Lots of changes around here!

Around our household that is!

We’re selling our house! We meet with a realtor and signed the paper work. We had our house re stained this week and we are getting granite counter tops put in before she comes back in a couple weeks to take photos. We’ve been working hard getting things looking good and fixed up. We’ve been talking about selling for several years now. A few years back we tried to sell it but it sat on the market for a year with no offers. The realtor kept telling us we needed to put some money into the house for it to sell but we didn’t. This time we are so maybe things will move a little quicker.

This week a water pipe that we didn’t know existed at the front of our property got ran over and burst so a lot of this week was dedicated to unexpected water issues. My husband has been working to make things right for the next owner instead of the crazy maze of pipes that he was finding. Our house was someone’s DIY project and every time we work on it we say we will never in the future buy a house that someone says they built themselves. There has been endless stuff wrong with it because it was built by someone who obviously trying to figure it out as they went along. We’ve put almost 10 years of work into it though so it’s sellable at this point.

After our house sells we plan to rent for a while until we figure out exactly what we want to do. We want to take our time looking for a new place and there is the possibility we would want to save up money and build a house. My husband is also trying to make some decisions job wise so we’re kind of at a point in our lives where we are trying to decide what comes next.

On a different note, I bought some curriculum for E’s preschool. It’s called Mother Goose Time. I bought just a month’s worth so I could check it out over the summer and see if I like it. At the moment I’m totally overwhelmed by it and it’s taking way more time to get started than I expected. I’m not saying I don’t like it, it’s just taking time to learn something new. (I only got it in the mail 2 days ago.) I’ll probably post about it more later as I get more involved with it.

Anyways! If you’re wondering where I disappeared to that is what we have been up to! Not to mention that the plant my husband works at is in a very long outage and he has been working 72 hours a week for a long time now and still has a long way to go. Life is kind of crazy here at home with a 4 year old and a 1 year old. Sibling fighting has settled in and it has been a tough parenting situation that I am facing for really the first time. Most my days are spent trying to keep these kids from hurting each other! I’ve been reading books and blogs and trying to work through this- if you have any resources to help me help my kids get along then tell me!

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For The Children’s Sake By Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

I you look up this book on line you will find a lot of great and detailed reviews have already been written. Google, “Charlotte Mason” and you will be overwhelmed with a tidal wave of information. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here and do a full review of this book but I do want to take some time to share what I have learned because I liked this book so much!

Charlotte Mason was a teacher and education philosopher who lived 1842-1923. This book For The Children’s Sake Foundations of Education for Home and School was published by Susan Macaulay 1984 discussing Charlotte Mason’s education philosophy.

The bulk of the book is dedicated to answering the question, “what is education?” The Charlotte Mason view promotes reading to children what she refers to as living books. She promotes children spending large amounts of unstructured time exploring nature. She encourages parents and teachers to teach children to observe the world around them, to appreciate rich art and music. The book explains why it is beneficial to the minds of children to not be confined to “kids music” or coloring books but to be exposed to and given the best of what the world has to offer. She refers to much of what is labeled children’s curriculum as “twaddle”. Things that are merely time fillers that don’t engage or enrich the mind of anybody. Give the children the best! The best of music, the best of art and literature.

I like how she describes education as the science of relationships. How do I fit into this world? What is my relationship to the people and things around me? Math is connected to geography which is connected to history which is connected to literature and so on. One of the reasons I want to homeschool is because I believe my children will be more connected to and have relationships with people of different ages and different walks of life than if they were in a classroom.

A big part of this teaching philosophy is teaching kids how to learn. So much of education today is spoon feeding children facts and not letting them use the minds. A so called spoon fed education leads to a crippled mind that does not know how to think or problem solve. Instead, read to your children thought provoking literature and let them grapple with the ideas of right and wrong through the lives of those who came before them. Charlotte Mason taught that in the younger years children should be able to retell orally what they have been learning. In the older grades her students used writing to tell what they have learned. She believe that if a child could retell in their own words the subject studied that at that point they had thoroughly digested it and made it their own. Teaching your kids how to think not merely what to think is the idea.

Charlotte Mason ran her school on the idea of doing book work in the morning when kids minds were fresh and having the afternoon free for unstructured outside play, exploring the arts and working on projects. I live in an area of the country where if I wanted to implement this it would depend on the time of year. For instance, in  the summer I would want to take the kids out to play before the afternoon comes and it is near 100 degrees and we want to be in the air conditioning! During the winter though we do the opposite, we wait for it to warm up in the afternoon to play outside.

There is an entire chapter dedicated to the idea that, “children are persons.” They are unique individuals and their individual needs should be meet. Children deserve respect as well and should not be treated as “projects” but as people. Private schooling and homeschooling has a better ability to make the education fit the child rather than trying to make hundreds of kids in a school fit into the same mold.

I recently listened to this TED talk on education and I thought it was funny that the people who have been deemed the best and the brightest in education of our day are speaking about principles I just read in a book written over 100 years ago. When Angela Duckworth speaks about grit it reminds me of the chapter on forming habits. One teacher speaks on forming relationships with students and another speaks on engaging a child’s curiosity. http://youtu.be/dilnw_dP3xk

This book made me feel excited about educating my kids. While listening to these educators discuss all the problems with the public school system and why it is failing our children and hurting society I was made to feel more confident in my ability to give my children something better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making the most of spending resurrection sunday at home

I was really really hoping we would all be over our sickness by Easter Sunday. E was better but now T.J was sick and I had a sore throat so we had to stay home. I was disappointed but decided to work hard to make the most of the day.

I decided to get dressed up and even put on a little makeup. Having on a spring dress helped me to remember I’m celebrating my risen King today! When E got up I told her why I was dressed up. I told her today we are going to celebrate all day that Jesus rose from the dead and that He gives us new life! (Four year old girls are ready for any excuse to dress up!)

We headed into the kitchen and after putting on a youtube playlist of Easter morning worship songs I tied on her apron and we made a big batch of low carb waffles. Since it was a special occasion I wiped up some cream to get fancy! This is an awesome recipe by the way. alldayidreamaboutfood.com. E said our table looked, “oh la la” which is I think the best complement I’ve ever heard in my life! (and you can see in the pic how not oh la la it was!)

 

We have a copy of the Jesus story book Bible which for the most part I really like. Earlier in the week I had started going through the last week of Jesus’ life with her but sickness kind of got us derailed. For the woman and the alabaster anointment I sprayed perfume on E’s feet and dramatically wiped my pretend tears off her feet with my hair. She then painted in with water color a perfume bottle I drew with a permanent marker.

After breakfast I finished reading her through the story of the resurrection in The Jesus Storybook Bible and then we did a little empty tomb craft. Nothing much but I think it helped reinforce the lesson.

Since the reason we stayed home was because we are under the weather the kids laid around and watched 2 movies. An old nest family entertainment video that I borrowed from E’s cousins for this week. My husband grew up watching these videos. They also watched Beginners Bible The Story of Easter that I grew up watching as a kid. (It’s on youtube)

 

I did a mini egg hunt with the kids. I didn’t want to overload them on sugar while they were getting over colds so I just hid 3 pink one’s for E and 3 blue one’s for T.J. 

In the afternoon I took them outside with a mason jar and a pair of scissors and we went hunting for signs of spring. Irises, ferns, the first rose on the rose bush, buttercups and more adorn our table now. 

I listened to this interview with Randy Alcorn I saw on his blog to edify me some since I had to miss church.  https://vimeo.com/212999779

When I did Bible time with the kids instead of reading Proverbs like I have been I read them the story of the resurrection from the book of John while they played with toys on the floor.

I saw on pinterest this idea where you dye your hardboiled egg whites before making deviled eggs. I had some natural food dye and we attempted it. E thought it was fun to eat pink eggs but they didn’t look anything like the one’s on pinterest!

Anyways! That was our day. Life with little one’s is anything but predictable but I’m learning as a mom to try and make the most of each day and opportunity as it comes.

 

New Life In Jesus

Since this is resurrection Sunday I was thinking about this phrase that gets used this time of year, “new life in Jesus.” What does this mean though? How can I define new life in Jesus?

Here are several scriptures to meditate on today.

2 Corinthians 5:17  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hearth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

Romans 6:4 “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

Ephesians 4: 22-24 “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Colossians 2:12 “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”

Daily Must Do’s

powerofmoms.com/organization-audio-posts-episode-202/

I listened to this podcast on powerofmoms.com and I really like the idea about the daily must do’s. She says that one of her daughter’s teachers had up on the board each day a list of things the students needed to get done before they could move onto things they wanted to work on. She said she applied this idea to motherhood and her own life and she came up with her own list of must do’s every day. This isn’t a list of all the thing I need to work on or a schedule. It’s a list of 7 doable things that I came up with that even if they were the only things I accomplished in a day would bring my family and me joy and make the day productive.

Do you ever have those days when you just wake up grumpy and feeling blah and just want to go back to bed? Maybe you don’t but I do! When I need motivation to keep moving forward with my day this list is there to show me what’s next. It’s not a to -do list to drag me down it’s something to encourage me and move me forward.

I had a teacher in middle school who did a daily must do list kind of idea and I loved her class because it was the only class where the students all filed in quietly and got to work. She was an effective teacher because we all knew what we were supposed to be doing and what we were going to be doing next.

I’m in the preschool and toddler age with my kids now but as they get older I like the idea of using a daily must do list with them. Something like, before you have screen time (or whatever) have you, gone outside? read? done your chores? been creative? Something along those lines- I’m just thinking.

Anyways! Here is my daily must do list that I came up with. This isn’t forever set in stone. I’m sure it will be tweaked. As the speaker says in the podcast, it’s okay if I don’t get to everything. I’m going for progress not perfection.

Megan’s Daily Must Do’s

Get outside with the kids

Bible time with the kids

do something nice for my husband

complete my chore of the day

clean something that is bugging me (I love this and am copying it 100% from the podcast!)

practice memorizing scripture for 10-15 minutes. I’m putting this one here because at this point in life I really am doing well with the spiritual disciplines of Bible reading and prayer. They are habits for me at this point. (not that there is not room for improvement!) Memorization of scripture not so much. I need to remember that this is one that can be done while washing dishes or folding laundry or whatever if I use our white board and keep the verse I am practicing up on it.

Read something intellectually stimulating. Some day’s I’ll have 2 minutes other days 20. Just give my brain something to think about.

I’m going to write these down and hang them on my fridge so I can see them at a glance.

A day in the life of me through photos

A little creative project yesterday to capture the blessing that is my every day life and routine. An ordinary day is a tremendous gift! My kids have had several bugs and colds over the last few weeks which feels hard right now but one day I know I will look back on these times with the rose colored glasses the passing of time gives us. One day these little guys will be big guys and I’ll miss them like they are today…

 

10 tips for surviving being stuck home with sick kids

In this scenario you are well and the kids are sick. I’m not talking worse case scenario here where both mom and kids are sick. That’s a nightmare where survival really is the correct word to use! I’m referring to surviving the hardship, exhaustion, boredom and isolation that comes from caring for multiple sick children. Thankfully we went most of the winter healthy but this spring has been one thing after another.

I generally make it through the tough parts of motherhood by planning and enjoying outings with my kids. When one of them gets sick and suddenly we are isolated from the rest of the world it’s easy to get down right depressed! Since I have spent so many isolated days over the last several weeks as my kids have caught one bug after another, here are my best survival tips for making it through!
1.take a shower and get dressed. You will feel so much more refreshed and productive then if your hair is greasy and you’re still in your pajamas. Even if it’s noon before you do, it will really improve your mood!
2. eat something healthy and stay hydrated. While putting the many needs of our children before our needs, it’s easy as moms to neglect our bodies entirely and get burnt out. You will be a happier mom with some good fuel in your belly and enough water to counteract some of that caffeine you’re probably drinking!
3. create some order in your home. Your normal cleaning routine is probably going to be too much if you have a sick child needing you. Some picking up will help your sanity though. Aim for something doable like three 15 minute tidy ups before each meal. At the end of the day 45 minutes of cleaning is not enough to have a ‘clean’ house but it’s enough for basic sanitation and you won’t be that far behind when your child gets better.
4. do a small something during the day that makes you happy. For me that’s reading. I worked to find a calm(er) moment during the day and set the timer for 20 minutes and allowed myself to read my book for 20 minutes. Yes I was interrupted several times but it allowed me at the end of the day to point to something I did other than wipe boogers and treat pink eye.
5. If it is warm enough and depending on the type of sickness your child has, get outside. The fresh air will do you all good. Of course it may depend where you live, we don’t have any neighbors nearby so we don’t have to worry about contaminating anyone when we go outside. If your child doesn’t feel like playing they may enjoy being pushed in a stroller. When my 18 month old is teething or has been sick in the past sometimes the only thing that will calm him down is being pushed in the stroller. I put in a lot of walking on those days!
6. Call somebody. The feeling of isolation that comes when you are stuck at home some times for days on end while your children recover can be overwhelming. Calling people on the phone helps with that a lot. Not just texting or sending a message but actually hearing somebody’s voice will help remind you that there is still a world out there and you are not alone. It will also make someone’s day as well for you to call just to say hi.
7. Rotate toys. Kid’s play better with toys and it is more fun for them if they have a limited number of toys in front of them. Instead of letting the kids have access to everything at once have them clean up one activity before moving on to the next. They enjoy the doll house more if the train tracks are cleaned up first instead of having a free for all and not having room to play. Your house will stay cleaner as well.
8. weather permitting, open the windows, spray some disinfectant around, if you’re into essential oils use them. This may or may not kill the germs but at least your house will smell a little fresher and boy can sick kids stink up a house!
9. Try and see this as an opportunity to do things with your kids that you normally wouldn’t have time to do if you were on the go. Snuggle up and read the pile of books, play a board game, do the activity you saw on pinterest.
10. Remember if you are a follower of Jesus to pray and ask Him to help you. He is faithful.

Jesus standing between the dead and the living

In my Bible reading plan I am reading in the book of Numbers. Yesterday morning I read about the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their followers and the subsequent murmuring of Israel against Moses. The wrath of God put a plague upon the people. Here’s what happened,

“And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censor, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun. And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.” Num. 16:46-48

There are so many parallels in this story with the gospel and Jesus’ atonement I don’t even know where to begin listing them all.

Here is a doodle of mine in my journal.

Aaron “made atonement for the people” he “stood between the dead and the living” and “the plague was stayed”.

In my drawing on the left is humanity. “…dead in trespasses and sin” Eph. 2:1

In the middle is the cross of Jesus the Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14). Jesus made atonement for the sins of the people. Hebrews 10:12 “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God” Heb. 10:12. “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2

On the right is the Living God Who through the atonement provided by the sacrifice of Jesus we are reconciled and made alive unto. Romans 6:13. Colossians 2:13 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.”

Eph. 5:2 ..”hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.”

We all have a plague- sin. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom. 6:23

The symptom of this sickness is death but Jesus our Great High Priest has overcome both sin and death and offers life everlasting. “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” 2 Tim. 1:10

Trust Jesus today!

So how’s my month without internet going?

I’m struggling! After reaping good benefits of a week without internet I decided to take a month break from the internet (except for this blog). After the first week I got on FB to check and see if there were any updates on someone I had been praying for and I saw I had missed someone trying to get a hold of me and also an event I would have liked to know about. After that I decided to go ahead and spend 2-5 minutes each morning checking to see if I had any messages but not scrolling through my newsfeed or reading blogs or anything like that. I had signed up for a commitment that required people keep in tough with me through FB put as of this week I’m not obligated to that commitment any more so I can stop checking for messages now although every few days I probably will check for prayer request updates for this person I have been praying for.

For the most part I’ve done well and I have seen a lot of benefit from staying off line. There were 2 or 3 days and nights this week that I really felt the toll of my husbands more intense than usual work schedule and I was tired so I bribed myself to get through all my work and get the kids in bed by promising myself internet time. (That’s how my mind works lol!) I’m kind of disappointed that I did that though because during this time that I’m taking a break I really want to train myself to take those moments when I am discouraged or tired and learn to find comfort in reading my Bible or praying or connecting with people instead of using the internet for quick entertainment or escapism. I don’t think the internet is bad but time does go by quickly and most of the time I am not ‘redeeming the time’ when I am on the internet.

I find the older my children get the stricter I am becoming about media. I really don’t want my children to remember a phone in front of my face or sense me wanting to just get alone so I can read some blogs. The irony is most blogs I read are about motherhood. I need to be doing instead of reading. I know what it takes to be a good mom. Yes, there is a time and place for written encouragement but most of the time I just need to get done what I know I need to be doing. Life is too short for anything less.

Anyways, I’m writing this to encourage myself to keep up with my commitment to myself to take a month’s break from the internet. There is just 12 more days until I reach my goal. Somethings I want to do with that time are:

work on spring preschool activities with E

write a letter to a friend in the hospital

call some family members I haven’t talked to in a while

plan some special resurrection Sunday stuff for my family

take some photos of my kids and make a card to send to my dad for his birthday

send a birthday card to my brother

go on a date with my husband

make myself some low carb treats to help me stay on my diet

be more faithful with my children’s Bible time

go on more nature walks with my kids

keep working on my memory verses

finish a book review I’m working on

keep working toward my New Year resolution goals

See? I don’t have time for the internet!

Have you taken a break from the internet or media for a specific time and if so how did it affect your life?