Another one bites the dust

Back? Yes, thank you.

 

After we moved (successfully) I released my new book and began working on a new one. My Macbook kicked the bucket (I don’t have very good luck with computers, it seems), and I stayed pc-less for many months. I would go on my husband’s from time to time to get some library books for my Kindle, but beyond that I stayed off. After a tense first week, I was happy. I played with my children, I crafted, I baked a lot, I discovered I was allergic to gluten, I came up with recipes for some new skincare products, tried them out, tweaked them, and tried again and again until I got them how I wanted. The dog chewed up my sewing machine power cord, so I’ve been hand sewing, I mastered the art of gluten-free pizza dough, and tried to learn how to play Sudoku (didn’t happen).

 

We homeschool all year (by all year I mean we homeschool through the summer and take our short breaks here and there throughout the fall and early spring), and it’s the most wonderful time of the year! The time where I research and choose curriculum, then do some more research and feel confident in my choice, or change my mind and spend so much time on my favorite homeschool curricula online stores that I’ve been spending the last week perusing Cathy Duffy‘s site, the forums over at the Well-Trained Mind, and reading over various reviews found during a google search.

 

I’m truly excited for this upcoming homeschooling year. I’m looking forward to introducing my children to all the newness ahead.

 

Tales of Narnia and homeschool woes.

I’m a bad blogger – I freely admit it. I started out, blogging frequently. Then the consistency stopped – we were moving and life grew even more chaotic than usual. Packing and planning. Then a few-day car trip with me and my children in one vehicle and the husband in the moving van. Unpacking, trying to turn new space homey. Organizing. Refilling my pantry, and picking up absolute must-haves. Holidays. Presents. Also homeschooling this year hasn’t been going as well as I had hoped – we love our Math and History, but everything else is just ‘meh’. Bland and uninspired.

 

I’ve been toying with ideas of new curriculum. I’m thinking about Susan Wise Bauer’s The Well-Trained Mind approach of classical education, as well as tweaking AmblesideOnline for a secular education, and also wondering about Oak Meadow. I want to raise readers; I grew up reading  – I read voraciously and this was a pleasure that I indulged in freely, reading age-appropriate as well as books far beyond my maturity level. I remember vividly the day that the Scholastic book form came into my fourth grade classroom. I looked through the books and set my eyes on the Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. I was intrigued and wanted that box set. I went home, clutching the book form and showed it to my parents in the hopes that they would bite, and allow me to order it. They did, and I waited for the arrival of those books like a child awaits the beginning of vacation, or their birthday.

 
They finally arrived, and I tucked them away carefully in my desk, not opening them. When school let out for the day and I was finally home, I removed the plastic wrapping and began reading. I fell in love with those books, and as much as I wanted to find out what happened, I never wanted them to end either. When the last book was finished, I put it with the other back into the box, and set it on my bookshelf.

 

 

I re-read those books every year. However, you only have one opportunity to read the Chronicles for the first time, and this past year, I read them to my children, thrilling at their interest and delight over their first time of experiencing the stories. (By the way, one of my daughters has the name of Aravis, taken from The Horse and His Boy).

 
These books (pictured  below) are 31 years old now. I got them when I was 9 and I recently turned 40. I can’t read them again, they’re far too delicate for that, but I can’t get rid of them either. I plan on getting another box set with full color illustrations, and I will put these away, in the same place my favorite childhood stuffed animals are.

 

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I truly hope to pass the love-reading trait along to my children.

 

 

What methods/curriculum work well for your family? Are you raising children who love to read? Do you incorporate living books into your homeschool? Do you piece together curriculum to tailor your family’s specific requirements, or do you find that boxed curriculum works?  I’d love to read to your feedback!

crafty inspiration and the waiting horror in the girls clothing department

Oh, this book, 101 Days of Christmas by Mandi Ehman looks like fun. I love craft inspiration and I read about this one on Simple Homeschool and it’s free on Amazon for Kindle today.

The temperature high here today was about 75 degrees (Fahrenheit) and it actually felt cool. Moving from New York to the Pacific Northwest – it took us more than a year to acclimate to the cool (okay, cold to me) summers. Moving here at the very end of May, where temperatures soared high into the hundreds – I kept well hydrated, keeping our numerous Klean Kanteen bottles full of chilled water every time we went out. Add sunglasses and sunblock and we were ready to go. We managed to do a lot, as well as numerous visits to the pool. The entire time, I was more comfortable in this weather than I had been during our years in Washington and during the oppressively humid summers back East. I really love this climate.

And now, here it is, 71 degrees currently at the end of September and it feels cold. Suddenly, yes, it is autumn. I have pulled out my craft box, gone through the numerous skeins of wool yarn, pulled out my many crochet hooks, looked longingly over the Knifty Knitter that I was so certain I would take to like a fish takes to water. It seemed so fun, so simple. Once I got it and read how to do it, I put it away until a free moment, and haven’t looked at it again until just the other day.

I haven’t made clothing since I sewed a really ugly blouse in Home Ec. Now I  have to go through my supplies and figure out what super easy clothes I can make. I found  patterns I had bought at a thrift shop and put away for “someday”. Someday is here.

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We did some online clothes shopping for the girls the other day. I went into ebates  (just letting you know, if you click on that link and sign up for ebates, I will receive $10. for each opened account) and then checked retailmenot and armed myself with coupon codes and with dreams of savings, I went head on into clothing sites. I should have paused and recalled each and every year of clothes shopping. Needless to say, nothing was purchased. I know that I’ve brought this up before, but I don’t want my younger children to wear some of the clothes they sell. Low rise jeans, shirts with glittery messages, midriff baring anything. For the past few years, we’ve gotten off easily, buying yoga pants, and boys shorts (which are longer) and plain color t-shirts. But my youngest is very very into fashion and wants to dress differently. My eldest is not really into clothes, but is beginning to care more about appearance. They both want more input into what they wear. I understand this and I also respect it. I want to encourage it. But I don’t want them dressing, let’s call it like it is and say slutty umm, precociously, as many children their age do (I assume that most parents are more than accepting of this forced early sexualization since they continue to buy the clothes the industry churns out year after year.)  I want something different.

 

 

Do you make any clothing for your children? How did you improve your sewing skills? Do you find it practical given the cost of fabric/necessities as opposed to clothes? Or, if you do purchase clothes for your children, where do you find inexpensive, yet quality basics?

Here’s the part where I come back after being gone for months.

And here’s a recap of what this is all about. 

This blog is all about how I clean my house, exercise six days a week, homeschool, and make perfect crafty gifts for holidays and birthdays, as well as putting a gourmet meal on the table for dinner every night. Oh, and let’s not forget about the fact that I make all my housecleaning products by hand. All, while being a perfectly appreciative wife and doing what I can to further martyr myself. 

 

No. That’s not me.  At all. That will never be me, unless I’m lobotomized for some reason, and even then, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Okay – I do homeschool, and I love to make crafts (except when they turn out horribly and they so often seem to do just that), and I do make my own cleaning products but only because I have really sensitive skin and chemical smells give me an almost instant headache. I do appreciate my husband, but I love that his hours are such that I usually get a nice hunk of time to myself each night – a couple hours of me-time. Peacefully sleeping children, a new library book to read, or a stupid adventure movie on netflix. 

 

I don’t wake up each day with a smile on my face, or with one in my heart. I’m angry about certain things, and I’m scared. Of a lot. I used to think that when I was an adult I wouldn’t have to be frightened of anything. What a laugh that turned out to be; I had no idea that the time for true stress was coming up. Not to come across as a drama queen, but just basic adult/parent worries. 

 

I rarely cook gourmet meals – I adore eating them however.  But prepping, cooking, and washing up is so not my idea of a good time.  Only the eating is. But that never lasts as long as the following cleaning up does. I’m trying to grow out a super short haircut and it’s currently in a terribly awkward stage.

 

A lot of things I’ve tried haven’t worked (i.e.; moving to a small island in the PNW and trying our hand at country living with chickens) which I will delve further into in future posts. But I keep coming back to try more, and you know why? Because when it does work, it’s the most wonderfully fantastic feeling in the world. 

 

I’ve been very busy these past few months – we moved (it went well with DC’s allergies, thankfully), I finally finished my final edit of the manuscript I’d been working on and released a novel (YAY!!!!),  and I’ve been working daily since then – homeschooling, acclimating to our new city, and writing. If you’ve stuck around all this time, or are only just finding me, I appreciate it immensely and look forward to blogging a bit more frequently than I’ve done these months.