Monday, February 28, 2011

A Weekend in Pictures

Saturday evening, we were invited to supper at friends' of ours home! We had tacos and I made a pecan pie for dessert. We had such a good time. Good friends are such a blessing, aren't they? :)

While us gals stayed clear...the children and the *dads* began wrestling! Everyone laughed, a lot. It was zaney....but fun!

As we were getting ready to go, Jaxson found a rocking horse and took a bit of a *ride*! ;)

Sunday was a day of love, church and good fellowship with friends and family. For lunch, we were invited to Chris' parents home. I took a loaf of my bread and we had a delicious meal of ham, homemade au gratin potatoes and green bean casserole!

The children, playing at *Ma & Pa's House*...

And for Sunday night supper, homemade pizza was on the menu! :) While our friends (mentioned at the beginning of this post) went to a bible study they are in, we care for their children. They ate supper with us and their 8 year old son scored my pizza a 200! I asked if that was a good score (as I wasn't sure what the scale was!?) He said the highest score is a 201 and I didn't quite reach that because the cheese kept slipping off the slices of pizza! ;)

Today has been filled with schooling and also my questioning of how I want to continue recording our school days. I have done it written (which I prefer) but then I have been plugging it into homeschool tracker (free download) which is great...and will print out nicely...but is tedious. I write out my records and then have to plug them into the seems like an awful lot of work...? So...I can't decide what would be best. Any of you home-educating mamas want to share what you do? :) I'd *love* some suggestions!

Hope you all enjoy your week ahead! Thanks for visiting me!
He must increase, but I must decrease. ~John 3:30

Saturday, February 26, 2011

♥ Life ♥

When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...
And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life.

~Monty Python's Life of Brian

Moments come when struggles boil over, with lots of tears and frustration. These are a part of life, which none of us like. But, we can use these struggles and mistakes, to grow, change, and humble ourselves...realizing our flaws and short-comings. We need to allow God to clean out our hearts and renew a right spirit within us. We need to let Him fill us to over-flowing (as I have to do, continually) that others can rightly see the love of Jesus shining forth from us! We should thank Him for the forgiveness and the humbling of self that He gives and accept His love and peace.

There are times where, like last evening, I will see that my children's ideas of *cleaning* their rooms actually consist of seeing how much they can shove under their beds. Oh my...the amount of clothes we pulled out from under there...unable to tell if they were truly clean or in the laundry they *all* went (which gives you an idea of what I am doing today!). I was so frustrated and tears flowed, steadily. For me, I take these things personally. I am not sure if *you* feel that way as well...but to me, it feels as though the children aren't respecting me enough to do it properly. Now, of course, they don't see it that way at all....they see it as the quickest way to clean!

I fall short, often, but continually, to my relief, He picks me back up. Crying out my sadness, on the phone, with my mother helped me to calm down and get perspective. Chris was full of warm embraces this morning, to show his love. And my dad even called, encouraging me with scripture from his daily Bible reading time. God holds us when times are tough. He doesn't promise that everything will always be easy...but He does promise to never leave us. all this...God brought to mind that although they do know better, that as a mother, I need to become more consistent in holding them accountable. A weekly (or bi-weekly or even daily) room check may be necessary. Making sure folded laundry gets put away properly the first time, will save time in the long run, as well. So, I have learned that despite their wrongs in the situation...there *are* ways for me to improve it, as well. :) Laziness, a lack in making sure things are done the right way, is a fault of mine. I am so thankful for this time of growth. I have learned and gleaned much! :)

Some photos of *parts* of my life that give me joy...

Look at this older picture I found recently. made my heart sing. I'm sorry it's a little blurry...but it is a picture of Chris and Madelyn, on her 2nd birthday! Look at her hair! The first few years of her life she had those crazy, tight, absolutely adorable ringlets! It is terribly hard for me to fathom how it is possible that she will turn 10 this year!?

Jaxson and Madelyn playing cars...

A freshly-made-by-Madelyn bed (I think she did a good job!)...

Her dollhouse...I love to see how she has things set up, from time-to-time...

Isn't this sewing basket, found at a thrift store a while back, so incredibly cute? I love it!

Madelyn doing some copywork...

X and his language arts...

Some fantastic bits of information about the Charlotte Mason method of schooling that I found HERE and copied, to have, and glean from (I love keeping things in binders...I have a binder for about everything. Is that odd? ;)...

Fresh, warm, Amish White Bread...

Steak salads for supper, one evening, (one of my favorites!)...

And...I also wanted to show you this fantastic perpetual quilted calendar that I won from Kathleen! Isn't it just fantastic? I think it is so creative and fun! If you would like one of your *own*, you can find them HERE. :)

Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring.
~Oscar Wilde

Thanks so much for coming by to visit. I hope you have a great weekend!
Katy :)
He must increase, but I must decrease. ~John 3:30

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Joys of Children

You are worried about seeing him spend his early years in doing nothing. What! Is it nothing to be happy? Nothing to skip, play, and run around all day long? Never in his life will he be so busy again.
~Jean-Jacques Rousseau

I love children...I love their use of imagination and creativity! Playing cars (with car sounds, of course!), house, cafe/diner, making forts and houses, puppet shows and games...all part of childrens' winter much time is spent in-doors. My children just love playing legos. My sister and I used to, as well!

Yesterday, at rest time, Jaxson tried to build a bit of a fort on the couch, to sleep in. He was having some X came over to help him. Using pillows and a blanket for a roof...the fort was complete...and soon, Jaxson was sound asleep inside!

Although you can't see him, he *is* in there...snoring away! ;)

Then, the children made a fort in the playroom and asked for permission to sleep in it for the night. As the floors can get cold, at night, I had them ask their daddy for permission. He agreed, as long as they had plenty of covers to be kept warm. They were all asleep in no time...

Xavier was somewhere under this part of the fort (I don't know how that basket didn't topple over!)...

Madelyn, asleep in another section of the fort...

And Jaxson...snoozing, all cuddled up in a sleeping-bag...

Yes, I admit, I miss being a child! :) Funny, isn't it, that we will wish for the *freedom* of being a grown-up when we are children....but then once we are grown-up, we realize the true time of freedom existed when we were children! That leads me on to this next thought...

"Real books from the library, a tub of art supplies, being read stories rich in vocabulary, a variety of good music, the daily discussion of God’s Word and how it relates to the world around him, and the attention of a loving parent who includes him in all the activities of real life are the secrets to a great learning experience for children."
Although I have heard of Charlotte Mason for years, I never really looked, in depth, to her way of home education. Well, I have begun looking into it and I am in love with her methods! This is my third year of homeschooling and I am finally realizing that it doesn't have to be about "proving to the school district that they are learning adequately". I was always trying to do everything correctly. I am seeing that its about letting my children *learn* in the best way for each of them..."living" books, nature studies, art appreciation, hymn studies, and as an atmosphere, a discipline, a life. HERE is Charlotte Mason's educational philosophy.

"Ideas are held in that thought-environment which surrounds the child as an atmosphere, which he breathes as his breath of life...."
~Charlotte Mason

"Let children alone-...the education of habit is successful in so far as it enables the mother to let her children alone, not teasing them with perpetual commands and directions - a running fire of Do and Don’t ; but letting them go their own way and grow, having first secured that they will go the right way and grow to fruitful purpose."
~Charlotte Mason

Oh how I am soaking all this in and plan on implementing it, immediately! What a beautiful, gentle, loving way of educating children! :) Goodness, how I wish I had looked into this sooner! If you educate your children at home, have you used this method? If so, what have you thought of it? What are some ideas you have implemented and would like to share? :) I would love to hear them!

On a sad note...I went to town yesterday and gas, here, was $3.35! I was aghast! I know it will keep going up, as well...which just makes my stomach do flips. I *am* glad that I don't go many places and am more of a home-body. But my, oh, my how this will hurt so many. As gas prices go up...the price of food and clothing will go up, as well. :( I continue to stay in prayer for our country and our world. I hope you are, too.

Today, we will be schooling, cleaning, baking, reading and playing. My nephew is coming over to play, later on, which the children are looking forward to (especially Jaxson, as they are the same age and are *buddies*). Although it is sleeting outside, we will stay warm and cozy, inside...enjoying the day!

***If you have a moment, today, please stop over and say hello to Jewels. Today is her birthday...she has brought joy to *so* let's shower some love upon her, as well! :) Wishing you a beautiful day, Jewels! xo

Wishing each of *you* a beautiful day (and weekend), as well!

Laus Deo!

He must increase, but I must decrease. ~John 3:30

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wanted: Sunshine

Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.
~Hans Christian Anderson

Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.
~Walt Whitman

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.
~Helen Keller

Despite the early morning snow, seen in the picture at the top, I am quite *happy* to say that the sun is shining brightly here, as of this moment! Oh how much I love that sunshine! I am eagerly awaiting the snow to melt (again) and getting to beautifying the outside of our home with some cleaning and amateur landscaping. I can't wait to get lots of flowers potted and set all over my front porch. :)

Normal goings-on have been the theme around our home. Baking, cooking, schooling, housework, playing, reading, and knitting have kept us busy. I have enjoyed the slow-ness of the season, but am now antsy to get out and take some walks and be outside! I think I have *thickened-up* a bit (that's a nice way to put it, isn't it?) over the winter and feel the need to try and shed it! I must convince my body that the extra insulation isn't necessary for the beautiful weather that is heading our way! ;)

Some photos from around our home as of late...

Jaxson, hiding from the other children, under clothes drying on a rack in the laundry room...

Rest time...

Madelyn working on some schoolwork...

And, finally, I have (again) picked up my knitting on the afghan I have been making for my sister and her husband. If you are newer to my blog, I am making a patchwork afghan as a wedding present for my sister and her husband (who will be celebrating TWO years of marriage in May...yes, I am embarrassed that it is taking me *so* long!). This patch is called Elfen Lace...

I have, also, been wisely following what is going on in the Middle East and in our *own* country. It's not good. There is much I would love to attempt to share with you, but honestly, I don't even know where to begin. I watch Glenn Beck often and recommend his show to others, as well.

He isn't perfect, I know, but I truly believe he loves our country and our freedoms...He and his staff do a lot of research and encourage us to do the same. HERE is a place you can go and see some of his shows (without the commercials!). He explains what is going on *much* better than please, watch and learn and as Glenn so beautifully puts it "do your own homework"...and see how the things he is saying *are* true.

Even if you don't like him...just at least check out the facts! It is for your benefit that I encourage this. I am prepared and know that my God is Sovereign and in charge....but I know that *I* like to be aware of what is going on around me...and thought maybe, you would too! :)

I hope you have sunshine pouring out over you, this day. Sunshine comes in many forms...from the sun, the Son, love, friendships...
Thank you for taking the time to stop and say *hello*. I really enjoy reading your words left via comments or emails. :)
Katy :)
He must increase, but I must decrease. ~John 3:30

Sunday, February 20, 2011

From the Weekend...

Oh how I cringe to even begin my post this way...but I simply *must* tell you that as of right this very is snowing outside and has been for a bit tonight. We are to get many inches of snow...just as I marveled at the fact that most of the snow had finally melted (even if all it left in its wake was lots of brown grass and mud!). I am staying optimistic though...spring *will* arrive...someday soon. That is encouraging!

One night, earlier this week, we watched How Great is our God...a DVD featuring speaker Louie Giglio(who has many interesting videos you can watch on youtube!). It was just beautiful, reminding us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by an all-knowing, all-loving God...Who created us! We enjoyed it immensely. The children all gradually nodded off while watching it, though. The picture at the top of this post is Jaxson, cuddled in close with me. :)

Saturday, Madelyn and I enjoyed a brunch and bridal shower, thrown for my cousin, Alyson! Look at these cookie-lollipops that my mom made for the centerpieces! Aren't they fantastic? I just love the owl!

My sister, Devon, made the journey to town, from her home, and brought the littlest love of the family, with her! I got some baby-snuggling time (which I enjoyed immensely!)...and Madelyn even got to hold her (not once, but twice!)...

While I held my niece, Devon worked on the bow-bouquet that Alyson will use at her wedding rehearsal. Madelyn, holding the bouquet...

For supper, the one evening, I made some hamburger buns and cooked up some beef...

Cheeseburgers are much more delicious when eaten on a homemade bun! :) I also cut up some potatoes, covered them in some extra-virgin olive oil and baked them. Homemade fries are perfect with this meal, as well!

Today (Sunday), after an enjoyable time at church...we had lunch at Chris's parents' home. Thank you all for lifting Pa up in prayer...he is feeling much better and doing well! :)
Chris and his brother, Dan, peeling onions to eat with lunch...

Knitting and reading fill up spare moments in the days...

I hope you will forgive me, as I dislike the word verifications when commenting on posts...but I had to turn mine on, for I have been getting numerous spam comments. I think it is such a shame that people actually take the time to set programs up that do that to people. I had gone for a long time with no spam....but have gotten 5 or more in the past few days. Maybe, after a while, I can turn the word verification off again. :)

The children are all tucked in bed and asleep. I am ready to do like-wise. Tomorrow holds chores and treasures of its own and I would like to greet the day with a smile (which is hard to do if you don't get a good amount of sleep!). :)
I hope you were each able to enjoy your weekend. Thanks, so much, for coming by!

“May your days be many and your troubles be few. May all God's blessings descend upon you. May peace be within you. May your heart be strong. May you find what you're seeking wherever you roam.”

~Irish Blessing

Katy :)
He must increase, but I must decrease. ~John 3:30