"Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction"-Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day 1: 25 Days of Christmas Books

The first of many posts to come featuring some of our favorite Christmas books. The full post can be found on my homeschooling blog.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What I'm Thankful For!

I'm most thankful for my wonderful Saviour that came to earth in human form and sacrificed Himself for me. I'm more thankful than I could ever possibly say for my amazing family--my husband and daughter, my parents, grandparents, in-laws, extended family and friends than I could ever tell them.

But what else am I thankful for? After reading a blog post over at 50s Housewife, I decided to list the top ten non-tangible things I'm most thankful for!

(In no particular order)
1. The Internet! (this is a love/hate relationship for me, but without it, I wouldn't know so many amazing people and have access to so many fun things for my family and I to do!)
2. Indoor plumbing! Can you imagine using a porta-potty style outhouse? EWWW!
3. Cell phones--they keep me from pacing the floors when Josh is commuting in a snow/ice storm.
4. Modern Medicine-that saved my daughter's life and my life and that continually keeps her healthy (most of the time!)
5. Cameras-I love being able to snap a shot of my daughter's face and look back at them any time I wish.
6. Printing Presses-that pop out book after book after book for me to enjoy.
7. Libraries-access to thousands of books I don't have to pay for!!!!
8. Cars-I live so far away from my family..if there weren't cars, I can imagine how few times I would get to see them over the course of a lifetime.
9. Refrigerators--I shudder to think of the germs caused by not refrigerating food!!
10. Glasses/Contacts-that enable me to see!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christmas-Free Nativity Downloads

I love these downloads I found for the retelling of the Christmas story!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2010 Version of All You Ever Wanted to Know

...about how we celebrate Christmas (but didn't care enough to ask ;) )

I saw this as a post over at It's Almost Naptime! and I couldn't resist sharing here too!

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Neither! Coffee with a TON of holiday creamers--Peppermint Mocha, Pumpkin Pecan Spice, Eggnog.....I love them all! I swear I pour in half the bottle into my coffee cup. Is there a Creamers Anonymous anywhere???

2. Does Santa wrap presents or sit them under the tree? Santa is a smart man and after the first year of delivering presents to our house, realized that many fits could be avoided if he simply left the wrapping paper off and the gifts assembled ;)

3. Colored lights or white? I put up SEVERAL trees. Some of them have white, some have colored. It depends on the theme of the tree and which room it's in. I prefer white. It lets the ornaments shine through without distracting from them. Can you tell I'm a *little* obsessive about Christmas???

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Yes...although it rarely works in this house!

5. When do your decorations go up? Personally I would put them up in the middle of November, but Josh is obsessive about Thanksgiving....so Christmas decor Friday after Thanksgiving. It takes about three days to decorate!!

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? It's a tie between cornbread dressing and lemon pie!

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Waking up Christmas morning to see dozens of leather bound vintage Children's books arranged in a design around the Christmas tree. I can still smell them :)

8. When did you learn the truth about Santa? What truth??????

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? OF COURSE!!!!!!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Um,......I have to make sure the colors aren't grouped together and everything has to be spaced perfectly so you can see something from all sides!

11. Snow-love it or dread it? I love the THOUGHT of snow. Frankly, I can do without it...Let it snow on Christmas Eve all day and all through Christmas Day and melt on the 26th!!

12. Can you ice skate? I grew up in a state with ONE rink.....two hours away from me!! You can guess the answer!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? The leather bound Children's collection and my microscope!

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Knowing and celebrating that my Lord and Savior came to earth as a precious child :)

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? LEMON PIE!!!! (Granny's recipe of course!)

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Um, lemon pie??? :) No really, driving around with hot cocoa and listening to Christmas music while looking at the lights!

17. What tops your tree? A star, but Reagan has requested an angel on at least one tree this year!

18. Which do you prefer-giving or receiving? GIVING!! I love finding the perfect gift for Reagan and Josh!!! I LOOOOOVE seeing their eyes light up. (But don't get me wrong--I love getting gifts too!)

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Angels We Have Heard on High, Christmas Canon by Transiberian Orchestra, Good King Wenceslas--really I love all the Christmas hymns!

20. Candy Canes-yuck or yum? In peppermint bark--YUM!!!!!

21. Favorite Christmas show? Holiday Inn!!!!

22. Saddest Christmas Song? ???????????????? I don't know!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My "new" cleaning system

This cleaning system is really helping me keep things under control. I just wish there were LESS cleaning to actually do. At least I don't have to worry about forgetting something this way and my house has stayed much cleaner!

Another bonus to this system is that I'm not angry at my husband nearly as much! Let me explain: I'm at stay at home, homeschooling mom. I feel like it's my job to do all the housework (at least the inside stuff!) But the truth is, there are hardly enough hours in the day to get everything done and when my husband would come home, sigh and start to pick up, it would infuriate me and I'd yell at him to leave it alone. Which would in turn, make him angry at me for yelling, being frustrated and not accepting his help..leaving the house still in a mess! With this system he knows exactly what still needs to be done that day and if there is something I really don't want him to touch, I take it off the hook before he gets here.

Hook you ask? Yes, hook. Here's how hooks play into the system.

Set up:

1. I typed up a list of the chores that I need to do daily and weekly. I printed, laminated and cut them, punching a hole on one end of the strip.

2. I divided the chores into three piles: Daily Morning Chores, Daily Evening Chores and Weekly Chores.

3. I embellished! Daily Morning Chores have a bright yellow star sticker on the end. Daily evening chores have a subdued blue star sticker on the end and the weekly chores don't have anything (except for "take out the trash" which is a Tuesday-MUST chore and "pick out Reagan's clothing for the week" which is a Sunday chore--I simply wrote those days on the ends of those cards).

Using the system:

1. I hung up two hooks in the kitchen (on the fridge) with the labels "To Do" and "Finished". All the items were hung up on the "To Do" hook and as I do them, they (obviously) get hung up on the finished side.

2. At the end of every day the blue and yellow tags get rehung on the "To Do" side. And on Sunday evening, all the evening chores get hung back on the "To Do" side as well.

That's it! So easy. Every day I do my daily chores and a couple of weekly chores. And it's keeping me saner and the house looking ten times better.

***A couple of things I wanted to mention that I do-the playroom/school room does NOT get cleaned everyday. That's a separate entity. I'm working on addressing that issue for us (maybe like a straighten at the end of the school day?). And the quarterly chores (washing windows, cleaning pantries, cycling toys out, etc) are still something I'm working on as well!

If you want a list of what I do, here are my chores!

Daily Morning Chores
-Complete a load of laundry
-Sweep kitchen and laundry rooms
-Vacuum (I look over the house daily. If it needs it, I do it, if not, I move it over to the finished pile and move on!)
-Run a load of dirty dishes and put away (reload any that need to be loaded)
-Pick up and straighten the house (this includes wiping sinks, emptying trash bins, picking up and returning items, hanging up towels, straightening pillow and slipcovers)
-Scoop litter box
-Make beds

Daily Evening Chores
-prep coffee pot
-bedtime routine for me
-pick up/straighten house again
-pack Josh's lunch
-fill work boxes for school

Weekly Chores
-clean fridge
-grocery shop
-meal plans and coupons
-wash bath toys, loofahs, bath mats in/out of tub and shower curtains as needed
-wash bed linens and towels
-clean toilet
-dust hall and bath
-dust family room
-scrub bathtub
-wash cats' bedding and bowls
-refill soap dispensers
-refill cleaners
-charge phone (yes, I consider this a chore!)
-garbage to curb
-clothes out for the week for Reagan
-clean out van
-change out Church bag
-clean coffee pot
-dust kitchen and laundry rooms (includes wiping down cabinets)
-mop laundry, bath, kitchen and entry areas
-wash slipcovers
-dust bedrooms (includes fans, sills in the summer!)

Stay tuned in the next few days for Reagan's chore and getting ready chart! This little thing has made our lives run a lot smoother in the mornings before getting ready to start school!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What Women (and MOMS) Do All Day

Recently I was searing the Internet trying to find a good way of keeping track of all the housecleaning things I needed to do during the day. In the middle of my search I decided it might be interesting to find out exactly how many hours per day the average woman spends cleaning. I didn't find a good estimate..but I did find a rather sarcastic reply from a man who said his wife spent 8 hours a day on facebook and then complained about not having enough time to do everything she had to do. Another man then responded about how his stay at home wife/mom shouldn't have had that much to do...I mean, she's home--all.day.long.

Hmmm. Needless to say I was infuriated, but I brushed it aside and continued the search for a good housecleaning schedule. But the thought was still there in the back of my mind, nagging at me, that maybe someone should tell the world exactly what it is that stay at home moms DO every day. I can assure you we don't sit around watching daytime soaps and eating out way through every piece of chocolate in the house.

So, here's a quick peak into my schedule.

Wake up
Get myself together
Get Reagan together
Start straightening house--ie: make beds, return all the little items scattered throughout the house to their proper places, vacuum, straighten slipcovers and pillows, open curtains, unload dishwasher, reload dishwasher, unload dishwasher, start the reload cycle again, put a load of clothes in the washer, wipe down the bathroom sink, wipe down the toilet, empty the trash, sweep the kitchen, laundry and bathrooms, make sure the bathroom rugs and hand towels and everyones towels are hung up so they'll actually dry instead of mildew, throw the clothes in the dryer and/or hang up on the line (trying to conserve energy), swill a cup of coffee, ensure that Reagan has finished her breakfast, make sure she has her vitamins and medication, take my vitamins (IF i remember), scoop the litter box, clean up a few messes that have managed to appear while I'm doing all of the other stuff, pay bills as the mailman delivers them, spend some time on the net (yes, I waste too much time here).

Ok at that point I *might* be through with my normal cleaning. But probably not..after all, those dried clothes are going to fold and put themselves away! Notice I haven't even mentioned spending time with Reagan yet because I NEVER play with her anymore..I know..I'm a horrible mom. I'm just not one of those playful moms...and I feel guilt over it constantly!!!

Some where after all of this, we sit down for school and do our schoolwork, play games, do puzzles. Then we break for lunch. I prepare lunch, we eat, watch a cartoon or two (I should say that unfortunately I would let the tv babysit Reagan quite a bit while I did all of that cleaning and I'm trying not to now...I'm having her help more and follow a schedule of her own to get herself ready..which I still have to supervise and discipline as necessary).

After lunch, weekly work comes in. Here are the other things that need to get done during the course of a week: wash bed linens, towels, loofahs, bath mats, shower curtains, bath toys, dust every room in the house, clean the toilet, wash the cat's bowls and bedding, scrub the bathtub, refill soap and cleaning dispensers, clean the fridge and freezer, garbage taken out and to the curb, clothes out for the week for Reagan, charge the phone (we don't use land lines anymore), mop the kitchen, laundry, bath and entry areas, clean van, wash slipcovers, change out church bag, clean the coffee pot, grocery shop, meal planning and coupons! Oh, and we can't forget play dates, park time, story times and all the other activities we do for our children that get thrown in here somewhere!

Then there's preparing dinner and snacks.

THEN, I have a nighttime routine after Reagan goes to bed: straighten up the house, fill her work boxes for the next day in school, prep coffee pot, put reminder notes on the door for Josh, fix Josh's lunch, straighten and pick up house again and do my own bedtime routine.

I'm not even going to talk about lesson plans, time for devotionals, exercise or me time or time to read all the books I need and want to read...but I do make time for those..because if I didn't, frankly, I'd go crazy.

Should I go on to mention the other stuff that needs to get done but not on a weekly basis? Like cycling out clothing for the kids based on season, repairing their clothes, buying new clothes, cleaning and cycling out toys, windows, cleaning out the pantry,...etc, etc, etc...I'm not even going to list all of those things!

So....there you have it. A (SMALL) glimpse into what women do all day. After reading this, I want to collapse..but I can't. I've done most of my morning work, but I still have clothes to dry/put away, dishes to put away and school to teach..and that's just the rest of the morning before lunch :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I feel like blogging today...

So our furnace went out this morning (the exact same problem we had last year) and rather than pay double for an emergency repair, we decided I would cook like crazy and warm up the house. It definitely worked! I made several batches of banana bread, boiled chicken for casseroles (to come later) and made banana snack cake and banana snack cake cup-cakes. (Can you tell I got a great deal on bananas?)

I'm actually feeling well rested for once and (fingers crossed) Reagan is going to take a nap while Josh does the dishes!! YAH! Which means I get about 30 minutes to do nothing until I have to finish cleaning the kitchen, straightening the school room and some various other projects that need to be finished.

Speaking of homeschooling, I am feeling much more relaxed now than I was in September. I STILL have not got it all together but it's flowing a lot more easily than it was. Yesterday we put together a model of the solar system--with balloons. And all was fine (except for the fact that Jupiter popped twice)...until we heard a loud pop a couple of hours later. Our sun had exploded. Thank the Creator of the Universe that He made everything so perfect that it will really happen..until HE decrees that it should.

I am dealing with my own feelings of guilt however. Am I putting too much on Reagan at such an early age? Shouldn't she be playing more? Shouldn't I be playing with her (I NEVER play with her anymore..now she prefers to do it on her own...although I think I should at least play with her for 30 minutes day....have I put it into practice? No.....) And the yelling....I yell about regular life, I yell at her to put stuff up, I yell at her to go to bed....and to top it all off, some days I yell at her during homeschooling. I HATE THAT! Yelling to me is so much worse than spanking could ever be. And yet, I do it daily to my child :( Guilt. GUILT. GUILT!!!!!!!!So should I put away the things that make me yell at my child? I think I should..and I have been.

We were using a phonics/reading program that incorporated way too much writing for a Kindergartener, much less a 3.5 year old. So out it went. Our math program uses a ton of handwriting, and while the math portion itself is going well....again the handwriting is a huge problem for us. So I'm thinking about slowing down the handwriting.

And I think that's all the time I get for today..Reagan is screaming about not being able to sleep..sigh.......

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Oh where Oh where is NICU Bear?

NICU bear is missing. And Reagan is beside herself. I've never seen her sob so much over a single toy..not even when I threw away one of her puppies for hitting. NICU bear is missing and I'm currently tearing apart the toy room looking for him.
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