy.. who ate a cross ornament today.. 
 Hope you’re having a great weekend.

Calendars and Refrigerators

I think I finally made a Birthday/Anniversary calendar that will work for me.
The calendars in the computer and drawer just weren’t.
Out of sight; out of mind.
I made this one with photo shop to make it easy to go in and add a birthday when I need to.
I put “Lindsey Girl” on May 10.  😀  I am so excited about sending Judi to help.
I’ll be just as happy to have a nephew.. but I am praying for a niece.
See it on my fridge?
I printed them on card stock hoping they will last a long time.
I included family birthdays, anniversaries and a few of some close friends.
Now I can see their names and remember to pray for them all month..
and maybe even remember to send them a card.  🙂
Leslie gave me this magnetic, dry-erase calendar.
I started using it, so the kids can see what’s coming up.
They keep asking me how long it is until the family reunion.
I posted our “Departure Times” on the top portion.  It’s a life saver.
I was having the hardest time remembering when what was.
Not a problem when you live in one place forever, but when you move it can be confusing.
At first, just knowing how long it took us to get places was confusing.
Now it’s all figured in and I don’t have to remember… just look up.
I wrote Josh’s school hours in purple, so I can know from semester 
to semester when I can cook for him.
I especially like that with this calendar each week is separate.
When one week is over, I erase it and move it to the bottom.. 
It’s nicer than erasing and starting over with a whole month.  
The front of my fridge is mostly for my shopping list.  
I taped magnets around my pen, so it’s always handy.
I put this “left over” chart on the left side of the fridge.  
Inside is a table that tells you how long you can keep each kind of food in a fridge. 
I put the general rule of thumb in large print on the outside to help the kids
remember that they need to eat up stuff fast.
Below it is a magnetic 4×6 picture holder.  
I started going though all my recipes and re-writing them 
so they were easier to read, and print on to a 4×6 card.
The bulk of my recipes are now in a zip lock bag in my drawer.
I threw out tons of them.. and only kept the ones I make on a regular basis.
On shopping day I flip through them, and put aside the ones I am interested in making.
Then I make my grocery list from the recipes, 
and put the recipes for that week in the sleeve on the fridge.
Each kid gets a star for each recipe.  
If the recipe makes less than 3 stars 
(meaning more than one kid didn’t like it), I am throwing it out.
One great thing is that I can easily make notes on the recipe for future reference. 
Once I get them tweaked, I hope to pretty them up a bit and 
print them for future daughter-in-loves. 
When I am actually cooking, I stick the recipes on the microwave above my stove.  
It’s next to the sink, frying pan, measuring cups etc.  
I love that it’s at eye level, yet not in the way and not getting dirty.
I organized the INSIDE of my fridge last week and LABLED every shelf.
It made me so HAPPY.  I used a plastic container to hold all our shredded cheese.
I have one shelf for left overs now.. instead of left overs hiding on every shelf.
I made a shelf for ketchup and BBQ sauce and a different one for salad dressing and mayo.
The kids are doing a pretty good job of putting things back and 
I think more left overs are getting eaten.  YAY! 

Broken Bed Becomes..

Last move, I built beds for Joel and Josh that quickly broke 
when they and a friend decided to wrestle on them.  
Not intended for over 500 lbs.  
I rebuilt their beds with thicker, more boy resistant boards.
I used the broken boards to make these extra large scrabble letters this summer.  
Our family motto is “Blessed to Be a Blessing” from Genesis chapter 12.
I also made this un-paper towel holder from their broken bed.
I moved the roll of paper towels to the cabinet below for really yucky messes.  
I had the cotton, towel fabric in my closet from Mamalene.  
I used her surger to make napkin sized towels and stuffed them in the top.  
No folding necessary.  I like them better than paper towels.
They are softer and stronger and I like thinking that I am saving trees and money.
I used mod podge and scrap scrapbooking paper to make it look a little cuter. 

Judi’s Room Make Over

When we moved to Montgomery, we bought Judi a bed in a bag set of the internet. 
Had I seen it in person, we would have never gotten it.  It started falling a part almost immediately.
This time we tried something different.  
I didn’t want to re-paint her brand new room and I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money so..
We were inspired by my sister, Wendy, to shop the clearance isles for a black and white bedroom set.
It’s much easier to mix and match when everything is black and white.
Much easier than matching shades of red for example.
We were able to find everything we needed in 3 different stores for about $40 total on clearance.
The demask “curtains” pulled everything together and made it work with the paint color.
We used some black fabric from my closet to make accent pillows and a valance.
 The ribbon cost more than anything else, but we put it to good use.
We “made” the curtains out of a duvet cover; we just hung it up with ring clips.
Judi and I are both happy with how it turned out.. a feat in itself.

Organizing School and Chores

After 18 years of homeschooling, and 22 years of parenting, 
you would think that I would have the chores and school thing down.
Parts of it I do.. but each house has different needs
and allows you to work in only certain ways,
and as the kids are nearing graduation from homeschooling
and starting college and work outside the home
I have to keep re-organizing schedules so they will work well.
When my kids were really young, before most people had
computers and internet, before Fly Lady existed,
I borrowed a book they wrote called 
“Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen to Paradise” from the library.
They suggested that you put together recipe box full of 3×5 cards
with a chore on each card.  Each time you finished a chore
you went back to your box and moved to the next card.  
It worked great.. for 3 months.  I guess life happened after that.
I tried variations of the box idea several times; gave each of the  kids a box 
with chores and school work for them to do.  I saw this one idea where you 
have your kids wear their chore cards so they can’t loose them.
I think Fly Lady did something similar called “Hipster.” (fanny pack?)
That might have worked better for me than a box. 
I hated having to go back to the box in the kitchen before doing my next chore.
Later we chose to use binders over boxes.  None of it ever worked very well.  
I think partly because the binders and/or boxes were not accessible enough for me 
and I am sure I am lacking in skills in motivating, enforcing and policing 
especially when moving and life keep happening.
A few years back I found this subject chart based on Charlotte Mason’s 
program of study.  Hanging it up on the kitchen wall worked well for us.
It was all I needed to keep us focused.
I always had all the kids up by 6:45-7 AM for family devotions, 
then shortly after we started a list of subjects in a certain order 
with chores in between and a lunch break in the middle.
All the books we needed for each subject were kept on a shelf
and/or a tote near where we did school and we just got the 
next book down when we put away the one we’d finished.
We did/do as many subjects together as a family as we can; 
such as art, science, history, Spanish, and music appreciation.
Then we do the rest individually.
If one of the kids needed help with a subject and
I was busy helping someone else, they were to work on their chore list.
I called chores breaks from school work.  They resented it,
but physical work is a nice break from mental work.
That list evolved into this one.. It’s a little more detailed and gave us a little more structure.  
Some subjects worked better in the morning and others after lunch.  
We’ve always thrived on a routine vs. a strict do math from 8 AM – 8:30 AM 
schedule, so having a “Flow List” was great.
The subjects in bold were the most important ones to get done,
so if we had a field trip that day or some other interruption we focused on those.
Everything always worked out by the end of the year.
This poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins on giving glory to God
 inspired me to use a Kingfisher to adorn our list.
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme; 
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells 
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s 
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name; 
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: 
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; 
Selves–goes itself; myself it speaks and spells, 
Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came. 
Í say móre: the just man justices; 
Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces; 
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is–
Chríst–for Christ plays in ten thousand places, 
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his 
To the Father through the features of men’s faces. 
Since moving to our new house I’ve been having the hardest time keeping 
up with who’s supposed to be doing what chore.. and keep finding jobs undone.
Some of them traded chores and I think living in the apartment spoiled them.
I don’t have as much wall space in this kitchen as I have before, 
so I decided to try an idea I saw of using a picture frame as a chore/dry-erase
 board and put all our chores and school work in one frame.  
It’s centrally located and there will be no more arguments on who
was supposed to do what and I can highlight things that are needing special attention.

I hung up this plate to use as place to write inspirational quotes.
It works like a dry-erase board, too.

Humming Bird Visit

Joel came in from walking Sally the other day and said that 
our neighbors had 5 humming birds at their feeder. 

I had been meaning to put our feeder out for months, but I couldn’t
find the directions for how much of the powdered food to put in the feeder.
Within 5 min. of being jellous of our neighbors I had some mixed up,
and it was hanging on the window.  Hope I am not giving them a sugar rush or anything.
I walked over to take a picture for you a couple of minutes ago.. 
and a humming bird met me there so I could take his picture.
Wasn’t that nice? 
And here he is hanging out in our tree.. 
just a little to the left of the suction cup holding up the feeder.
You can find one there often.
BTW I don’t think our tree is dead.
There are several trees in the neighborhood turning.
I think it really is fall.
I am not used to it coming so early.. or for that matter at all (FL, SA).

Finding the Moving Puzzle Pieces

I love the feeling of being organized.  
When house is cluttered, 
my head.. and even my heart feels cluttered.
A couple of months ago I started getting frustrated, 
because although I am completely unpacked,
 I keep needing things I don’t know where to find in my new house.
Mike was really sweet and said, “Don’t feel bad we’ve only lived here 9 months.”
I know where they were in my house in Montgomery.  
I know where they would be in our house in Florida.
But you wouldn’t believe how much time I’ve spent searching for things here.
My puzzle pieces are still a mess.
During the move to Montgomery, I got rid of a ton of stuff.
10 van loads to Good Will, and 10 to the dump, then boxes and boxes of books.
Our house in Montgomery was smaller than our houses in Florida and San Antonio.
Stuff had to go, and the kids were getting older and have out grown a lot of stuff.
So when we were in Montgomery, I’d have to try to remember if or not the thing 
I wanted was something I had given away or kept, but the stuff I had kept was pretty easy to find.
I still have a little trouble with remembering if or not kept the thing, 
but most of the time I know it’s here somewhere.
I am thinking if I had less stuff that it wouldn’t take so long to find the one thing.
I am planing to go through my book collection again at the end of this year.
By then, I should have only one left in homeschool.  🙂
One of my most cluttered spots is in my computer files.  
Years and years of homeschooling on a budget.. lots of free stuff on the internet.
I’ve been working for a couple of weeks now on cleaning them up.
Hitting that trash button is painful, 
but I know my cluttered brain will be grateful one day.
It’s not quite as satisfying as decluttering the house,
because there’s no one to admire all my work.
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