Jun 052012

Because the recap for the Teaching Parent’s Association Convention is going to be rather, um, long, I decided to break it up into a post for each day of the convention. I figured no one wanted to read yet another post in excess of a few thousand words…

For my first workshop on Friday, I chose to attend the seminar by the Institute for Excellence in Writing. It was presented by Phillip Miller and it totally confirmed my decision to use their Primary Arts of Language Writing for the Bugs. I really liked how it teaches the art of writing and it is mastery based, and this workshop made me fall in love. And I was astonished to learn of their 100% satisfaction money back promise. I learned how to use the program and I just simply fell in love. I can not wait to start using this in a few weeks with the Bugs for sure and probably the Beans too (since she hates being left out of anything).

I then attended a workshop by Character First about instilling and teaching our children the values we want them to have. I appreciate that there are people out there who have made a plan to help us parents make sure our children are raised with the virtues of obedience, dependability, responsibility and have written out some fun lesson plans/curriculum to aid us in our endeavor. This is something that is desperately needed for all of society unfortunately. While I did not purchase the Character First curriculum, it was great to sit in on a workshop with other like-minded parents who are seeking to raise children who are different from the world and who will grow up to be world changers.

Todd Wilson was our keynote this year and let me say, if you ever get a chance to hear him speak, please take it (and read his books. I’m in the middle of How to be a Great Wife Even Though You Homeschool). Todd is down to earth, real and funny. He gets his point across in a way that reaches across the different spectrum of people. He has the ability to reach out and draw you in with stories and humor and be applicable to many people at the same time with the truth. This weekend he spoke on not believing the enemy, not comparing ourselves to others and that when things get hard, that is when the good comes.

As homeschool moms, we have a tendency to believe that we aren’t good enough, our homes are messier than everyone else’s, that everyone else’s marriages are better than ours, that all the other children are smarter than ours. None of that is true. As women and homeschoolers, we need to stop listening to those lies about ourselves. We need to accept the fact that no one is perfect, especially not ourselves, and we are lying to ourselves when we think that everyone but us has it all together. No one has it all together all of the time. We need to accept ourselves for who we are, embrace being real to ourselves and find people we can be real with.

We also need to put a priority on our marriages. We can not be successful in teaching our children if we aren’t respecting, loving and honoring our spouses. Without a strong marriage, our families will not be strong. And our children will learn how to love their futures spouses from us. Are you being the wife your husband needs you to be? Are your daughters seeing you encourage and support your husband through everything? Are they seeing you choose to be his helpmeet, serve him and love him? Because they will follow your patterns for marriage. Are your sons seeing you with what I mentioned above? They will be choosing their future wives partly by how they see you treat their father. Do you want your son’s wives to treat your sons the way you treat your husband? Your children will pick up how you treat your spouse, and chances are they will treat their spouse the way you treat yours. Sobering thought, isn’t it?

I think I shall leave you with those thoughts in regards to marriage and being real with others. Think it through and decide if what you are doing is the legacy you want to leave your children. If you have any questions, you can leave a comment or shoot me an email. If you need help in this area, please find some books or a mentor to help you. If you have realized that you hold deep seated anger towards your spouse or there are other issues, please, please, please seek a qualified counselor to help you. Seeking help is not a weakness. It makes you stronger and will bring about the good.

Jun 052012

Wow. this past weekend was great. It was horribly busy, but still kind of relaxing, I learned a lot and had a wonderful time at the Teaching Parent’s Association annual convention, meeting up with old friends and spending time with family.

We got into Wichita at nearly one in the morning on Friday. Thankfully the girls went right back to sleep after they were carried in from the car and put down in their bed at Grandma’s. We got unloaded, made sure an alarm was set for the next day and then we crashed. It was quite the adventure getting to the convention center on Friday with the one way streets and most of them blocked off for the annual Riverfest. I got to attend quite a few sessions, wander the vendor hall and chat with people. I will say that this year it was very nice not having a lot of random strangers stop to give me hugs since our nametags state where we are from (last year was just a few weeks from the tornado and it was fresh in everyone’s mind). We got turned around trying to make it home that night and spent a half hour driving around trying to find our way out of the labrynith of one way streets.

Saturday, my alarm didn’t go off, but thankfully I woke up at the time I had set it for. We leave a few minutes early so we could stop at HubbaHubba’s favorite donut shop in Wichita. We get there as they are literally closing the streets for the River Run. So we sat and ate our donuts and watched people run past who obviously never eat donuts. We make it to the convention center a few minutes late so we wander the vendor hall, chat with some vendors and purchase the bulk of our curriculum. Of course, time escapes us and we realize halfway through the second session that we were missing that seminar too…oops. Then it is time for lunch so we go and get lunch, enjoy the last keynote, attend the last two sessions and help my friend Betty pack up her booth.

On Sunday we go to the church HubbaHubba grew up at and we find out that some friends of ours who moved from here recently attend there now. It was great seeing them and their children (the girls were ecstatic to see their friends). We make it home and have lunch and I crash. HubbaHubba came to wake me up at six.

Monday we went to the Exploration Place where they currently have a traveling Star Wars Exhibit. HubbaHubba and Beans went in to see it. Bugs didn’t want to go so we didn’t get the extra tickets for that and we played in the rest of the museum. We met the friends we saw at church there so our munchkins could have time together. We left after lunch time, stopped at Spangles (our favorite fast food in Wichita) and spent the rest of the day doing some chores at my Mother-in-law’s house. We finally leave at about eight at night and got home at midnight on the nose. We shuffled the girls in to bed (they never even noticed), unloaded most of the car and crashed ourselves.

So, today is catching up on laundry, watering the veggie garden, cleaning up from just dropping everything into the living room upon arrival home and relaxing some. And hopefully getting all my reviews and postings done for TPA.

I should go and fold some kitchen towels. And hang up our clothes. Plus I have to hammer in drainage holes in the old tin wash tub so I can plant it with lettuce. Maybe I should find room for our new school books too.

Talk to you all later. I have to get to work!

May 252012

One week from today I will be at the Teaching Parents Association Homeschool Convention in Wichita. I got to attend last year during the chaos of the summer and I was blessed immensely by getting to be with like-minded individuals, attending informative workshops and main sessions and of course getting to browse through the vendor hall. I expect no less from this year.

I am looking forward to hearing the keynote sessions from Todd Wilson this year. I discovered Familyman Ministries back before we were officially parents even. Even HubbaHubba enjoyed and has gleaned quite a bit from his site. He is full of wit and wisdom, doesn’t come across as a know-it-all and is very down to earth. I can’t wait to hear him speak and I am so hoping that his speaking style is similar to the way he writes. I know it will be good.

Dianne Craft is the featured workshop presenter this year. She desires to teach parents how to teach their differently abled children easier. I hope to be able to get in to one of her workshops.

Now, I realize that TPA is just a week away, however, there is still time to register and attend. If you need any more convincing to go (aside from getting to meet me…) just check out the workshops you can choose to attend. There are workshops for those just starting out on this homeschool journey and for those with children getting ready to head to college. There is everything from information about health and nutrition, sports, teaching English, methods of homeschooling, dealing with special needs and yeah. Tons and  tons and tons to choose from!

And if that wasn’t enough to motivate you to attend, how about the vendor hall? I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that I am a homeschool curriculum junkie of sorts (ok, I admit it, I am, and no, I don’t really think it is a problem. Yet.)

I am so excited that the Institute for Excellence in Writing has a booth this year!!!! I have pretty much decided that I really want to use their Primary Arts of Writing with the Bugs this upcoming school year and I’ve been wanting to see the curriculum in person before I commit to it.

Artistic Pursuits also has a booth. I’ve used (and reviewed) their The Way They See It book for 3-5 year olds and loved it. You will definitely want to stop by their booth if you are looking for a good art course!

If you are looking for books for your homeschool, you absolutely have to check out Books Bloom. Let me tell you, if you are looking for a book that is harder to find, Jan can help you find it. She is a delight to talk to and will take the time to help you find what you are looking for. I always left their booth with a smile last year (ok, so I admit I visited it several times to just browse, but trust me, you will too)

Doorposts will be in attendance this year. I’ve been hearing a lot about their products and fellow bloggy buddies have been gushing about them so I’ve been curious to see exactly what all the hype is. And this will be a good opportunity to perhaps purchase some of their products as they have been so kind to let us share with you a coupon for five dollars off a thirty-five dollar or more purchase, only at the TPA Convention. And you can share this coupon with friends that are coming too!

A Journey Through Learning will be there for the first time this year. They have created lapbooks for you! If you love to lapbook, or are interested in learning more about lapbooks, stop and visit Betty and she can help you! A Journey Through Learning has lapbooks for every subject and even for Veggie Tales. I haven’t ventured into the world of lapbooking yet, but I just might this year thanks to A Journey Through Learning (oh, and Classical Conversations has approved several of their lapbooks for use with CC curriculum!)

Speaking of A Journey Through Learning, they have graciously offered a giveaway for you! Use the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win your choice of one download from A Journey Through Learning (so, you should go browse and start to think about which one you would choose). (if for some reason the form isn’t working, please let me know, this is my first time with it!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

52 Fridays 5/25/2012

 52 Fridays, Crazy Life, family, Joplin Tornado  Comments Off on 52 Fridays 5/25/2012
May 252012

Today is FRIDAY!!!! So that means that it is time for another 52 Fridays post.
Where to begin? Or shy away from beginning?

This past week on Tuesday was the one year anniversary of the Joplin tornado. To commemorate it, the girls and I decided to participate in the Walk of Unity that was held. I am still not totally sure what I was thinking. I had been doing some Walk at Home with Leslie Sansone and figured I was up for the challenge.

I was sadly mistaken.

Well, partly mistaken…

You see, when I do my walking at home, I’m in my living room. My nice, flat living room. And when I walk at home, I’m not toting about 80 pounds of children behind me in a heavy wagon either. It was fairly cool in the house when we got ready and since the day before had been pretty chilly, we dressed in jeans and t-shirts for the walk. Totally forgetting that there is still no shade at all on the tornado route. The sun was shining beautifully straight down on us.

Then the girls decided before we even got to leave Wal-Mart’s parking lot that they were tired and wanted to go home. We had gotten a ride from a friend over and she had already gone back home so we were stuck following through.
The girls rode a lot in their wagon (a great off road/yard work wagon, but I can’t recommend it for long walks or great distances) and were very cute. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of them in it, but I was stopped by people thinking the girls were cute and wanting pictures themselves. I should have asked for someone to email me one now that I think on it. The girls waved the American flags they were given and smiled and waved to lots of people. We met up with some friends, made it to nearly the half-way point and walked to our friends’ home to watch the events at the park on television. We figured we would get to see more that way and we were right. By the time we had made it back to their house, we had walked nearly the whole amount of the planned route. On Wednesday, my legs throbbed and I was extremely stiff. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I wasn’t pulling the girls behind me and had real walking shoes. I had a pair of cheap tennis shoes on that were more of a minimalist design. I guess I’m getting old and should consider buying myself a good pair of tennis shoes with more padding or something.

The girls finished their history this week for school. All that is left is science and we don’t have a lot of that left and should be done before we leave for TPA next week. I’ve been letting them play outside since the weather has gotten so nice, and before it gets unbearably hot (which is happening this weekend from the look of it).
In the housekeeping department, I’ve at least kept the kitchen decent. We’ve been outside playing and working in the garden instead of spending time indoors. I am needing to deep clean the master bedroom and the bathroom this weekend.

Food wise, I’ve been doing decent. I’m purposefully not eating as much as I used to and trying to eat way more veggies. I need to go and get some more fresh produce actually. Though I don’t want to over buy as we’ll be gone for TPA for four days and I hate wasting money on food if it isn’t going to be eaten.

I really need to start in on a good Bible reading plan. I just got a book to review in the mail about how reading the Bible through in a year can change you. I hope there is a good plan to follow in it. I’ve printed off the Bible in 90 Days plan that I’m thinking of attempting again. The only thing is I prefer my NASB Chronological Bible over the traditionally laid out ones and I can’t find a B90 plan for that. Have you seen one?

Well, I have chores to get done so I need to get off the computer and get to work. Next week may or may not have a 52 Fridays post as I will be live blogging at the TPA Convention. Which will include all of next week prepping laundry, packing and everything that goes along with being gone for a few days.

May 172012

So, another Friday has come and gone. I really need to write on time…

mile marker 19 on a desert road

School has been kept up with. In fact, the girls keep asking to work ahead. Which is fine by me. If we get done with their science and history six weeks early, so be it. I don’t have to record their days/hours yet as we aren’t old enough so it isn’t a worry if we finish six weeks ahead of schedule for this year. Just means that we can star next year a bit early and have more free time to work into the schedule.

I haven’t broken off the exercise DVD in weeks. I haven’t been too motivated. I should blow the dust off it as I do feel better when I do it. I have been careful in what I eat though so this whole healthier living thing isn’t totally a wash. My sugar consumption has been drastically reduced and I have been serving lots more fresher veggies (what is available around here can’t be classified as fresh unless I make it to the farmer’s market which is rather difficult to do since we have one car and the day they are open my husband typically needs it for work).
We were able t replace our refrigerator. So no more Food-O-Rama Kelvinator that was at least 30 years old for us. We got a nice Samsung side by side with water and ice in the door, which we paid cash for. It was on sale for 10% off when we bought it which made it a great deal (well, an “unadvertised sale.” We go to the store, say we are buying, with cash that day, and they offered the discount with free install and delivery.). They come to install it and didn’t take the doors off when they hauled it in and ended up scratching the door. So they gave us an additional 10% off. Let me tell you, this fridge is so quiet I keep checking to see if it is working! And it has been so nice to have the girls get their own drinks through the day too. Took some training on how not to overflow your cup with ice and/or water, but now they can get their water on their own.

We also paid off the majority of my student loans with our tax return. You have no idea how good it feels to have it most of the way gone. We have less than two thousand dollars to go on it and plan to get it taken care of this summer. I so can’t wait to be debt free except for the mortgage. The day that happens will be glorious and a huge cause for a celebration.

Housekeeping has been kept up. Well, until we started spending more and more time outdoors. I don’t understand how a home can get so messy when the bulk of your time is spent outside? In our time outside, we put in two 4 by 4 raised garden beds last weekend. I have four heirloom tomatoes, a cherry tomato, two sweet peppers and a bunch of hot peppers. I also learned it is possible to sunburn your plants. You see, assuming that they had been basically outside when I bought them (they were in a semi-protected area) that I wouldn’t need to harden them off. Well, I was wrong…So I had to build up sheet tents over the garden to shield the plants from the sun they were getting until they are more used to be out there. I’m praying they survive. We also got basil and oregano which I put in pots and we planted pumpkins in with the sunflower bed and I’ve started cantaloupe and watermelon too. I can’t wait for fresh salsa! Here’s hoping I don’t kill all those plants though. The joke is that I have the black thumb of death when it comes to plants.

So, how have you done this week? Feel free to write a post, leave the link in the comments to your blog, or if you don’t have a blog, leave a comment and share.