Saturday, November 10, 2012

Christmas a Little Early

So my dad, my girlies' granddad, is moving. Before Thanksgiving. Won't be here for Christmas. LB asked me what Christmas is for and I told her it's for Jesus' Birthday. So now, she and CoM have taken the $6 worth of plastic tinsel and thrown it around the living room, decorating for Jesus' birthday party. Yes, one of our family traditions is to bake and decorate, a birthday cake for Jesus. We also sing a Happy Birthday song to Him, in the hopes that we will remember to celebrate Him, and not just ourselves, on that day.
In the meantime, since my dad is leaving, we went ahead and bought our Christmas tree so we could have it before he left.
(As I told my mother "Who am I kidding? I wanted to buy a Christmas tree and this is my excuse for buying it early!" and yes, dear friends, it IS decorated. LB and CoM enjoyed throwing the decorations up - literally, for LB.)
$25 pre-lit Christmas tree from WallyWorld
How long does your family wait to decorate for Christmas? Does your family have a tradition of decorating around Thanksgiving? What is your favorite memory of this upcoming season?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Christmas WishList

I found this cute little parenting/Christmas wishlist on Pinterest: 

We changed these up some and wrote our messages to Jesus...
CoM says "Dear Jesus, thank You for being born! Thank you for putting Yourself on the cross so that we could go to Heaven. Thank You for giving us stuff." ~ 
LB's says "Dear Jesus, thank You for being born! Thank You for dying on the cross and for giving us everything we need and for going up to Heaven!" ~ 

CoM's wishlist: 

What I want: Working Laptop (keep dreaming, kid!)
What I need: Warm Boots (LB wants to get these for her)
I'll wear: Sweater (I think I can swing that!)
I'll read: FableHaven Series (I'll see what I can do)
What I'd love: Enough money to move (working on it!)

LB's wishlist:
What I want: a Playhouse (me, too!)
What I need: rain boots (CoM's getting these for her)
long-sleeve shirts
warm coat (I'm looking around for these)
I'll wear: a rainbow outfit: rainbow skirt, shirt, gloves, hat, jacket and tights (help!)
I'll read: fairy princess books (any leads?)
children's Bible (age appropriate) (Still looking for this one!)
What I'd love: the life-size (full-size?) "playhouse I can take my babies in, my stroller, my know, all of it" (again, me, too!)

My wishlist:
What I want:
a manicure - I haven't had one in 9 years
Christmas decorations (all ours were left/lost in MS)
Good TEAs
a nice blender
a Women's devotional or study Bible
a good pair of brown boots like I pinned (thanks my Grace gals!) to pinterest
What I need: Binders for school
Printer paper & ink
hair care items (barrettes, ponytail holders, braiding helps)
I'll wear: sweatshirts
yoga pants (I LOVE my yoga pants)
longish skirts
I'll read: Love Inspired Suspense
Terri Blackstock
Dee Henderson
Counseling Books (okay, yeah, that should go up with "I need")
What I'd love: money to move on :D
a makeover - I haven't had one since my wedding more than a decade ago.

I know it's early but we've been saving up all year for this and the cd matures next month. If we don't have a plan we won't have anything left for Christmas.

I want to buy a tree this year - one we can decorate and that will last for years (unless someone has one they'd like to donate? I'm not below begging!)
We're also looking for an Operation Christmas Child location. We have $25 to spend (set aside, $20 plus the $5 for shipping) for that, plus the girls are giving up some of their toys and clothes this year for some other child who wouldn't get a Christmas otherwise.

How does your family celebrate the holidays? We posted pics today on Facebook of the girls carving their pumpkin and then the finished product. We're hoping to bake the pie tomorrow (a missing nut on my $15 blender really puts a kink in that plan!). We don't do halloween but we do celebrate bringing in the Harvest, so all fall will be a celebration! We have Thanksgiving and Christmas. What are some of your family traditions?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fall - or Harvest - Celebration: Exodus 23:16

Fall is in the air: leaves are dropping, pine straw covers the ground, the morning air has a bit of a nip in it.

My family does not celebrate Halloween for many reasons; however, it is only recently that we have begun participating in community Fall Festivals.
CoM & LB love to see the fall decorations, the pumpkins, the scarecrows, the fall wreaths and to experience the fun fall feeling in the air.
This year, LB helped make the above wreath - our very first fall celebration wreath. We started with a basic Dollar Tree wreath from Christmas last year. We wrapped it with a string of Christmas lights, the clear kind, 20 bulbs, and went from there.
Last year at Christmas, the girls gathered pine cones. We scented them with vanilla oil and baked them in the oven for 15 minutes. They've kept all year long. LB helped me take beading wire and wrap the cones to the wreath, spaced out in what she deemed acceptable placing.
We then took some of my wire-wrapped forms and wrapped them to the top of the wreath.
I also ordered some gold beads for crafting from Oriental Trading Co. and we cut them in half, tying them together and wrapping the wreath in the beads.
Finally, we took some autumn themed sheer ribbon and tied a bow. We took the remaining ends and threaded more gold beads with them. We secured the bow with more wire and some "acorn-esque" beads and mounted a wooden cross bead in the middle of the bow.
Our plan is to reuse the pine cones, the gold beads and lights to welcome the Christmas season.

What are some ways that your family celebrates Fall? Do you trick-or-treat? Carve pumpkins? Do you go all out for Thanksgiving?
What are your plans for fall? Let's go out this year and really celebrate the fruit of our labors, giving thanks to our Maker for the many blessings we have received (even the lessons in the struggles and sorrow of life).

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


CoM's birthday is Saturday and she wants a princess tea party. We were discussing a "proper" English tea, and she decided that instead of CAKE she wants SCONES. So now I have several recipes to try, but am working on this one tonight, I think. I'll post pictures along the way to show how they turn out.

One variation, also borrowed/learned, is to freeze the dough for roughly 30 minutes before baking. I may try to wait until Friday to bake, but there's no reason not to mix it up now. Suggestions? The clotted cream will take the longest, I think, if I'm brave enough to try it! I may "cheat" and just whip my heavy cream into a nice tart topping.
Question: will frozen berries work, especially if I let them thaw before hand?

Trying this out, borrowed from a fellow blogger...

2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably a low-protein brand such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup currants (I used dried cranberries, and chopped them into smaller bits)
1 cup heavy cream
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425°F.
2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl or work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Whisk together or pulse six times.
3. If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. Stir in currants. If using food processor, remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add currants and pulse one more time. Transfer dough to large bowl.
4. Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
5. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Form scones by either a) pressing the dough into an 8-inch cake pan, then turning the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, cutting the dough into 8 wedges with either a knife or bench scraper (the book’s suggestion) or b) patting the dough onto a lightly floured work surface into a 3/4-inch thick circle, cutting pieces with a biscuit cutter, and pressing remaining scraps back into another piece (what I did) and cutting until dough has been used up. (Be warned if you use this latter method, the scones that are made from the remaining scraps will be much lumpier and less pretty, but taste fine. As in, I understand why they suggested the first method.)
6. Place rounds or wedges on ungreased baking sheet and bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Creative Learning Possibilities and Questions:

Okay, so I'm struggling this time to make it through the school term. I'm in a bit of a funk & with LB's seizures, it makes concentrating on my schoolwork quite challenging.
Taking LB to another neurologist tomorrow. She's not able to turn doorknobs & actually open doors. I thought it was something she'll grow out of but right now am just hoping that it's a symptom or side-effect of her medicines. Anyone have feedback on Depakote or Clonidine? She's taken the Depakote since October but started the Clonidine in February (ish). We've gone a bit backwards in her learning, as she seems to regress after seizure-activity episodes. Btw, guess who lost her second tooth? Yep! She's adorable :)
LB's First Lost Tooth

CoM is absolutely brilliant! She's scoring at around 5th grade 9th month in her math and 8th grade 10th month in her vocabulary, while her reading comprehension is around 10th grade. Yay! Now just to keep her challenged and engaged while learning. Suggestions on keeping her interested? Maybe some "Learning through Play" ideas?

What are some ways that you are meeting your challenges? How are you approaching the oncoming fall/winter months? Are you ready for Christmas (we have CoM's birthday in just over 2 weeks, then Nonno's, then Thanksgiving, then we can finally focus on Christmas! Oh, remind me to post about the Feast of St. Nicholas. I want to do this....)

Blessings ~

Monday, August 27, 2012

Back to School...Back to Work

Our memory verse for school is 2 Timothy 2:15. It says that we should "study to show thyself approved, a workman unto God." Are we studying, working, learning and DOING for the glory of God?
A friend of mine commented in FB that we are creative as we were created by a Creator God. How are you allowing that creativity to shine in your lives today?

It's LB's birthday - she's 6 today! I almost died having this impossible birth (one of those rare instances when the guy tells you he can't have children and was just as surprised when the doctor told him he could!). I was on bedrest for about 6 months, then was preeclamptic (is that even a word?). I was minutes away from having a stroke that could have proven fatal to me and baby. She was born at 32 weeks, weighing in at 2 lbs, 15 oz; she was only 16.5" long - and when she curled up, one of the nurses called her a butterball turkey (she was actually a little smaller than that).
She has a seizure disorder, is developmentally delayed, loves to make up songs, celebrates life with everything she has, feels emotions very strongly, and is just so special. She loves with her whole heart, making mommy and sister the "BESTEST EVER!" in her world. :) My heart overflows with love for her.

So we're going to stay in a "castle" today. The BestWestern in Americus, GA, has a Windsor-style building (or a Windsor castle, not really sure, lol). She's dressing up in her favorite princess' gown (Aurora - Meemaw, bet you never knew it'd get THAT much use, hahahaha), we're doing our hair & nails and wearing make-up. The castle has a terrace, where we'll have a mini-party with just Mommy, Sister, Nonno and the Birthday Princess.

How do you celebrate your specials' birthdays?

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Wow, time really flies!
CoM went to her dad's for the summer. Congratulations to him and his wife on their second child, a baby girl. She should be born tomorrow morning - praying for a safe & healthy delivery.
CoM comes home on the 22nd :) We're so excited :)
I registered for summer classes in the Licensed Professional Counseling, 60-hour track.
We are negotiating a contract with Alpha Omega Publications for faith-based curriculum in our private, virtual (yes, ONLINE) school.
Tuition is very affordable as we are recently established and not yet accredited. We hope to seek accreditation within the next 3-5 years. Contact me for enrollment information and registration forms!
(Yes, that was a shameless plug!) Oh, and we do have dual enrollment availability for an accredited program ("GOVERNMENT APPROVED").

LB is still having seizures and complaining about chest pain, so we're headed back to the pediatrician for a referral to a specialist for her heart and a second opinion for her neurology on Monday. Please continue to lift her up in prayer. Her dreams are very disturbing to her and she is afraid to sleep at night.

We're getting the community services organization back up & running :) Just looking for interested board members and staff - interested?

How are you preparing for the new school year? Or is your family year-round learners - and when do you get a "break"?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Preparing for Summer Break

Wow, it's been a while since our last post.

CoM left to spend the summer with her dad. LB misses her already - so does the dog :'( (well, we all do, but it was cute seeing the dog curled up at LB's feet & following her around all day yesterday).

Working on some new prints. Bought some glow-in-the-dark paint & working on some "magical faeries". CoM approved before leaving yesterday. LB is helping me design some of the friendly creatures.
Finishing up the research and compiling data for work. Hope to have this thing pulled together. CoM tested in the 98th %ile across the board with the CAT/5. LB has learned her alphabet all the way through :), is experimenting with spelling and rhyming words. She's starting the reading adventure & has CoM to thank for the spelling lessons :)

I begin the masters program for Licensed Professional Counseling through Liberty University's Online program in a couple weeks. Looking forward to learning more and attaining my specialization in child mental health/play therapy. I can't wait to begin working with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, at risk families and children who need a voice.

What are your plans for the summer?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Creative Me, Creative You! Enjoying our Creative Blessings

I am a very opinionated individual. Ask any of my family members. They'll be GLAD to tell you! An acquaintance of mine posted a link to a report on Youthful Tendency Disorder. Here's the link and my response:,248/
Omword! Seriously? I love the fact that my 5 year old has a "disconnect" with reality. I dance with her in the rain, hop over the white parking stripes, run shadow-to-shadow...I break down 3-step jobs into tiny pieces for my hyper 8 year old. We play together and enjoy life together. Isn't that what God wants? For us to take care of our children? To grow them according to His Way? Doesn't He delight in us and dance over us with singing and rejoicing?
I think the break with reality is in the parents' heads. They're parents! Stop being so responsible that you can't laugh when your child runs over and says "Chicken Butt!" (Which may be inappropriate to us but is so funny for them to hear. And some of them do it just to get a reaction from us!) I was coloring in 1st grade - and getting my hand spanked with a ruler if I used my left hand instead of my right. However, my kindergartener HATES to color so we're stacking blocks, looking at letters everywhere, coming up with silly rhymes, etc. and encouraging her education through a more hands-on approach than a "hands-off".
What breed of adult are we creating when we tell a 4 year old to "grow up"?
We know the psychiatrist is right. Children play to learn how to deal with reality. They have to process what they've learned, experienced, felt and done throughout the day. I know for me, personally, if I have to stick to a strict routine, being force-fed information (work and researching curriculum, comparing publishers and available textbooks/workbooks), my brain goes into overload. I can either lay down & take a nap or get up and play with my kids. The one recharges my body. The other recharges my soul.
And maybe I'm just different, but for my autistic cousin, who is only 3 weeks older than my 8 year old, if I take a few minutes to engage in his fantasy play, I can get him to follow directions a lot better than when I get mad at him and grow frustrated. They pick up on our moods and affections.
Is there a true malady? Or is this just another way of adults feeling better about themselves because they've completely forgotten how to play? How to kick back and relax, just enjoy life? 

Do we need to teach responsibility to our children? Absolutely. Do we need to teach them to squelch their creativity? Horror fills my voice as I yell "NO!" I love reading CoM's plays and stories, watching her design and create something from my scraps. I love to listen to LB sing her songs, watching her dance and march to a beat only she can hear. I dread the day that she no longer creates or performs because someone told her to grow up and she's not good enough. 
Parents, where have you failed in this today? Or where have you succeeded? I'm not perfect. I had a terrible headache all day. I took some medicine but ended up yelling at the girls because they were yelling at each other. As soon as the medicine kicked in, LB took me for a walk. We hopped and skipped all the way to the mailbox. I felt 10x better by the time we returned and was ready to interact with the creative twosome. 

(I have to admit, though, that as much I as try to appreciate my girls' creativity, finding my 5 year old playing with her spit [ewww!] is a little off-putting.)

Oh, and I could keep writing. Talking about how those in the prisons need to learn to take responsibility for their own actions, how parents need to start taking responsibility for their children and start being parents. Our minds and our culture just are not programmed for such thinking. And yes, there are days I could do better. When I recognize that, I ask their forgiveness and we try again. How humbling to have my 8 year old gifted daughter climb into my lap and ask me to play with her. These days are too fleeting. Don't grow up yet, baby! Be a little girl just a little longer. Don't rush through life - enjoy it! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Professional Biography?

How does this sound, my friends? "Emma Shows is a graduate student at Liberty University and will begin pursuing a Master's in Professional Counseling this Fall. As a certified professional counselor, she hopes to empower and encourage individuals in life skills and personal growth. Her goal is to work with children in the ministry and call of our Lord Jesus Christ. Emma is a student member of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC)." I could also say that I am a newbie to homeschooling. That my children both have special needs for behavior and medical issues. I felt that a more professional approach for job applications would be better but feel that it lacks a personal touch.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Homeschool Challenge

I have been accused of not taking my children's education seriously. I have also been accused of not using nationally approved curriculum, ignoring national and state core standards. My answer? GOOD.

So CoM went to her dad's for Spring Break. He asked for an extra week because she doesn't attend a "real" classroom. I prepared her work, staying up the night before she left to check the lessons against the standards for 2nd grade. I had ordered the BrainQuest for 2nd Grade, copyright 2008, and wanted to send something that would not be a hassle for her grandmother and aunt to use for her.
While she was gone, I utilized my time researching state and national standards, comparing curriculum, verifying that I already use 3rd grade math with CoM, often staying up until 1 or 2 in the morning just to discover new and exciting methods of instruction. I learned A LOT.
LB was still home with me, so she would stay up as late as she could, watching the Goodnight Show, and being Mommy's little helper. Now, since LB is a tactile learner, we played a lot of games. We stacked blocks for math, we played in homemade sand (thanks, Pinterest!), we worked on jewelry, we read books, studied letters, and I even introduced her to my computer. She learned how to navigate really well. Oh, and we have been working on our rhyming words. We did coloring sheets, painting, building, reading and we even spent a couple days where I worked on the computer and she learned how to work the Roku remote and watch "her shows" on Netflix. I took her swimming and to the playground to get her heart moving and my dad and I took her to the mall to get some walking exercise and practice her manners.
While I was doing all this research, teaching my child, I also had to maintain the house/apartment, tend to my family's needs (including the dog), and I managed to make several pieces of jewelry to go in our Etsy store. New material came in so LB helped me cut it out and prep it for stitching. I reorganized the school room, finally laminated my wall boards, threw up a manuscript sheet (which gave LB another opportunity to work on her letters - one for which she volunteered!). I probably have logged the same amount of time developing this week's lessons as any other (public/private) school teacher. I have my dad's experience, familiarity working with my mom, and the 16 years I've spent as a teacher's aide or a substitute teacher. And now, in my new position, I am researching and developing curriculum for a virtual academy. All the research must meet CORE Standards. (Did I mention this as part of my busy 2 weeks?)

I have researched AOP, CLP, R&S, TGHTGW, etc. I've compared items through, buying what looks informative and easy to apply. We are gearing up to go in many directions with work and I grow excited by the prospects. But then I get told that I'm not good enough because I'm not a teacher and that my daughter's education is lacking. Could I have finished my education degree? Yes. But that's not the direction in which God has led me. Instead, I have my business management degree that will come in handy in operating another branch of the ministry/charity. I have my psychology degree in Christian counseling. I start the masters program for Licensed Professional Counseling in the fall and I will begin my specialization in Child Mental Health with techniques in Play Therapy at the same time. I am blessed to be able to implement what I learn into our lives and have happier, more inquisitive and expressive children as a result. We're learning 2 foreign languages, music, dance, art, science, reading and language arts (okay, I could do more with the grammar and CoM will be surprised when she reviews her lessons for the week), and we're starting a session on ancient civilizations. We learn through manipulatives and books, arts and crafts, computer and just spending time with each other.
In the end, I am satisfied with my daughter. I've been reassured that next year I can have her tested in the public school system but not to worry or stress overmuch. I'm encouraged by friends and HSLDA attorneys to continue pressing on for the prize. What prize? A child who is excited to learn and does so, actually remembering that which she has experienced. So what if she doesn't rank "gifted" by national education standards? So what if she's not a "prodigy" according to their definition? So what if she's limited by time constraints and test anxiety in the public school policy? We know the truth of her performance in school because we're here with her, encouraging her and working with her. The same for LB - so what if she has a "developmental delay"? I've seen her blossom these last few weeks. Yes, in some ways she's regressing. In others, she's progressing. I can compromise with her because I'm thrilled to just have her for my daughter.
My little blooms are blossoming and my garden is beautiful!

What are some ways you encourage your children to learn and experience the world around them?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Physical Education
Bodies in Motion – written for an upper-level P.E. class that ran away with a life of its own.
If you have a Wii, PS2/PS3 or an XBOX Kinect, it will be easy to keep track of your weight, calories burned and your overall “points”.

This table is for your personal use. Turn it in at the end of the week to show your progress.
Week Start Date
Target Weight (Gain or Loss)*
Healthy Eating &
Healthy Snacks
Time Spent on Exercise
Calories Burned
Hours of Sleep per Night
Week End Date


* For target weight gain – I weighed 110-115 at the beginning of the school year. While I’m in a healthy weight, I needed to gain a few more pounds. 120-125 is the topmost of my target weight and that’s what I aimed for; I now hover between 118-125. While I’ve gained the weight I needed, I now need to tone and strengthen. So that’s what my personal workout routine is geared toward. I am also “border-line diabetic” so I have to control my eating habits.
Our bodies convert natural sugars into energy. Protein and calcium help our bodies keep the sugars in balance. I currently have a Vitamin-D/Calcium deficiency because my body cannot process protein properly, so end up with a build-up of too much excess. This excess of junk in my body leads to fatigue, dizziness/syncopation, fuzzy thinking and mis-speaking. Exercise helps our bodies regulate our internal functions, our chemical make-up and needs, better. Healthy eating helps our bodies get the necessary nutrients: vitamins, minerals, etc., that they require. Sleep also helps our bodies recover and rejuvenate. We expend loads of energy and our bodies need to replenish the energy. Our bodies also need to rest. When our bodies and our minds can rest, we are recharged, renewed, and ready to face the new day.
The Bible tells us that God’s mercies are new every morning*. It also tells us that we can rest in Jesus by giving Him our burdens*. When we become overwhelmed by our busy-ness or are anxious about our upcoming exams, work deadlines or other obligations, we tend to forget to rest. We waste our energy on worrying about the things we cannot control. So practice letting go of the excess build-up of junk in our bodies, all the chemicals, the poisons and the mixed emotions our anxiety produces within us, and find your rest*. Go work out, read a good book, study the Bible, enjoy a nice cuppa, listen to some praise and worship music or something that relaxes the soul, and enter into the presence of our Lord. 

For my non-Believer friends, you, too, can find physical rest by exercising, reading a good book, relaxing with a cuppa and enjoying some music. Take a bubble bath. Experiment with aromatherapy. Pamper yourself with items found around the house.
When you realize that there’s more, that the stress and anxiety are too much to handle alone, you can always call or email me! I would love to share the peace that passes all human knowledge and understanding*. There’s a free listening ear here, or a shoulder to cry on, laughs to be had, friendship to share. Know, too, that you are always in my thoughts and prayers.

One of my favorite ways to “rest” is to put on some boogie music and let go with my girls. We dance the stress away, even if it’s only for 5-10 minutes. I especially like to put on the praise & worship, dance to the good stuff, and then have a session of worship where we Sign our prayers and praise. 

What’s one of your favorite ways to de-stress at the end of the day or workweek? Or your favorite blends of joe or tea?

*God’s mercies are new every morning: Lamentations 3:22-23

 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
*Jesus gives us rest: Matthew 11:28-30
 “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
*Let go of anxiety: Philippians 4:6-9
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you
 *Peace beyond human comprehension: Philippians 4:7; Ephesians 3:14-21
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

New International Version.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Anatomy - a girl's body

"Mommy, why do boys have dingies?" ~ LB
"Mommy, what is that hanging-down thingy?" ~ LB
"Mommy, do I have what you have? Will mine be as big as yours? I hope they're bigger!" ~ CoM

Yeah. So we're studying the human body this week. All men and all women have basically the same things. We don't have the same privates, true, but all the pieces are still there. Oh, and women have one more thing men don't. We're not going there.
We have 5 senses. So last week we covered our eyes with a black scarf and stuffed cotton in our ears. We were blind and Deaf. We learned the importance of learning Sign Language - and this week we're doing a reinforcing class in Sign. We bought a magnetic book on the human body so CoM can put together a body. Heart, lungs, ribs, arm bone, leg bone, hands, intestines, liver and kidneys. Each page has something new for her to discover.
I bought CoM an American Girls book on self-care and hygiene. She's an avid reader and seems to soak up information like a sponge. I'm very proud of our girl. LB wants to do what sister does, of course, so is learning by watching and doing.
This looks to be a very interesting week, then we're off for a week of Spring Break and celebrating the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord.
What are some ways to care for our bodies beyond the regular bath/hair/teeth routines that are affordable and effective?
What are your favorite at-home spa recipes?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Good Day

Remember the Beakman's World science show?
Saturday science class we watched the episodes, as found on Netflix instant play, that discuss the phases of the moon and about the sun. 45 minutes of education in a funny, informative way the girls didn't mind learning. Yay :)
Afterward, they watched the first episode of Adventures in the Book of Virtues, which used to air on PBS and fulfills literacy requirements.
Then we made sandwiches and went on a picnic to the park, Chehaw Park, and the girls made several new "friends". We stayed out for about 2 hours, running the dog, playing with the girls, sliding and swinging, hiding and just having fun.
All-in-all we had a good, learning-filled, day.
How did you kick off your weekend?

Friday, March 2, 2012

I'm a Sap!

Part of our school curriculum calls for faith-based videos. I've avoided reading and investigating the Soul Surfer, Bethany Hamilton, because of the whole fad thing.
However, I sat the girls down tonight, after dinner, and found Soul Surfer on Starz OnDemand. I have to say - I really missed out on something. The girls have so many questions about "what happened and why she was so excited because she lost the nationals, & how did she get two trophies - what did the girl in black mean by sharing the win?"
How many opportunities for growth have we missed because we value our differences and independence?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Called vs. Equipped

When I go to church and Sign during the song service part of worship, I do not go to have others notice me. I only Sign if I feel led to do so or if someone makes the request. There have been times I've been asked and was extremely reluctant, sluggish in the motions and unable to "perform" - usually there is someone else there able to follow the Holy Spirit's leading. There have been times when I went in with a "look at me!" mentality and messed up severely until I had an attitude adjustment.
While I enjoy Signing and it is my way to worship, I am embarrassed and confused when others approach me to tell me how it blesses them. Not only that,  but I know that I still have so much training to undergo.

I feel led to go to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where there is a strong Deaf community. I can take ASL through the New Mexico School for the Deaf. I can also use the Christian counseling degree working with the church systems in Santa Fe (I've already talked to a pastor there and the Methodist superintendent -they're looking forward to our coming!) There's also Southwestern College, which offers a certification program in Child Mental Health, which I can take while attending Liberty University. I believe God is calling me to work with children and with the Deaf. I believe this is where I am supposed to go.

I have no idea how we're getting to Santa Fe or when we'll be there. I have no idea where we'll live or what employment I'll find. I'm trying to trust God to provide our way and to open the doors for us to get there. I've already posted that obedience is a hard one for me. Walking in Christ's footsteps, faithfully picking up my cross and following Him daily - it's a hard choice. This is where submission comes into play and honestly, I don't know if I can. I don't know if I can face reality and the hardships that await. I don't know if I can submit to His perfect plan and succeed on the path He's set before me. So I waiver in my fear and I balk at the future, holding myself back.

How often have you felt that gentle nudge, that leading, that pleading within and ignored it? How often have you known that something best awaits but you've told yourself that you're not ready? You can't - you still need more knowledge, more training?
Do you believe that only the equipped can serve others? That only the "experts" can understand? How many times have you had an encounter that opened your eyes or spoke to your soul?

Here's trusting in God to make a way financially, to prepare my heart, and to ready my mind to follow Him.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Traditions, Rituals and Habits - a Necessity?

I'm going to apologize ahead-of-time for the disjointed thoughts that will just kind of spew out.
 Okay, I'm a firm believer in unschooling. We spend the day watching educational videos, writing stories and plays, working with art and discovering science. However, in addition to trying to blend Charlotte Mason, Montessori and unschooling, we also do worksheets. We are combining lapbooking with a unit study on the solar system.
It does seem that a little structure and routine in our daily lives is a beneficial thing. It is necessary to a child's growth and development that they learn responsibility through chores. It is necessary that they learn self-discipline through chores and through completing their daily assignments.
How do children learn? Through imitation and play. LB learns spelling, math and reactions through imitating her sister. She learns by watching her granddad instruct her sister in the art of cooking (Italian, yum!) and recognizes scientific reactions weeks beyond the art lessons (oil & water, food coloring, air lighter than water). CoM learns through watching the videos and reading on her own. She'll then practice narration and reteach sister and me.

I have been sadly lacking in my own self-discipline when it comes to Bible study and prayer - not that I don't pray for my friends and family. I just lack in the "morning and evening" time spent with God. How are my children going to learn the importance of relationship if I don't make time for that most important relationship in my own life?
How do I teach my children the importance of sleep to the body and rest to the mind if I don't practice a bedtime routine where we shut off the television, turn off all the lights but the dimmed lamp, and spend time together in prayer and reading bedtime stories? How am I to teach them about sweet dreams if I don't pray a good night's rest over them?
The psalmist says that we are to seek Him and praise Him all our lives. God says we are to call Him and seek Him with everything we are. Jesus went often throughout the day to spend a little quiet time with His Father for renewal and refreshment. Jesus said we are to "seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added" unto us, our lives, our ministries, our families. The psalmist says that if we "delight yourself in the Lord and He will grant the desires of your heart" - delighting ourselves in the Lord comes through obedience to His laws and His words; the most important of which Jesus says is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul...." and then He goes on to say that we are to "Love your neighbor as yourself". He also says that we are to be kind to one another, be gentle in spirit and in dealing with one another - all these behaviors and ways of treating each other will delight ourselves in the Lord. Spending time building a relationship with God will delight Him and will refresh our spirits.
Now, how do I teach my children to enjoy not just the beauty in the created but to delight and renew themselves in the Creator?

Monday, February 20, 2012

CoM's homeschool blogging page...

Not sure how to link one blog page to another, so here's CoM's homeschool blog. Feel free to enjoy her writing and learning experiences!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Little Fae, A Little Faith

Ever been so inspired by something you just want to work at it furiously for days?
Over the weekend I started rolling clay together. I wanted to make hand-made flower beads and see how they turned out. I went to put the finishing touch on the flowers, adding in leaves and hinting at details...only to see a face pop out, a dress or a hat appear. Without meaning to, just in applying slight pressure while I attached the petals, I pushed in an impression of eyes. I went ahead and continued working, creating several little friends. The girls are so excited about these that I've decided to see if I can sell the Faerie Friends and their Accessories at our Etsy store.

Keep checking back with us and see how we're doing.
I'm going to start letting CoM blog her daily assignments so be sure to follow along on our journey in homeschooling!

How often do you celebrate your children's imaginations? What are some ways that you share in their creative play?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Science in Art

Today CoM worked 3 pages of math - reading, addition and graphing. We had a bit of a misunderstanding because she is very much like her mama and tried making it harder than it needed to be but when she calmed down she had an "oh" moment and we were back to normal.
We went outside and learned about liquid/solid transformations*: water, oil and glycerin, food coloring. We dropped approximated a teaspoon of oil into the water, several drops, and watched them pull together. We dripped yellow, blue, pink and purple food coloring into the oil, separate spots, and watched as the food coloring sank through the oil into the water below. It mixed together and made a black shade. We looked through the jar of water/coloring, watching the sun filter through and turn into red. Very cool.
We took glycerin from CoM's soap-making kit, melted it down and mixed in a rose scent. We kept the colors separate and made our own forms, again using her kit. CoM made a fairy while I made hearts and LB made a flower and angel.
We also took water, food coloring, watercolor paint and water-based markers to construction paper. We dripped food coloring in various places onto the white paper. LB learned how mixing red and blue make purple, blue and yellow make green. They seemed to have fun learning how the liquids mixed or didn't, as the case may be. CoM dragged her water-loaded paintbrush through the paint and mixed colors together, watching how the paint thinned and spread across the paper.

What is your favorite Creative color?

*note: the school in which the girls are enrolled is an online private academy. They follow Maryland's standards for education. The curriculum/lesson plans used today was pulled from MD's education sites.*

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Our First Private Schooling Field Trip

So I enrolled the girls in SIRES Academy, an online private academy based in South Carolina. They offer two programs, one for Christian homeschoolers and one following a more liberal, or "public" schooling. SIRES follows the Maryland state standards for education - so it was an easy choice for us. They offer music, dance, theatre, art, computer, foreign languages, health, physical education and more in addition to the nation's normally required subjects.

As part of our curriculum we are required to take the girls on field trips. So today we went to Hilton, AL, and visited a covered bridge. We found river rocks, saw the "waterfalls", found out how cold the water is (and why we couldn't go swimming today!), had a picnic and chased the dog back and forth from the car to the creek.

We started CoM's home-ec today with basic stitching - up and down, in and out, basic stitching. She has an awesome basting stitch.

What are some ways to get back in touch with nature and our history?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Homeschooling in Art

Due to the girls' illnesses we ended up deciding, with the public school's support, to homeschool. The school was very helpful and eager to provide us with guidance in where to look or how to encourage the girls' learning.

This past week has been very hectic, dear readers, as LB doesn't like school! and CoM loves to learn but wants to focus on art.
Denver Art Museum has a whole education section for teachers, covering visual, dramatic and musical arts. We studied the African nkisi and the girls made their own faces out of clay. CoM then built a monkey man out of the Kinex she received from Meemaw for Christmas. Pictures will be uploaded soon.
Yesterday we got out the oven-baked clay and made our own beads. The girls agreed that Barbie and Ken would have a birthday together so we made a cake and a banjo. We followed the directions on the back of the box, allowed it to cool then painted. I pierced the clay for the banjo before baking it. Once the banjo was cool and dried I then strung it with denim thread and hot-glued it in place. This also allowed me to build in a "bridge" to produce "sound" (two threads, similar tension). The cake we painted pink then hot-glued three pink roses on top. Ken played Barbie a song this morning and they sang Happy Birthday.

Silly, beautiful, Creative them!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year!

Okay, okay - a little late, I know. 3 days...4 days...who's counting?

So the past several days we've been getting CoM and LB ready to head back to school. The shirts are the wrong color and I ordered them online, so no receipt. I decided to try to dye them. They're a couple shades of royal blue darker but not the navy blue for which I was going. Back to the drawing board there...

Bad news for LB - the neurologist suggested that my 5 year old fakes having a seizure during her sleep at night. Even though we've taken video and pictures, we've talked to her - he even gave her an ekg in which he himself stated that she had frontal lobe activity. I think it's time for a second opinion. We're still waiting to hear from Children's Medical Services whether or not we still qualify for their assistance and if so, whether or not they'll approve a second opinion - maybe even consult with their neuro who travels down from Atlanta.

In other news, CoM has spent the day doing research on the Solar System - something she has been fascinated with since she was about 3. She shrieked when I told her I wanted a 3 page report. Then sat down and has written several pages of: notes.

So I'm looking into colleges for the Master's program in Psychology/Counseling. I want to focus on children, play/art therapy, and I want to be able to get my Psy D. Any suggestions?

How are you ringing in the new year?