Thursday, August 26, 2010

What's going on?

We have been so very busy this last month. We had church camping at the beginning. That was fun, but the place we went was very cold, so that was not so fun. Camping at the beach here is cold and overcast and drizzly, it's not Hawaii, or even Southern CA for that matter. The kids didn't mind the cold one bit. The picture above is of them all playing in the freezing ocean. Brrr.

The following week we took a 4 day family vacation to Lake Tahoe. It was beautiful. We really needed a relaxing break, especially Adam. He's been working so hard. He's been building two bathrooms at our Pastors house, so he goes over there to work for 5/6 hours after he gets done at his regular job. We've missed him, and he missed us so this vacation was just what the Dr. ordered. (pics soon)

We did find out just before leaving for Tahoe that we will be moving. We were ready for this news. I'm so ready for this but I will miss our tiny house. We had our babies here and it's the only house we've lived in together. It will be sad leaving all of our wonderful neighbors. The kids are sad to leave all of the friends, it really is a fabulous little neighborhood. We're looking for a new house quickly. Most homes in the area we are looking are Short Sales, and those can take months to close escrow. We were hoping to find a foreclosure or a straight sale, but there aren't as many to choose from. We will most likely have to move twice, because we wont have a new house before we have to leave this house. Packing is ready to begin. I am looking forward to being able to have two bathrooms, hopefully an additional bedroom and a garage. Yay! God is so good to us. He always knows exactly what we need.

This brings me to update on my declutter mission. I have not forgot about it, it's just been put on hold because we were so busy. I have (I think) about 150 more pounds to go. This mission is going to change slightly to a declutter as I pack mission. This should motivate me more because I don't want to move  all this stuff. Now I've really got to get it in gear. We will be moving by the first of October so I only have about 4/5 weeks to pack. One of those weeks we will be gone. I'm going to be flying across the country to have surgery done. So, please pray for me. I don't like flying or surgery. My mom is going to come with me, because we can't have Adam miss all that work. My in laws are going to take care of our children. Lucky Opa gets to homeschool for a few days. Ha! They should have fun, I hope.

More later. God bless and have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Homemade Anniversary/Wedding Gift Frame

I saw this darling wedding gift heart frame on Etsy for a sale price of $49 plus shipping. YIKES! It's very nice. I would like one for myself, but never would I pay $50 for it. She also had a larger one for $100. AS soon as I saw it I knew I could make it myself. So I did.....

Today is my Pastor and his wonderful wife's 19th anniversary. I bought a 10x10 white shadow box for $8.99. It had a black background so I covered it with white textured paper for scrap booking. I used a heart shaped paper punch and punched flowers in magazines. I printed each of their first initials and their wedding date and punched those out. The hearts are all folded in half and glued down on one side so that the other side sticks up. It was quite a bit of work to get them evenly in the center and even with each other, but otherwise it was a simple cheap gift and it's beautiful. I think I'll be making one of these for Adam and myself.

Mrs. Pastor LOVED it. I was too excited to wait to see them at church so I drove it over to her today.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Breast Cancer Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood

It's that time again, for all the pretty pink breast cancer items to flood store shelves. Little do most people know that millions of dollars raised by the Susan G. Komen foundation for breast cancer goes to Planned Parenthood. The same Planned Parenthood that daily slaughters the lives of thousands of innocent children.

The following link has a article about this .

Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood: Pro-Life People Should be Warned

Sunday, August 8, 2010

New Dress Sewing Project

I was looking online the other day for fun dress sewing project ideas for the girls. I came across this tutorial to make a little girls dress from a man's button shirt. It don't know about you, but I thought this was super adorable. I found a cute women's button dress shirt at our churches rummage sale and thought it may be perfect for this project. I paid about 10 cents for the shirt.

I'm not going to write a tutorial on this, but I am posting progress photos. I did change a few things. I did my straps differently and I changed the top trim and bottom hem. It was a little bit of work, but I'm sure the next one will go a lot faster. And, I'll definitely have to make a second one because both of the little girls are deciding who is going to wear this one and which day's they'll wear it. They are so cute.

This was a woman size large shirt. It had a funny blue snap that had been added at the top. I'm assuming it was because the buttons didn't go high enough to make it modest, but the snap didn't match the other yellow buttons. So I was able to make my first button hole. It's not that great looking but it works. It was a pain trying to get that snap off.

Here are the pictures. I'm thinking the dress is about a size 4/5 ish.

The shirt

The shirt, cut up

Tracing and cutting dress shape

The back of the shirt is the front of the dress

You can sort of see the blue snap at the top. The front of the shirt is the back of the dress.

Button hole and button in place of the snap

Making the straps

Straps and trim on the front of the dress.

Bottom trim hem

Lovely lace to finish the bottom

Patiently waiting for her dress. Here is the finished front

And, the finished back.

Here she is. Emily with her cute dress.

I just love the back. It's so cute!

This was a fun project. I can't wait to make another one.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

With Sadness and a Heavy Heart

What are you supposed to feel when you find out a woman you knew, spent time with, talked to several times while your kids played together at the park suddenly passed away in her sleep the other day? What are you supposed to feel when you know she wasn't saved and never got around to witnessing?

At church tonight during prayer requests, one of the ladies there asked for prayer for a family she knows who has two young children. The mother died mysteriously in her sleep Sunday. The woman from church said she had witnessed to her on several occasions but the woman kind of laughed it off. When she said her name, a deep rush of anxiety and sadness flooded my heart. I knew her. I've known her for years. I've sat and talked with her at the park over and over again talking about all sorts of things. Everything but....Jesus Christ.

I hope this is a lesson. I need to let go of my fears of telling people. My heart hurts with sadness for this poor woman's soul, it's hard to even explain this horrible feeling of grief. I am desperately trying to find her phone number and address so the lady from church and I can go take her husband and children food and hopefully win their souls.

Where is my faith? Pastor always says to us, "If you were sitting on the beach and knew there was a tidal wave coming soon, would you keep quiet about it pack up your stuff and not tell anyone it was coming?"

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Operation Declutter Day 10 - detour to attic

My hallway has been full with organized boxes and things that need to go up into the attic storage. The only problem is the attic is kind of full. There is quite a bit up there that needs to go. Today I went up there to assess the situation. I took down as much as I could to go through and donate, recycle, throw away and/or repack. It's hot here so the attic was super hot as the day went on. I couldn't stay up there very long, so I was up and down a lot.

Rather than take pictures up there, I only have photos of my full hallway and the stuff I brought down. It's a bit of work getting the heavy stuff down when Adam isn't here to help me. The older girls were a big help. We start school again in 2 weeks so I need to get all this stuff done fast.

Now that our church rummage sale is over, I will be putting my donation items on freecycle and donating to our favorite thrift store.

I was surprised to find so many bags of baby clothes up in the attic. I don't know why I kept so much. I was able to go through and rid 3 bags of baby clothes. Yay. I had to repack a bunch of older kid clothes. I'm saving most of the older girls clothes for the little girls.

I think I've mentioned before we most likely will be moving in the next 3 to 6 months, so I want to make sure I don't move all this clutter. 

I found a box of my old Soccer and Softball trophies, I took a picture and am putting the rest in the recycle/donations. I was able to rearrange about 5 garbage bags of clothes into size specific boxes. The boxes are much easier to stack up there. 3 bags of baby girl clothes are going to my girlfriend for her little girl. 2 baby potties are also going to the same friend. Also to leave were a few more baby items, 3 more bags of clothing, and some other miscellaneous items. It was a very productive day. I still didn't make enough room to put the kids boxes up there, so I'll be up there again.

I found this awesome bookshelf at our rummage sale and bought it for a steal of $1.00. It's been sitting in the living room and needed to move. This is going to go with our homeschool stuff which is at the end of the hallway. That's another area that was decluttered and organized today.

My old soccer and softball trophies from the 80's and 90's. I took a picture and then recycled and donated them.

The hallway is full of stuff to go up into the attic storage. It's been here since I started my declutter mission and it's getting a little difficult to get down the hall. I am hoping to have some space cleared in the attic to put this up.

These two piles of baby clothes made 3 nice size garbage bags full for my girlfriend.

I packed up the clothes that are too big for the little girls in these boxes according to size. They were just shoved in bags before.

It was a long but productive day. I still have a long way to go. I will say that the areas that have already been decluttered have stayed that way. In fact they are making my life so much easier because they don't require much attention. I am very much looking forward to finishing and being able to enjoy the entire house that way.

Freecycle pile

Recycle and garbage pile

After: New homeschool shelf at the end of the hall

and our homeschool bookcase all nicely decluttered. (forgot to take a before pic)

It was sure a whopper of a day. 116 pounds, just today! Awesome! This brings our running total to: 354.5 pounds of clutter goooooonnnneee!

Read about the progress here.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Our homeschool curriculum for this 2010/11 school year

This school year will be our first "full" academic year as homeschoolers. The oldest girls will be in 7th grade and the little girls will dabble a bit in some pre-K or K for 4 year olds. Things will be a little more structured for the older girls this year than they were last year.

In February/March 2010 we decided (after much prayer) to take Kiley and August out of the public middle school and homeschool them. At the advice of a few homeschooling parents and a book I read, we "took it easy" for the remainder of the year. It was a little lax to allow them time to decompress and unwind from the traditional school setting. During this time I was able to observe and learn a little about their personal styles of learning. I was got a better idea their study habits, styles of working, strengths and weaknesses, etc. I also learned a great deal about myself. I am a lot less anxious moving into this school year. Most of my fears are gone and I'm confident in our decision to homeschool our children. This is most definitely the best decision for our family.

We are currently homeschooling through a public charter school, which means they are still public school students and subject to the requirements of the state for education. I am very much considering a PSA for the next school year.

The past few weeks I've been figuring out which curricula we will be using. I don't want to be tied down to just one set curriculum, so we will have a variety.

Science - We're going to be using Apologia General Science. This came highly recommended by several parents I've talked to. After much research, I decided this will be best for us. We will also be using the State Science book to close any gaps in state standard requirements if there are any.  The reason I'm so concerned about the state standards is because we still have to take standardized tests. Most of what we will be covering this year will go way above and beyond the general academics of the state of California. I am confident that the girls will be able to excel much greater than they could before.

Math - I'm still hesitant on the math, but I think we're going to go ahead with Saxon Pre-Algebra. This past year we used Teaching Textbooks, but I was told they are not CA Standard, and the girls fell behind this year in math. They were both recommended a rigorous pre-algebra course. I'm praying Saxons curriculum will provide that. I'm excited about re-learning pre-algebra myself. There is a lot you forget in 13 years.  I don't want to give TT a bad rep. I think it would have worked fine for us if we had used it correctly. I couldn't quite figure out which lessons were best for them. It seemed a little younger than the grade it was supposed to be for. Perhaps if I'd had 7th grade TT it may have been right. Who knows. I'm not so worried about it, Adam is very strong in math, along with my mother and father in-law who have offered their help if we need it. One of the men at our church offers an Algebra class on Thursday nights, so we are all taken care of. If all else fails, I can hire a math tutor.

History and Geography - We will follow the Holt or Glencoe/Mc-Graw-Hill book or whatever it is they have. I did this last year. I previewed all the lessons and sometimes had them read about things from different books and not the boring text books. They drew maps and time lines for the Ancient Civilizations this last year, they learned a lot that way. 7th grade will bring us to Medieval and Early Modern Times, I think this will be a lot of fun. I bought a huge laminated world map from Costco and hung that up in our dining room (or main homeschool area).

Reading, Writing and Language Arts - We will follow 7th grade lessons, but I'm not certain which items I will use yet. The girls LOVE reading and writing and so this will be more fun than work.  I have reviewed several 7th/8th grade literature and book lists and am compiling our list.  They are still shaky on cursive writing, it seems it's not required to know this or write this way in public school so I'm going to reteach them and have them copy Psalms in cursive to learn, both the scripture and the cursive. There are 4 different benchmark writing samples we have to provide to our charter school.

Bible - We will be reading the Bible in 1 year I chose a chronological schedule. We will be studying women in the bible. I will also be including Biblical history and geography direct from our King James Bibles.

In addition to the main subjects, August and Kiley are continuing Violin, taking a Public Speaking class, given by a Christian (fully homeschooled) college student who has won many PS awards and contests. They will be doing 4-H twice a month where they will be taking, sewing, cake decorating, biology, tae kwon do, fine arts, creative writing, healthy living, outdoor study (trees, plants, birds etc). They are playing soccer for their 5th year. Of course they will be learning the wonderful art of homemaking from me. They love sewing, menu planning, baking and cooking and have finally learned how to do their own laundry, Yay. They also really enjoy teaching their sisters, so far they have taught them how to write their names along with small 3 letter words, a small amount of violin and are planning on teaching them to play chess.

Seems like a lot, but it's takes roughly half the amount of time each day as a typical public/private school schedule. And since they are entering that "pre-teen I'm so tired I want to sleep until 10am" phase. They freedom to do that. They also are free to go out and see the world around us each day. We do spend a considerable amount of time outside of our home.

Emily and Julia feel all grown up when they get to sit at the table and do their own school. Mostly it's just been coloring or drawing. I did pick up several pre-K workbooks from the dollar store and Target's dollar section. I've also been contemplating ordering Galloping the Globe a year early. It is a geography unit study curriculum for K-4th grade. It goes through all 7 continents. I'm still checking to be sure they are not too young to grasp it this year. They are very bright so they may be just fine. I'll probably still order and hold on till next year if it's too much for them. I want to get them familliar with the world and countries. With the new world map we have they will be able to know where all the countries, continents and oceans are located. They are learning some basic violin taught by their older sisters. Bible scripture memorization will be added more frequently than before. I like to have them act out the words of the scripture, this helps them remember it better. Above all, they will free play. I don't agree with all that sit down and do this structure for young kids, and am VERY against traditional pre-school, which is relly just a daycare with "school" added to the name to make it sound better. Their sit down workbook time will be at their own request or when they are doing "blanket/chair time". They are so excited to have their own school work to do just like big sisters. Emily and Julia also love, love, love to bake with me. They are quite good and cracking eggs, measuring and stirring. I'm thinking they should be able to read recipes in a year, or memorize them.

It's going to be an adventurous year, and I'm looking forward to it. I'm so thankful for this opportunity to be able to be the one to take control of the education of my own children. No one cares more about their education than Adam and I do. I'm grateful that God provided this opportuinty to us. And I'm happy to live in the United States where I'm free to home educate my children.

EDITED TO ADD: Oh I forgot. All of the girls will be learning to speak German with Rosetta Stone.

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:5-7
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