1/30/2015

Week In A Post: Jan 30 2015



- The flu has been here. Mr. N was sick two weeks ago. Like, really sick. Then we spent the better portion of Friday evening and night, up with all 3 kids, who were puking at the same time.

That was fun.

Littlest didn't get quite as sick as the other two--he stopped throwing up at around 1am. :( The saddest thing in the world is watching your 1 1/2 year old throw up. *sniff* He took it like a man though. He's still young enough so he forgets that he just threw up 5 minutes ago and now wants to play!

The girls, however, were up every hour the whole night and because I'm still nursing, Daddy was up with them.

And then, when I woke up at cough9amcough, the laundry was started, breakfast was on the table and both girls had been bathed. Did I marry a good man or what?

- Two days later, I got the flu. Blech.

- The next day, Mr. N got sick AGAIN.  Seriously? I think it's finally gone now. *looks around suspiciously*


Oldest's "snowman"
more like a snow.. head.

- The girls were playing store and Oldest told Middlest that the thing she was buying cost 70 pence. Can you tell we're using a literature-based homeschool curriculum? Love it.

- I was going to start a Bullet Journal, but now I'm not so sure. I actually went and bought a new journal (for less than $2), made it pretty, sat down with my nice new pen and STARED BLANKLY AT THE PAGE.

I just don't know if it's right for me. I've been using my Weekly To-Do chart for a while (ok. not as much since we started school) and it works well. When I use it. Ahem. Between my Weekly To Do and my Master To Do list, which is basically my Brain Dump, I feel fairly organized. ish.

The thing is, the Bullet Journal seems a little overwhelming to me right now. I like that there are only 5 or 6 spots for my To Do's on my Weekly chart. The thought of having an endless page to write all my To Do's, Notes and Tasks makes me twitch a little. I can barely keep up with laundry and dishes. And I *only* have 3 kids!

The jury's still out. Do you use a Bullet Journal? Your thoughts? Mr. N thinks it'll work great for him. :)
Middlest's snow.. head.



Yes, those are pink boots. Can you tell he has 2 older sisters?

- Remember my Classics Challenge? Well, I'm still plugging away at North and South. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to read all 12 books in one year. I'm only half-way through N and S and it's taken over a month, People! It's not that I don't like it--I do! I just have to read it slowly, a page or two at a time, before I pass out bed.

It probably doesn't help that I'm reading *several* other books besides. Which brings me to...

- I've been trying to read as much as I can about forming good habits from Charlotte Mason and others (bloggers mostly). We have a bit of an obedience and attitude problem around here. The kids have a few issues too.

I'm reading Volume 1: Home Education by Mason, Laying Down the Rails and blog posts, along with asking lots of advice on the AO Forum and from my friends in real life. I'd love to wax eloquently about Mason's thoughts on Habits, but there are a lot of bloggers out there who do a much better job. So click on my Blog Roll tab to check out some great Charlotte Mason blogs; specifically Afterthoughts and Simply Charlotte Mason's blog.
 


Did you know that you can hula-hoop dressed head to toe in snow gear? Yeah, me either.









The kids are enjoying winter. That makes 3 of us. ;)

1/26/2015

Too Social for Social Media

I quit Facebook a few months ago. And it feels so. good.

Since getting on Bookface in 2008 (I remember because that's when I was pregnant with Oldest.) I have taken several "breaks" when I felt like it was taking up too much of my time. I guess I didn't have enough self-control to just stay off of it... :-/

Well, I finally broke down and just deleted my account. I came to the conclusion that I'm too social for {some} social media. I'll tell you why, since you're dying to know:

- I want to talk to my friends on facebook like I talk to them in real life, and honestly, that doesn't always translate well. I either end up sounding too snarky or just plain mean. Or dumb.

- I don't necessarily want 300 of my closest friends "listening in" on those aforementioned conversations (that are NOT snarky and mean).


I realize that some of you are thinking, Duh, Catie. Why are you even trying to have those kinds of conversations with your friends on fb? That's not what fb is for.

It's because I'm social. I'm an extrovert. I like talking. And I can't stop myself! I can't help it. When I see Amy's or Linda's status update, I want to respond to it! I want to talk about it! But when I do, I'm so self-conscious about what I said that...

- it takes up way too much of my head-space. (wasn't that a nice segue?) Here I am, trying to keep up my home (Ha!), homeschool, and be a wife and mother, and all I can think about is that stupid thing I said on fb. It was ridiculous.

- I would much rather meet up with you in real life over coffee. Where I can see your face. And you can see mine. (unfortunately, don't have as much time for that these days as I would like!)

Don't get me wrong! It's not like I don't spend time on social media. I love Goodreads, Pinterest and blogging, obviously. But I feel like those things are more intentional.

On Goodreads I share what I'm reading and see what my friends and acquaintances are reading. Pinterest is a picture-sharing site so there's not a lot of space for me to say the wrong thing, and you have to actually go out of your way to read my blog, if you're interested in my random thoughts. Ok, maybe it's not that different, but somehow, for me, it's different enough.

I realize for a lot of you, you get what you want from bookface. No judgement here! Really! I think it's great for people who like to spy on other people like to share business-type stuff or inspiration or whatever! :) <---smiley face means I'm not being snarky! And I *do* miss connecting with those people whom I love but don't see often enough in real life. I think if I could have 10 or 15 friends on fb, I'd like it a lot more. But right now the time, stress and head-space I was spending on fb wasn't worth it to me.

As for Twitter, I feel like you have to actually be Someone to have followers. I don't have that many interesting things to share with everyone I DON'T EVEN KNOW. (Am I missing something about Twitter?)

So there you go. I'm too social for social media.  


Are you on fb? Why or why not? 

1/24/2015

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and OrganizingThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really, really liked this book. I'm ALWAYS trying to de-clutter but this book kicked me into high-gear.

There is just so. much. stuff. that we keep that we don't need or use!

A lot of the advice wasn't new to me (I read a lot of organizing/de-cluttering books) but a few things that I gained from the book were:

- if something doesn't bring you joy, GET RID OF IT. Obviously, that doesn't apply to some things (tax forms, pens, etc). But even though I like to think that I do a pretty good job of getting rid of stuff, I could do so much better.

For instance, I keep all of our old bill/credit card statements (or at least, the last year's) and not ONCE have I ever needed them. All of that information is available online, if I *do* need it for some strange reason. Get rid of it!

I also got rid of a TON of my clothing after reading this. I wasn't wearing most of what was in my closet and drawers. It was just taking up space (in my closet and my brain).

- the way you store things does matter. I've changed the way I fold our T-shirts and it's been life-changing! Ok. That was a stretch. It *is* nice, though. There's more room in our drawers and the shirts are easier to get to. (Note: I don't do a "perfect" job of folding them, like the way she suggests, but it still works.)

A few things I didn't agree with:

- she encourages you to get rid of things that don't bring you joy. I get that. But she takes it to the next (strange) level and personifies objects and talks to them. "[say to your socks], thank you for bringing me joy when I bought you." Ahem. She also sent a text message to her old phone, thanking it for it's hard work.

Moving on.

- she doesn't think you should store the same item in two different places. For example, keep all of your scissors in one place. (I'm sure she would say you only need one pair of scissors, but humor me.) I disagree.

I have *several* pairs of scissors; kitchen scissors, office scissors, knitting scissors, sewing scissors, hair scissors.. you get the idea. Do you know how much of a pain in the rump it would be if they were all in the same place in my house? I keep each pair of scissors in the place where I use them. Much more efficient and logical, if you ask me.

All in all, though, this book was highly, highly motivating and I very much recommend it. It was a fast, easy read and has me questioning and deciding(!) what to keep and what to give away.


View all my reviews

1/16/2015

Connect Five by Sheryn Binks

Have you ever noticed that a lot of great Christian singers come from Australia? Hillsong, Brooke Fraser, Newsboys... ok, the old Newsboys... and Rebecca St. James to name a few.

My personal favorite, who is also and Aussie, is Sheryn Binks. She has only one album out to my knowledge and it is wonderful. Even if you're not a Christian, you'll love Binks' record. I just know it. Give it a listen.

One of our favorite songs is Connect Five. (although my girls' favorite song is Little)

"I love the way that
You let me in a little 
On Your very
confidential plans.
If I were You,
I'd be thinking 
twice about me."

Amen, sister, amen.

I've been feeling ill-equipped lately. But the beautiful thing is, underneath it all, I have this unshakeable peace about where I am in life. (Which is a homeschooling Mama of littles, in case you were wondering.)

Sometimes I feel like saying to God, "Really? You've called *me* to do this? I can't do this! Do you even know me? Do you even know what I've done? How unprepared I am?

Actually? He does. *whew* And the thing I have to keep reminding myself is this--it's not about me. I know, you're shocked. It's not about how great of a mom I am or how well my children behave (insert hysterical laughter) or whatever else I could possibly do.

It's about Jesus' saving, wonderful, merciful grace in my life. I believe that with my whole heart.

I just forget it sometimes, you know?

More great lyrics from this song:

"When we get in 
to the deepest of Your plans,
I'm gonna need You 
to remind me how to hand
my silly self 
over to You." 

And one more..


"And if I'd let You in,
You'd change my whole life."

Enjoy this amazing song.


1/15/2015

Simple Woman's Daybook: January 15, 2015




Outside my window... the sun isn't quite up yet and it looks cold. Very cold. Brr.

I am thinking... about my day...school, playtime, chores, etc.

I am thankful... for our health! We have colds, but there are so many with the flu, so I'm thankful.

I am wearing... my jammies, robe and house shoes. (I wore my slippers out so I've dedicated a pair of shoes to "house only." This makes me sound old.)

I am creating... some knitted gifts for friends. Still. How long ago was Christmas?

I am going... to take the kids to "Open Gym" today.. they need to RUN.

I am wondering... how I'll ever homeschool THREE children. :)

I am learning... to slow down and take things one day (moment?) at a time.

Around the house... it's messy. But we live here, so...

In the kitchen... I'm trying to keep it clean(er). I've made a resolution--to not go to bed without doing the dishes every night. I'm doing ok. ;)

I am pondering... our school schedule and how I can make it more streamlined. With a 4 year old and toddler in tow.

I am reading... The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Seasons of a Mother's Heart, North and South.. and a few others.

One of my favorite things... is getting my sweet little boy out of his crib in the morning. There aren't many things sweeter in this life than a just-out-of-bed-sleepy-cuddly-toddler. *sigh*

A few plans for the upcoming week... a homeschool guild planning meeting and get together with homeschooling moms. And a Turning-Three-Years-Old birthday party!

Favorite quote for the day... "The days are long, but the years are short."

A peek into one of my days... playing on the couch...


 Ah. Don't you love winter?



Head here for more Simple Woman's Daybook entries.

1/14/2015

Wednesdays with Words: North and South





I've been reading North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (<--Free for Kindle) and I've come across so many great quotes and it has prompted me to participate in Wednesdays with Words at Ladydusk.

"London life is too whirling and full to admit of even an hour of that deep silence of feeling which the friends of Job showed, when 'they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him; for they saw that his grief was very great.' " -Margaret

At the begnning of each chapter Gaskell quotes someone else..

"We are the trees whom shaking fastens more." - George Herbert
And this one cracked me up:
"She had a bracelet on one taper arm, which would fall down over her round wrist. Mr. Thornton watched the replacing of this troublesome ornament with far more attention than he listened to her father. It seemed as if it fascinated him to see her push it up impatiently, until it tightened her soft flesh; and then to mark the loosening--the fall. He could almost have exclaimed--'There it goes, again!' "
And this one is very Charlotte Mason-ish, no? (emphasis mine):

Now when I feel that in my own case it is no good luck, nor merit, nor talent,--but simply the habits of life which taught me to despise indulgences not thoroughly earned,--indeed, never to think twice about them,--I believe that this suffering, which Miss Hale says is impressed on the countenances of the people of Milton, is but the natural punishment of dishonestly-enjoyed pleasure, at some former period of their lives. I do not look on self-indulgent, sensual people as worthy of my hatred; I simply look upon them with contempt for their poorness of character." -Mr. Thornton
I have more highlighted from this book, but this is enough for one post don'tcha think? Have you read North and South? Seen the movie?


1/12/2015

Life in Pictures


Littlest ate with a spoon for the first time the other day. He's getting so big!


Gah! Those cheeks! *swoon*





Story behind this picture? I go to the grocery store and come back to this: "Daddy let us color on our faces!" Oldest's face didn't come clean until FOUR days afterwards. Sigh.

And you know how I said I forgot to take pictures on Christmas? Yeah. Well I didn't actually.

See that crazy man in the back with the horrible mustache? (In case you're wondering, I'm counting the days till he shaves it off.) That would be my quiet, introverted husband. Ahem. It's the quiet ones you have to keep your eye on.

We don't get to see the kids' cousin very often, so it was nice having her and Uncle here on Christmas Day.
And, that's GRAPE JUICE in the kids' glasses, by the way. :) And, yes, that's Elsa next to the Nativity Scene. Sigh.

Mr. N made 2 (TWO!) batches of Divinity for me this year! Yummy! What a man he is!

A few weeks ago it was "warm"--you know, like, 30 degrees. The sun was shining anyway, so we enjoyed a few minutes outside. Unfortunately, our pretty snow hadn't showed up yet.



Look at those sweet eyelashes!

1/10/2015

Finding beauty in the middle of winter

It's winter.

In Wisconsin.

Blech.

Finding beauty this time of year can sometimes be difficult. Especially when the kidlets all have colds and we've all been stuck inside for too long because of the crazy cold temperatures.

Yesterday? It was 3 degrees.

Blech.

Thankfully, I have a cozy, warm home and a wonderful family to share it with.

Here are a few of my favorite things (you have that song in your head now, don't you?) that bring a smile to my face on these dreary days of winter. Keep in mind that outside the frames of these pictures it's messy. Very messy.

But today I'm choosing to just see the beauty.
 If you look a little closer you can see someone's "hair" waiting to be glued back on his head..

 The above silver picture frame was a gift from a friend and so were the following:


 Isn't this bag GORGEOUS? I'm in love. Linda made it, if you want to put a request in. ;)


My friend, Amy, made these gifts for me; the potholder and the bunting. Again--in. love.


I just love my teal clock (that I painted), my "N" and the teal tray.


For years and years I couldn't keep any plants alive. For some reason (maybe because I'm watering them?) in the last few years, I've successfully kept plants! I love them. The green is so nice to see this time of year.

I adore my Hobbit plant. (Yes, that's it's real name!)


This teal bird (starting to notice a theme here?) candle holder was a thrift store find. Isn't it great?


Of course, our bookshelves full of books make me happy.

This dresser was given to us and was a yucky pea-green. I sanded and painted it and voila! it's now one of my favorite things in this house. It holds our homeschool stuff. The drawers hold stuff too. ;o)


A teapot I painted at a paint-your-own-pottery place.

And last, but not least, a few more of my favorite "things" that reside in our home..


This sweet little guy was following me around while I was taking pics of my favorite things. I can't help but smile when I look at him. (I should mention, too, that the Action Bible you see was GIVEN to us by a good friend of mine! Eek! [Thank you! You know who you are!])


My sweet girls holding their rice-pack owls their Mama made them for Christmas. I gotta tell ya. These girls have taught me so much about love and how to be a better person. I'm so thankful for them.

Thank you, Lord, for the beauty in my life.

What beauty is there to be found in your life right now?