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When You’re Jealous of My Alone Time…..Think of This

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“What are you going to do what all that time?”

“Um, I don’t really know.”

“You don’t know?!?!? I know exactly what I’d do without my kids for five days. I’m so jealous. You’re so lucky!”

Luck.  That’s not exactly how I look at my life.  Have I seen God’s hand of provision pulling me through? Absolutely.  But lucky? Not so much.

And yet, I get this all the time.  Every Wednesday that my daughter is with her dad – “Oh, I kill for one day a week without my kids!” Yeah, I get it.  It is nice to have a day to do the grocery shopping alone and make my doctor’s appointments.  But that also means no Wednesday library activities or playdates with our friends at the park while everyone else is getting together (and for some reason, it seems like they are always on Wednesdays!)

We get it every other weekend when the triplets are with their mom – “Wow, I’d love to have a date night scheduled with my husband every other week.”  Yeah, but how often do we actually get to go out? Not very.  And when you factor in how many birthday parties, family functions and other special activities they miss, is it really worth it? Not to mention that we only get to all go to church together once in a great while because daughter P is with her dad every Sunday.

So you see, my “free” time comes with a lot of sacrifices.  To be honest, sacrifices I don’t really want to make.  This week my whole family is gone for 5 days.  Sure, it was really nice to go to IKEA and shop.  Then I ended up going to the movies by myself.  But you know what I saw? Cinderella.  Because all my girls had already seen it with their other families.  And while it’s kind of a luxury to go to a movie alone, I would have given anything to have my three daughters there with me.

On day three you know what I did?

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I cleaned my fridge.  High excitement here, folks!

I’m not trying to be too hard on you moms.  I get it.  Being a mom is hard.  We all need time to ourselves. Heck, sometimes just to go to the bathroom! I am all for Mom’s Night Out. and getting a chance to unwind.  But understand, those of us who have to be without our kids, we miss our kids, and would give anything to have them here with us all the time.  We will gladly give up every free moment to have what you have.

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Making a Tomb Out of Homemade Playdough

IMG_0934I am always looking for was to help the children celebrate the true meaning of holidays – and right now that is Easter.  It’s so hard not to get wrapped up in the Easter Bunny and dyeing eggs and Peeps – and yes, we do those things and enjoy them – but I always want to take every opportunity to point my children back to the Cross.

Which brings me to this amazing new story Bible we’ve been using, called “The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name.”  I ordered this off of Amazon a few months ago after hearing some great reviews, and I have not been disappointed.  Daughter P literally begs to listen to the CDs in the car (we also have an accompanying DVD that she loves to watch).  What is unique and awesome about this Bible is the each story points to Jesus (even the Old Testament ones) – and that is such a great reminder for us that indeed, the WHOLE Bible is about Jesus.  It also teaches children that the Bible is a love letter from God to His children.  It’s beautiful. I tear up a lot while reading it.

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So, we started off today by reading about the crucifixion in this Bible.  Then, we set to work making our own tomb out of homemade playdough.  Here are the ingredients:

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1.5 cups of salt  (we didn’t have enough salt and had to make a grocery run at this point)
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 1 Tablespoon of oil

Mix and knead the playdough, adding extra water (about 1/2 cup), until it’s the right consistency.  Use and aluminum can (I used a Campbell’s soup can – I emptied the soup and set it aside for lunch) to create the base of the tombstone and mold the dough around the can to create a hill.  Poke a hole in the top for your cross.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours.  Once your tomb has cooled, paint as you desire, and stick the cross in the top.

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On Friday, we will make a “Jesus” out of pipe cleaners, wrap him in toilet paper, stick him inside and roll the stone over our tomb.  We will wait until Easter Sunday to see if he is still there!

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5 Reasons Why I Use Memoria Press

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I am a second-generation homeschooler.  I started homeschooling as a freshman in high school and eventually graduated with a GED at the age of 17.  During that time, I mostly used ABEKA, because in those days, unless you were unschooling, that’s about all there was (other than BJU and some other homemade types of curriculum).  By the way, as a side note, all of my siblings ended up graduating college, and I have a Master’s Degree, so yes, you can be successful in “real” life after being homeschooled😉

After deciding to homeschool precious daughter P, I just assumed we would use ABEKA as well, because I didn’t know much about curriculum.  Well, it didn’t take much longer than a few days of their Pre-K4 curriculum to know this was NOT the way to go for her.  She did not the rigidity of the worksheets.  Even coloring was a problem for her.  I will never forget her little four-year-old self telling me, “Well, I’ll color it yellow, but it’s not going to look good.”  If nothing else, she learned how to follow directions that year.

I went to my first homeschool convention last year with no plan in mind.  I had looked into Charlotte Mason, and while I loved the idea of it, I knew for me, I needed a little more structure.  I had also looked into Classical Conversations, which I loved, but I also knew that with my Type-A personality, I would end up putting WAY too much pressure on myself and daughter P and we would probably both end up hating school.

And then I found the Memoria Press display.  I knew in a matter of 5 minutes it was the perfect curriculum for both P and I, and we have loved every minute of our Kindergarten year.  Seriously, I’m sure my homeschooling friends are sick to death of hearing me talk about how much I love this curriculum.  And here’s why:

1. Simplicity of Planning.

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The picture above shows the entire week of lesson plans.  Everything is laid out for you, yet it allows for flexibility with time and ideas.  For Kindergarten, we generally spend 1-2 hours a day on school.  The boxes allow me to check off what we have done, so if we get behind in math or super ahead in reading, it’s still easy to keep track of where we’ve been.  Plus, the guidelines for History and Science are just that, guidelines, so there’s lots of time and space to add additional books, videos and crafts as your days (and desires) allow.

2. The Use of Real Literature.

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The true foundation of Memoria Press is books.  Although there are simple readers used for phonics, the basis is books.  Every week, we read a new book – it teaches vocabulary, comprehension, and context clues.  We also learn about authors and illustrators.  The curriculum then builds upon the fictional book to teach a poem later in the week and incorporates a theme of non-fiction books into history and science on Thursdays and Fridays.  But there are no textbooks, just real books.

3. The Bible is used to teach language instead of worksheets.

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Every week begins with a Bible story.  From there the children begin to memorize a verse.  This verse is also used to teach the rules of English and writing (punctuation, Capitalization, etc).  At the end of the week, they recite the verse and draw a picture (my daughter’s favorite part).

4. The Incorporation of Art and Music.

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This is Daughter P’s absolute favorite part of school.  Each week they learn about a new artist and painting and a new composer and piece of music.  I have created a playlist on my iphone of all the songs and play them while P does her math, as she works better that way.  She asks to listen to the music all throughout the day through.  Sometimes she even plays “symphony” in her room.  How awesome is that?!? Memoria Press has taught my six-year-old to love classical music!

5. The Affordability.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the cost.  For us, Memoria Press was very affordable.  Without a lot of workbooks and Teacher’s Books to buy, the cost naturally comes down.  We did not purchase all of the read aloud books as our library has a great reciprocal system where we can borrow from other libraries and always get what we need.  I spent just over $100 for Kindergarten.  I know Indiana has a PLAC card for about $80 a year where you can borrow from any library in the state, so that may be an option for you if your local library is not very good.

Our convention is at the end of this week, and I cannot wait to buy my Memoria Press for First Grade – we will be starting Latin! Eeek!

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I Don’t Care About Your Leggings or Your Vaccines…

loveI can’t be the only person tired of getting on my Facebook feed and inwardly (or sometimes audibly) groaning at seeing another link to an article about leggings or vaccines (hello Kristen Bell – I don’t think I’ll ever get the chance to hold your baby anyway, but thanks for the heads up!) or 50 Shades of Grey. 

The crazy thing is, it’s not even because I don’t agree with what’s being said.  I have definite stances on each of these issues.  I am tired of them because of the hateful responses the topics bring out.  And from brothers and sisters in Christ.  I am appalled at the language and verbiage and utter distain I have seen being shown toward those we are supposedly going to be spending eternity with.  What must our Heavenly Father be thinking? Over leggings?!?

It’s almost as if we want to be able to form a mental checklist of our friends – well so and so agrees with me on vaccines.  Ohh, that friend from church doesn’t.  She thinks I shouldn’t wear leggings?!? Why are we doing this to ourselves? What is the real point?

I am not saying that we shouldn’t discuss matters of sin – although I question whether or not the internet is really the right forum for that either.  In Matthew 6-7, Jesus talks a lot about the hypocrites going about their worship in public to be seen – how they would pray standing in the street corners.  To some extent, I feel that’s how some of these blogs and topics are being spread.  I don’t know the hearts of the people, and it’s not for me to pass judgment, but what is the point of writing or passing on a topic condemning someone – is it to “inform” them of their sin to change them? Does that ever  work? Jesus shared with people in a relational way to bring them the Good News, shouldn’t we do the same – not blast them anonymously or long-distance over the Internet?

There was a recent study done at the Beihang University in China that shows rage goes viral faster than happiness, pride, or disgust.  RAGE.  ANGER. HATE.  That’s what we’re promoting online.  And at record speeds.  And I believe if we’re honest, it’s no different in the “Christian” community.  What comments did you read about the leggings issues? Vaccines? 50 Shades of Grey? I know the ones I read.  They were filled with rage and anger and hate. 

John 13:35 says, “By this all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

Are we showing that when a Christian mom in Oregon shares her thoughts on why she will no longer wear leggings in public and we verbally crucify her publicly on website after website? Are we loving each other when we mock women for their “mundane” sex lives when they state they will not see 50 Shades of Grey? WHERE IS OUR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER???

The study did show there was one emotion that went viral faster than rage – AWE.  That’s right, awe. 

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Psalm 33:8 says, “Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.”

Let’s stop spreading the rage and start spreading awe.  Like some random acts of kindness.  Or showing how God has answered prayers.  Or miracles – He still does those you know!

 

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To My Daughter’s New Stepmom

ABURKE2014 (11)I always knew this day would come.  I mean, I didn’t expect my ex-husband to stay single forever.  Nor do I want him to stay single forever.  I really don’t have a problem with him getting married.  So in that way, I am happy that he met you.  But to say that I’m happy for you would not exactly be telling the truth.  You see, you aren’t exactly the woman I pictured being the stepmom to my baby girl.  But, if I’m being honest, no woman probably would have measured up to that. I would want that woman to be just like me.  Someone to love her just like me, and I know realistically that’s not going to happen.  

I haven’t actually met you yet, so I don’t know what you think of me, but I want you to know I don’t hate you.  I do hate the fact that by marrying you he is leaving our daughter and moving across the country.  Because, you see, our daughter adores her father, and it’s going to crush her when he leaves.  It’s hard enough on her now that she only sees him twice a week – what is she going to do only seeing him a few times a year?  I don’t know if you have a father, but if you do, maybe you can imagine just a little bit how much my daughter loves her dad and how much she’s going to miss him.

I know that you don’t have any children of your own.  I have already been down this path of stepmom-hood, and I can tell you that it’s hard – really hard.  I know it’s not going to be any easier just because the child is mine.  But when the going gets tough, please just try to remember a few things:

  • When she cries because she misses me, it’s not because she doesn’t like you or even because you’re doing anything wrong.  It’s because she’s six and she doesn’t adjust to change very well.
  • Sometimes she gets scared and emotional at night and needs someone to lay down with her a little extra longer before bed, but then she’s usually fine.
  • She’s not there to come between you and your husband, but she needs some time one-on-one with daddy too.
  • She loves to bake.  Any time you spend with her in the kitchen will really help her bond with you.
  • Too much TV, ipad, sugar, or dye makes her CRAZY – save yourself!
  • She likes to have a nightlight and a drink of water by her bed.
  • If she decides one day to call you “mom” that’s ok with me – I hope it will be with you too.

I know you won’t love her just like me, and that’s ok. Unconditional love doesn’t just come overnight. She can be frustrating and sassy and too talkative – but she can be SO loving and funny and caring and she’ll be your best little friend, if you’ll just give her the chance.

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Avoid the Valentine’s Day Trap

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Valentine’s Day really snuck up on me this year.  I just finished hurriedly rushing Daughter P. through writing her name on the back of Princess Sofia cards for her homeschool party tomorrow, which is the equivalent of a major written exam for a six-year-old.
I’m sure it’s no news to you that Valentine’s Day has become this huge high-pressure holiday – especially for men.  I went to the jewelry store the other day to get my ring checked for insurance and the sales lady kept pressuring me to fill out a “wish list” for my husband to fulfill for me for Valentine’s Day.  She just couldn’t believe I didn’t want any more jewelry.
Sure, I appreciate nice gifts – what woman doesn’t – but I don’t get putting pressure on our husbands to fulfill this perfect romantic image society has put on them on this day every single year. And don’t even get me started on this 50 Shades of Gray business.
Last year we had an amazingly romantic Valentine’s Day in Chicago seeing Phantom of the Opera and eating at Twin Anchors, the restaurant from the movie “Return to Me.” It was perfect.
Other years we’ve celebrated with all of our kids and had a “fancy” dinner all together in our kitchen with tapered candles.
This year I’m hanging out with this guy
bigbirdThat’s right – Valentine’s Day is all about Andy this year, and heaven help me, I’m going to Comic Con.  Andy is a big Jim Henson fan and we are going to meet Carol Spinney who is the man behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch.  If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.  But it will be perfect, because the man I love will love it.  Isn’t that what the day is supposed to be about – loving each other? Since when did it just become about the women?
I guess it’s really hit home for me this year because Daughter P’s dad is choosing not to spend the evening with her so he and his girlfriend can go out – even though they have the whole weekend together.  That’s hard, because I am going to have a hurt little girl on my hands Saturday night.  So, after Big Bird, Andy and I have reservations at our local Chick-fil-A where they are having a fancy plated dinner and carriage rides, so her evening will be special no matter what.
Don’t fall into the Valentine’s Day trap ladies – don’t ruin the day over a gift (or lack of one). YOU set the tone for your home.  Even if you’re
surrounded by kids, make the day special.
Check out The Dating Divas website for some great ideas or look for The Second Chance Wife on Pinterest to see what I’ve found!
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It’s Giveaway Time! Win a Set of Personalized Scripture Cards!

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Head on over to The Second Wife Chance Wife on Facebook to win your own set of personalized Scripture Cards.

Contest ends on February 6, 2015.