Thursday, October 25, 2007


I haven't blogged for a while. I realize that. It's not for lack of thinking. I think about many things. I could write about Halloween, my faith, homeschool, my endeavours to make my home as homey as possible, or my grocery shopping strategies. I just haven't.

Instead of all those things today I think I'll choose to blog about my reading list.

I've recently started keeping a list of books I want to read. I want to expand my mind beyond it's current horizons. I want to get swept away in a classic story, while filling my brain with new words and ideas. I have just recently read Wuthering Heights. I loved it!!! In fact I like it so well I finished it in 2 days. I'm so thankful for Project Gutenberg. I've not read many books on there yet but would be open to reading more.

Does anyone have any suggestions for some classic literature? Leave a comment with your suggestions.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ain't that a kick in the head?

Today is my regular cleaning day. I went to work and sent DD9 to the living room to pick up all of the children's stuff. When I came out of the bathroom I saw she had disobeyed me. She was in her bedroom. She was still cleaning but not where I told her to be. So I promptly got on her case a little bit about it. "Is that where I told you to go?" She said no and put a book up on the shelf. Just then the overcrowded shelf, that was teetering on falling out, did just that. Everything on 2 shelves went tumbling down. DD looked disgusted and started to pick it up. It needed straightened anyway, it had been about 6 weeks since it had last been organized. As she's going through the carnage, she pops up and says " Look what I found!!!" In her hand was the Phantom Movie Case.

Let me backtrack a little bit. About 6 weeks ago, also on our regular cleaning day, and a day that we were busily getting ready for the upcoming school year, we received an unannounced visit from one of our neighbors. We had just settled down for the night, glad to be seated at last and enjoying a movie. They live a few streets over, and had stopped to tell us that while delivering papers that morning they noticed our trunk was left open. It had started to rain so he closed it, and stopped by to make sure that we hadn't left our keys or anything in it. His kid came running in, even though we didn't know them. I made him stand on the porch and I blocked the doorway with my body-I wasn't about to allow a strange man into my house while I was alone with my children. He stayed a long time and rambled on for an hour at 9:30 at night. I kept trying to get the little girl out without being rude. I was saying things like, "your daddy's leaving now," hoping he would take the hint. He did eventually. We finished the movie and plodded off to bed.

The next day, I asked DD9 to please take the movie out of the dvd player and put it away. It was then we realized the case, which contained all of the children's favorite movies, was nowhere to be found. I did a calculation of the dollar amount lost and quickly realized the total was well over two hundred dollars. I stopped counting after that. Our tiny home had been gleaming, but we tore it apart again searching for those movies. DD9 said out of the blue" I think that little girl stole it. " I them gave her a lecture about how we shouldn't jump to conclusions and that if she had put the case away after getting out her movie, that it wouldn't have been lost. " But she was playing with it, and bragging about how much stuff she could load into her pockets and nobody would know because her shirt was so baggy. I think she stole it." she lamented. I assured her that the movies were here, ...somewhere. For 2 days we put our house back together over and over again as we looked for the movies. After looking EVERYWHERE (at least we thought) we could not find them.

Yes, I decided, maybe the little girl did take them. I told the Dc we'd pay the "neighbor" a visit. My plan was to casually stop by and in conversation ask the little girl where she may have placed our movie case after she had looked through it. I thought I would play dumb and say we just can't keep track of things. We tried to visit them on many occasions. Every time we made the walk or bike ride over, they were not home. After a few weeks we had given up. The movies were lost and this was a good lesson on when you get something out, put it away. Also, don't let strangers in the house, even little ones.

Yesterday after coming home from co-op, DD4 asked if she could watch Charlie Brown. This was a fairly new set, a present from last Christmas and one of the few movies still in it's original case- or so I thought so I gave her my permission. DD9 then pipes up, "uh-uh, she can't watch it, they were in the movie case too." I was angry all over again. New movies, favorite movies,...hundreds of dollars-gone.

So, what was lost is now found. And it was in our house the whole time. Now I have to tell you, I wasn't really surprised. Today, when DD9 found that movie case among the things that had fallen off the shelf, I immediately thought two things. 1. See, (I'm thinking first then saying out loud) we shouldn't jump to conclusions. 2. I guess we hadn't checked EVERYWHERE.

Oh, the dreaded cluttery shelf. It had looked so clean that day the neighbor stopped by that we looked right past the case, and it quickly became cluttered which had covered it up. This is yet another lesson. Don't procrastinate. I could see that shelf needed cleaning. I just wasn't "in the mood."

Ain't that a kick in the head? It was here all along.

I thank the Lord that the neighbor was never home all those times we had planned to pay them a visit. Had they been home, we may have caused hurt feelings, no matter how sugary we tried to coat the question.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Lord's Day

I have been reading a blog for a while that is very thought provoking. I appreciate this dear lady as she is a homemaker, a follower of Christ, and desires to be the best she can be. Recently she has posted about a new concept (for me anyway) about keeping sabbath. She provided a few links that I read and even bookmarked for further research. I have also decided to do some research of my own. I have been reading and reading as often as time permits. I can honestly say I haven't changed my position on how I keep a day separate unto the Lord, but I have sure enjoyed learning.

I love to learn. I love to explore new ideas. Sometimes I have changed my position on where I stand concerning some things, but that has been the exception, not the rule. I strive to follow the Lord's leading, not the leading of man. If I were to follow man, he would surely lead me down many wrong paths, in circles, and sideways. Even though I have sat in a church pew all of my life ( with the exception of a few years), and I have sat under a lot of teaching, I have not always gone the way of church doctrine. I have chosen instead to use my mind that God blessed me with and read the scriptures and allow God alone to lead me. This has often resulted in my not agreeing with the position of those in authority over me or fellow believers in Christ. I did not stop respecting those persons, but chose to continue to love and honor them as fellow believers and therefore my brother or sister.

I can't say I always did this. When I was a child I thought like a child. I followed my elders' examples and thought the way they thought because it must be right. I have since put away childish things and become a "man." My thinking has matured along with my attitudes and beliefs.

My dd and I had a conversation just the other day in the car. She was asking about denominations and why we have them. I loved having the opportunity to share with her once again that the way of men is folly. Men get so prideful and wrapped up in there own ideas that they insist that everyone else must be wrong. They take a bible verse out of context, both historical and biblical, and draw a line in the sand. They decide it's this way, no other and therefore lose sight of the forest and see only one tree. When that happens arguing ensues and yet another church split takes place. Sad indeed. How are we to show the love of Christ to the world, when we can't show it to one another?

Maybe another day I'll be able to articulate just how I feel about sabbath. Maybe I won't even bother trying. After all it's not about what I think, but rather about what God does.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Some of you may remember that line from an old (80's ?) pop song. Recently it's been on a commercial. Today it's the title of my blog.

I awoke feeling pressure and yes, singing the tag line to that song. P-p-p-pressure, coming down on me... Let me explain.

While I consider my family to be a homeschooling one, we are probably more accurately a school at home family. We are part of a VA. (that's virtual academy for those of you not in the know). This is not exactly the place I want to be in, but one that is a compromise for my family. My husband was not a fan of the idea of homeschooling (after all...HIS tax dollars pay for a public school education...) and I just could not send my innocent 5 y.o. off to a place that she cried over every time you mentioned the word (school). After some quick research we found a public VA that uses the curriculum I had been wanting to use, or at least check into using, for a few years before my DC was even school aged. I had always hoped to home school. A public VA gives me the option of teaching my DC at home, while using my husband's tax dollars to pay for a top notch curriculum. We are reimbursed for internet (half anyway... they still think people are actually using dial-up) and are loaned a very nice pc and printer. Those are the positives.

The pressure comes in as the negative. Because we are technically public schoolers, we have to jump through all the public school hoops. The one I dislike the most is what the school calls "teachers" and our bi-monthly conferences we are required to have with them. I have a problem calling them teachers. I do all the instruction-the teaching. I would rather call them payed paper pushers- Or the VA KGB. In our 5 years of being with the va, we have yet to be taught anything from a teacher. They collect our portfolio samples, make sure we're doing our work, inform us of yet another policy change, etc, but not teach. Let's not get it twisted. I am my child's teacher. I am the one that taught this child to read, and write, and appreciate history. I am the one that has to deal with her crying over her frustrations in struggling with a concept or miscommunication with her teacher.

Pressure comes from going to bed at night realizing that you have a conference tomorrow. It comes from waking up in the morning thinking that today is the day. I've not sent in samples yet, we've not hit some controversial deadline that I was told isn't really a deadline one day, and the next told that indeed it was, and I don't enjoy my conversations with the kgb.

So first thing this morning, I went to the post office and mailed the samples. I showed dc the math questions her teacher wants to go over, and now I will finish this post so I can log into our online conference.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

My Employment Manual

Flylady calls it a Control Journal. Candy calls it a Home Management Binder. I call it my Brain, my Duty Journal or my Employment Manual. What it really is is a large 3 ring binder with all my little notes and schedules all put together in one place. I always kept schedules and checklists and chore charts, but I never had them all in one permanent place that they wouldn't' get lost or destroyed. This spring I ran across Candy's blog and started reading about her binder. I then popped over to flylady and found she had something called a control Journal. How had I missed reading about this before?

At first I must admit that Candy's scheduling annoyed me. (Sorry, Candy if you're reading this.) It seemed too good to be true. It probably annoyed me because it was an area I had been struggling with at the time. Anyway, I let the idea marinate a while and then decided that in order to make meal planning much easier I would give one of these binders a go. I'm glad I did. I now have a place to keep track of all the stuff that got lost before- lists, phone numbers, vitamins, homeschooling , and more. I have been blessed since implementing the use of my Brain.

Mine isn't nearly as fancy as some. It's just a simple 3 ring binder with a pocket on the inside. None of the pages are fancy or decorated. Most of them were made by hand using a ruler and pencil until I'm certain how I want to keep things or find a printout I like.

I have extra page protectors in the back and a clip in zip pocket in the front with pens, pencils, dry erase and post it notes. I never have trouble finding a pen anymore.

Section 1 is my Routines/to-do's/calendar. It may seem silly to write simple things down like get dressed, make bed and brush teeth, but on those winter mornings when I have the blahs, it will be helpful to look at my Brain instead of having to try to function on my own. I have morning, afternoon, and evening/before bed routines written down. They are more like a to-do checklist. After my schedule comes my August-June calendar. I really made it to write down our home school goals and schedules so I need to make another for my own personal stuff.

Section 1 also has my master weekly schedule. Here I have the days that run across the top and times that run down the side. Here is where I remind myself that Tuesday garbage goes out and Wednesday cans come in. You get the idea.

Section 2 is food. Here I have my personal menu plans and ideas as well as the one for our co-op. Really, making the co-op lunch plans is what inspired me to start doing the same for our own home. I like variety, and get bored with the same kinds of food over and over. Thus far I have not repeated a recipe in 5 weeks. Next week I may begin repeating. I try a new recipe every week, and incorporate the tried and trues in as well.

Section 3 is Bible study-pretty self explanatory.

Section 4 is herbal remedies as well as homemade cleaning product recipes. I love to make them. They not only save money, but are better for the environment and my family.

Section 5 is phone numbers, emergency contacts etc.

Section 6 is homeschooling calendar.

Section 7 is a list of samples I want to save for school portfolio.

After that Is extra page dividers, loose leaf, a clipboard and page protectors. I'm always ready to add another section, and I know I will.

Some people post pictures of their books. I dont want to take that kind of time.

It really has been a blessing to me and my family. I no longer am fluster from misplacing a paper or disgusted when it's suppertime and don't know what to cook. I'm not as scheduled as Candy, but I'm not Candy. I'm me and that's how God wants me to be.

If you've not put together a binder of your own, you can cruise over to flylady or Candy's and follow their directions or you can play around with what you have and make up your own.

i hate to be sick

I think I've come down with a cold. Oh, man, do I hate em. Even though it's a mild one, it's still an illness and I hate to be ill. I hate waking up in the night with my mouth and throat so dry that I can't even swallow. I really hate that! I usually wake up because I'm having a nightmare that I can't talk or something. That happened last night. I really hate feeling achy and sluggish and I hate that I can't sing without straining my voice or sometimes not at all- many colds have lead to complete laryngitis. I just hate being sick in general.

I have within the last year figured out how to greatly shorten the length and severity of a cold. I was out of town when this one first hit so I wasn't able to take immediate action. Last year I discovered cold m.d. It works for me and my children if you can take it at the first hint of a cold. Also, I add lots of vitamin c and garlic. If the cold actually manifests( many times if I catch it before it has time to ramp up it wont last more than a day or two) then I add echinecea to the mix to help fight infection and elderberry syrup (better known as sambucol) as an antiviral. Since the birth of my youngest I've been prone to colds leading to ear problems. I've actually lost my hearing in both ears twice. I was able only to pick up vibrations and faint sounds if looking directly at the source of the sound. The doctor wanted me to see a specialist, but we don't have insurance so that was out of the question.

So you can see why I hate colds. I have either lost my voice, hearing, or both.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

There's No Place Like Home

Ahhhh.... Home at last. I had hoped our business would end on Sunday, and it did partially. After church we had a leisurely lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon outside. Hubby works out of town and wouldn't get a day off this week, so we decided to visit him instead of going home. (We always spend Sunday with my parents.) I really had only planned to stay 1 night and then come home around lunchtime. The kids were so happy to be with daddy that they wanted to stay longer. We went to the store, bought a big jug of bleach and a mop, and spent the next several hours cleaning and wiping every surface we could.

Let me explain. My husband is a chef. To make money he needed to head out of our smaller town and work in the city. He shares an apartment with other men that do the same thing (currently only one as the restaurant is short a person.) This apartment is not a home to any of them. It is merely a place to crash after their hard 12 hour days. Are you getting the picture? Nothing ever gets cleaned. Oh, to Hubby's credit he said he had vacuumed his room 2 weeks ago and he did buy a new shower curtain. It still was grimey. So grimey you wear your shoes everywhere. Anyway, a few hours labor took care of all the gross grime.... the worst part is always the bathroom. Men away from home quickly revert to pigs in the potty. ......blech.

So after it was scrubbed and bleached (-a quick note here, my homemade dry laundry detergent worked wonders on the greasy floors!!) the children decided it was a rather nice place to be so we spent another night with daddy. The following day I planned to leave when daddy left for work, but the children had other plans. They weren't quite ready to go, so we did school, played a while and finally departed around 5. Supper time, but I was determined to not stop until we had put some distance between us and the apartment. Every exit along the road that had somewhere to eat I would do a hunger check and they always said they could wait a little longer. To the kids credit we didn't stop until we were a half a hour from home(1 1/2 hours from daddy's apartment.) There we splurged on a steakhouse dinner. Salad bar, steak tips, baked potato and frozen yogurt for dessert. Yummm. Hunger really is the best seasoning.

We made it home shortly before bedtime. I checked email, read some blogs, and then talked to hubby when he got off work. Bedtime was too late and we slept in this morning, but it was worth it. The kids got to see daddy, his apartment got a much needed cleaning, and I came home with a paycheck.

Really after such a busy week I can identify with Dorothy. "There's no place like home."