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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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When the Going Gets Tough

“An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.” – Proverbs 12:4 (ESV)

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The past few weeks have been very rough on me. Andy was given an amazing work opportunity that will be great for his career, but requires him to be gone Sunday – Thursday every week for 6+ weeks.  That means that the running of the household has fallen on me.  I have been trying to juggle kids, school, work, Christmas shopping, etc., and at times, my strength has failed me.  It’s been especially hard because the Triplets and I are still learning how to navigate as a family. 

As much as I even hate to admit it, I had to ask Andy’s forgiveness last week for calling him during a “crisis” and adding stress to his plate instead of turning to my Lord and having Him help me deal with it on my own.  It’s a fine line between wanting Andy to know that everything is handled at home and letting him know that he is still needed and missed.

I have often felt like a failure in the past few weeks, but today Andy sent me this incredible email that not only blessed my heart tremendously, but helped me refocus:

 

“Every time I’ve seen a picture of a king on TV or a magazine, I’ve always looked at his crown first. There’s something fascinating about it sitting on his head, covered in jewels, inlaid in gold. It shines and is a symbol of his position and place in the world. It shows his authority to lead. It garners respect from others around him and sets him apart. In effect, it makes him special and without his crown he’s just another man in the room. Without the crown, he cannot accomplish anything. But with it he can build great things, lead others, and care for a kingdom that God has given him.

You are the beautiful crown of my life, Dawn. You make me special and help me accomplish what I set out to do. Without your help I couldn’t do very much. Thank you for lifting me up and supporting me. I hope I am doing the same for you. As a crown you’ll never be hidden or stepped on. Crowns are for wearing and adorning; boots are for stepping and kicking. I love you with all my heart. I’m so very thankful for you.”

As a woman who was raised to be a “Proverbs 31 woman,” I cannot express to you how wonderful it is to hear my husband say this to me.  Not that I am a perfect wife (I am not even close), and not that we have a perfect marriage relationship, but isn’t this what we’re all trying to attain? For our husbands to feel supported and secure, to know that his wife is behind him no matter what.  This certainly isn’t a prideful thing for me, but much more of an admonishment and reminder of what my husband needs from me.  May I always be able to let go of my selfish ways, my need to be reaffirmed, and my complaining and put my husband first.  Not an easy task by any means, but well worth it to gain favor in the sight of my husband and God.

Dawn

(Originally written in 2012)

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Searching for Peace

“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Proverbs 16:7 ESV)

This may seem like common sense to most of you, but a divorce does not bring peace.  When I was living in my first marriage, all I wanted was peace.  I wanted a home that was filled with the quiet contentment of being in a family where everyone was loved and secure.  While Andy and I are working hard to achieve this in our home, it’s becoming very apparent that we are facing external enemies that are working to destroy our peace.

The above verse has been hanging in our kitchen for the past few months, and it’s one that we’ve been clinging to, but the Lord gave us a chance to put it into practice last night.

Without going into too many details, we had parent conferences for the triplets. During that time spent with Andy’s ex-wife, we were lied to, lied about, and vilified.  Though we haven’t been married for long, I consider the triplets to be as much my children as Daughter P.  I know the hurt, pain, and confusion they have experienced at the hands of their mother, but last night I was able to witness first hand the all-consuming hate that would love to destroy our attempt at a godly marriage.  It’s the kind of hate that you really have to experience before you can believe it exists.  The kind that leaves no doubt that we are facing many enemies.

By God’ grace alone, I was able to keep my mouth shut and not try to correct the wrongs being spoken about us.  Andy was also able to focus on the task at hand, interact with the teachers, and ignore the negative.  We were able to get the information we needed about the kids, their grades, and how to best help them, which is why we were there.

After a dinner filled with me spouting off about all of the wrongs dealt us (just for clarification – the children were NOT with us during this time), we went home were the first thing I saw was this verse, and I was reminded that the Lord calls for me to please HIM with my ways, no one else.  He promises that if I live a life pleasing to the LORD, eventually even my enemies will have nothing negative to say about me.  And even if they try, no one will believe them 🙂

I know we have a long road ahead of us as we raise our children.  I know that I won’t always be able to stay calm like I did last night.  But I also know that if I keep my focus on HIM, my enemies will eventually be left speechless.

Dawn