Friday, June 27, 2008

Prayer Request

Please be praying for Kendra and her little guy Joe at Preschoolers and Peace. There little guy has been admitted to hospital and is battling a very serious virus.

Also please pray for friends of ours who had a ultrasound this week and got some concerning news. They are going for testing to better determine what, if anything is going on with their little person. Peace for them as they wait. Waiting is so brutal!

Have a blessed weekend. We plan to berry pick, go to the beach and watch fire works.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Frugal Decor

I love a good deal on something I like. To find these kinds of things you need a good mix of patience, time and the ability to stick to a budget. We rent and have moved much in the last several years so investing any kind of real cash in decorating would be foolish for us. What I buy for this house may not work at all for the next. So I look in the clearance bins at home decor stores and the local thrift shops. People give away perfectly good household items because their color scheme changes or they tire of it. I like these people! I hit the jackpot in my last round at my regular places.

This is a finished wooden bowl. It is more beautiful then it looks in the picture. It now holds my fruit but could easily be used for a decor piece in the living room. Cost $2.

These are ink drawings of places in Montreal. There is nothing special about them except I really like them. I love the black and white and the detail. They make me want to be in the picture. We hung these in a set of three in our upstairs hall way.

Cost per drawing and frame $2.99 each at a local thrift store.

Framed print of Van Gogh. Cost $3.99

The mirror on the left was made in Italy and it is real metal.
It's quite nice. Cost $1.99
The vase on the right is beautiful and looks so antique.....shhhh it's aluminum but you wouldn't know unless you touched it. Cost $0.99
These are improving the look of my bathroom.
The little crock on the left is for our toothbrushes. Cost $0.99
The little bath pitcher and bowl wouldn't be every ones taste but I love these older kinds of things. It's not really old but looks it and I love the color. It sits on my bathroom counter.
Cost $3.99
Decorating to me is about having things you like and enjoy around you. Color also makes a big difference to me. When there are warm tones you love, it makes for a cozier more relaxing home to YOU.
I love visiting others homes to see what they have around them, to see what they enjoy and like. Trends are so not me :o)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Where Home Is

I read this post over at Girl Talk. It encouraged me in an area few things have. We have moved SO much in the last few years, it has concerned me at times for our children. This post helped me realize that our "home" is where we live and love together no matter the wall color or neighborhood. Where I am their mama, that is our home!

Each time I’ve visited Mom’s house recently, it looks different than the time before. Another room sits bare. The living room is stacked higher with more Dole fruit boxes, appropriately labeled.
The house has undergone a lot of changes over the years. In fact, although my parents lived in the same house for twenty-two years, our house never stayed the same. Mom’s daily effort was to make it more beautiful, comfortable, welcoming, and useful.
We aren’t a terribly sentimental family when it comes to stuff. My parents never spent too much time living in the past—there is so much to do in the present! So our home wasn’t about preserving memories so much as making more.

Finish reading here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pictorial Portfolio # 2

That time has come again where I am compiling pictures and samples of my daughters work for her portfolio. This will be my last paper portfolio. Starting next year I will be having "live portfolios" with my friend Hester (hi hes) who will be my new accountability person.
It also means I end a great relationship with my old teacher Amber (hi amber) who has been a tremendous blessing to our family. I have worked with her for 3 years and will miss her!
Those of you not from Canada are probably baffled by the whole teacher accountability thing but hey it works for us :o)
Here are some of the other post from our 2007/08 year:

Handy Dandy Homeschool moms....
helping with the structures class at our co-op in May.
I am blessed with a very creative and supportive homeschool community in my church.

Here are the cuties learning in the structures class.
My daughter is in the white shirt front and center.

Painting in the co-op art class.
They did sand art and marble painting plus alot more.

Sculpting in the co-op art class. This was such a treat.
One of our pastors is a trained artist and taught sculpting to our kiddos.

Building structures out of connecting straws .
These things are so much fun!

The below picture and this one should be switched. We were learning about Taxonomy related to Botany. We gathered all our shoes and but them in phylum's, classes, genus, species etc. just like botanist do with plants.

The beginning pile ready to be classified.
The chomper guy was courtesy of my 4 year old son.

Working out capacity in our math... estimating how many liters to fill different containers.

This things is so cool. It is a gear toy. You connect all the pieces and there is a motor that turns one crank and it makes the whole thing move. They spent hours with this one.

Our pill bug habitat.

There were more pictures but somehow they were deleted off the digital camera.

Oh well! You probably couldn't stand anymore pictures anyway!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mercy again!

Thank you ladies for your kind words of encouragement!
Perspective is a wonderful thing. After sharing my struggles with my husband he sent me out with my bible and some time. Very refreshing to be alone with my favorite book and space to repent and think. I asked my husband what was most important to him that I accomplish. This is good for me to ask because I can often expect too much of myself. I don't like to ask for help because I WANT to do it myself. This is a deep seated sin in me that God is faithfully massaging out of me. His patience is amazing.
My main things:
  • My time with the word and prayer (crucial)
  • Exercise (makes me feel and think so much better)
  • Finishing school
  • Eating well

Such relief! I still have my project lists. Those desired accomplishments and goals are listed in my little planner but on those days when life gets crazy, for what ever reason, I go to my main things. It is amazing how a little planning and fore thought make such a difference.

The Lord opened my eyes to see that my misery comes from an excessive focus on my own lack instead of the rightful focus on his abundance. At it's core, this is not trusting in his perfect accomplishment on the cross. To reject my being weak is a rejection of the gospel. I see his strength clearly when I embrace and rejoice in my own lack and inability. So I have been giving thanks that I can't and it has fed my soul.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 8-10

Monday, June 16, 2008

Being the Mama

Ya know...being the mama isn't so easy sometimes. In light of my history with baby losses and this much desired pregnancy going so well...I feel tempted to guilt about struggling. I don't want to be mama today. I want to be on vacation, alone! There I said it!

It "feels" like every thing is an uphill mountain climb right now. Being pregnant at almost 40 is physically very different from 30....and this pregnancy has just taken a toll on me. I am so grateful and try to keep that at the forefront but feel I am neglecting so much simply to survive. I am neglecting my blog for one. I have many thoughts and ideas but have perpetual baby brain so actually posting something articulate is hopeless. I feel I have been neglecting many friendships simply to put my energy where it has to be...with my husband and kids. We are still doing school and will be till July because we moved and ditched school due to a very sick mama for 6 weeks. Not to mention all the moving projects that still need doing.

I have all these desires to be spending way more time in my kitchen...making my own yoghurt, bread from scratch and homemade snacks. This isn't a burden but a desire and yet the energy just isn't there. I have two choices...self pity (oh so easy for me) or doing the next thing, trusting in God's perfect plan for me. I feel so limited right now, so slow in mind and body and it's not even hot yet. He is teaching me so much about the end of myself. My self-sufficiency is laughable. It is good for my soul yet painful along the way. I fight the temptation to feel like a failure because God has given me the desire of my heart in this new little life. Why can't I be content without performing with passion and drive like normal.....ultimately it is because I still must think that it earns me some favor in his eyes...even alittle bit.

So I tell my "feelings to take a hike" and keep preaching the gospel to this tired body and heart....knowing he is faithful and will carry me. That I am never alone and left to myself as I might think. What a relief! It's so strange to be feeling so much one way but battling with your mind in a complete other direction. I can only believe this is a part of renewing ones mind and walking in faith.

I have always found this poem to be such an encouragement in these times.

Do the Next Thing

At an old English parsonage down by the sea,

there came in the twilight a message to me.
Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven
that, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
like a low inspiration, 'Do the next thing.'

Many a questioning, many a fear,
many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer,
do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on omnipotence, safe 'neath His wing,
leave all resultings, do the next thing.

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
working or suffering be thy demeanor,
in His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
the light of His countenance, be thy psalm.
Do the next thing.

Author unknown

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Container Garden

We moved in to our new place the beginning of May. The yard is smaller then we have had in many years. Planting a garden in the ground would have taken much of the kids play space so we decided to plant in containers this year. I didn't think I would like it much but it is going well. Getting more sun would be helpful! For those of you in the north west, you will know what I mean. Here's our container tour.

This is a little detour inside of the house first. I received this Flame Red Bromeliad for Mother's Day. I love this plant! First time I saw it I fell in love....and I don't typically fall for plants. It is the reddest flower I have ever seen and it is so unusual.
This is another Mother's Day gift. I didn't plant this one, though
I would like to take credit for it :o)
It has become even more beautiful in the week since I snapped these pictures.

These are a variety of flowers. The middle pot are butterfly friendly plants we planted to go with Exploring Creation Botany...our butterfly garden.

More butterfly friendly plants.

These are my herbs. There is lavender, mint, basil, onions, cilantro, parsley plus a few others. The far left is a green pepper plant my son so wanted to buy at the nursery. He takes the care of it very seriously. I am enjoying going out back to grab herbs for our dinner.

Here are my 4 different types of tomatoes. The center large pot is a cucumber we plan to grow up instead of out. I didn't get a picture of my strawberries. So looking forward to those maturing.
Everything has grown so much in the last little while. Once the sun comes (if it does) I will retake pictures in a few weeks. We are having a blast with our container garden. I love the lack of weeding associated with containers.
We also have several Stellar Jays nesting in our backyard. We have seen hummingbirds and tons of dragonflies. Proves to be a fun summer around here.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Francis Schaeffer on Education

I came across this article in my reading and found it thought provoking, applying to Christian schools and homeschool alike.

From a speech given in 1982...
Now, moving from public schools to private schools, what is the priority? Notice I am not saying Christian schools, but all private schools, including Christian schools. If you are really going to do something here, you have to think larger than your own interest. What we must do in the private schools, including the Christian schools, is to stand against those who have done so much to ruin our public schools in not allowing them to get a hold on the private schools, and specifically, the Christian schools, through a control of the curriculum. What we should be doing is struggling to see that the Christian school's curriculum is not controlled by those who have with their world view ruined the public schools.
This does not mean that the state does not have a legitimate interest in the safety of the pupils in such a thing as a firedoor. There are Christian schools that have said the state has no right even to tell them not to have a fire trap. That is not so. The state has a responsibility to say that a group of people meeting in a building like this we are meeting in have exit signs around the room, so that if there is a fire you will not all burn to death, and that is equally so for the kids in school. So the issue is not something like fire doors. The issue is that they must not begin to bring the same destructive teaching into the private schools by the back door of curriculum control that they have brought so dominantly into the public schools. We must not allow them to bring in through the back door a control of the curriculum and especially at the very point where the Bible's content is denied and contaminated. Therefore, the protection of the Christian school curriculum is another one of the priorities, which Christians ought to be consciously and intelligently standing for.
However, let me say another side of this question of the Christian school and our protection of it. While we are saying that the Christian school is not to allow its curriculum to be corrupted, we must also say that the private school, and specifically the Christian school, should give a good education.
We are to say we are going to control the curriculum. We are not going to let the state bring in the materialistic view as the final reality through the back door. But if we are going to say that with any validity the Christian schools must be giving a really good education. It should not just be a matter of not teaching what is wrong in a twisted education that rules out a Creator. Our Christian schools should not primarily be negative oriented. It is to be positive.
It is not just to be negative. It should be a superior education, if you are going to really protect the Christian school. It should certainly teach the students how to read and write and how to do mathematics better than most public schools enjoy today. It should do that but it should also appreciate and teach the full scope of human learning. Christian education is indeed knowing the Bible, of course it is, but Christian education should also deal with all human knowledge. We can think of what I said previously about the humanities. Christian education should deal with all human knowledge - presenting it in a framework of truth, rooted in the Creator's existence, and in his creation. Real Christian education, if we are going to protect our Christian schools, is not just the negative side, it is positive, touching on all human knowledge; and in each case, according to the level of the students, showing how it fits into the total framework of truth, the truth of all reality as rooted in the Creator's existence and in His creation. If the Judeo-Christian position is the truth of all reality, and-it is, then all the disciplines, and very much including a knowledge of, and I would repeat, an appreciation of, the humanities and the arts are a part of Christian education. Some Christians seem absolutely blind at this point.
If Christianity is not just one more religion, one more upper story kind of thing (as I speak of it in Escape From Reason and in my other books) then it has something to say about all the disciplines, and it certainly has something to say about the humanities and the arts and the appreciation of them. And I want to say quite firmly, if your Christian school does not do this, I do not believe it is giving a good education. It is giving a truncated education and it is not honoring to the Lord.
If truth is one, that is if truth has unity, then Christian education means understanding, and being excited by, the associations between the disciplines and showing how these associations are rooted in the Creator's existence. I do not know if you know what you are hearing or not. It is a flaming fire. It is gorgeous if you understand what we have in the teaching and revelation of God. If we are going to have really a Christian education, it means understanding truth is not a series of isolated subjects but there are associations, and the associations are rooted in nothing less than the existence of the Creator Himself.
True Christian education is not a negative thing; it is not a matter of isolating the student from the full scope of knowledge. Isolating the student from large sections of human knowledge is not the basis of a Christian education. Rather it is giving him or her the framework or total truth, rooted in the Creator's existence and in the Bible's teaching, so that in each step of the formal learning process the student will understand what is true and what is false and why it is true or false. It is not isolating students from human knowledge. It is teaching them in a framework of the total Biblical teaching, beginning with the tremendous central thing, that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. It is teaching in this framework, so that on their own level, as they are introduced to all of human knowledge, they are not introduced in the midst of a vacuum, but they are taught each step along the way why what they are hearing is either true or false. That is true education. The student, then, is an educated person. I just say in passing, John Harvard understood that when he founded Harvard University. It was founded with this whole thing in mind. The student, then if he is taught this way, is an educated person, who will have the tools to keep learning and enjoy learning throughout all of life. Is life dull? How can it be dull? No, a true education, a Christian education, is more than the negative, though that is there. It is giving the tools in the opening the doors to all human knowledge, in the Christian framework so they will know what is truth and what is untruth, so they can keep learning as long as they live, and they can enjoy, they can really enjoy, the whole wrestling through field after field of knowledge. That is what an educated person is.
In short, Christian education should produce students more educated in the totality of knowledge, culture and life, than non-Christian education rooted in a false view of truth. The Christian education should end with a better educated boy and girl and man and woman, than the false could ever produce. Protecting the Christian school must carry with it more than the negative; it should produce a superior education in all areas of. knowledge, and notice I am saying all areas of human knowledge.
Permission is granted in advance by the author to anyone who wishes to reproduce this speech in part or in full provided that the following credit is given wherever it appears:

Copyright by Francis A. Schaeffer, 1982, "Priorities 1982". Two speeches given at the L'Abri Mini-Seminars in 1982.
The above permission is granted for non-commercial purposes only, not the be reproduced for financial gain in any form. For additional information write to: Franky Schaeffer V Productions, P.O. Box 909, Los Gatos, CA 95031.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

It's a .......

All is well. He was being a little stinker and kept rolling his back to the ultrasound tech so they couldn't get a few measurements, but he is the perfect size and all looks wonderful.
So grateful!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

2008-09 School Year

Okay.....I think I have down what we are doing next year. Our local curriculum fair is this coming Friday, June 6 - 7. I like to see something before I buy it so I look forward to this weekend every year. It also forces me to plan for the fall now and get my ducks in a row.

Grade 3

Learning Language Arts Through Literature Book 3 (Yellow).
I chose this program this year for it's ease for me and my daughter. It covers copy work, dictation, literature, book studies, cursive and grammar. Though I don't intend to use it every year it is a nice fun way to do Language Arts. We will hit more rigorous grammar in a year or two. I really like Rod and Staff but find it very repetitive year to year. The idea of alternating these two curriculum's is appealing to me. I am considering a writing program of some kind but haven't decided yet.

Singapore Math 3A-3B and Intensive Practice 3A
I love Singapore Math! No more need be said:o)

Exploring Creation with Botany Science
We have recently started this and we love it. I plan to do another post on why we love it so much. If all goes well we hope to start the Astronomy book the beginning of 2009

American History
The Light and The Glory & From Sea to Shining Sea for Children by Peter Marshall US Mapping
I decided to stray from the Story of the World Path this year. Being an American myself, I so wanted to go more in depth with the Early History of the USA and all the great men and woman of that time. Living in Canada, I especially wanted to make sure my kids understand the history of where I was born. These narrative biblical accounts of Americas early history are just what I was after. My children are far more interested in history when told in a story. We plan to notebook our way through these books and add a good mapping program with it. We plan to read aloud several biographies through out the year.
There are activity books for these. If anyone has used them I'd love to hear what you thought of them.

We will continue piano and hope to get into a local weekly art class. I plan to continue with memorizing scripture and poetry weekly.


A Home Start in Reading by Ruth Beechick
Explode the Code
I love Mrs. Beechicks gentle non overbearing approach to teaching little ones to read. It's very natural and there is no pressure to get through a lesson. The Get Set for the code books give my little guy some "school work" like his big sister.

Singapore Kindergarten Math

My five year old is tagging along with science and history making his own little notebook as we go. We will cover some required socials with him but it is really very minimal.

So that's our laid back year. I am returning to note booking (except Math and LA). I got caught up in worksheets this year and it just isn't us. Not sure how that happened. I also am covering required Canadian Mapping and socials over the summer. Doing it in the summer allows me more freedom to do what ever through the year.