Friday, April 18, 2014

Investing in Us

Brian and I arrived home yesterday after a five day (early) anniversary getaway.

It was a special time for us as a couple.
Talking.
Laughing.
Holding hands.
Having adventures.
Discovering new places.
Catching up on much needed rest.
Getting dressed up for dinner.
Planning for our future.
Planning for our family's future.

I learned from my parents when I was a little girl that a couple needs to get away in order to reconnect in a way that normal life does not allow.

My parents did that regularly.

Time together, as a couple, is so important.

Because as much as we love our children, and many times for moms our worlds seem to revolve around them and their needs, one day they will grow up and leave our nest. (And believe me, if you leave them in hands you can trust, they will be just fine!)

Will we find ourselves with a stranger we said a few words to when we came up for air in the busy whirlwind of life, or with someone we have invested time in building memories and a relationship with?

Your husband is worth the investment of time.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Because I Said So

I have been blessed with such wonderful friends who feel the same way as I do concerning child-raising and standing strong in our faith.

One such friend is Amanda.

Amanda is the mother of five- which automatically puts her in the super-awesome category in my book!- and she has such a heart of conviction and love for the Lord.

She wrote a post on her blog, Quiver Full of Grace, entitled Why? Because I Said So! which really made me stop and think about how hollow those words are when we say them to our children.

I hope that today, you will hop on over to Amanda's blog and read this powerful post.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Archives | Children Are a Gift

Original post can be found here.
 
Children are gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is His reward. Psalm 127:3
 
Children are a blessing.  

They bring a level of joy to a family that could otherwise not be felt.  

They are insurance that there will never be a dull moment with them around.  

They bring the constant sound of laughter and joy.  

They are evidence of God's goodness and grace.

They are the new generation.  

They are the ones that will carry the family name and line into the next generation.  

They are friends with each other which ensures that the family closeness will continue.  

They get excited to see each other.  

They run off to the playroom to play will dolls and dollhouses, books, and computer games. The older ones read to the younger ones. The older ones carry the little ones and encourage growth and development in them.  

They are all ages and sizes, but that doesn't matter because they are family.

And they have already made our family proud.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Homeschool Sisterhood | Guest Post by Kristi McInerney

I have known Kristi since my high school youth group days. We often refer to each other as "Twin" because we do so many identical things without knowing that the other one is doing it too until after the fact.

I asked Kristi if she would be willing to write a guest post for me. I was so thrilled when she agreed to! She is sharing with us the value of sisterhood- specifically as it pertains to homeschooling.

*****************************************************
I have been homeschooling my kids since they were infants. Honestly, I didn't even realize it but being a teacher in my "previous life" before my children were born, made me an instant educator.

Reading books with my kids, doing crafts, taking them to the farm and other learning field trips all paved the way before pre-k, kindergarten and first grade came.

I have been inspired by countless women in my life who dedicate their lives to raising their kids and teaching them how to read, count, their colors, their shapes, history, science, problem solving. There is so much to teach and so much for kids to learn. Kids are little sponges and they WANT to learn.

Being an educator and having my Masters in education did NOT make homeschooling easy. Homeschooling is hard work. And it made me really use my resources of my fellow homeschool sisters to have the confidence to do it.

CREATIVE Learning

Homeschooling when done well teaches the child all they need to know in a creative, well rounded way. As the parent of your child, the beauty of homeschooling is knowing how your child learns. They may learn by moving, by doing, by listening, by drawing, by watching. Everyone learns differently. I loved asking other moms and friends advice on how they creatively taught math, reading, spelling, history, and science. Books are awesome! But I have learned that my kids Julia (6-first grade) and Mark (4-pre-k) love learning hands on, out of their seats and into the world. We love to explore museums, farms, trails, science centers, etcetera. Play dates with other friends and homeschool families really help to learn from each other and see how the kids learn outside of a book, a workbook, a test.

COOPERATIVE Learning

This was our first year joining a coop. We LOVE it. Both my kids love the friends they made (me too) and they love learning all different subjects from all different teachers. Get plugged in and find out what groups may be available in your area.

Julia took cooking, art and history last semester. This semester at coop she is taking magic school bus science which has been amazing, she loves the science experiments, art (because she's my artist) and adventures in reading. I never knew how talented my child was! She wrote a story on the 25 minute drive to coop. She then illustrated It and read it to her class. The teacher and I were amazed. I never would've known to ask her to do that. I didn't even know what she was capable of!

SUPPORT sisters

Having a group of sisters that you can talk with, vent with, share and even pray over your homeschool year. It's so important. Being at home alone can make you feel alone but you aren't. I learned so much about myself as a parent and became a better teacher to my kids this year by having this sisterhood around me.

I feel blessed to know that I'm not alone. That homeschooling is hard and rewarding to everyone. I also learned that I do well getting out once a week and being with other moms like me.

I've also joined classical conversations and an 8 week farm class with other mom friends because I trust them, I enjoy their families and because my kids do well with their kids. In a way we've created our own learning classroom.

This has been a turning point in my homeschool year. I was going to send my kids to private school next year but after feeling so connected and so much support and so much confidence I know I can do it!!! You can too!

You can read more about Kristi and follow her homeschooling journey at Keeping Up with Kristi.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Simplicity | Step Four

The original post can be found here.

This post contains affiliate links.

Today I am going to talk about one aspect of making things simple that has two parts (my complicated side is coming out here).


Have a schedule/plan.

I actually use both of these on a daily basis. Addie and Ian have been on schedules since they were a few weeks old. For safety/common sense reasons I won't go into detail about what our daily schedule is, but our schedule includes wake time, meal times, nap time, school time, bath time, and bed time. The rest of life fits around that schedule.

Now in all reality, life happens and sometimes schedules have to be adjusted, but having a general schedule to work from helps a lot.

The schedule also helps me to gauge what the best times for us to leave the house are and when it would be best for us to get home. I am able to plan grocery trips, visits, and the occasional picture taking session (it is so nice to know what time of the day your child is the happiest since the pictures will be around forever!) around our schedule.

A plan is also very important. You wouldn't go on a trip without knowing what your final destination would be, so why go into your day without knowing what you want the final outcome of the day to be.

When Addie was much smaller, I would literally plan my day to the minute with our activities. Now that she is older and we have Ian, the main schedule stays in place, and I keep a piece of paper on a clipboard with a list for myself of what I want to accomplish during my day for myself and for them. As things come up they are added to the list. The goal is to have everything crossed off by the time Brian gets home (or before).
    My plan works like this:
      I make a list of things that I need to accomplish in my day. The list ranges in size from day to day. Some things are always there, and some things change. Some days have very little planning because we will be out most of the day (like two weeks ago- co-op, lunch at the park, ice cream with Grandma, phone call with Kristi, dinner, Grandma and Pops house) and some days.....


      I prefer to break up my day into three parts- morning, afternoon, and evening. I plan my day based on what I can realistically do within those time frames. But my plan has to fit into the "times" that I have designated for our structured schedule. (You can see a better quality photo of what that week looked like here. The colors do not stand for anything... they just look pretty!)


      One mistake I was making early on in my new role as stay-at-home wife/mother was filling my to-do list with too many unrealistic goals. I was so used to having only two weeks at Christmas and 2 months in the summer to accomplish all of my self-imposed projects in my home that I went into staying-at-home with that same mentality.

      I tried to do everything in my home in the first two weeks after having had a C-section! (Me and my self-imposed goals and ideas!) I finally realized that I had the rest of my life to clean and organize, and that I was not limited to a short time span. This helped to relieve a lot of stress for me.

      Different people have different ways of making their lists and schedules. Some use Day Planners others use printouts of daily plans. This year I am using the Erin Condren Life Planner (pictured throughout this post)- which I LOVE!

      Find what feels comfortable for you and works best for your family. Then make a plan. I pray you have a scratch-it-all-off-your-list kind of week!

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