Saturday, January 31, 2009

February Goals

When report cards came home last week and The Thinker had a less than stellar grade in math. I hit the roof and he had no idea why. Then I realized that Mr. Steady and I had never told our boys what we expected from them in school. They had always done really well and so it was never an issue. It wasn't until I explained to him that this was an unacceptable grade that he understood.

I gave the boys a heads up in the middle of the week that we would be having a family meeting tonight and I gave them the task to think of at least 3 goals to work on for the month of February.

Today we read the book The 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey (son of Franklin Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). and discussed our goals. We wrote them down and talked about ways we could help each other reach our goals. The boys each came up with honorable goals and we were able to discuss how to set goals that were attainable and yet, still stretch us a little bit.

In this way the boys know what is expected of them and they know what Dad and Mom are trying to work on in their own lives. They see that you are never too old to set goals and you never stop trying to better yourself, with God's help. I am looking forward to having this family meeting every month and checking in with each other.

I'm aware that this vintage Valentine has nothing to do with goals but have I mentioned that I have three boys and love Valentine's Day?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Who Wrote the Book of Love?

Do you know what holiday is coming up in less than 3 weeks? It's one of my favorites. I have three boys, you know so any chance I get to sprinkle a little pink around the house tickles me...well, pink.

I love me some Valentine's books and while I've already put mine on hold you might still be able to snag some of these titles. (Bold titles are AR books.)

Be My Valentine Charlie Brown Charles Schultz

Five Little Candy Hearts William Boniface

Happy Valentine's Day Abbie Mercer

Happy Valentine's Day Carol Barkin

Hearts, Cupids, and Red Roses Edna Barth

Let's Celebrate Valentine's Day Peter Roop

Little Bear's Valentine Else Minarik

The M&M's Valentine Book Barbara McGrath

Mushy! The Complete Book of Valentine Words Lynda Graham-Barber

My Froggy Valentine Matt Novak

My Very Own Valentine's Day Robin West

On Valentine's Day Judith Zocchi

The Story of Valentine's Day Clyde Bulla

Tokens of Love Roberta Etter

Valentine Carol Carrick

Valentine Boxes Wilhelminia Ripple

The Valentine Cat Ann Nagda

The Valentine Express Nancy Wallace

A Valentine for Norman Noggs Valiska Gregory

Valentine Hearts Lee Hopkins

Valentine Surprise Corrine Demas

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Teachable Moments

I have been trying to think of some ways to include the boys in reaching out the community. They want to help and I want them to love helping but they are still kind of young.

Today the older two boys and I baked sugar cookies and packaged them up. We prayed for the men and women who work on the street department in our town and asked God to keep them safe while they were out plowing and do their work. We also asked Him to be with the families because I've been a plow widow before and I know it can get pretty lonely when we have weeks and weeks of snow. Then we tromped off to the street department and delivered the cookies along with some pictures and thank you notes from the boys. Tonight we'll read If I Had a Snowplow by Jean L. S. Patrick.

I think the boys felt good for doing something for someone else. The Thinker said "I think the men will like these because it will remind them of when their moms used to bake them homemade cookies" :o)

I would like to keep choosing one community helper in our town each month and do this. So far I've got plans to visit the library, post office, sherriff's office, fire department and the doctor.

How do you instill a love of service to others in your children?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Dollar a Day Challenge

UPDATED TO ADD: Faithful reader Lisa asked for some clarification on the Dollar a Day. Here's my best explanation...sorry I am so wordy. "Yes, for instance, last night we got gas in the car and the total came to $20.41. So to us, it really totalled $25.00 because the remaining $4.59 went into our "Dollar Jar" (which is actually a glass lantern but you get the idea).

We've also taken it a step further and for any checks we write, we round up to the next $5 increment and write a check to the Dollar Jar. We saved over $9 that way. We are actually saving our coin change for a big family trip when I graduate college so the $58 did not include any coin change."

Has anyone else joined me on the Dollar a Day challenge? How is it going?

Today our loan payment was due so we emptied our stash and ended up with an extra $58 to add to our payment! Praise the Lord from whom ALL blessings flow!

"Have a great and godly day, for what use is a good day if it isn't also godly?"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Day in History

Thank you President and Mrs. Bush for your service to our country. Thank you for giving so selflessly of yourselves to protect and serve us these past years. I pray God's blessings upon you as you return to your Texas home and create a new "normal".

Thank you President and Mrs. Obama for your willingness to step into a new role and serve our country. I pray that God's blessings would be upon you and your girls as you fulfill His purpose and plan.

Today is a wonderful opportunity to teach our children that no matter how much we agree or disagree, like or don't like, those whom God has put into leadership over us, we are to show respect to them. Let us never forget to pray for the President and all of those in leadership. God has allowed Barack Obama to be the president of our country today. Glory be to God and Him alone.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Prayer Request for Baby Harper

Scott, Kelly and Baby Harper need your prayers. Harper was born yesterday and had to be care flighted to another hospital with heart and/or lung problems. They intially thought they were going to have to do a bypass on Harper but now it is looking better. Click on the button on the right to go to Kelly's blog and learn more and pray!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Calamity Day That Wasn't

So I guess the spoon under the pillow thing does work, if you count a windchill-below-zero-so-we're-cancelling-school a "snow" day. I think they actually call them "calamity days". I wasn't aware snow or cold weather is a calamity. I think some man who never had children came up with that one because if a calamity is all it takes to check out for the day, sign me up. I'm checking out on account of a calamity for the next 15 and a half years.

And I thought one of my mom's students made that whole spoon-under-the-pillow-turn-your-pjs-inside-out thing up but for fun I Googled it. 147,000 hits people. Try it. Never heard of it until about a week ago.

Last night we knew the cancellation was eminent...we got the 2 hour delay call around 9:00 pm. I thought I was being all smart and good by pushing my classes back this quarter and not scheduling an early morning class. But turns out I didn't actually do the math and I didn't really help things out. Mr. Steady had to travel to the state capital today to take a test for a possible job opportunity so I offered to take my turn rearranging my schedule to suit the childrens. It honestly took no twisting my arm because I know my first duty is to make sure the children are taken care of.

God has the greatest sense of humor because I woke up around 1:00 this morning with the Eye. Consider yourself blessed if you've never woken up with the Eye (or heaven forbid, the EyeS) or had a child wake up with the Eye. Crusted over, dripping who knows what. I've been battling allergies for the past week or more and don't tell my mother but I'm pretty sure it's a full blown sinus infection now. And when I get a sinus infection my eyes feel left out and decide to have their own infection too.

So instead of emailing my profs "Sorry I can't make it to class because my children are out of school today" I got to email them "Sorry my eyelid is the size of Texas and I have molten lava coming out of it". Okay, not really. Usually profs are pretty cool with a "I'm sick and won't be there."

Except my math prof is a little too cool and emailed me back with a "That's fiiiiiiiine (emphasis mine, I know how she talks and I'm sure she emails the same way). You can wait and do your presentation on Tuesday, I'm sure your group won't mind," Um, ok. Thanks.

Turns out the "group" didn't mind because one guy didn't show up and one girl was late and then, of course, I wasn't there. Which left poor Courtney. But then again, I don't think Courtney minds anything. She emailed me and said "Hope you feel better! Z let us wait until Tuesday to do our presentation".

Then I guess my Ed prof is a little too cool too because he signs his email "Me, Kris" and then has some quote from Yoda in his signature. After reading his email I began to think I might have taken an extra dose of Mucinex.

The children are off tomorrow too, for a Teacher Work Day and of course Monday is Martin Luther King Jr day so we have a five day weekend!!! Yay!!!

After a dose of ophthalmic antibiotics (because if your family usually gets the Eye you keep these things on hand) and an hour of vertical drainage (I don't know what that even means) I started feeling better. I made the boys a batch of chocolate chip pancakes and myself a bowl of Banana Split Oatmeal (cooked whole oats topped with chocolate chips, 1/2 sliced banana and three sliced strawberries). Mr. Steady came home and did fabulously on his test (I knew he would). The boys and I never got out of our pj's all day.

Chocolate Chip pancakes and a whole day in your pjs. Told you it wasn't a calamity day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Snow Dance

What do a spoon and inside out pajamas have to do with each other? They are the ingredients you need to create a snow day! My mom told the boys recently that she heard if you wear your pajamas inside out and put a spoon under your pillow while you sleep you will have a snow day.

So while your children are asking for one last drink of water, mine are raiding the silverware drawer!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Can you save $1 a day?

Mr. Steady recently came home with a challenge...don't spend any $1 bills for one month. He had heard Neal Boortz **talking about this and thought it was a great idea.

As we lay in bed that night talking about this challenge I posed the question of what we would do with the extra money. We are in a season of our lives where every penny is needed. Mr. Steady, as usual, had a great idea. We take every extra dollar bill and apply it towards a nasty, ugly, stupid loan we have hanging over our heads.

Do you know how many dollar bills you spend in a week? Boortz describes it this way: If you have $5 in your pocket and you want a coffee and a newspaper, you don't buy it because you need that $5 for lunch. But if you have $7 or $8 in your pocket you don't think twice because you have the extra $2-$3. What if you saved that $2-$3 and only spend $5, $10, and $20? or if you're blessed the occasional $50 or $100?

We have been credit and debit card free for the past two years. We use cash to pay for groceries, gas, nearly everything that isn't a bill to be mailed. So this would work for us. And we stopped using our pocket coins about three years ago so we've essentially just upped the ante. We saved almost $100 in three years just by not spending pocket coins.

I had to buy a few needful things this week as did Mr. Steady and in the course of 1 week we were able to save $29 in $1 bills only. Think of how much faster that ugly loan will be gone if we continue to do this. Once the loan is gone we can apply the extra to some medical bills we have and then maybe when we're old and gray we can actually put the extra in a savings account and watch it grow. Or use it to bless someone else, the way we've been blessed by other's generosity.

What about you...can you stop spending dollar bills for one month? What will you do with it?

**Please note that I am in no way endorsing Neal Boortz, I honestly can not stand to listen to him and I am perpetually offended by him and his website. I only linked to his website in case someone doesn't know who he is.

Monday, January 5, 2009

What I've Learned From My Children This Year, Volume 1

Today we went to Trader Joe's for a few things and the boys asked for this peculiar snack called Applesauce Crushers. It is basically applesauce in a fun little foil pouch with a twist off cap that you suck the applesauce out of. I also bought cookies but they begged for the applesauce on the way home. After the applesauce I asked if they wanted cookies, and they are children so of course they did. But they made no bones about telling me they liked the applesauce better.

After dinner I offered ice cream for dessert, basically because I'm just trying to get junk out of the house, and The Reader asked if he could have another applesauce instead of ice cream. I think if I hadn't offered them cookies they would have forgotten all about them and never even asked for them.

Trader Joe's also had carrot applesauce that lists carrots and pumpkins in the ingredients. I'd like to get them to try that but am not going to push my luck.

I would like to remember to choose healthier, fun foods over junk more often. Lesson learned.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Our Trip To Australia

We set aside last night to virtually visit Australia. This was our second stop in our passport, the first being China. I'm sorry I don't have any pictures to show you and even sorrier (is that a word?) to report that I didn't serve an Australian meal (and dinner at Outback was out of the question).

If you've ever seen Finding Nemo you'll remember that Nemo was being kept in Australia so it was fun for the boys to learn more about The Great Barrier Reef and Sydney along with all the other great history and facts of Australia.

I think next time I will offer to let the boys look at the book ahead of time and see how much the can remember when it's time for our "trip". I like to keep the destination a mystery but I'm not certain they soak in as much information as I would like for them too. Here's hoping that Mom's top secret mission of having fun while learning doesn't get found out too soon.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Presidential Parade

Every once in a while I get a great itch to homeschool again but that's just not happening right now. Since The Thinker was complaining not too long ago that he doesn't have a formal history lesson in school (I know, right?) and the inaugaration of our 42nd President (but 43rd Presidency) I thought it would be fun to learn one president per week over the next year.

This week we started George Washington but I introduced the unit to the boys by reading What Presidents Are Made Of. It was a clever little book with fresh and fun illustrations, the kind you can look at three times and find new things each time. And now it will be fun to remind the boys of the little quirks talked about in the book as we discuss each of the presidents featured. Not every president is talked about but it is a neat way to introduce the everyday human side of our presidents.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sayonara 2008

Hello 2009! I don't know about you all but I am SO ready to see what God has in store for my family this year. I am not making any resolutions because I cannot do anything on my own apart from God. I am opening ALL my closets and inviting Him in to the deep corners. What revelations are you looking for this year?