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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Taking a month off, planning for the future

Happy times!

We are pregnant and expecting a baby in December! 

March, April and May were tough months for me though, as I had a lot of fatigue and morning sickness.  These are things I really never experienced with my other two pregnancies.  So, they came as a bit of a surprise. I am not sure if it is because I am so much older now (41) or if it's just this baby's way. With my husband's hard work and support, I made it through and the beginning of the second trimester has been a lot better.



The boys, therefore, got a lot of free time during those two months.  We were unable to have very much school (although I insisted on math and reading).  They, of course, watched a lot of tv and sort of lost some of their better habits....LOL...so, in late May, when I began feeling better, we came back to school.  It was a little tough, but we ended in late May with the promise to do school "lite" in July.

So, we are in our June break and it has been great for everyone.  We went mining, camping, and had lots of family time.






It is also giving me time to plan for the Fall school year and start to think about the coming baby. 

Funny thing is, I have nothing!  I gave away my crib, bassinet, bouncy seat, changing table and most of my clothes....!!

A generous friend has given me all her maternity clothes (thank goodness) and I am sure we will make out just fine on all the other stuff.  Especially if it's a girl. 

Wouldn't that be fun, if it's a girl? 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Playing Catch Up With Changing Children

My children are changing all the time. That's actually what I loves about parenting and homeschooling.  One day little is all about senses and the older is all about building, the next day, the little is all about drawing and the older needs to be reminded to be kind.   

And by schooling them too, I am very in tune with where they are at emotionally and mentally. 



Every single day is a new adventure.

Adventure...or challengeCan I get an 'Amen!'?

Usually I am a few days behind on these sorts of things. This is how it usually works:

Child is emotional and whiny. Mother raises eyebrow at child. 
Child continues to be emotional and whiny.  Mother ignores it.  
Child continues with his chosen behavior.  Mother becomes irritated.  
Child reaches a fever pitch, mother disciplines.  
Two days later...Mother realizes something is going on.

So recently I realized that my 7 year old is going through a maturity shift.  The chores and expectations that I once thought were too mature for him, suddenly seem to be just what the doctor ordered.  

"No, YOU can choose your clothes and make your bed in the morning. No, YOU can clean up after yourself. No, son. YOU are able to get and make yourself chocolate milk."

But, guess what?  Kids aren't always eager to take on new responsibilities.  He liked it the way it was with me doing it all. (He's like that.)

Time for some growing up little buddy.

I say to my husband on night, "I am working on responsibility with little.  Can we have a talk with him tonight?"

So, that night we sat down and sort of laid our our new expectations.  We lovingly shared with him Ephesians 6:1 and  explained that we expected him to move forward with a happy heart.

(Now, don't get me started on the happy heart thing.  When I was a kid, that was never asked of me and I think if I had learned it much earlier on in my life, I would have been a better person for it. That 'happy heart' stuff is hard work!)

And this, my friends, is how growth starts around here.  Once mommy and daddy catch up to the plan, we set it out as the new standard and move forward. 

That sit-down conversation is so important because it gives the child a starting point. And, you are not saying it in the middle of a discipline-moment, so they don't tune you out. 

With prayer, this will move him forward in his maturation.

What will tomorrow bring?  



Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Priorties of Life - How I am Setting Them

I cannot believe how very long it has been since I updated this blog. But, I am grateful for all my followers!

Happy NewYear!

It's 2014 and of course that means reflecting on the past and making plans for the future. My minister recently said that there are two types of people in the world - the ones that say, "Yes, new year means new goals and plans - let's celebrate!" and the other ones that say: "So what? It's just another day like any other."

Well, I laugh at myself because I find that I actually fall into the second category this year.  Don't worry, I don't feel cynical about it or anything and my 2013 was actually pretty lovely. I guess I feel like life is to busy to look backward too much, to spend too much time reflecting on difficulties of the past, when life is right there waiting to be lived!

With homeschooling, being a home maker, working part time, helping my husband lead out church's music ministry and just being here on earth, I am too busy to look behind me!



But, yes, even  pragmatist me started thinking about what I would like to see happen, and although I am too chicken to write it down on a piece of paper (you know, that's making it SERIOUS), I have a few ideas.

- Increase my time and quality with God.  Regular Bible study and prayer.
- Continue to enjoy my time as a homeschooler - keeping the mood light in school, having LOTS of fun
- Encourage and lift up my husband
- Practice gratitude
- East less chocolate
-Have an amazing garden
-Camp more

and lastly...I would love to get pregnant this year. It's in God's hands.

Whatever you are, believe this:

Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

No matter what we plan...God already has one.  


So, are you a "celebrater" or a "cynic" ?  What are you plans for the new year?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Looking Back On Our First Year Homeschooling

I am very honest with anyone who asks me how homeschooling has been for us.  I say "It has it's ups and downs."  I say: "It can be emotionally draining."  I say: "We have learned a lot."

When I say we have learned a lot, I am not always referred to educationally based materials either. Personally, this year I have learned so much more about both of my son's characters, their likes and dislikes, their strengths and, yes, their weaknesses.  As a mom, I have been challenged to be more patient, to apologize when I blow it, to keep and open mind and practice flexibility and to put their needs above my own. 

It has been a daily positive challenge to make education interesting and exciting, but to also get the information out and absorbed into their little heads.

I am proud of Jeffrey!  He is reading, writing and doing addition and subtraction!  This was ALL I cared about this year and I am so happy he has made so much progress.

Andrew, like me, likes a ton of variety.  He enjoys science, math and writes endlessly.  He also adores drawing and feeling a sense of accomplishment at the end of the session.

Here are some photos of this year's adventures!

New England Air Museum


Stamping out sight words


Andrew's trophy for his Cub Scout Pine Car Race


Science...with a microscope


Arts n Crafts


Andrew's Lego Case


Playing in the dirt....a lot


Higgins Armory Museum


On our way to the Symphony


More sigh word fun


Marshmallows with friends...


Forest Park Zoo wind tunnel!



God bless!  - Jenny

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Garden as of May

Ifyou know me well, you know I LOVE to garden.  I tell my friends from April to September, if you can't reach me, I am out in the garden!



I find it extremely therapeutic and being out of the 9-5 work world for so long, with gardening I feel that I am always learning. I can readily identify plants on the side of the road now, I consider that a huge accomplishment!


I got started early this year....REALLY early, hence the really happy lettuce.



In the garden this year:
spinach, lettuce, kale, bok choy, carrots, pumpkins, corn, squash, cucumbers, rhubarb, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, chamomile, cilantro and a random milk thistle. We also have 3 apple trees,2 peach trees, 1 plum tree, raspberries and strawberries, blueberries and some annoying unproductive grapes.


 Rhubarb

 Plums
Raspberries



 Peppers

This is the new corn/squash bed.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Feeling Sick? Go On a Field Trip! (What To Do When You're Sick And You Need to Homeschool)

For the second time this winter, I was sick and in desperate need of educating my children.

In the homeschooling world, there is no such thing as "substitutes teachers."  I was going on day ten of a bad case of pneumonia and my children had been running amuck for way too long.  

I had laid in bed for two days listening to my children watch "Jimmy Neutron" and "Scooby Doo," thinking of all the lessons I had been building on, the plans I had and the co-op we had to skip.  Needless to say, it was killing me!

So once I was on the antibiotics and starting to feel better, I decided to take a field trip.  I know. Most moms would say that was crazy talk. But for me, taking my kids out of the house,  placing all of us in a new environment and allowing someone else to teach them was just the plan!

We had been told about this very cool armory museum about an hour away, and I knew it was right up their alley. So, we piled into the car (with plenty of tissues for me and snacks for the boys) and made the trek.  

The Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, Mass is truly a jewel in the rough.  Right off the highway, behind a small mall, the Museum towers over all the industrial buildings. The founder of the museum, John Woodman Higgins, turned his personal armor collection into a destination for people to learn about medieval history. In 1929, he built the five story building to house his collection. 

It is an amazing building full of wood and iron work and art deco style.


  As we chose to go on a Homeschooling Wednesday, the Museum was busy with kids enjoying the displays, creating their own shields and playing with a huge chess set. Needless to say, the boys absolutely loved it.

So what do you do when you're sick?

Here are some ideas


1. Educational videos.  Pull up some videos on topics your children have been learning about.  You can also go to websites like www.watchknowlearn.org and www.neo12.com. These are both websites your children can move around in with no fear of them stumbling on things that are inappropriate like you might on www.youtube.com.
2. Do an art project.  Get a really big piece of paper and all your markers and crayons, and ask them to draw on a topic that your have been studying.
3. Pull some toys out from the attic that your kids haven't played with in a while.  I especially like to pull out old building toys.
4. Board games! Scrabble, Monopoly, Sorry, Make 7, even Bingo.  
5. Call a friend.  One of the days I was sick, my homeschooling friend grabbed my six year old and taught him along with her daughter.  He got to learn all the Presidents of the United States that day.

- Jenny


Friday, March 29, 2013

And So It Begins...Garden 2013

Hello fellow gardeners!

If you are like me, you have been thinking about your gardens for about three months already.  In the depths of the winter, when all is white outside, and you are beginning to crave green....the garden planning begins!




Mostly in our minds. 

But that's alright.  That is where all dreams begin.  And of course, gardeners must be the biggest dreamers of all!  Year after year, what begins with seeds turns into a beautiful garden to look at (flowers) or to eat (food), but a true accomplishment on you part at the cultivator.

Undoubtedly, the garden is also a yearly spiritual experience as well.

What begins as untamed, weedy, dry and grassy ground, can be molded into a healthy, green and growing bio-environment. 



Like an uncultivated garden, our hearts can begin weedy and lacking in nutrients, but with daily, persistent and deliberate communion with God we can keep our hearts growing, becoming all it they were meant to be.

Go away on vacation, and come home to weeds attempting to take over your tomato bed.
Hide away from God for a week, and watch your heart grow full of invasive weeds. (Like my invasive Jerusalem Artichokes, see below)


It can show up in a few different ways depending on the person. You may be the type to become jealous, or have angry thoughts, to grow inpatient with your children or to  fall into laziness or selfishness.

But, if you maintain your heart and work at it diligently, it can develop into healthy fertile soil, protected from the worries of our lives.  A place which is potentially a home for future growth, as I hope the below strip in my garden will be for Butternut and Summer squash. 


It's never too late to weed.  Start today!


Matthew 13:18 -23
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”