7/30/2016

FREE Printable-Traceable Calendar with Holidays!

So apparently, it's feast or famine with my blog?

I've searched the interwebs high and low for the past few years for a free printable, traceable calendar with holidays for my kids and have never been able to find one. So every year, I end up making my own. Usually, I make it as we go along, which really isn't the best plan.

But not this year!

I'm trying to be a little ahead of the game this year. So I made the whole thing! And I'd love to share it with you!

The calendar starts in July of 2016 and goes through December of 2017, which I know is technically into next year's school year, but I was on a roll! ;)

There are TWO FILES. One with 2016 and one with 2017.

Here is July-December of 2016

Here is January-December of 2017

Enjoy and share it with your friends, but please give me the credit. :)

And please let me know if any changes need to be made! :)

7/29/2016

Book Review: Breaking Busy

Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of CrazyBreaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy by Alli Worthington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book exceeded my expectations! I thought it was just going to be another book about not being busy in this era of extreme business. While it was that, it was also about the enormous effect the Holy Spirit has (or should have!) on our need to feel busy. I was not expecting it to be such a "Christian" book, and I loved that it was. :) She really encourages you to "seek God first, then all these things shall be added."

So, she touches a LOT on the spiritual side of things, but she also offers so much practical applications! Like, steps to take and everything! So. good. How to make decisions when you're faced with an opportunity, how to deal with technology, how to change your thinking, etc.

Breaking Busy is only a little over 200 pages and took me just a few days to read, but it really packs a punch!

This book was perfect timing for me; I've been feeling a bit too busy lately and this book was the inspiration I needed to see things more clearly.

A few of my fave quotes from the book:
"...I think as women we've convinced ourselves that being busy is a badge of honor."

"But social networking, texting, and phones, all designed to allow us to communicate more freely with one another, have become anything but freeing. People believe they have constant access to us, blurring all sense of appropriate boundaries..."

"The pull of the electronic tether on our lives is strong and has done more to hurt communication, real honest-to-goodness communication, than I think most of us realize."

Guilt, that sense of conviction that comes over us when we do something wrong, is healthy and moves us toward positive change. Shame, however, drives us into a never-ending cycle of trying to fix ourselves, to prove to the world and ourselves that we are not inherently flawed, that we have value. ... Jesus's redemptive love, his saving grace and his forgiveness are what make us worthy.

I highly recommend this book!

View all my reviews

7/26/2016

Glimpses and Snippets

Here's a picture-heavy post on what we've been up to this past month! :) We've had birthday parties! The fair! The circus! Oh my!

The girls' birthday's were in mid-July and they received some wonderful gifts! I now have an 8 and 6 year old! Yikes! :) (Thank you, if you're reading this and are one of the gift givers!) They received a few painting sets...


And some good books...


What would life be like without your big sisters to care for you? #hewillneverknow :)


Our weekly library summer program...here the girls are making things out of paper...

I'm in the midst of school planning...

I've mentioned these before on my blog, but the paper dolls from Practical Pages are SO AWESOME. My girls spend hours upon hours coloring, cutting out and playing with these. And they're FREE! Check out her whole list of Printables--they are really wonderful! :)


  Littlest was gifted a bike (the kind with no pedals) and he loves it!

Love these guys. <3


We live near a great circus. A good friend of mine has season passes and invited us along a few weeks ago...







Swimming... :)
More painting!

We spent a fun day at the fair and the girls may or may not have been able to find their way out of the fun house. They may or may not have needed help from the carnival worker... Ahem.




The view from the top of the Ferris Wheel...


And more swimming!



We've had a full and happy summer. I have no complaints. God is good!

Now, I'm readying myself for school--we start the 2nd week of August. Summer has been (is) great, but I'm *so* ready for the "normal" days of school. :) #nosuchthingasnormal

How's your summer been going? :)


7/25/2016

God

I was just reading a (sort-of) random blog and I came across a post on why this person had decided, after being raised as a Christian, to become an atheist.

First, let me say that I know absolutely nothing about this person's history or story. Or even who they are today. They may have had a twisted Christian upbringing or had something horrible happen to them. I don't know.

That said, and this sounds naive I'm sure, but I can not understand a complete and total denial of God. 

I can understand...

"I believe that God exists, I just don't think I have to do everything the Bible says." or
"I believe in a higher power, that we're not an accident, but I don't know who or what created us."
 "I pray sometimes, but I'm not sure who I'm praying to."
or even "I'm not sure who will go to heaven, but I know I'll be there."

I don't agree with any of those (which have been said in conversations I've had with people), but I can at least kind of see where they're coming from. All of them at least are admitting that they are not in control.

However, I simply cannot understand the absolute denial of a higher power. (God.) 

Now, I also feel like I should come clean and tell you that I've never not believed in God. I definitely had a few (7 or so) years when I lived how *I* wanted (you fill in the blanks), but I always knew, even during my worst times, that God was real. How could He not be?

I also should tell you though, that I've had my reasons to turn my back on God. My life wasn't easy growing up, to say the least. And I've had many struggles, as we all do.

But my husband, however, believed in nothing until he was 22. Then he succumbed to the Spirit's calling and gave his life to Jesus. And he says that he felt a change. And I've SEEN THE CHANGE in him. It is real, my friends.

God is real. He is SO real. How can people not see it? 

How can any of this be chance? How can this world be all that there is?! I simply would find no reason to live, if I believed for one second that this (pretty horrible sometimes) world was EVERYTHING. AND THE END. What a dismal existence!

I believe that this life is important--make no mistake! What we do in this life matters immensely, but not just for the immediate results we get! Every decision I make, I base on what I believe about eternity. That there is an eternity and that we'll either spend it with or without God. (For the record, I believe that we can know for sure if we'll spend it with Him or not. But that is for another day.)

I have a good number of non-Christian friends and I spend a lot of time talking to them about their thoughts on God and spiritual things. And I admit, sometimes I think, What if *I'm* wrong? What if "religion" is a cop-out? I mean, I'm human and have doubts like everybody else!


But then I remember. I look back on my life and I remember. I remember who I used to be (not finished yet!). I remember where I was headed. I remember where He has brought me! I remember His faithfulness! I remember the changes brought about in our lives that only can be God!

I don't have any great theological statements to back myself up right now, (it's late and I don't care) but I can't look around and A) not see God in the beauty of creation, in the beauty and miraculous thing that we call "life" is and B) think that in all the evil that is happening all over the world as I write this silly post, that God won't eventually have the last say.

He WILL return and that gives me hope. Hope for myself, but more importantly for my loved ones.

I will probably never understand why people completely close themselves off to their Creator, who loves them and wants the best for them. I have a feeling it has to do with pride though. You see, in order to believe in God, you have to believe that you are wrong about some things. That you don't have all the answers. That you're not in control. I imagine that's difficult for a lot of people. Especially those of us in a first world country. We don't need God, or at least we don't think we do.

This has been Deep Thoughts with Catie. Thanks for joining me. ;)

7/19/2016

Questions and Answers

Some of you may have noticed I closed my blog for the past week or so. Or you may *not* have noticed! HA! :o)

The truth is, I was blessed to attend the Living Education Retreat a week and a half ago and it gave me so much to think about. In regards to homeschooling, of course, but I've also been thinking about the "why" of things. Why do I blog?, for instance. There was so much inspiration and many big ideas were shared at LER; it made me really think about the things under the surface.

There's so much noise in this world right now. Am I just adding to it? (all of these questions are rhetorical.) Do I even have anything to say? How am I growing in my faith, as a mom and wife?

 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24



I've been thinking about this and other things, like, why do I feel so busy? #notthefirstpersontoask

My children are small: 8, 6 and almost-3. I know that I won't have this time with them forever. So, what is most important right now? 

I've decided to clear my schedule a bit, (starting in September and October) so I can focus more on my kids' education and be home in the evenings more.

I've also decided that I read blogs because I love getting a glimpse into others lives, especially those who are in the same season and who homeschool. I get ideas and inspiration from them!

I hope that's why you read here, too. I hope I never come across as knowing All The Things (I don't know how you would get that impression though, because I obviously don't! HA!) and I hope that you get a few ideas or inspiration. Or maybe you're just curious about one homeschool mom's journey. :)

I don't just want to add to the noise, but as I love reading and connecting with you, I hope you enjoy reading and connecting with me here. :) Relationships are the most important thing! First, at home, then elsewhere.

May the Lord bless you!

7/05/2016

Brain Dump Post! (aka Glimpses and Snippets)

Sorry if the title misled you. This is not a post about Mystie's wonderful Brain Dump Guide. This is literally going to be a brain dump. (You should totally read her Brain Dump Guide, though. You won't be disappointed!)

- My toenail fell off a few weeks ago!! Yes, you read that right. My. toenail. fell. off. (WARNING: PICTURE BELOW) Apparently, it's a thing with "runners." Which, by the way, I'm LOVING that I can officially call myself a Runner now. Ahem.

- I'm preparing (mostly mentally--I haven't made any packing lists yet.) for the Living Education Retreat in 2 days! WOOHOO! So excited. I'll be driving with a friend--6 hours--to Iowa to learn more about the Charlotte Mason philosophy and hopefully get a little rest too. 

- My To Read list is ridiculous right now. (Thanks a lot, WSIRN!) I have 6 books sitting on my nightstand to read and the only problem with that is I really need to start pre-reading my soon-to-be-Year-3's student's books! (This post at Afterthoughts is excellent on why you should pre-read)

I want to get through Nurture by Nature, a few books about Hymns (that's my area for our CM co-op) and possibly For the Children's Sake before school starts the second week of August. I must stop with the novels! It's so hard. #firstworldproblems


- After LER (see above), I'm going to really start my school planning. Which I'm looking forward to! Planning is the best part! #doingitisthehardpart

Have you seen Mystie's Homeschool Audit yet?? You guys. Mystie is my favorite.

- I have at least 3 not quite finished posts waiting in my drafts; I'm hoping I can finish them up and hit PUBLISH soon! I do love blogging. :)

- We have 3 birthdays this coming week. Mr. N's is the 8th, Middlest's is the 11th and Oldest's is the 12th. Let them eat cake! (Unfortunately, I'll be gone for Mr. N's at LER. Sorry, honey!)

- June was kinda crazy for me. I worked every weekend (Thur, Fri & Sat) and between that, trying desperately to finish up school (still not there yet), decluttering my house (not even close to done) and just keeping up with the kiddos (almost impossible)--I'm ready for a lightly-scheduled July! :)



And now, for a slew of pictures of what we've been up to:


 This guy CRACKS ME UP.

 We live near Wisconsin Dells and my mom and her beau took us to the Tommy Bartlett show! Thanks, mom!

 Meeting friends at swim lessons...
 We live very near an old train station and took a ride with friends...




 My monkeys. :)

 I TOLD you I lost a toenail!!! ACK! GROSS!





 My by-the-pool reading buddy... :)

 Middlest with her morning cuppa


 I've been friends with this girl since the age of 14 (I'll be 36 next month, you do the math) and her mom owns a nanny business. I worked a few days for her in June. This is us, hard at work...



We've made it to a local water park a few times already! Hooray for living close to a tourist trap!



 
Once in a while, I get to work a shift with one of my besties... :)