6/29/2015

Our Summer Plans for School

It's maybe a little late to be posting our Summer School Plans, but I'm a bit behind in most things these days, so it's just par for the course!

The month or so before our Mexico trip we didn't do very much school. I was also working 3 nights a week and I just didn't have the time or energy to put into school. I was ok with that, because I had planned on doing a lighter school schedule during summer anyway, rather than take the whole summer off.

But since we still have about 4 weeks left of work for Year 1, I've made a schedule so we can finish by the time we start Year 2 in August.

I always love seeing what other people are doing in regards to homeschooling, so here's our Summer Schedule:



The book titles in parenthesis are the ones that I don't mind if we don't get to. I've given more check boxes to the books with longer chapters. And I still haven't decided if I want Oldest to narrate for everything.

There are about 50(!) check boxes, but if we do only 2 readings a day, that's still only a month of school work. And to be honest, Oldest loves reading most of these books, so it's not that hard to do it. Well, it's mostly not that hard. 

We don't actually do math daily, but it's my goal. We actually don't do any of this (except Bible) daily, but again, it's my goal. HA! (Just trying to keep it real here!)

Do you take the summers off if you homeschool? Are you behind in your school year, too? ;o)

6/28/2015

Charlotte Mason Group: Excelsior Guild


Charlotte Mason 1902 Frederic Yates
  Charlotte Mason 1902

We are so blessed to be a part of a great Charlotte Mason homeschool group, Excelsior Guild. There are 5 moms and 19(!) children from about 1 year to 11 years old.

During the school year (Sept-May) we meet once a month to do our Riches together; poetry, folk songs, hymns, composer study, art, etc.

During the summer months, we meet twice monthly to do Nature Studies at our local state parks. It is so wonderful. I just know when my children are older, they will treasure these memories. Well, here's hoping anyway!

At our last group, one of the moms (I think it's safe to say our leader?) put together a study of Orange Hawkweed. First, she gave the kids a few clues as to what we'd be looking for without telling them the name, "It's similar to a dandelion and it's orange," etc. so they were encouraged to look for and find it on their own.

Then when the children spotted some growing along the path, we stopped to talk about what everyone noticed about it, "It has 'hairs' on it's stem", "It's petals have square tips," etc.



Then she brought out little clipboards(!) and we all sat and drew what we saw. How fun is that?!




Of course, we found a few other cool things along the trail.






I hope that our children are able to one day look back on these days with a warm heart. What a blessing to learn about God's world with like-minded friends! 

Are you a part of a homeschool group? What's it like?

6/21/2015

Glimpses and Snippets: On Working, Reading Aloud and Feeling Blessed

~ I'm still working part-time at the restaurant and I haven't been enjoying it too much. I actually gave my two weeks last week. The problem was that I was hostessing and (I think) was failing miserably. While I enjoy waiting tables (I actually do!), I've decided that I don't make much of a hostess. As a hostess, you sort of have to make sure the whole restaurant is running smoothly and delegate and keep a close eye on everything. Kind of like the Eye of Sauron.*

Except not wreathed in flame.

Or evil.

As an ENFJ, I have a very hard time being in charge. I want to be everyone's friend and am too worried about what everyone is feeling. Those are not great Leader qualities, let me tell you!

I'm much better if I only have myself to worry about in terms of responsibility. I simply do not have the imagination or desire to lead people. Which is ok, right? Since not everyone can be a leader? ;) (I'm looking for affirmation, in case that's not abundantly clear.)

Well, I waited tables yesterday and remembered that, yes! I can do this and enjoy it (and make good money!) so I asked if I could stay on as a waitress. My boss was gracious and is going to find a way to keep me on staff. 

Which is awesome, because I have a trip to Mexico to pay for

~~~~~~

~ Incidentally, working outside the home for the first time in almost 7 years has made me realize several things:

1. I take my Christian friends for granted. They are gracious to me, hope the best for me and forgive me when necessary. And they don't judge my whole existence based on one incident. In short, they love me. They also encourage me to do all of the above--hope the best and show grace to others. I am so blessed!

2. I've taken for granted the stress my husband has to deal with at work. Working in an environment where there are no godly influences is TOUGH and I would have such a hard time, at this point in my life, having to do that for 40+ hours a week. Thank you, Honey, for all that you do!

~~~~~~


~ I've been reading Charlotte's Web to the girls before bed and we are just loving it. I only have 2 or 3 chapters left, and I have to admit, I'm going to be sad when it's over.

The beauty of reading a book slowly is it really gives you time to grow attached to the characters. They're always in the back of your mind and with you throughout your days. The girls and I will bring them up as we're out and about, 

"Oh look, Mama! A spider!" 
"Oooh, does it look like Charlotte? Do you think it's nice like Charlotte?"

I just love and look forward to those moments.

I haven't decided what we'll read next... I'm trying to get all of our Free Reads read (except Peter Pan--we didn't like that one!) before we start Year 2 in August(!) but I'm not sure that will happen and I'm ok with that. :) I'm thinking The Velveteen Rabbit? I'll keep you posted.

~~~~~~

~ Along with waitressing, I've been checking into other ways to make a little extra cash. I found Proofreading Anywhere at Money Saving Mom and I think I'm going to give it a go. I've actually proofread for friends numerous times (one is in college and always gets an "A" on "our" papers! HA!) so I *think* I can do it. It is a bit of an investment, but I think it'll be worth it. Plus, as strange as it sounds, I really love proofreading!

Another thing I'm super excited about is reading audiobooks! How fun does that sound?! I'm going to start with volunteering at LibriVox to get my feet wet, then hopefully move on to ACX where you can actually make money at it.

I received my microphone in the mail last week and have been waiting for some free time to actually record my first practice minute.

Maybe I'll be the next Jim Weiss!

Don't hold your breath. 

~~~~~~

Of course, all of these (waitressing, proofreading, reading aloud) might be too much right now, but I'll never know unless I try! And maybe, hopefully one of them'll stick.


Well, I've bored you long enough! What's new with you?

*edited to change Saruman to Sauron. In my defense, couldn't you make the names a little less similar, Mr. Tolkien!? Hmph.

6/19/2015

Book Review: Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson

Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely ADORED this book. I'm adding this to one of my favorites. Ever.

From the description on Amazon:

Barbara Buncle is in a bind. Times are harsh, and Barbara's bank account has seen better days. Maybe she could sell a novel ... if she knew any stories. Stumped for ideas, Barbara draws inspiration from her fellow residents of Silverstream, the little English village she knows inside and out.

To her surprise, the novel is a smash. It's a good thing she wrote under a pseudonym, because the folks of Silverstream are in an uproar. But what really turns Miss Bunde's world around is this: what happens to the characters in her book starts happening to their real-life counterparts. Does life really imitate art?

First off, it was hilarious! Like, laugh out loud funny. If you've read the book--the scene where a meeting was held to figure out who John Smith was--I die!

Second, you wouldn't think that a book about a lady writing a book would be riveting--but it totally was! I couldn't put it down. I'm *so* excited to read the next in the series!

Miss Buncle's Book is a wonderful book. Books like this are few and far between. It will be totally worth your time to pick it up. I'm definitely adding it to my home library so I can read and re-read it!

(thanks for the recommendation, Ames!)

View all my reviews

6/16/2015

Mexico!

Mr. N and I just got back a week ago from vaca in Mexico! Woohoo! We stayed in Playa del Carmen. I was really surprised how many people we know that have been there. Apparently, it's a popular destination!

We were *supposed* to be gone for a total of 3 nights, which I thought was long enough considering our children are so little (6, 4 and not yet 2). We ended up being gone a total of 5 nights. Let me explain...

We decided to leave a night early because we otherwise would've had to wake up at 3am to get to the airport on time on Thursday. We then spent 3 nights in Mexico; on the way home, as were about to land in Chicago the pilot comes on the intercom and says, "We can't land in Chicago due to storms, so we're going to temporarily land in Indianapolis(!). We're not sure what's going to happen from there."

I'll interject here to say that, normally, these kinds of things don't rattle me. In fact, my husband jokingly said to me while we were waiting on the runway in Indianapolis, "Well, you like spontaneity, right?!" 

And yes, I do. 

But not when MY CHILDREN ARE AT HOME AND I'M STUCK TWO STATES AWAY.

So to make a very long story very short, we ended up spending an extra night in a yucky hotel in Indianapolis when all I wanted was to get. home. I missed my kids!


Other than the trip home, our vacation overall was very nice. It was just the refresher we needed! In hindsight, however, I'm sure we could've felt just as refreshed if we had stayed at a B&B a few hours away. But you live, you learn.

I really felt like God was with us the whole time, too. And of course, He was, but I really felt like He was there, you know? On the 4 hour plane ride down, the lady I was seated next to was a Christian who had homeschooled her children with My Father's World, which is very similar to Charlotte Mason's philosophy! What are the chances of that?

And then, on the bus from the airport to our hotel, we met another Christian. Coincidence? Maybe. But I think not. There were also other small things that I felt the Lord was speaking through. :)

Here are a few funny stories from our trip:

Funny story #1: Do you ever get that feeling? 
As my husband and I were standing near the beach, I asked him, "Do you ever get that feeling that something is crawling on your foot and when you look nothing is there? That just happened." Then, not 1 minute later there was actually something crawling on my foot--A CRAB! True story. 

Thankfully, it flew off without pinching me when I shook my foot like a crazy person.

Funny story #2: Let me translate that for you.
We went on this awesome, underground river/cave tour and it was so amazing! I'm thankful to say that the group that we went was so great and consisted of 3 other young-ish couples.

One of the guys, however, had this "I'm going to show everyone I know stuff" attitude. You know the kind. He was still a very nice guy and was somehow endearing. Anyway, at the beginning of the tour, he and his newly married wife are explaining to us that *he's* the one that speaks Spanish and if it wasn't for him, she doesn't know what she would do!

They were young. 

And newly married. 

And somehow, endearing. 

As the tour was starting, the guide explained to us that there would be a photographer following us through the caves taking pictures, and we shouldn't be startled by him. Just smile for the camera when need be. 

Mr. I Know Stuff, trying to be funny, says to the photographer, "Gratis foto?" 

He then turns to all of us with a smug look and said, "I asked him if the photos were free." 

Um... thanks.

~~~~~ 

And now, more pictures from Mexico!

See the spider web with pollen on it between the right-most thingys on this flower? Cool, eh?


These animals, called Coati, were everywhere at the hotel. There were signs not to feed them. Unfortunately, drunk people don't pay attention to signs, so they were walking all over the place looking for food and were not afraid of people. 

They are very cute, but I'm pretty sure everyone who lives in Mexico thinks they're a nuisance. They're related to racoons apparently.


 We saw 3 different kinds of lizards while walking around the hotel grounds. There were probably more kinds than this though.
 My husband kept referring to the one above as the "lizards with jazz on their heads."

These following pictures are all from the underground river/cave, Rio Secreto. If you're anywhere near Playa del Carmen in Mexico, I highly recommend checking it out! Our guide was wonderful and the tour was a good hour and a half (any longer and I would've FROZE TO DEATH.) 

We're on the far left. It really was such a great group of people. Couldn't have asked for better!

I'm just gonna apologize now for the plethora of pictures. It was hard to narrow it down!



 Awww...
 (We're in the far back below.)



 I'm smiling in this picture, but I was also literally shaking from being so freaking cold! That water was about 75 degrees or so! YIKES!


If you're reading this, bless you! (that was a lot of pictures!) 

Like I said, I'm so glad we went on this trip, but next time I might not will definitely not stay away so long. I mean, who wouldn't want to get back to these little cuties?


 Don't you love Middlest's fashion sense? She is such a joy!

6/03/2015

Getting together with friends of one child

 This post is not meant to be mean or snarky in any way! I promise! (It is, however, supposed to be a little funny.)

I saw a friend today who I haven't seen in over 10 years! It was so great seeing her! We exchanged numbers and I'm really hoping we can get together soon. She told me she has a toddler and I can't wait to meet him.

But I started thinking about where we'd meet; my house or hers? Should we meet a neutral place instead? Then I started thinking,

If I bring *all* three of mine to her house of one child, they're going to ransack the place!

If she brings her son here, though, she's not going to want her little one playing with all of our grimy well-loved toys.

She's probably going to get upset because my kids will be too rough with him and want to play with his toys and want to hold him and get him "dirty" and...

After I had this little conversation with myself, I had to chuckle. (This happens often.)

I was totally that mom when I had one child. 

Every time my sweet, precious, new baby played with gummed someone else's toy,  I cringed.

Every time another child viciously slobbered all over my sweet, precious, new baby's toy, I cringed.

If another child man-handled my child, I cringed.

Ok. I'm still not totally cool with that.

Now, after 3 kids, my standards are quite low. I'm all like, Bring on the slobber! We gotta build up some immunities! 

To be fair, I know a sweet mom of 5 boys who is a self-proclaimed Germaphobe. So while some of us roll with the punches with each subsequent child, others tighten the reins. And there are still things that I'm a Nazi stickler for and won't budge on, lest you think I'm totally laid-back.

And I'm sure not all first-time moms are that up-tight. Who knows, maybe my friend isn't either?

But I have to admit, thinking about trying to keep my 3 adorable dirty kids from overwhelming and contaminating someone else's child is a funny thought.

I've totally been there. :)

~~~~~~~~~~

We found a couple of slugs hanging out on some plastic in the back yard.


  Middlest has taken 4 years to warm up to dogs, but she'll hold a slug any day. Go figure.
 Middlest trying to feed the slug a leaf.