Tuesday, August 31, 2010

God's Timing

I am working on getting caught up on the TOS blog walks-I'm working on both weeks 8 and 9.  So I came across this post at Books and Bairns about waiting.  I really needed to read this tonight.

We are currently going through some changes in this family-changes that I am unable to share right now (and no I'm not pregnant.)  It is easy for me to get into my normal mindset of  "I want everything to happen quickly."  However, everything is on God's timetable, not mine.  And you know what?  I'm actually not feeling as hurried as usual about this situation.  I feel more at peace than I normally do.  I pray that I keep that peace and keep waiting on God and trusting Him.  His plan is always better than mine is!

Food update

I have been using Nutrisystem food for about 4 weeks now.  When I signed up, I went ahead and ordered the women's favorite package.  That was recommended so that I could try a variety of things and find what I like.  I discovered that yes, I am a picky eater.  (There were a few foods I thought I'd like that I didn't and most of the foods I didn't think I would like-well, I was right, I didn't like them.  But there were a few things that surprised me and I liked them.)  Sadly, I didn't really care for a lot of the food.  But that is ok.  My next order ships tomorrow and this time I picked the foods I like!

The goal of using Nutrisystem is not just to lose weight but to make better choices.  I have not been eating many of the dinners.  When I cook for the family (or when World Traveler cooks) I eat what everyone else is.  The difference is that I make sure my plate is more vegetables than carbs.

If I have a craving, I will eat what I want.  I still need to be better on portion control when it comes to anything chocolate, but I'm still doing way better than four weeks ago.

So far, I think I've lost 7 pounds.  I'm not completely sure because half way through the first week, I bought a new scale.  Our old one was not working (I would stand on it three times in three minutes and get three different weights.)

What I like is that I am more conscious of what I'm eating, overall I am making better choices and when I do a good job of eating appropriate protein, I don't feel too hungry.  I have had a few days of hunger pains where I would think "Forget it, this isn't worth it."  But I have managed through it.  I gave into and overate once or twice, but even then it was still less than before.

So, progress is good.  I don't care if I only lose 1/2 pound a week.  The goal is to go down and not up.

Week 9 Blog Walk

1. Creative Learners
2. The Homeschool Desk
3. Ramblin' Roads
4. The Stewards Steno
5. Mama Manuscripts
6. Train Up a Child
7. We Love to Homeschool
8. Day by Day in Our World
9. Acorns - or Homeschooling Nuggets of Gold
10. The Berry Patch

A Labor of Love-The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

One way to stay encouraged in your homeschooling journey is by receiving a well written, helpful homeschool magazine on a regular basis.  The Old Schoolhouse magazine fits that description and right now they are running a super special! 

I really appreciate the variety of articles in The Old Schoolhouse magazine (otherwise lovingly known as TOS). 

From August 31-September 15th, you can get a one year print subscription to The Old Schoolhouse magazine for only $7.95.  The one-year subscription will start with the winter issue.  If you want a fall issue included, you can sign up for a one-year plus current issue subscription for only $12.95.  There are only 5000 subscriptions available at this price so be sure to act now.  Don't wait!

If you are international or just prefer a digital copy, the cost for a one year subscription right now is only $6.95.

The Old Schoolhouse magazine knows how much homeschooling is a labor of love so they are calling this their "Labor of Love" sale.  Don't miss it!  Go here to order.

(I will be receiving a free Expo-to-Go for my advertisement.  No other compensation was received.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

TOS Review: Peterson Directed Handwriting Cursive

One of the things I want to work on with both kids this year is cursive. I was excited to find out that my first official review for The Old Schoolhouse magazine was going to be Peterson-Directed Handwriting.

Both of my children learned to print easily. I never used a writing program to teach them to write. I showed them how to write the letters and both just kind of took off from there. With cursive, it's been a bit more challenging to teach. I think it's because they learned print first and it's so easy they just want to do what is easy. That means I actually have to spend time teaching them cursive.  I did spend some time with Precise Prince last year on cursive but not much time with Creative Princess.

The first few pages of the Peterson e-book explain proper pencil holding technique, the proper way to have your paper on the table and instructions on the Peterson-Directed technique. There is some good information to help you with your left-handed child. (I don’t have a left handed child, but I do have a left handed husband with handwriting that would benefit from this product.) You can also go to their website and watch the how-to video and not even need to read the instructions in the manual. 

Here’s the Peterson-Directed method in a nutshell: The children use a group of strokes that they then learn to put together to form the letters. For example, an n is written by writing two round top strokes. Here are some videos showing how we used the method in our house.

First, the kids use their fingers to write the stroke(s) we are learning in the air.

Next, they finger trace the strokes on their paper. The Peterson method says do not have the kids trace the strokes with their pencil. There is research and more information on why here.

Now it’s time to put pencil to paper. They practice their strokes on paper.

The last step is connecting needed strokes to actually make a letter.

(I do want to mention that I recreated what we had already done in these videos.  These were not our actual lessons.)

Here are a couple of pages the kids worked on:

Precise Prince doesn’t like saying the words aloud. As he learned cursive last year and knows how to write most of the letters, I haven’t made him speak out loud every time we practice. Creative Princess however, knows a lot less cursive and she seems to  enjoy speaking the words aloud.

I am noticing an improvement with my children's handwriting though honestly, I don't know if it was the method or just the fact that we actually focused on cursive for a period of time.  We will continue to use this program until the children are writing cursive well.  Actually, I wish we had started off learning cursive with this program.

If you have any trouble with anything in the program, there is online help available.  You can start with their online resource library here.  You can also link directly from their front page to get live help during the week.  Rand (the owner of the site) is very helpful and willing to answer questions.  The website is full of information, almost too much.  Don't let that overwhelm you.  If you are looking around the website confused about where to start, start here.  You can also send them an email and your questions will be answered quickly and efficiently.

What I really liked about this program:

  • It's easily adaptable for many ages.  One cursive e-book will cover all your children.
  • You can make it fun.
  • Lessons can be kept short.
  • There is lots of on-line help.
  • The cost is reasonable, especially considering the amount of help you can get from the website, including live help.
  • There's minimal teacher preparation time.  Just print out the pages you want and go.

The con’s of this program:

  • The website is packed full of information and can be overwhelming. It took some time to figure out which product I actually would order.  Be sure to start here if you are overwhelmed.
  • Older kids who just need to improve their cursive may not like the talking out loud and may see the method as too young.
  • The instructions in the manual were a bit sparse; however, the on-line instructions make up for it.

Because of all the on-line help and how professionally presented this product is, I was expecting the cost to be high. I was pleasantly surprised to see that you can download the e-book for only $19.95.  Here is the specific book I used for Grade 3 for my children.  The on-line support you receive comes with the product-no extra cost.  Do check out the website for specific details however.

You can spend a little more to get a paper positioning  guide, pencil grips, a CD_ROM and other items but they aren't required.
You can read more reviews about this product here.

(I received this e-product for free in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Blonde Moment

World Traveler insisted I share this on my blog and since if it were him, I would probably share it, it's only fair I share my own "duh" moments.

We just got a new dishwasher installed.  (On a side note:  if you want a new dishwasher because the one you have really is lousy, just ask your husband to help you with the dishes while he is on vacation.  When he unloads the dishwasher and sees how the glasses are cloudy and you end up having to re-wash (by hand) several dishes because they didn't get clean (and don't forget that in the past year you've had to have the dishwasher fixed three times-the second two times at no extra cost because you bought the additional one warranty on the work that was done the first time) you're husband will then say "we need a new dishwasher."  You will do everything in your power not to say "I told you so," but it won't work-you will tell him, "honey, I have been saying that for awhile now," in a loving voice.)

Now, onto my blonde moment.  I filled up the dishwasher before church this morning.  Since we don't like to run it when we are not home, I put soap in it after church and pressed the normal wash button.  I walked by the dishwasher a few minutes later and noticed that there were no pretty lights on the dishwasher.  So, thinking maybe I hadn't pressed it completely, I pressed it again, made sure the lights when on and finished making my lunch.  I look at the dishwasher--no more pretty lights.  "Aargh!  Honey, I turned the dishwasher on and it isn't working.  This has got to be a joke.  It's brand new."  My dear, sweet husband walks over, looks at the buttons and says "you pushed start, right?"  "Ummm, no."  We both laugh and he hugs me and says, "Nice blonde moment.  You must put this on your blog." 

How can I resist not making fun of myself.  It was funny, after all.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Too Cute

Sears has some cute dresses that come with a matching dress for a doll.  We saw some back at Christmas time, but they weren't on sale and they were way more than I would spend on a dress for a child-more than I spend on my own clothes.  The ones they have now are good everyday wear and were on sale.  They were a bit more than I usually like to spend, but they were cute and I know Creative Princess will wear them to make it worth the cost.  She asked if she could wear one when we got home and I couldn't resist a "yes."  This one is her favorite.  She is so excited to be matching one of her animals.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pictures from the last two weeks

Several nights I have sat at my computer and thought "I should write a blog post with pictures," but the pictures were all on one of the camera's, usually on the opposite floor of whereever I was.  Now that I have spent the time putting the pictures on my computer I'll share a few.

Babysitting my newest niece:

At the beach with World Traveler:

Playing the new Lego Creationary game:

I did manage to get a lot of cleaning and organizing done over the past week:both kids' rooms, the den, all three bathrooms, the kitchen, dining room, living room, entry way and family room.  The house isn't perfect by any means but at least I can walk through it without wanting to cry at the mess. 

Blog Walk Week 8

1. Ramblings from the Crazy House 2
2. Chicagoland Homeschool Network
3. Marine Corps Nomads
4. Faith, Family and Fun
5. Books and Bairns
6. Chatter, Clatter and Things That Matter
7. Canadianladybug Reviews!
8. Life at oak Grove
9. Home Sweet Home(school)
10. a glimpse of our life

Sunday, August 22, 2010

30 Day Challenge

Amber didn't post the 30 day challenge update last week so I ignored it.  Why you ask?  Well, of course because I did horribly.  However, I have no good reason.  I have been lazy and selfish. 

Amber will be posting updates on Mondays now.  I will be joining the next challenge, starting tomorrow.  Here is what I will be working on:

1-Continue (or shall I say start again) daily devotional reading.  Reading with the children and family does not count.

2-Continue on the Nutri-system program, my way.  (Did I even mention that I started NS a couple of weeks ago.)  What I mean by my way is that I eat most dinners with the family-what they are eating.  My goal is to overall make healthier choices, and eat proper portions.  I've been doing well.  Actually today was my worst day so far.

3-Spend less time wasted on the computer.  I have things that I need to do on the computer (check and respond to emails, write my TOS reviews, etc.) Those things are fine.  But no more time wasting!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Are you ready for school?

I'm not!  This summer has flown by.  I know a lot of it is having the added responsibility of caring for my mother-in-law which I wouldn't trade at all! (well, I would trade for her to be healthy and ok, of course.)  She is still in the hospital and probably will be for another week.  I sure hope she gets to come back next week and that healing will quicken now.  It is not fun to see a loved family member go through so much. 

My house is so messy and unorganized.  It's only been about a month since we cleaned out Creative Princess's room but you can't tell now.  How does that girl accumulate so much?  Her biggest challenge is paper.  She is always drawing, writing books, and making things out of paper.  There just isn't enough room in her bedroom for it all.  Of course, every piece is "special" so trying to get rid of it is not easy (but I do!)

Precise Prince keeps his room looking cleaner but he has the tendency to shove things in his closet and under his bed, desk and bedside table. 

TOO MUCH STUFF!  Yes, I yelled. 

So, I am going to set an example for the kids.  I'm always telling them to get rid of things and put things away when you are finished with it.  Our den isn't exactly a great example.  Yes, it's small for all the stuff in it, but it is possible to have it more organized and clean.  So, I am going to start today.  I will take everything out of my den (wait, not everything, just all the stuff on the desk and in the middle of the room.)  I will then dust, organize, clean and get rid of stuff.  My goal is to make this the biggest "get rid of stuff" I've ever done in the day.  Pray for me.

After the den, I will tackle the kids' rooms.  I just hope that this time we can make it stick better.  How can I start school when I feel like I can barely walk through the playroom?  I just do not like the chaos. 

Oh and the downstairs is a mess right now, but that doesn't take more than half a day to get in shape.  Each room upstairs will take a day in itself.

I was going to post about this year's curriculum (shudder) but I will save that for another post.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Old Schoolhouse Expo!

It's back to homeschool time and registration is open for the online Schoolhouse Expo, October 4-8. It's five days of top homeschool speakers, fellowship, and fun door prizes.

***Save $5 per ticket! Register between August 16 and midnight August 22, and you'll pay only $19.99. Plus you'll receive over $200 in free E-Books.

You'll be inspired by speakers including: Zan Tyler, Dr. Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright,Carol Barnier, Diana Waring, Todd Wilson, Davis Carman, Kim Kautzer, Lee Binz, and many more!

A special teen track is planned--the entire family will definitely want to listen to these special sessions. We've also planned a special focus on a topic that touches every homeschool--writing. Plus, an array of other topics that will inform and inspire you throughout your homeschooling years.

Don't forget, MP3 copies of each session comes with your LIVE event ticket.

Two special preconference shows on August 24 and September 21 with Dr. Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright, and Kim Kautzer!

***Register starting 12:01 a.m. on Monday, August 16.***

The theme this fall is "Celebrate Homeschooling!" We're going to celebrate the unique blessings of homeschooling, the beginning of another school year, our families, and the freedom to tailor our children's education to best meet their needs.

If you cannot make the Live event, then the October Expo To Go is just your ticket! You'll reserve MP3s from all of the workshops. This week only, pay just $14.95!
You can visit either of these links to get more information.

(I receive an Expo To Go in exchange for my advertisement. No other compensation was received.)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The TOS 2010 Homeschool Planner

The TOS 2010 Schoolhouse Planner is a customizable planner with more than just ideas and worksheets to help you plan your school year. You can choose to customize the worksheets right on your computer, eliminating the paperwork, or if you prefer you can use the old-fashioned way of printing out the forms and keeping track with pen and paper.

You will enjoy 614 pages of helpful forms, articles, recipes and more.  This planner is the ONLY planner you will need all year, not only for homeschooling, but for home planning as well.  There are over 120 forms!  It’s like having several books in one.  All this for only $39!

Here's just a small peek of what's inside:

Month by Month helpful guides
  • Each month contains a theme with articles on the subject
  • A schoolhouse store resource list for each month with direct on-line links
  • Articles to encourage your homeschool journey
  • Recipes to try, including some gluten free choices

Calendar Pages
  • Year at a glance and monthly grid calendars for 2010-2013

Miscellaneous Educational Information for reference
  • A Multiplication table
  • Common Latin roots
  • Common Greek roots
  • Letter writing tips and samples
  • The miracles of Jesus
  • The parables of Jesus
  • Countries and their capitals
  • The States and their capitals
  • Kitchen measurement conversions
  • US Presidents
  • And many more!

Homeschool Forms and Instructions
  • Curriculum forms
  • Goal setting help
  • Weekly, monthly and yearly planning
  • Report cards
  • Evaluation forms
  • Scheduling sheets
  • Grading help
  • High School transcripts
  • Journal pages
  • Unit study co-ordinating pages
  • Co-op organizing
  • Convention planning
  • And many more...
    Household Forms
  • Important everyday information such as emergency phone numbers
  • Scheduling
  • Grocery/Menu planning
  • Chores
  • Budgeting
  • Gift Giving and Party planning
  • Bible tracking
  • Gardening
  • And many more
  • Great Features
  • You can type right into the planner, hit save and keep everything conveniently on your computer, or if you prefer, you can print out the pages you want to use for a hands-on copy you can carry anywhere.
  • Just click on the table of contents to get right where you want to go-less scrolling around.
  • Over 120 forms to use.
  • Try new recipes every month from the over 80 recipes available.
  • Use the monthly resources to help plan family activities.
  • Choose which forms you want to use that fit your household.
  • Useful whether you have one child or 10. 
  • See the Table of Contents and several sample pages here. Don’t forget, this e-book can be downloaded to your computer as soon as you purchase it-no waiting for the mail and you can start customizing it with your own information instantly.
    To purchase this fantastic resource for only $39 go here.
    A copy of this resource is available on CD if you prefer for only $44. The e-book is included with the CD. Click here.
    (As a member of the TOS crew, I received a copy of this product in exchange for my advertisement.)
    (Now that I have the disclaimer, and an ad, I'm going to interject my own personal opinion.  It's my blog after all.  If you are the type who likes planners, I definitely recommend this planner.  It really does have a lot!!)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What's Up

I realize that last week I posted a Wordless Wednesday but it was really Thursday. I definitely had my days mixed up. Maybe I'll change the title.

My mil is recovering in the hospital from her surgery. It's a slow recovery. She had hoped to be back here by today or tomorrow but it will be at least a few more days.

We had our neighbors over for dinner on Monday night. We really enjoyed a chance to get to know them better. Our kids play together very well.

The kids and I have had two very lazy days. They both woke up yesterday not feeling well with sore throats and Precise Prince had a stomach ache. I knew they were a little off but I thought a day of rest (yesterday) was all that was needed. They had extra screen time (our way of saying computer, video games and/or TV), we made sun catchers and played a game and just had a quiet day. (I did manage to not be completely lazy and got some laundry done and a few other chores.) Today, however, they both woke up obviously not feeling well. Creative Princess came into our bedroom in the middle of the night coughing, and sneezing. Precise Prince had body aches off and on all day, alternated between feeling hot and cold and just didn't feel well. Hopefully, they are both better tomorrow.

World Traveler starts a two week vacation on Friday. We are actually hoping to go camping-in a tent. If you know me well, you know that I do NOT tent camp. I have always joked that we can go camping at my sister's house. (The sister who lives on a lake.) They can pitch the tent in their yard and I will sleep in the house. LOL

I actually have a few good memories of camping growing up--but we had an RV. I loved playing in the woods and being creative. My kids love playing in the woods and being outside and I know they would enjoy camping.

So hopefully, we will get to go. It will depend on my mil and how well she is recovering from her surgery. We won't go if she needs us--she is way more important. Besides, we can always go in September when the kids go back to school. World Traveler has more vacation time.

Friday, August 6, 2010

30 Day Challenge update

Well, I missed two days on Bible reading. The truth is I am not happy about missing any days. I really don't like that. It would be different if I had a good reason but I don't. I am going to forgive myself now and move on. I will do better for the next week! I will read everyday!

I recently started a new private blog for my Bible reading. When I'm reading, I read on www.biblegateway.com and copy and paste verses that stand out to me. Sometimes I will comment on the verses. This is my form of journaling and it seems to be working well. I like being able to write freely without thinking about whether what I write makes sense to others or whether someone else would find it boring. It's my own journal. I have been finding it helpful. I may occasionally write about what I'm reading here too.

I gave up on the exercise part of this 30 day challenge. I will add it for the next 30 day challenge. I'm ok that I failed in this area. The Bible is way more important. Also, this doesn't mean that I will not exercise until the next challenge--just that I'm not going to stress over it.

I have a few blog posts in my head but who knows if I'll get around to actually writing them.