Random musings from a Wife, Mom, Homeschooler, Student, and Friend

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Updating the Living Room/Dining Room with Paint

Imagine a tall, cold glass of chocolate milk garnished with whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings. Decadent.

Now imagine living in that cold glass of chocolate milk. Not so nice. Our living room, dining room, entryway, stairs, and halls were painted–floor, trim, AND ceiling–in shades of chocolate. In the words of my then 5-year-old boy who tasted the black-bean brownies I had just made: “This not dewishis.”

The day we closed on the house, I was at Sherwin Williams buying paint. The walls are now Creme, and the trim is Snowbound. Much better! Here is a before picture that makes me want to throw up a little in my mouth:


Here is my sweet boy helping me to paint the ceiling. See the beam? Who paints a beam that color?!?




All my kids, and even a friend who came over for a “playdate” and got roped into helping, made this transformation possible.




The beam and trim primed:



And completed!



And here is the living room as it is now:



Trail Guide to Learning: Paths of Settlement Update

Today it is all about the notebooking pages. I’ve mentioned in past posts that I did not like the pre-printed notebooking pages from the folks at Trail Guide because more than one subject could be on the same page. This makes it harder for homeschoolers who have to maintain a portfolio to sub-divide subjects. For instance, science might be printed on the back of a spelling notebooking page, etc. (Or it could just be me being neurotic. LOL) I was able to get away with homemade notebooking pages last year with Paths of Exploration, with the exception of printing out maps and some specialty science pages, but this year I’ve had a daily relationship with my printer.

Today I figured out something that y’all probably knew all along–I can print any page in any order! That means I can group all the “Mechanics and Editing” pages together and print on both sides of the paper! Eureka! No, I am not streaking naked from my tub as I say that…but I am just as excited! (Don’t worry–that link is totally PG and somewhat educational. Poor, poor maligned Archimedes!)  Anywho, this is going to make the girls very happy–they won’t have to copy out all of the grammar rules in addition to completing the writing mechanics activities.

With The Boy doing his own thing, I can’t say that we’ve really found our rhythm yet. But, as I stumble along and find new ways to adapt this amazing curriculum, I’m hopeful that we will find our groove.

Has anyone else out there found some useful tips we can all use?


Happy Labor Day! An Update

What am I doing on this beautiful Labor Day? Lesson planning. Fun, huh?

So much has happened since my last post. The biggest change is that we moved closer to The Hubs’ job, lessening his commute by almost 20 minutes. We moved from a single family home to a townhouse which is more than a 1/3 smaller. We lost a bedroom, quartz countertops, a 2 car garage, upstairs laundry, a pantry, and an in-fridge water dispenser, but I couldn’t be happier with the new place! Almost every night, the kids go out back to the common area to play with the neighbors. In the less-than-2 weeks that we have been here, they have clocked in 10x more playtime with neighbors than they had in the entire year at the other house. The whole mood here is so much nicer and more laid back.

Just before we moved, I completed the one class that terrified me when I started my doctoral program: Advanced Educational Statistics. Thanks to the Lord’s help (and The Hubs too), I made an A. Two more classes and I will have earned my Education Specialist degree, which marks the 1/2 point to my doctorate. I might just take this degree and rest for a few years though!

I’m looking forward to this year in our new community. The Hubs and I plan on finding our forever home in the next one to two years. I’m pretty sure this is going to mean a remodeling an older home in the quaint downtown district. I’m silly with excitement about this! For the kids, this means finally putting down roots. I would love to spend the next 50+ years of my life in the same house, on the same street just like my grandparents–if the Lord wills. “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps,” Proverbs 16:9.

In the meantime, we will be busy with soccer, music lessons, American Heritage Girls (did I mention that I was drafted to lead the 1st and 2nd graders???), and of course homeschooling. Can’t wait to see what this year brings!


New School Year Planning

Yes, my friends, it is that time again. Time for lesson planning, books, pencils, erasers, reams of paper lined and unlined, glue, glitter, staples, binders, rainbow colored dividers, index cards, crayons, markers, colored pencils! Oh My!

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that I have thing (obsession) for office/school supplies, right? Ahem.

This year, The Boy decided that he wanted to do his own thing. Now that he is entering the 7thish grade, I am happy that he wants his independence in learning. This year we need to focus on strengthening his writing skills, so many of our choices have a strong writing component. Here’s what he will be using:

Notgrass–Uncle Sam and You for history/civics. It also includes some great literature selections and writing assignments.

Apologia–Jump In as writing supplement. I want him writing something every day, and this program will help fill in gaps.

Easy Grammar PlusI love Easy Grammar! This program keeps grammar short , sweet, and effective!

Apologia–Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics for science. I am thrilled about this new Jeannie Fulbright book and journal! The Boy is also very excited about the experiments inside–make your own lava lamp? Yes, please!

Math-U-See Pre-Algebra I’ve already used this book with my nephew with success. Although I am not great at math, I understand pre-algebra thanks to this book.

For literature, I am combining some of the books from the Notgrass Uncle Sam and You literature package with books that the girls will be using from Trail Guide to Learning: Paths of Settlement. I’m also using some of the books listed in Trail Guide’s POS Middle School Supplement. The subject matter in the Notgrass and POS literature selections overlap quite a bit–combining and editing each list was a great way to save some money.

For Bible, we will be working through Apologia’s What We Believe series with all of the kids together. We started the first volume last year, but we went on to other things. This is such a great series that I want to finish them all. This year, I’m planning to restart the first volume and finish with the second book in the series. I love the pace and rhythm that Trail Guide offers to core subjects, so I’m hoping that a similar pace and rhythm will work for other subjects.  I took the first book in the Apologia series and broke each lesson down into 4 days of reading and assignments and a 5th day to finish any work. Here’s an example of the assignments:

Lesson One: Where Am I Building My Life?

  • Day 1 Hide it in my heart: (Verses to be memorized and recited on Day 5)

Deuteronomy 32:4–He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.

  • Day 2 Words to know: parable, foundation, The Rock of Truth, wisdom (The kids will write down the definitions from the book.)
  • Day 3 Seven Ways to Build on the Rock (Everyone will take turns looking up the scripture references, and all will write these points and add notes.)

1. Study and learn the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

2. Know truth, think truth, and follow truth (Romans 12:2, Colossians 2:8)

3. Care for your body and use it in the right way (Romans 6:13)

4. Worship God faithfully and joyfully (Psalm 100:2)

5. Pray to God always (I Thessalonians 5:17)

6. Stand against Satan and resist him (James 4:7)

7. Put God first, not things or money (Matthew 6:19-21)

  • Day 4 Praises and Prayers (The kids will keep a journal of praises and prayers and update them regularly.)

The girls are in 5thish and 3rdish grades this year, and as I’ve already mentioned and gooshed over, they will be doing Trail Guide to Learning: Paths of Settlement for their core subjects. It’s been ordered and should be here in just two more days!!!!

For math, we will continue using Math-U-See. Beanie will be in Epsilon and Lemony will finish Gamma and move on to Delta.

We are trying to move towards year-round schooling, and we’ve clocked in 14 days in July. Not a bad start! (And the kids haven’t even complained!)

“You Matter To Me,” a post from my sister

My sister, one of the people who matters most to me, wrote this beautiful post on her blog, Our Chaotic Quiver. I just had to share it.



You matter to me…

 Mrs.Stinson, one of the most beautiful people I know, celebrated her seventieth birthday this week. She gave me a job when I was eighteen, but honestly, it was far more than a job. She gave me my education. I remember my first day at Lynchburg Christian Academy’s Early Learning Center. I was so nervous (and um, overweight) that I almost couldn’t make it up the stairs! I remember being introduced to Mrs. Starling and Mrs. Bragg as their “new afternoon girl”. I remember the dark classroom full of napping children. I remember Mrs. Starling showing me the ropes…It was obvious that she ran a tight ship! I remember Mrs. Bragg laugh…and how she became my instant friend. 

The Early Learning Center was a haven for me…. Every school day, the “afternoon girls” met with Mrs. Stinson for prayer and a devotion before we went to our assigned classes. She took the time to really get to know us, but more importantly, she discipled us. I have to say that any person who has had the privilege to work for Dawna Stinson, is better for it. Her standards were high, but for everything she expected, she invested even more. Where would I be without her?

Those college years were hard ones. Away from family and all things familiar, I had to face some tough realities and I struggled to make good choices. One day in particular, I was walking down the ELC hallway, my face puffy and tear-stained, when Mrs. Stinson spotted me from the office. She steered me into a chair next to her desk and listened to me as I spilled out my broken heart. She comforted me with Scripture and led me in prayer. It was on this day that my life turned a corner.

Mrs. Stinson has held her post as director of the ELC for over thirty years and I was not the first “afternoon girl” to seek her counsel. 

But I mattered to her.

Dozens and dozens of us have mattered to her. 

God bless you, Mrs. Stinson. Thank you for seeing “me”. Thank you for teaching me how to teach children. I learned more in those three years from you, Patsy, Linda, Sandra and all the other wonderful women, than from any class or ministry I’ve been apart of.

A child may not remember what you said; but he will always remember the way you made him feel.

These days….

My life revolves around six people. Morning, noon and night. 

Do they know how much they matter to me?

Do I take the time, often enough, to reach them individually?

Wayne, you matter to me.

Ethan, you matter to me. 

Sam, you matter to me.

Annie, you matter to me.

Phoebe, you matter to me.

Ruby, you matter to me. 

These past few years, God has shown me that this family of ours is my work, it is my ministry, it is my calling. I’m weak and I fumble. There are days where I would hide from myself if I could…. But more often than not, joy bubbles over at the dinner table. And it’s my prayer that these five children know that they don’t just matter to mama, they matter to Him!

It’s so important to know that you matter

Last Saturday night, we were pulling out of the Kroger shopping center when we saw her standing in the freezing rain holding up a cardboard sign. The sign said something about FAMILY but honestly, I didn’t really want to read the rest of it. Both of us noticed the pain on her face. After we’d gone by Wayne said, “I’ve got ten bucks in my wallet, let’s turn around and go back.” 

I almost did. 

But what if she does have a family and giving her ten bucks just takes her further away from them?

Ten bucks is ten bucks. Just turn around and give her the ten bucks. 

We battled it out for ten minutes going down the interstate. 

What is the right thing to do?

How can we really help?

By now it was getting dark and we knew she wouldn’t be standing out there much longer. I finally pulled into a Dollar General and went inside and bought as much as I could with $15.00.  We headed back up the interstate and spotted her just as she was folding up her sign. Wayne rolled down his window and handed her the bags. She sobbed. 

Her name is Heather and it doesn’t matter why she was out there. She was out there. 

I didn’t feel any sense of satisfaction. Our gift was pretty meager. 

It’s plagued my thoughts and prayers all week. Because, I know that we are expected to do something. Just what?

And then on the radio this morning, the DJ was speaking about his experience on the streets for two nights, digging in the trash for food, recycling a used water bottle, asking for help…. and feeling  completely isolated. He said that 99% of the people who passed him refused to make eye contact…. 

Don’t we though?

The DJ went on to say, “In whatever way you feel led to help, make the effort to let these people know that they matter…. that they matter to you.” 

Words from heaven direct to my heart. 

You matter to Me.

And the King will answer and say to them, Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my Brethren, you did it to Me.  Matthew 25:40

Saying Goodbye

A cyber friend had to say goodbye to her 7 year old daughter this morning. This family has been such a beacon of light and love for these seven years as they tenderly cared for their sweet girl. And now she is in heaven, happy and whole.

The world won’t stop to mourn, not even for a moment, but will you stop and pray for this family?

A Beautiful Morning

Something strange has happened to me. I’m turning into a morning person. I giggled and sang before 8am. I suspect pod people have something to do with it.

The Hubs and I got a chance to walk the dog together, and to quote Forrest Gump, “I chattered like a monkey in a tree.” It was lovely. For me. I’m not so sure The Hubs shares that sentiment because he had to pick up dog doo and listen to me.

We got home, got him packed up and off to work, and I now I get to enjoy a quiet house where children are still sleeping and lovely whispers of sunlight stream through the windows. So, I’m taking my coffee out on the back porch and enjoying all the possibilities this day has to offer!

This is the day that the Lord has made! We will rejoice and be glad in it!