Saturday, December 06, 2014

December 6th: Feast of St. Nicholas

I Saw Santa Punching Arius (video/song) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fc_bkDnLHk0us 

All things St. Nicholas - http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/

I hate the sweater in this graphic, but I love the sentiment.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

New Homeschooler Question #32

I've decided to homeschool, now what?

I always advise new homeschool moms to start with a boxed curriculum.  Just START.

       - I really like Catholic Heritage Curricula if you're Catholic -- it's easy to use, gentle on your pocketbook, your child, and you as a new homeschool mom.
         - If you're protestant, My Father's World is really popular.  I also love Memoria Press and Sonlight:both GREAT choices.

Then, when you know what's working (or what's not) be prepared to just tweak a little.

IF you want to pick and choose (design your own) curriculum, I don't usually advise it in your first year.  However, kindergarten is a GREAT time to play around with different curriculum to learn how you like to teach and how your child learns best.

The way you do that is choose ONE subject, research, then choose.  If you get stuck and can't decide (you've narrowed down your choices and just can't pare them down any more), then try to figure out a different subject.  Come back to your undecided subjects with a little more information under your belt.  So which one are you going to start with?

  • Math
  • English
  • History
  • Literature
  • Science
  • Foreign Language

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Do Something MEANINGFUL today -- this is one idea.

Read this. Then send $6 to my friend on the front lines. Many of you know, I open my house to help new homeschool moms get started. She opens her house to help mamas and babies LIVE. Read, then pray, then help.


Our lives can sometimes feel so overwhelming -- and sometimes they are.  These are the stories she hears every. day.  Making a genuine difference in someone's life can sometimes cost alot -- time, relationships, vulnerability, heart ache. This time, it's only $6.  That's not alot.

Very often we have to be so cautious to know where our donation dollars go.  Research.  Analysis.  Time.  Effort.  This time, though, we know where it goes.  

Are you a Mama?  A grandpa?  An aunt?  Wouldn't you give so much more than $6 to make sure the young mother in your life is safe along with her baby?  This is just $6.

If you decide not help Colleen, then help someone in your life.  THIS is what makes life meaningful.

Friday, August 29, 2014

12 Years Done -- 12 Years To Go

Homeschooling can be surreal.  I had 4 and then 5 kids to raise, feed, play with.
I spent 12 years educating this kid.
- She was EASY to raise (compliant, sweet, compassionate, fun)
- and HARD to school (she was totally smart and EXPECTED that I would give her challenging work -- which was very difficult when she was reading and analyzing Don Quixote for fun in middle school)
- and required me to be PRAYERFUL to mother (she spent most of her high school years fairly sick and I not only worried but worked to get her healthy -- it's still a work in progress, but she's getting better -- just slower than I'd rather).

As she's getting better, she's sassier and more fun than ever!
Now that she's 18 and graduated from homeschool high school, I've got the first 12 years of homeschooling under my belt.
So I begin the next 12 years while I teach 1st grade all over again this year.  This will be my 5th time teaching 1st grade and the last time I teach it (that I know of)...

Being done/beginning...It's all a little -- SURREAL.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Prairie Parties

It's been at least a decade since we did them -- but that school year is one of the most solidified in my memory -- such sweet, sweet memories of learning and FUN.

You choose one book in the "Little House on the Prairie" series per month and have everyone in your group read it.  My house could accommodate 20 kids, so ~6 families. 

Sept - Little House in the Big Woods
Oct - Little House on the Prairie
Nov - Farmer Boy
Dec - On the Banks of Plumb Creek
Jan - By the Shores of Silver Lake
Feb - The Long Winter
Mar - Little Town on the Prairie
Apr - These Happy Golden Years
May - The First Four Years

Prairie Primer is the book I used to jump start our Prairie Parties.  For my family the book wasn't academically challenging enough to use as a stand-alone curriculum.  But it really gave me ideas on how to pull activities from the series. The book is available at our library - ACPL.  Each family selected any topic from the book of that month to do an activity with everyone.    Everyone brought a dish to share for lunch after the party was over. 

Examples of activities that moms chose:
Butter making with a ball jar and whole milk (shaking)
Using a washboard and tub to wash an item of clothing
Taste testing real maple syrup vs. imitation
A presentation on hibernation of bears
Making a pumpkin pie from scratch
A lesson on Native Americans
A lesson on bee “dancing” and taste testing different types of honey (clover, etc.)
Bonnet making (kids cut it out and moms sewed it together at home)
A lesson on square dancing

Saturday, May 31, 2014

4BR, 2 1/2 BA, 2,376sq ft, 2-story home for sale in Fort Wayne, IN for $119,900

We have decided to sell our home in Blackhawk for $119,900. (Current property tax values assess it at $123K.)
We haven't listed it yet, but while we're getting it ready, would you like to buy our home and help make the decisions? It's driving me crazy making the decisions for someone else. What color carpet throughout? Which rooms would you like painted and what color? Anything in particular with the landscaping? It will take us a few weeks to make all the decisions. Please share this with friends of friends and see if we can sell the house before we list and have to have open houses to show it (not looking forward to that part). Anybody can stop by and see the house before we officially list it, but please note that the 5 kids are all working on it and it may be in disarray.
6714 Winnebago Drive, Fort Wayne, IN 46815
4 Bedrooms, 2 1/2 Baths
Home size 2,376 Sq Ft
Lot Size 0.25 Acres
Built 1969
Central Air, Baseboard Hot Water Heat, Whole House Attic Fan.
This is a book-lover's dream: Living Room is a true library with floor to ceiling bookshelves. Ceiling Fans in every bedroom, Dining Room & Family Room. Family Room has wood fireplace. Large open kitchen and breakfast nook with ceramic tile. Attached 2 Car Garage with Attic storage. 3 Seasons room. 4 Bedrooms upstairs and Master has it's own bathroom. Half Bath is on first floor. Great backyard for kids and pets with multiple swingsets under shade tree.
New laminate wood flooring in Living Room-Library in January 2014
Most windows replaced in 2013 and new Front Screen Door in 2013
6 yr old asphalt roof
Swingset is negotiable
Schools: Croninger, Blackhawk Middle School, Snider

Contact us at (260) 485-8828 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Welcome to my Messy House

"Quick! Clean up!  Someone's coming!"  -or- "Here!  Take these dirty underwear I picked up off the floor and stuff them down the clothes chute." -or- "I'll talk to them in there and you clean up in here."  We've all done it.  It's the loving thing to do to make things nice for someone.  But when making things nice is at the expense of someone -- we have a problem.  We have to stop worrying about how things look to the exclusion of having people over.  We can't live in House Beautiful or a Southern Living magazine all the time. (Honestly, not even some of the time).  We try, but we fail.  That failure is "just life", not a fatal flaw of morality.

My children are a gift from God so I share them with the world. Do I keep my child from talking to someone because he's a filthy mess from playing at the park? No.  My home, too, is a gift and given to me to share with others. 

 I'm pretty good about this. Annette Funicello, America's sweetheart, appeared on TV with full-blown MS in a wheelchair and with her mouth a little disfigured, but as big of a smile as she could manage said, "Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."  
 It's a theme of my life.  I say it to myself over again and again and have for years.

I do warn guests when they need to use the bathroom, 'I'm not promising it's clean, but you're welcome to it.' Most of them KNOW what a 6yr old boy can do to a previously clean bathroom. And if not, it's time they learn. Approximately half of the population has been or will be a 6 year old boy.  Being ourselves gives our guests permission to be themselves. 

I have people over when my house is 'lived-in', to LOVE them. How many exhausted moms of preschoolers feel like they can't keep up? How many men feel like they don't measure up? My aunt committed suicide and the toll on the family was horrendous.  We can't put so much pressure on each other to 'measure up'.  How many times have we seen a teen in the news who committed suicide?  In their pain they think things would never feel better than they do in that moment.  The response from the rest of the world is that we want to shout from the rooftops that it doesn't matter what everyone thinks or how chaotic it feels - life CAN get better. 

By sharing our chaos with the the world, I'm shouting to everyone who walks through my door, 'I love you and you're welcome here just the way you are. Come share some of the less-than attractive places in my life and I'll share your pain with you.'

The test of this was having our priest over for dinner when life was chaotic. As I fed him out of my messy fridge and he sat on my gross floor (I had cleaned it, but you know...) with my smelly dog on his lap he told us that he'd had a black lab as a boy and was too busy for a dog now. He said that not many families with kids had him over - he assumed due to the stress of life - and I saw that us inviting him into our chaos helped fill something in him. 

I want my guests to feel loved and I have to be 'real' to do that. Some may judge me, but I want to say back to those, 'This is my best. And a way to love you, because "Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."

This post started my rant self-reflection.

Why Scruffy Hospitality Creates Space for Friendship